EPISODE 2: YOLANDA
Transcribed by Marisa Kennedy
SAMIA: This is Make America Relate Again. I’m Samia Mounts.
You came back! I’m so thrilled, thank you! This episode is a doozy.
Yolanda Aponte is a 43-year-old Puerto Rican woman who has lived her whole life in Long Island, New York. She’s the mother of five boys - now that’s a strong woman! - and she and her husband enjoy what seems like an incredibly sweet relationship. He was actually the one to contact me in response to a Craigslist ad I posted, and when I met him, his smile was so real as he explained that as soon as he saw my ad, he knew Yolanda would be into the idea. In an email, she wrote to me, “Hopefully, we can help open minds and hearts of those that are divided in America. Hopefully, we can bring some peace, hope, and restoration into our world.”
I met with Yolanda on February 15, 2017. We recorded our conversation on the top floor of her home in Long Island, in a room with toys scattered across the floor and a desk in the corner. Her two youngest sons were downstairs playing, and you can hear them in the background at times. This was clearly a happy home. You could feel the love, you could tell these kids were being epically supported by their parents. I instantly liked Yolanda and her husband. They’re good people.
That’s why our conversation really baffled me. We had a brief phone chat before meeting in person, but none of the shockers that were revealed in this episode had been discussed beforehand. This conversation shattered my opinions about the “alt-right” and the moral fiber of the people who buy into right-wing conspiracy theories.
Gotta give you my usual disclaimer here - there are times when me and Yolanda say things that are misleading, not quite right, or just completely wrong. Instead of correcting every mistake in the audio of the episode, I’ve compiled some pretty comprehensive fact-checking show notes, available on the show website at makeamericarelatepodcast.com. If you hear something that makes you go, “Whaaa?” head to the website and see if it’s in the notes. If it’s not - email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will add the missing info, or fix anything that’s wrong.
Okay - on to the interview. Buckle up - this one is a crazy ride.
CHAPTER 1: INTROS
Samia: Okay, Yolanda Aponte. [with a round ‘o’ like ‘oh’]
Yolanda: Aponte. [with a long ‘o’ like ‘ah’]
Yolanda: Yes, Aponte.
Samia: Wonderful, so nice to meet you. Thank you so much for doing this podcast.
Yolanda: Thank you so much for having me.
Samia: Absolutely, go ahead and just tell me and the listeners a little bit about yourself. Where you’re from, how old you are, your political leanings…
Yolanda: I was born in Puerto Rico, Ponse, Puerto Rico. I came here at a young age, one, one and a half years old. So I grew up in Long Island, New York, Central Islip. Strong Island in the house. [Samia laughs] Which was basically an urban area, it was an urban area, predominately poor. My political views are basically not any one particular party. I’m not really Democratic, Republican, Independent, liberal, conservative. I basically just go for the candidate that I feel like is gonna do the most for the people and try to help the people out. Because in today’s society everybody’s strugglin’, and it seems to be a constant hamster wheel of going nowhere.
CHAPTER 2: JOBS + TAXES
Samia: Okay, so that’s a great segue, so my first question for you, and I open this up for you to ask me as many questions as you want about my views as well, but my first question is why, for you, was Donald Trump the person that you felt was gonna do more for the people than Hillary Clinton?
Yolanda: I feel like his message resonated with me. It really resonated with me as far as he wanted to really take the concerns of the people. The every day citizens, the every day workers, the paycheck to paycheck living people, take all their concerns and bring them to the forefront and make the changes that we need so that we can live a better life. That’s-
Samia: What kind of changes?
Yolanda: Well, one would be, and a lot of small businesses, I know a lot of small business owners around town that are struggling. They can barely keep their doors open because of all the taxes and penalties and everything like that they have incurred within the recent years. So they can’t even do it. But that was one. Two was the fact that he wants to sit there and lower out the taxes for the middle class, have a better choice of education, he wanted to create jobs. There are so many people that are without jobs, the unemployment rate has like just skyrocketed over the years. There’s so many people that are outta work, so many people that can’t find work, so many people that are educated, have college degrees, have bachelor degrees and associate’s degrees, have, you know, technical degrees, and you know, audio engineering or whatever and they can’t find work. Down to the every day person that has to now go work at Burger King - that’s a grown person - because they can’t find anything that would suit their qualifications. So-
Samia: Do you, do you see, have you seen a a real unemployment problem amongst skilled, educated workers?
Yolanda: I have. And I also advocate for homelessness. So in that vicinity with all the people that I’m continuously meeting, I’ve seen so many people that have degrees and have education and have so many things behind their, ya know, underneath their belt, their training, their experience, whatever, and they can’t find any work. It’s either extremely low paid where it doesn’t even make sense for them to even, like, do the two or that the job, that the opportunity, the positions are just so limited, there’s only one or two positions and they have like a hundred and fifty candidates that want that job. So there’s nothing there, there’s no - there’s no doors open. There’s nothing there.
Samia: Well, I know that Trump has talked a lot about bringing back jobs, but the jobs that he’s talked about specifically are are more in manufacturing.
Samia: Not necessarily jobs for highly skilled workers.
Yolanda: Well, some. They just made a deal with a CEO that’s gonna be doing a microchips? He’s doing the microchips and they’re gonna be creating, I believe he said it was about the - the approximation of the quote was like around three hundred skilled positions with ten thousand warehouse positions. Manufacturing, distribution, running the lines and stuff like that. And also you have to realize, in those manufacturing positions as well, that you also have skilled workers in that vicinity as well, because you have the mechanics, the certified mechanics that are fixing the machine, then you have the supervising mechanics. Those are very well paying jobs. You have the floor maintenance supervisor. That’s another well paying job. So, even though there’s like a warehouse where they’re assembling lines, stuff like that, there’s still in that vicinity, a lot of good paying positions.
Samia: Do you remember the company or what the details of this deal are?
Yolanda: I just saw it the other day with the guy. Oh god, I can’t remember the guy, the CEO, I can look it - yeah, I’ll research it up online now.
Samia: Let’s look it up now, yeah, and I’ll just edit through this part.
Yolanda: Cause he just did a press conference on it.
[kids playing in the background]
Samia: [quietly laughs] How old are Jacob and Gabriel?
Yolanda: Three and five. Mmhmm.
Samia: The best, the best.
Yolanda: The funny - my three year old’s in the “I’m gonna test you” stage, I’m gonna see what I can get away with.
Yolanda: That’s what he’s in right now, so it’s…yes, Taiwan microchip giant boost - to boost U.S. jobs in the company. And the microchip giant Taiwan, [inaudible] semi-conductor manufacturing company, TSMC, it’s abbreviations for the company, says it will create more jobs in the United States as the firm posted record profits. The chairman, Morris Chang, that’s his name, says, [reading from this Breitbart article] “‘The company’s earnings conference on Thursday had already bought hundreds of thousands of jobs over to the last three decades to the USA. Mr. Trump has said many times that he wants to create jobs in the United States, we highly applaud that,’ Chang said. ‘We will continue to create more jobs by helping the fab industry, water provocation [in actual quote from the article, this is “wafer fabrication”], part of the semiconductor chip production in the USA,’ he told investors and analysts. Chang commented comes after Foxconn, another Tai - Taiwanese [clears throat, inaudible, clears throat] last month its, in its take o-, talks over U.S. investment but gave no further details.” So it’s actually two companies that are gonna be coming this way.
Samia: So, that doesn’t - but that doesn’t sound like something that that Trump personally brokered, that sounds like jobs that-
Yolanda: He did. He actually spoke, no, he actually spoke with the guy, Morris Chang. He actually spoke with Morris Chang and the other guy, for the tech company as far as bringing jobs over here. Also, you have to realize Apple is another industry, Ford, two more plants, then I think it was Chrysler was another company that he brought over that he brought more jobs, too. All those are good paying positions from, actually from high end to low end.
Yolanda: To the lowest [inaudible] positions.
Samia: No, I agree with that. I’ve read a lot about these sort of deals that Trump’s been taking credit for. These jobs-
Samia: -like staying or coming to the U.S.
Yolanda: Well, I think the biggest thing is cutting the taxes, because he’s cutting the taxes, getting lower taxes when you when you have a business here as opposed to having your company overseas, and paying and making ‘em pay a higher fee if you keep your company over there, as opposed to in the US, is what’s bringing a lot of incentives back, because being the fact that it was so much for people to sit there and keep their companies here in the US, their work had no choice but to force to take the companies overseas to other countries and sit there and do their work over there and they weren’t paying anything coming in. To bring them, to bring their products in. That’s where the problem was and that’s where the problem really lie. Because anybody who owns a business, makes more sense to sit there and really pay nothing to come in and bring your products and sit here and pay out the wazool in taxes [Samia laughs] to sell your products.
Samia: Right, I understand all of that, but every incident of Trump claiming credit for keeping jobs or bringing jobs like that, that he’s, you know, made big public announcements for in the last few months, all of them, when you look close - look more closely at the situation, were jobs that would have come here anyway, would have stayed here anyway, or like, in the case of the Carrier Company in Indiana, we basically promised to pay a sum total of something like seven hundred million dollars to this company for them to keep about seven hundred jobs in the U.S., and when the deals are analyzed closely, a lot of Trump’s claims about his part in brokering the deals are, at best, inflated, and at worst, just sort of really misleading. I haven’t seen any actual evidence from well sourced news sites of him, in reality, brokering deals that actually made a major difference in the job market so far, but he has taken a lot of credit for them.
Yolanda: Well, I would say this, I don’t think we would get any reliable information from any news source today. And, unless you’re looking at the actual deal, per se, you’re not gonna be able to see any, what his hands were totally on the deal. And that’s to say, to some extent, like you’ll have someone who sits there, you have a party of people that sit there and the other ones do the negotiation and the bargaining with the people, but maybe it was the head giant, like Trump, that came in and actually spoke to the head CEO and said, “Hey listen, we’ll cut the taxes if you can bring, if you promise to bring your company back over here,” which is essentially I think what his credit is for. Do you know what I mean?
Samia: That’s a big maybe though. I mean, so, so basically now-
Yolanda: No, it isn’t a big maybe, though, because people have been, company CEOs have said that. That because the taxes will be reduced, it makes it more affordable for them to come back over here and create the jobs in the US and everything else like that.
CHAPTER 3: WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR NEWS?
Samia: Okay, you just said something a moment ago that has been showing up over and over again in these interviews about not being able to trust the news media.
Samia: I’d love to talk about that.
Samia: I get my news from the New York Times-
Samia: -The Washington Post, and NPR, mostly. I check headlines on most of the major news sites, including Fox News. I’ve noticed a trend, personally, where every major news outlet will have the same top headline almost every day, [laughs] and Fox News is the one news outlet that doesn’t have the same headline as everybody else, which is sort of baffling to me, and yesterday was a great example. Yesterday the big headline across all the news platforms was, “Mike Flynn resigns as national security advisor,” amid this whole rigmarole with him talking to Russia during the campaign and discussing Russian sanctions when he wasn’t supposed to before Trump was inaugurated. Fox News, on the other hand, had a top headline about how rough terrain was gonna make it hard for Trump to build his border wall. So, there are some news sources that take their job really seriously, that admit when they make mistakes, that get multiple sources that are credible before they report on anything, and I would say the New York Times and The Washington Post are really good at doing that, as is NPR. And they’re good at presenting the whole story without spinning it in one way or another, and I’m talking about the straight reporting, not the opinion articles.
Samia: ’Cause there’s a lot of difference there. For some reason, everyone that I’ve talked to who voted conservative in this election, makes a blanket statement that you can’t trust the media. Why do you feel that way?
Yolanda: I’m gonna tell you why I feel that way, and exactly, per se, the New York Post, you say New York Post, you take them-
Samia: No, not the New York Post, New York Times.
Yolanda: Oh New, I’m sorry, New York Times and Washington Post, those are the two that you said you take for [inaudible] okay.
Samia: New York Post - very different. [laughs]
Yolanda: They have, they have immigration, the voter immigration, the voter fraud with the immigrant, with immigration, with immigrants that are here illegally voting and everything else like that, right? They sat there and they said, and they’re bashing Trump on a sense of like, how can they sit there and say that that’s not even possible, this doesn’t happen blah blah whatever.
Samia: You’re talking about Trump’s claim that three to five million illegal immigrants voted in this election and that cost him the popular vote.
Yolanda: Yes, okay. Right. Now, if you go back into 2012, when Obama won, they had an article out saying that, actually, think quote, a Trump quote, I believe it was like a ten percent number, theirs was fourteen percent of voter fraud with immigrants and everything else like that. They did a whole big article on how there was proof and everything else like that and how there was, that it did actually exist, and then they even broke it down to different states and stuff like that. So years ago, it was okay to bring up voter fraud and the fact that there are illegals voting when it suited the - their agenda, but now in 2016, when it doesn’t suit the person who’s not willing to work with the banks, and if you look at all the networks that, CNN and all those networks, they all are run by a - the bankers. If you go down and break the chains, from the CEOs, and how does it go? Go from, they’re the bottom, let’s say they’re the bottom of the pyramid, and you go up to the top, you’ll see how they’re all owned by the same percent of their people. And all those same percent of their people are the same ones who sit there and make the same claims over and over and over again, which is why all those networks will have the same headlines and run the same thing over and over and over again. Like, per se, like, during the election, talking all about the whole comment that Trump made about, you know, grab her, grab her in the, when you are a celebrity-
Samia: You’re talking about Pussygate.
Yolanda: Yes. When he, when he was saying, when you are a celebrity, these fans or fanatics, whatever you wanna call ‘em, fans, fanatics, whatever, will let you do anything - even grab them in the uhn. But what they did is they cut and suited it so that it could be appropriate, and you leave out certain, you gotta listen, get the real audio, get full audio and you’ll hear the whole conversation between him and Billy Bush, because it’s out there-
Samia: I’ve heard it.
Yolanda: The full - and you’ll see that in there he’s sitting there saying, “When you’re a celebrity they’ll let, they’ll do anything, they’ll let you, even let, grab ‘em,” not that, he didn’t say I’m gonna grab her, I wanna grab her, but he said they’ll let you do anything, even grab her in, grab it, grab her in the pussy. Now, CNN, NBC, ABC, all of those, Washington Post, over and over and over and over again to make him seem like he’s a disgusting pig and everything else like that, put words that was used and everything else like that. And yet, how much percentage of time did you hear about national security being risked with Clinton emails? You heard in, a fragment, maybe thirty seconds or one minute of time in a conversation about her emails versus twenty seven minutes of air time to the whole Trump thing. And there’s actually statistics to prove that. So you can go back and research that as well and you’ll see the numbers that prove, cause there’s a breakdown for it and people were breaking it down to the time - you actually just watch the whole thing, you’ll see. I think Megyn Kelly probably had all of ‘em, and I hate Megyn Kelly, I don’t like Megyn Kelly and I’m glad she left Fox and she’s not with ‘em anymore. So, that was probably one of the ones I didn’t like on Fox. But I don’t find Fox to be one hundred percent credible either, just so you know. There are certain newscasters that I find on Fox to be a little more credible with their opinions. Are they a little bit more favorable to Trump? Yes, but I also think that they understand the agenda, what he wants to do for the U.S. people, as opposed to what the elite want to do for themselves and their pockets and the bankers. And I think that’s the misconception that people are not being honest about. They’re not being honest about what’s really going on and what has been going on for all these years, with the Democratic Party, and the way they’ve been trying to control people, and the way they’ve been trying to control the funding of the money that’s coming back into their pockets while we the people stay poor all the time, struggling to make ends meet all the time. Stop listening to the media, go online and do researches from media resources from outside of our country, and see those, to - Alex Jones gets a bad rap, and I’ve been watching Alex Jones for years, and if you know anything about Alex Jones, he doesn’t put anything out that he does not know to be one hundred percent credible, at all. He will not back it, if it’s not honest, ethical, or that’s his character. That’s how he is, that’s what he stands for, he stands for the rights of the people, and yet, the media taints him out to be like, this villain who is just, you know, a ass kisser of Trump and everything else like that and doesn’t know what they’s talkin’ about, but yet he does, he knows exactly what he’s talking about because he keeps exposing their stuff that they don’t want the people, us the people, to know about, and us the people have the right to know about everything, including what really happened in Benghazi. There’s so many things that are goin’ on that are being withheld from us the people that we’re not given all the information to make a honest assessment of what’s really going on or who we wanna be or, or who we wanna vote for, so to speak.
Samia: Well, if you don’t trust our independent journalistic system, then who do you trust? You trust this - I don’t know Alex Jones.
Samia: I’ve never seen his show, I don’t know what kinds of things he says, so I really can’t comment on that.
Yolanda: Well, this is what I do [inaudible] and I know a lot of people don’t have the time to do this, so I get that. So, they don’t, so they have to try and find at least one person they can trust. I would say Alex Jones, I trust. Out of every resource that’s out there, if I had to go [inaudible] because, ya know what? He will call a spade a spade. So, if he sees dirt on Trump - actually he wasn’t even for Trump in the beginning. If you watch [inaudible] he actually said, “Listen, I don’t really know about this guy. Ya know, to me he seems like one of those, another one of those snobby, ya know, rich people who’re just in for the dollar and everything else like that and blah blah blah whatever, and it wasn’t until time, until he did more and more research, found out about his character, what his true agenda was, what his plans were as far as policies and everything else like that for the people, that Alex Jones became, ya know, more in favor of Trump.
Samia: Okay, I would have to do a little bit of research into him to comment on it.
Yolanda: I would, yeah, I would definitely do that.
Samia: But is there any other news outlet, is there anybody in the media that you trust besides that guy? Are - is there a-
Yolanda: Well, what I do is this – I listen to some Alex Jones, but I also go to RT, which, and I also listen to some other media newscasters like Russian, German – I check out other-
Samia: You listen to the Russian government sponsored media?
Yolanda: I do. Yeah, I do. I check, I, certain stories like that, I go there and I wanna see what their opinion is, what their view is it, what their - what’s really goin’ on. ’Cause we’re not even told what’s goin’ on around the world. Half the times you don’t, you don’t, how many, did you hear about all the hurricanes and stuff that were goin’ on around the world and destruction that was goin’ on? You didn’t even hear about that on main media, and meanwhile millions of people, thousands of people, or hundreds I shouldn’t say millions or hundreds, that’s an exaggeration, but hundreds of people are losing their lives in-
Samia: Well, it’s interesting to me that you would li- you would get news from the Russian-
Yolanda: No, I compare news.
Yolanda: That’s what I do. I compare information. So if I hear one piece of information now I’ll go and I’ll see how accurate that information is, comparing it to other resources around. And that’s from everything-
Samia: But you don’t trust the major journalistic enterprises of this country.
Yolanda: I don’t anymore, no, mm mm, I don’t. And I haven’t for quite some time to be honest with you, because I’ve found flaws in their stories, in their storylines.
Samia: So, here’s a few things; first of all, with the illegal voting-
Samia: I’m gonna fact check what you said about a New York Times article in 2012.
Yolanda: Please do, yes.
Samia: And I’m gonna put that in the show notes.
Yolanda: Check out Mark Dice. Mark Dice is another one.
Samia: Mark Dice?
Yolanda: Mark Dice, yeah.
Yolanda: Mark Dice, Gary Franchi News Network, he’s another one, good, too, with little, he’s a little bit shorter for your information as opposed to like a longer casting, but Jones is like a longer casting, so you have to sit there and really - Alex Jones Show - you sit there for a longer period of time watching it and everything else like that, so it really is more in detailed, whereas Gary’ll give you little snippets, so that you, to get to the point, and Mark Dice is like an in-between between them both.
CHAPTER 4: VOTER FRAUD + RIGHT-WING CONSPIRACY THEORIES + JOURNALISTIC INTEGRITY
Samia: Alright. So the illegal voting thing; this has been reported on extensively. The Trump administration has made the claim repeatedly that three to five million illegal immigrants voted in this election, costing him the popular vote. They have provided no evidence of this. They’ve been asked repeatedly by reporters and by government officials saying, “Hey, if this happened, we need to investigate it, so where are you getting this from?” They give no evidence. They don’t even give a hint of evidence, no evidence has been uncovered from independent investigations. There have been-
Yolanda: That’s not true.
Samia: That is true. [laughs]
Yolanda: It’s not. There, there has been, there has been information that has been given.
Samia: What information?
Yolanda: It’s just not being, it’s just not being displayed out into the media. The media’s just not reporting on it, but it is = if you, there is, please - I mean, I urge you to sit there and look it up ’cause there is some information that they have and they had, they’re not giving everything and I agree with that, they should give everything, but I understand why they’re not giving everything.
Samia: No, they haven’t given anything is the thing. There have been reports that outdated voter rolls have names on there of people who have since moved to other counties or states, people who have passed away, and their names are still on the voter rolls, but those - there have only been two incidences of actual voter fraud reported and discovered, and there have been people looking into it. And there have been election boards, like trying to see, like, is this true? Are we actually suffering from this incredibly large, widespread voter fraud problem? There’s nothing there to substantiate it.
Yolanda: There is. Broward County had proof that there was voter fraud going on over there. California has proved there’s voter fraud going on over there. Pennsylvania had proof there was voter fraud goin’ on over there. There is, and then on top of it you had a previous president-
Samia: Who’s reporting on that?
Yolanda: Broward County, the Broward County Board of Elections reported on it. There is a, an article out on it on - from the woman of Broward County. Then there’s so - you ever watch Judicial Watch? You know?
Yolanda: Judicial Watch is an organization that’s for the people. They don’t work for the government, they’re not part of any government party or anything like that. They’re just a organization that basically oversees, or checks into, what the government is doin’. To pull out, to make sure they’re doing the right thing and they’re not doin’ things illegally or, ya know, misrepresenting the people or - not scammin’ us or anything else like that. And I urge you to check them out as well, because they as well point out and give you the points and the facts and the documentation that is in there, which is why they’ve had an extensive investigation, especially into Clinton, with all her misleadings and everything else like that, misdoings I should say, that she’d been doing in her career. But Judicial Watch is - if I had to say, out of everybody, if I needed to make sure that I had someone I was gonna know that had my back [inaudible] it would be Judicial Watch because they are for us, the people. They are our eyes into an arena that we normally can’t see in the government, and they have that information that you’re talking about. And then you had a previous president doing a interview, telling illegal immigrants that, yes, they can go ahead and vote. He urges them to vote.
Samia: Who urges?
Yolanda: Obama. Obama, he - there was an interview that he did with a Latina girl, I don’t remember her name, she kinda looks like Zendaya, I don’t know if she, if that’s actually who it was, but she looks just like Zendaya. The Disney cast that’s a little older now, whatever. And she said about illegals voting, “How do you feel about that?” And he was like, “I feel like they should vote. They should definitely have a vote. They should have a vote, they should have a right to sit there and voice their opinion.” Now, it’s illegal, so why would you sit there and tell illegals to vote?
Samia: [sighs] You’re bringing up things that, with all respect, I’m pretty well informed with the current state of affairs in this country. I listen to a wide variety of commentators. I try to avoid people who lean to the left or the right and just listen to people who have sourced their facts well-
Samia: -and only repeat facts that have been proven to be facts, and you’re talking right now about a lot of things that haven’t been proven. These are things that the mainstream media has widely discredited as being, sort of conspiracy theories on the right and the alt-right.
Yolanda: Of course it’s conspiracy theories. Of course, it’s easy, it’s easy to call something a conspiracy theory and dismiss it very quickly so that you the people don’t find out the truth.
Samia: But that’s, that’s an easy way to, to get out of having to provide any evidence.
Yolanda: I don’t think so. I don’t think so, because if you’re curious, you’ll find out, you’ll go and do your own research and see that it, that it’s true and-
Samia: Do you believe that three to five million illegal immigrants voted in this election?
Yolanda: I believe there’s somewhere roughly just under three million people that voted in the election, yes, I do.
Samia: And can you show me evidence?
Yolanda: Like, maybe, I would say maybe like 2.4 million people.
Samia: Can you tell me why you believe that?
Yolanda: Because I’ve seen documentation of this on Judicial Watch, they’ve had, they have proof. There is, the thing is this, you have - you have a branch of government that is like, it’s like the mafia, it’s run like the mafia, like the old school mafia. You have the president, the small, you know, each senator, governor, mayor, whatever the case may be, you know, Secretary of State, you know, Department of Defense, you have all of ‘em, but the problem is, though, is a lot of those people in those positions are all working together. So they’re all part of a cover-up, and that goes back not just to this election. We’re talkin’ ‘bout 9/11, we’re talkin’ ‘bout Watergate, it - Bengha- all those, all those - you know, you have Loretta Lynch lying and perjuring herself in - that’s another thing, too, people should really - should watch the Congress interviews and the Congress hearings and stuff and things they do. They should really take the time to watch those. And listen to Trey Gowdy and listen to Chaffetz, and listen to all of ‘em, and just in time, you’ll see certain one’s characters. You’ll see how they, ya know, what kinda, what their motive is or who’s hiding what and whose - then you get to see which government officials are all working together to cover pieces up and which ones are looking to expose it, and for how long. When you have cert- when you have the head boss, let’s say in the mafia, so to speak, the head boss and he’s into dirty work, right? And he wants to do things illegally and everything else like that, and you have everyone beneath him, they’re all on the same train to sit there and cover up and do dirty business. Now, the head boss dies and he’s got his son that’s gonna take his position, let’s just say, ’cause that’s how it works in mafias, it’s the family that takes the positions, but, in this case, it’s a different president, but, now you have the son that wants to do things right. How much harder is it for him to expose the information that everyone else is covering up? That’s how it is with the media, these certain government officials, Secretary of State, Department of Defense, FBI agents. You know, there are some FBI agents that wanna do their job, that wanna expose what’s really goin’ on, and there’s some that are in the pocket, so to speak, and are covering things up. So how do you get to the truth if you have some that wanna expose it and some that wanna hide it? It’s hard to expose it all out there and then you have the media that’s - that’s - you know, how do you explain a Clinton email that’s sittin’ there before the election on all the - bringing the media to Podesta’s house to sit there and have a dinner to talk about the agenda and what they’re gonna do and how they’re gonna talk about HRC and how they’re gonna promote her and bash everyone else? How do you explain emails that you see like that, coming from Hillary Clinton’s private email server?
Samia: When a campaign is running, a presidential campaign is running, it makes sense for uh any politician to wanna gather reporters and ha-
Yolanda: In a private sector?
Samia: For, I mean, yeah, Trump has reporters surrounding him all the time.
Yolanda: See, but tha, but tha, but that’s my problem. See, that’s my problem though is that you’re doing it in a private sector and having a private conversations with news reporters as to what you wanna do and how you want them to - the kinda questions that you’re supposed to ask. That’s not their job, they’re not supposed to, hold on…mm mmm.
Samia: But that happens on both sides of the aisle, and reporters, reporters want access to politicians.
Yolanda: They want access to politicians, but then that’s my point, they shouldn’t have a favor in a politician. They shouldn’t have a certain way that they talk and ask questions to one and everyone else gets the grilling.
Samia: I don’t think that, I don’t think that that’s what ever happened. I mean, there are reporters that are assigned to cover certain topics. Of course if it’s a politician running for president, they’re gonna try to spin things so that the reporters report it a certain way, but reporters are bound by journalistic integrity-
Yolanda: They were. They were. I don’t think they have their integrity anymore. I think that that integrity got bought for a nice price.
Samia: If you have no trust in our nation’s news media, then you’re leaving yourself open to getting information from people who do have agendas. All of the opinion commentators that you’ve mentioned, television show hosts, and - they have their own agenda as well, and they have their - their leanings.
Samia: It would be like me only listening to-
Yolanda: But I don’t only listen to any one thing, so that’s where you can’t say that, especially when it comes to me. I can understand with other people, maybe so.
Samia: But what I’m saying is if, if I only, if I only got my news from left-leaning political commentators, you know like, like Rachel Maddow or Joy Reid, and I only listened them and I said, “They’re the only ones telling the real story and all of these reporters are like, in cahoots, and they’re getting paid off.” I mean, but then, suddenly now I’m getting my information from people who have clear - clearly formed opinions and they’re not just reporting on the facts. I mean, I think that that has their - its place, and listening to different arguments and different opinions is important, but there has to be a respect for journalistic integrity. I do think that journalistic integrity exists in this country. If you listen to reporters talking about how hard it’s been to cover the Trump administration, you hear people who are genuinely confused about how to deal with an administration that continually attacks their integrity, when all they’re trying to do is give people the facts. You can hear the authenticity in their voices and when you read the reporting and compare lots of different reports from lots of different outlets, including Fox News, the facts pretty much stay the same across all of the news media outlets, which suggests to me that these are, these are facts we can rely on, that have been sourced well. I’m disturbed by the conservative denial that there’s anything like journalistic integrity anymore in our news media. Without an independent news media, a country is susceptible to rampant conspiracy theories, to the propaganda of an autocratic regime, which is what’s happening in Russia. We’re vulnerable to influences that can truly destroy the core of our democracy if we don’t believe that our news outlets are doing the job that they’re supposed to do. That independent media protects us from what Putin is doing in Russia, where all the news that everyone gets has to be sponsored and censored by the state.
Yolanda: You don’t think that our news is not censored? You don’t think that CNN, NBC, ABC, all of ‘em, even a little bit of Fox Five, you don’t think that it’s censored? That they’re able to say and report what they wanna report, so how come people haven’t heard about Obama’s birth certificate being a fraud? [Samia makes an inaudible noise] And the documentation of the, yeah.
CHAPTER 5: THE BIRTHER CONSPIRACY THEORY
Samia: Do you believe that Obama’s not American?
Yolanda: One hundred percent, they, no. He’s not. They one hundred percent, he, the document, the birth certificate that he that he put up there from Hawaii has proven to be a fraud. One hundred percent fraud. There’s police, there’s - there’s a sheriff on Fox Five and I believe it’s in, it might be in Phoenix I’m not really, I’m not a hundred percent sure, I’d have to get that information for you, but - that did a whole press conference. Now, why is it that over there they did a press conference and it ran, but over here we can’t hear it? And they put all the information up on the site, they put the comparison, they broke it all down step by step, each every single way. Even the guy whose birth certificate they duplicated from, everything, and yet, you don’t hear nothing about it, at all, over here.
Samia: That claim, the birther conspiracy theory-
Yolanda: That also started from Clinton by the way. If you go back at her campaign and look and see. She’s the one that really started that.
Samia: Actually, Donald Trump started that.
Yolanda: No, she really did. Go back at her first campaign when she was running against Obama, she started that out in her campaign first.
Samia: I feel like I’m gonna cry right now.
Yolanda: I understand that, I get it.
Samia: No, you, I don’t think you do.
Yolanda: No, I do, I do, but-
Samia: No, let me-
Yolanda: You feel like you’re gonna cry, but I feel like I’m gonna cry, too. Cause you know, that’s what I feel about a lot of liberals. Like, I don’t feel like they wanna be open enough to sit there and actually review the information, and they don’t wanna find it, they don’t wanna see it.
Samia: The information, the information’s out there and the information says very clearly that all of the talk about Obama not really being American is completely baseless.
Samia: I mean, that’s across the board. That’s been agreed upon by experts, by legislat-, even the Republicans in the House and Senate agree that that’s cra- that’s not a-
Yolanda: From when? From last year or the year before that?
Samia: From, from the beginning of the Birther Movement. It’s always-
Samia: -been a conspiracy theory promoted by the alt-right that has absolutely no basis in fact, that’s been proven.
Yolanda: It has and it’s actually just been proven and it showed, and there was a whole forty-five minute press conference where they sat there and went over with a whole staff and media in the room.
Samia: Anybody can hold a press conference.
Yolanda: I understand that, but these are credible sh-, this is a credible sheriff, a credible, I forgot what the other guy’s position was, another pol-, government official officer of some sort. I don’t remember what, can’t remember his name, whatever, that did an exten-, that their job is, especially the one guy, is to get, actually he was hired into the government, like his job position was to sit there when the whole birther thing came out, was hey listen, take a look at this and clear the president of this, of any wrongdoing. The problem is he wasn’t able to clear the president of any wrongdoing because the president, the birth certificate came up as a fraud. And, but, that’s my point though, you don’t hear about it. The only reason why I hear about it is because I watch other states’ news, and I look at other information and research and I get it and I put it all together and then I make my own assessment of what I think is goin’ on, from what I see to be true, or what not to, or what I see to be false. If I don’t see something to believe to be - if I don’t feel and see and if the evidence that I’m lookin’ at, if I don’t see it to be one hundred percent true, I feel like there’s some sort of doubting or there’s something sketchy about it, then I’m not, I’m definitely not gonna put my voice to it and say, “This is what I believe one hundred percent.” I’ll sit there and say, “I heard something like this, I’m not a hundred percent sure in which way, you know, how sure it is, but this is what I heard, I have to look into it to see if you, I say, if I think it’s fact or fiction before I put myself to it.” But if I - I tell you right now, I believe that’s a fraud. There’s illegals voting. There’s definitely that going on. There’s a lot of cover-up in government money, stealing in this government that’s being stolen from the American people and put into their pockets [inaudible]. And the way it’s all - when people start seeing what’s really goin’ on, it’s gonna be an awakening that people don’t wanna wake up to. It’s gonna be a nightmare, but it’s gonna be necessary nightmare and a cleansing for everybody to really go through in this world, because there’s a lot of dirty business going on in this world.
Samia: That’s definitely true. There is a lot of dirty business going on, but Obama’s birth certificate was authentic. [sighs] No other president has ever been asked to prove that he’s a real American before Obama and a lot of people on my side speculated, I think rightly, that it was racially motivated-
Yolanda: I was for Obama. I was an advocate of Obama when Obama was running for office, especially in his first term. Not so much the second term, but the first term.
Samia: Then how, how can you, how do you explain-
Yolanda: Because I feel like everything he said and everything he’s done has been nothing but false promises, false lies, there’s no delivery upon it, at all.
Samia: Obama delivered on many of his promises. He didn’t deliver on many of his promises, but that goes for every American president, and especially when you’re an American president that’s dealing with a House and Senate run by your opposing party and they’re doing everything they can to stop you-
Yolanda: When he was in office it was ran by Democrats.
Samia: At the beginning.
Samia: And I agree that the Democratic Party did a pretty shit job of getting, getting their act together then to actually move, and then they lost the seats in the midterms and, ya know, or at the next election and, and we got Republican obstructionism. But to say, to go against what the vast majority of credible news sources, commentators, government officials - when you look at public opinion across the spectrum of society in every industry, everybody agrees that Obama having to produce his birth certificate was ridiculous, but he is obviously American and the conspiracy saying that he is not is only a push by this one highly partisan, extreme right-wing group, and it’s been proven to be completely uncredible. So I’m - I’m struggling cause I - I like you-
Samia: -and we’re, you know, and and I, and I, you have this beautiful family and this beautiful home, and you seem like such a nice person, and I - I’m struggling right now because when there’s so much evidence to show that that was a racially motivated, politically motivated conspiracy theory and it’s been debunked widely across the board, how can you still believe in that?
Yolanda: But this is one thing that gets me, how was it racially motivated when he’s half white? That’s another thing too. Why does everybody keep forgetting the fact that he’s half white. He’s half white and he’s half black, okay? So, this racial-
Samia: He walks around in this world being perceived as a black man.
Yolanda: Okay, but this whole, that’s the, see that’s I think is the biggest problem in this world today. Everybody’s so quick to categorize people. I don’t look at people by you’re white, you’re black, I’m Spanish, you’re Chinese, you’re Indian, I don’t look at people like that. I look at people for who they are, and - what they, how they come across to me, and the things they say and how they carry themselves.
Samia: Sure, that’s fine, but my question is, when there’s been so much evidence to show that the birther conspiracy is a fraud, why do you still believe in it?
Yolanda: Why did it take him so long to give his birth certificate? That’s question number one. Let’s just ask that question. If you had to provide your birth certificate, if they said, “Listen, hey, I don’t believe that you’re, you are-“ You were born in Germany, right? Are you German?
Samia: Yes. No, I’m not German. I was born on a U.S. Air Force base.
Yolanda: Okay, but you were born in Germany and they - let’s just say you wanted to get a visa or passport and you you had to provide your birth certificate, right? How many years would it take you to get your birth certificate?
Samia: That’s a completely different situation.
Yolanda: No, no, no, that’s a simple question.
Samia: We’re talking about an American president whose-
Yolanda: No, no, no. Exactly, even more so why he should have his documentation, like that.
Samia: No other Amer-
Yolanda: Oops, sorry.
Samia: -no other American president has ever been asked to prove that he’s really American.
Yolanda: See, now, you wanna know, to be honest with you, I thought it was mandatory, as a president, when you run for office and everything else like that, that like the same way you would go for a driver’s license you would need to bring your ID, your birth certificate, you need to prove who you are, right?
Samia: Yes, but-
Yolanda: So, I would think, I would think that common sense would have our government set up already so that when you go into that, any office, even to be a government official, a mayor, a senator, a congressman, whatever it is, that you need to bring all your documentation to prove that you are who you say you are, born where you say you were born, and everything else like that. I would think that auto- as an American citizen, and I guarantee if you ask that question to many people, you, they probably thought that was already in play.
Samia: It - it was. We’re talking about-
Yolanda: But it wasn’t clear.
Samia: -him publicly releasing his birth certificate. I mean, everybody has to provide documentation whenever they do anything. So if Obama had a U.S. passport he had to provide documentation proving he was a U.S. citizen to get the passport in the first place. He was clearly an American citizen. Giving his birth certificate out to the public, that’s a different thing. No American president has ever been asked to do that before, and if we wanna talk about presidents taking too long to release information that should be public, why hasn’t Donald Trump released his tax returns?
CHAPTER 7: DONALD TRUMP’S TAX RETURNS + THE CLINTON FOUNDATION VS. THE TRUMP FOUNDATION
Yolanda: Why does he have to? You all-
Samia: Every other American president has.
Yolanda: You can get all his information by that one website, everything that’s there that you need to know. Why does he have to give his personal taxes for everybody to sit there and dissect and analyze?
Samia: It’s an American tradition for every presidential candidate during their campaign to release their tax returns to show-
Yolanda: Release, release their financials. To release their financials, not their tax returns.
Samia: Their tax returns. Their tax returns.
Yolanda: I don’t know if it’s - I think it’s their financials. I believe it’s everything that they’re, and everything’s all in the same site.
Samia: Every American candidate for president traditionally releases their actual tax returns in order to show that they don’t have conflicts of interest that could prevent them from doing the job, alright? To show that they can’t be manipulated by foreign governments because of widespread business dealings. Now, we’ve never had a businessman as president before, which is why in this case it was more important than usual that he release those tax returns, so that we could see like, how much potential is there for this guy to be, you know, the target of corruption scandals, or the center of corruption scandals, rather? He wouldn’t release them. I don’t understand why he wouldn’t release them if he had nothing to hide. I suspect that if he did release them it would show that there is a lot of potential for corruption there and he doesn’t want to fess up to it. That is a an actual, factual corruption scandal.
Yolanda: I wouldn’t say factual, because that’s an assumption, you’re makin’ an assumption off the taxes, you don’t know for sure.
Samia: No, no, no, it’s a, it’s a real thing that he’s got business dealings around the world and he won’t release his tax returns, even though precedent in our country is that every American candidate for president releases their tax returns.
Yolanda: Right, but it’s an assumption-
Samia: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama did. Even Nixon did.
Yolanda: It’s an assumption to sit there and say that his business dealings that he’s had for many years before he even decided to run for president and run in the election, [coughs] that all of a sudden that that’s a corruption or an assumption to corrupt later on.
Samia: It’s the potential for corruption-
Yolanda: But hold on, if-
Samia: If foreign governments can get direct access to our president-
Samia: -and funnel money in to his business in return for favors, I mean, that’s a potential problem. That is why presidents typically divest themselves of their businesses, which also Trump hasn’t done.
Yolanda: Okay, and that’s a great argument, and you know what, maybe we should all see so that we can sit down and make that sort of opinion, make that opinion, I would love to see that as well-
Samia: Would you like-
Yolanda: -but you know what else I would like to see? If they’re gonna sit there and make that same assumption, analyzation and dissect into his taxes, okay? Then they should have the same fury and passion to be upset at the fact that Clinton was accepting money from foreign countries that we do not have good relations with. Or we have ISIS over there - they’re sitting there funneling and giving money to and weapons of - so they can cause mass destruction and damage to our country, and yet those things are never brought up. Those arguments, just because she had them going into the Clinton Foundation. She was smart enough to sit there and say, “You know what, let me create a foundation, a Clinton Foundation, so this way it’s not personally,” that’s just a loophole. The bottom line is the integrity and the dealings are still there. You’re still dealing with foreign countries that you shouldn’t be dealing with and accepting money from, and it’s illegal to accept money from, but because they put it through the Clinton Foundation, all of a sudden there’s a loophole to it where she really kinda can’t get penalized for it.
Samia: That’s not true-
Yolanda: Yes it is!
Samia: The Clinton - the Clinton Foundation has been investigated. There’s been no uncovering of any evidence that Hillary Clinton ever accepted money or favors from foreign entities in exchange for favors from her.
Yolanda: See, that’s that’s that’s what gets me. That’s what gets me.
Samia: They’ve - they’ve gone into emails.
Yolanda: Okay, so, if you looked, if you looked at Trump’s taxes, right? And he’s got business goin’ on with this, why is it that you automatically assume for him that it could be attempt or a coercing for corruption because he’s got business in another country?
Samia: Well, let me finish then.
Samia: Alright, we can’t look at Trump’s tax returns. So-
Yolanda: But that’s what you’re making the assumption to that though.
Samia: Just wait. So, we can’t look at Trump’s tax returns, so we don’t actually know.
Samia: We would like to see, you just said you would like to see his tax returns.
Yolanda: It’d be great.
Samia: That would be great. With the Clinton Foundation, however, there’s lots on the public record and there have been investigations done into the Clinton Foundation and le-, and emails have been searched, leaked emails have been searched, and the consensus has been that while there were some situations where people were clearly trying to curry favor, Hillary Clinton never actually did anybody any favors in exchange for money or anything being funneled in the Clinton Foundation. Also, the Clinton Foundation has shown that it spends eighty to ninety percent of its donations on its charitable programs, because it’s called “foundation” some people assume that that’s, that means they just give money to charitable programs, but that’s not what the Clinton Foundation is. The Clinton Foundation actually runs its own charitable programs and they follow the guidelines of a charitable organization. The Trump Foundation, on the other hand, has had to publicly admit to self-dealing, meaning using money that was given to the Trump Foundation for Donald Trump’s personal expenditures. The Trump Foundation is wracked with corruption, whereas the Clinton Foundation isn’t. So why is the Trump Foundation let off the hook?
Yolanda: I think that’s, I think that’s, I think that’s a, an overstatement. To say that it’s wracked with - you’re talking about a flag that in the, in the lawsuit where he ended up getting money for it and he ended up using it to sit there and raise the flag, the American flag, higher in his Flor- in one of his Florida locations of business. That’s, that’s pretty much it, and then the other thing was that the college university was the fact that they sat there and said they thought there were gonna get, oh, a personal class with Trump on how to - real estate and stuff like that - and that didn’t go through. So again, but those are both two things that the media’s taken way out of context, made it bigger than what it really is and blown it out to everybody else like it’s this big racketeering and corruption thing goin’ on in the Trump Foundation, an meanwhile it’s, when you really break it down and dissect it it’s not at all. But wait hold on, hold on-
Samia: He used foundation funds to buy giant oil paintings of himself to decorate his clubs with.
Yolanda: I didn’t see that, but I’d like to see that if you could send that to me I’d love to see that [inaudible] absolutely.
Samia: I’ll absolutely send that to you.
Yolanda: I don’t see how, though, you don’t, and are not, or even some liberals, not disturbed at the fact that even Chelsea herself has had an investigation into the Clinton Foundation, found wrongdoings into the Clinton Foundation, and things that were not done right, and things, money that was being not reported and nobody brings that argument up. When she herself hired the guy to sit there and investigate and wasn’t expecting to come out with the answer that he did and the material that he did, or the misdoings that he did, and yet nobody wants to talk about that either. That’s just, like, well, you know, kinda like, you know-
Samia: I think everybody, everybody’s been talking about, everybody talked about the Clinton emails and the Clinton Foundation.
Yolanda: No, they’re not, they’re not exposing it and corrupting it and putting it out there for everybody to dissect and everything else like that. [Samia laughs] They’re not.
Samia: It dominated the media during the campaign.
CHAPTER 8: THE CLINTON EMAIL SCANDAL + BENGHAZI
Yolanda: The Clinton emails that weren’t - that were never - and that’s another thing too. How is that no one’s offended, any liberals are not offended at the fact that she had a private server that she’s supposed to have in a secured location for any kinda information done through emails?
Yolanda: Endangered our country, endangered your life, my life, our family’s lives, okay?
Samia: Well, there was a - there was a massive investigation done on that too that-
Yolanda: Oh, come on, you don’t think that was an hon-, you really think that was an honest, thorough investigation? That he was allowed to give the results that he probably really wanted to give, Comey? I don’t think so.
Samia: I’ll tell you-
Yolanda: I don’t think that he was allowed to do his job the way he probably really wanted to do his job.
Samia: James Comey is no friend to Hillary Clinton and neither is the Republican Party, for obvious reasons. The investigations into her emails and the investigation into her involvement in Benghazi were both spearheaded by Republicans.
Yolanda: Oh god, see that’s what-
Samia: So these are people who were really out-
Yolanda: Oh my god. So, everything that, everything that they have against Trump is spearheaded by Democrats, you can’t go by that.
Samia: Hold on. Let’s take, let’s take a deep breath. [Samia takes a deep breath]
Yolanda: You can’t go by that.
Samia: Take a deep breath with me cause we’re getting-
[They both start to take a deep breath when Yolanda speaks.]
Yolanda: Because you can’t say that everything’s spearheaded by Republicans because, obviously, they’re opposite parties.
Samia: Please take a deep breath with me. We have to stop talking over each other or this is not gonna be useful, okay?
Samia: The people investigating Hillary Clinton had a lot of political motivation to take her down. They were really gunning for her, alright? I’m not saying that Democrats who are who are trying to take Trump down aren’t doing the same thing, absolutely they are. But when I looked at the Hillary Clinton investigations and the people who were behind them, they went after her guns blazing, they tried everything. They questioned her for eight hours about Benghazi. Every email was sifted through and sifted through again and, at the end of the day, these people who really, really wanted to, and had great motivation to make Hillary Clinton look bad and drag her name through the mud, ended up concluding that while she violated State Department regulations and the whole situation was a little iffy, they couldn’t find anything to prosecute her with. They couldn’t find any instances of national security really being compromised in what she did.
Samia: That’s what they found.
Yolanda: Let me give you one piece of information. There was a soldier, okay, a navy guy, that took a picture of himself, a snap - what do you call it? - snapshot of himself. Sent it to his wife and his child, okay? And he lost his position and got put in jail because of that picture. Just a picture. Not emails disclosing each location that the officers that were in Benghazi and that the ambassador were at four different times in an email, as Clinton did. A picture, but he lost his job and he was put in jail for it, okay?
Samia: Without providing context in this situation I can’t really comment on it. Who was this guy? Where was he stationed? What was his position? What was in the picture?
Yolanda: It - just him-
Samia: What was his name?
Yolanda: -with bare water behind him, not even showing the actual location or where the ship was stationed or anything else like that. Which is why everybody was so upset at the fact that, and there’s actually, there’s actually, I believe, three cases of - there’s another one of a general and with somethin’ with an email, and he sent an email, a personal email from his government server that still had nothin’ to do with anything, but he still sent an email from his government server that was a personal email. So - but he lost his job and he went to jail. So, they could all follow the protocols and make sure that they don’t do the things wrong, but it seems like she was never held accountable for the things that she did, which I’m in my opinion were so much greater than what both those gentlemen did.
Samia: But in the opinion of the Republicans and Democrats who investigated her, they weren’t. I mean, I’ve looked in-
Yolanda: How can you do an investigation, [inaudible], but how can you do an investigation if a good portion of that information was destroyed and deleted and bleached? Like, who BleachBits stuff unless you wanna hide stuff?
Samia: They were personal emails that were deleted.
Yolanda: Do you really, you rea, you in your heart, one hundred percent, you believe that? That’s-
Samia: I mean, there’s, really no way to know for sure, because I’m going on what’s been reported by multiple news media outlets-
Samia: -but, you know, there’s definitely gray area in the email situation, but I’ve looked deeply into it and everything that I’ve found has said that, although she shouldn’t have been using the private email server, that’s something that’s happened before. Colin Powell did the same thing when he was Sec-
Yolanda: And he got in trouble, and he got in trouble for it, though.
Samia: Not, not, no he didn’t, and not the way Hillary Clinton did, certainly. I mean, the va- the consensus in Washington is that they used that as a - as a way to politically scapegoat her. And the whole reasoning behind using the private email server was for convenience, she just wanted to be able to use her-
Samia: -Blackberry to send - send all of her emails, and she had been-
Yolanda: She had a private server in her house.
Samia: And honestl-
Yolanda: It wasn’t on the blackmail, it was on the private server in her house.
Samia: Right, but - but she was using her Blackberry to send the emails, it was-
Yolanda: Well, thirteen of ‘em all together.
Samia: Yeah, over time, but not, not all at once. From in-depth analyses of this situation, from people who know what they’re talking about much more than you or I do, it was a situation where her staff really failed her. Somebody should have stepped up and said, “You can’t do this, this is the regulations.” She is surrounded by aides and staff that are supposed to protect her from situations like that. Yeah, she did wrong, and she took responsibility for it, and she apologized for it publicly and said that she did wrong, but at the end of the day, there was nothing revealed by the investigation that was done to show that she actually compromised national security in any kind of significant way.
Yolanda: Of course, well, they, she, there was information that showed, with Benghazi, that she endangered the lives of those four Americans because she, the locations, four different locations and the timing of when they were gonna be at each location was found.
Samia: Yes, yes-
Samia: -and she took responsibility for that as well.
Yolanda: But did you, those four Americans weren’t just killed. They were beaten, raped, chopped. Their privates were chopped off, like, they were tortured, tortured.
Samia: I’m just as horrified by what happened in Benghazi as you are.
Yolanda: Because, but because of an, and it’s like you’re saying, “Oh well, oops, I’m sorry, it was a mistake, you know.” That’s somebody’s kid and you’re little, “oh, oh I’m sorry it’s a mistake, it’ll never happen again,” doesn’t cut it. You know, you’re, she’s Secretary of State. Her job is receiving information that has a security clearance that so many others in government don’t have. Very few have that level of security clearance, okay, which means she’s giving information that’s top of the top of the top of the top, the top top top secure, okay? That should be held - and, and there’s a manual that you have to sign to sit there and say that you understand all the security measures that you’re supposed to take and not do and everything else like that and the precautions to make sure that the information that you’re receiving from the government is kept securely. So to violate that alone, even if there was no loss of American lives and let’s just say Benghazi didn’t happen, let’s wish it miraculously didn’t happen and those soldiers didn’t suffer and get tortured and raped and have their body parts chopped off of them and everything else like that. Let’s say that didn’t happen and it was just a violation of our security because of sh- of convenience for herself. That alone is enough grounds for some sort of repercussion and she got none. And I feel-
Samia: They tried and they couldn’t find anything with which to prosecute her.
Yolanda: And you know what, I feel like they didn’t, the reason why they couldn’t find things to prosecute her is a) because she destroyed things, b) because Loretta Lynch and all those other people are covering up her trails for her, because they - it’s been like this, like, I fall, you all fall with me, because we all have a hand in the pie, so, we’re all gonna get in trouble. So just as much as they were coverin’ for Clinton, they were coverin’ for their own tushies as well, which is why so many people got - oh god, I can’t even think of them - [Yolanda snaps her fingers a few times] - oh god, I can’t think of the word right now, my hands going blocked, my mind’s goin’, I have so much information runnin’ through my head right now - but basically they were all, what’s it when you get, when you go into a court case or whatever and they give you, so you don’t get in trouble, immunity. When, that’s why they were handin’ out immunities to everybody left and right so they didn’t get in trouble for this one particular incident of questioning and indictment that was goin’ on and I think that’s b.s. That’s bull crap. All of it, because I feel like if you’re a government official, you should have the requirement to answer. There should be no immunity, because you shouldn’t be anything wrong. You shouldn’t be endangering our lives with anything. You shouldn’t be covering things up for anyone. Everybody should have to answer what they have to answer, say what they have to say, say what really happened, say what didn’t happen and that’s it. But why is everybody hiding everything?
Samia: Again, there was a very intense two year long, seven million dollar, bipartisan investigation into Hillary Clinton’s culpability in Benghazi, culminating in an eight-hour interrogation of her, which she, by all accounts, took like a champ. She took responsibility for the situation, she said that after that happened she did what she could to prevent something like that from ever happening again. There were a lot of factors involved and it was a - it was a fuck-up, and she knows it, but it wasn’t a fuck-up that she did on purpose and it, and it wasn’t something that they could find any reason to prosecute her for. [Samia lets out a breath] We only have about fifteen minutes left, so this is the big problem between a lot of liberals and conservatives these days is that there seems to be an inability to agree on what the facts are. And one of the things that people on my side constantly lament, and something that I’m feeling right now, very strongly in this conversation, is that there are good resources for facts out there, but you don’t trust them. So I can’t, it’s hard for us to connect because if we can’t agree on a set of facts, how can we relate to each other?
CHAPTER 9: YOLANDA ARGUES FOR UNITY AND SAVES THE WHOLE CONVERSATION
Yolanda: See, you know what I think the bottom line is with everybody to be honest with you? I think the bottom line is this, today is February 15th, 2017, right? And all that stuff happened yesterday, whether yesterday actually or yesteryear, okay? It all happened then. You can’t change it, I can’t change it, we’re not gonna know the truth. They know the truth, God knows the truth, and that’s all that’s gonna know the truth right now. We’re not gonna know it. So I think this whole - everybody in today’s society needs to just, say it as it is, we have to all let that go, all of us. Let it go and stop disputing on who’s right, who’s wrong, who should’ve won, who’s this, that’s - whatever the case may be - let it all go and figure out what we can do together, united, to make this world a better place. Because this world, we’re not gonna move forward if we’re constantly trying to figure out who’s right, who did, who did what wrong, who should take - you know, the bottom line is this, it’s done. It’s done, it’s over with. You’re not gonna change it, I’m not gonna change it, it’s not gonna change, damage is done, so to speak, and that’s it. So now what we, what can we do today as people to sit there and say, “You know what, regardless of whatever you think, regardless of whatever I think, I still love you. I wanna be there for you. I would like to help you. I want this world to be a better place.” So, let it all, it is what it is. We’re not gonna change it, but you know what, we’re both still in the same position because we’re both still trying to make a better life for ourselves and our family, right?
Yolanda: That’s what we’re all trying to do. So I think everybody in this world needs to just stop. Stop, stop pointing fingers, stop throwin’ stones, just even let the com-, we have to just stop talkin’ about it, and lets start talkin’ about how we can make this world come united.
Samia: So then let’s spend the last bit of time we have talking about how this administration has been doing so far, in your opinion and in my opinion, since we’re looking at moving forward.
CHAPTER 10: HOW’S TRUMP DOING SO FAR? + THE MIKE FLYNN SCANDAL + THE TRAVEL BAN + SECURITY RISKS AT MAR-A-LAGO
Samia: How have you assessed the actions of the Trump administration since the inauguration?
Yolanda: I mean, so far it’s only, it hasn’t been that, it’s only, it’s only been-
Samia: Three and a half weeks.
Yolanda: Yeah. So, you really, I - it would be unfair-
Samia: A lot’s happened though in three and a half weeks.
Yolanda: It has and I think he’s done a lot - than a lot of other presidents have done in three weeks. He’s also got a a huge amount, you know, microscope on him than a lot of other presidents in their beginning, coming days of their presidency, and a lot more attacks than any other presidents have faced. So, you know, I give him kudos for standing strong and staying focused on what it is that he wants, what he said he wanted to do in the campaign and, and carry out the decisions that he said he wanted to carry out as far as - I feel it is extremely important to secure America. We need to be secured.
Samia: Everybody agrees on that.
Yolanda: Which is also what, we need to be secured. Whether or not people wanna sit there and say - listen, I have immigrant family members, you know, half of Kenny’s family are immigrants from Italy. Immigration is not the issue. Security is the issue, okay? And right now, we don’t know Joe from Schmoe and who’s comin’ in and what their real motives are. So, until we can have a better vetting system put in play where we find out more information about everybody that’s coming in to our country, no matter where they’re coming from, doesn’t matter if they’re coming from Iran, if they’re coming from, I don’t even wanna say Mexico, so why do we say immigration, everything’s Mexico? It’s - it’s anywhere - Germany, Spain, whatever.
Samia: Well, right now it’s the travel ban on Muslim-majority countries that has been getting all the press.
Yolanda: Well, it’s mostly, well if you think about the, that’s because, that’s because of all the bombings. The - all the bombings that we’ve had over X amount of years. 9/11, and all that’s [inaudible]
Samia: Alright, let me rephrase my question. So in the first three and a half weeks of Trump’s presidency, he signed an executive order banning all refugees and immigrants temporarily from seven Muslim-
Yolanda: For ninety days.
Samia: -ninety and a hundred and twenty days depending on if it’s immigrants or refugees, banning them all unilaterally. This has been found by multiple federal judges to be an unconstitutional act, and it’s been stayed, and now he’s considering writing a better worded executive order-
Samia: -to enact a new travel ban, but the first one, it’s agreed by pretty much everybody, [laughs] including his staff, that it was rolled out poorly, executed poorly, and created mass chaos and also affected people it shouldn’t have affected, like green card holders.
Yolanda: Mmhmm…right, right.
Samia: -and people who had already been through a very long vetting process. In the same three and a half weeks, he held what appeared to be a national security meeting on North Korea sending a - doing a missile test at a table in his Mar-a-Lago resort surrounded by paying club customers.
Yolanda: That’s, that’s, that’s secured. That is secured. No, no no. Where they had, no.
Samia: No, there were people taking pictures with their phones from other tables.
Yolanda: When they had the dinner, [inaudible] Sean Spicer just had a press conference yesterday on it, where he explained the whole thing. He said the picture was in the dining room or whatever, where they had the dinner and everything else like that, but the conversation itself was in a secured area that they have already like, you know, I don’t wanna say soundproof, but security soundproofed it or whatever so that they do.
Samia: So in addition to what happened at Mar-a-Lago, many of Trump’s top aides, including Sean Spicer and Kellyanne Conway, have been caught in blatant lies to the press. Kellyanne Conway is facing disciplinary action right now for illegally touting Ivanka Trump’s fashion line on television. Sean Spicer has repeatedly quoted false numbers that are easily fact checked to - in press conferences and in interviews. Stephen Miller’s doing the same thing, saying things that are easily checked and proven to be untrue. The Trump administration so far has been characterized by blatant lies that are easy to look up and find the truth for. As well as, like, a lot a signs of of incompetence and all these positions still aren’t filled that need to be filled and now the national security advisor has had to resign because he spoke to Russia about the U.S. releasing the sanctions on them the second the Trump administration-
Yolanda: And withheld information from the Trump administration and the vice president on that information.
Samia: Withheld it from Pence, but Trump knew for weeks. Trump’s known for weeks about this thing with Mike Flynn.
Samia: That’s been heavily reported.
Yolanda: See, I, and I guess, and I, see that’s-
Samia: And that just came out today. That Trump knew for weeks. That was the headline today, this morning, New York Times.
Yolanda: You see, and that’s where, that’s why I find, that’s why I find this such a divide in this world, because you have different sources of information giving two different facts.
Samia: No, there there’s one set of facts that everyone’s reporting on except for the conspiracy theory sites.
Yolanda: You see and that’s - okay, but see, that should - okay, forget about whatever side you’re on-
Samia: It’s Wall Street Journal-
Yolanda: Okay wait-
Samia: It’s Fox News is reporting it too.
Yolanda: Forget about whatever side you’re on, okay? Just the fact that you have, let’s just say, we’ll call ‘em conspiracy theories, which I think is just is just b.s., to be honest with you, I think everybody needs to stop doin’ that, stop callin’ conspiracy, what is that mean, conspiracy theory? That they, wait, but theory that hasn’t been proved? No.
Samia: It means a theory that hasn’t been, no, it means a theory that hasn’t been backed up by fact.
Yolanda: They call ‘em, they call ‘em conspiracy theories because it’s kind of exposing more truth, and especially if you, Alex Jones is the first label of conspiracy theorists, so wait, wait, let me just say, let me just say this real quick.
Samia: We’re getting side tracked, we’re getting side tracked. This is - this isn’t my question.
Yolanda: Let me just say this real quick. The bottom line is this, everybody’s still getting two different facts, okay, depending on who their trusted source of information is, okay? That is the problem. That right there is the problem, so, and that’s why I say there’s such a distrust on both sides of the fence, with whatever their resource of the media is. [Samia sighs] Because both information’s different - you got that Trump knew for weeks. I got he didn’t know for weeks, he wasn’t even told - vice president was told and-
Samia: No, Pence wasn’t.
Yolanda: Wait, I was told Pence was told, Spicer was told, and a few other people in the room, they were informed up when conversation with Russia first. Then they went and the State Department said to them, “Hey, listen, heads up, this is what we whatever.” They said “Okay, well look into it and let us know if this is actually true.” That’s the week, time period we’re all talkin’ about. Then when they came back and and they found out, okay, this might be true, they launched an investigation. Once they launched the investigation and they found it to be credible, then President Trump was told about it. But see that’s what I’m sayin’, like, the weeks and the timing, and the - what the type of information that’s being told, whether it’s a, “Hey I just wanna give you a heads up” to “Okay, we’ll look into it, okay, we looked into it it looks like it, okay, now we’re gonna launch a investigation.” All those steps are bein’ manufactured into like, “Oh, all this time he knew.” And that’s not accurate. That’s my point, and that’s what I’m sayin’, like, where the pieces of information are being withheld and purposefully withheld so that the storyline can go a certain way, and that’s what I’m sayin’ is not right, as far as, like, what the media does. Whether you wanna call ‘em conspiracy theories or the regular mainstream media or whatever the case may be. People are still keeping pieces of information and putting it so that it fits their, their suited title. I won’t even say agenda, I’m gonna say a suited title. So their delivery comes across a certain way, so they can grab it, be it the readers or whatever.
Samia: My question has nothing to do with that. My question was, I was outlining the things that have happened so far in the Trump administration.
Samia: The things that have come to light, Mike Flynn resigning is a huge deal.
Samia: This is the shortest term any national security advisor has ever had in any presidential administration. There’ve also been reports that Trump aides and associates had multiple contacts with Russian intelligence officials throughout the year before the election. There’s-
Yolanda: I didn’t hear that report, but I’ll look into that one.
Samia: Please, that just came out today.
Samia: So, with all of this, everything that’s happened in in the three and a half weeks since the inauguration, the national security crisis [laughs] of having an intelligence meeting with the prime minister of Japan in front of people. Of having-
Yolanda: But see, you see, he, that’s what I’m sayin’ that’s false information because it was in a secure, their conversation was in a secured area-
Samia: But that, people were, it - it - hold on, just - just, can I please finish?
Yolanda: Yes, but then you have to say things right, because that’s, that’s the point that I’m sayin’ is misleading to people, because people, you say it like that and now it makes [inaudible]-
Samia: There are iPhone videos of this flurry of activity and all these aides coming up and intense conversations and phone conversations the second that the North Korea missile thing was reported, at this dinner table outside in Mar-a-Lago surrounded by other guests. People were recording on their iPhones, taking pictures, there’s actual physical evidence that’s out there. That’s real. That’s real.
Samia: You can look, go look at it.
Yolanda: So, wait, so on the iPhone, the the video you’re sayin’ you could actually hear their conversation talking about security, security details.
Samia: There were so many people around, that there, there is potential for people to have heard-
Yolanda: No, no, in the videos-
Samia: At best, it was risky to do that.
Yolanda: On any of the videos are you able to hear security detail conversations about the missiles in Japan or anything like that, were you - are you able to hear anything like that?
Samia: It’s not about that.
Yolanda: No it is about that, though, ‘cause that’s what everybody’s sayin’. That’s what everybody’s assuming, too.
Samia: No, it’s, no but, but no but what it’s about is that fact that this conversation shouldn’t have been happening in public like that.
Yolanda: But how do you know it was happening in public? How do you know they weren’t talking about drapes ,or maybe someone’s daughter being married or whatever the case may be, or yoga classes. I’m just saying.
Samia: Alright, so my question is do you think that this administration is doing a good job so far?
Yolanda: In the three weeks, so far, I’m happy with what he’s doin’ so far, because he’s creating jobs, he lowered taxes, taxes are bein’ lowered in Long Island for the homeowners over here and everything else like that and they’re bein’ lowered in the middle class, for the middle class all around. So yeah, as of right now, what I see, I see more of a positive than a deficit. I see it being more somethin’ that’s gonna be more beneficial for the people than bein’ a negative to the people. So I feel like everybody’s sitting there trying to dissect everything and dye every word and everything else like that to try to make him and paint him out to be a bad person, and I feel everybody needs to just stop. At least give him one year. Let him see what he does in one year, because he’s not gonna endanger our company, our country, in one year then it’s been more endangered than it has been in the past years as is, okay? ‘Cause we’ve been letting more and more terrorists come in here and bomb us and kill us and and destroy our country more and more.
CHAPTER 11: ORIGINS OF TERRORISM + VETTING OF US CITIZENS TRAVELING ABROAD
Samia: Most of the terror attacks in U.S. have been from home-grown terrorists.
Yolanda: That we’ve allowed in.
Samia: No, people that were born and raised here.
Yolanda: That we are allowing in, we’re allowing the head guys, the head guys are comin’ in and training ‘em.
Samia: No, the majority of the terror attacks, the majority of the terror attacks in this country were executed by U.S. citizens who were born and raised here. That’s a fact.
Yolanda: Okay. They also went to Jerusalem to go sit there and study, or you wanna call it studyin’, or following their religion and get the training and everything they need, come back to train the others. That’s still not - that’s not proper vetting. That’s still not proper vetting.
Samia: That’s a U.S. citizen. We’re gonna, we’re gonna have to now vet all of our U.S. citizens? We do actually.
Yolanda: If you wanna gonna go, if you are gonna go to a country that we know-
Samia: We do actually vet U.S. citizens who travel to countries where terrorist activity is known to be happening. We do question them.
Yolanda: And there’s no reason why we shouldn’t, and there’s no reason why we still shouldn’t cause I’m sorry, if you go to another country that we know that they hate us and they wanna kill us and you’re there for a period of time, for two years, and then you come back over here and you - you’re - have a training facility, you should definitely be vetted.
CHAPTER 12: EVEN THOUGH WE DISAGREE, WE STILL HAVE LOVE FOR EACH OTHER + TALKING IS GOOD
Samia: Yolanda, we are out of time. I really appreciate you sharing your opinions and insights with me today. Would you be willing to do a little informational exchange?
Samia: I would love to see some of the resources-
Samia: -that you told me about. In fact-
Yolanda: And vice versa.
Samia: I’m gonna send you a list of of things I want you to send me that we mentioned in the conversation so I can include them in the show notes.
Samia: And I’d love to send you information on on my side of things and keep this dialogue going.
Yolanda: Okay. But I think the ending so, if I could just say real quick, I hope I have enough time to say it, is I think that everybody really needs to take away from is the bottom line is this, we’re we’re not gonna fix anything until we come together and work together. So-
Samia: I agree wholeheartedly.
Yolanda: We need to work together as a country. Stop with the hate in our hearts towards each other, the anger, the whatever. We could discuss, we can figure it out, we can try to come to a solution as far as what what we think is right or who we think is wrong or whatever the case may be, but we still need to come together and make America a better place for everybody to live.
Samia: I agree wholeheartedly, and I sense the sincerity in your words. I definitely disagree with you on a lot a things. [They laugh.]
Yolanda: And vice versa. I love you, you’re a sweet girl, very pretty, I like you and bet you got a beautiful voice, but that we have a difference of opinion.
Samia: But I, but I’m glad that, in spite of that, we can have this conversation and we can make these efforts to connect and keep this dialogue going and, you know, and see how things go from here forward, and hopefully both of us can be part of a movement that will help make better lives for more people in this country and abroad.
Yolanda: Absolutely. I look at you with the same love as I did when you when you first walked in and lookin’ at you with the same love as you gonna walk out. I - there’s no difference. I don’t have any animosity, I’m not lookin’ at you like, “Oh, that girl, she pissed me off.” [Samia laughs] No.
Samia: That’s okay if you feel like that in part of your brain, it’s okay.
Yolanda: I don’t though. No, I don’t though.
Samia: I would understand, it’s okay.
Yolanda: I just feel like it’s great. It’s sparking everybody’s mind and intelligence, because you know, now I’ll look at things maybe in a different light and I’ll wanna see things, maybe I’ll, you know, instead of bein’ a little bit more favored, I’ll look at things in a little bit more of a a clear glasses so to speak and see and make sure, because you know, I don’t wanna be, nobody wants to be duped, and I definitely don’t wanna be duped and I definitely wanna feel like I can trust the people that I feel like I can trust, but I also wanna be accurate and honest about what it is that I feel and what I’ve - what I’ve seen myself, so.
Samia: Well, thank you.
Yolanda: Thank you.
Samia: Thank you so much.
Yolanda: Thank you for having me.
Samia: Alright, absolutely. Been a pleasure.
SAMIA: Deep breath, let’s just breathe together for a moment. Aaah, RIGHT?! Ooh. This woman astounded me. I don’t know if you guys know anything about Alex Jones and Mark Dice, but they are not, like, trustworthy dudes of strong character. They just aren’t.
But that wasn’t what I took away from this interview. I walked out with this incredible sense that I can never make a generalization about people again. Yolanda can’t be categorized easily. She’s not just a subscriber to what I think of as looney-tunes conspiracy theories. She’s also a mother, a wife, a loving, sweet person who welcomed me, a total stranger, into her house and didn’t hold it against me when I told her to her face that I thought what she believed was crazyboots. I think her beliefs are actually dangerous - but she is a good person.
So how do we fight back on something like this if we can’t just write people off as loonies?
We build relationships with them. We hear them out and we ask that they hear us out, too. If you’re at all inspired by this show to do something out of the ordinary, please, go seek out someone whose beliefs are different from yours, and ask for a conversation like the one I had with Yolanda. Treat them to lunch. Treat them nicely, with respect.
You’ll be shocked at what you learn, not just about them, but about yourself - and about humanity. We’re a pretty funny animal.
If you want more info on any of the subjects discussed in the episode, go to the website, makeamericarelatepodcast.com, and check out the show notes. You’ll find linked sources and lots of interesting info to either back up or debunk all the claims both me and Yolanda make in the conversation, compiled and synthesized by the amazing Holly Shibley, and edited by yours truly. (It takes forever to research and write the show notes, so please go read them or I may cry.)
I wanna take a moment to give you the first of a series of #TryPod recommendations! That’s hashtag TryPod, for those of you who haven’t heard about this, it’s a way to let your friends know about podcasts you love and would like them to try. Haha, get it? The podcast I want you to try is called Unhireable, and it’s a kick-ass comedy podcast that actually gets into some pretty deep issues. The hosts, Keren and Tommy, are funny, honest, and downright rude. Guests include journalists, pundits and the best comics in the damn country sounding off on everything from chick stuff to joke stuff to butt stuff. This one is a bit of a cross-promotion, since they actually had me on as a guest in Episode #29 of their show, released on May 30th. So go give it a listen, subscribe, and show them some love!
Shouts out to Marisa Kennedy for transcribing this episode, Andrew Guastella for making the interview audio sound nice, and Christopher Gilroy for editing it all together.
That’s it for this episode. Thanks again for coming back for round 2! If you’re enjoying the podcast, please go to iTunes and leave a 5-star review. I’m funding this shiz all by myself, and I got no budget for advertisements or publicity. Your reviews will allow the show to climb the iTunes charts and get it out to more people! Take a minute; help a girl out.
Tune in next week to listen to my conversation with Ashley Rollo, a New Jersey native and life-long conservative who really knows her stuff when it comes to politics. She challenged me in all sorts of ways, and even rendered me speechless at one point when she chose to reveal something deeply personal that I had no idea she was going to say. I found Ashley to be smart, brave, and passionate, and I think you’ll really enjoy our conversation.
This has been Make America Relate Again. See you next week!