Useful Idiots: Roger Waters on Biden, Trump, Assange, and Censorship

In the latest socially distanced episode of our Useful Idiots podcast, hosts Matt Taibbi and Katie Halper are joined by none other than rock legend Roger Waters.

For Democrats Suck, Matt critiques Joe Biden’s appointment of Rick Stengel, who will be on the President-elect’s transition team for the U.S. Agency for Global Media.

“Stengel is basically one of these guys who’s been at the forefront of this new content moderation movement,” says Matt. “This was my Number One concern heading into this Biden presidency, was these people do not believe in free speech, and civil liberties, and moreover that the big lesson they took away from 2016 and the Trump presidency is that they just allowed too many people to say stuff, and they’re now going to fix that.”

Katie submits a take about how the “never Trump” Lincoln Project was not as instrumental in helping Biden win as some might argue. “If you say that [the Lincoln Project] is the reason that [Biden] won, then you can justify not listening to, for instance, Sunrise Movement,” says Katie.

Pink Floyd cofounder Roger Waters joins the show for a wide-ranging conversation about U.S. foreign policy, what happens after Donald Trump, Julian Assange, and more.

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On Assange, Waters laments the mainstream media’s coverage. “They’re completely controlled by the ruling class, and that’s all there is to it, so you just have to kind of get used to it,” says Waters.

According to Waters, it’s a much different landscape than the 1960s and Seventies for the way musicians can affect change. “[Trump] made it acceptable to be a racist supremacist good ‘ol boy in a pickup truck, which shows us that it never went away. And that all that signing of legislation without wager at the end of the Vietnam War and whatever, somehow never actually crept into what this country is.”

Waters reminds the listeners that in spite of everything happening in the world, people’s families will inform the trajectory of their lives and views, sharing that his mother once told him: “[When] you find yourself wrestling with something, if you’ll take my advice, you will look at it from all sides, listen to all possible opinions on it, do as much as research as you can so you’re really no fail at the subject, really feel that you’ve got a grasp of it. After that all the hard work is done. The next bit is easy. You just do the right thing.”

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