Off the Cuff: Why We Can’t Have a Serious Conversation About Race

First a quick reminder: Due to a scheduling issue, this week’s Q&A will be moved from Friday (7/3) to either Saturday (7/4) or Sunday (7/5). Thanks for understanding.

For years, people with good intentions have said we need to have a conversation about race. I used to say it myself… but no more.

That’s the topic of my Off the Cuff audio commentary this week. You can listen to it by clicking on the play (arrow) button below.

 

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Bernie’s Q&A: Stewart, Baier, Bolton, Wallace, and more! (6/26) — Premium Interactive ($4 members)

Welcome to this week’s Premium Q&A session for Premium Interactive members. I appreciate you all signing up and joining me. Thank you.

Editor’s note: If you enjoy these sessions (along with the weekly columns and audio commentaries), please use the Facebook and Twitter buttons to share this page with your friends and family. Thank you! 

Another note: Due to a scheduling issue, next week’s Q&A will be moved from Friday (7/3) to either Saturday (7/4) or Sunday (7/5). Thank you.

Now, let’s get to your questions (and my answers):


You and I remember the 60’s. I marched for civil rights and I tried to March with the Anti-war movement but believe the leaders where communists. Not what I wanted. But there is different Air about what’s going on today that I didn’t feel in the 60’s. I don’t believe it’s about change and I believe it has a deeper direction. What’s your gut? — Tim H.

I’m with you, Tim. Today’s revolution is rooted in authoritarianism. Only certain views are acceptable. Only certain opinions will be tolerated. Maybe nostalgia ain’t what it used to be, but the demonstrations of the 60s were marked by idealism. Today’s revolutionaries, I’m sure, also see themselves as noble idealists. But they won’t be happy until you lose your job because of something you said or did … yesterday or 25 years ago. They’re intolerant. As for the deeper direction:  I think the demonstrators of the 60s — except for the left wing radicals — wanted reasonable change. Today’s demonstrators, many of them anyway, want to fundamentally change America. Count me out.

Has there ever been a more idiotic phrase than “white silence is white violence?” Or is it just another cute phrase to batter others into submission and conformity? — Michael F.

Let’s see if I understand this: If you say the wrong thing, you’re one of the bad guys. If you say nothing, you’re also one of the bad guys. Having the wrong opinion is a form of violence to these geniuses. Keeping your mouth shut is also violence. Heads they win, tails we lose.

Mr. G, Are Republicans & Trump now paying the price in being accused of causing mass racial divide because they did not do enough to point out the Obama administration’s failures at healing (and yet some say even stoking) racial division? — ScottyG

I don’t think it would have been smart to talk too much about Obama. He was and remains very popular — much more popular than our current president. I don’t like Donald Trump but I do not think he’s a racist. I think some on the left believe he’s a bigot, but others will call him anything — including a Russian agent — to bring him down.

In a recent interview, Jon Stewart was asked about how he used to have friendly (though somewhat pugilistic) discussions with foils like Bill O’Reilly on his show. Stewart (surprisingly in my view) said it was probably the “worst legacy of The Daily Show.” He said it was hard to resist the urge to eviscerate people like O’Reilly, and called his friendly tone with such individuals “the part of it that I probably most regret.”

As someone with his own history with Stewart, what are your thoughts? Thanks. — Ben G.

So Jon Stewart now believes that being friendly was what he regrets most. What a load of sanctimonious crap. If you have a guest on your show, you have an obligation to be at least civil. Does Stewart think he should have hammered O’Reilly — for his left wing cause? Does he think O’Reilly would have folded? Or was he afraid that O’Reilly might have verbally kicked his rear end if Stewart was unfriendly? Jon Stewart, like so many other lefties, was on a mission … to spread the liberal gospel. He had O’Reilly on for crass business reasons: to hopefully win over some of Bill’s audience. Now he’s regretting it? Screw him!

In regard to the Bubba Wallace story, why didn’t someone step up and say what it was? A garage pulldown, it was obvious, every garage had one. No one on any pit crew knew this? In my opinion, NASCAR decided to just let it play out to show how “woke” it is. They knew pit crews knew what it actually was. Damn, this crap needs to stop! I’m so tired of some people and corporations kissing BLM’s ass. Loved your “Off the Cuff” comments Bernie, in addition to the woman you spoke with, I often wonder how much of a silent majority is out there. Those who would never say out loud, or to a pollster t,hat they’re voting for Trump… but don’t do so in fear of being ostracized. — John M.

You raise an interesting point, John … one (because I’m not a NASCAR fan) I hadn’t thought of: that the pit crew should have known this right from the jump that the “noose” was a garage pulldown. If you’re right, then your supposition is also interesting: that NASCAR let it play out to show how woke they are. I hope you’re wrong … but I fear you may be right.

Regarding this week’s Off the Cuff, you speak of a woman who despises Trump but fears for her country and says that she would consider fleeing the United States and/or possibly voting for Trump if he smashed the rebellion. A couple of things regarding the situation in my opinion:

Don’t you think that perhaps it is best that Trump refrain at this point in time from putting down the anarchists ? In this way, the nation can see how spineless and complicit the Democrats are in allowing their cities to be taken over by thugs and hooligans. Then come election time, Trump can say in all honesty, this is what the Democrats will allow. Biden and the others will allow the rebellious anarchists to destroy our communities and do nothing about it. He can accuse Pelosi and the others of being complicit, and he would be correct. If he sends in the National Guard, that could perhaps cause a bloodbath and you know how the leftists in the mainstream press would spin that. I realize this is a difficult situation, but if the republican states can put down any rebellion in their own areas and only the Democrat states are the ones that are suffering with this nonsense, perhaps that could bring victory to the Republicans. Your thoughts? –“Summer of Love MY REAR END” Regards, From The Empire

But if Donald Trump says “This is what Biden and others will allow” why wouldn’t Democrats fire back:  “This is what YOU did in fact allow!” Wouldn’t that be a problem for the president? That said, it is a tricky situation — because we (I) don’t know how the American people will react to more chaos. Will they blame the Democrats for remaining silent and not forcefully condemning it? Or will they say it happened on Trump’s watch and blame him? If the president sends in the troops and they clear out the anarchists without mass casualties, will he get credit? If there’s a bloodbath, will voters blame him — or the rioters? Saying it’s a “difficult situation” is putting it mildly, Emperor.

After watching the past few weeks of protests and mobs, it seems to me that there are a few forces at work: 1) a sincere desire for better policing, 2) vengeance pure and simple, 3) massive wealth redistribution. It also seems clear that there is extreme hatred for America and American values like free speech and assembly that does not kowtow to the mobs. Appreciate your reaction and also your prediction as to what to expect in NYC and DC on July 4. — Michael

I’m with you, Michael. It’s not simply a desire for better policing. It’s also, as you say, vengeance against a country they just don’t like. Here’s what I don’t know: Whether the American people are as disgusted as we are … or whether we’ve moved so far to the left that they’re on the side of the anarchists. I’m serious about that by the way. I’m sort of hoping the demonstrations move to the neighborhoods where the liberal enablers and sympathizers live. Let’s see how long the enabling continues then. As for July 4 in NY and DC: I expect fireworks. And not only the kind we’re used to on the 4th.

As a resident of a former slave and Confederate state (Texas), I’m in favor of removing local statues and other monuments that honor this cause. The Civil War ended, and we lost (thank goodness). Let’s move on and be modern Texans in a pluralistic, diverse society. I am also very much opposed to mob rule at any time and in any place. As governor, Nikki Haley considered and decided to remove the Confederate flag from the SC state capitol. Here in Dallas, a statue of a Texas Ranger, the subject of which definitely had a less-than-stellar history of protecting minorities, was removed from Love Field by city workers. But these removals were done as a result of dialogue and careful consideration. What right do private citizens have to just topple statues on a whim, committing felonies in the process? And more astoundingly, why do the Democrat politicians allow for this mob rule without prosecution? — Steve R.

First, what right does the mob have to topple statues on a whim? NO RIGHT WHATSOEVER. Second, why do the authorities allow the mob to rule without prosecution? That’s the million dollar question. If you throw a chewing gum wrapper on the street, you’d be in more trouble than these criminals are in. It’s absolutely astounding. And the real danger is … if you can get away with tearing down a statue with no fear of a penalty being imposed, what’s next?

I’m curious if you saw Bret Baier’s interview with John Bolton on Tuesday. I thought Baier was fair (no real objections to his questions), but I was taken back by how hard he came at Bolton (especially in comparison to his interviews with active members of the Trump administration, including Trump himself). It seemed like his goal was to try and discredit (not just challenge) Bolton, though I don’t think it worked. Maybe I’m off base. What do you think? — Jen R.

I came away with the same impression, Jen, but I was not taken back by his style. Baier is an honest journalist, but let’s remember the interview was on the Fox News Channel. The audience doesn’t like Bolton and even Bret Baier is aware of that … and his questions reflected that concern, I believe. Now, Bret might say, the questions were tough but legitimate. Okay. But then, as you point out Jen, why was he tougher on Bolton than on Trump himself? Even the good guys on cable play by cable rules, Jen.

Bernie, what do you think about NASCAR and the “noose” found in Bubba Wallace’s garage at Talladega? A few commentators have said the entire situation shows that there is an unlimited demand for racial tension stories by our media and, thankfully, a very, very limited supply of real stories that fill this demand. I wonder if NASCAR, given the current climate, believed it had to jump to the worst conclusion about the “noose” because if it did not, it would be seen as insensitive. I guess telling people not to jump to conclusions and to wait on the facts is way out of style these days. I guess now it is more hip to let the masses believe that one of your employees (because only employees had access to that garage) would act that way and perform such a heinous act. I guess it is no longer cool to stick up for your brand, or your workers, and tell the Twitter mob to wait for the facts to come out. — Joe M.

There’s a narrative in the liberal media — on all sorts of subjects, including race. And the noose fit the narrative. Just as Jesse Smollett’s BS story fit the narrative. Too many journalists wanted the noose story to be true so they played it up. I’m not suggesting that they should have ignored the story. It was legitimate news. But caution should have prevailed.

Senator Marco Rubio is currently working on legislation to open up the U.S. government’s data records on UFOs. Two questions:

1. Being that our nation is already dealing with a health crisis, an economic crisis, and a race-relations crisis, do you believe it’s a wise move, at this time, for the senator to potentially spur an intergalactic crisis?

2. Do you think this initiative will result in the classified footage of your landmark 1987 interview with space alien, Oderus Urungus (at Area 51), finally seeing the light of day?

Thank you. — John D.

Great questions, John. On the first one, I think it’s just the right time to spur an intergalactic crisis. It would take our minds off the other crises. And, as everyone (apparently except you) knows: We’d kick the alien asses. We’re Americans, John D — you might want to remember that.

As to your second question, about my landmark interview with Mr. Urungus. We made a deal at the time (over a hamburger and fries) that the interview would not be made public until American voters elected a president who campaigned from a basement in Delaware. So the interview may finally be seen soon.

 


Thanks, everyone! You can send me questions for next week using the form below! You can also read previous Q&A sessions by clicking here.




A Political Rant About Numbers

One thing that aggravates me about today’s political landscape is the way in which we choose to look at data, specifically numbers. We live in an era where our capacity to collect data, identify trends, and predict likely outcomes has never been better, yet we often tend to latch onto the figures that aren’t particularly important, while ignoring the stuff that is actually a pretty big deal.

I realize that importance is a subjective term, and that a figure that’s important to one person understandably may not be important to someone else. But I do think, from a societal perspective, that some numbers should be widely recognized as being far more important than others.

Here are some examples of what I’m talking about, in the context of some current events:

On Twitter the other day, Stefan Rahmstorf posted this chart of new, confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United Kingdom, Sweden, Germany, India, Brazil, and the United States:

Rahmstorf is a German oceanographer and climatologist, and I believe that the data he posted was accurate. But his “Without words” analysis doesn’t do the information justice, nor does it bolster the full narrative I think he was going for (or at least the narrative than many took from it).

Since comparative health data like this is something the American media pays a lot of attention to, it’s good to understand what it means.

A number that matters: new COVID-19 cases

As our country works to balance the mitigation of COVID-19 with the re-opening of our economy, it’s all the more important that we pay close attention to the number of new cases (including hospitalizations and deaths), and where they’re happening. The more data we have, the more effectively states and other communities can identify hot-spots, warn of increased risks, and address medical capacity issues.

Testing is a crucially important part of this process. The more testing of people, the better the data. The better the data, the safer Americans will ultimately be.

Somewhat conversely, President Trump has described the uptick in testing as a “double-edged sword,” because it adds to the number of confirmed U.S. cases, and therefore reflects poorly on him (from a purely political perspective). He has even claimed that he ordered officials to slow down the testing for that very reason. And despite members of his administration insisting he was just joking, Trump later confirmed that he was being serious.

Of course, the president’s rhetoric here is foolish (and let’s hope rhetoric is all it is). What’s important is that our testing capacity has gotten much better in the U.S. And while that accounts for some of the upward trajectory in that chart above, it doesn’t account for most of it. In other words, Houston, we have a problem.

A number that doesn’t matter: U.S. COVID-19 cases compared to other countries

When gauging how successful the United States has been at combating the coronavirus — in comparison to the rest of the world — the important figure is not the raw number of infections, hospitalizations, or even deaths. There are a few reasons for that, the most important (and simple) one being that more people live in the United States than in most of those other countries.

Many people in the U.S. media don’t seem to get this, or perhaps they’re just pretending not to get it for the purpose of handing the Democrats a perceived political advantage over President Trump. Rather than comparing the raw numbers (which are always going to suggest that we have a disproportionately high number of coronavirus cases here in the United States), they should be comparing the per capita numbers.

There’s good reason to be concerned with how many cases we’re seeing here, but this defeatist narrative that we’ve navigated through this crisis far worse than nearly every other nation on the planet is a bit over the top.

A number that matters: election polling numbers

Contrary to popular belief, the 2016 election did not discredit major polling organizations. In fact, as I’ve written in the past, the national polls four years ago ended up being surprisingly accurate. It was some local polling in a couple of key swing-states that got it wrong.

While national polling doesn’t necessarily reflect the nuances of the electoral college, it’s a pretty darned good indicator of national sentiment. And right now, the Real Clear Politics national average of polls shows Joe Biden with a whopping 10-point lead over Donald Trump. Other polls show Biden leading Trump in six out of seven key battleground states (though again, local polling has proven less reliable).

None of this is good news for President Trump. Does it mean the election is over? No.

Polls are still a snapshot of time. Lots of things can happen between now and November. But the polls do matter, because they tell campaigns how their candidates are doing with the American people. They identify areas of strength and weakness, and help the campaigns decide when it’s time to perhaps try a new strategy or promote a new message. And right now, what Trump and his team are doing simply isn’t working.

A number that doesn’t matter: election rally sizes

Many of President Trump’s critics had fun mocking the low turnout for his much-hyped campaign rally last Saturday in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I wasn’t among them.

In fact, I was somewhat relieved to see those images of an arena only a third full. It signified that while Trump himself may not care all that much about his most loyal fans potentially spreading a deadly virus during a global pandemic, a lot of Oklahomans do care. They put public safety before politics by staying home.

Don’t get me wrong. I understand where the mockery is coming from. Few things matter more to Trump than being cheered by large crowds, and boasting about the level of support he has. That’s why his campaign followed through with the reckless, indoor event. Trump’s campaign manager Brad Parscale bragged earlier in the week that more than one million tickets had been requested for the event.

In the end, just 6,200 people showed up. It was a big blow to Trump’s ego, and everyone knew it. But it means nothing in regard to Trump’s popularity with the base, nor his chances of winning in November.

On a related note, it sure would be nice to see some consistency from some of Trump’s critics. While it was absolutely irresponsible for the president and his campaign to put together an event that defied many of the administration’s own health-crisis guidelines, it was also careless for other politicians, media figures, an even some epidemiologists to give their blessing to the massive, sometimes shoulder-to-shoulder, George Floyd protests across the nation.

Simply put, COVID-19 doesn’t care about anyone’s political or cultural views. Righteous indignation is not an inoculant against the virus

A number that matters: the national debt

Our national debt recently surpassed $26 trillion. That’s nearly $80 thousand per American citizen, and well over $200 thousand per U.S. taxpayer. Like the Democratic Party, the GOP has lost all interest in addressing the issue. The party no longer even pretends to care about the most predictable major crisis in our nation’s history, which is particularly disheartening being that Republicans absolutely hammered President Obama and the Democrats on this issue for eight straight years. And they were right to. After all, a whopping $9 trillion was added to the national debt during that time.

But amazingly, almost $8 trillion is projected to be added to the debt by the end of Trump’s first term alone. Yes, the recession caused by the coronavirus spurred a big spike in spending. But even before the health crisis came along, during a time when we were seeing unprecedented economic growth and unprecedented tax revenue, Trump was already on pace to outspend Obama.

Every American should care about this, but next to no one still does. The fiscal burden being placed on our children and grandchildren is not only astronomical. It’s also immoral.

A number that doesn’t matter: ratings, clicks, and social media followers

Performative politics have been part of our news-media culture for some time, but the situation has never been as bad as it is right now. The format of nearly every political commentary show on television (and on the Internet) directly caters to one political tribe or another. The goal is no longer to inform or broaden the horizons of viewers, nor is it to present a contest of ideas. It’s to piggyback off of people’s political passion, in order to generate the largest audience possible. This is done by satisfying people’s partisan hunger with hours of angry, animated, confirmation bias.

The same is true of news websites — the ones that publish mostly commentary, anyway. The endless pursuit of web-clicks has led to an extraordinary number of outrageous headlines and ridiculously slanted “stories.” The type of junk that used to be confined to fringe blog sites is now published at the top of major web-outlets whose writers regularly appear as guests on the television programs described above.

Far too many members of Congress are also in on the act, seemingly spending more time showboating on cable news and social media — peddling sycophantism, partisan angst, and maybe even a new book — than they do engaging in anything that resembles a legislative process. The goal for some of these folks, from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to Matt Gaetz, seems not to represent their constituents, but rather to be celebrities.

Purely from a business standpoint, ratings, clicks, and social media followers do matter. They also clearly matter to the egos of people like President Trump.

But to regular folks, none of this stuff amounts to a hill of beans. And if it does, it shouldn’t.

Because political thought-leadership has been effectively replaced with performative politics, people’s minds aren’t being changed. There are next to no voices of influence left on these media platforms to persuade individuals (including elected officials) to venture outside of their comfort zones, and look at an issue differently than how the leader of their political tribe wants them to look at.

Without the influence of independent thought, political viewership, listenership, and readership most often amount to little more than fandom. Having lot of fans doesn’t make an individual credible or wise. It doesn’t even make them particularly smart. It just means that they are, to some extent, famous.

So, when one of these “famous” folks suggests that he or she is of particular political or societal importance because of their popularity, the appropriate response is a chuckle and maybe an eye-roll.

That said, if any of you choose to follow me on social media, I will not object.

Thanks for sticking with me through this inordinately long piece. This concludes my political rant about numbers.

Order John A. Daly’s novel “Safeguard” today!

 




Is There a New Silent Majority in America?

On November 3, 1969, as protests over the Vietnam War racked cities across America and a left-wing counter culture was taking hold, President Richard Nixon went on television and said, “And so tonight, to you, the great silent majority of my fellow Americans, I ask for you support.”

“Silent majority” was an old expression, a euphemism for people who had died.  But in the midst of demonstrations and riots, Nixon brought the term back to life.  It was an appeal to all those “ordinary” Americans who, Nixon suspected, were not happy with what they were watching on television.

Jump ahead to today.

Now we turn on our TVs and watch the mob that has taken over part of downtown Seattle – after the liberal Democratic mayor ordered police to abandon their precinct station house.

We watch a police station in Minneapolis burn to the ground, a city run by another liberal Democratic mayor.

We watch peaceful demonstrators protesting police brutality and what they call systemic racism in America; but we also watch rioters burn and loot businesses both big and small while, in many cases, police do nothing.

In Atlanta, we watch rioters burn down a Wendy’s fast food restaurant – outraged that a white police officer shot and killed a black man running away. Never mind that the black man was stopped because he was inebriated; that he fought with police and stole one of the cop’s tasers; that as he ran away he fired the taser at one of the officers.  None of that mattered to the mob.

We watch the angry mob tear down and deface monuments. They also vandalize war memorials in Washington D.C.

We watch as white liberals tell us that the United States is a fundamentally racist country. Anyone who doesn’t buy into that message is seen as part of the problem.

Some demonstrators want reasonable change.  Many want an all out revolution.

So I wonder:  Is there a silent majority in America today?  Or have the progressives taken over the culture, just as they’ve taken over our elite universities?

Victor Davis Hanson, the conservative scholar, has written in National Review about the movement that is taking root in America.

“The current Black Lives Matter revolution has ‘canceled’ certain movies, television shows, and cartoons, toppled statues, tried to create new autonomous urban zones, and renamed streets and plazas,” he writes. “Some fanatics shave their heads. Others have shamed authorities into washing the feet of their fellow revolutionaries.”

What would a new silent majority – if it exists — think of all that?

And Hanson wonders if the older elite liberals who have joined the youth movement to “cancel” our current culture have played the movie all the way through in their heads.

“If racists understandably do not deserve their names on national shrines,” he writes, “what to do with the iconic liberal graduate program at Princeton, the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs? It was named for a president who did more to further segregation and racial prejudice than any chief executive of the 20th century.”

“Stanford and Yale, coveted brand names of the progressive professional classes, are named after men whom protestors now deem racists.”

“It is easier to target Fort Bragg, the iconic military base named after a Confederate general, racist, and military mediocrity than to see one’s MBA or Ph.D. lose its Yale luster, or to confess that a liberal presidential icon perpetuated racism.”

And what about the liberal icon Franklin Delano Roosevelt?  He put more than one hundred thousand innocent Japanese Americans in internment camps during World War II — Americans whose only “crime” was their race. Doesn’t that make FDR a racist? How can they let any monument to him remain standing?

For that matter, how much longer can the mob tolerate the name given to our nation’s capital? After all George Washington was a slave owner.

How far will the “cancel culture” go before its enablers – those white liberals who are witnessing the revolution from the safety of their suburban homes – abandon the movement?

“When quiet sympathizers conclude that they too may be targeted, they turn on their former icons to survive,” writes Hanson.

“We are seeing that now. Liberal sympathetic bystanders are wondering whether downtown arson and looting will go private and reach their suburban homes. Do they really want their marquee universities or the Washington or Jefferson Monuments defaced or renamed? What happens when calling 911 gets a constant busy signal? When a liberal mayor or black police chief or progressive governor or white leftist who diverges from the party line is targeted by the mob, then who really is safe?”

“Answer? No one.”

And no one knows how revolutions will end – not even the revolutionaries.  But if there is a new silent majority, like the old one that didn’t like what they were watching on TV, November 3, 2020 may not turn out the way the revolutionaries are hoping.




Bernie’s Q&A: Bolton, Durkin, My Favorite Interviews, and more! (6/19) — Premium Interactive ($4 members)

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Now, let’s get to your questions (and my answers):


As a Trump supporter I am concerned about some of his tweets. I hope he stays out of the Seattle protests. I think he should let Governor Inslee and Mayor Durkin stew in their own leftist juices. What I fear is that if he sends in the military, the protesters will provoke a shooting and we could have another Kent State situation. What do you think? — Vic P.

I don’t believe he’ll send in the military. He talks about it … he’d like to do it … but he won’t. As much as sensible Americans hate what they’re seeing in Seattle, it would be a bad political move for the president.

CNN held a “Town Hall” Sunday evening with the four black female mayors of Atlanta, San Francisco, Chicago & D.C.. conducted by a black female moderator. I tuned in to try and gain some better understanding of the issues and their responses to current events. Honestly, it turned into a one-hour pat-each-other-on-the back session, void of tough questions on why these mayors have made the decisions they have. No question on why they initially allowed violent protesting and looting. No questions on what they are doing about true black male crime statistics especially to the Chicago Mayor… No hard questions on the hypocrisy of allowing mass gatherings during their own Covid restrictions. I tried, but I was let down again trying to get a fair perspective. So what’s a caring citizen to do, and where do they go to maintain a balanced perspective? — ScottyG

It was on CNN, right? And you’re surprised that it was a love fest? CNN lost its way a long time ago. As to where to go to maintain a balanced perspective: Not cable TV in prime time. I’m anxiously waiting to see if Fox let’s John Bolton on to talk about his book. I bring that up because CNN doesn’t have a monopoly on agenda driven news coverage. I used to write about media bias. It’s gone way beyond that. To not ask the questions of those mayors that you posed, Scotty, is an absolute disgrace, which has become par for the course at CNN.

I’ve been reading up on “White Privilege”, which I guess has been preached as dogma on college campuses for quite awhile. “Critical race theory” has me pegged as racist because of my original sin of being born with my dermatologic affliction of skin color consistent with my Caucasian ethnicity. It doesn’t matter, it seems, what I’ve done or said or thought about anybody in my life. And if I should protest that I have never uttered the N word my entire life, loath those that do, do not socialize with or work with those that do, have worked and socialized with black americans my entire life, and am NOT a racist, that apparently just proves that I’m a racist.

It reminds me of the old test for being a witch……recant being a witch and confess or we will dunk you until you drown, in which case that proves you were a witch. BRAVE NEW WORLD, indeed, where the woke masters have no tolerance for counter-revolutionaries or those who aren’t sufficiently educated as to their abject immorality and depravity of thought; they must shut up or recast their thought patterns in the new language of truth. I am angry and sick at heart for what I fear my grandson, who is 3, faces when he enters the education propaganda mill in another few years. Does he come home and tell me that he feels sad because his skin is white and he was born a racist? Not to mention all the other thought-crimes that he can be guilty of?  — John F.

George Orwell wrote about this kind of double-speak nonsense. We’re living it. I’ve often wondered how the son or daughter of a white anglo-saxon coal miner in West Virginia has white privilege. The progressives are taking over the culture. And name-calling is just the beginning.

Bernie, I am assuming (perhaps incorrectly) that in various parts of America people on the street are being approached and asked/told that they need to take a knee to show/prove that they are on board with Black Lives Matter. Do you have any advice as to how someone who does not support the defunding of police or does not view America as systemically racist should respond? On a related note, can you imagine NYC ever getting back to “normal” in terms of one’s ability to walk in Times Square or elsewhere without the risk of being “confronted?” Obviously the point re NYC can be equally applied to many other large cities across the country begging the question how all of this will impact tourism by those who do not support some or all of the leftist platform? — Michael F.

How to respond? Don’t get into a discussion with the mob because it’s a losing proposition. But even more important, don’t give in to the mob. Don’t say things you don’t believe just to make some kind of peace. As for New York: Things can change if New Yorkers elect someone like the city’s former mayor Rudy Giuliani. He cleaned things up — and it can happen again. But not with a progressive mayor. New Yorkers elected Bill de Blasio. Let them figure out their next move.

I’m fearful of losing my country to the violent anarchists, not because they are brilliant, but because those in corporate America, academia, and politics are actually caving in to the demands of the woke cry bullies! Since they’re tearing down statues and demanding buildings be renamed, I suggest that the Dems dismantle anything connected to FDR since he forced Japanese Americans into internment camps. Next let’s tear down statues of MLK Jr. and Malcolm X since both of them belonged to religions that condemned homosexuality as sinful and immoral. While we’re at it, let’s condemn Barack Obama because his wife Michelle is friends with that war criminal George W. Bush. What do you think would happen if someone echoed my suggestions to the anarchists? I’m being snarky, but I’m sure you get my point.

One more question: if someone as simple as me can easily see what submission to the anarchists will lead to, then why can’t the enablers like the liberal Democrats & professors & corporate heads see that their own heads are on the chopping block? — “Tear down the Sacco & Vanzetti Statue!” Regards, from the Emperor

Actually, Emp, your suggestion to tear down statues that honor liberals and progressives, may be snarky but it’s really a good one. To be clear, I don’t want to see those statues torn down but I do want to see someone make the case that you just made. If I’m the one who does that you’ll know where I got the idea. Good writers borrow. Great writers steal.

The liberals enablers of the authoritarian left go along with the anti free speech movement because they don’t believe that submission to the mob will ever affect them. More proof that they may have high IQs but are both pathetically delusional and at times, not too smart.

Dear Bernie, Recently many workplaces have had moments of silence, interfaith services and kneel-ins to recognize the murder of George Floyd and others by police. Is this appropriate for the workplace or is this something that is best left to off-work hours? — Peter

If management at a private company wants to give employees the opportunity to take part in the kind of demonstrations you outline they have the right to do it. As for your question about its appropriateness: I’m okay with it Peter as long as attendance is not mandatory. Reasonable people may disagree on whether such demonstrations are best left to off-hours work. But my concern is that those who don’t want to take part may incur some form of punishment — even if it’s not immediately obvious. They may also be ostracized by fellow employees. As long as there are no repercussions meted out to those who refrain from kneeling, etc … it’s something I could put up with, even if I’m not wholeheartedly for it.

If someone believes that America was conceived in sin, has been rotten to the core from its inception, is unwilling to support free speech for those who civilly and honestly disagree with their viewpoints, and is willing to excuse or justify rioting and violence, can they simultaneously claim to be a proud American who loves their country? I believes this goes to the core of the issue for those who beat the “systemic” racism drum. — Michael

I don’t think they’d say they love this country. They might love an America where there is absolutely no racism, no pollution, to poverty, no income inequality, etc … but they don’t love the America we live in today. And as I say, Michael, I don’t think they’d be ashamed to admit that.

There’s lots of irony/hypocrisy in watching liberals swoon over John Bolton, after vilifying him for years, because he’s now dishing on Trump. At the same time, Politico’s Tim Alberta (who’s no liberal) made this valid point on Twitter: “[Bolton] headlined every right-wing gathering; appeared on every Fox News show; wrote op-eds in conservative publications; raised millions for GOP candidates; was exalted as a voice of integrity, authority, honesty. And now he is the enemy—because he spoke ill of the dear leader.”

Regarding what Bolton wrote: while his accounts of Trump are damning, they’re unfortunately not surprising nor uncharacteristic of what know of Trump, or what we’ve heard him say with our own ears. Even giving Xi Jinping a verbal blessing to build concentration camps (which is truly sick) is consistent with other instances of him condoning the horrific behavior of authoritarian regimes.

Some on the left are criticizing Bolton for not speaking up during Trump’s impeachment, but do you think Bolton’s testimony would have compelled even one other GOP Senator to vote to convict? I don’t. I’m not sure anything would have. — Jen R.

I’m with you, Jen, 100 percent. Expect no consistency on political matters from either side. They throw their so-called values over the side to either excuse anything and everything Donald Trump does — or to condemn him no matter what. I find both sides lacking in anything resembling integrity. In the case of Bolton on Trump: You’re right. Nothing that’s come out so far is surprising. If he had written that Donald Trump offered to pay some dictator to endorse him, I wouldn’t be surprised. And if Bolton had spoken up earlier, nothing would have changed. Nothing. We’re on the same wave length Jen.

Which person was your most favorite interview (I know that’s probably a tough question)? — Ben G.

I know you asked for one favorite, but like potato chips, I can’t have just one. So here it goes, Ben:

I like Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal a lot. Both are honest and don’t beat around the bush. You ask them a question, you get a straight answer. That’s not always the case.

I liked my college classmate Jim Valvano, who I interviewed when he was coaching basketball at North Carolina State. Off camera I told him about the time I hit the rim with my knuckle while grabbing a rebound during a pickup basketball game at Rutgers — a game he was watching from a few feet away. Let’s just say his recollection was different from mine. More precisely, he had absolutely no recollection of my jumping ability. And after I finished telling him the story, he told me I was full of you know what.

I also interviewed several people with serious physical disabilities. They didn’t see themselves as victims.  Both went on to achieve great things. They were Kyle Maynard and Jen Brinker. You can look them up.

And one more: Ansar Burney, a human rights activist who helped free thousands of young boys from slavery in the United Arab Emirates. They had been brought in from very poor countries and forced to become camel jockeys, a very dangerous business. If a boy died because he fell off the camel and was crushed under its hooves, he was shipped home in a box. If you have HBO, you might want to go to On Demand and find the story.

I’m sure I’m leaving a few more out. Apologies.

So, an ANTIFA like group [maybe all ANTIFA] has taken over six city block’s in downtown Seattle, and roused the cops out of the precinct that was situated within that six block area. What I find really ironic is that they have set up borders and have armed guards patrolling them. Anyone wanting to enter must be approved before they are allowed to do so. Gee, where have I heard that before? Oh yeah, at our southern border which the Left has been fighting against for years. They have a large list of demands too numerous to list here, one involves abolishing the police department. Continuing, the Governor was asked what he thought of a group taking control of part of the city and he acted like he had never heard about it. The Mayor on the other hand, when asked by Chris Cuomo at CNN what she thought about it and how long she thought it might last, replied “Maybe it will be a summer of love.” Even Cuomo had to look at her like “Have you got all your marbles, lady?” Initially, I was feeling badly for the citizens of Seattle but hey, you do reap what you sow. They put these uber liberal clowns in place. BTW, this stopped being about George Floyd a week ago, this is the anarchy many have predicted would come sooner or later from the uber radicals in this country that do want to make it over in their likeness. So how do we fight it when the local leaders are OK with it? — John M.

First, John, your analysis is spot on. If the mayor won’t fight it and the governor won’t fight it … let’s see how far the anarchists go before the liberals who pay taxes in that liberal city and state demand an end to it. What if six blocks is just the beginning? At some point, the political cowards will either show backbone and send in the cops, or the anarchists will be in charge. It can go either way, John. Really!  Check out my Off the Cuff this week on this subject.

 


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