Bernie’s Q&A: Donaldson, Bozell, Barr, Jeter, and more! (2/21) — Premium Interactive ($4 members)

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What are your thoughts on Sam Donaldson publicly endorsing Mike Bloomberg for president, and even appearing in a campaign video for him? Some people are saying it’s evidence of media bias, and that it hurts the credibility of journalists. But isn’t Sam long retired? Is there anything ethically wrong with a retired journalist endorsing a politician? Seems to me that his political leanings would only be a potential issue if he was an active journalist. — Adam G.

I’m with you, Adam.  Sam retired a long time ago so there’s nothing unethical about his endorsement.  The downside of such an endorsement is that it makes you wonder if his liberal worldview affected his reporting.  But who am I to speak:  I was notoriously even-handed as a hard news journalist … but now that I’m a commentator, I’m giving opinions all the time.  I know I could be fair back then and be opinionated now.  So I’ll give Sam the same benefit of any doubt about his leanings as a reporter.

I think most people consider you the leading authority when it comes to exposing liberal bias (20+ years and running), but Brent Bozell has put a lot of time and effort into the same thing (though he’s a partisan and never really calls out bias from Republicans). I’m curious what your thoughts are on Bozell and his “Media Research Center” operation. Thanks. — Jerry

I like Brent and I think the MRC does fine work.  But, and you alluded to this, their concern is only with liberal bias in the news.  I have made it clear to Brent that I think MRC would be a powerful media force if it took on all bias, not just one kind.  But that’s not what they’re in business to do.  If they were equal opportunity watchdogs their funding would dry up.  Besides, Brent has no interest in going after conservative bias, given his politics. Again, I like Brent and I like the people at MRC, but they’re partisans — not impartial critics of the news media.  Too bad.  But it’s never going to change.

Bernie, did you watch [Wednesday] night’s Democratic debate? Were you surprised Bloomberg was a bigger target (and boy did he get hammered by the others!) than the frontrunner, Sanders? Plus Mayor Pete and Klobuchar were more vicious with each other than with Sanders. Do you get the impression that the other candidates think Sanders will ultimately be rejected by primary voters, and that’s why they aren’t all teaming up on him? Have they learned nothing from the 2016 Republican primary? — John S.

I did watch, John, and I wasn’t all that surprised by the fact that Bloomberg was the night’s biggest target. The others see him — or saw him may be more accurate given his dreadful performance — as a serious threat.  They felt they had to diminish him early, lest he and his money take off and cause them big problems.  I don’t get the impression that the candidates think Sanders can’t win the primary and that’s why they didn’t take aim at him on Wednesday night.  If he remains the frontrunner, he will be in their crosshairs.  We’ll know more after Nevada, South Carolina and Super Tuesday.

My father used to say, “The only thing worse than a sore loser is a sore winner.” I think we saw that twice in the last couple of weeks with people getting upset that they didn’t run the table, and then lashed out at the lack of purity in a particular vote:

  1. Trump won his impeachment acquittal and had every House and Senate Republican except Mitt Romney voting in his favor. The reaction of Trump and his supporters? Not pleasure in victory, but vitriol directed at Romney.
  2. Derek Jeter was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame but lacked one vote from a perfect ballot (this has occurred with every other baseball player in history not named Mariano Rivera). Still the Yankees fans came out of the woodwork with their righteous indignation. I heard one guy on sports talk radio advocate for finding and removing that one dissenting voter, calling his “no” vote a “dereliction of duty”.

Can we not enjoy our victories anymore, or are we too busy finding things to bitch about? — Steve R.

First, the specifics you bring up:  You’re absolutely right about the vitriol aimed at Romney.  It was unnecessary.  Why do it.  You won.  Be gracious.  But that’s seen as weakness by too many Americans.

Regarding Derek Jeter:  I’m with you again.  Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle … none of them were unanimous choices.  They all may have been bad decisions by sports writers, but with the advent of sports talk radio, a simple statement isn’t enough.  There has to be righteous outrage.  It’s good for business because that’s what more and more people seem to want — outrage.

And that’s the bigger point you raise, Steve:  That we’re so angry … about politics, sports, just about everything.  The polarization, the anger, keep getting more entrenched.  This is not good for the country or the American people.

AG Barr must have been going nuts and cursing Trump privately as the president tweeted about the Stone case and sentence. Barr was diplomatic in describing his frustration, but damn, Trump just doesn’t know when to stop.

That being said, I think Stone got screwed. Is there a Democrat involved in any of the crap of the last 3 years who’s doing any time? Clinton was winked through by Obama’s DOJ, Comey lies through his teeth, Brennan and Clapper perjured themselves, etc. Stone lied to Congress and he should do 7-9 years in prison?

How about the jury foreperson being a Trump & Stone hater? How did someone with her obvious bias get on the jury, much less be named foreperson? And it was an Obama-appointed judge who appointed her. Can the deck be any more stacked against Republicans and Trump? And yes, I admit he brings a lot on himself. — Thanks for listening JM

I’m pretty much with you JM.  Barr must have been really teed off with Trump’s comments.  But as you say, the president just doesn’t know when to stop.  And if he does know, he’s incapable of stopping.

You’re also right about the imbalance.  But remember, it wasn’t the judge who picked the juror … it was Stone’s attorney.  And it was the other jurors, again not the judge, who made her the foreperson.

But, for the record, Roger Stone did more than lie to Congress. He was convicted of 7 felonies, including tampering with witnesses in order to impede a federal investigation.

That said, 7 to 9 years strikes me, as it does you JM, as extreme.

I get the Liberal media pundits went all in on Avenatti because they so wanted his nonsense to hurt Trump, but why were they risking so much credibility (and now have major egg on their faces) over this guy? I’m more a middle ground guy, just an interested observer who thinks both fringes are nuts and the media is certainly “Biased” and I could easily tell this guy was a snake oil salesmen salesman. Who would be central in a similar case in your past experience where the media got so snowed like this? — ScottyG

First, you’re right:  The media went all in on Avenatti for just one reason:  He was bad mouthing a president the media, by and large, detest.  As for their credibility, they lost none with their fan base.  Fox viewers think they look stupid … not CNN and MSNBC viewers; they don’t care.

Can’t think of another situation where the media fell madly in love as they did with Avenatti.  But whenever they swoon, it’s usually over someone on the left who is bad mouthing someone on the right.

Bernie, As I follow the Democratic Party nomination process I notice that no matter the outlet the term “moderate” is misapplied. Mayor Pete, Amy, Biden, and Bloomberg are considered moderates. The policies they advocate are right of Sanders and Warren but hardly moderate. Do you think the reporting on these candidates is misguided, purposely biased, or just lazy reporting? Perhaps you have another explanation aside from my options. — David E.

I agree with your premise:  Even the moderates are left wingers. To put the best light on it, all the reporters are doing is saying Mayor Pete and Biden and the rest are “moderates” compared to the hard left candidates, Sanders and Warren.  It would be the same to describe GOP candidates as “moderates” compared to hard right candidates.  It’s shorthand.  But I — and I think you — would feel better if every now and then journalists would point out that “moderate” is a relative term … and that the positions of Democratic moderates are not middle of the road; they’re liberal positions.

Rush Limbaugh recently described Pete Buttigieg as  “a gay guy, 37-years-old, loves kissing his husband on debate stages.” And then he added, “Can you see Trump have fun with that?”

But of the sometimes bigoted comments Trump has made in recent years, I can’t recall him ever saying anything remotely homophobic. In fact, he’s made a number of supportive comments in regard to the gay community. Do you see this as a positive development within the GOP — a party whose members and leaders have sometimes given people reason to view it as homophobic? — Pete J.

I think Rush is the one who’s not comfortable around gays.  I don’t think Donald Trump would make fun of the mayor’s sexual orientation … if for no other reason than if he did he’d lose college educated suburban swing voters that he needs to win re-election.  Beyond that, I think you’re right, Pete:  I can’t recall Donald Trump saying anything negative about gays, either.

There’s often some virtue signaling from wealthy left wing elites—they will go to an expensive vacation spot or a fancy restaurant or venue, and say that they enjoyed it, but then complain that there were “too many white people” there and “not enough people of color.”

If so many white liberals want to experience diversity as much as they claim, since they often say that “diversity is our strength,” why don’t they attend some gangsta’ rap concerts or move to the proverbial “hood” or black neighborhoods to cultivate friendships with the residents? Why don’t they send their children to schools in poorer neighborhoods? Maybe their children could get part-time jobs there, or date from the more diverse crowd. I’m sure you sense the facetiousness of my query, but my sentiments are sincere. Your thoughts — Diverse Regards from The Emperor

Let’s stick with just one of your examples:  what schools liberals send their kids to.  I know liberals who talk a good game about mixing with all races and economic classes … while sending their kids to private schools.  Why?  Too many minority kids in public schools.  Hypocritical?  Sure.  But when your own kids are involved, sometimes you toss your cherished liberal principles over the side.  For the record, I’ve never heard anybody — liberal or conservative — say there are “too many white people” at the fancy restaurant they went to.  But I get your bigger point.

 


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Bernie’s Q&A: Rathergate, Klobuchar, Vindman, Sanders, and more! (2/14) — Premium Interactive ($4 members)

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I read a quote today that’s very striking and true. “You can vote your way into socialism, but you have to shoot your way out of it.” I usually try to stay away from extreme, attention-getting statements, but this one isn’t hyperbole. Don’t American voters see what happened in Venezuela? Are they not watching the footage from Hong Kong? Obama supporters like to state that the Trump economy is just a continuation of what Obama started during his presidency. Aren’t socialist Democrat policies also a continuation of the leftward lurch of Obama? — Steve R.

Obama was a moderate compared to Sanders and Warren.  Sure, Obama and liberals in general like government programs — and government programs cost money.  But he never called for free college and free health care and forgiveness of student loans, etc.  As for why some American voters aren’t afraid of the Sanders/Warren version of socialism:  They like “free” stuff — as long as somebody else is paying for it.

I was awaiting to see if you had any comments on the Super Bowl. Since you didn’t write on it, thought I would force the issue. I thought the game was pretty d&%n good. Your thoughts on it. The halftime show was fireworks, lasers, a million people on stage featuring a couple of gals half dressed (if that), your comments on halftime. Also, did JLo just moon me on my TV or did they broadcast that to everyone? Your thoughts on quarterback Patrick Mahomes? — Tim H.

It was a great game, I think we can all agree on that, no matter who you were rooting for.  As for the halftime show:  I have mixed feelings.  J Lo and Shakira looked great.  But is that what we want to showcase to kids, especially young girls?  The first Super Bowl half time show featured Carol Channing.  That was more than 50 years ago.  If you want to know how American culture has changed over those years, just compare Ms. Channing to the two half dressed stars this year.  Finally, Patrick Mahomet is a great quarterback.  But greatness in sports (and other endeavors) is measured over time.  So we’ll have to wait a few more years before we decide how great he really is.

So today the Left MSM and Liberal politicians are ripping Trump for firing Lt Col Vindman as “political payback”. I guess they have forgotten when Obama fired General Stanley McCrystal when a reporter embedded with his unit in Afghanistan “leaked” that they had been badmouthing Administration policies. I guess they feel “we” have just forgotten. SMH — JM

I’m sick of the commentary on both sides.  Liberals yelling about Vindman’s dismissal but not so much when McCrysgtal got canned. Conservatives defending the president now but not when Obama fired a general.  Principles, as I’ve repeatedly said, are either dead or dying.

Mr. G, Remember when everyone said, Bill Clinton? Who is this guy? Barack Obama? Who is this guy? Now we have, Amy Klobuchar? Who is this gal? Do you think she could surge to get the Nomination since she’s the most moderate Dem? She doesn’t offer up much to be attacked on and she can likely pull votes from the middle and the so-called tired of Trump voters; don’t you think? I also haven’t heard a Trump nickname for her yet either, that’s probably telling. — ScottyG

Amy Klobuchar finished a strong third in New Hampshire … and now the buzz is that she’s catching on, that she’s got momentum. But while third is pretty good, it isn’t first or second.  And while anything is possible, I think Klobuchar remains a long shot. As for Donald Trump:  If at some point he gives her a nickname then we’ll know she’s a serious contender for the nomination.  But if he gives her some dopey name, it will be a mistake.  She’s smarter than Trump, she’s more civil and decent than Trump.  He’ll get hurt more than she will if he tries to humiliate her.  And if, by some chance, she gets the nomination, she’ll destroy him in the debates — again, because she’ll come off as the intelligent grownup — and that will go a long way with moderate swing voters, especially women in the suburbs. In case you’re wondering:  Despite all that, I would not vote for her.

Dennis Prager has been making the argument on your website and elsewhere that what Trump said about women in the infamous Access Hollywood audio does NOT speak negatively of Trump’s character. His rationale is that Trump thought his conversation was private, and that what people say in private is not indicative of their character. This strikes me as an odd argument. What are your thoughts on this topic, and do you think Prager would be taking the same position if a tape had leaked of Obama saying the exact same thing? — George L.

It strikes me as odd too, George.  And I suspect Prager would not take the same position if a tape had been leaked with Obama saying the exact same thing.  But I’m not surprised by any of this.  Donald Trump has a magical, mysterious hold on people.  They’ll defend just about anything that he does.  Frankly, I find it pathetic.

Bernie. We ALL agree that our president had every right to remove Lt. Col. Vindman and his brother from their posts. But doesn’t that and Trump’s public trashing of Vindman over the months send a bad message to people in our government that they should just SHUT UP if they believe they are witnessing a real abuse of government power? And what do you think about Molly Hemmingway saying that Vindman should have been COURT-MARTIALED instead of reassigned??? — Daniel D.

I’m with you, Daniel.  I also think the public trashing sends a bad signal.  But I expect nothing more from our president.  As for Ms. Hemingway: What she said on Fox is this:  “If he were in any other position in the military, he would have already been court martialed for this.” That’s a little different from your take on what she said.  If she went further than the quote above, I’m unaware of it.

Do you think Dan Rather should have lost his job over Rathergate, or do you think CBS should have done something more similar to what NBC did to Brian Williamson (knock him down the totem pole)? Or maybe a third option? Thanks! I enjoy these sessions! — Fred M.

I never believed Dan Rather got canned for screwing up the story.  I believed at the time, and still do, that the screw up provided CBS with a good excuse to get rid of Dan because he was ranked third out of three in the evening news ratings.  Had the CBS Evening News with Dan Rather been #1, I don’t believe he would have lost his job.  For the record, Dan didn’t get fired when 4 of his colleagues did.  CBS waited about a year (as I recall) until his contract ran out and didn’t renew him.  So what did Dan do:  He sued CBS.  The case went nowhere but cost him a small fortune.

You recently wrote that Republicans should NOT underestimate Bernie Sanders’ chances beating Trump in a general election. I agree, and I would prefer someone who is NOT a Marxist socialist (excuse me “Democratic socialist”) running the country. I think Republicans who believe Bernie will be easily defeated by Trump are being WAY TOO presumptuous.

Here’s what I don’t understand: What exactly is the appeal of Bernie Sanders? Having grown up in the 70s and 80s, I do recall the Soviet threat and the horrors of living under the threat of communism taking over. WHY do so many Americans NOT understand this!? So Bernie Sanders promises free college and healthcare for all, but I see free college as nothing more than free indoctrination into leftist thought, and free health care as bait so he can get Tsarnov and any number of other thugs and felons to vote for democrats (and young teenagers too, if he has his way). — The Internationale Communist Theme Song Regards From The Emperor

Bernie’s appeal?  Free stuff is pretty appealing.  Never mind that it isn’t free.  As long as YOU THINK someone else will pay for all those goodies, voters –especially young voters — will glob onto the candidate.

Also, Bernie is for real.  He tells you what he thinks.  In a crazy way, that’s refreshing.  That said, check out my column on Bernie which I’ll publish on Monday.

Here’s what a college student told the Wall Street Journal about his fascination with Sanders:

“Sen. Bernie Sanders is attractive to young voters because his policies are extreme and concise. You’re struggling with student debt? He’ll make college free. Your parents worry about health insurance and medical bills? He’ll make health care free. In that way he seems to cut through all the muck of the past. What could be bolder or more straightforward? Besides, he can demonize skeptics and detractors as lackeys of the richest 1%.

—Max Calzada, Oakland University, actuarial science and theater”

For many years, and almost every other day, I read about a ‘first’. For example, the first Latina police chief, the first African-American mayor, the first woman CEO, or the first openly gay Disney character. What I’m not hearing much about these days is that we have our first openly gay presidential candidate – Mayor Pete. I watch ALL the networks and peruse online content as well and I’m not seeing any flag carrying – banner waving proclamation about Mayor Pete being our first openly gay presidential candidate. I have an idea why, BUT am curious to hear your thoughts about this. — PCE

You haven’t been watching closely enough.  There have been numerous references about him being the first openly gay candidate for president.  After a while, they simply stop saying it.  By now, they figure, everybody knows.  Almost everybody, anyway.  I’m curious:  If you haven’t heard anything about it on “ALL the networks” and “online” … how do you know he’s openly gay?

I would like to see each candidate for president or any congressional office be asked the following simple question ( I believe that millions of Americans would appreciate knowing where their candidates stand and would welcome your views on the question being posed and your own answer): on a scale of 1-100 ( 100 being perfect and 1 being Nazi Germany or Stalinist Russia), how do you rate America ( and a reason or two supporting your rating)? — Michael F.

Would make for interesting television, Michael.  But it would also open the door to cable news fools to pick apart the candidate’s answer.  Let’s say, for instance, a moderator asks your question of Joe Biden.  Anything other than 100 would send Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham into a phony rage. “Why did Biden say 95?” they’d yell.  “He doesn’t love this country.”

In a GOP contest, if Wolf Blitzer asked that question and Donald Trump said “100” … Don Lemon would sound off about how the president thinks America is perfect, which, of course, it isn’t.

So the only “acceptable” rating for Fox viewers would be somewhere between 97 and 100. The only “correct” answer for MSNBC and CNN’s audience would be considerably lower — as long as Donald Trump is president.

For some reason, Michael, your question has been haunting me all day.  I keep thinking about it.  And the more I do the more I come to the conclusion that I think it’s a very bad idea.

How do I rate America? Great country.  Lots of freedom.  Hate the polarization. Wish taxes were lower.  Smaller government.  Not crazy about service in America.

And then I’m supposed to come up with a number from 1 to 100 to rate the country?  Sorry, not for me.

Saint Bernard, I think you misunderstood last week’s question by reader Chuck S. He asked if in the Iowa caucus (where voters must literally stand/sit and publicly display their choice), how then does a journalist participate and keep their views private. He noted that, on one hand, the right to vote is important while on the other hand, to remain unbiased, a true journalist must remain politically neutral. You said, “A journalist doesn’t ‘participate.’ A journalist reports what’s going on.” What if in saying “participate” he was thinking of someone known to others at the voting place to be a journalist, who would indeed reveal their candidate preference by where they stood/sat at a caucus, as opposed to casting a secret ballot in a primary election voting booth? — Fred E.

Thanks very much, Fred.  Now I get it.  Apologies to Chuck S.

I guess it does present a problem — a potential one, anyway — when the general public knows how a reporter will be voting.  But the reporter would have to be known to more than a few people at the caucus … otherwise they’d have no idea if he was a reporter or a truck driver.  Second, a journalist can vote for any candidate and still be an honest, non partisan reporter.  So even if a journalist goes to a caucus and lines up with candidate Joe Blow, it doesn’t mean the journalist can’t objectively cover Joe Blow.  Besides, if the public didn’t know, he’d still be voting for the candidate — and that might influence how he covers news related to the candidate.  But Chuck has a point:  The general public shouldn’t know how journalists vote.

The issue raised by Chuck and you Fred would be solved if Iowa and a few other states entered the 21st century and dumped the caucus system and replace it with primary elections.

 

 


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Bernie’s Q&A: Trump, Romney, Pelosi, Prager, and More! (2/7) — Premium Interactive ($4 members)

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


Do you think that Mitt Romney voted to remove Trump due to personal animosity for the president, or do you think he indeed believes that Trump’s abuse of power on Ukraine warrants removal, per the impeachment argument. — Don M.

That’s the million dollar question, Don.  I think Romney is sincere. I don’t think it was a revenge vote.  But more than a few people do.  Frankly, I see Romney as a man with far more integrity than some of the right wing fools who couldn’t wait to accuse him of treason.  I’m willing to take him at his word unless I have evidence or at least a strong suspicion not to.

Which was worse during the State of the Union: Trump refusing to shake Pelosi’s hand or Pelosi tearing up a copy of Trump’s speech. I’m not sure I care about either. LOL. — Michael

If Trump saw her hand extended than he should have been gracious — not a word one uses to describe the president. But what Pelosi did was blatant.  And so the Thumbs Down award goes to the speaker.

How annoying is it that liberal journalists who thought Romney was evil when he ran for president now think he’s a hero just because he sided with the Dems on impeachment? — Ryan G.

Just as annoying, Ryan, as the conservatives who once defended Romney from unfair Democratic attacks and are now accusing him of being a traitor.  But neither side surprises me.  See John Daly’s excellent column on this subject.

My last question raised the specter of John Roberts becoming an active presence in the impeachment trial by mandating other inclusions like witnesses and documents. You were not particularly concerned. I fear his decision to not read Rand Paul’s question may set a disturbing precedent where the SCOTUS Chief would become a serious factor in the calculus of any further –hopefully, never again– impeachments. What do you think? An addendum….It’s glaringly obvious that Schiff, his staff, and this ‘whistleblower’ were on terms of close association…..this issue may well affect public opinion on all of this… — Andrew M.

I’m just not as concerned as you, Andrew. At most, Justice Roberts decision regarding Senator Paul’s question — which reportedly had a connection to the whistleblower — caused only a minor controversy, if even that.  Roberts wasn’t there to be a potted plant.  His role was to make decisions.  I don’t think his decision on the Paul question will set a disturbing precedent.  Had he read the question out loud and named people tied to the whistleblower (or the name of the whistleblower himself) that would have caused a real fuss — and that would have led many — mainly on the left — to say he was taking sides.  On Friday night, January 31, Justice Roberts said from his perch looking over the the senators that he would not vote to break any ties.  That, I think, should put your mind at ease about the Justice setting any disturbing precedent.  He’s too smart to fall into that trap.

Bernie: I would be considered a “Reliably Republican” voter by pollsters and analysts, but in 2016 I voted for Gary Johnson for President. There was no way I would vote for Hillary, Trump’s personality and general conduct were too gross to condone, and I genuinely wanted (still do) a strong third party to emerge. I also considered Texas a reliably red state that was going to go for Trump anyway. In 2020, I’m definitely voting Trump because Texas is now shading purple, and I don’t want to waste my vote. I can see some independents breaking the other way because Hillary isn’t in the race. I know polling captures every little shift in voter tendencies, but do you think they are calculating the nuanced switching of voters like me? — Steve R.

While I, as a journalist, care about why you’re voting the way you are, I don’t think the pollsters care WHY you’re switching, just who you say you’re voting for.   And I’m not convinced people always tell pollsters the truth.  Some people might not want to admit that he or she won’t vote for a candidate who is black, to use just one example. So they lie to the pollster — say they’re supporting the candidate — then vote for somebody else.  Same with Trump supporters.  I think SOME won’t admit they’re voting for him, but vote for him anyway.  Again, the pollsters don’t care about your nuanced reasoning; just who you’ll be voting for … or more accurately, who you SAY you’ll be voting for.

I listened to your “Off the Cuff” about caucus system in Iowa. If I’m correct, in order to participate in the caucus you must show up in person and literally stand/sit for their choice. If that’s the case how does a journalist participate in the caucus and keep their political views private. On one hand, the right to vote is fundamental to what the country stands for – on the other hand in order to remain unbiased, a true journalist must remain politically neutral. It’s another – albeit smaller – reason to dump the caucus system. — Chuck S.

You lost me Chuck.  You’re asking “how does a journalist participate in the caucus and keep their political views private.”  A journalist doesn’t “participate.”  A journalist reports what’s going on.  Not sure why you think a journalist becomes part of the caucus.

I’ve heard Dennis Prager and others on the right say the decline of religion in the U.S. is helping leftist thought prevail among the younger generations, and that the goal of leftism is to get rid of religion completely (I don’t doubt this). However, I wonder if many of the churches have brought this on themselves. Long before the pedophilia scandals and Catholic Church cover-ups, many of the people I grew up with had pretty much become lapsed Catholics (non-practicing and uninterested in the church and observing its rules). And this is NOT limited to the Catholic Church. I dont expect you to know specifically why so many people of various denominations ended up feeling apathetic, but I’m curious what your thoughts are on this. — Religious Denominational Regards From The Emperor

I think Dennis Prager is an obviously bright guy.  But we part when it comes to religion.  If you are correct, that he believes the goal of the left is to get rid of religion completely, I’m not on board.  While it’s true that conservatives tend to be more religious, at least in a formal sense, than liberals — I see no concerted effort to rid the nation of religion.  If he’s talking about removing religious symbols from the public square, put there at taxpayer expense, then here’s another example where Prager and I would disagree.  If he’s talking about the so-called “war on Christmas” I thought that was a myth from the jump. As for younger generations:  Younger generations are often less religious than their parents. Religion and faith resonate more with older people who more often than their kids accept things without question.  Younger people question things and when you start to question matters of faith, there’s a 50/50 chance you’re going to become less religious than your parents and grandparents.

Mr. G, How have we gotten to this point where the far fringes are the leaders (I say that lightly) and the ones running for the highest offices? Is this media driven? There are plenty of good Pols closer to the middle who should be making noise and runs for leadership.  –ScottyG

The far fringes, as you put it Scotty, seem to have taken over a good chunk of the Democratic Party.  Less so the GOP.  Pols in the middle can make all the noise they want, but it won’t help if the voters reject them.  A few examples:  McCain was in the middle and he lost.  Romney was in the middle and he lost.  Millions of Republicans sat home on Election Day because they thought those candidates were too moderate — not conservative enough.

If the Dems nominate Bernie — a far left socialist progressive — we may learn that voters don’t want the fringe candidate either. Where does that leave us?  We may not want candidates who are out there playing deep left or right field … but if they’re in the middle they have to be really good pols with charisma.  Stay tuned.

 


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Bernie’s Q&A: Don Lemon, Katie Pavlich, Bernard Shaw, Bernie Sanders, and more! (1/31) — Premium Interactive ($4 members)

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As a Jew, do you think that Bernie Sanders’ chances of getting the Democrat nomination are reduced because of his religion? Personally I do. I think his socialist agenda is why he was given the bums rush by the Democrats in 2016, but I think his religion also played a part. Not much talk is made of it, particularly in the generations since the baby boomers, but I think anti semitism is alive and well in the older generations. I had a Political Science Professor in college many years ago, in the fifties to be exact, who said “I believe there will be a Negro President before there will be a Jewish President.” This professor was a very, very, liberal Democrat and made no pretexes about it. He even predicted John Kennedy, although only a Senator at the time, would have problems if he elected to run for President, because he was Catholic. The religious attitudes, pertaining to political candidates, was stronger in those days, but I believe it still exists. What do you think? — Charles

Interesting question, Charles, but we can’t say for sure.  Who knows what lurks in the hearts of voters.  But we’re not the same country we were back when you were in college.  Anti-Semitism was much more prevalent back then.  And the good news is I haven’t heard anyone publicly make an issue of Bernie’s religion.  Maybe that’s because Bernie’s religion isn’t Judaism so much as it’s liberalism.  He’s very popular among the Left, even in places where there are few Jewish residents.  Let’s see what happens if he gets the nomination.

What did you think of the much criticized Don Lemon segment from a few days ago, where the CNN host laughed hysterically while his two guests mocked Donald Trump supporters with “redneck” accents. I thought it was pretty bad. At the same time it’s hard to take seriously certain people’s outrage over it, like on Fox News where hosts make excuses for Trump’s really bad behavior quite often. Do you think Lemon should have apologized? — Greg W.

If Lemon had apologized, I doubt it would have been sincere, so just as well that he didn’t.  But it was a very public glimpse into how a lot of liberals see Trump supporters.   As for the outrage:  I think it’s legitimate … but you’re absolutely right:  Sycophants on Fox routinely excuse the president’s bad behavior.  Everybody roots for their team. That’s what it’s come down to.  Principles?  They’re on life support.

Mr. G, Since we know of a few Republicans who publicly go after Trump because we all know he’s quite flawed, how come there are no Democrats who publicly criticize the also very flawed Schiff, Nadler, Pelosi, Waters and host of others? — ScottyG

Maybe it’s because they so despise Donald Trump they’ll tolerate just about anything those people say and do.  But I agree with the sentiment of your question.  The Left demeans Republicans for not standing up to Trump at the same time they look the other way when someone on their team says something hateful.  There’s a word for this, Scotty: Hypocrites.

Bernie, this past week a Republican running for state representative in Ohio revealed that, in 2013 when he was single, he had an account on the adult infidelity website AshleyMadison.com. The same day this was revealed, the head of the Ohio GOP, Jane Timken, an unwavering Trump supporter, said this, “I call for his (the state rep candidate) immediate withdrawal from the race. There is no place in our party for people that exercise such a gross lack of judgment.” I am a Republican, and I will vote again for Donald Trump, but I am pretty sure the Republican party conceded its “infidelity makes it impossible for you to hold office” argument when it decided to vote to “Make America Great Again.” How can Timken make a comment like this about someone running for state representative and have zero issue with Trump’s known infidelity? — Joe M.

See above reference to hypocrites.

You make a very good point, Joe.  I’m guessing the Ohio GOP chief figures the local Republican can’t win so she’s throwing him under the bus.  But she — and others — dare not take on Donald J. Trump because his supporters will exact a price on them.  The guy in Ohio isn’t feared; Donald Trump is.  The guy in Ohio doesn’t have supporters who will make you regret abandoning him. Donald Trump does.  That’s the reality.  But it doesn’t take anything away from your point, which as I say, is a very good one.

Bernie, did you know Bernard Shaw the former, and in my opinion, the last legitimate news anchor at CNN? I’m curious as to what he must feel about his former shop having become a Liberal propaganda machine. — John M.

Did not know “the other Bernie.”  But, depending on his politics, he’s either offended by what CNN has become — or not.  And I’m not betting on which it is.  But if he’s liberal, he may think CNN is doing a great job.  Especially if he hates DJT.  It shouldn’t matter what his politics are.  But very often, it does.

Many on the left say Reagan is responsible for all the mental patients who are homeless and posing a danger to the public because of the budget cuts he made back in the day, which forced the mental institutions to release them out into the general public. Many on the right (like Ann Coulter) claim the ACLU filed a lawsuit against the mental institutions because many of their residents had never been convicted of any crimes, and hence these mentally ill people were being illegally locked up which is a violation of their civil rights; hence a mass release leading to mass homelessness. Which of these narratives is correct, in your opinion? Does either side have evidence?  — Rampant Homeless Regards from The Emperor

You never cease to amaze me with you questions, Emperor. But sometimes I wish you would cease to amaze me.  My understanding is that there was a push long before Reagan to shut down many big mental institutions and replace them with smaller, neighborhood facilities.  The former happened; the latter didn’t.  The result was a lot of mentally ill people on the street.  But I’m no expert on this.

Did you happen to see the Fox News dust-up last Monday during impeachment coverage, when Chris Wallace angrily told Katie Pavlich (who’s very pro-Trump) to get her “facts straight”? Wallace shot down her talking point about past impeachment proceedings (she was indeed inaccurate), but his sharp tone took back others on the set (and caused a frenzy from Trump supporters on the Internet). Did Wallace overdo it? Or was it an understandable response from a professional journalist frustrated with having to correct obvious partisan rhetoric? — Jen R.

I didn’t see it but nonetheless I’m on the side of Chris Wallace.  And if his tone was a tad sharp, good.  Katie Pavlich is a bright woman but, as you say, very pro Trump.  She and others need to act more like journalists and less like partisans.  As for the Internet frenzy, what else is new.  Pro Trumpers on social media are fans of Donald Trump. They don’t want fair and balanced news about their messiah.  They want gushing praise for him.  Chris isn’t playing that game — and good for him.

The reality is (from a right-leaning Independent) that Trump is just the wrong guy for the job on  many levels. At his best, he’s incompetent. At his worst, he is dangerous. Here’s what I don’t get (as you say) … Why aren’t the Dems looking to truly understand and help, in so many ways, the 49 million folks who voted for Pres. Trump? 40% of the better paying jobs in America don’t need a college education. Announce to the world that the U.S. is building 1000 auto-body and automotive training centers, nation-wide; partner with the unions to build 100’s of additional electrical, plumbing, and carpentry, apprentice facilities. We all get the picture. It’s a start. Embrace your “adversary”. I guarantee, you would win over large chunk of “the other” guys and gals. Throw in six-year term limits for every elected official, make sure that they “get” the same medical plan they vote in for the rest of us, and we are done. You with me? — Aloha, Mike S.

Mike, the Democrats claim to speak for those blue collar Americans you ask about.  So does Donald Trump.  As you say, someone needs to stand up and say, “Not everybody needs to go to college.”  We can use more good, reliable plumbers and electricians and carpenters.  All good paying jobs. But the Democrats are more concerned about the “existential” threat of climate change and trying to convince voters that the economy is only working for the top 1 percent and that America has racism embedded in their DNA.  If Donald Trump weren’t such a divisive human being, he’d win in a landslide.  If …

In light of the classy performance this past week by CNN’s Don Lemon and his dimwitted guests, I was wondering whether “hate press” should be on the First Amendment chopping block with “hate speech” ( no doubt those who want to limit speech that subjectively triggers others also favor similar restrictions on so-called journalists who spew hatred every night that millions of us find offensive). In this vein, are you familiar with ( and maybe even a fan of) the Babylon Bee? — Michael F.

I’m only vaguely familiar with Babylon Bee.  Not sure what you want to do about what you call “hate press” but I don’t want any restrictions placed on even stupid news people who say stupid things.  If you think Don Lemon is a jerk don’t watch him.  But we don’t need rules governing what news people can say and not say.  That’s not a road we want to go down.  I’m not even sure that’s what you’re suggesting.

 


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Bernie’s Q&A: Jeff Zucker, Warren vs. Sanders, NFL Concussions, and more! (1/24) — 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.

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


Are we supposed to believe that the Democrats took no pleasure in this sham of an impeachment process, yet Pelosi goes and orders souvenir monogrammed pens for her Democratic colleagues. Could that be why the delay in delivering the articles of impeachment, the pens were on backorder? Maxine Waters held her pen up like it was a Championship Trophy. I’d like to point out that when Clinton was impeached, the Republicans delivered the articles to the Senate on a Saturday. There was no made for TV procession and no souvenir pens were handed out. Circus, Circus — John M.

They’ve wanted this from the day he was elected president.  They may try to hide their joy, but it comes out, as you rightly say, John.

Bernie, I was watching the movie Concussion this week and clips of your 2007 Real Sports concussion story were shown. Looking back at that story now, do you believe Dr. Casson (one of the doctors for the NFL at the time) honestly did not think there were any links between concussions and long term brain damage or CTE, and at the time you did that story did you have any idea that we were on the verge of a major shift in how concussions are handled in sports? — Joe M.

I’ll take Dr Casson at his word that he really believed there was no provable link between repeated hits to the head and various brain disorders.  Is it possible that he was covering for the NFL?  I guess so.  But I’m not making any accusations.  As for whether I had any idea that “we were on the verge of a major shift in how concussions are handled in sports” … no.  That’s because I don’t think that way when covering a story.  I just report what I know and whatever happens after that happens.

In the PBS Frontline specials on the political divide in America, the first 2 hours identified FNC (shows like Beck and Hannity) and conservative talk radio as the reason the country was pushed into the divide (as they strongly opposed healthcare reform, gun law changes, etc.). They used clips and sound bites from FNC and Limbaugh, and made a very compelling case. But so much of what ‘bias’ is about is what is left ‘out’ of a story. For example, MSNBC opted long ago to learn further left (with people like Rachel Maddow, Ed Shultz, and Phil Griffin). While I have no issues w/ Frontline using FNC and talk radio as examples, it feels like bias for them to leave out MSNBC who was doing very similar things to their base. It makes it hard for a moderate like me to take other Frontline programs seriously which ironically is hurting their cause. — Chuck S.

I didn’t see the Frontline report so I’m going only on what you’re telling me, Chuck.  Bias indeed involves not only what you put in to the story, but also what you leave out.  One could make a case that conservative talk radio and TV contributes to the polarization of America.  But so does the other side.  If they had no clips from MSNBC and CNN then I’d conclude that the journalists went in with an agenda; they highlighted whatever supported their bias and downplayed or left out entirely anything that would challenge their premise.  But again, I’m only going on what you’re telling me, Chuck.

Bernie, not sure if you are a golfer but was curious if you had an opinion in contrasting golf (where players must call penalties on themselves or suffer humiliation , e.g. Patrick Reed) and the major sports where players seek a call that they know is incorrect (stealing signs in baseball , a non-catch in baseball or football or a basketball player who was not touched but gets the foul call, among others). Most avid golfers will tell you that one of the great things about golf are the life lessons it teaches (and reinforces): humility, honesty, true respect for the game, and many others. Not sure those character traits come to mind very often in our major sports these days. Do you have any favorite interviews of golfers and if so why? — Michael F.

Even if golf is theoretically different from other sports in that humility, honesty etc are supposedly ingrained in the game in ways that they’re not in other sports … there is cheating in golf.  A friend of mine played with Donald Trump before he became president and told me a great story about how The Donald cheated in a crazy, blatant way.  Too intricate to re-tell here.  But …

Here’s a favorite golf story:  A wife says to her husband, “If I die will you let your new wife drive my car?  The husband is stunned  “Are you sick? Why would you ask me that?” The wife says, “I’m fine, just curious.”  Husband says, “Yeah, I’d let her drive your car.  It’s just a car.”  So she says, “Would you let her sleep in our bed?” He says, “It’s a bed.  A mattress.  What’s the big deal?  Yeah, I’d let her sleep in our bed.” So the wife then asks, “Would you let her use my golf clubs?” To which the husband replies: “No, she’s a lefty.”

I believe Elizabeth Warren’s “sexist” accusations against Bernie Sanders are unwarranted, but it’s hard for me to sympathize with Sanders. This is a tactic from the leftist playbook, and has been used to dehumanize conservatives FOR DECADES. Sanders has never seemed to have a problem with it when conservatives are the target. Also, Sanders regularly refers to Trump (and his supporters) as “racist, sexist, homophobic, islamophobic.” I’d like to ask him how it feels now that the shoe is on the other foot? And do you think this will lead to some self-reflection from him?

Also, in regard to how that CNN debate moderator doubled-down on Sanders allegedly saying a woman couldn’t win the presidency, despite his denials, do you think that there is even the slightest chance that the liberals who deny MSM bias might see this incident and actually think to themselves, “HEY, Wait A MINUTE! This is what our side has been doing to unfairly smear conservatives for years! THAT’S NOT RIGHT!”? — Feuding Leftist Regards from the Emperor.

Here’s your problem, Emperor:  You’re thinking logically.  Bernie isn’t thinking that the left has smeared conservatives and now the shoe is on the other foot.  He’s not thinking that for even one second.  Besides, my guess is he really did tell Senator Warren that a woman couldn’t win.

As for introspection by liberals who deny MSM bias:   NO, they’re not saying Wait a Minute or anything like that.  They have very little introspection.

But keep hoping and wishing and dreaming, Emperor.  It won’t change anything but if it makes you feel better in some way, fine with me.

My son starts classes at Columbia University today, and last week I moved him into an apartment in West Harlem. When not sleeping on his IKEA couch, I stayed across the Harlem River in the Bronx. I know you grew up in the South Bronx some years ago and was wondering if you ever get back there. I grew up in Dallas and now live in the ‘burbs, and many parts of my city have changed twice over. Just curious, how has the Bronx of your childhood changed or stayed the same? Also, any advice for my college kid in NYC? He’s 21 years old and a Marine, so not exactly innocent, wild-eyed and naive. By the way for Christmas I gave him a framed picture of Lou Gehrig in his Columbia baseball uniform. I knew you would appreciate. — Steve R.

Hey Steve.  I haven’t been back in a very long time.  When I grew up there it was a lower middle class neighborhood with, by and large, stable families.  Things got worse in the 60s and 70s — a lot worse — but then neighborhoods came back to life.  The elementary school I went to was on Charlotte Street, which later became the symbol of urban decay.  I watched Ronald Reagan campaign on Charlotte Street and saw my school over his shoulder.  Charlotte Street came back to life too.  Do I miss the old neighborhood?  Honest?  No.  I’ve moved on.  As for advice to your son:  Be careful on the streets around Columbia.  And at the university itself, be careful not to live inside the bubble that surrounds many elite schools.  But I’m sure he’s a smart kid and knows what he’s getting into.  Finally, sounds like a great Christmas gift!

I don’t view it as my job to waste my time confirming just how bad CNN is by tuning into it every now and then. Isn’t that why I pay you the astronomical sum of $4 a month, Bernie? Ha. You can keep me posted on when they start to try to at least act like a responsible news organization. My question is, unless they are a not-for-profit organization owned by George Soros, why do the shareholders sit still for this? CNN’s ratings have nosedived in recent years. Does this somehow translate into $ for the bottom line? Or is the corporation that owns it as ideologically bent as the the network and doesn’t care if they make a profit? Inquiring minds want to know. — John F.

Maybe Jeff Zucker is one of those guys that can sell ice cubes to Eskimos. He’s run the place into the ground and somehow gets away with it.  Go figure.  But you’re absolutely right:  It’s not your job to waste time watching CNN.  That’s what I’m here for.  I promise that the next time I alert you on a CNN matter, it will be when they, as you put it, “try to at least act like a responsible news organization.”  I figure that’ll be never.

Joe Buck had a good (all) sport interview show called Undeniable. It disappeared. Do you know why? Also, what’s your opinion on the Astro’s debacle and who should get the pennant? — Beverly

Not sure why Undeniable isn’t on anymore.  I liked it too.  Re the Astros: Everyone associated with that scandal needs to pay a price — a hefty one.  The managers and GM have already been hit … so that leaves … THE PLAYERS who knew what they were doing was wrong and did it anyway.  If it turns out they really did wear electric devices that delivered a minor shock indicating what kind of pitch was coming, kicking them out of baseball for an entire season  would be fine with me.  As for who will win the AL pennant this year:  The Bronx Bombers, I hope.  I also hope it’s not the Astros.  That would be … awkward.  As for the NL:  Let’s go with the Dodgers.

Or the Nationals.

I’m unclear what protections the whistleblower is afforded under the whistleblower protection policy, therefore I don’t understand why it is unfair to disclose his/her identity. I’ve always been under the impression that the whistleblower protections were designed to prevent retribution, such as being terminated from one’s job. Equally, I’ve understood that in law the accused has the right to confront his/her accuser. Both of these seem like fair principles to me.

Here’s my confusion: While the name of the whistleblower has not been officially disclosed (as far as I’m aware), there seems to be a broad understanding, at least among the TV talking heads, as to who the whistleblower is. If, in the unlikely event, the Republicans agree with the Democrats to call witnesses, why wouldn’t they compel, by subpoena, the testimony of the whistleblower and then of Adam Schiff to determine if the two versions of what happened during and following the famous call to the Ukraine president marry up? Many thanks. — OverTheTop

Your understanding of the protections afforded whistleblowers is correct.  Here’s why his or her name isn’t being disseminated widely.  If something were to happen to the whistleblower — something very bad — the news outlet that released his name would then be in the crosshairs.  That said, if the whistleblower were a conservative Republican who unleashed the dogs on a liberal Democrat president, his or her name would be out in a nanosecond.

I hear from a lot of people who think the whistleblower’s testimony is important.  I don’t.  But I do think the identify of that person would be very interesting.  What if he’s Joe Biden’s cousin?  Or an executive at the DNC?  Or someone who thinks Trump is Hitler. But we know pretty much what the president said in the call.  The whistleblower can’t shed light on the content of the call — except maybe to say there was more said than what’s in the summary.  And it is a summary, not a verbatim transcript.  So I don’t care if the whistleblower testifies. The summary speaks for itself. But as I say, I do think his or her identity would be mighty interesting.  It certainly would shed light on motives for blowing the whistle.  Thanks for the question, OverTheTop.  Is that your real name?

 


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.