Bernie’s Q&A: Biden, Stirewalt, Pompeo, Woods, and more! (1/22) — Premium Interactive ($4 members)

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

Over the years various, universities have blocked free speech of non-liberals and that expanded to include the firing/forced retirement of professors for stating such seditious remarks as “all lives matter.” This trend of the redefining basic rights is expanding further as evidenced by various Congressional members’ (e.g., AOC) call for blacklists of Trump supporters with unspecified penalties to be imposed, and even Harvard is now considering withdrawing diplomas of selected Trump officials and supporters for sedition (or whatever). It seems that ‘woke’ (definition is fluid) is the new “Enlightenment,” with Trump and his supporters the new Louis XVI and the Ancien Régime. I’m afraid Pres.-Elect Biden has hands full if he really intends to unify this country, but he seems to be focusing a lot on Climate Change. I believe that we are nearing an American version of the Reign of Terror led by the new ‘enlightened’ elites and where valuable resources will be squandered on a possible threat that is 100 years away versus one that has greater immediate consequences, existential or not. Maybe this is an overly pessimistic view and Biden will be effective. What are your thoughts on this trend/state of affairs, if you believe it is dire at all? — DonEstif

Your observations are quite thoughtful. And I’m not saying that because I’ve written about the same things and come to the same conclusions. There are nut jobs on the right, but the cancel culture is overwhelmingly a left wing bludgeon — with one great big exception. Fox News cancels conservatives who say negative things about Donald Trump. They cancelled George Will, Colonel Ralph Peters, Erik Ericson, me … and now their own political editor Chris Stirewalt. This is way beyond ironic, even if the doofuses who make decisions at Fox don’t get it. FNC spends all day rightly lamenting the cancel culture — and they’re one of the biggest practitioners of the cancel culture..  You can’t make this stuff up.

Now, onto Joe Biden. Despite his gracious and optimistic inaugural address, he will have a very tough time bringing the country together — because we’re way too divided and I can’t thing of anything — literally, anything — that will bring us together anytime soon.  So, Don, I don’t think your view is overly pessimistic … and yes, I do believe the situation is dire. And my apologies if I’m depressing you with these observations.

Two things I’d love to do, is to vote for you president of the United States, and second, sit down and talk sports with you for an afternoon. — Barney G.

Barney, you’re way too kind. If you voted for me for president, they’d have to lock both of us up in an asylum — and for the same reason: You’d be nuts to vote for me and I’d be nuts to run. On the sports matter, trust me, I’m not being immodest: I don’t know that much. I peaked when I was 10 and living near the Yankee Stadium. But be assured I appreciate the very kind words.

What do you think of Pompeo as a presidential candidate for 2024? Also, have you ever listen to Geraldo’s radio program which is also a podcast? You should be on his show sometime. You both have reasonable ideas and thoughts. — Tony P.

I liked Pompeo more before he became a Trump sycophant. He’s very smart. I could like him again. As for Geraldo: He’s not a fan of mine. I once said something personal he didn’t like and he threatened to punch me in the face. He said that on TV no less. So, if he calls, I’ll think about the offer. But he won’t call.

Bernie, do you think one of the worst things Republicans can do as we move towards the midterms is determine its slate of candidates based on the candidates’ loyalty (or disloyalty) to Trump? At the end of the day, the best strategy for taking back the House is fielding the best candidates, not worrying about who did or did not kiss Trump’s ring. If the Republicans engage in internal fighting during the next two years over who was and was not loyal to Trump, the Democrats will be very happy come January of 2023. — Joe M.

Joe, you are absolutely correct. The problem, I think, is that Trump’s most loyal fans may demand that any GOP candidate be someone who kissed his ring. If the candidate didn’t, he or she likely won’t get the support of those loyal fans, who I fear will sit home on Election Day and hand victory to the Democrats.

Mr. G., I just got around to watching the Dec20’ Real Sports last night. God Bless you sir! Aside from my eyes being abused by Bryant G’s hideous sport jacket shout out to Wimbledon, my ears were abused by all your “woke” colleagues who dismissed anything the Right is concerned about including dead police officers because it’s the Left’s turn at the sympathy megaphone. How one sided can a group be? Would any of your enlightened colleagues not call the police if they had just been invaded, robbed and beaten because it was the criminal’s turn to express themselves? That was a tough watch. –ScottyG

How one sided can a group be, you ask? I AM diversity on that show. And let me share a secret with you: I’m getting tired of it.

Regarding Monday’s column about courageous liberals who need to stand up and speak out against the illiberal left: I see people asking who they are and where they can be found. As several people (myself among them) have been pointing out, the liberals’ heads will also be on the chopping block at some point in the future, but for some reason, they just don’t believe that it’s going to happen to them.  Maybe this is a better question:

HOW do we, the right, CONVINCE the liberals, (some of whom may be our enemies) that THEY are the ones who need to step up to the plate and put a stop to this? If they really want to be the champions of the underdog, conservatives currently fit into that category. Your thoughts are welcome. — “Love Your Enemies” Regards, From The Emperor

I have no desire, Your Royal-ness, to try to convince liberals to stand up and do the right thing. They need to come to that decision all by themselves. If they don’t … and if the cancel culture gets worse, as I suspect it will … there will be a backlash against the left in some form or another. As for liberals and progressives standing up for conservative underdogs … Your Majesty has quite a sense of humor, unusual among those who wear the crown.

I’m curious to get your comment on a statement made by your colleague Bryant Gumbel during the recent HBO Tiger Woods documentary. Woods was shown on the Oprah show describing for the first time his racial identity as “Cablinasian”. For the unaware, it stands for Caucasian/Black/Indian/Asian and is Woods’ acknowledgement of his multiracial background. Gumbel took issue with this, saying it disappointed many black people who wanted Woods to represent them in popular culture. Gumbel also said that Woods should identify as black because that’s what the population at large saw him as. I take issue with Gumbel’s assessment, especially in light of the left’s granting individuals their ability to self-identify by race, sexual orientation, and even gender. Plus, Woods is being truthful. He’s not just black, he’s multiracial, something shared by many Americans of his generation. My kids are significant parts Mexican, Italian (mother’s side), Scots-Irish and Russian Jew (my side). Shouldn’t they and Tiger Woods be allowed agency to be who they say they are? Surprised a liberal like Gumbel would have such a narrow mind on this issue, especially in today’s climate.  — Steve R.

We’re told over and over that minorities have the right to identify anyway they want. You can be overwhelmingly white, but if you had a black great grandmother, and you want to call yourself black, that’s your right. That said, I understand Bryant’s position. But you can’t have it both ways. Either we have the right to self-identify … or we don’t.

Bernie, a little potpourri for you this week. Mustn’t the NY Times no longer refer to itself as “The Gray Lady?” Am I the only one who thinks that Dr. Fauci gives a whole new meaning to the term Political Science? Has the label of white supremacy transcended race given the fact that Larry Elder and Candace Owens have been called white supremacists simply for arguing that no race should be deemed superior to any other race? And finally, how many people under the age of 30 were taught that fascism arose in Italy not Germany and that one of the key elements of fascism was the close relationship between the Italian government and the leading Italian corporations (known as corporatism)? I am hoping that four rhetorical questions count as one question on the Bernie-meter. — Michael F.

Re the Gray Lady question:  Huh? Where did that come from, Michael? Who cares what they call it? The Dr. Fauci question leaves me even more puzzled than the one about the NY Times. Next. That two black people have been called “white supremacists” is proof positive that the people who called them that … are idiots.  And finally, your question about the origin of the word “fascism” — let me go back to my response to your question about the Gray Lady: Huh?  And if the questions really are rhetorical as you say … why am I answering them?

[Regarding this week’s “Off the Cuff”]: Listening to biased commentary is not in itself foolish or a complete waste of time. It’s how one listens. Please note Francis Bacon….”Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.”. Is not what you –and I, in sympathy– are really lamenting is the loss of a reasonableness, an open mindedness, a balanced, contemplative disposition in our fellow citizens? A willingness to be challenged/engaged/upset by other points of view is a serious aspect of the truly civil individual. Is that not the great loss in the modern American body politic? Take care — Andrew M.

Here we have one more piece of evidence proving that the people who post questions here generally are smarter than everybody else on the internet. I guess I am lamenting the loss of reasonableness and open mindedness … because what we have now is not only the opposite … but a tribal partisanship that results in the loss of principles.  I hear way too many commentators telling us how bad such and such is … when just a week ago they were praising their guy for doing the same thing.  My goal is to drop out.  To stop being a witness to this garbage.

Thank you for the smart question.


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.



The Spirit of Free Speech Is in their Crosshairs …

What if it’s worse than we think?  What if this is just the beginning?

For some time now conservatives have been fearful about what a culture dominated by progressives would look like.

It’s not only concern over packing the Supreme Court or raising taxes.  Conservatives know that too many liberals have forgotten how to actually be liberal, and so they rightfully worry that if given the opportunity, progressives would use their clout to stifle and even attempt to shut down speech they don’t like.

Well, it turns out, that wasn’t right-wing paranoia.

As you know, Twitter and other powerful social media platforms have cancelled President Trump.  They claim it’s because his rhetoric incites violence.

Twitter is a private company and so no one has a constitutional right to tweet.  But they’d be more credible at Twitter headquarters in San Francisco if they also banned Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei who not long ago tweeted, “ … Palestine will be free, while the fake Zionist regime will perish. There’s no doubt about this.”

So as far as Twitter is concerned, Donald Trump is a menace that must be permanently banned but it’s okay for Iran’s leader to use Twitter to threaten Israel’s very existence?

That it took a Russian dissident to spot the dangers in what Twitter is doing should tell us something.  Alexy Navalny has said that, “This precedent will be exploited by the enemies of freedom of speech around the world. In Russia as well. Every time when they need to silence someone, they will say: ‘this is just common practice, even Trump got blocked on Twitter.'”

We may think of Twitter as a great big powerful megaphone, which it is.  But it’s also a garbage can filled with hateful and at times violent messages.

As the New York Post reports, “Twitter hosts a #KillTrump hashtag. In all of the glorious English language there is no clearer, plainer, or shorter way to call for violence than the word kill followed by someone’s name. But there it is. One of these tweets reads ‘#ArrestTrump not enough #KillTrump.’ And this isn’t new, back in June the hashtag #AssassinateTrump was bouncing around the website with gems like ‘Someone take this clown out NOW.’”

It gets worse. And it comes in the form of modern day blacklists.  Once they were rightly despised by Hollywood liberals who lost their jobs and their livelihoods back in the 1950s because of their political beliefs. Now, they’re something the “enlightened” Left has taken a liking to.

Stuart Stevens, a senior advisor to the anti-Trump Lincoln Project, tweeted that “we are constructing a database of Trump officials & staff that will detail their roles in the Trump administration & track where they are now.” He added: “No personal info, only professional. But they will be held accountable & not allowed to pretend they were not involved.”

Translation:  If you ever worked for Donald Trump you are now in our crosshairs.  You will pay a price for your perfidy.  You are on our blacklist.

And it’s not only what some of us have actually said or done. The worst part is that many Americans  — in Hollywood, in academia, in newsrooms, in Silicon Valley and all over corporate America — are so frightened of retaliation for harboring unaccepted ideas, that they’re censoring themselves, making sure they don’t even utter certain words, fearing the consequences that may follow.

As a long time reporter for CBS News, I covered stories in the old Soviet Union and China and Cuba under Fidel Castro.  People in those countries watched what they said.  They understood the penalties for saying something deemed unacceptable.  That’s what happens in repressive regimes.  Such fear is toxic in a democracy like ours.

The other day someone on Fox said something that jumped out at me.  What if you want to buy a MAGA hat on Amazon, the conservative analyst said, and because of that they close out your account?  I had never thought of that.

“Today it is Mr. Trump, and the corporations claim it’s necessary to prevent more violence,” Kimberley Strassel writes in her Wall Street Journal column. “But how long before an online processor refuses to facilitate the credit-card transaction of any American with a Parler account, or an online provider announces it will no longer transmit emails that question climate change? When does Apple start scouring and shutting down iMessages that fit its definition of ‘insurrectionist’ talk?”

I know, it sounds crazy – maybe even paranoid.  But given what’s already happening, I’m not counting any of it out – not yet, anyway.

The cancel culture started long before Donald Trump riled up his fans in Washington in a speech that led to some supporters storming the Capitol.  It started long before social media found his messages too dangerous to tolerate.

For quite some time the cancel culture thrived on elite, liberal college campuses where conservative speakers were shouted down with little or no consequences to the angry mob.  At too many universities, certain speech, apparently, isn’t worth protecting.

So should it really surprise us that this brand of illiberal liberalism has spread from the campus to the broader culture?

Conservatives alone can’t stop the censorship. Conservatives alone can’t stop the attacks on the spirit of free speech.  It will take courageous liberals to stand up to the cancel culture that their side is perpetuating.

But if for whatever reason liberals don’t take on the authoritarian excesses of their own side, what we’re witnessing now, bad as it is, may just be the beginning — the beginning of something far, far worse.

If they can silence the President of the United States, no one is safe.

Bernie’s Q&A: Impeachment, Riots, Democratic Control, and more! (1/15) — 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! 

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

You responded to BackPacker last week as to transitions in Dem leadership. I’d be interested in your thoughts on the GOP too? Is there anyone out there who can be “Reagan-esque” and find a way to present a common sense vision without the extremes we hear promulgated continuously these days? I cling to the hope there are still fellow citizens out there longing for such a message. — Paul M.

There are some good people on the Republican side but they’ll never be accepted by the fringe — and by that I mean the Trump diehards who will not vote for anybody who EVER said a bad word about their messiah. I like Senator Ben Sasse … and two Members of Congress — Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger. The ones I like the most are the same ones the MAGA loyalists hate the most. That alone tells me I’m on the right track. Please go back and read my column posted last Monday. In it I say the GOP has to cut ties with the rabid Trump base. Go after a bloc that’s winnable: moderates in the suburbs.

I understand the frustration and anger over the events at the Capitol which were criminal and the perpetrators need to be prosecuted. However I strongly object to the whitewashing of the events this summer in Portland, Seattle and the numerous other cities throughout the country by the Fascist so called Anti Fascist Antifa. Are we to believe the silence of the Left was not incitement? I’m 86 years old and sick and tired of the inference that Leftist Totalitarial Fascism is more Noble than their Nazi adversaries and is not Fascism at all. If you believe that BS I have a Bridge in Brooklyn for sale. Lenin , Stalin , Hitler were the same coin. A Fascist is a Fascist no matter how you try to dress it up. Any comment ? — Joseph V.

The partisan hypocrisy on the Left, Joseph, is overwhelming. As I said in my Off the Cuff report this week, there will soon be time for me to comment on that. Soon. But I’ve focused my time on Donald Trump at the moment. Give me a little time to pick up where you left off.

Yes Bernie, I believe Trump’s finally realized the system is not going to support his efforts for re-election. Looking to the future, I believe the media and politicians of both parties have mis-read what’s actually going to happen. They make everything about Trump, and he does a good job of doing the same thing, but I believe the Trump phenomenon is more about the people than it is about him. Yes, he’s motivated lots of people to vote and participate in the election process, but I firmly believe that he actually tapped into the frustration of the people towards the elites (media and politicians of both parties, etc.). This frustration can be tapped into by other people, provided they have the ability to inspire and excite. It will be interesting to see what happens the next two years. Given that even if Trump wanted to go away, the media won’t let him as they need him as a punching bag to prop up their ratings Do you have any insights as to who you believe might have the ability to excite and expand the Republican base? –Thanks, TJ (the General).

Conservative ideas presented by a decent person could inspire the Republican base. A politician who talks about cutting regulations that strangle business, limiting the scope of government, emphasizing the dangers of censorship by the “woke” authoritarian crowd … but talks about these things not like a street thug but like a good man or woman. Trump had more than a few good ideas … but he was a horrible messenger … because everything was about him. He needed applause 24 hours a day. The GOP needs someone who, unlike Donald Trump, will try to expand the base. Those people are out there. They will appeal to most Republicans — not the Trump diehards — and many if not most moderate swing voters. There’s hope — but only if GOP pols lose their cowardice and stop fearing the Trump fringe.

Bernie, as a previously right-leaning Independent, I was alternatingly, smiling, and horrified, the way you had to twist yourself into a pretzel, to maintain your “neutrality” in regard to Trump and his Republican enablers. Trump at his best, is incompetent. At his worst, he’s dangerous. We know where we are, presently. I’m happy to see that you have finally recognized a significant threat to our democracy — Aloha, Mike

Aloha, Mike. Yes, I’m on record for most of his presidency saying Donald Trump is a very bad person but not a threat to democracy. I thought that those who said he threatened democracy and western civilization as we know it were engaging in partisan overstatement. But that changed — and I wrote about it — when he wouldn’t admit he lost the election. I said that in a democracy we must have faith in our institutions — and that elections were the most important institution of all. If we lose confidence in elections, I wrote, our democracy is in danger. And I put the blame for weakening the trust in the election squarely on Donald J. Trump.

I take issue with you, Mike, when you contend that I twisted myself into a pretzel to maintain some kind of neutrality. I supported conservative values. I criticized the partisan media. And at the same time, I criticized the president. I took issue with the hard right and the authoritarian hard left. That’s not an attempt to be neutral. It’s an attempt to be honest.

Bernie, I know the easy answer these days is to blame the chaos on Trump, but violence is violence and it is wrong whether you commit it for the BLM or MAGA cause. Regardless of who is to blame for all that has happened (I am not referencing just the past two weeks), do you think we are missing an obvious instigator in the room, our social media addiction? It seems throughout history, society gets a little screwy when it finds a new addicting toy. For instance, the Civil War happened not too long after the proliferation of the telegraph which greatly sped up the nation’s news cycle. World War 2 occurred not too long after the peak of broadcast radio, and the events of the 1960s coincidentally happened after the explosion of television. Maybe, just maybe, one thing we could all do is put the phone or computer down, take a deep breath, and go talk face to face with someone who might seem a little different than us (feel free to stand 6 feet apart for now). Hiding behind a PC or phone is not healthy and all social media is doing is reinforcing people’s paranoia with a false belief that they are “liked” or “followed”. Who knows, maybe I am wrong and this is really just Trump’s fault and once he is gone peace will reign again…but just in case, is it time to put social media on the shelf? — Joe M.

What happened last week at the Capitol was Trump’s fault, as far as many of us are concerned. But peace will not reign when he’s gone. The polarization is too deep. The divide is too great.

You make interesting points, Joe. I think social media is a big factor adding to our divisions. Some anonymous idiot can go on line and call you all sorts of names and we don’t even know who the jerk is. I think cable news is also a factor. They also pour gasoline on the fire.

Donald Trump didn’t start that fire … neither did cable TV news … nor social media.  But all three made things worse.

Question for you. Do you agree with Dennis Prager’s 12-22-20 article? Do you agree with EVERYTHING Dennis wrote in his 12-22-20 article?

Also, you SHOULD be happy, honored even, about being the lone diversity on “Real Sports”! THE ONLY reason I watch it, is to see if you’re in it that episode! Without you, “Real Sports” would be a non-starter for me. SO–keep on keeping on! You are one of the ONLY bright spots on cable TV! –Sincerely, Frank C.

Very kind of you Frank, but I may soon be disappointing you regarding Real Sports. Stay tuned.

Regarding Dennis Prager’s article: There’s too much there for me to agree with wholeheartedly. I think Dennis makes a lot of sense. That’s as far as I’m comfortably going. That said, I’m glad he had a good time at a bowling alley. I’m not taking that kind of chance — just to bowl or hang out with friends and family.

I agree with you that Republicans have to kick Trump to the curb and move on. The question I have is whether Republicans will be able to compromise with Democrats and help Biden get any of his agenda? Biden ran on being able to work with Republicans. Can Republicans spurn Biden and still be competitive? — John R.

Biden has to show some flexibility to work with Republicans just as the GOP has an obligation not to simply be what the Democrats were for the past four years — the party of resistance. But Republicans have no obligation to give in to Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer simply for the sake of unity. Compromise is another matter. For too long, though, compromise has been seen as something akin to treason. Conservatives on talk radio hated compromise … and Democrats in the age of Trump felt the same way. And we wonder why we’re so polarized and why politicians are even less popular than used car salesmen?

What type of punishment/accountability do you believe Trump should receive for his role in Wednesday’s insurrection at the U.S. Capitol? He won’t resign. Pence and the cabinet won’t enact the 25th Amendment. The House might get impeachment, but Trump’s term will probably be over before a conviction. Do you think he should be barred from never serving in public office again? It seems that a ton of people on the right want no accountability for him at all, with the explanation that it would create more division. Now they’re worried about division???…  after saying nothing against, and even participating in, Trump’s endless lies about the election over the past couple of months? — Ben G.

Here’s what I think, Ben: Even if impeachment is warranted — I say “even if” because there are compelling arguments on both sides — I would rather the Democrats just let him slink out of town and let it go at that. And no, I don’t think he should be barred from ever serving in public office again. Not because I want him to ever run again — he won’t; imagine the TV ads the opposition would run — but I have a problem telling the entire American electorate they can’t vote for somebody — for almost any reason.  I have faith they won’t ever elect him to anything — just as I have faith that he’ll never run for anything. But I don’t want him barred from running … and I don’t want voters barred from voting for him if — on the million to one chance — that he ever runs again. And consider this: FDR locked up over 100 thousand Japanese-Americans during World War II. If a president ever tried that today he’d be impeached and convicted. Should FDR have been banned from ever running again? The slippery slope worries me.

Danish physicist Niels Henrik David Bohr once observed “Prediction is quite difficult, especially about future events”. But I am going to ask you anyway to predict what I perceive to be fallout on both major political parties on the kerfuffle on The President Donald, the 25th Amendment, Impeachment. What are your thoughts lies ahead between now and 2022 and 2024?

(Full disclosure: I did not vote for Trump, Hillary, nor Biden; Condi Rice in 2016 & Nikki Haley 2020 as write-ins as none of the clowns in contention deserved my vote. So I do not have a horse in this race, and as always very interested to hear your thoughts. ) –Gregg H.

My crystal ball remains broken, but I’ll give it a shot. If Biden is pushed to the left by Bernie and AOC, Democrats will pay a price in 2022. That’s how things work, historically. The party out of power picks up seats … and if Joe gives moderates a reason to fear the leftward movement … he’ll lose more than he would have. And that could easily mean that the GOP takes control at least of the House. As for 2024: I cannot see Donald Trump running. And if he does, he won’t even win the nomination. There will be more than a few credible GOP candidates. But … and this is an important ‘but’ … if the true believers refuse to support anyone who hasn’t kissed their savior Donald Trump’s rear end … or if Donald Trump makes trouble (as I suspect he will) … enough Republicans might sit home on Election Day 2024 and cost the GOP the election. But remember, I said my crystal ball was broken.

When Obama said he was going to “fundamentally transform the USA” did you ever think he meant what we are seeing now? And it happening so quickly? Because this change is obviously embraced and dare I say fueled by a liberal media, how can the legitimate Right ever recover and regain some semblance of balance? What is needed to shift the biased press, media & the tech billionaires back toward the center? Do we have to just wait for them to all expose and eat each other before normal folks achieve the “I told you so moment” for leverage to start the correction? Or are we screwed for at least a generation or so? — A very concerned ScottyG

Big Media and Big Tech are hopelessly left wing in their thinking … and as long as they can make money spewing their biases, they will. In fact, even if it cost them money, I think they will. Because in the world of media, anyway, ideology trumps even money.

Is it easier to find a “healer” in a tent than in Washington DC.? — Michael F.

Is that a biblical reference, Michael? As long as Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer are in DC … as long as there are a few hard-line, true-believers in the ranks of the GOP, there will be no healing. I hope I’m wrong.

Bernie, you’ve said many times (and I agree) that profiles in courage are extremely rare in today’s politics. But I think what Liz Cheney did the other day, by strongly condemning Trump (the leader of her party) for his role in the U.S. Capitol attack, and endorsing impeachment and removal, was indeed a principled profile in courage. Do you agree? — Jen R.

I agree 100 percent. I’ll add Ben Sasse and Adam Kinzinger to the list, too.

Bernie, are you sick and tired of politicians constantly making Nazi comparisons? The Nazis were most hideous and vile people who committed the most unimaginable and horrifying crimes in the past century. It seems everyone from Joe Biden to Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats along with TV talking heads and entertainers paint President Trump and other Republicans with the hideous comparison far too often. While Trump is not saint, he’s certainly no Hitler or Himmler or even a member of the SS. Seeing Biden slip in a Goebbels reference last week was over the top for someone in his position I believe. To me, the Nazi reference been overused so much it’s lost all of its shock value or the meaning that it’s meant to convey. It’s just an easy crutch for these people to use. Of course it’s not going to happen but wouldn’t a bill by Congress to force everyone from making the wretched analogy be welcome? Thanks for your input. — Warren

I agree with everything but your last sentence — unless you’re kidding, of course. Comparing Trump to Hitler is repulsive. It shows no understanding of Hitler. It demeans the memory of those killed by that madman. But … I don’t want Congress passing laws telling us what we can say and what we can’t — beyond the obvious bans on falsely yelling fire in a crowded theater, and laws on libel and slander.

The best way for me to process these violent social/political events of the past 10 months is to take it out of the political realm. I was opposed to the violent actions of antifa and BLM when attacking and overtaking police headquarters and federal buildings in various U.S. cities. I was especially appalled at local politicians’ acquiescence to such actions. Arbitrary toppling of statues goes into the same category. I was equally appalled at last week’s stunning events when Trump supporters overtook and overwhelmed the Capitol. No politics in my thinking, just a reaction consistent to both sides. The common denominator among all these events is mob mentality, where individuals are influenced by their peers to adopt dysfunctional behaviors they never would have as individuals. There is much documentation of lynchings and other such events from the Jim Crow era where out-of-control mobs ruled over violent actions. Human behavior doesn’t change. It is ingrained in us. How do we avoid the glorification and encouragement of mobs in the future? We have done a poor job of it throughout American history. — Steve R.

A good start, Steve, would be for all decent people to condemn that kind of violence without regard, as you say, to politics. The problem in a word is hypocrisy. The Left rightly condemns the storming of the Capitol … but remained silent during the violence last summer. And some on the Right — some — were quick to condemn the left wing violence but aren’t quite sure that what happened at the Capitol was so terrible. Excuse the cliche but a plague on both their houses.

While I agree what Trump did was horrible (and certainly could be worthy of impeachment), how does this country heal if we keep rehashing prior wounds? The truth is that President Trump will be an ex-president in less than ten days regardless of whether or not a second impeachment proceeding/trial is held. Why are we doing this other than for political theater? Does either party even care about our country anymore? I know the Democrats are taking the lead on impeachment, but why aren’t more Republicans looking to shut this down for the good of the country as opposed to looking good for their future political careers? — Frank T.

Whether Donald Trump committed an impeachable offense or not — as I have said before, there are smart people who differ on this — with him leaving office in a matter of hours, I thought impeachment was unnecessarily widening the rift in this country. As for Republicans shutting the process down: Good luck with that. Thanks to Donald J. Trump the Democrats now control both Houses of Congress and can do pretty much what they want on this matter.

Several conservative commentators (Guy Benson and Noah Rothman to name a couple) have said that a number of Republicans in congress have told them that many more than 10 of them favored impeachment for Trump, but voted ‘no’ out of fear for their lives and personal safety [threats from Trump supporters]. I’m sympathetic, but it seems shameful for them to let those 10 do the heavy-lifting, and it seems un-American that important political decisions are being dictated by what is probably a genuine fear of being attacked or killed by their fellow Americans. Your thoughts? — Max the Great

I agree with you, Max, on all counts. While I understand the fear I don’t admire it. I do admire, however, those who as you say did the heavy lifting. Liz Cheney being at the top of that list.

I condemn what Trump supporters did at the Capitol. It was treasonous. Send the guilty parties to prison! While I’ve heard McConnell and Crenshaw unequivocally condemn this violence from their own party’s supporters, I did not hear Maxine Waters, Ted Wheeler, or Jenny Durkin do it during the ANTIFA/BLM “Protests”/RIOTS. So, for all the left wingers who are justifiably outraged and fearful of Trump supporters because they pulled these horrible actions, I would like to offer some observations:

The actions of January 6th 2021 are…

“…something some people did… an equivalent to the summer of love… from a group of disaffected people who were frustrated by the lack of fairness and objectivity in the mainstream media…from a group of people who should be allowed to vent out there frustrations…Trumpers are an IDEA, NOT AN organization”  

You get the picture. To paraphrase the late great Christopher Hitchens, “Liberal Democrats and their media cheerleaders, I just wanted you to hear what your arguments sound like once they’re played back to you. I thought you deserved that.”

I’m also hearing that if the protesters had been BLM supporters, they all would have been shot. I think this is a bunch of baloney since I didn’t hear of any black rioters or protestors getting shot during the riots in Portland, Seattle, and Baltimore… well, not by the police anyway..

What are your thoughts Hitchens’ “Hitchslap” analogy, and how do we bring the light of truth to the people hearing the lies that if it had been black protestors that they all would have been shot, but because they were white Trump supporters the cops supposedly spared them?

“We Conservatives Condemn OUR Violent Insurrectionists—WHY Can’t Prominent LIBERALS Do The Same For THEIRS?”===Regards From The Emperor

I think two things, Your Hiney-ness: Many on the Left have been hypocrites on the matter of riots. So you’re right about that. They rightly condemned the rioting at the Capitol but were pathetically silent about the riots, the looting, and the arson when the perpetrators were thugs more to their liking. That said … too many on the Right use liberal hypocrisy as an excuse — in an indirect way — to play down the mayhem that too many of Trump supporters caused. What they’re in effect saying is that, “Yeah, but they — the liberals — did it too.” I get it, I understand the frustration … but let’s not take our cues from the other side, especially when they’re being hypocritical.

And the second thing: I think your questions are too long.

Bernie, Do you think it hurts Mike Pence’s feelings that 197 members of his own party (including his brother, Greg) decided that the act of inciting rioters to try and kill him wasn’t an impeachable offense? Also, can you imagine having a brother who’s as big of a jerk as Greg? — John D.

Let me address your last sentence, the one in which you call Greg Pence a “jerk.” Such vulgar language may get you banned from ever asking another question here on this site. We, at don’t tolerate vulgar language. Jerk, Mr. John D, is a four letter word and we don’t tolerate four letter words here. Do you understand you dumb ass Mother-Fu****?

Editor’s note for members who are new to the weekly Q&A: Bernie’s always unreasonably hostile toward “John D.”, who — from what this impartial editor understands — is actually a tremendously nice guy who should really be admired by all.


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.



Off the Cuff: Attacking the Spirit of Free Speech

Some thoughts on social media, free speech, and political hypocrisy.

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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Cowards in the Age of Trump

If Donald Trump isn’t the worst president in the entire history of the United States, he’s certainly a serious contender for the title.

There is not enough room in all of cyberspace to tick off his many offenses. But he is good at a few things. No one in recent political history has been better at bamboozling those gullible MAGA supporters who practically worship at his feet.

Back in 2016 he told them he’d not only build a wall to keep illegal immigrants out of this country, but that Mexico would pay for it. That lie, which was one of many, helped him get elected.

Ever since he lost the election in November, he told his most loyal supporters, again playing on their gullibility, that he really won the election – and it wasn’t just any old victory; it was a landslide win. And his trusting fans bought that lie too.

And, as was expected, the story was amplified by the president’s sycophant friends in right-wing media.

It didn’t matter to his fans or his media toadies that the president’s legal team made their case to some 60 judges, some of whom Donald Trump himself had appointed – and that he lost every time out. It didn’t matter to the president’s most loyal, gullible, fan base because it didn’t matter to the president.

That’s also why it didn’t matter to the so-called analysts on conservative cable TV and radio. They’re cowards too — fearful that if they don’t pander to Donald Trump’s loyal base – if they don’t cover for his many lies they’ll lose their audience … and their ratings … and maybe their jobs.

And when he whipped up the crowd in Washington with more lies and conspiracy theories about how he really won the election, about how the Democrats stole it away from him, about how he would never concede and how he should rightfully remain in office for four more years, too many in the crowd responded by storming the Capitol — at the same time Congress was counting the Electoral College votes that would officially declare Donald Trump’s opponent the next president of the United States.

Which brings us to something else the president excels at: scaring the cowards in his party.

When they went on television – Fox News, mostly – they condemned the rioting, which was the easy part. But one politician after another – with very few exceptions — refused to state the obvious: that Donald Trump was the instigator, the one who whipped up the passions of his supporters, the one who said, “We’re going to the Capitol” to “try and give them the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country.”

The “we” in “We’re going to the Capitol,” of course, didn’t include the leader of the pack, the president. He went back to the safe confines of the White House.

But Donald Trump isn’t the only one who bears blame for what happened. The cowards in his party, the ones who never told him to stop the chaos that he caused almost on a daily basis – they also bear responsibility for the wretched end of his presidency.

They were afraid to stand up to him when he mocked the heroism of John McCain. They were afraid to stand up to him when he suggested a female opponent wasn’t attractive enough to be in the White House. They were afraid to stand up to him when he made fun of a journalist with a serious physical disability.

A friend of mine emailed me saying: “Ted Cruz is pandering to Trump’s insane ego when Trump mocked his wife’s looks, mocked the looks of the woman Cruz said he’d pick for VP, and accused his father of being involved with Lee Harvey Oswald. Hell, in Texas this would get you off on grounds of justifiable homicide!”

Time after time after time over more than four long years they refused to draw a bright red line; they refused to tell him to stop acting like a schoolyard bully and start acting like the President of the United States of America.

And what exactly was it that his Republican enablers were afraid of? They were afraid of Donald Trump’s rabid base, the voters who would never abandon him – no matter what.

They were afraid that if they stood up to Donald Trump, the MAGA crowd would make them pay for their disloyalty. They would either find a primary opponent to run against them or if that failed they’d sit home on Election Day and let the Democrat win.

Yes, the GOP has a problem, one brought on by Donald Trump and his party’s cowardly refusal to stand up to him and confront the loyalists who blindly trust and support him. So what to do?

Here’s an idea for Republicans: Stop being cowards. Stop fearing the wrath of those rabid Trump supporters – the ones who will demand loyalty to their leader long after he’s out of office, the ones who won’t support you if you ever say a bad word about Donald Trump. Let them go and start their third party as they’re already threatening to do.

The Republican Party will be better off without them. Like Donald Trump, they alienate more voters than they attract.

At the same time, mainstream Republicans should focus their efforts on a bloc that has voted for GOP candidates in the past, but abandoned the party when Donald Trump came along.

They should make their case to those educated, moderate, suburban voters – mostly women – who voted for Joe Biden because they couldn’t stomach four more years of Donald Trump.

If the GOP wins them back, they can win elections. But it takes courage to stand up to a bully. Profiles in courage are always hard to come by, but cowards in the age of Donald Trump, unfortunately, have been plentiful.