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Now, let’s get to your questions (and my answers):
Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel said this week that those over 75 years of age should be put at the end of the line for vaccine. He believes there is a moral problem living beyond 75. He is Jewish. Does he not remember another political leaders in 1932 , Hitler, had the same beliefs? Ambulances in the night ? Unfettered infanticide ! What the hell has happened to the Democratic Party? They show themselves to be just as totalitarians fascist as their Nazi adversaries! — Joseph V.
In 2014 Dr. Emanuel wrote an article in the Atlantic entitled “Why I hope to die at 75.” He pretty much didn’t think life was worth living after that. Let’s just say I can’t wait until he reaches 75 in 12 years. And if Zeke punched out tomorrow, I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it. But please show me where Emanuel said that those over 75 should be put at the end of the line for the vaccine? He may have implied it but I’m wondering if he actually said it.
I find it interesting that liberals are lecturing us about accepting election results. Just look back to 2016. After Hillary lost they tried to bully the electors, including death threats, into overturning the result. Then roughly 60 democrats boycotted Trump’s inauguration. Then they gave us a multi-year witch hunt that was the Mueller investigations. Do they really have grounds to say anything? — Kenny L.
The short answer is no. But this hypocrisy runs on a two way street. In 2016, right wingers didn’t complain when news organizations called Donald Trump the president-elect. Now they don’t want anyone to attach that same title to Joe Biden. And how would Trump supporters have reacted if Hillary had said there was widespread, massive fraud in the election? You think they’d say she has a point? No, they wouldn’t. But now, many hard core backers of Donald Trump seem to believe any crazy conspiracy theory. Both sides are borderline nuts and it’s one more reason I’m on the verge of dropping out. I can’t take much more of this BS.
Now that Biden has “won” the election; Why are the Governors and Mayors in the trouble spots still allowing unruly protesting? Won’t they have to step up and squelch the potential violence if things get dicey in the next few weeks? Haven’t they achieved what they were looking for? — ScottyG
First, Scotty, why the quotation marks around “won”? Biden won. Trump is allowed to go to court but it’s not going to change anything. It’s not officially over yet but realistically … it’s over. As for local officials allowing unruly protests, it’s what weak politicians do. Maybe Joe will send in the troops to put down demonstrations if they continue after he’s sworn in. That’s a joke. But you knew that, right?
Joe Biden has called for “unity and healing” in speeches and interviews since being deemed President-Elect, yet leaders in his own party are stepping up the vitriol towards Republican candidates and voters. James Clyburn, Robert Reich and AOC among others have either referred to Trump as Hitler (for the millionth time), called for blacklisting Trump admin staffers in future employment and called for shaming Trump voters. Doesn’t Biden carry an obligation to call out and denounce these comments that openly advocate for vengeance? I would like to take Biden at his word, but unless he is willing to be a bulwark for unity among American, his wish for healing is just empty. — Steve R.
He definitely has a responsibility — to tell the Stalinists in his party to knock off the blacklist talk. If he doesn’t, then his words about unity are indeed empty. I’m with you completely on this, Steve.
Bernie, did you see this story making the rounds? It turns out that it is not enough for liberals to silence conservatives through their friends in the main stream media and online platforms (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, etc.) Now it appears the left wants to deprive Trump, and the Republican Party, of their attorneys. I am willing to bet all of the money on earth that these firms have represented people who have committed acts so heinous it is too disgusting to print. I am also sure no one on the left ever told them to deprive those individuals of their right to counsel. However, if these firms represent Trump or Republicans, than it is a bridge too far for the Democrats. How come no one is seeing the utter insanity of these tactics? How can 74 million people in this nation think the game the left plays is ok? — Joe M.
There’s a recurring theme in this week’s Q & A. And it involves authoritarian liberalism and hypocrisy. The same people who would support providing lawyers to represent Al Qaeda terrorists pro bono (for free) are against lawyers representing Donald Trump and the GOP. You can’t make this crap up.
“People know that politicians don’t always tell the truth. They put the best light on their polices — and themselves. So news people should let them have their say and then — as you correctly suggest — set the record straight. What they’re doing now doesn’t give them more credibility — it gives them less.”
That was what you said last week regarding Neil Cavuto of Fox News cutting away from President Trump’s WH Press Secretary when she was issuing bald allegations of widespread voter fraud in the recent presidential election. While at first I tended to agree that Mr. Cavuto shouldn’t have cut away from Kayleigh M. on that occasion, I do see good reason to do so – there’s usually good reason on both (or all) sides of most (genuine) controversial issues, ideologues notwithstanding.
As an advocate of journalistic ethics and one who is a patriotic American – usually these two traits do not compete – can you articulate where to draw the line on covering highly inflammatory statements devoid of credible evidence by a WH Press Secretary or anyone else issuing normally newsworthy statements? Or do we take it case-by-case? Or should there any line drawn? Are there any statements that a WH Press Secretary must provide credible evidence for if her statements are going to be carried on a major (or any) news network? What if the WH Press Secretary announced, without a shred of credible evidence, that Joe Biden has advanced Alzheimer’s and when he speaks publicly he’s on drugs (as President Trump once hinted)? What if the WH Secretary announced, without a shred of credible evidence that the Biden campaign bribed vote counters in PA, AZ, and GA to disqualify every fourth ballet for Trump? I could give more ‘what ifs,’ but you certainly get my gist.” Why would major news networks give her valuable airtime if what she said wasn’t worthy of at least serious consideration? — Bob H.
Good question, Bob. At first, I would let the press secretary say just about anything — including that Joe Biden is a Martian — and then in the Q & A say something like, “What are you talking about? How can anyone believe anything you say?” But if the inanities continue day in and day out, I might stop attending the news conference. It would be clear that all we’re getting is nonsense. I would do a story about all the lies the press secretary told. But at the outset, I’d let him or her say anything within reason — even if it’s not literally 100 percent accurate. By within reason I refer back to the quotation at the top of your question — about how politicians often exaggerate and put the best light on themselves. Voters understand that. When the statements are way beyond reasonable, the harm will attach to the press secretary sooner or later. There’s a price to pay for lying. One of the reasons Donald Trump lost, I believe, is because voters understood how dishonest he is.
Now let me ask you a question, Bob: What should reporters have said to Barack Obama, let’s say, after the 30th time he looked right into the camera and said, “If you like you doctor you can keep your doctor” and “Your premiums will go down under my plan”? Should reporters have interrupted him? Should they have turned their cameras off? Should the anchor back in the studio then have said, “The president is a liar — or he simply doesn’t know what he’s talking about? Or … should reporters have allowed him to continue to mislead the American people — uninterrupted — and set the record straight later?
My point is that journalists need to treat both sides the same way. But I don’t expect that to happen with a corrupt bunch of “journalists” who act as PR agents for pols whose views they agree with.
Returning to a topic I have raised before. I will rephrase to make sure my point is clear. The First Amendment provides in pertinent part : “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press…” If Congress seeks to limit or abridge speech rights (as now being discussed and advocated by many), doesn’t intellectual consistency allow or even require press freedom to also possibly be abridged/limited (using the standard articulated to justify abridgment of speech rights )? To be clear, I am talking about abridgement by Congress not private parties (although I would imagine 1A rights should not be subject to abridgement by executive order either). If the answer is that speech and press rights are different then what constitutes “the press” in this day and age? Under a living breathing Constitution should the definition of “the press” be substantially expanded, in which case maybe we can all become journalists? Certainly the possession of integrity is not a prerequisite to being a member of the press (at least not in this century). — Michael F.
I understand your question, Michael, and it’s a very good one. First, speech rights and press rights are essentially the same. So protections of speech also go for the press. But you’re hitting on a very important point: If (or when) the hard left takes over Congress and the White House they may very well try to abridge BOTH speech and press rights. Authoritarianism is in their nature. Of course, they’ll have “high-minded” reasons for their actions, but I wouldn’t put it past them to label anything they don’t like “hate speech.”
And, individuals who put out blogs or newsletters or anything like that, have the same Constitutional rights as the people who publish the New York Times. Finally, if integrity were a prerequisite to be a member of the press there would be far fewer members of the press.
It appears that the current ACLU has openly declared that they are strictly pushing a leftist agenda, and they are now actively working to CENSOR opposing (read: conservative) views—-imagine that! I recall once many years ago reading how one ACLU attorney who was asked about defending right wing causes, responded by saying “Show me a white conservative Christian Republican whose civil rights have been violated, and I’ll defend him.” (My view: I don’t believe racism was the cause of right wingers not getting their civil rights violated but rather religious right wingers weren’t generally known for putting themselves in positions to get their civil rights violated; however times have changed since then). Who would’ve thunk it, right? I’m wondering, was this perhaps always the agenda, but now they actually feel free and safe to actually declare it? Or was the ACLU of the 20th century actually honorable? How could an organization that claims to defend civil liberties actually promote censorship in America? What changed? Your thoughts are always welcome. “I may disagree with what you say, so I won’t defend your right to say it, and I’ll do everything in my power to silence you, especially if it makes my tribe look like a bunch of hypocritical losers!”—- Regards From The Emperor
I wrote about the ACLU in one of my books, 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America. And I make essentially the point you’re making, Emperor. That the ACLU was once a noble organization that protected civil rights. I was on the ACLU side when they defended the right of the KKK to march through Skokie, Illinois, a community with a large population of Holocaust survivors. That was then. Now the ACLU is a left wing outfit — and one of its lawyers actually favors banning a book by Abigail Shrier called “Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters,” Here’s a passage from the Wall Street Journal (an op-ed by the author of the book) quoting that ACLU lawyer:
“Abigail Shrier’s book is a dangerous polemic with a goal of making people not trans,” Chase Strangio, the American Civil Liberties Union’s deputy director for transgender justice, tweeted Friday. “I think of all the times & ways I was told my transness wasn’t real & the daily toll it takes. We have to fight these ideas which are leading to the criminalization of trans life again.” Then: “Stopping the circulation of this book and these ideas is 100% a hill I will die on.”
Get it? Stopping the circulation of this book and these ideas … he thinks … is a worthy goal, a hill he would die on. Case closed!
Thanks for another Off the Cuff segment. Isn’t it too easy to keep using the term “the media”. Do you believe that there are no actual balanced news organizations left in the country? Are all partisan? — Daniel M.
I use the term “the media” as a general description to describe news that isn’t down the middle. Most major news organizations — ABC, NBC and CBS, for example — have a liberal sensibility. Big city newspapers — the New York Times, LA Times, Washington Post — also lean left. But I do like Special Report with Bret Baier on Fox. And there’s a news show on WGN, a superstation out of Chicago, that I just started watching. It’s old school. Just the facts. No opinion.
Well that didn’t take long. Biden got right to work on returning Washington, specifically his WH staff, to the status quo by appointing two long time lobbyists to his staff. Ronald Klain will be his Chief of Staff, and Steve Richetti will be his Chief Counsel. I suppose we really shouldn’t be surprised. I doubt Biden, as long as he’s been in Washington, ever met a lobbyist he didn’t like. — John M.
Maybe we should consider ourselves lucky. After all, he could have picked lawyers from the ACLU.
Hi Bernie, Saw you on Bill O’Reilly this past Monday. Always appreciate your clarity and common sense. Agree that the “elites” in the media, the SWAMP and some in the sports world absolutely totally dismiss folks in “flyover country”. WE actually are self-reliant, happy, hardworking Americans. The “elites” have no relevance whatsoever in our lives. That is the reason MY cable has been cancelled; I no longer watch sports (which I love!) and there is not one Hollywood star I miss… As a “deplorable,” I believe the self righteous elites are incapable of fathoming our “alternate world.” Also work in healthcare as an RN near the frontlines…Does it sound as though I am bored with the name calling? Thanks Bernie! — Mary A.
I mean this sincerely: GOOD FOR YOU. It takes a certain amount of courage to abandon the prevailing (liberal) culture. The elites (not all, of course) think “ordinary Americans” are hayseeds. Flying the flag on certain holidays, eating at a chain restaurant, going bowling … are things the flyover population does — not them. Fine with me. They can think ordinary folks are not up to their cultural standards. Ask me if I care. Again, good for you, Mary.
The case can be made that the constitution authorized the current government and the ones preceding it, or it was powerless to prevent it/them. Given that the national debt has doubled every decade since the late ’80s regardless of the party in charge, and that the Boston tea party played a pivotal role in the creation of the USA – does anyone care at all about the constitution anymore? Personally, I don’t think so given the low turnout for Dr. Jorgensen. What do you think? — Carl-Simon P.
People care about the Constitution — in theory. And they care about dying from a virus and paying their bills — in reality. Reality usually trumps theory. Besides, almost no one ever heard of Jo Jorgensen. True, she doesn’t get the airtime that Dems and the GOP get. But if more people were curious and wanted to find out more about the Libertarian party, they would. When the national debt explodes in our face, maybe they will.
Watching how Trump is handling his election defeat (endless conspiracy theories, declaring election victory, refusing to grant Biden national intelligence or even a smooth transition, etc.), are you heartened in your decision to take a pass on voting for him? — Ben G.
I’m still glad I didn’t vote for him — or Biden. So, yes, I guess I am heartened. On Thursday, I was watching Rudy and his team talking about a massively fraudulent election — and their allegations were beyond serious. If half of what they were saying is true, it’s the biggest scandal in U.S. history. If not true, they’re crazy. Literally, crazy. Here’s the problem, Ben: I don’t know what to believe anymore. I strongly suspect the allegations are nuts; that they’re just a bunch of wild conspiracy theories. But what if they’re true? Interestingly, only Fox and Newsmax covered the event. CNN and MSNBC did not.
Bernie, you said in a previous Q&A that one of your favorite television shows is “24.” If it were President Charles Logan who had run for re-election on the this year’s Republican ticket, would you have bitten the bullet and voted for him to help defeat Joe Biden? What if Kim Bauer were the nominee? Also, were you sad when Edgar Stiles died, and were you happy to see William Devane get acting work outside of Fox News-aired commercials for gold? — John D.
Yes to all of it. But …
Instead of “24” I’d rather vote for the lead character on another important television program that mirrors reality — SpongeBob SquarePants. Though I’m not sure SpongeBob is over 35, which is a requirement to be president. I’m not even sure he’s human. Fortunately that is NOT a requirement to be president.
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