Bernie’s Q&A: Emanuel, Biden, Jorgensen, 24, and more! (11/20) — Premium Interactive ($4 members)

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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.

 


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: Trump and the Media Deserve Each Other

You can detest Trump and also detest the way the media treated him. Partisans don’t see it that way.

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

 

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Bernie’s Q&A: Biden, Wallace, AOC, Priebus, and more! (11/13) — 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):


Bernie, if I gave you 500 million dollars, could you create a news station or program that would be unbiased and attract an audience? My idea would be to have a [neutral] host/moderator with 2 guests on opposite sides of an issue. Plus, a few unbiased fact-checkers using computers in real-time. Not sure how you add pizzazz to this mix, but I assume you’ll need some. Is it possible to create this kind of station, or program? How would you create the unbiased program of your dreams? The country is starving for something like this, I think. At least I am. — Howard N.

Excellent question, Howard.  But first … If you gave me $500 million there’s a good chance you’d never see me again — unless you searched every island in the South Pacific.

That said … while your idea is a good one there’s a good chance it wouldn’t do well. Cable news has instilled in its viewers a need for controversy … for bias … for hosts who kiss the rear end of their favorite politician and bash the other side’s guy (or gal). As I’ve said many times before, cable is a business model,  — one that works by throwing red meat at the crowd, by validating their biases, and encouraging them to come back for more. Audiences no longer want to hear 2 guys on one side and 2 on the other. On Fox, you may have noticed, they’ll have 4 conservatives and Juan Williams.  They don’t have 2 and 2 or 3 and 3.  Reasonable people would like your idea but I don’t believe it would garner sufficient ratings — and the money good ratings bring.

Do you see Donald Trump making another run at the presidency in 2024? — Sven

Absolutely not. And I hope I’m right.

Bernie, is it me or is Fox News committing ratings suicide right before our eyes? Is the network so dumb that it fails to realize that 95% of its audience is Trump supporting Republicans and that letting Chris Wallace be its mouth piece ensures it will be completely irrelevant in a year? If it stays the current course it will be well behind MSNBC and CNN within the next 6 months. — Joe M.

I disagree. Chris Wallace is on the news side and while he offers up analysis, he’s not Sean Hannity. Hard core Trump supporters don’t like him because he’s fair. And that, Joe, is the dirty little secret. Partisans don’t want honest news no matter how much they say they do. Do Trump supporters really want the news on Fox to be biased on the conservative side — like CNN’s news is biased on the liberal side?  I think many Fox viewers want just that — slanted, biased, news that supports their own biases.  As for your last point, Fox won’t be behind MSNBC or CNN in 6 months or, if I had to make a long distance guess, in 6 years.

My scenario about the Democrats running Biden with the understanding he would stand down sooner rather than later was not a conspiracy theory. It’s the only way Biden heading the ticket makes sense. There is no way the party planners would expect Biden to function in office four years. It would be a disaster for the Democrats and the nation. Harris fills the prime slot and Sanders is brought in to help advance the country to the left. — John D. P.

Biden will be there for 4 years unless his mental condition deteriorates to the point where he can’t stay in office. But I adamantly reject the idea that there was a conspiracy to nominate him “with the understanding” that he would resign. No way!

It’s Monday (following the Friday Biden wins) and Pfizer delivers the big news. Watching the market and wondering if the DOW will hit the big 30 mark. If I was a Biden advisor I would advise him not to change one Trump policy when he takes office. What would you recommend to the president elect? — Tim H.

If Biden really wants unity, I’d advise him to give Donald Trump credit for pushing hard for a vaccine to be approved in record time. I’d advise him to be generous and gracious. If the hard left doesn’t like it, tough noogies. That is, if he really means what he says about uniting the country — or at least trying.

As Ballotgate continues, a few queries for the former sage of south beach (still a sage but no longer a Beach boy):

  1. In this day and age which of our fearless elected politicians and members of the MSM should we look to for honest answers (this is not intended to be a left vs. right issue but rather one that gets to the heart of whose word should be trusted or is the “final” word these days)?
  2. If the answer to #1 above is there ain’t too many, then should Ballotgate be dismissed quickly or resolved more deliberately?
  3. Can you help point me to the provisions in The Constitution that define the term ” president-elect” or authorize the media (see #1 above) to declare when an election is in fact over. I realize that two wrongs never make a right but I must ask your view on whether there is more to Ballotgate than there was to Russia Russia Russia keeping in mind that Collusiongate lasted more than a few weeks.

Thanks. — Michael F.

  1. One of the results of our hyper-polarization is that we don’t know who to trust … and very often we wind up trusting no one. That’s not good, of course, but it’s understandable. So I’ll offer no name in media or politics as the “final” word — but I do like FNC’s hard news journalists who I think are fair. Which leads us to …
  2. The Trump campaign has every right to pursue it’s contentions of fraud in the courts. But the president will need evidence. Hard evidence and not simply unconfirmed stories. And he will need enough evidence to actually make a difference. Meaning … if his team finds 3 thousand fraudulent ballots in one state or another, but he lost that state by 10 thousand votes, it won’t be enough to make a difference. And so, if that happens, a judge likely would not undo the election. The dispute doesn’t have to be resolved in the next 10 minutes, but sooner is better than later. I trust the courts will move quickly. And finally …
  3. The media has NO official power to declare a winner. It’s a tradition, but that’s all it is. Allegations that Donald Trump was involved with the Russians went nowhere. We’ll know soon enough if the ballot controversy is substantive or not. But absent real evidence, the election will officially be over, whether Mr. Trump or his acolytes like it or not. As for your question about the term “president-elect” — No, it’s nowhere to be found in the Constitution. So what? And while we’re on the subject, I don’t recall Trump supporters concerned about the use of that term when he was called president- elect in 2016.


What do you think about this new TV News practice about cutting off Trump and or Administration spokespeople who are verbally charging the Dems with election fraud? Even FNC (Cavuto) is doing it now. Shouldn’t the News show the content then either refute or confirm it all later? Who do they they think they are, Twitter? — ScottyG

I’m with you, Scotty. 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.

Now that it’s inevitable that Joe Biden will be sworn in as the next President, prominent Democrats and media figures are saying the quiet part out loud. Michelle Obama tells us it’s not enough that they won, there are still millions of people out there who supported the status quo (and infers that they need to be ‘dealt with’). AOC is actually saying that they want to be sure that all quotes, tweets and articles supporting Trump need to be preserved so that their authors can be removed from society, and Jennifer Rubin is telling us that those evil Trump supporters need to be shunned from society and “the Republican Party needs to be burned down”. These, sadly, aren’t outliers. This has just started and there are many more examples. How do we possibly “heal” when one side isn’t satisfied with winning but insists that every individual who opposed them is personally and professionally destroyed? After accusing him of being one for the past four years, don’t Democrats realize this is what actual fascists look like? — Keith M.

These are liberals who long ago forgot how to be liberal. They are authoritarians. Stalinists. And if Biden thinks he can heal the wounds that divide us, he’s dreaming. As long as there are the likes of AOC and Jennifer Rubin out there mouthing off, he won’t find the unity he says he’s hoping for. They will sabotage any attempt at reconciliation, which is a very long shot even without people like that.

Like most of us in the country, I have a thousand thoughts on this last election, but I’ll narrow my question to just a couple of topics. One thing that makes me proud and optimistic as an American in this democratic experiment is the fact that VOTERS still decide elections. In 2020, we found out who and what doesn’t: Money, social media (especially the screeching Twitterati), traditional media, mobs, protesters, pollsters, pundits, academics, woke athletes, the Hollywood left, etc. And speaking of traditional and social media, it’s obvious they will continue to double down on their resistance and vilification of conservatives. Waiting for media members to see the light is a fruitless exercise, and it appears the only way to truth and enlightenment is a robust replacement media. Do you see this happening as well? If so, what form and funding will this take? — Steve R.

I think the media we have will continue to be the media we’re stuck with for the foreseeable future, and probably beyond. But let’s not let the viewers and readers of the news off the hook. The media are only giving them what they demand. The NY Times makes money on subscriptions. That’s why there are so many borderline insane anti-Trump op-eds. The Times can’t risk offending its progressive customers. Same with cable TV. If some moneybag type came along and funded a down the middle news operation, it likely would fail.  Blame it on the audience that wants to hear its own biases validated in print and on TV.

Biden gave this speech on Saturday that the MSM slobbered all over, focusing on healing the nation, bringing us together, reaching across the aisle to get things done, blah, blah, blah. The far left radicals in his party apparently don’t agree. Robert Reich has stated “we need a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to erase Trumps lies, comfort those who have been harmed by his hatefulness, and name every official, politician, executive, and media mogul whose greed and cowardice enabled this.” Some clown named Hari Sevugen, a former Obama admin spokesman, said that anyone considering a former Trump staffer for employment should know there are consequences for hiring anyone who helped Trump attack American values [attack American values, ain’t that rich]. Find out how at the Trump Accountability Project. So basically he’s saying anyone who worked for Trump should be blacklisted, never work again. Comrade Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wants to have a list of Trumpers to witch hunt and paint with a scarlet “T”. Sounds so healing to me. More like Soviet Russia, Castro’s Cuba, Communist China. So here’s my question, the MSM was all over Trump to denounce white supremacy, over, and over, and over. So when will the MSM call on “Joe the healer” to denounce this crap? — John M.

When will the MSM call on Joe to denounce this crap, you ask. Echoing Chatsworth Osborne Jr. of Dobie Gillis fame: Surely you jest! But here’s a suggesting for Joe the Healer: Tell the Stalinists who want black lists to shut the hell up. To back off! If he doesn’t, he won’t get the America he says he wants. The polarization will continue and likely get worse. And it will also tell us something about Biden: that he’s too weak to stand up to the hard left fringe in his party no matter how authoritarian they are.

Media election desks have been ‘calling’ elections for decades and decades (based on incoming vote totals, regional trends, etc.) including Trump’s win four years ago. I get that a lot of Trump supporters are upset that their guy lost (as it’s turning out, by a lot more than we thought last week), but watching these people now insist that the media is overstepping its bounds, or displaying its “elitism,” by having the gall to call the race before states certify their votes is ridiculous. This seems to be an ongoing thing, where MAGA people act like long established institutional norms are suddenly bizarre and invalid. Do you think this type of stuff will continue after Trump’s out of office, or worsen going forward? — Ben G.

If you’re asking me, Ben, if hypocrisy is going away … we both know the answer to that. Trump supporters suddenly don’t like the term “president-elect.” Where is it in the Constitution, they ask. Funny but they didn’t ask that when Donald J. Trump was the “president-elect.”  Whether it worsens or not after Trump, it’s bad enough as it is now.

One of the first thing the “victors” do, in this case the Democrats who may have won the Presidency but lost everywhere else, is to compile an “accountability” list to “punish” those people who had the temerity to serve their government in the Trump administration. Nixon had a list, McCarthy had a list. And weren’t they so admired for that?? Where is your list, Trump, you Hitler in sheep’s clothing?? How can these folks (Reich, Rubin) justify such reprehensible behavior? — John F.

They justify their behavior because they’re sanctimonious jerks. They think they know better than everyone else, that they’re smarter and that their (progressive) blacklist is a good one while Nixon’s and McCarthy’s (conservative) blacklists were bad. This is why Donald Trump, even in defeat, got more than 70 million votes. A lot of his supporters were giving a great big middle finger to these elite idiots.

With the democrats winning the popular vote 7 of the last 8 presidential elections do you think it will be a while before we see another republican president? — Kenny

Al Gore won the popular vote. W won the election. Hillary won the popular vote. Donald won the election. So Republicans can lose the popular vote and still win.

Regarding your Off The Cuff commentary this week. As much as I would like to believe that the progressive leftists of the Democrat party have been snubbed and rejected by voters, I don’t know if that is necessarily true. I am hearing progressive commentary stating that the elections where the democratic candidates were successful were actually both blue and purple districts where the democratic candidates actually ARE progressive left wingers, and the districts where the democratic candidates who lost to Republicans were actually centrist candidates NOT progressives. If this is true, then how can you claim that the Bernie Sanders/AOC Wing of the Democrat party was truly rejected, when even purple districts voted progressive leftists in? It sounds to me like more Americans are supporting progressive leftists than many of us would care to admit. Your thoughts are appreciated. — “Forgive Them, Father; They Know Not What They Do” Regards from The Emperor

Without going into detail in every congressional district you reference, let me simply say this: If voters wanted the progressive agenda to become reality, they would have voted in a lot more Democrats to the Senate … they would have voted in a lot more Democrat state legislatures (that will draw up redistricting plans in 2021) … and they would have given Nancy Pelosi a bigger, not smaller, majority in the House. All that said, you may be right about the specifics of any particular race. And this from a Wall Street Journal editorial which ran under the headline: California’s Progressive Thumping

“Democrats and unions in California are shell-shocked. Voters last Tuesday rejected a referendum that would have allowed racial preferences in state hiring and college admissions, defeated a massive business property tax hike, and rescued tens of thousands of gig economy jobs. What is this, Texas?”

In John Daly’s column this week, he wrote in part about Reince Priebus’s declaration that, even after Trump is gone from office, Republican leaders in Washington will need to be personally approved of by Trump in order to have a future in the party.

This is consistent with Trump’s actions over the past four years: his heavy attacks on fellow Republicans who aren’t “loyal” to him, that have resulted in some of them now gone from politics all together. What does it say about how weak the GOP is that even after Trump is no longer in office, the political futures of others in the party may still lie in his hands. — Philip R.

It says that even after Donald is gone and playing golf in Palm Beach, his loyal supporters will still be around. They won’t tolerate a moderate in the mold of  McCain or Romney. In fact, several million supposed conservatives sat out those elections because they refused to support either of those candidates. So whoever the GOP candidate is, he or she will have to bend a knee to The Donald — or risk losing this fan base — and the election.

I think the real scandal surrounding Joe Biden (that no one is talking about) is the fact that he had much thinner hair in the 1980s than he does now. The photo evidence is overwhelming! America has never received an honest accounting or explanation of this. Are they plugs? Has he been using Rogaine with Minoxidil? Is he in the pocket of Hair Club for Men? And do you think the ridiculousness of Donald Trump’s own hair took this issue off the table for Republicans? — John D.

Let’s start with Donald. After he loses in court he’ll be hair today and gone tomorrow. Sorry, but I couldn’t resist. Now, as to the serious part of your question, the one about Hair-gate: Did it ever occur to you, John D, that maybe the Joe Biden we see in pictures from the 1980s isn’t the same Joe Biden who we see today? Could it be that that’s why he looks so different? Because THEY’RE TWO DIFFERENT PEOPLE! Has that crossed you mind, John D? It’s obvious to me that we have a Manchurian candidate thing going on here. The old Joe Biden — the one we called Middle Class Joe — is being held hostage in a basement somewhere in Delaware. Same as the new Joe Biden, the one we call President-elect. Confused? Me too.

 


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Bernie’s Q&A: The Election, Giuliani, Clyburn, Carson (11/6) — Premium Interactive ($4 members)

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My theory is that Democratic Party leaders per-arranged that, if Biden is elected he will early on, maybe within four to six months, step down from office on the grounds he is not able to carry out the duties of his office. This moves Harris into the Oval office as a tough, some would say ruthless, left/liberal and she would have agreed pre-election to accept Bernie Sanders as a very active domestic policy V.P., thereby rocketing the nation in a blink of the eye historical moment onto the path to Socialism. I’ve worked this over in my mind endlessly, picked it apart but it makes more sense every go around and it fits Nancy Pelosi’s near demonic obsession with crushing the Republicans at least for the foreseeable future. So gulp, what do you think? It sure would galvanize the vast resources of the Left here and among the EU nations. — John D. P.

I’m not into conspiracies. I believe Lee Harvey Oswald worked all by himself. And I don’t believe there’s a  pre-arranged plan for Joe to step down within 4 to 6 months.

If Biden wins, will there be a “Resistance,” and what might it look like? — Michael F.

There’ll be resistance on the Fox News Channel between 8 and 11 Eastern time, that’s for sure. There’ll be resistance on talk radio. And there’ll be political resistance too … just as there’s been political resistance from Democrats for the past four years.

Two questions:

  1. What are the chances that progressives will push Jim Clyburn to challenge Pelosi for the party leadership in the house….specifically, the speakership? And remember, a really contested election OUTCOME may well end up in the house and the speaker could even end up as president. It was Clyburn who resurrected Biden’s hopes with black voters in SC.
  2. What are the chances that a progressive (possibly AOC?) will primary Schumer in ’22? He’s certainly vulnerable…..he’s temporized about Israel’s security thus damaging himself within the NYC Jewish community, and he’s got lots of dead bodies that can rise up to haunt him in NY like Carolyn Maloney (he scuppered her chances to move into the Senate (after Hillary) in favor of Gillibrand). It will be fun to see how far left he’ll try to move as time goes on. Will go heavy for ending the filibuster, or court packing, to satisfy his far left zealots? Will he start ‘dropping his ‘g”s for the folksy affect? Wear more kente cloth?

Be well, take care. — Andrew M.

I don’t think progressives would push Clyburn to challenge Pelosi. And if they did, I don’t see Clyburn taking the bait. But a “really contested election” … while it may wind up in the House … the speaker as of now would not become president. If the House votes for president, Donald Trump would win — despite the fact that there are more Democrats than Republicans. The rules are set up so that each state gets one vote — and there are more GOP states than Dem states.

Re AOC and Chuck:  I think there’s a very good chance that she’ll primary him. And I think that’s why he’s saying “nothing is off the table.” He needs to hold his moderate base and fend off progressives at the same time. Whether he’s damaged himself with the Jewish community or not, isn’t a major factor. You think Jewish voters want AOC to take his place? You think they believe she’ll be more hospitable to Israel?

I watched a skit on YouTube this weekend by Johnny Carson, with him playing a Presidential candidate hooked up to a polygraph device answering questions from the press. Shows you that times haven’t changed much, except we are missing ENTERTAINERS like Johnny and before him Samuel Clemons and Will Rogers who would lighten up the mood that emanates from the political and journalistic (?) class in our nations Capital. Now all we have are social warriors impersonating entertainers. If you need a break from the noise, check out Johnny Carson on YouTube, there is a great segment with Bob Hope, Dean Martin and George Gobel. — Douglas C.

I totally agree with you. Carson poked at both sides. The current crop of late night clowns HATE Donald Trump. Most people don’t tune in to comedy shows for still more political talk. I watched Johnny religiously. I don’t watch any of the current crop … at all!

Mr. G, Something tells me this Wednesday morning you regret not accepting my offer to go fishing today LOL. So then, what keys will you be watching for the rest of this week to determine how the media will continue to pursue how this election will be decided? Because that’s what they tried to do (again) and failed miserably based on the close results. I also look forward to John’s “Polls” summary column this week. The WSJ/NBC poll had Biden +10 in their so called final projection just two days ago. Really? — ScottyG

I have a good-natured, well-intentioned suggestion for the pollsters who not only got it wrong, but got it dramatically, breathtakingly wrong: FIND ANOTHER LINE OF WORK!

Note from John: Hi Scotty. I assume your remark to me was in my reference to my defense of the national polls in 2016, where I pointed out that they pretty accurately predicted that year’s popular vote in the presidential election (while noting that problems with a handful of key swing-state polls did not give an accurate forecast of Trump’s electoral college win). This year, the Real Clear Politics average of national polls closed at a 7.2 Biden advantage. As of the time I’m writing this (Thursday night), Biden is winning the popular vote by a little over 2 points. We’ll have to see where it ends up. I think the number will get larger with the final count, but I doubt it will get anywhere close to 7.2 (in which case the national polls would indeed be off quite a bit). As far as state polling, there were clearly some big errors this time around. No doubt about that.

As of Wednesday evening, looks like Biden is in. I suspect the pollsters will might be looking for new careers but what about American Journalists and specifically the print journalists? They’re losing Trump, the best story line in decades. — Tim H.

You might think that “journalists” — who predicted a Biden landslide — might be humble and maybe even apologize to their audience. I know, crazy. They never apologized for almost 4 years “reporting” that Donald Trump was a Russian asset, so why would they apologize for getting the election so wrong — even if Biden wins, it won’t be by the gigantic margin they were predicting. If Trump goes, they’ll lose a big ratings draw, but CNN, MSNBC and Fox aren’t going to close shop.  On Fox, the opinion gang will plummet Joe and on CNN and MSNBC they’ll find ways to continue to bash Trump.  There’s too much money at stake to change their ways.

As of this writing, it looks like Biden will be the next president. If Republicans dominate the Senate and gain extra seats in the House, will the Dems still attempt to pack the Supreme Court and add extra states to give the liberal Democrats advantages? Seeing as the election is so close, I would think that would be political suicide for the Dems since it would appear that Americans don’t want woke leftists running the country. And if Biden wins, should Robert Mueller investigate to see if there was any Russia collusion with the Democrats? — “Election 2020” Regards From The Emperor

There’s no way they can fulfill their left wing wish list if the GOP retains control of the Senate. The House can do whatever it wants, they can propose letting 2 year olds vote, none of it would matter. Any bill to pack the court or any other progressive desire will be DOA when it hits the Senate.

Per my message last week re pollsters: is it time to have their compensation tied to the accuracy of their analysis? Or maybe we just need the gov’t to regulate the pollsters since we all know that more regulations are always the answer. — Michael

Tying their compensation to the accuracy of their analyses is not a bad idea. But many polls are conducted by the media, so they can’t cut their own rates. But I like your idea. As for government regulating the pollsters, I know you’re kidding. Good one, Michael.

Bernie, what has happened to Rudy Giuliani? He was a very highly respected individual at one time (“America’s Mayor” after 9/11). Now he has all kinds of shady foreign associates, he’s spreading zany conspiracy theories left and right (including right now about the election results), he’s unhinged in cable news interviews, and even though I can’t stand Borat, Rudy came across very creepy with the female “interviewer” in that clip. — Ben G.

I’m with you, Ben. I think he’s come under Donald’s spell. And as we know Donald can make more than liberals a little crazy. Rudy seems to be proof of that. But so are Trump’s media toadies. I’m embarrassed for some of them, mainly Rush, who’s a very bright guy.

Is it just me, or is the idea of a Biden presidency and a Republican-majority senate actually kind of appealing? None of Trump’s daily craziness, and no far left legislation making in past McConnell. The tax bill stays in place. Maybe some relief from the trade war. Maybe even some efforts from Republicans to work in good faith with Biden on entitlement reform (I may be dreaming on that last part but it didn’t happen over the past 4 years from Republicans because Trump was dead set against it). — Jen R.

It’s not just you, Jen … if Biden had to win, having a GOP Senate eases the pain considerably. If Biden wins and if he had a Democrat Senate, I’d be depressed. I’m not. So once again, Jen, you make a lot of sense.

Bernie, here are some interesting things I’ve learned about you over the years:

You’re friends with the lead singer of AC/DC, you’re immortalized in N.W.A.’s “Straight Outta Compton” album and also Michael Mann’s “The Insider,” you were buddies with George Carlin, you’re pictured with all kinds of iconic figures (The Pope, Paul McCartney, Mike Tyson, Shaq, etc.), one U.S. president was filmed carrying your book across the White House lawn, another U.S. president asked your advice before he ran for office, you’ve won a kazillion awards, Jon Stewart wrote a song about you, etc.

Has this ever drawn comparisons between you and Forrest Gump, in how you’ve floated in and out of (and perhaps even unknowingly contributed to) significant cultural events in American history? Also, do you ever find yourself sitting on a bench at park bus-stops, with a box of chocolate, engaging in long-winded conversations with the individuals who sit down beside you? — John D.

That’s an awfully long question for a guy with a 6th grade education, John D. But yes, I am wonderful. Shaquille O’Neal actually said to me that what wants most is to be known as “the black Bernie Goldberg.” True story.

And because I want to give you a complete answer, one that you might actually comprehend (that means “understand”) let me say this: “Stupid is as stupid does.” But you, of all people knew that. In fact, I’m told it’s your motto, words you live by.

Did you know I recently invested my money in some fruit company — it’s called Apple.

Get it, John D? I appropriated that line (that means I stole it ) from the Forrest Gump movie.

You did know Forrest Gump is a fictional character in a Hollywood movie, right — and not just your real life role model?

 


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Bernie’s Q&A: Trump, Biden, Pelosi, Barrett, and more! (10/16) — Premium Interactive ($4 members)

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Nancy Pelosi says her pushing the 25th Amendment is not about Trump: “He’ll be judged by the voters, this is more about going forward and dealing with other Presidents.”

Ah ha, you mean like if Biden wins in November, and he should be deemed incapable of continuing at some point, that Kamala Harris, who was overwhelmingly rejected by voters during the Democrat Presidential debates last year, can be slipped into the Oval Office? Wouldn’t put it by them. Bernie, gonna put you on the spot if that is possible. If you knew that your vote absolutely would decide who wins the WH, Biden or Trump, would you hold your nose and vote Trump?” — John M.

Fair question, John. I’ve said (privately) before that if I thought the election in my state would be decided by one vote, then yes, I’d hold my nose and vote for the divisive, chaotic Mr. Trump — because I don’t believe we’re voting for an individual, but a team … and I don’t share the values of Biden’s team. That said, I’m betting it won’t come down to one vote … so, John, I guess you know what that means.

It seems to me that if the Democrats were as confident in sweeping victories in the upcoming election both in the House, the Senate and the White House, Nancy Pelosi would be willing to forego the stonewalling of the relief bill efforts to bail out the indebted blue states. With sweeping victories she and her cohorts will be able to enact whatever bailouts they want come January. Why punish the good American folks in need of some immediate aide now by not agreeing to a compromise? Is she not that confident in an upcoming victory or is she just plain mean and evil? Something just doesn’t add up here. — Douglas C.

I think Nancy Pelosi is politics incarnate. Every cell in her body is politics. I find her very hard to take. But whether she’s confident of a Dem victory or not, she figures if she doesn’t make a deal it’ll hurt Republicans more than Democrats. Maybe she’s right, maybe not. But rather than try to figure out what’s going on in Pelosi’s head, let’s just look at the polls. And they don’t look good for the president. I know, Trump supporters don’t believe the polls. I do, at least as of today.

As I watch the anti-racism movement (not sure what else to call it), a number of questions/observations have come to mind. Unless I am missing something, it appears that unless you “join the movement” you are automatically labelled a racist (or is it a pro-racist?). Shouldn’t someone define what makes someone a racist and how their racism is manifest and how it impacts those deemed victims of racism. It seems that when questions like this are raised, the response is we are not talking about individuals but rather the “system” and hence “systemic racism” becomes the new rallying cry, again without any definitions or proposed solutions.

Assuming Biden wins, what comes next? Reparations? If so, putting aside who gets something (money, free housing?), how long does the reparation period last? What is society supposed to look like when this period of penance ends? Will values that seem to have nothing to do with race or ethnicity, but have been labelled racist, such as hard work, personal responsibility and accountability meritocracy, etc etc , continue to be eroded if not eliminated? And if so, what is the consequence of eliminating or minimizing these values? It is very unfortunate and even scary that we may be on the cusp of our own cultural revolution with struggle sessions and most of America does not have a clue. Mao must be grinning from the after life while Orwell says “I told you so.” — Michael F.

You raise many legitimate concerns, Michael. And here’s my question: Where are the journalists to address those concerns? AWOL, that’s where. I’ve watched a lot (too much, actually) TV news and sports since I’ve been under virtual house arrest and not once have I heard anyone challenge the concept of “systemic racism.” Not once have I heard anyone bring up fatherlessness, which is what actually is systemic in black America. Fear reigns. If you challenge what passes for the conventional wisdom, as you say, you run the risk of being smeared. I’m on the verge of dropping out. No fooling.

I saw that the New York Times recently endorsed Joe Biden for president. Do you feel that these newspaper endorsements have any impact on the way anyone votes? Are they still relevant in 2020? — DeAndre

I don’t, DeAndre. The Times is read, overwhelmingly, by people who already knew they were going to vote for Biden. It makes the editorial board feel important to endorse candidates, but I don’t think it makes much difference anymore. Good question.

Bernie, I think you might be overlooking something about Trump. Yes, he has lots of bad qualities, and yes he will never changes those qualities. You are also right that Biden is more liked than Hillary. The problem with Biden is this: he is fully supported by the two most detested institutions on the planet. The mainstream media and Hollywood. I think you are underestimating how much people hate these two, especially the media, and I think a lot of people will pull the lever for Trump just so they can give the proverbial middle finger to their “friends” in the media and Hollywood. — Joe M.

First, I’m very much aware of how much a lot of Americans detest the news media and the Hollywood glitterati. But I think you’re absolutely right about how many voters will give the middle finger to those two institutions and vote for Trump. In fact, after a roundtable discussion with colleagues on Real Sports after Trump was elected, I told them that his victory, in part at least, was a shot at them, the media elite. They looked at me like I had two heads and was talking a strange language. They never learn.

A large part of our economy will return when people feel safe enough to go to public places. This can happen when rules are followed regarding masks, distancing, etc. So, sporting events can take place, like the U.S. Open, where everyone follows a strict protocol. The protocols are created by doctors. People that are in the venues where these sporting events take place must comply, they do not have a choice. And these protocols work (the US Open and NBA championships were successful). 

If we are at war, like Trump has said, with an invisible biological enemy/threat then we must follow certain rules that will help win the war, shouldn’t we follow the commands of the “generals” – the scientists and doctors, and not lay people, to be able to fight properly? So, why is wearing a mask and contact tracing fraught with political implications?

Stopping at a traffic light, not screaming “fire” in a theater, and wearing a seat belt are rules that help you or the people around you. The government has decided that these rules need to be followed. We do not invoke “individual freedom” as an excuse if we end up killing someone going through a red light. Wearing a mask protects others, and yourself somewhat. If everyone gets on board with following the rules proposed by the “medical generals”, businesses will open more quickly.

Does this logic make sense? Why can’t the White House show by example and wear the masks, socially distance, and contact trace? When everyone is on board with a few agreed upon rules, the economy will be able to open. But we need leadership to lead. Where am I wrong in this logic? — Howard N.

In my column that was posted last Monday I wrote that the president seems to think people who wear masks are blue state wimps. And like the book title, Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche, he seems to think real men don’t wear masks. That’s how I see it, my friend.

You’ve stated that you despise Trump and don’t plan on voting for him, but you hope that he wins in a landslide. I get it. I really do. I too think he’s a thin skinned bombastic blowhard who should quit tweeting, shut the hell up, and run the country (and wear a damn mask!). His behavior at the first debate was embarrassing and downright pathetic, but that won’t stop me from voting for him. Here’s why:

Over the years, I’ve worked with (and FOR) a number of people that I PERSONALLY DESPISED. However, as much as I loathed some of them, there was one thing I had to keep in mind—in order to accomplish whatever my then-current goals might have been, I NEEDED those people! Whatever I personally thought about them, I had to put that aside because I needed them to get the job done and accomplish the necessary goals. When we no longer needed each other, that’s when I avoided them. We certainly didn’t hang out together after the various projects ended. They annoyed me to no end, and in all likelihood, they probably didn’t think too highly of me either. Nonetheless I also knew that there would be hell to pay if the necessary tasks to do the job weren’t completed, and those pains in the rear were the only ones available to get the job done right.

So now I ask you, whom I respect greatly even if we don’t always agree: Haven’t you ever had to work with (and for) other people that you dreaded dealing with day in and day out, but you dealt with them and continued on because you knew that the alternative was much worse? How did you handle those situations? So for the sake of discussion, how come you don’t look at Trump and support him the same way that you may have looked at and supported those painful co-workers and bosses you had to deal with over the years? Some might say that I’m rationalizing, but I say that the progressive leftists running America means that the alternative to Trump is much worse! — “Be Afraid—Be Very Afraid” Regards, From The Emperor

First, You Emperor-ness, your analogy doesn’t work. Sure I’ve worked for bosses I didn’t like. But I don’t work for Donald Trump. He works for me and you and all of us. Second, for the ten millionth time, I get it. I understand your logic. Hell, I even agree with your logic. But unless my vote will make the difference between him winning and Biden winning, I’ll sit it out. Blame the president, not me.

Bernie, how annoying is it to you (on a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being the most annoying) that so many people are very concerned with who YOU plan to vote for next month (as if YOUR vote will somehow be the deciding one in the presidential election)? Of course it’s not just you that hears this. I see the same pressing attitude toward other well-known conservatives who aren’t afraid to criticize Trump. Do you think it’s because people need some kind of validation of their own vote, or do you think they sincerely believe this election could come down to just a handful of votes in whatever state you live in? — Ben G.

Actually it’s part (mild) annoyance — because I explained my position a gazillion times. But part of it is that I’m flattered that  intelligent folks who come to this site actually care how I’m going to vote. That said, I don’t think they need validation. They’re going to vote for the president and I’m glad they are, because I hope he wins over Biden. And, as I’ve said many times before, if my vote alone would make a difference I’d hold my nose and vote for the president. But my vote ALONE won’t. So I won’t.

Why can’t these politicians be consistent? They all had one position with Merrick Garland and now they have the exact opposite position with Amy Coney Barrett. My question: Do you feel that the Senate should vote on a Supreme Court nominee in the last year of a president’s term? — Dana

Why the inconsistency?  Because principles are dead and all that matters is raw politics.  My problem isn’t that the Senate is voting on a Supreme Court nominee in the last year of a presidential election.  I can live with that.  My problem is that the party in power will object when it suits its purpose and do the exact same thing when they’re in the driver’s seat.

We see today many many journalists, political spokespeople/communications directors and political pundits making easily fact checked misstatements and mistakes. Many of these so called professionals appear much younger and less experienced than say 20-30 years ago when our National news coverage shifted to what we have today. Do you see evidence of younger aged professionals with a lack of experience being giving such critical assignments a major contributing factor in all this misinformation? — ScottyG

That’s probably part of it, Scotty, but another part is how our political/media culture has changed. Now news organizations take sides. That didn’t exist in the “old days.” And so political spokespeople can lie through their teeth without fear of being contradicted. That’s not always true, of course, but too often it is. And it’s all part of the bigger picture, which is that we’re more polarized today than in memory. That polarized culture allows for younger pols and journalists — and not only younger ones — to misrepresent the truth and often get away with it.

My thought about political discourse and partisanship is that the country is better off having strong voices on both sides of difficult and important issues. Also I do not believe that any law is “settled” since culture and science shift over time. For example, I support the death penalty, but the science of DNA has been a game changer as we discover the many men and women who are falsely accused of heinous felonies that put them on death row. Should not the issue of capital punishment be forever unsettled? The same for abortion. Science is showing that those tiny fetuses are more than a little bit human. Should not strong voices remain in this debate as the rights of women to have agency over their own health decisions be balanced against the science and ethics of late-term abortions specifically? — Steve R

You’re right about how our information isn’t set in stone, about how our knowledge changes and moves forward and so, your would think, should our opinions. But some people are stuck in the positions they once held and won’t change, regardless of what new information comes to light. They’re ideologues — and newly uncovered facts won’t make them budge. You find a lot of these types on cable TV and talk radio.

My wife and I watched the Netflix documentary about the Challenger space shuttle explosion. Overall, it was a very interesting but one part stuck out. While NASA and the federal government were investigating the accident to determine its cause, an employee from NASA reached out to the NY Times with documents indicating that NASA knew launching the Challenger on the day it exploded was dangerous but that it disregarded these dangers and went forward. The Times was interested in running a front page story about what this employee disclosed, but it said it would not go forward unless this employee allowed the Times to use his name in its article. According to the journalists who appeared in the documentary, the story would have had no credibility if only cited anonymous sources. Fast forward to today, and it seems like every major media outlet is fine with running front page / lead stories that have all anonymous sources. What happened? How can any article or report be seen as legitimate and convincing if all of the sources are nameless? How can anyone weigh the credibility of an unnamed source? Why would any reporter want to put their name on a story that is not backed up with legitimate named sources? — JM

All good questions, JM. Sometimes, however, the only way to inform the public about something important is to go with unnamed sources — that the reporters trusts. But notice how the NY Times, for example, explains why the source won’t go on the record. In almost all cases, the source is breaking a promise, violating an oath, or revealing information he agreed he would keep private.  In other words these aren’t the kind of people you’d want to babysit your dog. Can we really trust people who’s word doesn’t mean much?  Just askin’.

When a columnist for a newspaper writes an op-ed, or a TV pundit opines on an issue, are they exercising their first amendment rights under the freedom of speech clause or the freedom of the press clause? If your opinion (which I respect greatly although I may not always agree) is expressed on a website or on a soap box on Lincoln Road (inside joke for you ) as opposed to as a writer for the Goldberg Gazette or the Bernie Broadcast Network, which 1A freedom protects your statements?

This is a topic I think about often as freedom of speech is being attacked and eroded in various venues throughout America. If hate speech (whatever that may be since no one ever defines it) may be outlawed by those who do not like the content of the speech (or in many cases the identity or affiliation of the speaker), please explain why, what I will call “hate press,” should not also be questioned? Let me be very clear: I favor open speech and open press unless the exercise of those rights actually threatens violence or could reasonably be viewed as leading to violence ( I am sure there are some other similar categories but I think you get the point).  — Mike

Freedom of speech, in its literal sense, only applies to government. Governments can’t prohibit you from saying just about anything you want. What you say may be true, it may be false, it may be smart or stupid. But the First Amendment prohibits government from squelching your right to speak. But that freedom protects you ONLY from government. So an employer can set super strict rules that prohibit employees from talking about almost anything. An employer can say if you talk politics at work, you’re going to be fired. Again, the First Amendment only prohibits government from restricting your speech. As for so-called hate speech, that’s a bit trickier because there are laws in some places that  make hate speech illegal. The courts have to decide if those laws are constitutional or not.

I was one of many self-styled small c New Left practitioners of Saul Alinsky’s strategy and tactics back in the 60s and early 70s, and I met many practicing members of old line organizations from Socialists to Socialist Workers Party to International Socialists, even some very obnoxious and off putting Maoists. In my initial naivety I was surprised to learn they were all registered Democrats. One of the great features of the New Left movement was/is there was no “there” there and nobody needs those stinking cards. Yes Donald Trump in his obnoxiousness is a terrible cross to bear but firstly, he is not a Saul Alinsky trained Democrat, and secondly he is not yet plagued with dementia as is Joe Biden.

After four years of the Trump Show we are not at war with any other nation, just with our own selves. That war began well before Trump trumped the experts and took office. Also we have renegotiated some entanglements to better serve the U.S. and will better serve the other countries in those negotiations in due time. — John D. P.

All good reasons to vote for Mr. Trump — unless you find him so detestable that you can’t bring yourself to do it. And if Joe Biden wins, whose fault would that be? Fake news? RINOs? No. It’ll be because voters chose Biden pretty much for one reason: that he’s not Donald Trump.

Every Monday, I get a CBS Sports email trumpeting their grades for the Sunday NFL games (A-pluses for the great performances, and failing Fs for teams that were in the tank). In our political arena, we have a continuing dialogue about the coronavirus and how to best handle the disease. One camp says listen to the scientists (CDC, NIH, etc). The virus “game” has been going on for months now, so I think it is time to give these Scientists grades:

Scouting: Asleep at the Wheel D-, there was far too much reliance on outside sourcing especially the WHO. What position would we be in if as a nation we relied on the U.N. to provide intel on world threats?

Execution: A Mixed Bag – C in the first half of this event as they weren’t prepared, B+ to A- once they adjusted to the extent and ramifications of the disease. Messaging appeared to be their biggest weakness.

Game Planning: C- In need of Billy Ball: They had an Oakland A’s budget to respond to a NY Yankees event so they didn’t have the resources at their disposal to be effective in the early going, it cost a lot of lives. Not having the resources is a political failure, not a bureaucratic failure, and falls primarily on the legislative branch of our government (Nancy Pelosi and Congress approve funding). The game plan is strictly the responsibility of the bureaucrats of the CDC simply put they were not prepared and the lack of planning showed in their confusing and often conflicting messaging.

That’s my take Bernie, how would you score our bureaucratic scientists? — Doug

I never thought of it that way, Doug … but I like your take on the subject. From a journalistic point of view, I wish reporters would pay more attention to all the “experts” who got it wrong at the beginning — and all the politicians who are now condemning the president who also got it wrong. I know you didn’t ask about that but I thought I’d throw it in.

Do you think some of the concerns among the GOP and enthusiasm among the media Democrats over what a President Biden might do are overblown? Even if the Senate flips Democrat, a half-dozen or so of those Democratic Senators will have been elected by red and purple states as moderate consensus-builders. Will they vote for a Medicaid expansion and increased environmental spending? Sure. But will they vote for the GND, Medicare-For-All, court-packing, etc? I don’t see it. — Joel E.

You’re onto to something, Joel. They may not do any of those things for the reasons you mention. But they might. And that’s what has conservatives rightly worried. Here’s one more reason, however, the Dems might think twice before going too far left: midterm elections are only 2 years away. If they pack the court, make Puerto Rico a state, giving voting rights to felons still in prison … they almost certainly will pay a price in 2022. And I suspect they know it. That said, let me repeat: They might do everything folks on the right think they might do. And the prospect of it happening is pretty scary.

It appears to me that, much like in fall 2016, photos and videos of Trump rallies show enthusiastic supporters turning out by the thousands, whereas rallies for the Democratic candidate are turning out somnambulant supporters by the twos and threes. What do you make of that? Are there 70 million Biden supporters holed up in their basements just waiting to poke their heads out on election day? — Gary D.

There’s no question, Gary, that there’s more enthusiasm for Donald Trump than there is for Joe Biden. Republicans in the media are always telling us that. But what they downplay or ignore is that it doesn’t really matter if Democrats are enthusiastic for Biden — as long as they’re enthusiastically against Trump. Does it really matter if they’re motivated to vote FOR Biden or motivated to vote AGAINST Trump? We’ll know soon enough.

Bernie, Is it true that Twitter is actively blocking links to your popular series of online workout videos, with the explanation that they’re “misleading and potentially dangerous”? — John D.

It is true. The one that bothers me the most is the video showing me kicking the ass of one of my workout clients who wasn’t following my instructions  — a guy named Charles Barkley. You may have heard of him. He played in the NBA for a while. The reason Twitter labeled that video as dangerous is because others might think they also can kick Sir Charle’s ass — only to find out that he’d toss them through a plate glass window if they try. I like Charles. He’s a good guy. I didn’t like kicking his ass. But there was nothing misleading about that video. I kicked his ass. Plain and simple. And so there was no reason to be cancelled by the authoritarians who run Twitter. It’s not as if I wrote a story about Joe Biden and his son in the New York Post. If you’re interested, I’m also thinking of kicking your ass, John D — and posting the video on Instagram.

 


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