Bernie’s Q&A: Michael Flynn, Polling, Racism, Masks, and more! (7/3) — Premium Interactive ($4 members)

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

Bernie, as always, thanks for the responses! In a follow up to your comments about the intolerance and authoritarianism of the left, I was wondering if you think the climate they are setting is skewing the current Presidential polling. Specifically, if a stranger called your home today and claimed to be from a polling agency, would you willingly tell that person your political beliefs? After all, who knows who the person really is or what they will really do with that information. Maybe I am being paranoid, but I am positive that if I wrote you in 2019 and said I think the radical left will want to tear down all of our monuments and rewrite all of our history, I would have sounded paranoid then. — Joe M.

You make a very good point, Joe … and it’s not based on paranoia. I do think that some Trump supporters lie to pollsters. Who needs the potential trouble? But I don’t think there are enough people like that to overcome a 14 point deficit in the latest poll (NYT) — if he’s really trailing by 14 points. So yes, I think there are more Trump supporters out there who the polls don’t pick up … but I don’t think there are enough of them, again, if he’s trailing by double digits.

Mr G., Why are our elected officials bending & breaking to the <1% who are demanding societal changes without having to justify their position and articulate exactly what they are asking for? — ScottyG

The 1% making demands for radical change, unfortunately, are backed up by older, more established, more well-off liberal sympathizers — who vote! When those demands encroach on the comfort of those liberals, when the demonstrators protest in suburban neighborhoods, when they take over upper class neighborhoods and not just parts of downtown to further their demands, then the protesters will lose support — and politicians will think twice for “bending and breaking” to their demands.

I’ve often wondered who writes the copy that finds its way into the hands of news anchors. I watch ABC World News Tonight on a regular basis. Watch CNN and MSNBC too. (What can I say – I like torture:) Last night I watched ABC correspondent Jonathan Karl describe the armed St. Louis homeowners as whites pointing guns at blacks. No backstory, just “white vs. black”. This is probably not news to you, but I suspect the “news” media is ‘framing’ news content into a more ‘delicious’ product that draws and retains the attention of its most marketable audience group. The decision making as to what content and backstory finds its way to airtime is an example of pure marketing science – it’s all about the $$. Based on your vast experience, what does the MSM org. chart look like in MSM newsrooms – who sets the standard, who writes the copy? To me, those are the real MSM ‘demons’. It’s worth mentioning that while ABC’s Jonathan Karl was exploiting the white vs. black narrative for the ABC audience, I could tell from the look on his face that he felt otherwise. Have you ever had a reporter tell you that he or she had to report something they believed was BS, but went ahead anyway because it would cost them their job? Wonder how that makes them feel. Caio – Uncle Pete

Hey Pete … If the report is coming from an actual reporter in the field, either he/she wrote the copy or at least co-wrote it with a producer. If the words are coming out of the anchor’s mouth, then a team of writers wrote much of the copy … the anchor also writing some of it.

You have every right to think that the slant given to the story has to do with both political and cultural bias … and the bottom line. Cable opinion shows are aimed at the target audience. So you get non-stop left wing blather on CNN and MSNBC in prime time … and right wing opinion on Fox. As I’ve said many times before: Cable is a business model, not a journalism model. What’s new is that more and more it’s not only cable … as you, Uncle Pete, have noticed.

Finally, no journalist has ever confided to me that he or she had to report something they didn’t believe was factually correct.

As we continue to see white progressives confess and condemn their privilege, is it not time for them to put their money where their mouths and hearts are. As young college students and recent graduates excoriate and seek to demean cops, wouldn’t their tribal screams be that much more sincere and effective if they told good old mom and dad to stop subsidizing their lifestyles and renounced their future inheritances? Or does wokeness mean being hypocritical is permissible provided you can camouflage your privilege? — Michael F.

You’re funny, Michael. The day young, white, privileged twits tell mommy and daddy to cut them out of the will is the same day hell will freeze over. They talk a good game, but don’t count on any of them to put their money where their mouth is.

Any chance that some high-ranking democrat politicians including a certain presidential nominee (and FBI agents like Strzok) might end up in prison for setting up Michael Flynn under knowingly false pretenses? If so, then do you think that would hurt the Dems among the swing voters? I can’t imagine swing voters who may despise Trump personally ever voting for a party that seriously tried to throw out a legitimately elected president through deception and illegal entrapment simply because the Dems did not like the outcome of the election. Do you think A.G. Barr is really going to pursue prison time for what could be a coup by the Dems? At the risk of sounding like I’m repeating a ridiculous conspiracy theory, this one actually seems to carry some weight. Your thoughts are appreciated. Alex Jones Conspiratorial Regards from The Emperor

First, no one’s going to jail before the presidential election. Second, the Durham report will be very interesting … and may lead to criminal charges. Regarding swing voters: One would hope they’d abandon a party that was involved in major league wrongdoing, but I’m not betting on that — not given how much even swing voters detest our president. Stay tuned.

Bernie, do you know why the term fight fire with fire exists? If you don’t do it, you come out looking like conservatives of old that just accepted what ever lie and crap that the democrats bestowed upon them and were afraid to respond for fear of hurting someones feelings. Trump is not afraid to respond. thank God. — Louis R.

I’m not opposed to him fighting back. And I’m no fan of Democrat lies and crap, as you put it. But I’m also opposed to Mr. Trump’s lies and crap. How about you, Louis?

Since the Left is all about changing the names of institutions it claims support, or have supported, white supremacy and/or racism, when will it be time to change the name of the Democratic Party? After all, it was the Democratic Party that supported slavery, supported the South during the Civil War, resisted Reconstruction, invented/supported Jim Crow laws and resisted the 1960s Civil Rights movement. I think if the Left is being honest, it will look at the history of its own party and decide that it is time to get rid of the terms Democrat and Democratic Party since its history is steeped in racism. — Joe

Interesting idea, Joe, but don’t hold your breath. Now, at the risk of starting needless trouble let me point out that they weren’t liberal Democrats who, for example, fought civil rights in the 60s. It was conservative Democrats. So Democrats could argue that conservatives were the ones who were against equality for black Americans. Once you get into a fight like this, nobody comes out looking good.

[Regarding this week’s Off the Cuff]: Since it is almost impossible to have any civil and open conversation with the BLM movement and supporters about race, maybe the only option is to outshout them. And maybe the only way to do that is via the ballot box. If those elected leaders who acquiesce and virtue signal to every unrealistic whim of the current movement are removed, the movement may well lose steam. Maybe then, once law and order are restored and the agitators are kept at bay, maybe then the focus will move from looting, lawlessness, yelling, violence, asinine attack on statues, and instead towards substantive discussions on how to improve race relations in the country. I wish so … but am not that confident in it happening soon. Sigh … — Jim S.

I’m with you, Jim, regarding the ballot box being the antidote to chaos. But … I’m not at all sure the anti-chaos segment of our population would win. I’m not sure there’s a silent majority. If there is one I’m not sure Donald Trump is the person to lead the movement. Voters will have to decide if they want Democrats who are mostly silent about the anarchy … or Donald Trump who has caused more than a little chaos himself since he became president. This is one of those times I wouldn’t bet a nickel one way or the other.

The amount of vitriol being allowed to spew forth unabated for policemen and women is regrettable and unbelievable. Reminds me of members of the military coming home from Vietnam 50 years ago. Do you think this will spawn a similar “thank you for your service” movement in the future? — Steve R.

Good question, Steve. In the midst of the anti-military blowback during Vietnam, I didn’t see the “Thank you for your service” reaction coming. So who knows if what we’re seeing now will spawn something similar. But 50 years ago there was a silent majority. They didn’t hate the military. As I’ve said before, I have no idea if there’s a silent majority out there today. If there is, we may very well get a “Thank you for your service” follow up. If there isn’t, then maybe the progressives have won the culture war. And if that’s the case, don’t expect any thank yous for police officers.

Study after study has made it increasingly clear that one of the easiest and most effective weapons against the spread of COVID-19 is simply wearing a mask when you’re around other people. Yet, wearing masks has turned into some kind of culture battle, with probably half of the country thinking there’s no point to them, or that wearing them somehow compromises their freedoms. Do you think things would have been different (with the coronavirus spreading slower) if Trump (and Pence for that matter) had stood up for, and worn, masks months ago, instead of the president and people in the conservative media poo-pooing the idea? — Ben G.

You’re right, Ben … wearing masks has become part of the culture battle. Everything, it seems, is political and part of the culture battle. But if the president had worn a mask months ago … yes, I think more Trump supporters would have joined in. And that might have indeed slowed the spread of the virus. The idea that wearing or not wearing a mask is political, is also pathetic.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Bernie’s Q&A: NYT vs. Tom Cotton, Joe Biden, Chris Cuomo, and more! (6/12) — Premium Interactive ($4 members)

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

I am stunned by Joe Biden saying between 10 and 15 percent of the people in America are not very good. That equates to about 35M to 52M people. Will a statement like that help in bringing people together? Or would it contribute to the opposite? — Ray K.

Biden’s comment may bring back memories of Hillary’s basket of deplorables, which didn’t do her a lot of good. But let me ask you a question Ray: What percentage of Americans do you think are bad people? My problem with Biden’s comment wasn’t that he was totally wrong — there is some percentage that are bad. My problem is that I suspect the entire group he targeted were Americans who support Donald Trump. Are they really the only bad ones in this country? What about the looters? Do they count in Joe’s calculation? What about young men who shoot and kill other young men in places like Chicago and Baltimore. Are they bad people in Joe’s world?

If there are so many false narratives out there, and misreported and misinterpreted facts, such as the statistics behind unarmed black deaths vs all other police related deaths and then silence when there is black on black death & cop killings; who then is failing the country by not providing the truth required to quell these false narratives and subsequent consequences?

Both the current rioting and the Covid situation have significantly damaged this country and innocent lives based on a lot of misinformation. Who is really failing us? — ScottyG

Good question, Scotty. The media are failing us. Their agenda doesn’t included real statistics about rogue cops killing unarmed black men. That percentage is very small. But you’d never


know that by watching CNN or MSNBC. Journalists also fail us when they interview activists who say things that are provably wrong, but the reporter just sits there like a potted plant and doesn’t challenge the false information. Politicians are also failing us. They just say what will help them win re-election. Not many are speaking truth to power. Activists want to defund or flat out eliminate police departments. Cowardly politicians say good idea. I’ve had enough! All of this has me searching for mindless television at night. I can’t take the BS anymore.

Seems to me that if Trump wins in November we will have more violence and riots in the big cities (possibly even before the election too as a warning to scare people). If Biden wins, do you see the Dems being magnanimous or viewing the results as a mandate to go further left. If police forces in blue areas are emasculated what happens to enclaves like Beverly Hills etc ? — Michael F.

If Biden wins he will cave to the hard left. He doesn’t strike me as a strong guy with real convictions. If Trump wins you may very well be right about more violence and riots. The left is on a new kick to defund the police. But as you rightly ask, what happens when the thugs go after homes in Beverly Hills? What happens, Michael, is that the same lefties who don’t like cops, will demand police protection.

From one day to the next, you have to ask yourself, “what the ****.” We have had over a week of rioting and looting,with perhaps more to come, and what do we hear out of the Progressive Left: defund the police, some calling for doing away with police all together, leave policing to community groups. Yeah that’ll work! And how about those who have said the burning and looting might be just what was needed?!! The AG of Massachusetts actually said a good burn might be the purge this country needed. When leading law enforcement officials are saying things like that, I mean, are you kidding me? And finally, all that said, you have to wonder who would want to be a cop these days? Mediocre pay, treated like dirt. Can you imagine how the NYPD felt knowing that all the people they arrested for looting and vandalism would be right back out on the streets within 24 hours thanks to NY’s “bail reform laws”….book em and release em, no bail involved. Every time I think Trump is doomed and can’t win in November [much of it of his own doing ] when I hear things like this it gives me hope that the average Joe&Jane would not at all be happy with the the way the Dem’s have moved further to the left with their policies. Less police, no police, seriously.???? — John M.

Let me address your last point, John — about the average Joe and Jane out there. I’ve wondered if there is a new Silent Majority out there. I honestly don’t know. If there is, it will help Trump. But if we’ve moved left as a country, if more and more Americans think the country is fundamentally racist and so excuse rioting, say hello to President Biden. To me, this is the big political question of the moment: Does the Silent Majority exist in America today?

The police are always in the news. There are lots of good cops and a few bad cops. I’m a white guy – sort of – Italian, and I’ve been all over the world, many times, for work and pleasure … to the EU, all over Asia, Mexico, and the rest of the third world … and stopped by the police numerous times for numerous reasons. I smile. I ask questions in a respectful way. I have nothing to hide. I live through it. My advice to anyone of any color … if the police ask you to do something … do it, respectfully. If they say, “Stop!”, then stop. If you don’t, then all bets are off (serious implications). If the “request” is not appropriate, there are scores of ways to complain, however, “Just do it”. My two cents. — Mike S.

My feelings precisely, Mike.

A few quick points/queries: how long before God Bless America and The Pledge of Allegiance will effectively be banned? If The Democrats could rewrite the Constitution, what would they add or eliminate? Or does it not matter so long as you have the “right” judges? Will Keith Ellison try the Minn. cops just before the Nov elections? Finally, have the past 10 days proven that violence works and the threat of violence (or the occasional “boisterous protest” ( gotta be PC) ) can be used from time to time to keep issues alive and keep certain groups more engaged? — Michael

Regarding your first question … if the left takes control of this country, there’s a good chance they will impose speech codes. They are the biggest single threat to freedom of speech. Will they ban God Bless America or the Pledge of Allegiance. Let’s just say they sure as hell won’t encourage either.

Violence, I’m afraid, does work … in that it gets the attention of the media and politicians. But not in a good way. They give lip service to saying rioting is bad, but their emphasis is on the conditions that supposedly led to rioting and looting. You’ll never hear any liberal journalist state what to me is obvious: Some people just plain like breaking windows and stealing stuff. They’re not doing it because they’re oppressed. They’re doing it because they like sneakers and Rolex watches — especially when they’re “free.”

Quick question on journalistic ethics (since I honestly don’t know the answer): Let’s say you’re asking someone questions for a story, and the person is giving you all kinds of newsworthy information. Then, the person suddenly says, “That’s all off the record, by the way.” From a journalist’s perspective, is it really off the record, or does that person need to tell you beforehand that it’s off the record? Thanks! — Tom R.

The person must tell you beforehand that what he or she said is off the record. Otherwise it’s not. That said, I’m sure it doesn’t always work that way. If the source has given the journalist good information in the past, it’s not likely the journalist will risk losing the source over a failure to say, “This conversation is off the record.” Also if the source says something that might hurt a cause the journalist agrees with — that too might lead to keeping the conversation off the record. But as a general practice: The ground rules have to be established before the interview starts.

I find the article you wrote on Monday, at this time, a distraction. To me it is just like when white people throw the Black on black crime card up. Yes there are problems in the back community. But why does no one ever talk about white on white crime? People kill and harm people in their own communities. Let see the numbers across the board. I am sure you will see they are all within a few percentage points. My other problem is that your article and many people ignore the steps that are taken locally in Chicago to curb this trend. It may not be perfect. But to imply that nothing is being done, or that the communities don’t care, is wrong. But if you are not in the community, how would you know? And don’t get me started on systematic policies that have broken up the black family. Why cant we give the current movement time to breathe. Pun intended. — Douglas S.

Hey Douglas … my point is that elite white liberals — in order to show their good racial manners — will lament white on black crime but virtually ignore black on black crime. And it makes me wonder: Don’t those lives matter … or is homicide only an issue when the victim is black and the perpetrator is white?

Isn’t the sad fact that the leading cause of death among young black men is homicide a legitimate topic to write about — at this time or any time?

I defer on these matters to Shelby Steele who has written extensively and eloquently about white liberal guilt. He’s far more blunt than I’ve been. He’s black.

I wasn’t saying that nothing is being done. My complaint is with elite white liberals — not people in the community trying to do good. I never said those communities don’t care. So your point that I’m not in the community isn’t relevant.

I hate what that white cop did to George Floyd. But I also hate the mayhem that has become all too routine in parts of Chicago. And as a journalist, I lament the fact that 85 shootings in one weekend and more than 20 deaths isn’t big news. Re-read what Lee Habeeb says about that. Thanks, Douglas — and feel free to let me know what you think of my Off the Cuff this week on the subject of “systemic racism”.

What are the facts and your opinion on what just happened at the New York Times? I’m referring to James Bennett’s resignation as its editorial page editor. And what about the publisher, Sulzberger – does he have blood on his hands as the woke are eating their own? — Steve R.

What happened at the NY Times is this: The children at the newspaper of record threw a temper tantrum because the read an op-ed they didn’t agree with … and the so-called grownups, instead of telling these snowflakes to grow up, caved … and agreed that the Times had made a terrible mistake. And Bennett resigned or was forced out. This is what’s been happening on college campuses for a while now. The liberal authoritarians are on a roll. Kind of like the French Reign of Terror without the guillotines — yet.

Dear Bernie, CNN’s Chris Cuomo was “unknowingly” caught in the background of his wife’s online Yoga video… naked. Him, not her. Given Cuomo’s high opinion of himself and the shape he’s in, along with his flare for Reality TV-style broadcasting (like that staged “emerging from the basement after covid” silliness), what do you think the chances are that this incident was not “accidental” at all, and that it was a publicity stunt for his show? — Bruce A.

I have absolutely no idea. But that’s not to say you’re not onto something, Bruce.

“Time Magazine Person of the Year?” … Wait for it … The Hypocrite. Potus and family, many members of Congress, lots of evangelicals, priests, pastors, reporters, political commentators, CEO’s, Hollywood persona … and I, are all hypocrites. I feel I am an environmentalist. I’m a vegetarian. I live part-time in a spectacularly beautiful part of the world, off the grid – in East Maui, near Hana. On my property, I watch over at least 2000 mature trees in this lush rainforest. I used to feel slightly superior to most of you. I’m not. Far from it. My wife works for a major airline. We fly for free. I fly all over the place, burning up the atmosphere that my trees help produce, as we go. I have more than one home, and more than one car, and not a Tesla to be found. I am in a serious dilemma. You, Bernie, might be one of the few true non-hypocrites out there … or is it, I dare say, unanimous? — Aloha, Mike

You may be a hypocrite, Mike, but life seems pretty damn good. But if you’re troubled by your supposed hypocrisy … here’s a suggestion: Go off to a monastery for a few months; take your wife with you … and leave the house keys under the doormat for my wife and me. Your place sounds pretty nice. Deal?

Your Wednesday Off the Cuff was your best to date. I would like for your thoughts to make it to the minds of most of the people in the USA. How can we help make that happen? — Ival S.

Thanks very much Ival.  But be assured, as a friend of mine put it, there’s a better chance that they’ll join the KKK then go along with my idea.  Put the word out anyplace you can about this website.  The more people who listen and read my commentary, the greater the chance that some of these ideas will catch on. Word of mouth is a powerful force.

I’m hearing that much of the violence and rioting and looting had the hooligans picking up devices that were planted alongside the roads so that rioters could easily use these devices to break into stores and cause damage. I’m also hearing that “white supremacists” have infiltrated the peaceful protesters and deliberately caused mayhem and destruction to denigrate the cause. Is there any evidence that white supremacist groups have been doing this? Or is this a left-wing talking point being used to deflect focus away from anarchist groups such as ANTIFA, whom I believe that left wingers support? Thankfully I can say this (and what I wrote last week) here because the woke crowd has apparently taken over TWITTER. Your thoughts? — “It was our ENEMIES who did it, NOT our ALLIES” Regards From The Emperor

Hello Your Emperorness.  Let me start with your question about weapons planted alongside the road.  Every time I hear that on TV, I become suspicious.  If the reporter knows this, and others presumably know this, where’s the video?  Why aren’t you showing it to your audience?  I’m guessing it’s because it’s a phony story.  Someone heard it and it soon took on a life of its own.  I’ll believe it when I see it.

As for white supremacists infiltrating peaceful demonstrations:  I’m not buying that either.  I think left wing pols and activists planted the story to put blame supposed Trump supporters for the mayhem.

Once upon a time we had editors/producers who checked scripts to make sure the reporter got his or her facts right before putting stories on the air.  Those were the good old days.


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.

Who Marches for the Black Men Killed in Chicago?

During the last weekend of May 2020, 85 people were shot in Chicago – 24 of them were killed.  According to the Chicago Tribune, “The majority of the victims of homicide in Chicago are young, black men.”

A week earlier, on May 25, about 400 miles to the northwest, as the whole world by now knows, a white police officer in Minneapolis put his knee on the neck of an unarmed black man and kept it there for nearly nine minutes.  George Floyd died and Americans, from New York to California took to the streets to protest his gruesome death.

No one has marched or demonstrated or held up signs for any of the  more than 1,000 people shot this year in Chicago — or the nearly 200 who were killed so far this year in the city – virtually all of them victims of black on black crime.

Let’s acknowledge that when someone is unjustly killed by a police officer it’s different than what we might call a routine homicide, if any homicide can be called routine.  Police not only have guns, but also wear badges and carry with them the authority and force of government.

So as bad as a Saturday night killing on a dimly lit street in Chicago might be, what happened to George Floyd in Minneapolis, because it involved an officer of the law, is worse.

So we understand the outrage when a white cop kills an unarmed black man.  But why the silence when black men are killing other black men?  Surely 85 shootings during just one weekend in just one city is worthy of attention, beyond a mention on the local news.

But even before we knew the name George Floyd, even when the marches and the riots and looting hadn’t taken center stage, even before there was such a thing as a coronavirus, the national news media pretty much ignored what was going on in places like Chicago.

My friend Lee Habeeb, a radio executive who also writes for Newsweek, has said that, “In Chicago, it’s Parkland every week,” referring to the high school massacre in Florida where 17 kids were killed in February of 2018.

In Chicago it’s worse than Afghanistan a lot of the time.

“Americans know none of the thousands of innocent young black men and women killed by other black men in our nation’s third largest city — and across America,” Habeeb has written. “There’s a reason. A young black male’s life is not worth reporting when it is taken by another black male. That’s the real racism that prevails in America’s newsrooms. The marginalization of black urban life.”

He’s right.  And on May 16, 2018 I wrote this on my website:  “Liberal journalists don’t feel comfortable when it comes to reporting dysfunction in black neighborhoods in places like Chicago. If white kids in tony suburbs were being gunned down in such horrific numbers, you can be sure that the liberal media would more than simply take note. They’d run stories on Page 1 for days on end.”

A lot of this has to do with what the California scholar Shelby Steele calls “good racial manners.”

Liberal whites, Shelby Steele (who is black) says, “must always imagine blacks outside the framework of individual responsibility.” It’s how white liberals redeem themselves from “America’s racial shame,” as Steele explains it.

In other words, white liberals (along with just about everybody else) rightly condemn the killing of one black man at the hands of a white cop, but don’t feel comfortable even commenting on the slaughter of hundreds of black men when they are the victims of other black men.

There’s a name for this phenomenon.  It’s called white liberal guilt. By ignoring mass murder in Chicago, white liberals feel better – about themselves.

Because when it comes to the slaughter of black young men, liberals in general and liberal journalists in particular fear that playing up this kind of bad news could give ammunition to bigots, who might use the information to bolster their already nasty opinions of African Americans.

By looking the other way, they show their “good racial manners.”

It’s important that journalists hold powerful people accountable.  It’s important that they document police brutality. But it’s also important to document on a national platform the gun violence that plagues places like Chicago – and to delve into the reasons it happens.

And if they did they’d find an all too common thread running through these crime statistics: fatherlessness.  More than 70 percent of black kids are born to single mothers in America.  And it’s well documented that fatherlessness often leads to poverty and poverty too often leads to crime.

But that’s another story the media shies away from, fearing that too would give ammunition to white bigots.

It seems that white liberal guilt knows no limits, thought it should be noted that conservatives try to stay clear of issues like fatherlessness too.  But in their case it’s not so much good racial manners that keeps them quiet.  It’s the justifiable fear of being labeled a racist if they bring up thorny issues like the absence of men in so many black families.

As for George Floyd, he rightly deserves a nation’s attention.  But so do the nameless victims who are gunned down every day in places like Chicago.

Their black lives matter too.

Bernie’s Q&A: Jordan, Pelosi, Krauthammer, Cuomo, and more! (5/22) — Premium Interactive ($4 members)

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

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

Like you, I aim to be both conservative and objective. I’ve tried to make sense of this nonsensical political divide during a pandemic that doesn’t discriminate by party affiliation. I’m trying to understand the situation from each side’s worldview, so here’s my take: Conservatives believe in the rights and efficacy of individuals and local officials to assess their own risks, govern their own behaviors, and make their own health decisions. They are distrustful of elitists in government and media who have their own agendas in harshly dictating the public and private actions of a free citizenry. Liberals, on the other hand, believe that experts in science and public policy are best able to coordinate a nationwide effort to control a deadly pandemic. They are distrustful of individuals making their own decisions that can have deadly effects on the public at large, as they are equally appalled at the thought of taking direction from an incompetent, corrupt President who ignores science and common sense at his whim. Fair assessment? — Steve R.

Totally and completely fair, Steve. I think you nailed it. And you might want to listen (again) to my Off the Cuff this week which deals with this subject. Apparently great minds really do think alike.

I noticed that the new Pelosi $3T sweepstakes would extend the unemployment insurance bonanza through the end of the year. I also read some comments in WSJ from a fellow in Va that when he and others went to get a haircut the barbers were staying home since they made more via unemployment than working. Query when Granny Nancy and AOC wake up and figure out there are consequences to giving people incentives not to work and if we will see the worm turn with the Democrats ( if in power) then forcing people to work ( doing whatever our overlords deem most “essential.”). As the expression goes in Texas, we may be “fixin” to find out if George Orwell is THE prophet of our era. — Michael F.

Nancy Pelosi doesn’t care if people make more by NOT working. She’s hoping they’ll thank her and her party in November for the extra pay. As for how all this will play out on November 3 … too early to tell. Orwell chronicled absurdity as well as anyone.  He’d have plenty to write about today.

Bernie, did you have a chance to watch any of the Michael Jordan “Last Dance” documentary on ESPN? If you have, I was wondering what your thoughts were on Obama’s interview during the show. The former President seemed to be upset that Michael Jordan was not (and still is not) more of an activist that took up some of the liberal causes Leftist promote. I think Obama’s position is short sighted and sad because it overlooks the fact that Michael Jordan was one of the great uniting forces in history. Jordan was so talented in his craft that everyone, of every race, and every nation, who stepped on to the court wanted, “to be like Mike.” Jordan’s greatness transcended race and it is disappointing to see Obama claim that Jordan could have done more when in reality, Jordan’s greatness was something we all marveled and rallied around (except maybe Pistons fans). — Joe M.

Let’s say that reasonable people may disagree. Sometimes athletes, because of their high profile and influence, need to take up important causes. Here’s a behind the scenes story: A friend of mine was making a movie based on a book about inner city kids and what basketball meant to them. It was about a culture of poverty and violence in the inner city and how basketball was a way out. It was a serious book and would be a serious movie. Michael Jordan was supposed to star in it. But he backed out and wound up making a cartoon movie. Your points are well taken but Ali stepped up, Billie Jean King stepped up, Arthur Ashe stepped up — they all spoke out about important American causes. Not Mike. That’s his choice, of course. And that’s why I say that reasonable people may disagree.

Brit Hume has been saying on Twitter today that it is an “unproven hypothesis” that kids can spread COVID-19 to adults, and that we shouldn’t have closed schools over these past few weeks for COVID-19, because we didn’t close them for chickenpox and rubella outbreaks in the past.

In reality, kids can absolutely spread COVID-19 to adults (any human can), and chickenpox and rubella mostly result in skin infections. Hundreds of thousands of Americans were never in danger of dying from these chickenpox and rubella, or even requiring hospitalization. Are you surprised by how many national news-media figures on both sides of the aisle seem to have completely lost their sense of perspective on serious issues? — Ben G.

I’m not surprised, Ben, because all sorts of “pundits” think they know more than they actually know. Full disclosure: I’m a big fan of Brit Hume. But here’s the dirty little secret about the very nature of journalism: People who report in print, on TV, and online aren’t Renaissance men and women. Are we supposed to really believe that they’re experts on matters of the the economy, religion, the military, farming — and a virus that nobody ever heard of just a few months ago? Journalists are supposed to talk to people who know what’s going on and then report what they’ve learned. But given today’s media landscape where opinion is far more provocative than mere facts, we’re going to get all sorts of journalistic opinion masquerading as expertise.

Mr. G, Let’s talk about our hometown. When will the New York press start turning on Cuomo and Deblasio over the horrific job they’ve done handling the virus? They were both late in the game, they both panicked and whined, they both miss managed and made deadly decisions, they both grossly under utilized federal assistance that they begged for. Now they both want non-New York taxpayers to pay for their misgivings and miss management of New York city and state. The New York press of the the 60’s & 70’s would have skewered both of these guys straight out of office. So what gives? — ScottyG from Queens

You just asked an excellent question, Scotty — one that’s also been bothering me. Let’s keep this discussion to the virus. Andrew Cuomo is being portrayed by much of the (liberal) media as a hero. But as you correctly point out, he and the mayor of New York were late to the game and many people died because of the decisions they made. If Donald Trump were governor of New York they’d be calling for his head. Here’s what I think: Because he’s a liberal Democrat — and Donald Trump isn’t — they’ve chosen sides: Attack the president for his bad calls — and ignore Cuomo’s. One more reason the media have lost so much credibility.

You recently wrote about how much journalism has changed since you wrote “Bias.” Your previous position was that Dan Rather and the New York Times staff and their ilk were simply living in a liberal bubble & so as far as they were concerned, THEIR opinions were reasonable, informed & central thinking (unlike those conservative rubes). You point out now that The current climate among journalists & news editors is that Now they don’t even make the slightest effort to hide their biases and agenda. So…what do you think caused them all to blatantly start admitting to it? What changed in the past two decades that gave them the gall to actively and shamelessly push their agenda openly. For that matter, why do they continue to do it despite constantly having egg on their faces after they are shown to have pushed false narratives in debunked stories like the Jussie Smollett hoax, the Covington Catholic School debacle, and of course Russiagate? These aren’t stupid people; don’t they feel any shame or humiliation or even the slightest bit of embarrassment after being shown up by those “evil conservatives” and their leaders? And If not then why do you think they don’t, even after being debunked more than once? — “Curses! Foiled Again!” Regards from The Emperor

Good one, Your Highness. I don’t think I said they admit their biases — just that they don’t try to hide them anymore. It’s a complicated question but here’s something to chew on: They hated W because they thought he was an idiot. They loved Obama because he was a lefty just like them and a person of color to boot. And now they detest Trump. So for the last three presidents they either hated or loved each of them which greased the skids for their move to the left. Also, cable — as I’ve said before — wasn’t about journalism, it was about business. So we got more blatant opinion than in pre-cable days. One more thing: As newsrooms became more diverse, they also became more liberal. Hiring more minorities and women was a good thing. But those groups, by and large, weren’t composed of conservatives. If I go on any further, I’d be writing Chapter 1 in a book — Bias 20 years later — and I’m not doing that, Sir Emperor.

Bernie, Do you think we’ll ever see another Charles Krauthammer as a regular fixture on cable news? By that I mean someone who has a passion for (and is incredibly well informed on) complex issues, calls out the nonsense on both sides, and puts forth thoughtful and serious commentary instead of just adding fuel to the partisan culture war? Or do you think we’ll just see more people in the mold of Brian Stelter and Jesse Watters, who just turn every story into an attack on the other side? — Arthur C.

No on another Krauthammer … yes on more jerks like Stelters and Watters.

I hope I’m wrong, Arthur, but cable thrives on conflict. It needs contributors to pour gasoline on the fire. CNN and MSNBC won’t tolerate a liberal who every now and then embraces a conservative position. And Fox is just as bad. It doesn’t want conservatives around who see the other guy’s point of view. Why? It’s bad for business. And they don’t call it the news business for nothing.

(Editor’s note: the below question was quite long, so it has been shortened):

The CDC tracks the total number of weekly deaths from all causes in this country (COVID-19, heart attacks, suicides, auto accidents, etc.). Here’s what they’ve reported from February 1st through May 9th. The cumulative reported deaths are 101% of what the CDC considers to be ‘normal’ (based on 2017-2019 data). In other words, COVID-19 has increased the overall mortality rate in the country by 1%.

A 1% change seems statistically insignificant to me. So despite 60,000+ COVID-19 deaths in their data (7% of all deaths), the overall death rate is ‘normal’. Also, deaths from auto accidents and suicides are actually up (fewer people are on the road, but more people are driving like maniacs). Suicides are up presumably up too.

So what gives? Deaths from other causes like heart attacks, cancer, etc. are apparently down and deaths attributed to COVID-19 don’t represent incrementally + deaths as is suggested by all of the media hype and the politicians. Does that mean COVID-19 has been a ‘cure’ for other ailments? And for a statistically insignificant 1% increase in overall deaths, we’ve put the economy into the biggest contraction on record?

I’m not saying that COVID-19 isn’t serious, but we’ve gone through other more serious pandemics (1918, 1957, and 1968) that, adjusted for population growth, were far more deadly than COVID-19 but we didn’t shut the country down. Thanks and best regards! — David B.

First, I understand why you think 1% is “statistically insignificant” but I think we can agree that it’s not insignificant to the people who make up that 1% and their loved ones.

That said, here’s a piece from National Review on this subject (with some important perspective) that you might find interesting. It includes the stat that COVID-19 killed more Americans in one month than the flu does in a year.

And because I can’t do your question justice — it’s just not something I know a lot about — I’m turning the rest of the answer over to the brilliant Mr. John Daly, who follows this stuff more closely:

Hi David. I see where you’re coming from, but here are a few things to keep in mind:

1) Our country saw less than 100 total deaths from COVID-19 in the first 7 weeks of that 14 week date range you’re referring to, thus that cumulative 101% figure is a bit skewed in regard to the true impact of the coronavirus. It wasn’t until the third week of March that the death numbers began skyrocketing. That’s when we went from 51 deaths in one week, to over 500 new deaths the following week. The week after that, it was nearly 3,000 new deaths, then 9,000, then over 14,000. In mid April, we were up over 130% of expected deaths for that week.

2) A very large percentage of these deaths (the CDC page stated 60k, but we’re close to 100k now) came after we had begun shutting things down and practicing extreme social distancing. In other words, if we hadn’t done those things, our death numbers would assuredly be much higher than they are now.

3) Lastly, the CDC does revise its reported numbers as more data comes in from medical facilities across the country. So the most recently reported figures (roughly two weeks worth) do go up. And if you check back on that same date range now, you’ll see they indeed did.

None of this is to say that we shouldn’t now be (cautiously) re-opening the economy. I personally think we should (my state — Colorado — started it a couple weeks ago). As you stated, the economic impact is devastating. The spread of the coronavirus isn’t growing exponentially like it was a few weeks ago, and that’s a result of a lot of distancing. With serious (but pragmatic) guidelines, I think this can be done relatively safely. And if some areas start seeing spikes again, as a result, they’ll probably have to reconsider some things.


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.