Off the Cuff: Trump’s Forfeited Opportunity

Donald Trump made a mistake by backing out of the second debate.

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: Harris, Pence, Page, Woolery, and more! (10/9) — Premium Interactive ($4 members)

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


Demographic trends + Democrat Party tactics are more effective and ruthless than their enemies, and + they get free 365/24/7 Media support. That all but guarantees Dems will be one party rulers by 2024. The Democrats will go after the filibuster whether the Republicans install Barret now or never. The Debating Society aka Republicans should seize the day by adding her to the Supremes NOW. Then resign themselves (those still standing) to getting down and dirty waging asymmetric warfare against the Democrat (communist) Party like the life of this Constitutional Republic depended on it. What say you? — John D. P.

First, I don’t think it’s a good idea to call the Democratic Party the Communist Party. It sounds like we’re back in the 1950s. Consider this John: What if the Dems do what you say. They kill the filibuster and presumably pack the court with liberal justices. Let’s say they add Puerto Rico and maybe Washington D.C. as two more liberal Democrat states with four new liberal Democratic senators. How do you think that will play out in two years at the midterm elections? You think the American people would be okay with that? I don’t. But if Trump loses his most loyal supporters — especially those with big megaphones in the media and the evangelical church — might want to try a little self inspection. They never spoke up when he demeaned the office he holds. They let him get away with his unpresidential behavior. They either tolerated it or flat out loved if. If he loses in a few weeks we’ll know that most Americans didn’t.

If you got the call to moderate the next Trump/Biden debate; would you? — Tim H.

Not if a Yankees game was on TV that night.

I don’t buy the lockdowns as cause for the riots. I believe they are well organized and are directed by Democratic Party operatives. They have not recovered from the election loss of 2016. The Russian Collusion did not work. The riots will continue right up to election time. If Biden wins, they will call off the dogs unless the Marxists still believe that COVID. The Economy lockdown and Police reform still make it ripe for Revolution. Stalin said three elements had to exist before World Marxist Revolution coul succeed. Conspiracy Theory? — Joseph V.

I don’t buy that lockdowns are the cause of the riots either … but I don’t buy that they’re directed by the Democratic Party either. You think the DNC is behind the riots? Really? Who’s the ringleader? Bernie Sanders and AOC and the rest of the Sandinista wing of the party may want to fundamentally change America … but I wouldn’t worry about a World Marxist Revolution … not the kind I think you envision, Joseph.

Why do the presidential debate moderators seem to predominately be Democrat news people? Has anyone noted who the moderator of the next debate is? Steve Scully with C-Span. Scully interned at BIDEN’s Senatorial office back in the late 70’s. No one on the debate committee saw a potential problem with this? At the very least a bad optic? How would the Dems respond if say a former Trump business intern was tapped to be a moderator? Kind of surprised of no push back from the Trump team. — John M.

Good point, John. One reason there are so many Democrat news people moderating debates is that most journalists are liberals and vote for Democrats — not matter how often they deny it. And you’re right about the optics. Scully may be scrupulously fair. He may even try harder to be fair because of his job history. But, you’re right, it raises concerns.

Editor’s note: The below response is in regard to DonEstif’s remark from last week’s Q&A, regarding his statement that George Floyd “had self-inflicted the overwhelming majority cause to his death.” It’s been edited a bit, just for length.

I feel compelled to defend that I am not nuts. The original Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s report does not mention homicide in it once, nor does it indicate asphyxiation: CARDIOPULMONARY ARREST COMPLICATING LAW ENFORCEMENT SUBDUAL, RESTRAINT, AND NECK COMPRESSION (please note I said the cop was a “complicating factor”). In the body-cam transcripts, Floyd complains frequently of not be able to breathe well, before he by himself goes down to the ground some time well after initial encounter; Floyd is not complying with the cops and there are various bystanders at different times telling Floyd to ‘stop resisting man.’

The cops realized early on that Floyd was high on something, which Floyd said was “whooping” and things other than drugs, but the cops shortly called for an ambulance (which got lost and showed up very late); the toxicology report indicates almost four times the lethal amount of fentanyl + some amount of amphetamines (Dr. Baden did not have tox report(?) when he claimed death by asphyxiation based largely on the video); the examiner’s report indicates two different pre-existing heart conditions; the cop’s knee on the back & neck is a technique taught by the police dept to restrain suspects. So, I believe these cops have been overcharged and the DA will be unable to succeed with 2nd Degree Murder and 2nd Degree Manslaughter charges/convictions.

Now, if those ‘facts’ are true, am I still nuts? — DonEstif

I never said that George Floyd wasn’t high or that he didn’t resist arrest. But he was cuffed and under control when the cop kept his knee on his neck for nearly 9 minutes. That may in fact be a legal restraint in Minneapolis. The cop may in fact have been overcharged. But it was excessive force nonetheless. Floyd’s death didn’t have to happen. I’m sticking by that, Don.

Greetings Sir Bernie. By the time you answer this, the Pence vs. Harris debate will have passed, so I get that circumstances may change by the time you answer this. SO hypothetically speaking, what if Trump dies from Covid-19? Then Pence would be the one running for 2020 president. Would the Republicans have a better chance of winning, since at that point it would no longer be about Trump’s Dumbass comments and bombastic personality? If Trump lives and sees that Pence wins the debate against Harris with not only facts but also dignity, respectability, and presidential decorum, do you think he would learn his lesson on how to properly conduct himself during a debate? Finally, and still hypothetically, what if the Dems are successful in the 2020 races EXCEPT for an overwhelming defeat in the Senate? How do you think THAT would affect the Supreme Court? — “Debatable” Regards From The Emperor

Let’s leave out the hypothetical about Trump croaking. If Pence wins the debate, you ask, will that teach the president a lesson about dignity etc. NO. The president is incapable of change. He is what he is (if you know what I mean). As for an “overwhelming defeat [for the Dems] in the Senate: Republicans should be so lucky. If there’s an “overwhelming” win for either side, it won’t be for the GOP. I am, hypothetically yours, … Bernie

Mr. G, Two-parter. What is the Country’s number one “big league” fear if Trump wins? What is the Country’s number one biggest fear if Biden wins? Elections have all turned into downside mitigation, don’t you think?
— ScottyG

Biggest fear if Trump wins:  Democrats think he’ll destroy our democracy. He won’t. My biggest fear if Trump wins is that I’ll have to listen to his nonsense for 4 more years. Though I hope he wins.

Biggest fear if Biden wins: That Bernie and AOC will be calling the shots. If that happens, be afraid. Be very afraid.

What are your thoughts on Trump/Pence still using “individual freedom” as a defense of the administration’s decision to hold several coronavirus super-spreading events (both potential and actual), where there’s no social distancing, and no mask-wearing requirement? The defense seems even more moronic, now that the president and many of his direct associates have been infected. — Ben G.

I’m with you, Ben. We’re all for individual freedom. And if one wants to expose himself to a deadly virus, that’s fine with me. But when that person exposes someone else, that’s not individual freedom anymore. That’s reckless behavior.

What did you think of Kamala Harris’s debate performance? I wasn’t impressed, especially being that she’s supposed to be some hot-shot prosecutor. She didn’t even bother to counter-punch Pence after he accused her and Biden of politicizing COVID-19. How does one pass on an opportunity like that, when Trump has politicized it like crazy? — Alex D.

My single biggest takeaway about Harris: I didn’t like her going in and I liked her even less during and after the debate. Debates are often NOT about issues, but about how the candidates come off to the voting public. She came off as unlikeable. Very unlikeable. Her smirks were beyond annoying. Now I don’t like her AND her running mate … AND Donald Trump. HELP!

Heard this morning that Trump backed out of the 2nd debate, once the debate committee announced that it would be virtual (because Trump has covid). Is this a mistake on Trump’s part? Also, what did you think of Susan Page as a debate moderator? Biased or fair? — Philip M.

I think the president understandably doesn’t want to take part in a virtual debate. What if Joe does the debate from his basement … with an earpiece … and with aides handing him notes on how to answer the questions? As for Susan Page: She did a very good job — of imitating a potted plant. She would ask a question and the candidates would say whatever they wanted, ignoring the actual question. And she did … nothing. Not a fan.

During Wednesday’s VP debate, the camera showed a fly landing on Mike Pence’s head, and staying there for exactly 2 minutes an 2 seconds. “2 minutes and 2 seconds” was the phrase famously coined by Love Connection host Chuck Woolery, who used it whenever the show was going to a commercial break. Chuck Woolery is an enormous fan of President Trump. Do you believe that the fly was a profound symbol of MAGA solidarity? Or could it be that the fly was on George Soros’s payroll, and was dispatched to Salt Lake City to try and knock Pence off his game? Lastly, what is your response to the announcement this morning that the fly has tested positive for COVID-19?  — John D.

Excellent questions, Mr. John D. I’ve checked with my sources and have learned that the fly was fake news. Fake news designed to distract us from the real issue: the annoying smirk on Kamala Harris’ face. As long as we looked at the fake news fly … we ignored the very real very annoying smirk. Whose idea was unleashing a fake news fly to distract simple minded people — no offense — like you John D? The only politician brilliant enough, smart enough, savvy enough to think of something so brilliant, smart and savvy. That’s right. It was Joe Biden’s fake news fly. And even though the fly was fake news, he had an earpiece in his left ear which was telling him to stay there as long as the annoying smirk stayed on Kamala’s face. Biden is a genius, right?

I gotta go now and take my meds.

 


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Bernie’s Q&A: Trump, Ginsburg, Wallace, Ice Cube, and more! (9/25) — Premium Interactive ($4 members)

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Please share your thoughts as to the newest PC dictate that the word “black” must be capitalized. I have noticed that this is the case even in the WSJ (at least non-Op-Eds). This seems like an Orwellian power move to control the narrative. It also is completely contrary to, and inconsistent with, the messages of unity and equality we are force fed pretty much every day. Maybe a great topic for an upcoming Off The Cuff.  — Michael F.

Let’s just say, Michael, that PC has run amok. But if we’re going to capitalize Black why not the same with White? The PC police have an answer for that.  Here’s an explanation (of sorts) from the Columbia Journalism Review:

“AT THE COLUMBIA JOURNALISM REVIEW, we capitalize Black, and not white, when referring to groups in racial, ethnic, or cultural terms. For many people, Black reflects a shared sense of identity and community. White carries a different set of meanings; capitalizing the word in this context risks following the lead of white supremacists.”

This is beyond nonsense. As I say, the PC police have run amok and journalism has become another form of activism.

I think you give people like Stephanopoulos and Stelter too much credit for honest stupidity. They are in their positions because they have an ax to grind. There are few careers featuring such strong immunity to serious criticism. Seldom need they even bother to defend themselves from any criticism and never if it comes from a known conservative. Since the demise of objectivity in the 1960s New Left reporters feel entitled to let their personal beliefs and experiences add color and impact to their finished product. However they are careful to hide those beliefs from readers or viewers except as they might infer from the nature of specific reports or withering interviews. — John D.P.

First, John, I agree with you analysis (though the last sentence confuses me; no big deal). I think there are 3 main reasons this ax-grinding occurs: Bias. Corruption. Stupidity. Bias because they take sides. Corruption because it’s gone so far. Stupidity because in Stelter’s case anyway, he’s a dope.

Trump said this at a rally this week:

“Now we know [the coronavirus] affects elderly people. Elderly people with heart problems and other problems. If they have other problems, that’s what it really affects. That’s it. You know, in some states thousands of people— nobody young — below the age of 18, like nobody — they have a strong immune system — who knows? Take your hat off to the young, because they have a hell of an immune system. But it affects virtually nobody. It’s an amazing thing.”

Beyond the fact that the virus absolutely affects more than just old people with pre-existing conditions, I can’t think of a better political ad for Biden than Trump saying “it affects virtually nobody” at a time when over 200,000 Americans have already died from it, and many others have suffered long term and even permanent health damage. And how can anyone in the “pro-life” party defend this crap (though they all seem to be doing just that)? — Ben G.

For some, Donald J. Trump can do no wrong. He can say the stupidest thing and they’ll respond with, Biden is worse. That may be a reason to vote for Trump, but it’s not a reason to pretend he’s honest or knows what it means to act like the President of the United States. I’m with you, Ben.

I’m going to get off the front-page news of today (Trump/Biden/SCOTUS) to address an issue that drives me nuts. I want to rid this country of tax-exempt corporations; namely nonprofits. For rich entertainers and athletes forming a charity is sound tax advice as a method to avoid tax along with writing off their Bentley. To me, this was not the intent of nonprofits. I would like to see a Bernie Goldberg on HBO go after these “fake” charities by these filthy rich gifted people like he did camel jockeys. Let’s call the episode “Charity Jockeys”. Yes, I’m serious. Let me qualify. I do donate to good causes and I don’t because I can take the deduction. But I do take it. If the deduction was gone, I would still do it. — Tim H.

You’re right, Tim, there are some non profits that don’t give a lot of the money they take in to charity. They spend it on all sorts of other things and when they’re done, there’s not much left. That said, some non profits, as you know, are run well. Real Sports actually looked in to doing a story about athletes who set up charities that are, let’s say, questionable. For some reason we hit a snag. Maybe we’ll revisit, Tim.

Regarding this week’s Off The Cuff, about what the Dems are threatening to do if Trump and The Senate replace Ginsburg’s seat so close to the election — Making D.C. & Puerto Rico states, ending the filibuster (except when it benefits THEM), packing the Supreme Court, etc…

Let’s assume that Trump and McConnell honored the Dems’ requests and refrain from appointing a replacement. What exactly would stop the Dems from following through on their threats anyway if they were to win the Senate and the presidency? Why should Trump and McConnell trust them to keep their word? Also are the Republicans any more hypocritical than the Democrats in this matter regarding the Republicans’ behavior during the attempted appointment of Merrit Garland?

Funny how BOTH political parties have switched and changed their tune when the circumstances are not convenient for them. Finally, whether or not Ginsburg’s dying wish was that a new president should appoint her successor: Sorry but why should THAT make a difference? I highly doubt that the Dems would have honored that same request for Scalia under a similar set of circumstances. Your thoughts? — “Notorious RBG” Regards From The Emperor

You’re right on all counts, Your Holiness. First, yes, the Dems could pack the court even if the president doesn’t put through a nominee before the election. They could hold packing the court over the head of Republicans and kill the filibuster anytime a decision comes down that they don’t agree with. Second, yes again, both parties are hypocritical as I point out in a recent column I wrote for the Hill.

Finally, whether Justice Ginsburg actually said what’s attributed to her doesn’t really matter. Dems accuse Mr. Trump of politics. Sounds like the Justice was doing a little politicking too by supposedly saying she wants a new president to name a possible replacement for her.

In the age of political hysteria I think we should all (if we were ever exposed to his writing) heed the writings of Thomas Paine who wrote in his pamphlet Common Sense the following: “Some writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave little or no distinction between them; whereas they are not only different, but have different origins. Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness; Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one; for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries BY A GOVERNMENT, which we might expect in a country WITHOUT GOVERNMENT, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer. Government, like dress, is the badge of lost innocence; the palaces of kings are built on the ruins of the bowers of paradise.”

Is there any more pertinent advice for the American voters than those reflected above? Thank you and keep up the good work. We need more sane voices, even those from the past. — Douglas C.

That quote is why a lot of his critics say Tom was a Paine.

SORRY!!!

What do you think of the possibility of Trump “reaching across the aisle” and nominating Merrick Garland to replace Ginsburg? He wouldn’t lose any ground as the court already leans conservative and Garland is arguably to the right of Ginsburg. It could also allow him inroads to winning the moderate vote in his re-election bid. — Gus

I think the odds of President Trump nominating Garland are … ZERO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Personal question since I remember you writing about George Carlin a while back. Who are your all-time favorite comedians (maybe your top 3)? Thanks. — Floyd R.

Interesting question, Floyd.

Carlin … Rodney Dangerfield … and Nancy Pelosi.

One of my prized possessions is a book Carlin signed for me. It says, “To Bernie, Go F**K yourself.”

True.

In apparent preparation for the first presidential debate, Trump just declared that moderator Chris Wallace is “controlled by the radical left.” It’s whiny nonsense, of course, but what always strikes me is how the shots Trump takes at the integrity of respected Fox News journalists almost never get mentioned and discussed on the Fox News commentary shows. Do you think the journalists ever get fed up with their Fox News colleagues on the commentary side almost never sticking up for them? — Jen R.

I’ve had discussions with Fox journalists about Fox commentators. Journalists get hassled when they’re covering stories because people hate Hannity and Ingraham. No one’s forcing the reporters to stay. They’ve apparently come to accept the situation they’re in. I’m not surprised, Jen, that generally speaking the commentators don’t stick up for the journalists at FNC. The prime time crew are Trump cronies, toadies, bootlickers. They’ll never criticize him. And as for Trump saying Chris Wallace is “controlled by the radical left” … he’s a fool … and I’m not talking about Chris. Note:  When Trump told Fox’s Brian Kilmeade that Wallace is “controlled by the radical left,” Kilmeade responded: “I will tell you for sure, [Chris Wallace] is not controlled by anyone.”

Bernie, years ago, when you confused rapper Ice Cube for rapper Ice-T on national television, did it do any permanent damage to your previously impeccable street cred? Also, did it cause any problems for your record label in 2012, as you were recording your own debut rap album entitled, “Straight Outta Rutgers”?  — John  D.

No, JD my Homey, the Cube and the Bern Man are still tight. No harm to my street cred, sucker. As for that Straight Outta Rutgers BS… You think you be funny. You not. I’m actually on the album in a cut called Quiet on the Set. I come in at around 2 minutes and 55 seconds. Think I’m fooling’.  Check it out (below). They don’t call me Notorious BRG for nothing.

 


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Bernie’s Q&A: Kushner, Zucker, Woodward, Biden, and more! (9/18) — Premium Interactive ($4 members)

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


In his book and elsewhere, Michael Cohen has recently portrayed Trump as a master deceiver when it comes to Christianity — a man who has privately called Christianity and its practices “bullshit,” and whose real religion is “unbridled lust for money and power at any cost to others.”

Trump has never struck me as particularly religious, and being a dishonorable man, he may have actually said those disparaging remarks. But I find the “bombshell” revelations about him allegedly calling fallen U.S. soldiers “suckers and losers” and Christians “fools and schmucks” very CONVENIENT for the left (who is often equally dishonest in their allegations against Trump) to suddenly dredge up.

Do you think that the left is trying to make Trump’s base abandon him by publishing these allegations? I believe that even if Trump made this repugnant remarks, actions speak louder than words. I’ve watched the left actively support the blatantly anti-Christian and anti-U.S. military/law enforcement groups like ANTIFA and BLM. SO… even if Trump actually made those remarks, his actions are still supportive of religious Christians as well as the military and law enforcement, so I could still support him, whereas I truly fear what the leftists would do to law enforcement, the military, and religious Christians if THEY got into power. What are your thoughts on this, Sir Bernie? –“Gossip and Hearsay” Regards, From The Emperor

Couple of thoughts, Emp: First, those quotes attributed to Mr. Trump sound like things he’d actually say. So while I have no idea if he actually said them or not, I wouldn’t be surprised if he did. You ask if I think the left is trying to get Trump’s base to abandon him. I think they’re trying to hurt a guy they don’t like. They know his base is solid. It’s the undecideds that might be swayed by the revelations. Finally, I can understand why actions are more important to you than words. But words still matter. And if Donald Trump loses, the things he’s said over the past 4 years and the way he’s said them, will be a big reason.

I was very optimistic for Mid-East peace during the Clinton administration and I have high praise for Clinton’s effort. But as Clinton stated which I paraphrase, in the end Arafat was a terrorist and not a diplomat. Any reasonable person should know that as long as Hamas is the ruling government in the Gaza Strip, peace cannot be achieved through direct negotiation. History has proven that. It appears to me that Trump (Jared Kushner) is using an initiative picking off Mid-East countries one at a time formulating a new foreign policy that future administrations can leverage and benefit from. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait may be ways off, but I like the approach. I’m surprised that I don’t hear much about this in the MSM. Pelosi’s statement on this policy was unbelievable. Foreign polices succeed and fail. And I could see this policy fail without a unified American message. Have our parties become so hatred that we can’t come together as a nation? — Tim H.

You ask if partisan politics is stopping us from coming together as a nation. Basically, yes. That’s how polarized we’ve become. But let me turn your question over to another Goldberg … Jonah … whose recent podcast dealt with this very topic. He spoke to Kenneth Pollack of the American Enterprise Institute. The section relevant to the Trump administration’s involvement starts around the 11:45 mark. But if you want some broader insight on the UAE deal, and Israel’s evolving relationship with other Middle Eastern countries, just start the episode from the beginning. Click here.

What is going on with Joe Biden? Have I been seeing mean spirited video clips manipulated to make Biden look like he’s senile or worse? I don’t think so. SEE just two of the videos and not the worst:

Just two examples, I think it’s in the second video he takes some flights of fancy reminiscent of his performances in 1987 and 1988 when the reporters and commentators with the major broadcast networks did their job and called him out on his self aggrandizing story telling and plagiarizing. How he managed to survive all that must be one of the greatest mysteries of the twentieth century. WHY is Biden the Dem’s man for President? I’m not going to speculate because all possible answers are too reprehensible. — John D. P.

Biden got the nomination because of who he was running against. Only Bernie had a real following. And I suspect some high profile Dems got the word out that if Bernie won the nomination, Trump would win reelection. So Joe got it by default. And those Dems figured if the guy is losing a few steps, they’ll figure out a way to put everyone on the prompter — including answers to questions — and hope for the best. If the polls are right, the strategy is working.

Dear Bernie, Love reading your articles and watching you on HBO Sports. All we have heard since the 2016 is about the Russian interference with Presidential Election through social media. My question is where is the proof that this interference had any affect. I believe the Russians tried to interfere but where is the proof that they changed votes? Keep up the good work. — Patrick N.

Thanks Patrick. There is no proof. If there was the NY Times would have found it by now. But if the Russians used social media to help elect Biden … even if there wasn’t proof that the effort swayed any votes … Trump supporters would be howling. Right?

My mother never went to college but she taught me many wonderful lessons and values to live by. One was: remember that you are no better than anyone else and no one else is better than you. Pretty simple stuff. If you live in accordance with this value, you cannot be a racist for one simple reason: racism requires a view that one is superior to someone else due to skin color. My question Bernie is this: is it just my imagination or have large parts of our society (especially MSM, academia and even many political leaders) discarded my mother’s wise words? Are white people and black people to be viewed by different standards? Can an act of violence by one person against a total stranger (we seem to see this daily) ever be deemed more understandable on the basis of the skin color of the individuals involved? Is this going to become part of another version of the ” new normal?” — Michael F.

In the liberal worldview, some violence is more acceptable based on whose committing the violence and why. So if a white thug beat up an innocent black man that’s one thing … but it’s not the same thing as when a black thug beats up an innocent white man. I don’t like it but that’s the way it seems to be. I’ll bet your mother never told you that white liberal guilt has no limits.

A number of people have been saying that, ethically and maybe morally, Bob Woodward should have come forward much sooner (like in February or March) with the audio proof that Trump was heavily downplaying the coronavirus to the public. Their argument is that it was in the interest of public safety. What are your thoughts from a journalist’s point of view? — Ben G.

Hey Ben. I think the reason Woodward held on to his information was simple: He could sell more book by dropping his bombshell in September, right before the election. If he waited until October everyone would know it was a calculated hit job. If he released in in February or March it wouldn’t have had the impact. Someone once said that the answer to all questions is … money.

Close enough!

Bernie, something reminded me the other day of how you used to make the point, on The O’Reilly Factor (and maybe in one of your books), that elites in this country “look down their snobby noses at ordinary Americans who eat at Red Lobster.”

I always found that statement odd because Red Lobster is actually pretty expensive. The Lobster Lover’s Dream meal alone will set you back $40! Some might even argue that Red Lobster IS elite dining.

With that in mind, can you confirm or deny that you were in the pocket of Big Lobster, and that the restaurant chain was paying you big bucks under the table for product placement on Fox News’s marquee program? Or was this a simple case of white, seafood privilege? — John D.

I also said that the elites look down their noses at folks who bowl. So let me now confess — since it’s been bothering me for years: I used to bowl then eat at Red Lobster BECAUSE I had an endorsement deal with both a local bowling alley and a local Red Lobster restaurant. The gig paid me handsomely — $12 dollars a year for both. Once I made a boo boo and rolled a bowling ball down the aisle at Red Lobster. Hit a couple of senior citizens. Converted a 7-10 split. Boy, those were the days!

In multiple recorded conversations between President Trump and Bob Woodward, on the topic of COVID-19, the president emphasized just how very contagious and deadly the virus is. There’s even one recording from April where Trump described having a meeting in the Oval Office, where someone sneezed, and “the entire room bailed out,” including Trump. Yet, Trump has continued to hold packed rallies (including indoor ones) where neither social distancing nor mask-wearing is required, setting up potential super-spreading events. He has made the point that he himself isn’t in much danger at these rallies because he’s standing on a big, socially-distanced stage. But does he not care at all about the potentially deadly behavior he’s encouraging from his loyal fans in attendance? Are their cheers more important than their health, and even their lives? And also the health and lives of those they later come in contact with?  I honestly can’t figure out how any other conclusion can be drawn from this. Can you? — Jen R.

We’re talking about Donald Trump, right? The one who’s president? THAT Donald Trump? And you’re wondering if cheers are more important to him than the health of his loyal fans? What’s your next question, Jen: Is Donald Trump a narcissist? You’re having some fun with me, right?

Based on this week’s Off The Cuff, I’ve just made plans to move to Killarney if they’ll let me in. But if they don’t is it still too late to have a peaceful November and beyond? Or have we already fallen off the cliff? What can be done in the next few weeks to calm the nerves? Let me know if you’d like me to look for a duplex… — ScottyG

A landslide victory one way or the other might — might! — make the post-election less chaotic. But even that, I suspect, won’t help much. So, let’s just say, Killarney is looking good, Scotty. Check out real estate for me and let me know what you find out.

What do you think of the revelation that CNN president Jeff Zucker was secretly offering debate tips to Donald Trump in 2016? — Thomas N.

Let me answer it this way:  Donald Trump called me in 2011 or 2012 and said he was thinking about running for president and wanted my advice.  I said I was a journalist and don’t give advice to people who are thinking of running for president.  Zucker should have said the same thing … except at heart, he’s not a journalist … he’s a TV businessman.  Very different.

National sporting events are including “Lift Every Voice and Sing” as part of the pregame presentation since this song is now considered the “Black National Anthem”. So now we have segregated national anthems, and this is how progressives define progress? — Steve R.

Commissioners of pro sports leagues can’t offend their employees for fear of a strike.  So they give them what they want.  It’s not so much about progress, it’s about keeping the peace.

In an interview with Mediaite last week, on the topic of the White House denouncing anonymous sources as “fake news,” Jennifer Griffin from Fox News said, “It’s my understanding … that one of the biggest anonymous sources for the White House press corps is President Trump himself, and the people around him are often the anonymous sources that you hear them talk about at the White House. So it’s completely hypocritical. People are picking and choosing when they want to hear from anonymous sources.”

Wow! Beyond the hypocrisy, are we also to gather that a good bit of the “anonymous” White House leaks reported by the press (and then labeled “fake news” by Trump and his team) actually comes from Trump and his team? It sure sounds like it. — Phil R.

Crazy right?  But absolutely believable!

 

 

 


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Bernie’s Q&A: Biden, Harris, Dole, Woodward, and more! (9/11) — Premium Interactive ($4 members)

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


Bernie – Does Joe Biden’s candidacy remind you in any way of Bob Dole’s ‘honorary’ run in 96′? Is it his turn? — Peter E.

Haven’t thought about it that way, Peter. If there’s a comparison it might be to Hubert Humphrey in 1968. Humprhey wasn’t a radical. Neither is Biden. Humprhey had a progressive wing to worry about. Same with Biden.  Humprhey talked and talked and talked … but had little to say about the violence in the streets, fearing a backlash from the left that supported the protesters. Biden has given lip service to his opposition to riots, but he’s not convincing, also fearing a backlash from his left flank that supports the protesters.

My business has provided me the ability to see the world. My wife and I will seek street artists where we travel and purchase their art and note on the back where and why we were there. Street artists around the world are incredible talented and it makes for great memories in our home. Guests always inquire about the works and many now do the same thing.

I believe a community has the right to erect and remove statues to their choosing. But when I see them come down with rope hooks and sledge hammers by small mobs, that’s another story. Further, I would not support removing statues of Lenin in this country using the same methods, although they offend me. Or forbid the wearing of “Che” t-shirts which also offend me. Of course, I have boundaries.

Recently a bill was passed by the house to remove confederate statues from all national parks. It will never pass the current Senate. If you have toured Gettysburg, the statues of both union and confederate commanders and soldiers displays troop positions at key battle points. Yes, some were dedicated by states memorializing the service of the rebels. Are we now a country where one size fits all? Is the next step to eliminate hate speech that many European nations have adopted? And art, which is subject to interruption, now required to be neutral or to carry a message of context so we don’t need to interrupt? Was this bill from the house the start of a slippery slope? — Tim H.

You’ve documented a very real and very scary trend: Leftists who are against free expression when it offends their sensibilities. You ask if the next step is to eliminate hate speech. I think it could happen here. Hate speech — defined by illiberal liberals — may become a criminal offense. That’s the real danger: banning speech those in charge don’t like. It could happen. And it could happen sooner than you might think. All that said, I can understand the opposition to Confederate statues and monuments in the public square. If a town council votes to take them down, at least they acted in a democratic way. But removing statues of Confederate generals from places like Gettysburg is not a good idea. Those statues don’t honor the generals. They reflect history.  Authoritarian regimes wipe out history. That’s not what democratic republics do. At least, it’s not what they should do.

I’ve watched and read your commentary for several decades (damn I’m getting old!), and I, like many, feel I know you, but I don’t really. Can you provide us with a non-career bio, e.g., your schools, your interests, your family, etc. Some of the nuances of you – example: I adored Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Perry Mason (TV series), Have Gun Will Travel, Rawhide, Wagon Train, 60 Minutes (w/Kirkpatrick & Alexander), etc. Where did you go to school, what type of jobs did you have before journalism, what sports did you play, etc. Basically, the good stuff that helped develop/correct your character. Cheers — DonEstif

Well, Don, let’s start at the beginning: I was born in the Bronx … went to elementary school on a street what was written about as an example of one of the worst urban streets in America. Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan campaigned on that street in 1980 and in one news shot you can see my elementary school, PS 61. I moved to New Jersey for high school … worked at the Grand Union for a while … then off to Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ. Four days after graduation I began working at the Associated Press in New York. I left after a few years to go into television, in Miami. After that, CBS in Atlanta, San Francisco, New York, and back to Miami (for family reasons).  My favorite all-time TV show was Homeland. Favorite movie, Casablanca. I’m a very big Sinatra fan. I keep family matters to myself to protect their privacy. But let’s just say one member of  my family — my beautiful wife — is beyond great and people constantly tell me, “She’s the nicest person I ever met.”

Can you comment on the ethical and/or legal obligations as a journalist when conducting an interview, such as the one Vice News had with Michael Forest Reinoehl last week, with someone credibly accused of a crime and who law enforcement is actively seeking? Is getting such a “scoop” considered a coup in the journalistic world or is it seen as unsavory? Can the media, by knowing the whereabouts of a fugitive and not revealing that information, be considered an accessory to a crime? — Pete S.

Very good question, Pete. There are no hard unbreakable rules, but if someone were wanted for a serious crime and was on the run, I’d pass, especially if the crime he’s accused of is murder. Here’s why: The police are going to ask me where I interviewed him. If I say, “I can’t tell you” and he goes out and kills someone else, that’s something I don’t want on my conscience. What if the subject of the interview is a pedophile? Is it okay to withhold his location? I’m sure I’d agree to interview someone who stole government documents that said the U.S. intentionally lied its way into a war that resulted in tens of thousands of American deaths — and was on the lamb. But violent crime? Crimes against children? No.

“Just sent a Twitter thanking you for Off the Cuff on “When Sports No Longer an Escape…” thinking it was one of your finest audio commentaries. Then I read “Shouldn’t ALL Black Lives Matter”. I spoke too soon, but I am Irish by heritage, we do that often.

I live in Chicagoland, and I am amazed at how easily the community ignores the tragedy of the carnage which is sadly daily life on the South Side.

I am not at all surprised sports ignores it; ruins the narrative if they acknowledge it.” — Gregg

Thanks for the kind words, Gregg. Sports journalism is in the tank for Black Lives Matter. It’s pathetic.

“Joe Biden will continue to say it’s happening [mayhem in various cities] in Donald Trump’s America. You’d think voters would see through this nonsense. But the polls tell us they don’t. That they’re still backing Biden. As the rioters move from downtown to the suburbs, reality will sink in. Those liberals who haven’t condemned the rioting will see what it’s like to have the mayhem on their street, in front of their house. “That’s when they may see the light and conclude that they need to vote for Trump. But I’m not (yet) betting on it.”

That’s what you said regarding the rioting, looting, etc. in various cities last week. I don’t understand your logic. I get it as far as you saying that it’s liberal Democratic local and state politicians who are allowing this stuff to happen. But I don’t understand why if national voters “see the light” they’ll vote for President Trump. If President Trump is NOW impotent to stop this mayhem or is NOW unwilling to stop it, why would reelecting him make this situation any better? In this case, the best the Trump campaign can logically say is that the presidential election will not make a difference as to the mayhem in various cities even if VP Biden is elected. I guess they can say that it would be even worse if Biden is elected, but probably that’d be unpersuasive to all but blind Trump supporters. And I know you’re not one of them, far from it. I understand that logic is on life support in national politics. But I think Bernie Goldberg is still governed by it. What am I missing? — Bob H.

Here’s my logic, Bob: Donald Trump clearly is against the violence. He hasn’t called in federal agents — or the U.S. army, navy and marines — to stop it because that’s not only a last resort but one that his critics would use to label him a Nazi, a Hitler, and an all-around dictator who has no respect for democracy –but I suspect he’d call in the troops if he wins in November when he won’t have to worry about voter reaction. Many of us who believe Joe Biden when he says he’s NOT a crazy radical, don’t think he’s strong enough to stand up to those on his left flank who support the protests — and blatantly or not, “understand” or even condone the violence. So even if Trump  — to use your word — is impotent NOW to stop the violence, he won’t be impotent if he wins. I just don’t get the impression that Bernie Sanders, AOC, and the progressive wing of the Democratic Party is as troubled by the rioting and looting as Republicans are. So electing Trump increases the odds that action will finally be taken against the mob. There’s no guarantee I’m right, of course, but that’s how I see it.

I wonder, Bob, if you want the president to match his words with actions. Do you want him to send in the troops to put down the violence, to crush the rioters and looters? Do you think he’ll do that if he’s re-elected? If he does, what would your reaction be? Do you think Biden will do it if he’s elected? If he doesn’t and the mayhem continues, what would you suggest he do then?

You’re obviously under no obligation to humor me with a response. I was just thinking out loud (so to speak). Take care.

What is more dangerous to the American people; a dishonest President or a dishonest Media? Seems to me there are way more checks & balances to protect us from a roque President than there are to protect us from a subjective, inflammatory & subversive Press. Think of what a Press like this could do to sway a push over President, isn’t that even more dangerous? — ScottyG

You raise a very interesting question, Scotty. We can deal with a dishonest president by not supporting his policies and if he’s up for reelection, voting for the other candidate. But a democracy can’t survive without both a free AND a fair press. If we lose faith in the press, we won’t know what or who to believe. So if I had to weigh in on which is more harmful — a dishonest president or a dishonest press — I’d go along with your conclusion … a dishonest press can do more harm.

Kamala Harris toured Kenosha, Wisconsin a couple days back and took the time to meet with the the man shot by police, Jacob Blake,and his family. She referred to the family as fine people (the father is about a racist as one can be and is an ardent follower of Louis Farrakhan). She told Jacob, the man who has been charged with breaking into a woman’s house as she slept, sexually assaulting her, then returning later to harass her (why cops were called) that she is proud of him! This can’t be the same Kamala Harris who tore into Brett Kavanaugh like a pit bull on steroids over totally unsubstantiated 30 year old sexual assault charges during his SC confirmations hearings? Can it? BTW, she did not visit the woman the man she is so proud of reportedly raped, but “all women must be believed.” And of course the MSM totally overlooked it. Megyn Kelly who tweeted about it was excoriated for calling her out on it. — John M.

Once there was something resembling an impartial media in this country, an impartial media that would have questioned her about all the legitimate points you made. That time is gone. The media is an appendage of the Democratic Party and it’s not about to ask “inconvenient” questions. But there’s another problem: Republicans can’t make an issue of all this either — without looking like they don’t care about Jacob Blake. Whatever he was, and whatever he did that day when he resisted arrest, shooting him 7 times in the back at close range looks like excessive force, an overreaction. That’s why it’s hard for Republicans to make the case against Blake or his father.

In a recent CNN segment, the network showed a very old and endearing picture of Joe Biden with his son… BUT they digitally removed the son’s Washington Redskins logo from his hat (see below), presumably because it’s just too controversial by today’s standards. In my view, this is not only completely stupid, but it lends credence to the theme that liberals are trying to destroy our history through political correctness. Your thoughts? — Ben G.

I’m with you, Ben. If I think about this anymore I’m going to get depressed. “Completely stupid” — as you describe it — may be an understatement.

Bernie, what are your thoughts on Clay Travis and the increasing role of politics in sports media. Mr. Travis (along with his team at Outkick the Cover, which includes Jason Whitlock), in my opinion, appear to be on the more conservative side of sports coverage, while ESPN, and a lot of other non-Fox Sports commentators, seem to be more liberal or even very far left (e.g. Jamel Hill, Peter King, Bomani Jones, etc.). Is cable sports coverage going the way of cable news coverage, where Fox and commentators like Travis, are more conservative, while the rest will fight over the liberal sports audience? If it is going down this path, is there any chance it can be stopped? — Joe M.

Sports, as I’ve said before, was the place we went to escape the daily barrage of partisan politics. Those days, apparently, are gone. I’m not at all sure that Fox sports will be any different from other sports news outlets. Except for folks like Whitlock, they all seem to have signed on to the Black Lives Matter campaign. I’d ask athletes and commissioners what they know — and what they don’t know — about BLM. That said, let me sum up simply with this:  Most news organizations have a liberal bias and sports is no different. Even if ratings don’t drop, sports won’t be a place anymore where we go to escape politics. It will be one more place where we’re exposed to politics and polarization.

Lately I’m hearing from liberal pundits that they fear right wing violence around election time, especially if Biden is declared the winner. I find that interesting considering the fact that all the current violence is coming from left wing anarchists. So that got me to wondering: how can they spout such nonsense with a straight face when all the evidence around them says otherwise, INCLUDING dunderhead Democrat mayors either ordering more police security (that they want to defund) around their homes or outright moving to a secret location? Next it got me thinking, why DON’T right wing conservatives protest & riot destructively in the streets like a bunch of spoiled brats having a tantrum when they don’t get their own way? Your thoughts are always appreciated. –“Beware Of Those Dangerous & Violent Conservatives Causing Havoc” Regards, From The Emperor

I have said that while I don’t know who’s going to win on November 3, I am sure of one thing: that November 4 is going to be the ugliest day of the year. I now have second thoughts: It’s going to be even uglier than I thought. If the race is close, both sides will claim victory — and there’s a good chance there’ll be protests and worse in the streets. Most of it will come from the left. But I’m not counting out the possibility that some right wing yahoos will be out there too. Even if the election ends in a landslide victory, it won’t be seen as legitimate. And if it’s close … lights out!

I have been trying to figure out what America is going to look like and be like after the elections this November and also a few years from now. I had always hoped we were moving towards a society where skin color would increasingly become less relevant. The society that MLK envisioned if you will. Today it seems that that world ( a so-called colorblind world where skin color did not matter that much) is now viewed as racist itself ( talk about irony). So Bernie, where do we go from here? How does one stay positive and optimistic with all that we see and hear every day? How good can a society be when children are being forced fed a diet of hate and vitriol by schools, media and social media? Will there be a meaningful conversation about these topics and a focus on exactly what those demanding change actually want and what they envision society should or will look like in a few years? — Michael F.

I’m not optimistic, Michael … at least not for the foreseeable future. Profiles in courage are always rare, but now we’re seeing an abundance of the opposite — of cowardice. The schools, the media, the sports establishment are all on the same page — that we’re a racist country, that it’s systemic, in our lifeblood. I’m not buying it and I know I’m not alone. Let’s see if there’s a silent majority that has enough of the lectures — and if there is, how that silent majority reacts.

I just read John Daly’s piece (on your website) on what Trump told Bob Woodward about COVID-19 back in February, versus how he grossly downplayed and spun the seriousness of the virus to the American people (and still does). I think Daly’s right, and I don’t buy the idea that Trump was just trying avoid panicking people. There’s a huge difference between working to avoid a panic and actively telling people not to take a real threat seriously. What do you think? — Brian C.

I think if Donald Trump’s lips are moving, he’s probably NOT telling the truth.

 


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.