Bernie’s Q&A: Weiss, West, Wojnarowski, Trump TV, and more! (7/17) — Premium Interactive ($4 members)

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

What’s your take on Kanye West? He obviously has no chance of winning the election (for one thing, too many filing dates have passed), but if he got on the ballot in a few key battleground states, could he peel JUST enough votes away from Biden to give Trump the win? — Joel E.

I refuse to take Kanye West seriously, Joel. He’s not running for president no matter how many times he says it. He won’t get on any ballots. A Kanye endorsement might help one candidate or another — but that would require his fans to actually go out and vote. Something else I wouldn’t bet on.

Bernie, Senator Hawley (R-MO) sent out a press release today last Friday asking NBA Commissioner Adam Silver if he would allow players to wear slogans on their jerseys that said, “Free Hong Kong, God Bless America, Back the Blue, or Support Our Troops.” When Hawley’s staff e-mailed the release, members of the media were copied on the e-mail, one of whom was ESPN’s “Senior NBA Insider” Adrian Wojnarowski, who responded to Hawley’s e-mail with “#uck You”. His e-mail did not include the #.

How in the world is that acceptable from anyone, let alone a journalist? How in the world can ESPN still retain a journalist who responds in that manner? Should we just give up on our media and assume it is nothing more than a mouth piece for the radical left? At every level, the media is a total clown show. — Joe M.

Two points, Joe. First: Wojnarowski apologized just hours later with this public statement: “I was disrespectful and I made a regrettable mistake. I’m sorry for the way I handled myself and I am reaching out immediately to Senator Hawley to apologize directly. I also need to apologize to my ESPN colleagues because I know my actions were unacceptable and should not reflect on any of them.”

ESPN suspended him without pay.

Second, his firsts reaction tells me all I need to know. The apology is BS as far as I’m concerned. It’s not just CNN, MSNBC, and big newspapers that have become mouthpieces for the hard left. Sports “journalism” is guilty too.

So I see where the Governor of Minnesota requested funds from the Federal Government to assist in rebuilding the “war-torn” city of Minneapolis. Apparently he was turned down, as he should have been IMO. I have a suggestion, why doesn’t he reach out to the Hollywood types who had no problem donating a lot of money to a fund to be used to bail out those responsible for the burning and the looting? Maybe they’ll fire up a gofundme account. While he’s at it, reach out to the Biden campaign, it too donated money to a bail fund. The chutzpah of this guy. — John M.

John, I’m not adding a word to what you’ve written.  I totally agree!

This excerpt is from the July 9th NYT Coronavirus Briefing, regarding a ranking system for the hopefully soon potential release of a vaccine:

“But the most contentious debate has been over whether to put Black and Latino people — who have disproportionately fallen victim to Covid-19 — ahead of others in the population [to be first in line to receive the vaccine]. The idea was supported by many of the health experts, who viewed it as medically sound and an act of racial justice. But others worried it could create a negative impression of the vaccine for some Americans.”

So are we at the point now where The CDC & the media believes that the virus unfairly attacks minorities because of their skin color and not by their inability to remain virus diligent? — ScottyG

Everything these days is about race. To be fair, some would argue that people of color are not coming down with the virus in disproportionate numbers because they’re not “virus diligent” but rather because they suffer from underlying medical conditions that make them more vulnerable. But it would be a bad idea to put people in the front of the line because of their skin color. It would just add to the already existing tensions surrounding race in this country.

I disagree with your conclusion [in Monday’s column] that Donald Trump is in trouble. To quote the Bard “What’s past is prologue”. Since 1900, with only two exceptions, every incumbent running in a two person race has been re-elected. The exceptions were of course Herbert Hoover in 1932 to FDR and Jimmy Carter in 1980 to Ronald Reagan. In both cases, economic forces were the deciding factor in their loss. Even given the current plague, the one thing Donald Trump is good at is managing the economy. He will have a growing economy and increased jobs by October. He will be re-elected by a large margin. — James V.

You may be right, James … but unlike just about any president who came before him, Donald Trump is widely disliked by just about every demographic group. And even the ones who still support him, like white evangelical Christians, don’t back him to the extent they did in 2016. And his noxious personality might make the difference this time around. In any event, I’m amused by your absolute certainty. No doubts for you, James. But if he loses — again, I say “IF” he loses — his most passionate supporters, the ones who never held him accountable for his dishonesty and his nastiness, will have contributed to his defeat. Donald Trump needs his friends to say, “Enough.”  They never do. So if he loses, it won’t be the “fake news” media that’s to blame. It’ll be Donald J. Trump himself — and his friends who will tolerate just about anything.

Yes, you have said numerous times you won’t write another book. But…you are faced with the biggest “Bias” story of this century on the reporting of COVID-19 (from both sides). How do you submit to this position from your loyal readers? — Tim H.

No more books. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. But thanks for asking, Tim.

In the wake of the Bari Weiss resignation this week (not to mention the scores of other similar events occurring weekly if not daily), it seems to me that the lines have been drawn as to the stakes presented for this year’s elections . There are millions of people who do not like Trump the man but who fear what will happen if the Democrats get complete power (their signals as to what they would do with such power seems very clear). Your faithful readers like me know exactly where you stand as to the character traits of Trump (or lack thereof). The question that is begged is whether Trump’s character failings are being trumped (pun intended) by the dangers posed by those who despise this country and wish to fundamentally change America forever. Put another way, is sitting on the sidelines come November a viable option this time around? One last thought: buy the beans (Goya) and sell the Times. — Michael F.

I’m with you, Michael, on “buy the beans (Goya) and sell the Times. Nicely put.

As for the rest:  I understand your point. My friends hit me with that every day. I do not want the Democrats to win. I don’t think Joe Biden will be a moderate for long if he wins. I believe he’ll continue to be pulled to the left. So, you’re probably saying, “Hold your nose, Bernie and vote for Trump.” I want Republicans to win. But Donald Trump will have to do it without me.

The University of Texas announced this week that it was renaming its field from that of a large benefactor (Joe Jamail) to two African-American players and Heisman Trophy winners (Earl Campbell and Ricky Williams). I’m a classic capitalist, but I always cringed whenever the rich guys could just come in and buy their way onto buildings and sports fields/arenas. I thought the baseball field in Atlanta should have been named after Hank Aaron rather than stroke the enormous ego of Ted Turner in calling it Turner Field. I also hate these generic corporate names attached to fields of play. This begat the ridiculous display of a few years ago when the NBA Finals rotated between American Airlines Arena (Dallas Mavericks) and American Airlines Center (Miami Heat). If there’s one good thing coming out of these social changes, maybe it’s a return to honoring individuals who are tied to fans and their communities. What are your thoughts? — Steve R.

I haven’t given it much thought, Steve, but you make sense. However … Boone Pickens, the late Texas oilman gave about $500 million to his alma mater, Oklahoma State University. Guess what the name of the football field is. Can you blame the folks at OSU?

We have been hearing about infrastructure spending by our politicians now since 2008 and the great recession. Now both Biden and Trump are beating this same drum. It seems to me that when we talk about infrastructure, the predominant ownership of the assets is either at the state and local level or in private hands in the case of the electrical grid. The federal highway system, the nation’s air control system, and selective dams and bridges being the exception. It seems to me that all of this talk about Federal intervention has just provided an excuse for the responsible parties to postpone necessary improvements waiting for the taxpayers to foot the bill for their crumbling assets. With the ridiculously low-interest rates evident over the past decade this seems malfeasant for those in charge. What is your take on this? — Douglas C.

Any time a local politician can lay off his expenses on the federal government … he or she will do just that. But the reason both parties love infrastructure is because they can claim credit for creating JOBS. The idea that it’s any president’s responsibility for a pothole on my street is ridiculous. But the reality is in an election year Dems and the GOP will talk a good game about infrastructure — even if it’s just talk.

The woke scolds now want to cancel the hit musical “Hamilton” because it glorifies a racist slave owner. The creator of this extravaganza has actually apologized to the woke crowd for not being “woke enough” and he wants to do better. I take great schadenfreude in the fact that during the curtain call, the entire cast and crew of the show felt the need to lecture the Pence family for being politically incorrect (that is, Conservative Christians), and now the creator and star Lin-Manuel Garcia and his cast now find THEMSELVES on the receiving end of the woke scolds. Nonetheless I fear that more people (whether I agree with their political positions or not) will be shut down, and the First Amendment will go by the wayside.

What is your feelings about what is happening to Hamilton? Do ya think the woke scolds would approve of Lin-Manuel Garcia producing an all black cast in a musical inspired by the life of Jeffrey Dahmer? Your thoughts are always appreciated. — “Jeffrey Dahmer—The Musical!” Regards, From The Emperor

I don’t know if you know this, Emperor. But at Jeffrey Dahmer’s trial, there was an unexpected commotion involving some of the people watching the trial from the gallery. The judge banged his gavel and shouted, “Order.” Dahmer stood up and said, “I’ll have juror number 7.”

As for Hamilton:  This is what happens in revolutions.  The purists take over — and then nobody’s safe, not even liberal icons like Mr. Garcia.

I live in a relatively small town where the local newspaper is now nearly all just local news. Because of that I want to subscribe to a newspaper online that will give me relatively unbiased information. After reading your article about Bari Weiss today I read her resignation letter. And I canceled my New York Times online subscription. I knew they were biased but felt I could still get a fair amount of factual news from them. Now I don’t like what they did , I don’t trust them and don’t want to support them financially. Can you recommend another online news source? — Beth R.

First, good for you Beth. It’s the Times’ loss, not yours. I checked around and my good friend John Daly tells me he is very happy with The Dispatch (a subscription website, owned in part by Stephen Hayes and Jonah Goldberg). “Their daily reporting (sent to members every morning via email) is very strong, thorough, and fair. Great commentary too,” he says. Good luck!

There were times in 2015 and 2016 when I was convinced that Trump was trying to sabotage his own campaign to assure that, after generating the publicity he definitely wanted from running and staying in the race so long, he wouldn’t actually become president and have to do the job. I’m believing that again now, with the latest evidence being his commutation of the thoroughly corrupt and fairly convicted (even A.G. Barr said so) Roger Stone. What do you think the probability is that I’m right? — Ben G.

I’ve thought the same thing, Ben. I even thought about writing a column that begins: Sometimes I think Donald Trump wants to lose in November.

If that’s not it, he’s just the dumbest guy to ever set foot in the Oval Office. No one has ever put his foot in his mouth, has stepped on his own good news, more than this man.

Bernie, I have a different take on the upcoming election. President Trump, is doing (and has done) a lot of strange things if we assume he is trying to get reelected. I don’t really think he cares. It’s not fun anymore, with “Tell All” books, scores of former White House associates’ candidly dumping on him, on and on. He loves his base. Loves ’em. Binden is elected. Trump starts up cable “Trump TV”, and slashes and burns to the sea, every day, 24/7. Doesn’t get better than that, for ‘Disinfectant Donny”. I kinda agree with him. His highest, best, and fun use of his talents … many, people have said; many many people — Aloha, Mike S.

Hey Mike … I think “Trump TV” is what he had in mind from the jump. He’d run for president, lose, then start a network featuring the narcissist himself. And if he loses in November, there’s an excellent chance that he’ll do just that.  Here’s the question that lingers: What will become of Fox? Will he bring the bootlickers over to Trump TV? If he does, Fox is in big trouble. It might be smart for Fox to offer him almost anything he wants. Just when you think it can’t get any crazier, it gets crazier.  Aloha, Mike.


Thanks, everyone! You can send me questions for next week using the form below! You can also read previous Q&A sessions by clicking here.

The Remarkable Forgiveness of Trumpism… Sometimes

Many on the Left have long cast Republicans and conservatives as an unforgiving bunch — intolerant naysayers who resist change, and have little patience for those who hold opposing views. It’s a theme that’s been bolstered by the mainstream media and Hollywood for decades, and though the generalization isn’t particularly fair, there has been a self-fulfilling element to it.

Over time, the Right has become increasingly resentful of the narrative and those who fuel it, which is understandable. And after years of being on the defensive over daily accusations of bigotry and holding anti-Science views, many have found refuge in a populist movement that formed during the 2016 election, which centered around Donald Trump’s campaign.

Trump’s political revolution (often referred to these days as Trumpism) targeted the excessive and often paralyzing taboos of political correctness. It was never about a common set of principles, but rather cultural grievances. And without guiding principles to maintain it, a political movement can only be kept together by a charismatic leader and a shared attitude, aka tribalism.

President Trump didn’t create the sentiment that led to where we are, but he certainly harnessed it, and has managed to maintain it (with the unwitting help of his most deranged detractors).

What’s particularly fascinating is that while tribal politics are exclusionary by nature (just ask a conservative Trump-skeptic how many times he or she has been called a “libtard”), it’s astonishingly easy to fall into the good graces of Trumpism. All you have to do is flatter Trump in a meaningful way, or go to bat for his team. When that happens, all of your past sins are immediately forgiven, even if you were previously a sworn enemy or vile detractor of the American Right.

For example, I still find it amazing that WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, has become a darling of the Republican base. It was just eight years ago that that same base believed Assange to be an international villain — an anti-American fiend whose online publishing of secret diplomatic cables had put American lives at risk. Fox News host Sean Hannity even said at the time that Assange was “waging war against the U.S.,” and called on the Obama administration to arrest him.

But in 2016, when Assange started publishing documents that were harmful to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign (and thus helpful to Donald Trump’s), all was miraculously forgiven. Assange suddenly became a beacon of truth and a pursuer of justice. Despite the belief that Assange had been working in accordance with  governments that were hostile to America, the one and only Sean Hannity turned into one of WikiLeaks’ biggest proponents and publicists. Hannity even invited Assange onto his show (via satellite), where he lavished him with praise and expressed his wishes for Assange’s freedom (Assange had been taking refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London to avoid sexual assault charges by Swedish authorities).

Roseanne Barr is another individual who has become an unlikely hero of today’s Republican base, not just for her personal support of President Trump, but for the unabashed support lent by the iconic character she portrays on “Roseanne,” the popular sitcom from the 80s and 90s that was rebooted earlier this year.

If you’ll recall, this is the same Roseanne Barr who once wrapped up a public screeching of the National Anthem at a baseball game by grabbing her crotch and spitting on the ground. Years later, she posed (at her request) for pictures in a Jewish satirical magazine, dressed as Hitler and pulling burnt gingerbread cookies (shaped like people) out of an oven — a stunt that earned her multiple condemnations from Fox News commentators. In 2011, Barr said she’d slap Sarah Palin. And in 2014, while touting abortion rights and arguing that Republicans defend private schools because they “love” racial segregation, Barr blamed Ronald Reagan for 9/11, claiming that the terrorist attacks were the direct result of Reagan’s busting of the Air Traffic Controllers union.

Barr, in fact, has a long (and even recent) history of attacking Republicans and conservatives with highly incendiary charges, but her recent support of the Trump administration has managed to earn her a special place in the hearts of the Right. Sean Hannity even recently offered Barr the hosting chair on his Fox News show for a night.

The latest unlikely sweetheart of the Modern Right has been singer/entertainer, Kanye West.

Yes, we’re talking about the same Kanye West who famously declared, during a Hurricane Katrina benefit concert, that Republican President George W. Bush “doesn’t care about black people.” This is the same Kanye West who has compared himself to God and Jesus, to the anger of social conservatives, countless times. This is the same Kanye West who donated thousands of dollars to (and even endorsed) Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign against Donald Trump.

But West surprised some people shortly after the 2016 election, when he told a live audience that he hadn’t voted for anyone that year, and that if he had, he would have voted for Donald Trump. The remark generated boos from concert goers, but it earned West a meeting with President-elect Trump, at Trump Towers.

For the next year and a half, West didn’t weigh in much on politics, even taking a long hiatus from social media. He recently returned, however, surprising a number of people by expressing support for Candace Owens, a conservative black commentator and fervent Trump supporter.

Soon after, West began tweeting video-commentary from Scott Adams, the creator of the “Dilbert” comic strip, and a consummate Trump explainer/defender. And over the past couple of days, in radio interviews and on social media, West has been saying, without apology, that he “loves” President Trump.

Unsurprisingly, the Trump base has been loving the new Kanye. Numerous media-conservatives have lavished praise upon the entertainer for being an “independent thinker.” Fox News’s Jesse Watters even went as far as to call West a “modern day philosopher” the other day. Meanwhile, liberal commentators and longtime fans have been going a bit ballistic over the transformation, portraying West as a sell-out.

Now, in case my point isn’t clear, let me assure you that I couldn’t care less about the evolving political views of people like Kanye West and Roseanne Barr. I don’t care which politicians they like, and which ones they don’t like. I don’t think celebrities (whether they be liberal, conservative, or somewhere in-between) have an inherent political wisdom that the rest of us don’t. In fact, I usually tend to think just the opposite.

But it’s remarkable to observe just how cheap of a date the Right has become (especially after years of the base demanding conservative purity within its ranks). In the absence of guiding principles, whether one is embraced or rejected by the base is now largely determined by that person’s sentiments toward a single individual: Donald Trump.

If those sentiments are good, you’re good. Any past issues are immediately forgiven and forgotten. If those sentiments are not so good (even if you subscribe to Trump’s party’s platform), well, you might as well just join the Democrats… and don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out!

Believe me, I know a little something about this.

This mindset is not a celebration of “independent thinking.” It’s a celebration of fandom.

And it’s not just the Right, of course. As we were recently reminded with the disgusting treatment of country singer Shania Twain (simply for expressing support for President Trump), the Left uses the same litmus test… over the same individual (just in reverse).

Team-sports politics are in full force, folks. And the rules of game are increasingly shallow and stupid.