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Bernie’s Q&A: Trump, Biden, Pelosi, Barrett, and more! (10/16) — Premium Interactive ($4 members)
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Now, let’s get to your questions (and my answers):
Nancy Pelosi says her pushing the 25th Amendment is not about Trump: "He'll be judged by the voters, this is more about going forward and dealing with other Presidents."
Ah ha, you mean like if Biden wins in November, and he should be deemed incapable of continuing at some point, that Kamala Harris, who was overwhelmingly rejected by voters during the Democrat Presidential debates last year, can be slipped into the Oval Office? Wouldn't put it by them. Bernie, gonna put you on the spot if that is possible. If you knew that your vote absolutely would decide who wins the WH, Biden or Trump, would you hold your nose and vote Trump?" -- John M.
Fair question, John. I've said (privately) before that if I thought the election in my state would be decided by one vote, then yes, I'd hold my nose and vote for the divisive, chaotic Mr. Trump -- because I don't believe we're voting for an individual, but a team ... and I don't share the values of Biden's team. That said, I'm betting it won't come down to one vote ... so, John, I guess you know what that means.
It seems to me that if the Democrats were as confident in sweeping victories in the upcoming election both in the House, the Senate and the White House, Nancy Pelosi would be willing to forego the stonewalling of the relief bill efforts to bail out the indebted blue states. With sweeping victories she and her cohorts will be able to enact whatever bailouts they want come January. Why punish the good American folks in need of some immediate aide now by not agreeing to a compromise? Is she not that confident in an upcoming victory or is she just plain mean and evil? Something just doesn't add up here. -- Douglas C.
I think Nancy Pelosi is politics incarnate. Every cell in her body is politics. I find her very hard to take. But whether she's confident of a Dem victory or not, she figures if she doesn't make a deal it'll hurt Republicans more than Democrats. Maybe she's right, maybe not. But rather than try to figure out what's going on in Pelosi's head, let's just look at the polls. And they don't look good for the president. I know, Trump supporters don't believe the polls. I do, at least as of today.
As I watch the anti-racism movement (not sure what else to call it), a number of questions/observations have come to mind. Unless I am missing something, it appears that unless you "join the movement" you are automatically labelled a racist (or is it a pro-racist?). Shouldn't someone define what makes someone a racist and how their racism is manifest and how it impacts those deemed victims of racism. It seems that when questions like this are raised, the response is we are not talking about individuals but rather the "system" and hence "systemic racism" becomes the new rallying cry, again without any definitions or proposed solutions.
Assuming Biden wins, what comes next? Reparations? If so, putting aside who gets something (money, free housing?), how long does the reparation period last? What is society supposed to look like when this period of penance ends? Will values that seem to have nothing to do with race or ethnicity, but have been labelled racist, such as hard work, personal responsibility and accountability meritocracy, etc etc , continue to be eroded if not eliminated? And if so, what is the consequence of eliminating or minimizing these values? It is very unfortunate and even scary that we may be on the cusp of our own cultural revolution with struggle sessions and most of America does not have a clue. Mao must be grinning from the after life while Orwell says "I told you so." -- Michael F.
You raise many legitimate concerns, Michael. And here's my question: Where are the journalists to address those concerns? AWOL, that's where. I've watched a lot (too much, actually) TV news and sports since I've been under virtual house arrest and not once have I heard anyone challenge the concept of "systemic racism." Not once have I heard anyone bring up fatherlessness, which is what actually is systemic in black America. Fear reigns. If you challenge what passes for the conventional wisdom, as you say, you run the risk of being smeared. I'm on the verge of dropping out. No fooling.
I saw that the New York Times recently endorsed Joe Biden for president. Do you feel that these newspaper endorsements have any impact on the way anyone votes? Are they still relevant in 2020? -- DeAndre
I don't, DeAndre. The Times is read, overwhelmingly, by people who already knew they were going to vote for Biden. It makes the editorial board feel important to endorse candidates, but I don't think it makes much difference anymore. Good question.
Bernie, I think you might be overlooking something about Trump. Yes, he has lots of bad qualities, and yes he will never changes those qualities. You are also right that Biden is more liked than Hillary. The problem with Biden is this: he is fully supported by the two most detested institutions on the planet. The mainstream media and Hollywood. I think you are underestimating how much people hate these two, especially the media, and I think a lot of people will pull the lever for Trump just so they can give the proverbial middle finger to their “friends” in the media and Hollywood. -- Joe M.
First, I'm very much aware of how much a lot of Americans detest the news media and the Hollywood glitterati. But I think you're absolutely right about how many voters will give the middle finger to those two institutions and vote for Trump. In fact, after a roundtable discussion with colleagues on Real Sports after Trump was elected, I told them that his victory, in part at least, was a shot at them, the media elite. They looked at me like I had two heads and was talking a strange language. They never learn.
A large part of our economy will return when people feel safe enough to go to public places. This can happen when rules are followed regarding masks, distancing, etc. So, sporting events can take place, like the U.S. Open, where everyone follows a strict protocol. The protocols are created by doctors. People that are in the venues where these sporting events take place must comply, they do not have a choice. And these protocols work (the US Open and NBA championships were successful).
If we are at war, like Trump has said, with an invisible biological enemy/threat then we must follow certain rules that will help win the war, shouldn’t we follow the commands of the “generals” - the scientists and doctors, and not lay people, to be able to fight properly? So, why is wearing a mask and contact tracing fraught with political implications?
Stopping at a traffic light, not screaming “fire” in a theater, and wearing a seat belt are rules that help you or the people around you. The government has decided that these rules need to be followed. We do not invoke “individual freedom” as an excuse if we end up killing someone going through a red light. Wearing a mask protects others, and yourself somewhat. If everyone gets on board with following the rules proposed by the “medical generals”, businesses will open more quickly.
Does this logic make sense? Why can’t the White House show by example and wear the masks, socially distance, and contact trace? When everyone is on board with a few agreed upon rules, the economy will be able to open. But we need leadership to lead. Where am I wrong in this logic? -- Howard N.
In my column that was posted last Monday I wrote that the president seems to think people who wear masks are blue state wimps. And like the book title, Real Men Don't Eat Quiche, he seems to think real men don't wear masks. That's how I see it, my friend.
You've stated that you despise Trump and don't plan on voting for him, but you hope that he wins in a landslide. I get it. I really do. I too think he's a thin skinned bombastic blowhard who should quit tweeting, shut the hell up, and run the country (and wear a damn mask!). His behavior at the first debate was embarrassing and downright pathetic, but that won't stop me from voting for him. Here's why:
Over the years, I've worked with (and FOR) a number of people that I PERSONALLY DESPISED. However, as much as I loathed some of them, there was one thing I had to keep in mind---in order to accomplish whatever my then-current goals might have been, I NEEDED those people! Whatever I personally thought about them, I had to put that aside because I needed them to get the job done and accomplish the necessary goals. When we no longer needed each other, that's when I avoided them. We certainly didn't hang out together after the various projects ended. They annoyed me to no end, and in all likelihood, they probably didn't think too highly of me either. Nonetheless I also knew that there would be hell to pay if the necessary tasks to do the job weren't completed, and those pains in the rear were the only ones available to get the job done right.
So now I ask you, whom I respect greatly even if we don't always agree: Haven't you ever had to work with (and for) other people that you dreaded dealing with day in and day out, but you dealt with them and continued on because you knew that the alternative was much worse? How did you handle those situations? So for the sake of discussion, how come you don't look at Trump and support him the same way that you may have looked at and supported those painful co-workers and bosses you had to deal with over the years? Some might say that I'm rationalizing, but I say that the progressive leftists running America means that the alternative to Trump is much worse! -- "Be Afraid---Be Very Afraid" Regards, From The Emperor
First, You Emperor-ness, your analogy doesn't work. Sure I've worked for bosses I didn't like. But I don't work for Donald Trump. He works for me and you and all of us. Second, for the ten millionth time, I get it. I understand your logic. Hell, I even agree with your logic. But unless my vote will make the difference between him winning and Biden winning, I'll sit it out. Blame the president, not me.
Bernie, how annoying is it to you (on a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being the most annoying) that so many people are very concerned with who YOU plan to vote for next month (as if YOUR vote will somehow be the deciding one in the presidential election)? Of course it's not just you that hears this. I see the same pressing attitude toward other well-known conservatives who aren't afraid to criticize Trump. Do you think it's because people need some kind of validation of their own vote, or do you think they sincerely believe this election could come down to just a handful of votes in whatever state you live in? -- Ben G.
Actually it's part (mild) annoyance -- because I explained my position a gazillion times. But part of it is that I'm flattered that intelligent folks who come to this site actually care how I'm going to vote. That said, I don't think they need validation. They're going to vote for the president and I'm glad they are, because I hope he wins over Biden. And, as I've said many times before, if my vote alone would make a difference I'd hold my nose and vote for the president. But my vote ALONE won't. So I won't.
Why can't these politicians be consistent? They all had one position with Merrick Garland and now they have the exact opposite position with Amy Coney Barrett. My question: Do you feel that the Senate should vote on a Supreme Court nominee in the last year of a president's term? -- Dana
Why the inconsistency? Because principles are dead and all that matters is raw politics. My problem isn't that the Senate is voting on a Supreme Court nominee in the last year of a presidential election. I can live with that. My problem is that the party in power will object when it suits its purpose and do the exact same thing when they're in the driver's seat.
We see today many many journalists, political spokespeople/communications directors and political pundits making easily fact checked misstatements and mistakes. Many of these so called professionals appear much younger and less experienced than say 20-30 years ago when our National news coverage shifted to what we have today. Do you see evidence of younger aged professionals with a lack of experience being giving such critical assignments a major contributing factor in all this misinformation? -- ScottyG
That's probably part of it, Scotty, but another part is how our political/media culture has changed. Now news organizations take sides. That didn't exist in the "old days." And so political spokespeople can lie through their teeth without fear of being contradicted. That's not always true, of course, but too often it is. And it's all part of the bigger picture, which is that we're more polarized today than in memory. That polarized culture allows for younger pols and journalists -- and not only younger ones -- to misrepresent the truth and often get away with it.
My thought about political discourse and partisanship is that the country is better off having strong voices on both sides of difficult and important issues. Also I do not believe that any law is "settled" since culture and science shift over time. For example, I support the death penalty, but the science of DNA has been a game changer as we discover the many men and women who are falsely accused of heinous felonies that put them on death row. Should not the issue of capital punishment be forever unsettled? The same for abortion. Science is showing that those tiny fetuses are more than a little bit human. Should not strong voices remain in this debate as the rights of women to have agency over their own health decisions be balanced against the science and ethics of late-term abortions specifically? -- Steve R
You're right about how our information isn't set in stone, about how our knowledge changes and moves forward and so, your would think, should our opinions. But some people are stuck in the positions they once held and won't change, regardless of what new information comes to light. They're ideologues -- and newly uncovered facts won't make them budge. You find a lot of these types on cable TV and talk radio.
My wife and I watched the Netflix documentary about the Challenger space shuttle explosion. Overall, it was a very interesting but one part stuck out. While NASA and the federal government were investigating the accident to determine its cause, an employee from NASA reached out to the NY Times with documents indicating that NASA knew launching the Challenger on the day it exploded was dangerous but that it disregarded these dangers and went forward. The Times was interested in running a front page story about what this employee disclosed, but it said it would not go forward unless this employee allowed the Times to use his name in its article. According to the journalists who appeared in the documentary, the story would have had no credibility if only cited anonymous sources. Fast forward to today, and it seems like every major media outlet is fine with running front page / lead stories that have all anonymous sources. What happened? How can any article or report be seen as legitimate and convincing if all of the sources are nameless? How can anyone weigh the credibility of an unnamed source? Why would any reporter want to put their name on a story that is not backed up with legitimate named sources? -- JM
All good questions, JM. Sometimes, however, the only way to inform the public about something important is to go with unnamed sources -- that the reporters trusts. But notice how the NY Times, for example, explains why the source won't go on the record. In almost all cases, the source is breaking a promise, violating an oath, or revealing information he agreed he would keep private. In other words these aren't the kind of people you'd want to babysit your dog. Can we really trust people who's word doesn't mean much? Just askin'.
When a columnist for a newspaper writes an op-ed, or a TV pundit opines on an issue, are they exercising their first amendment rights under the freedom of speech clause or the freedom of the press clause? If your opinion (which I respect greatly although I may not always agree) is expressed on a website or on a soap box on Lincoln Road (inside joke for you ) as opposed to as a writer for the Goldberg Gazette or the Bernie Broadcast Network, which 1A freedom protects your statements?
This is a topic I think about often as freedom of speech is being attacked and eroded in various venues throughout America. If hate speech (whatever that may be since no one ever defines it) may be outlawed by those who do not like the content of the speech (or in many cases the identity or affiliation of the speaker), please explain why, what I will call "hate press," should not also be questioned? Let me be very clear: I favor open speech and open press unless the exercise of those rights actually threatens violence or could reasonably be viewed as leading to violence ( I am sure there are some other similar categories but I think you get the point). -- Mike
Freedom of speech, in its literal sense, only applies to government. Governments can't prohibit you from saying just about anything you want. What you say may be true, it may be false, it may be smart or stupid. But the First Amendment prohibits government from squelching your right to speak. But that freedom protects you ONLY from government. So an employer can set super strict rules that prohibit employees from talking about almost anything. An employer can say if you talk politics at work, you're going to be fired. Again, the First Amendment only prohibits government from restricting your speech. As for so-called hate speech, that's a bit trickier because there are laws in some places that make hate speech illegal. The courts have to decide if those laws are constitutional or not.
I was one of many self-styled small c New Left practitioners of Saul Alinsky's strategy and tactics back in the 60s and early 70s, and I met many practicing members of old line organizations from Socialists to Socialist Workers Party to International Socialists, even some very obnoxious and off putting Maoists. In my initial naivety I was surprised to learn they were all registered Democrats. One of the great features of the New Left movement was/is there was no "there" there and nobody needs those stinking cards. Yes Donald Trump in his obnoxiousness is a terrible cross to bear but firstly, he is not a Saul Alinsky trained Democrat, and secondly he is not yet plagued with dementia as is Joe Biden.
After four years of the Trump Show we are not at war with any other nation, just with our own selves. That war began well before Trump trumped the experts and took office. Also we have renegotiated some entanglements to better serve the U.S. and will better serve the other countries in those negotiations in due time. -- John D. P.
All good reasons to vote for Mr. Trump -- unless you find him so detestable that you can't bring yourself to do it. And if Joe Biden wins, whose fault would that be? Fake news? RINOs? No. It'll be because voters chose Biden pretty much for one reason: that he's not Donald Trump.
Every Monday, I get a CBS Sports email trumpeting their grades for the Sunday NFL games (A-pluses for the great performances, and failing Fs for teams that were in the tank). In our political arena, we have a continuing dialogue about the coronavirus and how to best handle the disease. One camp says listen to the scientists (CDC, NIH, etc). The virus "game" has been going on for months now, so I think it is time to give these Scientists grades:
Scouting: Asleep at the Wheel D-, there was far too much reliance on outside sourcing especially the WHO. What position would we be in if as a nation we relied on the U.N. to provide intel on world threats?
Execution: A Mixed Bag – C in the first half of this event as they weren’t prepared, B+ to A- once they adjusted to the extent and ramifications of the disease. Messaging appeared to be their biggest weakness.
Game Planning: C- In need of Billy Ball: They had an Oakland A’s budget to respond to a NY Yankees event so they didn’t have the resources at their disposal to be effective in the early going, it cost a lot of lives. Not having the resources is a political failure, not a bureaucratic failure, and falls primarily on the legislative branch of our government (Nancy Pelosi and Congress approve funding). The game plan is strictly the responsibility of the bureaucrats of the CDC simply put they were not prepared and the lack of planning showed in their confusing and often conflicting messaging.
That’s my take Bernie, how would you score our bureaucratic scientists? -- Doug
I never thought of it that way, Doug ... but I like your take on the subject. From a journalistic point of view, I wish reporters would pay more attention to all the "experts" who got it wrong at the beginning -- and all the politicians who are now condemning the president who also got it wrong. I know you didn't ask about that but I thought I'd throw it in.
Do you think some of the concerns among the GOP and enthusiasm among the media Democrats over what a President Biden might do are overblown? Even if the Senate flips Democrat, a half-dozen or so of those Democratic Senators will have been elected by red and purple states as moderate consensus-builders. Will they vote for a Medicaid expansion and increased environmental spending? Sure. But will they vote for the GND, Medicare-For-All, court-packing, etc? I don't see it. -- Joel E.
You're onto to something, Joel. They may not do any of those things for the reasons you mention. But they might. And that's what has conservatives rightly worried. Here's one more reason, however, the Dems might think twice before going too far left: midterm elections are only 2 years away. If they pack the court, make Puerto Rico a state, giving voting rights to felons still in prison ... they almost certainly will pay a price in 2022. And I suspect they know it. That said, let me repeat: They might do everything folks on the right think they might do. And the prospect of it happening is pretty scary.
It appears to me that, much like in fall 2016, photos and videos of Trump rallies show enthusiastic supporters turning out by the thousands, whereas rallies for the Democratic candidate are turning out somnambulant supporters by the twos and threes. What do you make of that? Are there 70 million Biden supporters holed up in their basements just waiting to poke their heads out on election day? -- Gary D.
There's no question, Gary, that there's more enthusiasm for Donald Trump than there is for Joe Biden. Republicans in the media are always telling us that. But what they downplay or ignore is that it doesn't really matter if Democrats are enthusiastic for Biden -- as long as they're enthusiastically against Trump. Does it really matter if they're motivated to vote FOR Biden or motivated to vote AGAINST Trump? We'll know soon enough.
Bernie, Is it true that Twitter is actively blocking links to your popular series of online workout videos, with the explanation that they're "misleading and potentially dangerous"? -- John D.
It is true. The one that bothers me the most is the video showing me kicking the ass of one of my workout clients who wasn't following my instructions -- a guy named Charles Barkley. You may have heard of him. He played in the NBA for a while. The reason Twitter labeled that video as dangerous is because others might think they also can kick Sir Charle's ass -- only to find out that he'd toss them through a plate glass window if they try. I like Charles. He's a good guy. I didn't like kicking his ass. But there was nothing misleading about that video. I kicked his ass. Plain and simple. And so there was no reason to be cancelled by the authoritarians who run Twitter. It's not as if I wrote a story about Joe Biden and his son in the New York Post. If you're interested, I'm also thinking of kicking your ass, John D -- and posting the video on Instagram.
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