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Bernie’s Q&A: Swalwell, Nessel, Paxton, Reagan (12/11) — Premium Interactive ($4 members)
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Now, let’s get to your questions (and my answers):
I frequently pose to friends the question I will pose below in my attempt to better understand how people view themselves in the context of their being Americans. The question appears simple at first glance but is really nuanced in its attempt to get at the heart of identity politics and our shared American values and identity. So here goes:
Do you view yourself as a Jewish American or as an American jew (full disclosure : I am Jewish and have posed this to other Jewish Americans)? Larry Elder noted a few weeks ago that he is an American who happens to be black and thus views himself as a black American not an American black. While some find the question offensive and makes them a bit uncomfortable , the asking of the question has produced some very interesting discussions. In my opinion, discussions of this nature are crucial at this point in our history. -- Michael F.
This is too nuanced for me, Michael. If I say I'm a Jewish American, that doesn't suggest that I'm putting my religion over my nationality. I don't like the word "Jew" -- historically it was used as a slur as in, "He's a JEW." Bigots preferred that to, "He's Jewish." So my preference is "I'm a Jewish American" -- it rolls off the tongue easier for me. And while I understand what you're getting at, my choice would tell you nothing about my priorities.
I was just looking at the crime statistics for NYC as well as the statistics of people moving out. What's your gut thinking on NYC? Do you see a long term shift in the demographics or do you believe it will return to pre-2020 conditions? -- Tim H.
I know people who have left NYC during the pandemic. They may come back, but I think others will leave permanently. But some have the City in their bloodstream. They NEED to be there.
Mr. G, Would love to hear your thoughts on the recent ad campaign from CBS News. ("This Is WHY," narrated by Norah O'Donnell in her most serious voice). Since the election, we have been bombarded with this campaign Do you find it as nauseating as we do? -- Diane D.
I find all those campaigns a waste of money. People tune in to a particular newscast for a variety of reasons but one big reason is whether they like the news anchor or not. If they don't, a slick ad campaign won't change things. In the matter of CBS News, it's got very bad evening news ratings. I don't think their ad campaign will change that.
On Fox News Sunday last Sunday, Chris Wallace made a somewhat big deal out of HHS Secretary Azar referring to Joe Biden as "Vice President Biden" instead of "President-Elect Biden." While Wallace was right, were you surprised by the grilling on that point, and do you think it was appropriate? -- Ben G.
I watched, Ben, and come away with a different take than yours. Wallace pointed out that Biden was the president-elect after Azar called him the vice president. But I didn't see it as a big deal. Maybe I missed something, but Azar didn't seem to be concerned.
Since I’m not watching the news any longer, at least for now, I’m not sure what kinds of questions I should submit. So let’s try this: What should I get myself for Christmas to help me get through the next two years? Any suggestions? I’m pretty well stocked up on bourbon, golf balls & ammunition. 😉 --ScottyG
Bourbon, good. Ammo, good. But together, not necessarily so good.
You are one of many, Scotty, who have been telling me they've cut back on their news consumption. I have too, if that matters. Something is going on in the news business. I think I'll write about it next week.
As for your Christmas gift: How about a book, fiction, so you can escape reality for a while. Or ...
Bernie, what happened to the Democratic Party? Why did it decide to be the party for only 4 very specific groups, those being upper class white liberals, African Americans, LBGTQs, and illegal immigrants? I live about 40 minutes from where the book Hillbilly Elegy took place, and you cannot find a legitimate Democratic Party operation or candidate with a search warrant unless you go into the downtown Cincinnati area. The area I am in used to have a lot of Bill Clinton Democrats, now it is overwhelmingly Red and overwhelmingly loyal to Trump. Why did the Democrats decide one day that white, rural, non-college educated Americans were no longer worth their time? Why is it now the party with values entirely based on the far left coastal communities? -- Joe M.
Democrats made a big mistake and they've come to understand that they have to fix it. The elites took control of the party and, as is the way of elites, they look down their noses at those they consider either deplorable or what we used to call white trash. Your analysis is on the money, Joe ... and if Democrats don't figure out a way to get those rural, non-college educated white folks back, they'll pay the price. They didn't this time around only because so many voters could not bring themselves to vote for Donald Trump. But they can't count on that when the GOP puts up a less abrasive candidate.
Pretty much every notable legal expert who isn't a Trump shill recognizes that the election lawsuit filed by Texas's Attorney General, Ken Paxton, is a complete joke (just like the 50+ lawsuits Trump and his allies have already lost). Paxton has been indicted for felony fraud, and it looks like he's vying for a Trump pardon. Even so, Republican officials in 17 red-states have signed onto the lawsuit just to make Trump and his base happy. Do you find these continuing partisan attempts to overturn the will of voters as pathetic and purposely misleading as I do? I can only imagine the rage from Republicans if a Democratic president conducted himself this way. -- Jen R.
Let's get the easy part out of the way first, Jen. Republicans would, as you say, be screaming and yelling if a Democratic president did what Donald Trump is doing. But consistency is not something politicians of either party are known for. On the other matter: There are constitutional issues. Let's see if the Supreme Court thinks they're vital enough to address them. I can wait a few more days, but this will soon be over whether Donald Trump and his allies accept the results or not.
I have here a snippet of a story about the Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel:
"Responding to President Trump wishing attendees at a Georgia rally a 'Merry Christmas' and reminding them he had stated years ago that Americans would again use the phrase proudly despite those who would 'try to take that word out of the vocabulary,' Michigan Democrat Attorney General Dana Nessel issued a tweet (later deleted) in which she claimed her son had been 'devastated' when an employee at a store wished them a 'Merry Christmas.' Nessel tweeted that after her son asked her if they were the only Americans who didn’t celebrate Christmas, she told him, 'No, and we are just as American as everyone else.' She then insinuated that President Trump was unaware of such diversity by adding, 'Glad Joe Biden knows that.'"
Nessel's son was "devastated" when a store employee wished them a "Merry Christmas?" I fail to see how THAT greeting implied that she and her son are somehow "Un-American." A Jewish friend I worked with would always wish me a Merry Christmas (as did my Muslim boss), and I always would wish him a Happy Hanukah and Happy Rosh Hashana. I have been asked on occasion if I'm a Jewish man. I'm not. The question didn't devastate me either. Nor was I devastated on the rare occasions when I've been mistaken for a Scientologist or a Muslim or an atheist. Hell, I've even had gay men ask me if I'm gay. (I was not devastated on any of those occasions). I am routinely wished a Happy Father's Day once a year, and I don't have any children. NO, that's not devastating either, although I may respond with "No children, but thanks for the well wishes anyway."
I realize that it's often presumptuous of many Americans to think that the people we run into throughout our daily lives are "just like us," and perhaps we should be more aware of that. However, to be "devastated" and take so much offense at such trivial notions are petty and ridiculous, in my opinion. Have you (and/or your family) ever been wished a Merry Christmas, and if so, how did you handle it? Why do you think the culture has become so full of people actually LOOKING to be offended by petty crap? -- "Happy RamaHanaKwansMas Regards" From The Emperor!
If ANYONE is "devastated" because someone wished him or her a "Merry Christmas" that person needs psychological help -- and fast. I've been wished a Merry Christmas a million times and I say, Thanks, same to you. People look to be offended, as you rightly say, because that's where they get their power; that's when they can see themselves as victims -- and victimhood has sadly become a source of that power. Merry Christmas, Emperor.
To date the WSJ did not even report the "Fang Fang" story, to my knowledge. Sometimes news reports inspire jokes that write themselves. This week's news about the (dis)Honorable Eric Swalwell did just that. I will try to keep it clean. New possibilities for Ian Fleming's estate and maybe an American counterpart to Agent 007: The Spy Who Loved Me (well maybe it wasn't really love); From China With Lust; Congressman YES, YES. And please, let's have that talk about collusion (or was it canoodling)? I wish we still had Carson or Leno to take full advantage of this diplomatic overture (trying to keep it clean Bernie)! -- Michael
I looked up the word Doofus in the dictionary and next to the definition was a picture of Eric Swalwell.
Ari Fleischer announced a week or so ago that HE's writing a book on liberal media bias. While he (or whoever is really writing it) will have plenty of material, I suspect only partisans will buy it since Fleischer himself is such a partisan (who runs daily interference for Trump on Twitter and Fox News). As the author of the defining book on this topic, do you think we're past the point where ANY such book will find an objective audience who would actually learn something new from it? It seems to me that the cat's now been out of the bag for a long time, and people either care or they don't. Those who hate the mainstream media, and know Ari from Fox, will buy it (and he'll enjoy a nice pay-day). Those who don't will pass. -- Darin D.
When it comes to media bias there are few folks out there who keep an open mind on the subject. I think you're right: If you believe there's a liberal bias, you might buy the book. If you're a liberal who thinks it's a delusion, you won't. And those who review the book who are mainly liberal, will likely pan it.
Have you watched the new Ronald Reagan documentary on Showtime? I gave it a try and quickly realized that it was another heavily biased liberal effort to try and tarnish the man's legacy. Reagan was a historically important, widely beloved president (who won 49 states when he was re-elected), yet every documentary or mini-series on him ends up being an absolute hit-job. Do you think we'll ever see a fair cinematic look at him? Or has there been one that I may have missed? -- Brian M.
I have not watched the Reagan documentary ... and I believe that since liberals in general and liberal filmmakers in general are not fans, he won't get a fair shake. This is one more piece of evidence of the gap between the elites and regular folks -- who as you rightly point out gave him a 49 state victory.
Rep. Eric Swalwell (a former Democratic presidential candidate) will not say whether or not he slept with suspected Chinese spy, Fang Fang, who had targeted him and other up-and-coming California politicians a few years back. (In other words, he slept with her). Which do you think was more difficult for Miss Fang, as a spy: having to seduce Eric Swalwell, or having to laugh at his notoriously awful jokes? -- John D.
Fang Fang is the one who should refuse to say whether or not she slept with Swalwell. What woman in her right mind would want to admit to that? By the way, are you the same John D who was a very big fan of Mr. Swalwell, the one who was president of his fan club?
Editor's note: Rumor has it that John D. is in fact the president of the Eric Swalwell fan club.
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