Bernie’s Q&A: Cuomo, Bennett, Smith, Land O'Lakes, and more! (4/24) — Premium Interactive ($4 members)
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Now, let’s get to your questions (and my answers):
So recently, the Indian girl who has been on the package of Land O Lakes butter for ions, disappeared. Apparently some PC policeman woke up one morning and decided that in the name of political correctness, she needed to go. It never ceases to amaze me how with all that's going on in the world, some people get a burr in their saddle over something as innocuous as this. I guess Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben can't be long for this world. SMH -- John M.
Let's leave Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben out of this, for now. It's bad enough that I'm going to agree with you regarding the Indian -- oops, I mean Native American -- on the butter package. When the backlash against PC nonsense comes, it's going to be nasty.
Hi, Bernie, love the site, been following you for years. There is a little thing that bothers me about the way people (not just you) deal with Trump's way of dealing with people. So the question I have is pretty simple: If you are buying a car, and you say you can't spend more than $10,000 for it, and you end up buying the car for $12,000, would I be justified in calling you a liar? Thanks again, and hope you're doing well in these trying times. Regards, -- Chris H.
Hi Chris. Thanks for your support, and I hope you're also doing well.
If I understand your question correctly, what you're describing is a negotiating tactic — a bluff or a compromise. When I refer to the president's dishonesty, I'm not talking about him bending on a deal with the Democrats, or even caving on a campaign promise. I'm talking about his frequent, demonstrably false remarks about himself, his opponents (real and perceived), events, history, his policies, etc. I've given plenty of examples in the past, and he provides new ones all the time.
A lot of enthusiastic Trump supporters find creative ways to frame the president's dishonesty as something other than dishonesty (because it's politically helpful to do so). But I don't play that game...for either side.
Thanks again for the kind words.
If Biden were to win the presidency, I do not believe he is mentally capable of running our country. I feel he would be a puppet president, so the question begs, who would most likely be the puppet master? The Vice President he (or someone picks for him) or maybe Obama becomes his go to guy ( there by his 3rd term) or Bernie is running things? God help us but if he should win, whose really running things. Government by fiat? Thanks Bernie. -- Beverly
If Biden wins, Bernie's influence will be in the Oval Office. Why? Because in exchange for his endorsement, Bernie will have won some concessions. So Bernie will have a voice. So will the progressive wing. But Beverly, this is all based on an assumption that Joe isn't mentally up to the job. That may be true but I can't say at this point. Does he say incoherent things on TV? Yes. But who knows if that's a symptom of something serious.
Bernie, I just read your article "Bernie Sanders takes a hostage", which I think is another good analysis. However, you left out one thing, Biden’s pick for VP. He could appease them with his VP pick. Here is how I see it. It seems almost certain that Biden is going to pick a woman as a running mate and the two most likely are Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren. If he chooses Klobuchar, he runs the risk of further alienating Sanders voters. This decision is going to say quite a lot about the direction that he is going to go. Who do you think he should pick and, if you had to guess, who do you think he will pick? --Michael T.
I wrote on my website a long time ago that if Biden wins the nomination he'll pick a woman. Then I added, most likely a woman of color. That said, you make a good point. That his VP pick will influence, one way or another, how the Bernie Bros react. But Bernie's base will demand more than a VP. They'll demand that Joe move even further left ... and that he give them a say on his cabinet. What's fascinating is that Bernie lost and yet he's the one calling the shots.
Bernie: I thought I would take a break from COVID and politics to address race and sports, especially on the heels of Jackie Robinson Day last week. Much attention is given to the decline in African-American participation in baseball, both at the youth and professional levels. In addition, the presence of black families at major league games is extremely low. Baseball and Jackie Robinson played a huge role in launching the civil rights movement of the 20th century when he broke the color line in 1947, and baseball cannot walk away from its position in American history and culture. On the other hand, participation and opportunity among the world’s nationalities is at an all-time high. While only 7% of MLB players are African-American, 42.5% are classified minorities. The rise of Latin and Asian participation is especially notable. So should baseball pay absolute attention to its declining black demographic, or should it congratulate itself for what Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickie set out to do – provide the ultimate opportunity for all races and nationalities? -- Steve R.
A great big thank you, Steve, for such a thoughtful question. First, the number of black MLB players may be relatively low, but that is not the result of racism. As far as I'm concerned, that's all that counts. Black kids apparently prefer other sports for a variety of reasons. The popularity of basketball being just one. And yes, Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey were pioneers who did, in fact, "provide the ultimate opportunity for all races and nationalities." And that, my friend, is something for all of us to celebrate.
On Monday, CNN's Chris Cuomo staged his official on-camera "re-entry" up from his basement to join his family, after battling and finally recovering from the coronavirus. There was a lot of dramatic effect, including Cuomo saying he had been "dreaming of this moment for weeks."
In reality, Cuomo hadn't confined himself to his basement (or even his house). Earlier this month (when he was still infected with COVID-19), he and his family were seen together in front of a second property he owns (a 30-minute drive from his house), where he was openly socializing. A passerby even called him out on it, reportedly telling him, "Your brother is the coronavirus czar, and you’re not even following his [quarantine] rules."
What do you make of this type of news-media theater? Is it an actual example of "fake news?" -- Ben G.
Well, Ben, let's begin with my definition of fake news: It's when a journalist flat out makes something up. When he lies about something and knows he's lying. By that definition, Chris Cuomo is indeed guilty of fake news.
What makes this so egregious is that it wasn't only a lie that he came out of his basement for the first time since he was diagnosed with coronavirus ... it was that it was a well-documented lie.
That line between news and entertainment keeps getting fuzzier and fuzzier every day, doesn't it?
Bernie, first of all I think we your faithful readers should be referred to going forward as The True Bernie Bros. I wanted to get your views on the recent actions and attitudes regarding the lockdown as expressed by Mayor Bill (NYC) and Governor Phil (NJ). NY seems to have found the replacement for stop and frisk : Snap N Snitch. And in NJ Gov Phil, one of the best and brightest, developed Bill of Rights Amnesia. Are those of us who hold the Constitution in high esteem (I have little doubt there are many millions who have disdain for the Constitution or at least the parts they don't like) paranoid or should we all remember what the great Satchel Paige once said? -- Michael F.
I'm pretty familiar with the great Mr. Paige but must admit I'm not at all sure what you're referring to. Help, please.
I get your drift, Michael, but I have to say I'm not on terra firma when it comes to deciding what's constitutional and what isn't. For instance, the Constitution gives us the right to free speech, the right to worship, the right to assemble. But are those rights absolute? Can a state or city declare an emergency and mandate a curfew? I think government can do that. So that means you cannot protest or go to church or assemble during the curfew hours, right (or wrong)?
All that said, I did find the Governor of New Jersey's comment on Fox that First Amendment concerns were over his pay grade ... let's just say ... bad PR at best. I don't want to attribute bad motives to actions I don't agree with; sometimes people just make mistakes.
As for whether you're paranoid: I don't think so. You're concerned. (And a very good writer, too.)
Thanks for the Bernie Bros comment, but the other Bernie had it first. It's his.
Bernie - my first question for you, so allow me to state that I've always enjoyed your reporting- because - I typically learned something. So, thank you for creating this forum enabling that to continue for me. My question - I did watch with concern for another irrelevant news story when our president made his "total authority" declarations. All narcissism aside, he had to know better. Then I had a thought directed by my history in negotiations. I have learned that my best negotiation strategies are centered around giving the other side what they are asking for, when the side I am working for will benefit, while never letting on about my side’s value - it’s important to allow the other side to think they won. This tactic comes under the ageless wisdom of be careful what you ask for. I felt some validation on my thinking when the news line of the next few days being everyone letting the President know that constitutionally the States are in charge, eventually leading to the narrative with the typical line being, yes the states are in charge,’but we need the federal government’s help”. Your thought? -- Rocco
First, Rocco, I like your negotiating philosophy. Give the other side what it wants -- so long as it benefits your side too. Makes sense.
As for the president's declaration that he has "total authority": I think he really did believe that he can do whatever he wants. I don't think it was a ploy that he could, at some point, turn on his adversaries -- and say, "See, you should have listened to me when I said I had authority to do anything."
I think he didn't know what the Constitution says on the matter. I don't believe he's very smart. Cunning? Yes. Smart? No. So I don't think he was negotiating when he made the comment. I think he believes -- or did at the time anyway -- that he's Donald Trump, the president, and that he really could do anything he wants. The man has many problems.
Two questions this week:
1) Would you agree that the 2020 election hinges entirely on whether the American people blame Trump for the effects (economic and otherwise) of COVID-19? Methinks that if they blame him, he loses. If they don't, he wins.
2) Shepard Smith was often the only good anchor on Fox News. When his exclusivity contract runs out and he returns to broadcasting, where do you think he lands?
-- Joel E.
Thanks for the tight questions, Joel. I don't think the 2020 election hinges "entirely" on how the electorate sees Trump's leadership regarding the coronavirus. The key word being "entirely." A very big part of whether he wins or loses will be on how the voters see Donald Trump, the person. If he has exhausted enough -- mainly independent, swing voters, he'll lose.
But I do agree with you that if they blame him for the virus aftermath, he loses; if they don't, he has a much better chance of winning.
Regarding Mr. Smith: He'll wind up, I believe, at CNN. Jeff Zucker has already spoken highly of him.
Bill Bennett (among others) recently insisted on Fox News that the coronavirus is NOT a pandemic, and that it's no more serious or deadly than the flu. The real story, however, is that from March 20 to April 20 (one month), the coronavirus killed more Americans than the flu kills in an average YEAR. And that was WITH all the shut downs and social distancing that we've never done for the flu. Do you think this is an example of shocking ignorance from Bennett, or is he just telling Fox News viewers what he thinks a lot of them want to hear? -- Jen R.
Good question, Jen. Over the years, I've interviewed Bill Bennett. I was impressed both by his intelligence and his decency. In plain English, I liked the guy. But you've hit on something I too have noticed. Something happened to Bennett in the Age of Trump. I have trouble believing he suddenly has become ignorant ... but when you become an apologist for a president's behavior, maybe you also become stupid. As for "telling Fox News viewers what he thinks a lot of them want to hear" ... I admit, I'm not totally comfortable with that one, either. But it certainly is possible. He's not the same Bill Bennett I thought I knew. That's all I'm sure of.
Mr. G, With almost two hours a day of repetitious questioning during the daily Virus briefings, why aren’t these savvy journalists asking questions about the mishandling and misallocating of relief funds to non essential businesses, large corporations, major universities and the like? Who the hell is managing the application approvals and allowing the payouts? This to me is the bigger problem directly after Congress approving funds in the first place for Non-virus related funding. WTF! -- ScottyG
Beats me, Scotty. I might have a better answer to your question but for one problem: Every day after the president says the same thing, word for word, for the 100th time, I slip into a coma. Apologies.
Harvard Professor Elizabeth Bartholet claims that home schooling turns children into white supremacists. She argues that many parents "homeschool precisely because they want to isolate their children from ideas and values central to public education and to our democracy. Many promote racial segregation and female subservience. Many question science. Many are determined to keep their children from exposure to views that might enable autonomous choice about their future lives."
I don't doubt that many DO home school because they're uncomfortable with what's being taught in public schools (as well as the general atmosphere and social engineering), I hesitate to promote fear mongering by saying that home schools are sneaky ways to raise children to be racists and sexists. Using Bartholet's logic, some parents who home school their children could say that public schools are breeding grounds for violence, immorality, drugs, promiscuity and communistic thought. I'm sure she'd disagree. What are your your thoughts? --Home School Regards From The Emperor (and a friendly "Hello" from Mrs. Emperor who enjoyed your comments recently).
You have painted with a broad brush, Emperor. Yes, the professor does in fact believe that in some cases home schooling promotes sexism and racism, as you say. But here's what a piece in Harvard magazine says about Professor Bartholet's thinking: That she believes "Some [parents] find local schools lacking or want to protect their child from bullying. Others do it to give their children the flexibility to pursue sports or other activities at a high level. But surveys of homeschoolers show that a majority of such families (by some estimates, up to 90 percent) are driven by conservative Christian beliefs, and seek to remove their children from mainstream culture. Bartholet notes that some of these parents are 'extreme religious ideologues' who question science and promote female subservience and white supremacy."
I just wanted to give the professor her say ... and put her thinking into a broader context.
It didn't take long for Climate change advocates to find a new friend, namely COVID-19. I am a hard green guy. I believe we need to invest in our oceans to remove plastic. I believe natural gas is a great way to reduce carbon emissions. But John Kerry in a recent Boston Globe article has related the Pandemic to Global Warming. Bill Gates has warned us about a Pandemic for years. His foundation has helped reduce Malaria in the world by one half since the Millennium. But the 97% of the smart people in the world say we have to change the climate to stop malaria. Where is the scientific community on real life threats? Your opinion please. -- Tim H.
The scientific community hasn't gone anywhere. Journalists just don't seem especially interested in putting them in the news. If you're suggesting that people like Bill Gates are better equipped to deal with real life threats than scientists who spend too much time on theoretical solutions ... you may be right. Not my field of expertise. Sorry, Tim.
A personal note from yours truly aka Bernie Goldberg: I have an admission to make. Sometimes I just don't understand the question. Maybe I'm dense. Maybe they're not written clearly. But I try my best to answer your questions ... as I understand them. In the future, I may just tell you: "Sorry, I don't understand your question. Maybe that's on me; maybe it's on you. But you might want to try again next week."
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.