Bernie’s Q&A: Trump, Biden, Amash, Pressley, and more! (5/1) — Premium Interactive ($4 members)
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Now, let’s get to your questions (and my answers):
Bernie, I am not a fan of Joe Biden but I feel bad for him. On the rare occasions we see him; it is very crafted and choreographed, he seems to be declining. He slurs words, loses his place, and makes remarks that seem out of place. To me, he is diminishing by the day. Am I judging him too harshly? -- Dave E.
I don't know. I'm not a doctor ... and while I see the same things you see, Dave, I'm hesitant to make what amounts to a medical judgment. Let me add one more thing, something political: I hear from a lot of people who think Joe Biden is senile, has dementia, etc. But I don't hear from those people about the president's mental disorders -- his narcissism, for instance, or his chronic dishonesty. My point is that there are a lot of politics in all of this. Though I want to make clear that that's not aimed at you, Dave, given that there was no name calling on your part and given that you said you feel bad for him.
Bernie: Yours is perhaps one of the very few spots left where I find journalistic standards from the days I went to school (mid/late 70s) still apply. I left journalism about two years after I started. Objective and thoughtful still apply in this column. My question is, are you going to be the last one standing? Cable news channels are fundamentally and, I fear, permanently flawed by intent. The major networks clearly do not hold objective reporting as a standard any more. We, the consumers of information, tend to watch those we agree with and the "divide" merely widens most days. And our elected leaders are happy to pander to the media outlet of their persuasion. And telling the truth is a vanishing element, embodied by our President and emulated by others across the board. I want to be hopeful but where do we go from here? Are there any positive signs? -- Paul M.
First, thank you for the very kind words. I hope I deserve them.
As for your analysis: I wouldn't change a single word; not even a syllable. I agree with everything you wrote. So, are there any positive signs: Not in the short run, I fear. And maybe not in the long run either. We've moved beyond bias to corruption. And that's hard to fix.
Bernie, is it possible that China intentionally let COVID-19 spread throughout the world so that it would a) wreck the U.S. economy and b) create a more divisive issue in order to prop up Biden’s campaign and defeat Trump in the upcoming election (since they feel Biden would be more favorable toward China in future negotiations)? -- Kenyon J.
It's possible but only in the sense that anything's possible. They may be bad folks running that country, but I don't think they would do what you're asking about. But let me add this: Your scenario would make for a great movie. Get an agent.
This pandemic has brought out so many double standards and hypocrisies, it is hard to keep up. That said, what do you think the nation, and our government, would look like if the vast majority of the mainstream media had a conservative bias? Let's imagine Hollywood was predominantly Republican too? What would things be like if that were the case? Do you think Republicans would dominate every branch of government or do you think we would still have an even split? -- Joe M.
Interesting question, Joe. Regarding the media: Let's imagine that CNN, MSNBC, the NY Times and the rest of the usual liberal suspects were conservative organizations instead of what they are. If management chose to pander to their audience, if money trumped honest opinion journalism, then I expect we'd see a lot of one-sided shows on TV and one-sided opinions in the paper. If, on the other hand, management was more like that of the Wall Street Journal, the opinion page would be conservative but would be open to contrary opinions -- which is why I think the WSJ opinion pages are the best in print.
If Hollywood were right of center we'd get more movies and TV shows reflecting Middle American values than we do now.
But -- and I think this is the main point you're asking about -- I don't think the influence of the media and Hollywood would necessarily mean that the GOP would dominate government. Much of our culture today is liberal yet Congress is split. Many Americans have lost faith in the media and don't get their marching orders from the likes of CNN and MSNBC.
In this new pandemic era of Covid-19, while we are on our way to record setting unemployment, do we really need to duplicate the six and one half billion dollars spent in 2016 on the Presidential election cycle (as reported by the Washington Post)? If politicians really cared about American citizens they would stop trying to raise campaign contributions and donate their existing war chests to recovery efforts. Wishful thinking? -- Douglas C.
Yes, Douglas, wishful thinking.
On January 3, 2019, Ayanna Pressley took an oath to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic..." This is the same oath members of our military take and defend to their death. On February 11 of this year, Rep. Pressley derided the Constitution as "sexist by its very design" and "keeps women in shackles." So did Pressley swear an oath to a document she finds essentially sexist to its core? And if she truly feels this way about the Constitution, why doesn't she resign rather than defend such a sexist document? I really don't think I'm splitting hairs or making a molehill into a mountain. This is but a microcosm of the indefensible statements and actions of members of the extreme left as they trash the Constitution beyond recognition. -- Steve R.
I get your point, Steve, but I don't see this as a big deal. She thinks the Constitution is sexist. Fine. Who cares what she thinks? But she wants to be a Member of Congress and right wrongs as she sees them, and make the country a better place, in her left wing vision, so she takes an oath supporting the Constitution. Sorry, I just can't get worked up over this.
Bernie, I often hear from friends who are big Trump fans that they like the president because "he's just saying aloud what they are thinking to themselves." (I see this comment online a lot as well.) This has me worried that those friends have secretly been entertaining the idea of injecting household disinfectant into people who have the coronavirus. (Help!). But seriously, after Trump made that comment, it was interesting to watch a lot of Trump supporters insist that he never actually said that. Trump himself contradicted them the next day when he admitted he said it, but claimed he was just being sarcastic to a reporter (which was also untrue; he was suggesting it to his medical experts, not reporters...and there was no indication that he was being sarcastic, nor would it have made sense in that context). Why can't we all just agree that what Trump said was just straight-up looney-tunes? -- Ben G.
Let's get the easy stuff out of the way first, Ben. Yes, he lied when he said he was being sarcastic. I saw what he said and there was no sarcasm in his voice -- at all. And yes it was just straight up looney-tunes. But on your other point, that his fans say he didn't say what was reported: There's some truth to that. He did NOT say we should inject people with disinfectant to combat the virus. He WONDERED out loud whether that would work. There's a difference there ... one that some journalists either didn't catch or intentionally missed.
As a retired lawyer (not a scientist), I'm trying to understand exactly what "science" means these days, and also exactly what "settled science" and "science denial" are. I was always under the impression that science was about knowledge and constant probing and testing to get to the bottom of what something was, how it worked, etc., and that scientific knowledge and theories were not static and thus always subject to challenge. I also have learned in the last few days that scientists and doctors who express their views about scientific matters are being banned from YouTube, Twitter, and other venues as though the thoughts or facts they articulate are similar to vile comments or screeds based on racial, ethnic or other grounds. And it seems that we now have millions of Americans who seems to be in favor of disallowing any dissenting "scientific thought." Please tell me I am wrong or that this intolerance will soon be corrected. -- Michael F.
Michael, it bothers me a lot but just about everything these days has been tainted with politics. Some so-called science is nothing more than junk science. And if YouTube bans that kind of "science" on grounds that it may lead people to drink Lysol, I'm not going to lose sleep over it. But when banning videos and other forms of information are used as political weapons, then I'm with you. I'm adding a link to a story I think you may have in mind: The headline over the story is "Did YouTube Remove a Video About a Potential Coronavirus Treatment to Make Trump Look Bad?"
Earlier this week, some liberals tweeted that Trump had suggested that people inject themselves with Lysol cleaner or Bleach to kill off the coronavirus. When I listened to what he actually said, though may have been cringe-worthy and definitely Trumpy (hell, Dr. Birx was cringing uncomfortably), it sounded like he was suggesting that researchers check to see if there could be a way to inject or ingest something into people (including sunlight) that could destroy the coronavirus akin to Clorox or Lysol.
His remarks were ridiculous (as was his walk-back), but he wasn't suggesting that people consume bleach or Lysol. So, the liberals who tweeted otherwise came off as irresponsible at best, and vindictively fraudulent at worst. Plus, any mature adult dumb enough to do such a thing is fully deserving of the Darwin Awards.
My questions: Do you honestly believe that Trump was telling people to consume household cleaners to cure themselves of COVID-19, and am I right or wrong about the liberals and their distortion of what Trump actually said? Your thoughts are always appreciated. -- Disinfectant Home Remedy Regards From The Emperor
As I mentioned earlier responding to another question ... Donald Trump did NOT say people should be injected with disinfectant to combat the coronavirus. He was wondering out lout on national television if that might work. Bad enough ... but not what a lot of journalists were reporting. As to motive, some were sloppy, others were out to get him. So you once again are right, Your Emperor-ness.
[Regarding Wednesday's "Off the Cuff,"] I guess what Trump wants is the same slobbering love affair from the media that Obama received. I was very disappointed with Wallace last Sunday when he interviewed Pelosi. There were no real tough questions, none of his usual pushback when questions are sidestepped. You would have thought he might bring up that interview where she was showing off her premium ice cream with a question like 'Madam Speaker, with all the people out of work, worried about paying bills, putting food on the table, don't you think you were being a bit insensitive of their plight?'". -- John M.
Let me start out saying that Chris Wallace is one of the bright spots at Fox. OK, now let's move on.
He did ask Pelosi about her promotion of tourism in San Francisco's Chinatown despite the risks brought on by the virus, but he let her off the hook when she BS'd him. I noticed that watching at home. I would have pushed harder, if that matters. And I'm with you, John, I would have also asked about the Nancy Antoinette video. But on balance, Wallace is pretty good.
I live in the ultra virus rebellious state of Georgia; I went out yesterday and got a haircut which is now allowed. As I sat there in the chair staring in the mirror, me in my mask, my friendly barber dressed more like brain surgeon in a nuclear fallout shelter, I couldn’t help but think that this could become a new normal. Because, as we’ve seen more in the past 20 years or so, it only takes a small minority of nutty noise makers to introduce societal change. So these noisy few, some who are highly respected medical experts, do they really want this sheltered over cautious approach to be sustained until there is a proven vaccine? Why did we ever let a handful of Doctors and Communist sympathizers take us to this point? Jesus; I sound like McCarthy... --ScottyG
This is complicated, Scotty -- at least for me. Have we gone too far in locking down the whole country? Maybe. But if we didn't take those steps who knows what would have happened. The virus might have spread even more than it has and killed even more than it has. I'm not waffling, SG, I just don't know which course is the right one. If the virus comes back with a vengeance after we open up the country, that'll tell us something -- maybe that the hardliners were on to something.
Trump is taking some heat from various unions for his forced reopening of meat processing plants. However, a population has to eat and a leader's first responsibility is arguably making sure his/her population is fed. Do you believe a President Biden or President Clinton would have done the same thing? -- Joel E.
It's a lot easier for a president to say a meat processing plant has to stay open -- when he's not the one who might contract the virus and croak. That said, I don't know what a President Clinton would have done. And I'm not sure at this point that a President Biden could get a sentence out of his mouth without the people who run the processing plant wondering what the hell he just said.
It looks as if Justin Amash is likely to be the Libertarian party's presidential nominee. On social media, Trump supporters are complaining that Amash will be stealing votes from Trump. Likewise, Biden supporters are complaining that Amash will be stealing votes from Biden. Don't these people realize that each person's vote is their own personal property, and that if their candidate wants my vote, they have to earn it? -- Jen R.
You're certainly right, Jen, about the vote being your personal property. But I think what the candidates were saying is that in a close election a third party candidate can really cause chaos. Ralph Nader did in 2000. If you don't believe me ask Al Gore. As far as 2020 is concerned, I think Amash would hurt Donald Trump more than he would hurt Joe Biden. A lot more. But I understand that wasn't the essence of your question.
I thought the Govenor of Michican was over the top with her draconian decree's, the Govenor of Maine appears to have overtaken her. My question, where is the ACLU? - J.M.
The ACLU gets more agitated when Republicans cross the line than when Democrats do. That pretty much sums it up. But it was a legitimate, solid question JM.
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