Tag Archives: 60 Minutes

‘So much fake news’

Every time Donald John “Liar in Chief” Trump Sr. throws out the “fake news” allegation, I am reminded only of one thing: The president lacks any sense of self-awareness.

You know the type. These are people who accuse others of doing what they do. It’s a form of projection. Perhaps it’s a pathological condition.

Whatever it is, Trump’s got it. Or he lacks it.

The president fired off a tweet after the “60 Minutes” interview with the porn queen who says the two of them had a fling in 2006. He called it “fake news.”

Sure thing, Mr. President. I happen to believe her. She’s more credible than the president of the United States. Yes. A porn actress is more believable than the head of state. What in the world has become of this world?

And … why is that? Because the president is the king of fake news.

He perpetuated the lie that Barack Obama was not qualified to serve as president because he allegedly was born in another country. He lied about President Obama wiretapping his offices in Trump Tower after the 2016 election. He lied about witnessing “thousands of Muslims” cheering the collapse of the Twin Towers on 9/11.

He lies without any sense of shame or guilt.

Through all of this, the president has the stones to slap the “fake news” label on any news story he deems to be negative.

Fake news are those items that are demonstrably false. They are made-up tales. They are lies put forward by those who cannot tell the truth. These tall tales are meant to defame others, to do damage to others’ credibility.

The president will never look inward while he accuses others of fomenting “fake news.” It is left to the rest of us to do it for him.

The Liar in Chief is a disgrace to his office.

Porn queen and POTUS: We’re surprised? Um, no!

Many of us are now caught up in the Soap Opera of the Ages: Let’s call it the Porn Queen and the President.

Donald J. Trump is alleged to have had this extramarital affair with an adult film actress/director/producer. It allegedly occurred in 2006, a year or so after Trump married his third wife.

Then came word that Trump paid the porn queen 130 grand just before the 2016 presidential election to keep quiet.

Oh, but wait! The president denies the affair. So, why did his lawyer, Michael Cohen, shell out the dough?

To my mind, the most interesting aspect of this story is that million of us are caught up in this miserable story. I keep asking myself: Why?

Trump has bragged about his philandering. We have known for many years about his penchant for sexual predation. He wrote a book in which he told the world about how he fooled around on his first wife before marrying Wife No. 2.

During the height of the 2016 campaign, of course, we heard him tell the “Access Hollywood” host how he has grabbed women by the pu***, because his celebrity status gave him free rein to do whatever he damn well pleases with women.

To be honest, I don’t know what we’re going to learn about Trump in this latest alleged sexual escapade that we don’t know already or that we don’t already suspect about this guy’s conduct.

The porn queen has offered to give back the money, believing it will enable her to speak freely about whether she and the future president took a tumble a dozen years ago.

Trump’s legal team, meanwhile, is looking at how it might be able to stop the broadcast of an upcoming “60 Minutes” interview the porn star granted to Anderson Cooper.

Gosh. How is it that a president who denies any misbehavior with this individual would want to block a broadcast of her telling a story that he no doubt will call “fake news”?

The question of the day is this: Why in the name of sacred marital vows is anyone surprised that Donald Trump would be involved in such a matter?

So, the seedy soap opera continues.

DeVos offers proof of why she is unfit for her job

It’s no wonder at all that Betsy DeVos needed a historic vice-presidential vote in the U.S. Senate to get her confirmed as the secretary of education.

You want evidence of it? Check out the “60 Minutes” interview that aired Sunday night.

DeVos’s confirmation in 2017 ended with a 50-50 tie in the Senate; Vice President Pence cast the tie-breaking vote to confirm her nomination by Donald John Trump.

Oh, brother, she stumbled and bumbled her way through the interview with CBS News correspondent Leslie Stahl.

She actually acknowledged that she hasn’t visited “underperforming schools” to see for herself why they are in such bad shape. “Maybe I should,” DeVos told Stahl.

Uhh, yeah, do ya think?

I should note that DeVos is a champion for school choice. She also has no personal exposure to public education. She was educated in private schools; her children attend private schools; she can afford — as a billionaire — to send her children and grandchildren to any school they want.

This is the person the president chose to administer our public education system? Give me a break.

As the Washington Post reported: The secretary also said she is “not so sure exactly” how she became, as Stahl described her, “the most hated” member of President Trump’s Cabinet but believes that she is “misunderstood.”

I am not among those who hates DeVos. I am deeply concerned that this individual who has zero knowledge or experience relating to public education has been put in charge of the agency that is supposed to advocate on behalf of public schools, students and teachers.

DeVos has called “traditional public education” a “dead end.” How does that engender confidence in the secretary of public education? It doesn’t. Not in the least.

I encourage you to take a look at the exchange between Stahl and DeVos contained in the link that follows. Check it out here.

Yep, this is one of the “best people” Donald Trump pledged to populate his presidential administration.

Sheesh!

Prior restraint? No can do, Mr. President

Now we have this: Reports have surfaced that Donald Trump’s legal team is researching ways to prevent “60 Minutes” from broadcasting an interview with the porn queen with whom the president allegedly had an affair in 2006.

Let’s see. What do we make of that?

I believe it tells me that there’s something to all this baloney about a six-figure sum of money being paid to keep the porn queen quiet.

The president denies that he had an affair with this woman, who’s making quite a bit of hay of late over the publicity that has swarmed all over her — and the president. The affair allegedly occurred about a year after Trump married his third wife, Melania, and right after his wife gave birth to the couple’s son.

The porn queen/adult film producer and director has filed a lawsuit claiming that the non-disclosure agreement is null and void because Trump never signed it. He didn’t even sign it using an alias he was using at the time … sheesh!

Thus, she contends, she is able to talk all she wants about whether she had an affair with the man who would become president of the United States, despite being paid $130,000 in hush money by Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen.

One more thing.

The First Amendment protects a “free press.” In the 21st century, that also includes broadcast media. The U.S. Constitution prevents government from interfering in the media’s effort to do its job.

I shall add that Trump is always the president. He is the head of government. He cannot compartmentalize these issues.

Prior restraint of the media, Mr. President, is not an option.

Can this congressman promote Capitol Hill unity?

Steve Scalise is back at work.

His office is on Capitol Hill. He is a Republican member of Congress from Louisiana. Rep. Scalise also serves in a leadership position with the GOP caucus in the House of Representatives.

He has been away from the office for a while. You see, Scalise was nearly shot to death earlier this summer while practicing for a congressional baseball game along with his fellow Republican caucus teammates.

Scalise was rushed to the hospital. His condition became critical. His bullet wounds caused immense internal bleeding.

But now, thank goodness, he is recovering. He walks with crutches. He is unsteady on his feet. This past week, though, he walked onto the floor of the House to a thunderous ovation from a packed chamber of his colleagues.

And that brings me to the point of this blog post.

The tears of joy flowed across both sides of the partisan aisle. Democrats cried and cheered along with Republicans. Their friend and colleague was back. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, took the floor to proclaim her joy at Scalise’s return and credited jokingly that his “Italian heritage” — which Pelosi shares — enabled him to return to work after suffering such grievous wounds.

So, the question emerges: Was this bipartisan joyous welcome a harbinger of a potentially new era on Capitol Hill?

It might be said that such a “new era” would in fact be a return to an older time, when Ds and Rs got along after hours. They were just political adversaries, not enemies.

Scalise said on a “60 Minutes” episode broadcast tonight that he doesn’t believe Republicans and Democrats are that far apart on many key issues. He wouldn’t predict a return to a more civil atmosphere under the Capitol Dome, but he sounded mildly hopeful that his near-tragedy well might signal a return to the collegiality that’s been missing for far too long in Washington, D.C.

Can unity return?

Americans of all stripes should hail the recovery of Rep. Scalise. We all should welcome the tremendous affection demonstrated on the floor of the House when he made his dramatic return to work.

Let us hope it does signal a renewed spirit of unity.

You think you ‘know’ someone …

I have been watching and listening to Leslie Stahl for decades. The CBS News correspondent has filled me with information about the nation and the world.

She’s a regular on “60 Minutes,” where she explores in greater detail the issues of the day and the people who shape them.

You think you know someone in that venue. Then that someone reveals a totally other side. You get smacked in the face with something you’ve known all along, that these news “celebrities” are more than images on a TV screen.

Stahl writes about the joys of grandparenthood. She is speaking directly to me and to my wife.

Here’s the essay she wrote for the Sunday New York Times. Just click on the first three words of the preceding sentence.

Oh, how I relate to all she said.

Stahl, though, has an advantage over my wife and me. She gets to see her grandbaby regularly. I’m going to presume her grandchild lives nearby. We aren’t yet at that stage of grandparenting. Our precious little one lives some distance away from us, so we don’t see her nearly as often as we want.

However, that will change in due course — if you get my drift.

Stahl’s essay touches on so many aspects of grandparenthood to which we are looking so forward to enjoying. I said earlier that Stahl speaks directly to me; I won’t presume to speak for my wife, as she hasn’t seen Stahl’s essay yet. It’s kind of like the way the film “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” spoke to me. The family depicted in the film didn’t resemble my old-country Greek family members precisely. But there was enough symbolic resemblance to laugh hysterically at them in the film.

Stahl notes in her essay how some grandparents don’t want to be called “Grandpa” or “Grandma.” They somehow refuse to acknowledge the obvious, which is that they are aging. Stahl writes: “Given the intensity of grandparent love, I’ve been surprised by how many people cringe at the idea of being identified as a granny or a gramps. There’s fear of a stigma, a penalty to being seen as ‘that old.’”

My own view? Bring it on!

As Stahl writes: “When we grandparents are in the lives of the children, they get adoring, unconditional love, the parents get free child care, and we, the grannies and pops, rather than getting older, feel younger, healthier and happier. Everyone wins.”

Boy, howdy!

Bravest man in America gets married

I hereby declare Michael Brown is the bravest man in America … heck, maybe the bravest man on the planet.

Why this highest of praise? Brown has just married Marilu Henner.

So, why is that such a big deal? Henner is a well-known comedic actress who broke onto the national scene on the TV series “Taxi.” But more than that, she possesses what’s called “total recall.” It’s called “autobiographical memory” or “hyperthymesia.”

Henner can recite every single moment of her life. She is now 64 years of age.

“60 Minutes” profiled Henner and some others a few years ago in a feature explaining this rare form of acute memory retention. “I can literally listen to a song on the radio when I’m driving and go to every single time I’ve heard it, like a flash montage,” she told The New York Times.

I saw the story on the NYT’s Style section this morning and couldn’t get over the courage Henner’s new husband is demonstrating by marrying a woman with that kind of recall.

All I have to say is that … Michael Brown, you’d better be on your best behavior — for the rest of your life! Mind all your Ps and Qs, sir. Take it from me, as I’ve been at this marriage gig for 45 years: Your wife will remember every single detail of when you mess up.

And you — in particular — would be a damn fool to challenge her.

I salute you, sir, the bravest man in the world.

Once more about those tax returns

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Donald J. Trump says he’s going to pocket a dollar a year while serving as president of the United States.

How will we know that? I guess we’ll just have to take him at his word.

The public hasn’t seen his income tax returns, after all. Trump said on “60 Minutes” Sunday night that a “routine audit” precludes him from releasing those returns, which he said he’ll do at the appropriate time.

I am sick and tired of hearing this refrain from the president-elect.

A routine audit doesn’t prevent the release of those returns. Moreover, the public still has no demonstrable proof that Trump is actually even being audited in the first place; the Internal Revenue Service does not comment on such matters.

This is one of the many — likely countless — baffling elements of the election that we’ve just endured.

Trump says he’ll forgo virtually all of the $400,000 annual salary the president earns. Perhaps we can take the $399,999 he won’t accept to the bottom line each year.

At one level, I applaud his pledge to skip the salary.

At another level, I just wish I could take him at his word completely that he’ll do what he says he’ll do.

GOP ticket: together for the first time

pence-and-trump1

I watched tonight’s “60 Minutes” interview with Donald Trump and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.

I was amazed — but not surprised — to hear how the Republican presidential nominee, Trump, often wouldn’t let his running mate get a word in edgewise.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/unaired-60-minutes-clips-with-trump-and-pence/

The clips here perhaps illustrate my point.

What did surprise me was how ill-prepared Gov. Pence is to answer the questions that cut to, as Stahl said, “the daylight” that exists between the candidates on policy matters.

Leslie Stahl sought to pin Trump down on the differences the two men have on some key issues. Trade? Trump wouldn’t let Pence answer. For his part, Pence didn’t answer the question directly, either.

How about Trump’s penchant for insult? Pence is much more of a gentlemanly campaigner. He’s said he opposes negative campaigning, that candidates do better to sell their policies rather than denigrating the opponent.

He didn’t answer that question, either.

Perhaps the most awkward evasion came when Stahl asked Pence directly whether he believes — as Trump said some months ago — that Sen. John McCain is a “war hero” only because he got captured by the enemy during the Vietnam War.

Trump interrupted: “McCain is a nice guy.”

Pence never answered that one, either.

This, ladies and gents, is a political team that needs work.

Do as Jolly says, not as he does

jolly

David Jolly says he wants members of Congress to stop spending so much time soliciting money from donors.

So, what does the Florida Republican lawmaker do? He attends a fundraiser to, um, raise money for his own campaign for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by fellow Republican Marco Rubio.

http://www.politico.com/story/2016/04/david-jolly-fundraiser-60-minutes-222669

I was somewhat enthralled by Rep. Jolly when he appeared this past Sunday on “60 Minutes.” He has authored something called the STOP Act. Its aim is to prohibit incumbent House members from spending so much time “dialing for dollars.” Jolly told CBS News’ Nora O’Donnell that House members spend more time manning the phones making “cold calls” on donors than they spending doing the job to which they’ve been elected.

He talked about things such as, oh, “constituent service.” You know, dealing with constituents’ questions about Social Security payments, veterans benefits … things like that.

I told some family members just yesterday that if Jolly were running for president today I’d consider voting for him over any of the others seeking the nation’s highest job.

According to Politico: “The piece sparked an intra-party feud between Jolly and the National Republican Congressional Committee. The NRCC said Jolly vastly overstated how much time lawmakers spend raising money.”

He’s gotten only a handful of co-sponsors. The act isn’t likely to get much traction in the House, where members say they “hate” having to raise so much money.

Still, I guess they just can’t help themselves.

As for the fundraiser Jolly attended, his flack justified it by saying Jolly didn’t actually telephone anyone to invite them to the event.

There. Do you feel better about it?