Tag Archives: CNN

Let’s play the ‘What if … ?’ game

I like playing this game on occasion. I call it the game of “What If … ?” I usually wonder “What If … ?” another president had done any of the things that have been alleged against Donald John Trump Sr., let alone the things he’s already admitted to doing.

This porn star story is just the latest example.

CNN talking head Van Jones noted the other day that President Barack Obama would be shipped off to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba — where the United States detains terror suspects — if he had done the things alleged to have been done by the current president.

The more I think about it, the truer it sounds.

It all falls back on the question I keep asking in private as well as out loud; I’ve posed it on this blog.

How in the world does the president’s support base — which includes the evangelical Christian community — tolerate this stuff? He is alleged to have taken a tumble with a porn star a year into his third marriage and just after the birth of his youngest child. The faithful among Trump’s supporters have remains silent. We’re hearing nothing but crickets, man! They give him a pass.

If any of this had happened regarding, say, President Obama, there would be demonstrations in front of the White House, calls for the president’s impeachment and — as Jones suggested — armed security storming into the White House to haul the president off in handcuffs and shackles.

OK, I exaggerate. You get the point.

As Jones said on CNN: “If Barack Obama had done just half of what Trump did last week, he would have been impeached. He’d be in Guantanamo,” Van said, a former adviser to Obama. “They’d have said ‘Listen, something’s wrong with this guy. He’s no longer here. Biden’s the president … we’re moving on.’” 

Trump said he’d shake things up when he got elected president. Boy, howdy! Has he ever. He’s shaken up our national sense of outrage.

NRA produces a new bogeywoman

Dana Loesch has emerged, apparently, as the newest attack beast for the National Rifle Association.

That title used to belong to Wayne LaPierre. Now it’s Loesch, who this week told the Conservative Political Action Conference that “the legacy media loves mass shootings.”

I don’t know what “legacy media” means, but to suggest that the media love these events is to, well, go way beyond the pale of decency.

Loesch got into an on-air snit with CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota, who challenged Loesch’s comment.

See the exchange here.

Loesch, the NRA spokeswoman, sought in the moment to walk back much of what she said. She said she didn’t mean to suggest the media actually “love” seeing people slaughtered as they were at Parkland, Fla., where a gunman slaughtered 17 high school students and staff members.

She sought to suggest that “crying white mothers” drive up ratings, meaning that the media love covering that angle to these tragic events.

I don’t buy Loesch’s attempt at equivocation. To put the words “love” and “mass shooting” in the same sentence sends a clear message, no matter what she intended to convey.

The debate that has ensued across the nation in the wake of this latest school massacre needs some semblance of civility, even though that kind of discussion quite often is difficult to find when the topic centers on guns, the Second Amendment — and the National Rifle Association.

Trump keeps firing at the wrong targets

Donald Trump launched yet another Twitter tirade this weekend.

He went after Democrats, the media (including CNN in particular), President Obama and — this is extraordinary — his national security adviser and the FBI. The reason for the tirade? Russian meddling in our most recent presidential election.

Who did the president leave out of his barrage of criticism? Let me think. Oh, yes! The Russians!

Trump didn’t tweet a single word about the Russian meddling. He didn’t convey a single tiny bit of anger — let alone profound outrage — that the Russians launched an attack on our electoral system. He didn’t say anything about whether he would take measures to punish the Russians for their meddling and their attempt to sway the results in his favor.

The tweet storm came in the wake of special counsel Robert Mueller’s indictments of 13 Russians for their role in the meddling. National security adviser H.R. McMaster said the indictments provide “incontrovertible proof” that the Russians did what the intelligence experts say they did. The FBI got pounded because it is spending “too much time” on Russia and too little time following up leads such as those it got about the Parkland, Fla., shooter. CNN got trashed because it reported on the indictments. Barack Obama got pounded because the meddling occurred while he was president. Democrats in general were pounded because, as Trump has asserted, they have cooked up this “Russia thing” because they lost a presidential election they were supposed to win.

The president of the United States once again has demonstrated that he doesn’t understand his fundamental duty, which is to protect our nation against our adversaries.

What is up with this man? I’m beginning to believe he has a serious man-crush on Vladimir Putin, the Russian president/strongman/former KGB boss.

That man-crush is allowing Putin to laugh out loud inside the Kremlin walls at the president of the United States, who promised to “make America great again.” He has succeeded in making America an international punch line.

Gov. Scott has it right: no guns for mental cases

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has it right.

“Everything’s on the table,” the Republican governor said on CNN in the wake of the latest horrifying school shooting. This one, in Parkland, Fla., left 17 people dead and nearly as many injured.

A 19-year-old former student at the high school is in custody and has been charged with 17 counts of “premeditated murder.”

So, what does the governor mean by “everything”? I’ll take a leap here and presume he means, um, everything. That means potentially tighter regulations, stricter laws regulating the purchase of guns.

Gov. Scott went today where the president of the United States declined to go in discussing gun violence and beginning a discussion about a legislative solution to curbing it.

He said at an impromptu press event immediately after the shooting that people with mental disorders had no business purchasing and owning a firearm, let alone an AR-15 assault rifle like the one used by the gunman in Parkland.

As CNN.com reported: “Everything’s on the table. I’m going to look at every way that we can make sure our kids are safe,” Scott told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Thursday when asked if he was ready to commit to working on tightening gun restrictions in the state.

Well done, governor. I hope someone in the right places will heed your message.

Trump dumbs down debate … with insults

It has come down to this.

A U.S. senator calls the president “Cadet Bone Spurs.” The president says Democrats who sit on their hands during a speech are “treasonous.” The president also uses Twitter to blast out insults daily, hanging nicknames on his political foes here at home — and abroad.

According to an analysis on CNN.com, Donald Trump has managed to bring other political leaders down to his level. He has made insults the game of choice among political leaders.

Sen. Tammy Duckworth, an Illinois Democrat, was moved to hang the Cadet Bone Spurs epithet on Trump after the president accused Democrats of being “anti-military.” Duckworth, a former U.S. Army helicopter pilot who lost both legs when her chopper was shot down during the Iraq War, was personally insulted that this president would say such a thing about his fellow Americans. Hence, the reference to Trump’s medical deferments during the Vietnam War.

These childish insults denigrate the political discussion. They drag the quality of everyone’s argument into the gutter.

It boils down, in my view, to the source of this denigration.

To me, it’s clear: Donald Trump started this downward journey with his Twitter-based insults launched during the 2016 presidential campaign. He promised to curb that activity once he got elected. Has he delivered on that pledge? Nope. It’s gotten worse.

As the analysis provided on CNN.com points out, the president has dragged others down this disgraceful path with him. One of the followers appears to be chief of staff John Kelly, who this week said the so-called immigration “Dreamers” need to “get off their asses” if they want a path to citizenship.

Oh, my.

This is how you “unify” the nation? I don’t believe so.

No, Mr. POTUS, Islam doesn’t ‘hate’ us

I watched a two-year-old video of Donald John Trump in which he told an interviewer that Islam “hates Americans.”

That comment has bothered me from the moment I heard it the first time.

I’ve long wondered, given what the president said at the time, why this country is full of so many Muslims. Why do people who follow the Islamic faith choose to live in a country full of those they supposedly “hate”? And, oh yes, what about Islamic Americans? How do we categorize those fellow citizens?

To me the answer is obvious. Muslims don’t “hate” Americans just because we are, um, Americans.

Muslim perverts — those who commit terrorist acts in the name of Islam — certainly do hate Americans. They also hate other Muslims.

I remember the night President Barack Obama told the world that U.S. special forces had killed Osama bin Laden. The president made it clear — just as President George W. Bush had made clear — that bin Laden wasn’t a Muslim leader. “He was a mass murderer of Muslims,” President Obama said.

I keep circling back to that notion every time I hear Donald Trump harp on this falsehood, that the Islamic faith teaches its followers to hate others who adhere to other faiths.

CNN’s Fareed Zakaria posed the question the other day to Jordanian King Abdullah about whether the president was right to say that Muslims “hate Americans.” The king said, quite simply and with eloquence, that the president needs to learn more about Islam before making any statements about what the faith teaches.

Indeed, the president needs to learn more about, oh, just about everything before he opens his mouth.

Memo to CNN: check your anger at the door

Oh, how I hate admitting this, but I feel compelled to do so.

Ari Fleischer — President George W. Bush’s first press secretary — posted a tweet overnight that makes an interesting and quite valid point about CNN’s coverage of all things political.

He said that if you’re an anti-Donald J. Trump (a Democrat) guest, you get all the time in the world to make your case; if you happen to be pro-Trump (a Republican), the CNN anchors will interrupt you constantly. Here’s what he wrote: I’ve been watching CNN’s morning show recently. It seems to have two main topics. 1) What did Trump/GOP do wrong? 2) How bad is the collusion story for Donald Trump. If you’re a Democrat guest , you’re free to speak. If you’re a Republican, you’ll always be interrupted.

I admit to watching it occur in the moment myself. And, oh yes, it annoys me, too.

Let me be clear about something else as well. Fleischer made no mention of the way Fox News on-air personalities treat their pro- and anti-Trump guests. Given that I rarely watch Fox, I am only able to presume that they flip the CNN example on its head, treating the Republicans with fairness and the Democrats with the same level of disdain that CNN shows toward the pro-Trumpers.

I want to hold up an example of how a broadcast or cable news network ought to handle these on-air confrontations: I present ABC News’ “This Week.”

That program, which airs Sunday morning, had former special prosecutor Kenneth Starr on board this past weekend explaining what might drive the investigation into Donald Trump’s alleged involvement with Russian 2016 election hackers. He appeared with ABC News legal analyst Dan Abrams. Starr — who ran the investigation that led to President Clinton’s impeachment — could be construed as someone favorable to the current president. Abrams has revealed a more critical bias toward the president.

The two men made their points without interruption. The moderator, Martha Raddatz, didn’t barge in on either man’s time. She let them argue their points to the viewers — and occasionally with each other.

This is the kind of give-and-take we rarely see on CNN — the cable network that calls itself the “leader” in cable news presentation.

I am a fairly regular CNN viewer. As one who takes the presentation of news seriously, I want to echo Ari Fleischer’s assessment of the perception that CNN creates, which is that it does not present the news fairly and without bias.

And just think: This critique comes from someone who is inclined to agree with the point of view expressed by CNN’s talking heads.

My plea is simple. Check your bias at the door, CNN “news” staff, and don’t let your anxiety over the state of play in politics and public policy get the better of you.

The Mooch is wrong: Mueller ‘firing’ story is relevant

Anthony “The Mooch” Scaramucci has delivered a sparkling example of why he lasted only a few days as White House communications director.

His spinning skills are seriously deficient.

Let’s look for a moment at what he told CNN newsman Chris Cuomo. The Mooch told Cuomo that the New York Times story about how Donald John Trump ordered the firing of special counsel Robert Mueller was “irrelevant” because Trump never actually fired Mueller.

It made me go, “Huh?”

The Times cited four sources in detailing how the president ordered White House counsel Donald McGahn to get Mueller fired from his probe into the “Russia thing.” McGahn said he would quit if the president pushed any harder. Trump then backed off.

The Mooch doesn’t seem to understand, or is ignoring, this basic fact: Trump has said many times he never discussed firing Mueller; he has said the thought never crossed his mind.

The Times story has revealed yet another presidential prevarication, an outright lie. And it’s a doozy, man! Not only did Trump discuss firing Mueller, he actually came within a whisker of acting on it.

To what end? To torpedo Mueller’s investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russians during the 2016 election.

From my perch, that looks for all the world like “obstruction of justice.”

Yep. The story is quite relevant.

Now … it’s time for ‘Fire and Fury’

I am happy to report that my copy of “Fire and Fury” arrived in the mail today.

My original plan was to rush out to the bookstore to buy a book off the shelf. Then I realized I could buy the book for a lot less money if I purchased it online.

So I did. I bought the book from Amazon for about half of what I would have paid at the retail outlet.

Michael Wolff has taken some grief in recent days over the book that details a lot of what many of us have suspected about Donald John Trump Sr., and his presidency. It tells of the chaos, confusion and the narcissism that plagues the White House. There also are those notable observations about whether Don Trump Jr. engaged in a “treasonous” and “unpatriotic” meeting with Russians goons who had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton.

Critics have wondered about his sources. They have accused him of fabricating quotes. Wolff didn’t acquit himself very well when he got quite testy with CNN talk show host Michael Smerconish, who asked him completely appropriate questions about how Wolff ingratiated himself with Trump’s inner circle.

Many pundits, though, have said the book is a serious page-turner. They couldn’t put it down.

I now intend to find out for myself.

I’ll get back to you.

Trump is overweight … enough said

I am not going to get involved in a discussion about whether Donald John Trump is merely overweight, obese, or whether the doctor who examined him is telling us the whole truth about his patient’s medical condition.

I make this declaration as someone who could stand lose a few pounds as well. So I won’t be overly judgmental, except to say that I do wonder if the president actually weighs a “mere” 239 pounds.

Dr. Ronny Jackson, the rear admiral who examined Trump, said the president is in “excellent health.” He attributes “good genes” to a diagnosis offered on someone — the president — who eats fast food, guzzles Diet Cokes and gets no exercise.

Fine, doc.

I’ll just offer this long-distance observation.

The president is overweight. He needs to lose a good bit of weight. I’ve seen the pictures of him in his golf attire. The man has a pot belly and an overly ample caboose.

He’s not an Adonis … even though he might think of himself as one.

I am in no position to determine whether he has heart disease, as CNN’s resident medical expert, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, has asserted. I’ll leave that analysis to the medical community. Nor will I determine whether he has lost his marbles. If Dr. Jackson says he retains his full mental acuity, I’ll accept that, too.

However, there is zero doubt in my own mind that the president needs to take better care of himself.

I say this as one of the president’s 300 million-plus employers. He works for us.

Lose some weight, Mr. President. Do as you’re told.