Is the State of the Union Speech a Joke?

My Congressman, Eric Swalwell (D-California), sent an email today to constituents today, asking, “What do you want the President to say in this State of the Union address? What are the issues most important to you, and what do you want him to do about them?”

Eric is an excellent young Congressman and does his best to work for his constituents. However, questions like these are obvious prerequisites for anti-Trump political statements. I don’t fault him for that, it’s what politicians do.

Following is my reply to him:

Dear Congressman Swalwell,

Responding to your query about the State of the Union address, I would like to hear the President say NOTHING. In fact, I would prefer cancellation of all future State of the Union speeches.

President Obama had the best oratorical skills of any president since Reagan. Nevertheless, his State of the Union speeches were dreadful. Like all Presidents, he gave us a lot of feel-good nonsense along with positive future promises that he would never fulfill. Added to those distractions, the Republicans acted like complete idiots, never applauding, but sometimes verbalizing their displeasure.

Trump’s speaking skills are not as polished as Obama’s. However, the Trump SOTU performance will be comparable, with two exceptions. 1). This time it will be the Democrats not applauding and acting stupidly. 2). Trump will use a word or phrase that the Democrats will claim to be racist, no matter how innocuous his intent may be.

One other difference will be that Representative Maxine Waters won’t select a floor position permitting her to share air kisses with the President. She only does that with Democrats.

My bottom line is that the SOTU is a political relic that should be retired. It adds nothing of value to the voting public.

BTW, what I would like to see is the President and the two Democrat Congressional leaders answering questions while connected to polygraphs. That would be worth watching.


Steve Vachss



Barefoot Days, Electric Nights


“Barefoot Days, Electric Nights,” by David Butwin, is a memoir of his life during Hawaii’s early days as the 50th State.

Butwin arrived in Honolulu to become a reporter at one of the city’s two daily newspapers. As a very young, inexperienced journalist from frigid Minnesota, he began with a scant understanding of the people, places, and nuances of island culture. He soon discovered a land of spectacular beauty, where everyone lived near an ocean shore, and islanders from many different places went everywhere barefoot.

David writes of his Hawaii days, with the clear prose of a seasoned reporter, yet creates an intimate memory of his work, the women he dated, and the prominent celebrities he encountered.

He often draws from an unusual documentation source: reams of detailed letters that he wrote home to his family, saved over many decades.

And for part of this memoir, he draws from an even more unusual resource: Me, (Steve Vachss) writer of this review article. Though we came from different work-worlds, we knew each other back then in Hawaii, as colleagues of a sort, and eventually as friends.

Assigned in Hawaii as an Army writer-editor, I became Butwin’s source for military news and background information. As an Army Reservist, David tells a compelling story about an enormous military exercise called Coral Sands II that involved thousands of soldiers, 13 US Navy warships, and the entire Island of Molokai. For nearly two weeks, David and I occupied a press tent on Molokai and created news stories, interviews, and press releases flown to Honolulu.

We later learned that perpetrators of the famous “My Lai Massacre” were apparently with us at Coral Sands on Molokai. A consequence of the operation later involved us both, especially David, in a blockbuster story that may have affected the history of the Vietnam War. With details never previously disclosed, David explains this incredible story and our involvement.

My other cameo appearance in Barefoot Days, Electric nights, deals with an incident of street violence that Butwin calls “my night of terror.” It’s a story we both would prefer to forget but which has lived in each of us forever after.

Notwithstanding my personal connection, I enjoyed “Barefoot Days, Electric Nights,” and highly recommend it. It’s beautifully written in a style that brings the reader face-to-face with a place and a lifestyle that no longer exists. A memoir of paradise.


Full Disclosure: David’s account of the stories around Coral Sands, our potential effect on the Vietnam War, and the “My Lai Massacre” are 100 percent accurate. However, I wrote a more personal detailed novel around the story, “The Victory That Wasn’t,” as an alternate history. Many details in my story are accurate, but some key issues are changed to “how we wish it had happened.”   



What Did We Learn About the Media Before and After Trump’s Election

A humorous fictional tale passed around the Net claims that Donald Trump hosts Pope Francis on his yacht on a windy day. While the yacht is still docked, a strong wind gust blows the Pope’s zucchetto (skullcap) into the water. Though the Pope’s entourage stares in shock, Trump climbs down the waterside ladder, walks about 30 feet across the water, and retrieves the cap. He then walks back across the water, climbs the ladder and returns the cap to the Pontiff. Even the media reporters are awed at Trump’s feat.

 An hour later, a New York Times reporter tweets, “Trump Can’t Swim.”

(To be fair, a Conservative reporter might tweet, “Pope Praises Trump as his Savior.”)

FullFinal-TVTW071016Unfortunately, this joke’s punchline about the NYT proves the saying that “Many a true word is spoken in jest.” Once famous for the slogan “All the News That’s Fit to Print,” the NYT has chosen, “All the News that Fits Our Political Narrative.” The New York Post and the Washington Times, their conservative political opposites, are equally biased.

With a month of the Trump administration now behind us, journalists, pundits and politicians attempt to sound authoritative about “What Just Happened.” Whether their narratives are right or wrong, they all miss the most important point:

The entire media industry has lost its way. Whether they have a right or left ideology, TV news and print media are no longer information sources trusted by Americans.

  • Reporters, from both the left and right, view events or hear about them through the closed “echo chamber,” then distort them, sometimes unconsciously.
  • Within an hour of any politician’s remarks, millions of people believe and repeat egregious distortions and outright lies passed through social media.
  • To headline-only readers accustomed to stories of 140 characters or less, the headline becomes the defacto truth. However, headlines and broadcast teleprompter lead-ins often differ from the reported story.

Some examples:

In a real world story, millions of people watched and heard Trump reference Mexicans, seeming to say “they are rapists.” It was a horrible, careless, statement, and many opined that it should end his campaign. Though the statement was thoughtless and inartful, his meaning wasn’t as reported. Apparently, reporters couldn’t or wouldn’t differentiate between the words “their” and “they’re.”

The quote was taken out of context. Trump was speaking about the Mexican government, stating that “they’re sending us (their) illegal immigrants, (their) drugs, (their) crime, and (their) rapists. Admittedly, the parenthetical words were unsaid. It was a cringe-worthy moment. Speaking in his unscripted style, he seemed to realize how bad that sounded. So Trump tried to recover by saying, “And some, I assume, are good people.” That non-sequitur wasn’t helpful.

One terrible error like that would be more or less forgotten. But social media magically transformed that scrap of nonsense into, “Trump is a racist.” The word racist is extremely powerful in our country, as we continually struggle with problems of racism. Obviously, calling a politician a racist is as damning to the voting public as calling him a “child predator.” Despite many distasteful remarks by Trump, there is no evidence of his being a racist.

In the most atrocious moment of his campaign, Trump had to confront a lewd hot-mic moment from eleven years ago, “yukking it up” with Billy Bush in comments about women. He apologized publically, calling his remarks about groping women’s private parts while embracing them, “locker-room talk.” Most men laughed at that because locker-rooms are public places filled with strangers, and sometimes, media people. It was more like barroom bragging, though Trump doesn’t drink. Every male over fifteen has heard that kind of talk, usually from men with ego problems who need to tell someone about their conquests. Most men dismiss boasts like these as being untrue. Moreover, they believe that it’s foolish to “kiss-and-tell.”

Nevertheless, reporters pushed it across social media, then printed and broadcasted salacious versions. Within hours, people were calling Trump “sexual predator,” and “rapist.”  This is the result of a culture that often cannot tell the difference between manipulative sensationalism and the simple truth. Media people competing for readers and viewers instead of carefully reporting facts enhance the stories as a way of creating interest.

Hillary Clinton also suffered from distortions and egregious lies on occasion. The public heard that she had a terminal disease, which was totally untrue. Many people wrote or stated that she was under indictment and would be jailed, also untrue. And they heard a flood of untrue statements claiming that her two closest aides, Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills were under investigation for criminal activities.

Clinton, however, was not as exposed to outrageous stories as Trump, because her campaign included virtually no unscripted speaking opportunities and far fewer prime-time debate appearances than Trump.

What is the role of individual media people in perpetuating misinformation like this? Despite Trump’s angry remarks charging the media with “fake news,” reporters commit errors and distortions in more subtle ways. One of these is by word choice. When a politician criticizes someone, some reports will choose “eviscerates,” “blasts,” or “destroys.” When someone charges that a statement made by an opponent is incorrect, reporters may call the challenge “exposing a lie.”

Print journalists make themselves the sole judges of a story’s importance by choosing the page for placement; positioning the story high or low on the page; choosing the number of columns the story gets; and the size of the headline type. If a headline like “Hillary Clinton is Under Indictment,” appeared in Section Two, Page 23, of the New York Times, with a single column, and 24-point headline, few readers would care about it. But the identical story with a front-page banner headline would be earth-shattering.

Similarly, cable news can take a headline story like “Trump has Russian ties,” and lead with it while playing “B-Roll” videos in the background. They can tease viewers with the story at station breaks, and repeat it on every news show throughout the day. Twenty-five-year-old backroom producers can make these decisions, even if they have no background information or training to prove or disprove the basic story.

How did all of this misinformation happen? The simple answer is that all professional media companies face crushing competition with social media and internet news pages that offer their information free to all. The result of this is a need for all news organizations to slash costs and field far fewer professional reporters. These smaller staffs can’t cover all of the stories on any given day. So they copy from each other, change their leads, revise some of the wording, and claim the story as original reporting.  Reporters can be so desperate to meet deadlines that they will make a few random tweets into a story that is entirely baseless.

How can the media resolve these issues? We’ll discuss that in our next article.

Has Senator Barbara Boxer Read the US Constitution?


An Open Letter to Senator Barbara Boxer

Dear Senator Boxer:

Along with many of your other constituents, I was surprised to hear that you have introduced a bill that would abolish the Electoral College.

Perhaps you have forgotten Article Two of our Constitution that states:

“Citizens of the United States vote in each state at a general election to choose a slate of “electors” pledged to vote for a party’s candidate. The candidates who receive an absolute majority of electoral votes among the states are elected President and Vice-President of the United States when the Electoral College vote is certified by Congress.”

Apparently, you are proposing to amend the Constitution, to meet your desired political outcomes. As you know amending the Constitution is possible, though a path to ratifying an amendment is deliberately long and difficult. Since 1789 there have been 11,539 proposed amendments, and only 27 have become part of the Constitution.

To propose a Constitutional amendment, the Congress must send it to the State Legislatures for a decision. For the Senate and the House to request a vote by the Legislatures, the proposal must pass by two-thirds (a supermajority) vote of both chambers of Congress. Alternatively, Congress can call for a National Convention, which also requires a two-thirds supermajority and request participation of two-thirds of the State Legislatures.

If Congress achieves the supermajority and requires the States to vote on a proposed amendment, three-fourths of the states (38) would have to pass the amendment to ratify it.

FullFinal-TVTW071016An amendment that scraps the Electoral College would effectively disenfranchise thirty-eight states and effectively leave California and New York voters to choose most future presidents. Few legislatures would vote to effectively relinquish their political power to produce this outcome.

I’m sure that you would not want to take your party onto that multi-year, quixotic path to defeat. Perhaps then, you are part of that fringe group that believes that strict adherence to the Consitution is an out-of-date concept.

Many of us—probably a majority—would respectfully disagree with that notion. Now, more than ever before, America needs a compass to guide our future. Progressives and Conservatives alike need the protection of a single authoritative framework of laws to prevent knee-jerk political machinations that would harm us, set one group against the other, and create chaos. We have already seen how partisan politics can cripple our government. Imagine an America without the Constitution of the United States as its moral guidepost.

Very truly yours,

Steve Vachss
California Voter

Who’s Guilty of Destroying this Election?

fullpicThe 2016 presidential election has embarrassed America and disgusted voters. According to the Economist, a widely respected weekly news magazine, the expenditures of this election may reach five billion dollars, making it nearly twice as expensive as the election of 2012. The result of that cost will be the election of one of the two most reviled candidates in history.

What happened? How did we descend from relative effectiveness to the disgraceful level we have experienced in 2016? Who is responsible for destroying one of the must cherished institutions of our democracy?

The apparent guilty parties are Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and the news media. Others might include the Republican National Committee and the Democratic National Committee. However, the RNC is no more inept than in previous years. The DMC too has been its usual unprincipled self. Nothing has changed for these two archaic organizations.

The Case Against Donald Trump:
Trump’s opponents have accused him of countless iniquities, many of which are manufactured fables. However, there is one overarching negative that has made this character assassination plausible. As a candidate, Donald Trump is stupid. He may have a high IQ, but he continually expresses himself with language that blows up in his face. That’s worse than stupid.

After more than a year of campaigning, Trump hasn’t understood that the language he uses to gain attention can be weaponized and turned back on him as a far more powerful destructive force. For example, in an early speech about illegal immigrants, Trump said.

“When Mexico sends its people they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists, and some, I assume, are good people.”

FullFinal-TVTW071016Trump was speaking about illegal immigrants. He was not castigating all Mexicans. Speaking off-the-cuff, he was obviously careless and foolish. In politics, that’s stupid. He made the statement once, but TV cable news repeated their versions of it thousands of times without consulting his original remarks. As a result, the public believes headlines like “Trump says all Mexicans are rapists.”

Trump has made countless other inartful statements. Many of those statements suffered the same kind of sensationalist interpretation. The voting public heard only the interpretation, repeated thousands of times within a week. Is Trump a racist? Is he an Islamaphobe? Is he a misogynist? Probably not. But he is apparently too stubborn to learn from his constant verbal mistakes. He’s a paranoid candidate who sometimes seems to have Turret syndrome. And in politics, that makes him stupid.

The Case Against Hillary Clinton:
Secretary Clinton’s supporters proclaim that she is a highly skilled executive with a glittering resume. Few people would challenge her resume. Moreover, there is no evidence to deny or confirm that she is a skilled executive. Why, then, do virtually all polls indicate that she is untrustworthy? Before Trump became a candidate, polls indicated that the former secretary may have been the most disliked politician in America.

The reason for dislike of Clinton is that she habitually lies. One poll asked respondents to choose one word to describe each of several politicians. The most common word chosen to describe Secretary Clinton was “liar.” There are many documented instances of her lying. There are videos of her lying. There are videos of her lying about previous lies.
To be fair, Clinton probably makes many true statements that are positively brilliant. Unfortunately, however, voters can never be sure if she’s telling the truth.

The Case Against the TV News Organizations:
Whether Clinton or Trump wins on November 8, TV news organizations will have enriched themselves to historically high levels. They have sold high-priced advertising in high volumes, with no serious competition. While earning this gigantic windfall, they have simultaneously lowered their expenses, by pulling their reporters from legitimate news beats and assigning them to the political campaigns where travel and other expenses are minimal.

To make this financial bonanza possible, news organizations have needed to keep their audiences tuned to their political programming. The only way to maintain their audiences has been to make each nugget of political information sensational, uplifting them to visibility far greater than their actual importance. This has forced the candidates, especially Trump, to constantly criticize individual reporters for unfair media bias. Though media people have been unquestionably biased toward the left, their behavior is consistent with levels of previous elections. The difference is behind the scenes. Program planning and story selection seem to be under the heavy hand of management people who have placed financial greed above news integrity.

The Final Verdict
An election season that most voters view with disgust has been the confluence of multiple misfortunes. We have seen a GOP primary with seventeen candidates destroying each other’s credibility so that the candidate with the most destructive rhetoric was the last one standing. The media narrative that Trump had somehow tapped the national anger was partially true. But the stronger GOP candidates—people like Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, and John Kasich— were victims of a bloated primary slate and an entertaining character assassin.

On the Democrat side, we saw a seventy-four-year-old Socialist nearly overtake a pre-selected candidate expecting a coronation. This unexpected challenge to the DNC’s inner circle of power required a series of unscrupulous actions to ensure their nominee’s victory.

Though the foolish behavior of both parties was distasteful, it was a series of minor sideshows that the news media reported as breaking news. After their treatment of the primaries, the news media needed to elevate the final race to new levels of sensationalism.

Though blame for devaluing the American electoral process has many owners, it seems fair to assign the largest portion of the blame to the news media.

Insights from Inside the Bunker July 16, 2016

How the Government Fools the Press Corps and the People

“How do they get away with it?” ask many frustrated voters. “Shouldn’t reporters push back when politicians lie?”

Eschew-ObfuscationSurprisingly, however, politicians seldom lie. They deceive the public in other ways. For example, when reporters ask a question wherein the correct answer would be embarrassing, they answer a related question. A reporter might ask a politician, “Have you ever cheated during your marriage?” The politician would answer, “I believe that fidelity is paramount to God’s laws, and I attend church every Sunday.” That wouldn’t be a lie, but it would be a positive response to a potentially awkward question.

Politicians use other tools that are more effective than outright lies. One of their most effective methods of confusing the public is misnaming things, and stating them in a confusing way. President Obama is a master of this technique, but other presidents—both Republicans and Democrats—have been equally guilty. For example, many Americans are worried about the ballooning National Debt. They should be. But when the subject arises, the President says something like this: “We are proud of our work in reducing the deficit in every year of my administration since 2009.”

FullFinal-TVTW071016The Deficit, of course, is the amount that the government has OVERSPENT the budget in a year. The National Debt is the gigantic amount that we have borrowed from others—like China—and must pay back. For example, let’s consider a hypothetical year in which the government has received taxes of $4-trillion and spent $5-trillion. The Deficit for the year, of course, is $1-trillion. In the next year, the government again takes in $4-trillion in taxes and spends $4.9-trillion. That’s still a Deficit of $900-billion but is smaller than the deficit for the previous year. The President would declare that performance as a great improvement. “The Deficit is getting smaller every year!”

Meanwhile, each year’s Deficit requires massive borrowing, causing the National Debt to grow dangerously larger. If ordinary people overspent like that every year, they would soon max out their credit, and earn the lowest possible FICO score. But politicians boast about it to deceive the public.

Another example is how politicians name new laws. For example, consider “The Affordable Care Act.” Many people favor this law, and many don’t. Regardless of its ObamaCare-Q-markeffectiveness, the name of the law is deliberately deceptive. The word “Care” is a short-form of “Healthcare.” But the law isn’t about healthcare; it is about restructuring the availability of insurance. It works with the same companies that sold insurance before the law. The law’s main effect is that it requires some companies and individuals to pay an extra tax, to make insurance available to more people. Does it make healthcare more “Affordable?” No. For many people affected, insurance costs more than before. We still have patients, healthcare providers, and insurance companies. But now we have the added expense of a government layer. Though the law provides benefits for some people, affordability is not one of them.

Beware of a new future law called something like “The Resource Optimization Via Plebeian Dissolution Act.” That could mean that politicians plan to kill some of us, to provide more goodies for themselves.


Elizabeth Warren Warren Brings Energy to Clinton Campaign
After several weeks of fading energy, Hillary Clinton’s camp received a proverbial “shot in the arm” with the addition of Senator Elizabeth Warren, who now seems to run everything behind the scenes. Clinton insiders knew the campaign needed a boost and Warren was the perfect answer. A senior campaign official reported that Bill Clinton praised Warren.

RedFeatherFire“That woman is one of the greatest salespeople I’ve ever seen,” exclaimed the former president. “Imagine a blonde caucasian Harvard professor telling the entire state of Massachusetts that she’s a member of the Cherokee Nation. Wow! Even I couldn’t sell a whopper like that one! That’s Obama level. I love it!”

To clear the decks of credibility issues, The Massachusetts Senator called a private meeting of Democrat-friendly pundits and reporters for a confidential discussion of Hillary’s policies as the future President. One of her guests, however, recorded the entire meeting, and we were lucky enough to receive an anonymous copy. Following are key excerpts of that meeting.

Reporter: “Senator, last week Hillary made a speech about the budget. She promised to slash the budget while still investing in a gigantic jobs program and nationwide college tuition support. How can that be possible?”

Warren: “Ah! Listen and learn, my young papoose…”

Reporter: “Excuse me, Senator. Did you just call me “papoose?”

Warren: “Oh did I? Sorry, it’s just force-of-habit from telling stories to my grandchildren. I know it’s not PC, but that’s what we call kids in our Harvard Tribe. But back to discussing the budget. My first rule is this: It’s not what you do, it’s what you call it.

Reporter: “Regardless of what you call something, don’t the numbers have to add up just the same?”

Warren: “Oh, they’ll add up correctly. But first I’ll need to take a tomahawk to the budget.”

Reporter: “Please excuse me again, Senator. Sorry for interrupting. But did you say you’ll use a tomahawk?”

TomahawkOneReporter: “Maybe I did say tomahawk. I probably should have said “hatchet” But we call them tomahawks when working around the wigwam. I keep forgetting that you’re not all members of our Nation.” Regardless of the tool we use, the first thing we’ll do is to separate all sections of the Defense budget, making Army, Navy, Airforce, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard into separate sections. Then we’ll swap names. We’ll rename the budget previously used for the Army, calling it ‘Jobs for all Americans Program.’ Then we’ll backfill the Army budget, with the former ‘Agriculture Subsidy Program.’ We’ll rename the Navy budget, and call it ‘The Tuition Reduction Administration,’ and the former ‘Petroleum Subsidies’ will become the new Navy budget.

Reporter: “But won’t the Army and Navy complain when they discover that they have smaller budgets?

Warren: “They’ll probably complain, but we won’t be concerned. They’ll go on CNN and Fox News and have a bunch of old retired military guys screaming. And then they might have some Congressional hearings. As Hillary often says, WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE?”

Liz2“We’ll get a legion of Democratic spokespeople to read talking points and say that none of the charges are true and that they’re just sexist and racist comments from the far right. It will take them years to investigate. We’ll order the Defense Department to refuse requests for documentation, and that will slow their investigation down to a crawl.

“We don’t care about any of that! As long as every young squaw and brave can get a tuition reduction, and find a job; Hillary will win a re-election in 2020!

Besides, if the media and public complain too much, we’ll blame it on Obama!


Is it time for a third Party Candidate?
With polls showing that more than half of American voters dislike both Presidential candidates, is there still time for a third party to enter the fray? According to wealthy media entrepreneur Robert L. Johnson, founder of the Black Entertainment Network, the answer is yes. “Both the Republicans and Democrats have had their say,” proclaimed Johnson. “And their choices are both pretty grim. We believe America deserves better and have been covertly working to establish a new kind of political party.”

With that, Johnson joined wealthy celebrities Larry David and Shawn Corey Carter (AKA Jay Z) in launching the American Performance Party. The APP has been a work in progress for more than a year, amalgamating donations from Hollywood donors and labor unions. They have quietly registered the party without divulging its name, and will be on the ballot in all 50 states.

Making the party’s formal announcement at a Hip Hop festival in Philadelphia, APP leaders proudly introduced their Presidential Candidate, Kanye Omari West. After five minutes of frantic celebration from the excited crowd, Kanye West delivered his first address as a rap song:

“Hillary and Trump man it’s time for you to hide,
Those elephants and donkeys have all up and died,
Voters all know they’ve been taken for a ride,
But now there’s a West man ridin’ by their side!”

Candidate West sang for more than 30 minutes, telling the delighted crowd about his plans. He pledged to rename the Department of Education to the Department of NewKanyeEntertainment, to be headed by Beyoncé Giselle Knowles.

Promising to announce the remainder of his planned Cabinet within a few days, Kanye named Willie Nelson to be his Secretary of Agriculture. Asked to say a few words, Wilson said, “Picture it in your minds, a country of green happiness! Let’s make our crop legal in every state!”

Finally, West introduced his vice presidential running mate, Caitlyn Jenner. Six inches taller than the Presidential candidate, Caitlin towered over her new running mate, and said, “we’re keeping it in the family. As soon as we figure out what to call our family relationship, we’ll announce that too.”

NewCaitlynSeconding the nomination of the West-Jenner ticket was Black Lives Matters co-founder, Alicia Garza, who also addressed the euphoric crowd. Garza praised presidential nominee West. She stated that West would lead the US in a way that no other candidate could. “His life matters. Trump and Clinton lives don’t. We can’t be sure whether Caitlyn’s life matters. She has faced oppression, but she’s white. Our board will have a special meeting to decide whether or not her life matters.”

Insights from the Bunker June 25, 2016

Do Presidential Candidates Confront Ageism?

When Ronald Reagan ran for President in 1980, media, pundits, and his opponents, constantly reminded voters that Reagan was probably too old to be President, because he would start his term at age 68. When John McCain ran in 2008, he faced pejorative remarks about his age, with added Viagra jokes and references to a fanciful Army term under Abraham Lincon. McCain would have started his term at age 72.

NewPresSealThis year’s final three nomination candidates have been Hillary Clinton, who would start at age 69; Donald Trump, aiming to start at age 70; and Bernie Sanders, hoping to start at age 75. Two prominent politicians who were potential Clinton opponents, are VP Joe Biden, who would have started at age 74; and California Governor Jerry Brown, who will be 78 on Inauguration Day 2017.

Interestingly, we’ve heard little mention of candidate age in 2016. Roundly criticized daily for his age during the election runup, Ronald Reagan at 68 was younger than any current candidates will be. Except for Governor Brown, the oldest potential President by far, these candidates are all within the same age cohort, i.e., they all remember the Beatles.

Notably, Reagan and McCain, both Republicans, were the only candidates to undergo this odd form of ageism. Perhaps their opponents have studied the Republican genome and discovered that dementia occurs earlier in Republicans than in Democrats. Presumptive GOP nominee Trump has escaped criticism since he is so close in age to Hillary Clinton. Potential critics may also avoid Trump’s inevitable counter-punch since he may accidently stumble onto their real-world peccadillos.

To identify other reasons for concerns about age, we researched statements made by each candidate on their greatest fear if elected President, to determine whether age was a consideration. None of them mentioned the age issue, but here are responses from each candidate, when asked, “What is your greatest fear as a prospective president?”

Hillary Clinton: “My greatest fear is that I won’t be able to find a White House intern hook-up like Bill did.”

Donald Trump: “My greatest fear is that the Mexicans will build the wall first, and make me pay for it.”

Bernie Sanders: “My greatest fear is that the Secret Service won’t permit a Woodstock celebration redux on the Whitehouse grounds.”

Joe Biden: “My greatest fear is that when I utter any of my stupid gaffs, someone will pay attention.”

Jerry Brown: “My greatest fear is that Linda Ronstadt will tell the world the embarrassing story behind her song, “Silver Threads, and Golden Needles.”

Ronald Reagan: “I’m dead now, so please shut-up about the Alzheimer’s thing. It didn’t start until long after my term expired.”Table

Hillary’s Indictment Rumors

Rumors of a blockbuster news story began a few days ago. They were unsourced, so the media avoided embarrassment by not reporting details. The White House and DNC offered perfunctory “no comment” responses. The Trump campaign had little to say, though the presumed nominee’s spokesperson smiled, and displayed a “cat who swallowed the Slammer-finalcanary” demeanor.

Digging for verification, the Boston Globe uncovered a source who reported that the former Secretary of State had quietly disappeared for a few hours with her closest aides, Huma Abedin, and Cheryl Mills, to visit exclusive New York fashion designer, Donna Karan. According to this source, the three women were on a mission to order designer jumpsuits, for use in prison. TMZ reported that Secretary Clinton supposedly ordered a handmade beaded jumpsuit in a flattering shade of orange. Apparently, she plans to continue addressing America, even if incarcerated. If the rumors are correct, the trio charged all design and production costs to the Clinton Foundation.

In breaking news, however, Donald Trump phoned Matt Lauer of the Today Show later and reported that his organization had discovered the source of the indictment story.

“It was a man with a Muslim name who tweeted it, reported Trump. “On investigation, however, he stated, “I realized that I had taken an Ambien to get a good night’s sleep, and may have tweeted during the night without remembering. This situation illustrates a common problem in America today, caused by worries over Obama’s mismanagement of the economy. Many people tweet every night using Muslim names. Some are real Muslims that I’ll ban when elected. But anyway, it was only a dream. I kept wondering why the tune ‘You’re Off To See The Wizard’ kept playing in my head. I understand Hillary’s song is ‘If I Only Had a Brain!’”

Memo to Republicans: Yes, it’s only a dream. The President and former Secretary Clinton have probably made a backroom deal. Would the President endorse Hillary and campaign with her if he didn’t have everything already rigged? The only question is how they’ll spin it. Maybe the President will order FBI Director James Comey to keep investigating until the primaries in 2020.

Why Does the Media Give Some People A Pass?

The history of news media coverage indicates that some people get a pass, while reporters throw others under the proverbial bus. Regardless of partisan bias, there are other forces at work to decide who gets favorable treatment. In fact, a person virtually unknown to the public makes all decisions on who gets a pass from the media. He is called Mr. Nadie. Because of anger at some of his decisions, he keeps his identity secret and doesn’t permit photos of his face.

Rearview-man-in-chairI received permission to interview Mr. Nadie, though I could only speak to the back of his head. He was generous with his time during our one-on-one interview, but I doubt that I could recognize him if I met him on the street. Following is a transcript.

Insights: Sir, thank you for speaking with me. I’m sure my readers will be very interested in what you can tell us.

Mr. Nadie: I’m sure they will. That’s why I’m talking with you. I want to reach the public through small publications and social media.

Insights: Few media people seem to know who you are, and you obviously want it that way. How did you get your job?

Mr. Nadie: As you can probably tell, I’m half African American and half Caucasian. The President likes that. And I can’t stand Mitt Romney, which also helped in my selection.

FullFinalInsights: Did he inform Congress about creating your position?

Mr. Nadie: He didn’t have to. He just used his pen and his phone.

Insights: Do you have a boss?

Mr. Nadie: I report to Valery Jarrett, though I’ve never met her. She only tells me who’s hot and who’s not. I receive instructions from encrypted email and a private server that destroys her messages as soon as I read them.

Insights: I’d like to understand your criteria for giving some people a pass, and permitting others to be eviscerated. For example, you gave Hillary Clinton a pass, for lying about being shot at in Bosnia. But Brian Williams lost his job after an ugly storm of criticism from media colleagues for lying about a similar event in Iraq. Why are your decisions different in these two similar cases?

Mr. Nadie: That’s simple. Brian should have realized that people believe him. But no one on earth believes Hillary, so the Bosnia lie was just one event among thousands of whoppers. As we’ve been speaking, she’s probably committed three or four more. That’s why her supporters love her.

Insights: Moving on, let’s compare Mitt Romney receiving harsh criticism for having a net worth of $250-million. One of his daily tormentors in 2012, David Letterman, has a net worth of $400-million. Romney apparently worked hard to earn his money, while Letterman only stood in front of a microphone and read un-funny lists created by grade-B writers. Why did you give Letterman a pass for years, and throw Romney to the wolves? Meanwhile, you gave Trump a pass, though he’s a billionaire.

Mr. Nadie: Romney’s an obnoxious goody-goody-two-shoes. Dave is obnoxious too, but he had a juicy extramarital affair and jokes about smoking pot. He’s my kind of guy. Trump only gets a half-pass. The media people give him my pass because he gives them new storylines every day. He’s money in the bank for the media bosses. But we take the pass away on the second day after each controversial statement. Then Democrats pile on, and Republicans cringe. Everybody’s happy.

Insights: Final question. How could you give a pass to the President, after he lied, saying “If you like your doctor, you’ll be able to keep your doctor; if you like your healthcare plan, you’ll be able to keep your healthcare plan.”

Mr. Nadie: I like the president. And I think Michelle is a hottie. But your pass just expired. Get your annoying, truth-seeking butt out of my office!