Thursday, April 18, 2019

Bernie In The Fox Den

Thursday, April 18th, 2019

My Dear America:

This past Monday was a frustrating day, for the most part.  I spent the day trying to get tickets to the Fox News sponsored Bernie Sanders Town Hall at Steel Stacks in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, just a stones throw from where I live.

I sent a couple of E Mails to Fox News and when I had gotten no response by 5:30 PM I just decided to watch the Town Hall on Television in my basement den.  Although I would have preferred to be in the Steel Stacks Audience, in the end I was kind of pleased that I was able to watch the hour long Town Hall on Fox News in my den. 

What I saw on Television that I am not sure that others who attended the event in Bethlehem saw were some segments talking about the history of Bethlehem Steel.  Steel Stacks was built on the extensive property that was for many years the Bethlehem Steel Corporation.  Due to a number of factors Bethlehem Steel, like countless other American Factories, closed its doors in the 90's never to reopen them again.  Prior to and during the Bernie Sanders telecast Fox News told the story of how important Bethlehem Steel was in helping America to win Two World Wars and to build some of the most important bridges and buildings in our Nation. Those brief snippets of history made it all the more impressive as the television cameras in the Musikfest Cafe in the Steel Stacks building panned in on Fox News Town Hall Moderators, Bret Bair and Martha McCallum and the Town Hall Star and Democratic Candidate for President, Bernie Sanders.  There was a large panoramic window in back of Bernie and the Moderators and outside that window, at least for the first part of the Town Hall, one could see some of the remnants of what was left of some of the Bethlehem Steel buildings that were strong enough to have been left standing following the close of the plant.

Following the disturbing, disrupting and devastating closing of Bethlehem Steel in the 90's by its new owner and today a member of Donald Trump's Cabinet, Wilbur Ross, the City of Bethlehem was faced with the question of what to do with the extensive inner city land that had been the home of one of the most important manufacturers in America.  Some Bethlehem City leaders came up with a plan that would cost a lot of money but could revitalize the Bethlehem Steel site.  With a great deal of planning and preparation plans were put into operation and Bethlehem Steel's abandoned factory site took on a vibrant new life.  

Steel Stacks was built primarily as an Arts Center.  The Musikfest Cafe, where Bernie's Town Hall took place was a concert venue where my wife and I have seen such musical luminaries as Judy Collins and David Crosby.  Steel Stacks also has two movie theaters and outside Steel Stacks is the Levitt Pavillion where many free concerts are held every summer.  Also next to Steel Stacks is the local PBS Television Station, WLVT, Channel 39 and down the road apiece is the Sand's Casino, Hotel, Shoppes and an Event Center where major concerts are held.

I mention these things because I think other areas of our country devastated by business losses could definitely learn some lessons from what Bethlehem has done to rejuvenate itself following the closing of Bethlehem Steel.   

The Bernie Sanders Town Hall in the Musikfest Cafe at Steel Stacks was in my opinion a brilliant bit of Political Theater.  Some of the early questions from the moderators were a bit Foxish, but fair. Clearly Bret and Martha were two of the more moderate Fox News personalities. Bernie handled them well, I thought.  In the end I think that Bernie and the Fox Anchors came to an agreement that rather than spar with each other all night that they would at least personally respect each other.   In the end I think that Bernie came off as he always seems to, an honest guy with good intentions and reasonably good plans for improving the lives of citizens of the United States of America.  

As I watched the Town Hall I thought about the fact that the timing of the broadcast was a little odd.  It aired from 6:30 to 7:30 PM on Fox News with Martha McCallum doing a review of the Town Hall at 7:30 PM.  This was not exactly prime time but it was during a time period where many Fox viewers coming home from work might be inclined to tune in.  Although early on the Fox News Moderators seemed to be prodding Bernie in order to embarass him, their questions were not unreasonable and were responded to with honesty by Senator Sanders.  Bernie's tax returns were a subject of Fox scrutiny.  Bernie stated that he had just released 10 years of his tax returns and then he turned to the camera and said that if the President was listening to the broadcast he should do the same and release his tax returns.  Bernie was also asked by the moderators to respond to the fact that his tax returns show that he is a millionaire.  Bernie stated that he had made a great deal of money last year from writing a best selling book and did not apologize for the book selling well.

Overall, during the Town Hall Bernie was asked some fair questions not only from the Moderators but also from the Audience Members.  Bernie did not duck any questions and in my opinion he did a great job in answering every question he was asked in a truthful and honest manner.  He was animated when he explained why he was running against Donald Trump, who Bernie identified as a "pathological liar"

Many in the Democratic Party, including myself, view Fox News as a Right Wing Media arm of the Republican Party and Donald Trump.  I am sure that Bernie Sanders believed that prior to the Town Hall.  But Fox News, for all their obvious fawning over Donald Trump, treated Bernie Sanders fairly and respectfully during the Town Hall.

During the Fox News Town Hall question and answer session with Bernie Sanders I couldn't help but think about how many other Americans who only watch Fox News for their political information and have heard about the terrible "Democratic Socialist" named Bernie Sanders might be willing to consider the fact that Socialist Bernie might not be as bad as Fox News and Communist Donald have made him out to be.

In agreeing to participate in the Bethlehem Town Hall Bernie might have sent an important message to Democrats, including Democratic Candidates, as well as Democratic Party Officials.  That message might be construed as the following:

Hey Democrats.  I know you don't like Fox News.  But think about the fact that this news channel might just be changing enough for Democrats to begin using it to press their message to those who voted Donald Trump into the White House.  Certainly not every Trump voter is still a Trump fan at this point in time.  Trump is a "pathological liar" who cannot be trusted to run our country.  Every day he does more to weaken and embarass our country.  Lets be willing to follow Bernie Sanders and give Fox the benefit of the doubt and participate in Town Halls and Debates on Fox News with our eyes wide open to the fact that Bernie's successful Town Hall might have been a fluke.  But then again we might find the Fox News viewers open to some new and highly improved Candidates For the Presidency of the United States.

I think Bernie Sanders has opened the door.  Now it remains to be seen if other Democratic Candidates will walk through it.   

Sincerely Yours

Jerry Gallagher

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Adam Schiff Has A Message For Republicans About Treason - "It's Not Okay"

Thursday, April 4th, 2019

My Dear America:

I remember watching the HBO Show, Real Time with Bill Maher just a few weeks ago when California Republican Congressman and House Intelligence Committee Chairman, Adam Schiff was Bill's First Guest.

I had seen Adam Schiff on Television many times before and was always impressed with his Brightness, Dignity and Decency as he tried his best to keep the Republican controlled House Intelligence Committee on target in investigating whether President Donald Trump was a Russian Spy. 

It was obvious to anyone paying attention to Trump over the more than two years Trump was in the White House that Trump was an obvious Russian Asset, wittingly or unwittingly. 

On this particular night a couple of weeks ago on HBO as Adam Schiff and Bill Maher had an intelligent but disturbing conversation about Russian influence on Donald Trump, I thought to myself that this man, Adam Schiff, would make a Great President in 2020, A President we could all be proud of, A President who knows what he is doing and knows that what he is doing is the right thing. In other words A Good and Decent Man.  Just the kind of a man who would be the complete opposite of Donald Trump.  I even thought that maybe I should E Mail Schiff and tell him that he should run for President.  

I didn't E Mail him, however.  I kept my thoughts to myself.  Besides there were already too many Good and Decent Democrats running for President.

Adam Schiff was the Ranking Member on The House Intelligence Committee for the first two years of the Trump Presidency.  During that time he always seemed to be fighting a losing battle with the Republican Committee members.  Things seemed to be especially strained between Schiff and the Republican Chairman of the Intelligence Committee, Republican Devin Nunes.  Even before Devin Nunes started having surreptitious midnight meetings at the White House, Schiff was making it a practice to keep CNN and MSNBC informed about what Schiff had to put up with in dealing with his Republican Colleagues on the Committee.  When it was discovered that Nunes had been secretly meeting with White House Officials and keeping them informed about House Intelligence Committee information while he was supposedly investigating the White House Lets just say that things did not go well.  

As a result of last year's elections when Democrats landslide victory regained  control of the United States House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi wisely appointed Adam Schiff to be the Chairman of The House Intelligence Committee.  Just as could be expected the tainted and questionable House Intelligence Committee Investigation whitewash began immediately to take a different turn when Adam Schiff took over the Committee Leadership.

On March 28th the nine Republican members of The House Intelligence Committee led by Devin Nunes and voiced by Republican Michael Conway, following some disturbingly denigrating Tweets by Trump aimed toward Chairman Schiff, presented Committee Chairman Schiff with a letter signed by all nine Republicans on the Committee demanding Schiff's resignation as Intelligence Committee Chairman.

Adam Schiff's verbal response to the desperate and disgusting Republican ploy will probably go down in history as one of the most powerful moments of Congressional responsibility ever recorded on television.  Although Schiff's face showed his own personal fire and fury, his words were measured and powerful.

Any Republican sitting in on that Committee hearing probably left the hearing room feeling stung by Adam Schiff's brilliant response to his gutless colleagues, all of whom were obviously in Donald Trump's pocket.

Adam Schiff answered the Republican Intelligence Committee Members by listing almost every outrage committed by Trump over the past years one by one and adding at the end of each description of what Trump and his team have done - "You might think its Okay.  But I don't think its Okay."

In my opinion, Adam Schiff's powerful response to the House Intelligence Committee Republicans will probably go down in Congressional Hearing history along with Joseph Welch's comment to Senator Joseph McCarthy. Welch's comment to McCarthy many years ago might also apply to Donald Trump.

"At long last,  Have you no decency, Sir," Welch said to McCarthy.

Adam Schiff could very well aim the same comment at Donald Trump and at all nine members of The House Intelligence Committee.

I would suggest that anyone who has not heard Chairman Schiff's comments to the House Committee Republicans check it out on "You Tube."

If You are a Democrat it will make you proud.  If you are a Republican still operating under the seemingly magical spell of Donald Trump it might wake you up to smell the Treason.

I no longer wish to see Adam Schiff run for President, at least not until Donald Trump is out of office.  We need Adam Schiff to remain as Chairman of The House Intelligence Committee to do what he can to help keep Democracy alive in The United States Of America.  Its a hard job but Adam Schiff can do it well.


Jerry Gallagher