All posts by Ron Olsen

The Demands Of Liberty

It’s been months now and I’m still trying to acclimate myself to the reality, the huge change, of not having to wake up to a new horror every day. It isn’t easy to switch gears following a daily horror show of four long years, culminating with an attempted coup. I’d like to relax but can’t, knowing the mad prince of political evil is still out there, waiting for another shot at doing what he does best, the attempted destruction of all that we hold dear. Tearing apart what so many gave their lives to build and sustain.

Never forget the words of former presidential advisor, Steve Bannon, who said, “I’m a Leninist. Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.”

And replace it with what? Is that kind of chaos, that kind of madness, really what you want? Beyond that, try and get your head around the fact that Trump’s former chief political advisor, Steve Bannon, is an admitted Communist. He might try and get around it by calling himself a “Leninist,” but that’s just a word game. Leninism is a prelude to Communism.

At this point, no one should relax. We can’t afford to. At the same time there is more than one piece of good news coming across the wires.

President Biden, is saying he may support doing away with what is currently called “the filibuster.” At least in some cases. This would be wonderful, because what is now called a filibuster, the need for a super-majority in the Senate to get anything done, isn’t really a filibuster at all. It’s a super-majority vote as opposed to a simple majority of 50% plus one for passage. In other words, simple majority rule, which is what most of us thought the country was supposed to be all about and something we should be getting back to. Imagine what the Democrats could accomplish with a simple majority vote in place.

A filibuster, is when a member of one party refuses to stop talking to prevent a vote from taking place. It could be viewed as a form of rhetorical torture but it usually removes any doubt as to the serious nature of what’s being said. Traditionally, it has nothing to do with how many votes it takes for passage.

It’s argued that a simple majority will work to the advantage of the Republicans, should they regain control of the Senate by even a narrow margin, and that’s true. Most Americans, though, would probably be happy knowing that the will of the majority was being carried out and not blocked by a minority in the Senate, which is where things currently stand. As it stands, this current “filibuster” is a political gimmick that circumvents majority rule. What once was called, “the will of the people.”

The other bit of really good news, is that apparently Al Franken, is thinking about running again. Which he should. He never should have been treated like political trash in the first place.

The return of Senator Franken would give the Dem’s someone who actually has the ability to go toe-to-toe with these Republican traitors who are doing all they can to tear down our democratic institutions.

What Al did was in bad taste yes, but he did it before being elected and it was not out-of-line with his SNL comedy background. What Franken did was mild in comparison to some of the old skits the SNL troupe has performed. Nevertheless, with Kirstin Gillibrand leading the attack, the Democratic hierarchy reacted like Al was a serial killer, not a former comic who was clowning around. Bad taste, yes. A felony or high-misdemeanor offense demanding dismissal? Absolutely not.

Gillibrand and others who showed Franken the door, were playing right into Republican hands.

Friends in Minnesota, say their fellow Minnesotans are mostly in support of bringing Franken back. Hope it happens. He’s too good a person, too good a legislator, for the Democrats and the country to lose.


Miss you Dickie……

One indicator of where we are is knowing how much better off we’d all be if somehow we could just dial the Republican Party back to the criminal administration of Richard Nixon. Compared to this current bunch of muggers, liars and thieves, Dick Nixon, was a peach.

Whispers On The Wind

When a filibuster is no longer a filibuster, when it’s actually a super-majority overriding majority rule, when members of Congress, forced to flee the Capitol building to escape an attack, an attempted coup d’etat, refuse to support a congressional subpoena attempting to hold those who would overthrow the government accountable – when all of that is going on isn’t it time to snap to and call this current Republican Party what it actually is? Nothing but a band of traitors using lies to try and overthrow that which remains of a system which depends upon right-minded patriotic people upholding accepted standards of decent behavior. Traditional Americans who support traditional Americanism. Are there only two decent Republicans left? Don’t all the rest overtly oppose democracy? Isn’t it just that simple?

A couple of weeks ago we went to the Old North Bridge in Concord, Massachusetts, and stood where the first confrontation in force took place between the American colonists and the British military. It’s the kind of place that moves something in your heart, whispers on the wind that make you proud to be an American, a people who become more than a little angry with lies that seek to erase their right to self-determination through legitimate representation. A right this current batch of Republican traitors obviously want no part of, as they continue down the path to Oligarchy, much of our system having been turned into the best government money can buy, driven by deceit and fueled by fear of the other.

Where are the Republicans of Eisenhower and Lincoln? Are there none left who believe that what we have is worth saving? Are there so few left with the patriotic backbone necessary to push back against obvious tyranny?

It’s clearly time to shake off our national delirium and remember what those first Americans, mostly farmers and shopkeepers with muskets, gave their lives for. To establish a country based upon self-determination, not deceit, arrogance and half-truths. They answered the call in 1775 as we are now being called to answer it again, by annihilating this current batch of Republican traitors at the polls in 2022 and 2024. It won’t be enough for us to simply win the elections, we must win with an overwhelming torrent of votes. 2022, must be a crushing defeat for the Republican Party, setting up a second crushing defeat for them in 2024. It’s either that, or surrender our Democracy to Oligarchy.

Those first minutemen knew what many of us seem to have forgotten as we continue to allow ourselves to be divided into factions. That freedom cannot be taken for granted and that we continue to be surrounded by those who would take it away, by those who put party above country and personal profit above the common good. Those who are blinded by unmitigated greed. Those who would deceive us into thinking a filibuster and a super-majority are one and the same and that the attempted coup of January 6th, never really happened. Those who put so much smoke into the air that it’s difficult to breathe much less see anything clearly.

This is as serious as it gets. We could lose it all. We already came closer than many care to admit.

Who’s Really In Charge?

According to David Corn in Mother Jones, Joe Manchin, is making noises about quitting the Democratic Party and declaring himself to be an Independent.

So Manchin is “thinking” about leaving the Dems and becoming an Independent, because his constituents are so badly misinformed and disinformed that they actually believe it’s in their best interest to have him support that which is in their worst interest by defeating Biden’s infrastructure plan which West Virginia badly needs – the State got a “D” on the Infrastructure Report Card – and if he tells them the truth he’ll be primaried out by the Trumpists, who care only about keeping their jobs? Isn’t that about it?

Somebody needs to convince me that this isn’t all a KGB plot to destroy the country. I’m being facetious, of course, but just a little, as the KGB no longer exists and the Russians would never come up with something this screwy, and the last thing I want is to be considered a conspiracy nut.

If that were the case, if I didn’t care about my reputation, I’d tell everybody that I’ve been watching the political stage for decades and almost without fail, gas prices at the pump shoot way up when the Dems seize control, and then drop way down again, once the Republicans get back in. They really can’t blame the Arabs anymore, since we now export more oil than we import.

It’s almost like we’re being punished for supporting the Democratic Party? Nah, that would be crazy. As crazy as Russian intel gaining control of a U.S. President and half the Congress, in an effort to destroy our democracy with a big assist from Russian and American oligarch billionaires, interested only in the accumulation of personal wealth. Absolutely crazy. Like a confluence of evil without any real conspiracy. Just greed and the need for power that goes with it.

Whatever the truth might be, you can be sure to get a diversity of opinion from the American media, with only six companies controlling as much as 90% of the information coming into your home. According to Wikipedia, its now down to just five. Business Insider reports that in 1983, there were fifty.

Be it the consolidation of companies resulting in an absence of free market competition started by the Reagan Revolution and its push for deregulation and tax cuts, or the ease with which unknown sources can now pump money into America’s political system following the Supreme Court’s unconscionable ruling in the “Citizens United” case, pretty much everything comes down to one thing. The necessity for campaign finance reform.

Until that happens, until unknown parties, be they American, Russian or from somewhere else can no longer pay off our politicians, none of it is going to work.

GoFundMe for Aulerich Family

My former colleague, KTLA-TV producer, Scott Aulerich, a beloved father, husband and member of the KTLA family died suddenly on September 29, 2021 due to a medical emergency. He was 52.

Scott was a profoundly talented, passionate, and creative producer and writer and also a man who cared deeply about his family and about every one of us. Please help us support his wife Bridget who is also part of our KTLA family and Scott’s three children — Noah, Brooke and Rowan.

Click here, to contribute to the family through gofundme.

Thank you

The Unvaccinated Continue To Follow A Vaccinated Tyrant

According to a piece in the newspaper, there appears to be a solid correlation between followers of DJT and those folks who continue to refuse to be vaccinated against Covid-19, even as Covid continues to kill people as an epidemic of the unvaccinated.

In other words, Trump’s followers refuse to get the vaccine even though Donald and his family have all been vaccinated following Donald’s serious illness from Covid-19, as he attempted to set aside a valid election and establish fascist rule. Friends, Fascism, is NOT preferable to our representative Constitutional Republic. This should be a no-brainer. The fact that for so many it is not a no-brainer, means that millions of Americans have been misinformed, disinformed and generally duped.

Along with Republicans, the Russians and the Communist Chinese, are both working on confusing the issue to the highest degree possible. The Republicans, because they want to win upcoming elections, and they can’t do that if all of America is apprised of the truth as to the degree of their corruption following an attempted coup d’etat with thugs storming the Capitol while co-conspirators built a gallows on the Capitol steps with the stated purpose of lynching the Vice President of the United States. The Russians and the Chinese, because they are in direct competition with us and want to destroy our Democratic Republic.

Two points we should all keep in mind. One, is that more than 90% of those dying from Covid are unvaccinated. The other, is that being represented by elected officials is preferable to throwing away what we have to establish a dictatorship under the leadership of any would-be tyrant/dictator.

Don’t be fooled. Freedom is preferable to the yoke of tyranny. We are free to choose our leaders and because of that freedom, we are free to choose whether or not to get a shot to protect ourselves from Covid-19. That friends, is the simple truth. Another, is that along with freedom comes the responsibility of thinking for ourselves and then doing the right thing. I hope we’re up to it.

Random Thoughts II

So the “election” has concluded in Russia, where exit polling indicates Vladimir Putin’s party will again be the big winner? And the major media is reporting out the story as though it should be taken with even an ounce of credibility? Seriously?

Down in the great State of Florida, currently so overcome by the Delta Variant, that for a time they were putting up tents, that goober police department that failed to take the boyfriend into custody or at least keep him under surveillance after he returned from a trip with his girlfriend’s camper but not the girlfriend, has yet to provide any explanation as to how they could so completely botch things up. Somebody from the media needs to go after them and the local DA with a vengeance, until they get some answers. Maybe Barney Fife was on duty when the boyfriend came back with the van but without the now missing girlfriend? According to one report, the cops in North Port, Florida, are now working on “multiple person investigations,” and are asking anyone with any information to contact the FBI. Yeah, contact the FBI, that’s probably a real good idea.

Some consideration needs to be given to the fact that the Islamic State is taking credit for a couple of bombing attacks against the Taliban. In other words, the civil war in Afghanistan continues but without Americans being stuck in the middle. Is there anybody out there who still believes we shouldn’t have gotten out? That Joe Biden, didn’t do the right thing? I’m sure there are, but then, some still believe the election was stolen and that we continue to be under threat from Jewish space lasers.

And finally, congratulations to the four civilian astronauts who just managed to orbit the earth and splash back down into the ocean. Something Col. John Glenn, USMC, accomplished in 1962, as part of a space program that was a joint military/civilian effort which concluded with our putting men on the Moon.

Glenn , for those who don’t know, was the first American, to orbit the earth. At the time it was a huge big deal, because the Russians had already done it, we were playing catch up, and Glenn, put his life on the line to get it done using rocket science which, at the time, wasn’t all that dependable. Our rockets were famous for blowing up.

I knew John Glenn, and he was probably the closest anybody will ever come to being a real-life “Captain America.” Consequently, I can’t get too excited about these billionaires going out into space to play, only because they are standing on the shoulders of giants like Col. Glenn. A little more perspective on what’s really happening, a little context with regard for the past would be nice. All I’m hearing is a lot of mindless cheerleading, almost nothing about the giants who got us to where we now are or the possible pitfalls of abandoning what was a relatively successful civilian/military partnership, in favor of a privatized space program. Something tells me that at some point we may come to regret this whole privatization thing. It would be nice, at least, if somebody started talking about it. If not thinking about it as well. I know that’s asking a lot.

If you missed Ted Koppel’s piece on ‘CBS Sunday Morning,’ then you missed a wonderful piece of broadcast journalism. It deals with the real “Mayberry, RFD,” in Mt. Airy, North Carolina, the boyhood home of Andy Griffith. How it’s been idealized and why, and what it might mean to us as a country. Koppel’s report was excellent. Here’s a link to it. Click here.

Have a nice day.

Random Thoughts

Republicans have lost control of the White House and the Senate, and gas prices at the pump are once again through the roof. Happens every time the Republicans get booted out of office, almost like big oil is penalizing us for our voting, while, at the same time, trying to make the Dems look bad. Like they are screwing up the economy. I’ve seen this happen repeatedly over the years. Of course, there are a million “valid” reasons big oil has for unilaterally cranking up the price sky-high. Yeah, a million of them… Can’t happen with “free trade” and “open markets,” right? Admittedly, I could be totally wrong. Just imagining things. Again.

Now there are no actresses, just actors. As our language becomes less specific, we will all have a more difficult time understanding one another. Also, with this new “fast talking” thing that’s happening among young people, I already have trouble following anythinthyersying. Add to that words that are less descriptive, and we have a problem. Communication matters. Without it, we’re just great apes, swilling beer and watching football. Long live enunciation! Enunciation, is dead.

Why is so much being made on Facebook, of Eric Clapton not wanting to play to an audience that has been “discriminated against” with demands that they have all taken certain precautions against spreading Covid? You know, an attempt at preserving the public health? Clapton, is a musician. I don’t recall him ever claiming any credentials as an epidemiologist. Not sure he attended college? That said, he does have a right to his opinion, as well as a fundamental right to discriminate against those who have been vaccinated against Covid-19, by refusing to allow them to attend a concert out of the presence of possible superspreaders. You might say that in refusing to discriminate, Clapton, is being very discriminating.

For the record, I am a huge Clapton fan. Love the man’s music but I have no intention of relying upon him for medical advice.

And finally, a word about CBS News, and their star anchor, Nora O’Donnell. The word is, I do not care what Ms. O’Donnell’s opinions might be about any specific story she is reading. Good journalists, in fact, are supposed to keep their opinions out of their work. It appears as though Ms. O’Donnell, has been told to be as opinionated as possible, issuing little quips and asides after selected stories, telling us how she thinks we should feel. It is not cute. It is not becoming. It is not informative. It is bad journalism, and it’s turning me off to CBS News. Walter Cronkite, would condemn it.

Who the hell is running that show? Interesting that Susan Zarinsky, was shown the door. She was probably too much of a journalist for what CBS News has become. In fact, I’d bet on it.

The Mainstream Media Needs To Get Off Biden’s Back And Do Its Job

Back when I was still working for others, as a member of the “mainstream media,” it always amazed me that there was a pervasive view of what we were doing as a targeted attack on somebody or some idea, when all we were trying to do was present the facts while being fair to all sides involved by keeping our personal opinions out of it. Now, here I am, thirteen years away from the business, and it appears to me that the mainstream is launching an attack on Joe Biden. An attack that is unbalanced, without context and therefore, unfair.

Biden, went from being in the hotseat for pulling the country out of Afghanistan, to being the guy whose popularity plummeted as he attempted to manage “multiple crises,” for which, it was made to appear, he was somehow responsible. It was pack-journalism “multiple-crises” time. I don’t know who started it but before long it was pervasive. Let’s take them one by one.

With regard to Afghanistan, it’s too early following the pullout to condemn anybody for anything. The point, I think, is that a great many Americans are just happy to be out of that unholy mess. War without end, amen. You can have it. It could be that years from now, Biden will be seen as the one president who finally had the courage to get us out of there and that going into Iraq, was a mistake from the beginning. A Republican mistake.

Then there is Covid. Biden didn’t start that one, either, but it could be argued he is managing it as best anybody could under the circumstances, and certainly a thousand times better than Trump and the Republican anti-vaxers did.

Rounding out the tri-fecta of media crisis condemnation is Hurricane Ida. Again, this is not Biden’s fault and he and the Feds responded to it in a timely fashion. No, he wasn’t out throwing paper towels at the peasants like the idiot Donald was, and his response was again a thousand times better than either Trump or Bush.

Biden got us out of an endless war he did not start. Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld, did. Biden, is also doing a better job of handling the Covid situation and problems associated with Hurricane Ida, than any of his Republican predecessors, particularly Trump, whose stalling and denial in the beginning only made matters worse with Covid, and George W. Bush, who pretty much just ignored Katrina until it became so embarrassing that he was forced to leave his birthday party and go do something.

But these facts, this perspective, is seldom or never mentioned by the mainstream media, which seems intent upon condemning Joe Biden, making it look like they are trying to take him down, rather than pursuing an accurate contextual accounting with regard for historical perspective. You know, balanced journalism, without continuing to pretend the developing fascism of the right should be treated with the same credibility and validity as those who believe in and continue to support democracy.

It is past time to stop pretending this is about anything less than the central question of the expanding fascism of the right taking on the patriotism of those in the center and on the left who are being pilloried for their alleged liberalism. Or, simply put, Neo-Nazism on one side and the supporters of American democracy on the other.

This is not opinion. To any reasonable, rational, informed person, it is fact. And it is time for the mainstream to get down to business and begin reporting out the facts regardless of the backlash, because our country, our very liberty, is at stake. Business as usual, pretending both sides have equal validity, no longer works. Not when one side is Neo-Nazi, and cares nothing for the truth. It is time for the mainstream to get out of the hair and makeup infotainment business and back in the journalism first business, no matter how much it hurts.

It almost feels like the mainstream is afraid of telling it like it is with regard to how badly the Republican Party has abused and misused the power it has been granted by the American people over the past several decades as Republicans continue to shift from the party of Reagan, to a Neo-Fascist mob.

A gang of liars who fear the truth will expose them for who they are. Women-hating, gun-toting, science-deniers, who attempted a coup de’tat against the country and failed. The mainstream media needs to get on that instead of attacking Joe Biden, who so far, has done a pretty damn good job as President, without inciting a riot or encouraging anyone to stage a coup.

Texas, Loses It’s Guiding Star

In Afghanistan, the Taliban, without us to fight, are now at war with some other local “element” while they are also busy shutting down anything resembling any kind of equality for women.

Here at home, the State of Texas, has just made it easier to carry a concealed firearm while they too infringe upon the equality of women by making it impossible for a woman to get a legal abortion after the 6th week of pregnancy and work to make it more difficult to vote.

In response, Lyft, has just donated a million dollars to Planned Parenthood. Lyft and Uber, are offering to pay for the defense of their drivers charged under the new “bounty” law in Texas, which offers $10,000 to anyone who turns in someone who assisted a woman in getting an abortion, including anybody who just drives her somewhere.

Must it be said again? After only six weeks, many women don’t even know they are pregnant. Get it? So Texas, with the backing of an ultra-right U.S. Supreme Court, has pretty much outlawed abortion, period.

In addition, the “high court,” straining under the intellectual vacuum created by three Trump appointees, has ignored settled (established) law regarding abortion rights in the U.S., and possibly also violated the 4th Amendment right to privacy as outlined in the Constitution of the United States, a document these great legal minds have sworn to uphold.

It all sounds very Nazi-like, doesn’t it? Like Texas has created a whole new class of “brown shirts” running around turning in their neighbors for attempting to do their jobs – which in this case might involve improving healthcare. How do the Uber or Lyft drivers know why the hell a woman want’s to go somewhere? Are they supposed to interrogate their passengers as to the reason for their needing a ride? Did anybody think this through?

Beyond that, why do the Texans and the Taliban hate women? Why does this hate for women and a love of guns seem to go hand in glove for so many of these people? Might it have something to do with control? With having power over the lives of others, and isn’t that a hatred of freedom? Or do they just have some deep-seated fear of women?

Is it coincidence that so many big oil and gas companies are headquartered in the Lone Star State? Do American big oil people have some problem with women? Is there a connection here worth pursuing, particularly with regard to protecting oil interests overseas and needing domestic issues for deflection of the topic here in the U.S.? Or maybe it’s as simple as the guys running these big oil companies thinking women should be kept barefoot, pregnant and muzzled in their kitchens, while the real work is performed out on the job site by the men-folk.

In 2020, mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction contributed more than $233 billion to the Texas GDP. According to, for the 2022 election cycle alone, oil and gas interests have already directed $6,795.765 at “federal candidates, parties and outside groups,” with most of the money going to Republicans.

WEEEEHAW! Don’t think Texas, isn’t telling D.C. what to do. It may be a matter of degree, but all those millions buy plenty of influence.

Robert Freeman, writes on the website, “The oil companies have eviscerated Biden’s Infrastructure plan, denuding it of anything that might boost renewable energy.  The weapons makers have just been granted a $753 billion budget by the Biden administration, despite now losing Afghanistan, in addition to Iraq.  It is supposedly to combat China, which has exactly one foreign military outpost in the world, to the U.S.’s 800.  But if the U.S. military cannot win wars against fourth-world countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, how is it going to win one against China, which has nukes and has just surpassed the U.S. as the largest economy in the world?  It’s psychotic.”

At least we’re no longer trying to mediate the civil war in Afghanistan, like a cop trying to get between two really angry parties in a domestic dispute, which frequently doesn’t work out all that well for the cop. That said, our troops had nothing to do with the political reasons for our being there, so thanks to all who served out of duty to the country and thank you to Joe Biden, for finally getting us out.

I should probably say something about the “backdoor draft” at this point, but I don’t want to be accused to attacking the military – which is one reason the backdoor draft worked so well for the Bush family dynasty. You can probably connect those dots for yourself, and if not – well, like the QAnon Shaman, who says he still likes Donald Trump, even though he failed to issue the Shaman a pardon, you’re probably too far gone for anyone to get to.

You probably can’t fathom the economic issues involved in starting a major land war that continues for years as opposed to avoiding said land war with diplomacy or replacing a mandatory military draft out of necessity to defend the nation with a patriotic call for heroes to defend the needs of big oil.

It couldn’t possibly have been that simple, could it? Eisenhower, warned us about the “military industrial complex,” and the words of Country Joe continue to ring true, “There’s plenty good money to be made, supplying the Army with the tools of its trade.”

Of course, nobody dares go there anymore, after everyone who put on a uniform suddenly became a hero and the distinction between supporting the troops as opposed to insane political directives was erased. Very complex, these military-complex people. Very good at shutting down those who wanted simple answers to simple questions. Questions most of us stopped asking at the risk of being called a traitor or Un-American.

When are we going to start going to war specifically to defend America, as opposed to defending “America’s interests” overseas? Going to war with Hitler’s Germany and Imperial Japan, was about defending America against fascism, not about some abstruse “interest overseas” that can mean damn near anything a politico wants it to mean.

The country is currently so utterly screwed up in its collective thinking that a good portion of the electorate actually believes there is something wrong with opposing Fascism. If ANTIFA actually existed, we should all be supporting it and not opposing it. This is madness, led by a madman who has taken us to the verge.

Let’s see how long we can avoid another unnecessary war. This last one should have ended after President Obama, got Osama bin Laden. Let’s see how long it will take for another Cheney or a Rumsfeld to show themselves, all lathered up and drooling for war with another Saddam, with a slow-witted president waiting in the wings, eager to follow their advice and a giant military-industrial complex eager to supply everything needed to pull it off.

It will probably happen again, you know. But until then, all the money the country saves can be plowed into public education and the Social Security Trust Fund, depleted over the years by a corrupt Congress. They might even direct a billion or two into women’s health and local law enforcement and food for hungry Americans. If Texas, will allow it.

Goodbye, Mr. Grant

Learned today that Ed Asner had died. And Lou Grant, along with him. A purist has left us.

I first met Mr. Grant, on tv, while working as a reporter for WBNS-TV, in Columbus, Ohio. I hadn’t paid any attention to the Mary Tyler Moore Show before Columbus, but when I got there and noticed everything in the newsroom either slowed or stopped when the “MTM” show came on, I too, started paying attention and laughing along with everybody else.

Often times, the buffoonery the show portrayed was close to the truth of what went on in America’s tv newsrooms. Sometimes, it was right on target. Uncomfortably so, for some of us in the business.

The second time I met Lou Grant, it was at a fundraiser for a youth symphony orchestra in Los Angeles, and he was playing Ed Asner. We were in what was serving as a “green room” for celebs. I knew who he was and was surprised when he knew who I was as well, and for some reason, maybe because he had played a tv newsman and I was a tv newsman, we hit it off and started talking about the news business.

It was his contention, that the news business was done. That it was dead, and that it wasn’t coming back. For my part, I argued that like everything else, the news game is cyclical, and while the trend toward “infotainment” may have taken us down the wrong path, surely it would not last. Surely, the pendulum would eventually swing back in the direction of journalism being primary and infotainment being secondary. I pointed out that we had previously gone from the “yellow journalism” of William Randolph Hearst, to the excellent product the New York Times and CBS News were putting out in the 1960’s, with Walter Cronkite on the news desk. “Not gonna happen,” he said. And that was that. Lou Grant in the person of Ed Asner, had spoken. Or maybe it was Ed Asner, speaking for Lou Grant. For just a minute there, as the conversation got a little heated, I wasn’t sure.

I never bumped into him again, at least not that I can remember. If you’re in Hollywood long enough you meet so many celebrities so many times that you forget who you met when or how often, and I was there for more than 30 years. What I can tell you is that I’m not sure Asner wasn’t right in his conviction that the golden era of American Journalism is over and that it won’t be coming back. At least, not like before. Not like it was when Lou Grant was City Editor at a major paper in Los Angeles, working for a family that cared about their reputation in the community as opposed to a corporation that cares only for the bottom line. I just don’t know. I do know from following his political causes that Ed Asner, was a purist. A great actor who gave life to the characters he portrayed and believed in the purity of the causes he supported like the United Farm Workers and the Screen Actors Guild, where he served two terms as president.

His death leaves a big hole in who we are. Regardless of what you might have thought about his politics. Perhaps I feel this way because I spent a lifetime in the news business. Or maybe it’s because Ed Asner was just that good at bringing to life the character of Lou Grant, and the ethical, principled and fair, old-school news business he represented.

He may have been art representing reality, but it’s a reality we all desperately need.

Tora Bora Calling…

It feels like it was just a few months ago. I was at my desk at KTLA in Hollywood, and was about to receive one of the strangest calls of my life. It was from my friend and former colleague Bob Campi. A news photographer, Bob, was calling from a spot somewhere near Tora Bora, in eastern Afghanistan, where the U.S. military was attempting to “take out” Osama bin Laden, following the attacks of 9-11. “They think they’ve got him,” Campi said, adding that the military thought bin Laden, was trapped in a cave somewhere not far from where he was talking to me via satellite phone. I could hear explosions going off in the distance, as Campi, did an excited play-by-play, telling me that it wouldn’t be long before Osama, was no more.

We, of course, had no idea at the time that President George W. Bush, would pull our troops back from the attack on bin Laden, sending them over to assist with an invasion of Iraq, something Bush’s Veep Dick Cheney, and Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, had reportedly been longing to do for years

I’ve been thinking about that call a lot lately. Almost every time I see a network news show slamming Joe Biden, for what they claim is his botched job of getting the U.S. out of Afghanistan. Almost never is there adequate context provided, alluding to the fact that it was the Administration of George W. Bush that got us into Afghanistan in the first place, only to pull back our troops just as they were about to capture or kill bin Laden.

I recall wondering at the time, why we were even still waging old-fashioned conventional warfare when so much brand new hi-tech stuff was available, with drones, cruise missiles and undoubtedly several other top-secret implements we know nothing about at our military’s fingertips. Hadn’t Bill Clinton nearly taken out Osama with a cruise missile strike just months earlier? Wouldn’t we have that same opportunity again, and without sending tens of thousands of Americans overseas in a massive deployment with any number of experts warning that our incursion had the potential for turning into another Vietnam? Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and company refused to listen. They knew better and went in with a massive military force, anyway. And then, when they were on the verge of killing bin Laden, they pulled back and went after Saddam Hussein instead.

But that’s not why we went into Afghanistan. We went there to get Osama, not Saddam. At least, that’s what we were told.

Now, here we are, twenty years later, with network newscasters landing all over Joe Biden, for not being clairvoyant enough to envision a future not seen by his intelligence people, whereby some 300-thousand American-trained Afghans, would throw down their weapons and melt away into the countryside at the Taliban’s advance.

It’s so easy to forget who got us into this mess, screwed it up royally at the beginning and then refused to pull our troops out for so many years with the declared purpose of “democratizing the Middle East!” That’s what George W. Bush, said he was going to do, even though it was not why we were there and it would, over the long-haul, prove to be impossible.

It was Bush, Rumsfeld and Cheney, who got us into this mess and then failed to get us out, not Joe Biden. Why we were there in the first place has all but been forgotten. A little context would be nice.

Afghanistan: A War Weary U.S. Says “Enough”

We’ve been in and out of Afghanistan and Iraq so many times that it’s easy to forget that we first went into the area in 1991, under President George H.W. Bush, to push the Iraqis, who were invading Kuwait, back into Iraq. It was all about oil.

Iraq, under Saddam Hussein, claimed Kuwait, was actually part of Iraq, and they wanted it back. Others pointed out that the Kuwaitis, ruled by a royal family and allies of the United States, had been overproducing from their oil fields, driving down the price of crude, and it was costing Iraq a lot of money. But for whatever reason, Saddam, who had been buying a lot of munitions from the United States, invaded Kuwait.

So the first Bush Administration, with the backing of numerous allies, sent the American military in to kick Saddam back into Iraq.

I was at a desert airbase in California, when our troops were being loaded onto airliners for the trip over. All those men and women, both young and middle-aged, getting on commercial jetliners. It was the first time I realized that the country needs the commercial airlines for large scale deployments overseas. I wondered if what we were doing would be worth it. I remember thinking, “My God, we’re sending young mothers off to war,” and wondering why we were really going and how many Americans would be forced to die for the cause of letting the Royal Family of Kuwait, keep their oil fields. I wondered how many American kids might lose their parents in the fight. I thought about how much the character of American warfare had changed since World War II and Vietnam. Since the end of the draft.

With Saddam and his Republican Guard, booted back onto their home turf, George H.W. Bush, followed the advice of his people and pulled our troops out of the region, not wanting to risk getting stuck in another Vietnam War scenario. Turned out to be a very smart choice, one his son, George W. Bush, wouldn’t follow just a few years later following the attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon.

The point here, is that the United States incursion into Kuwait, was thirty years ago, not twenty. If memory serves. Meaning, we’ve been in-country over there for so long that at this point it’s difficult to remember exactly when we went in or why.

When we first went into Kuwait and Iraq, the phrase “boots on the ground” had yet to be invented and the media almost never referred to military “deployments.” That kind of military jargon was only adopted later, as the media became cheerleaders for a military rather than a diplomatic solution to a regional religious conflict as old as Islam, itself.

Military failure is a tough taskmaster. Especially so, when no one’s paying attention. The Chinese, the Japanese, the French and then the U.S., all went into Southeast Asia, thinking they could win. Or in the case of the United States, there appears to be evidence thanks to Daniel Ellsberg, that an ongoing stalemate, with bodies continuing to pile up, would have been acceptable going forward. But nothing seemed to work. Not for the U.S., or any of the others. In the end, all the invaders were pushed out by the Vietnamese.

Then the British the Russians and finally the U.S., did the same in Afghanistan and the Middle East, again thinking they could subjugate the indigenous people. And again, the invaders were pushed out. The point, is that we’ve been there for a very long time and President Biden, is probably right in pulling us out. He’s right to tell the Afghans, that it is their fight and that they are going to have to fight it. Finally. The only other option would be sticking with George W. Bush’s vision of “democratizing the Middle East,” which probably would have meant our ongoing presence in a never-ending war in a conflict where a military solution is probably impossible. Would it be worth another twenty or thirty years of war to find out?

French Youth Reject Elections

France 24 reports that 80% of those under 35 years of age did not vote in the most recent French regional elections. In the United States, “52%-55% of voting-eligible young people, ages 18-29, cast a ballot in the 2020 presidential election.”

French youth are apparently rejecting the established way of doing things in a “get back to the earth” movement, similar to Hippies in the U.S. back in the 1960’s. This includes not going to the polls. Here in the U.S., it seems the opposite is happening. Interesting, no?

To me, it is absolutely confusing. Undoubtedly because I have no understanding ot the youth culture in France. And yet, I have to wonder if what is happening there won’t eventually happen here in the U.S.?

It’s The Russians, Stupid

While CNN and MSNBC continue hammering away with their Covid/Cuomo obsession to the exclusion of almost all else, I had to go to the BBC, to find out that the Russians have (again) been targeting us with disinformation about Covid-19 vaccines on Facebook.

“Facebook Removes Anti-Vax Influencer Campaign,” the headline reads on the BBC. Their reporting explains further, that Facebook, “…has removed hundreds of accounts which it says were involved in anti-vax disinformation campaigns operated from Russia.” The campaigns, according to the article, targeted “India, Latin America and the U.S.” with the express purpose of undermining pubic confidence in Covid vaccines.

Why is Vladimir Putin trying to sew chaos around the world? Could it be because he wants us diverted from his big picture efforts aimed at destroying democracies and extending the power of oligarchs? American broadcast journalists have taken their eye off the ball, because they don’t know what the ball even is. At their urging, the American public spend their time debating the insidiousness of a politician making women “feel uncomfortable” and the value of wearing a mask as the Delta Variant storms across the United States.

Not that none of that matters, but at the same time, the unforgivable “Citizens United” decision is all but forgotten with a river of dark money influencing our public officials and oversight of the media all but non-existent, the Fairness Doctrine now long-forgotten and ratings-driven profits being all that really matters to tv and cable execs in front offices and boardrooms across the country.

Welcome to the U.S.A. The best government money can buy while the media watchdog takes a snooze in the corner. Isn’t this what we should be most worried about? The loss of our freedom of choice? Our liberty?

For their part, the Democrats, are trumpeting their great accomplishment with their infrastructure bill, an issue that will have faded from view as the Republicans, assisted by the Russians, pump so much smoke into the air that millions of us won’t be able to find our way to the polls, much less know who we should vote for, the Republicans, the new whiter than white party of the right, or the Democrats, who have seemingly been overtaken by a new inclusive diversity frenzy of the far-left that appears to view straight white men as the enemy as their numerous alphabetized categories of sexual definition grow ever longer, with “his” and “hers” all but eliminated in favor of “theirs.” No men, no women, just unisexual democrats. Whatever you do, don’t tell a woman she looks good or pat anybody on the back. Just don’t touch anybody. Ever. Even if you’re culturally predisposed to do so and the people you come from have been for thousands of years.

The Republicans increase their influence through fear-based KGB-like disinformation tactics and race-baiting, while the Dems, once again prove to be their own worst enemy, as they tear themselves to shreds from the inside-out, with their far-left attacking their more moderate base, leaving millions out in the cold, wondering if the Democratic Party’s really for them, or if its left-leaning faction has strayed too far to the left to suit their moderate sensibilities.

It occurred to me the other day, that what we need is another Ross Perot. For a time, it looked like he might provide an answer, the dawn of a new political day for America with his “Reform Party.” He appeared to be a true moderate. But it wasn’t to be. In 1992, he pulled in 18.9% of the popular vote, but got not even one electoral vote. Such is our system, with the winners taking it all and the losers being invited to “get lost.”

Then, at least, there were limits on funding campaigns. Now there are no limits as to how much money anybody, even a foreign power, can pump into the process to influence a campaign or an issue and we the people have to rely upon the BBC to tell us what’s really going on?

But who listens to the BBC? Exactly.

You can be sure Mr. Putin, finds all of this most amusing while others among us, fear for the worst.