anderson cooper's notecard

Beginning at time marker 1:08:04 in the youtube video below, Anderson Cooper changes the debate topic from “Do black lives matter or do all lives matter?” to income inequality by saying,

Senator Sanders, let’s talk about income inequality. Wages and incomes are flat. You’ve argued that the gap between rich and poor is wider than at any time since the 1920s. We’ve had a Democratic president for seven years. What are you going to be able to do that President Obama didn’t?

After Senator Sanders’ response, Cooper puts the question to Hillary,

Secretary Clinton, how would you address this issue? In all candor, you and your husband are part of the 1%. How can you credibly represent the views of the middle class?

Clinton says the economy does better with a Democrat in the White House, then Cooper says, “Governor O’Malley, I want you to be able to….[he trails off]”

Then O’Malley band-wagons on some of Sanders’ comments and adds,

But there’s another piece that Senator Sanders left out tonight, but he’s been excellent about underscoring that. And that is, that we need to separate the casino speculative mega-bank gambling that we have to insure with our money from the commercial banking, namely, reinstating Glass-Steagall. Secretary Clinton mentioned my support eight years ago. And secretary I was proud to support you eight years ago. But something happened in between, and that is, Anderson, a Wall Street crash that wiped out millions of jobs and millions of savings for families and we’re still just as vulnerable Paul Volcker says today. We need to reinstate Glass-Steagall and that’s a huge difference on this stage among us as candidates.

Cooper then says, “For the viewers at home who might not be reading up on this, Glass-Steagall are Depression Era banking laws repealed in 1999….” and proceeds to read a description of Glass-Steagall from a blue note card in his hand. My jaw dropped! As the only on-point tweet I could find put it: “What a scam BS the is. Anybody notice how @andersoncooper had a cue card about Glass-Steagall Act. Guess he had ESP.”

I reviewed the clip several times and looked at the notes Anderson had (see the screenshot above). I’ve had plenty of experience compiling notes in an effort to anticipate callers’ points on the air. I usually have a stack of notes with labeled tabs for quick access to detailed information for when I want to respond to callers with specifics like the Glass-Steagall facts Cooper read. I have a big pile of material and my show is usually only on one topic–not every possible relevant topic as this debate was. Furthermore, I am actually a participant in the debate when I take calls on the air. Cooper is just a moderator who wouldn’t be expected to have at his fingertips detailed information on every possible topic that gets raised. Yet Cooper had that exact tidbit of information either in his hand or within easy reach, on a specific item that wasn’t even in the question he asked! He didn’t seem to be scrambling either. He had a small array of cards on the table and a few cards in his hand, and immediately, rapid-fire, without skipping a beat, he started to read the relevant details about an item that wasn’t even a direct response to his line of inquiry.

So how did Anderson Cooper have that information at his fingertips in response to something of a non-sequitur? After seeing this, I couldn’t help but conclude that this debate was scripted. As I continued to watch, I became increasingly convinced, especially as the debate wrapped up with closing statements from all the participants (beginning at time marker c. 1:58:50) in which the candidates made specific references to what was covered in the debate, the tone that was achieved, and even verbatim quotes from other candidates. Either these candidates, some of whom were facing the largest audience of their lives, squandered their one opportunity during the evening to have a prepared statement (ie, they decided to wing their closing statements), or they somehow perfectly anticipated the way in which the debate would unfold.

Oh, and one more thing…did you get the impression that O’Malley is actually running for Vice President? He’s reminiscent to me of Marco Rubio in that way, and also in the way he alwasy seems like he’s going to burst out crying (it’s his “sincere” voice.)

Here’s the debate…what do you think? (You can just watch the three and a half minutes beginning 1:08:04 for the Glass-Steagall stuff–the video should already be cued up to that spot–or go to the very bottom of this post for the critical minute or so.) And don’t miss my update below for a bonus fact!

UPDATE: Here’s a fun fact…Anderson Cooper’s only job outside of media was the two summers he spent working for the CIA while an undergrad at Yale 🙂

The first video I included to show the debate disappeared. In case the second one disappears too, I just grabbed the critical minute or so from my TV recording…

[wpvideo uBwkI8Ej]

WHOA! Just in the amount of time it took me to load my little homemade video and post a replacement for my original above which disappeared, the new one on youtube disappeared too! And it didn’t say for copyright infringement, it said, “This video has been removed as a violation of YouTube’s policy against spam, scams, and commercially deceptive content. Sorry about that.” Well, I can’t disagree with them classifying this as deceptive!

Comments (24)

Monica, I noticed that!!! I noticed that he had the card in his hand. I thought it was so weird because he didn’t even try to act like he was looking for it. The whole thing seems scripted like an episode of Real Housewives.


I’m not sure it is unrealistic that he had a cliff note summary, He had more than a couple cards on his desk. However, I did get the impression from the very beginning that this debate was heavily scripted and the candidates knew exactly what the questions, and many of the responses would be.

Y’know what else is funny: I haven’t really heard any libertarian or right-wing pundits point out the Glass-Steagall note card thing. That was a great catch!

I happened to hear your show today (10/24) while searching for another station. Having neither heard, nor heard of, you before, I listened for a few minutes and that was enough. You conspiracy theory about Anderson Cooper’s having the card “at his fingertips” is absurd. I watched the debate and O’Malley spoke for 20-30 seconds before the camera turned to Cooper, who had a stack of note cards, from which he drew the G-S card, as any knowledgeable and well-prepared moderator would have done.

You said that Bernie Sanders “shook her hand.” Yes, but only after Secretary Clinton approached him and extended her hand. If you honestly think that Cooper, Sanders, O’Malley and Clinton got together and rehearsed all of this, then you’re either incredibly ignorant or terribly uninformed.

Do you really think it would be that “absurd” for them to discuss possible questions and answers before the debate? Anderson was ready with the card less than 23 seconds after O’Malley first mentioned Glass-Steagall. How many cards are on the table? You think Anderson didn’t know O’Malley was going to bring it up? That seems more far-fetched to me.

If you had 20-25 note cards in front of you, are you telling me that it would take you longer than 23 seconds to find the one you wanted, when you wrote them? Put yourself on a stopwatch and see just how long 23 seconds is.

Ms. Perez went beyond saying they “discussed” the questions in advance; her word was “rehearsed”. Anyone, with a an above-average awareness of potential debate issues, would have expected Glass-Steagall to be brought up during the debate, but not everyone. Accordingly, Cooper prefaced his explanation by saying that perhaps not everyone would know what Gov. O’Malley was referring to.

And, to answer your question: yes, I do think it would be absurd for the moderator to discuss questions and answers in advance. Perhaps you think like that because it’s something that you and other so-called Libertarians would do as debate moderators. If you really want the truth about this, why don’t you ask Ms. Perez to call Anderson Cooper and ask him directly, rather than wallowing in the mire of innuendo and conspiracy theories?

Hey Dave, this is an exceptionally long comment. Judging by what little substance your previous comments have, I don’t think you are the type of person who enjoys reading long blocks of text and thinking logically, but it is worth a shot, right?

I’m curious. You say that you could only stand listening to the show for a few minutes, correct? According to the time stamp, four hours later you found Monica’s website, and took the time to write a fairly detailed comment. Then, almost 24 full hours after the show had ended; you came back to the website and spent even more time writing an even longer comment in response to Missy’s comment. On top of that, because you are a man after the truth, I can only imagine that you researched the history of propaganda, studied behavioral psychology, read the declassified operation Mocking Bird documents, gained an understanding of Anderson Cooper’s past, set up cue cards, got out a stop watch and did an experiment…..all for the sake of testing your original hypothesis that it is outlandish to think that the debate could be staged.

That is quite an admirable effort you put in after those fateful few minutes of listening. It would seem as though that you spent at least 24 hours allowing what Monica said to shape your thoughts and actions. She had quite an emotional impact on you in such a brief period of time. Even though you are presently overwhelmed with cognitive dissonance, I’d say that she got you thinking in a way that you’ve never thought before. Being imprisoned by the constructs of a simplistic reality makes having new thoughts difficult, yet by confronting these perspectives that came from outside the box that you currently reside in, you have shown a tiny willingness to endure, and perhaps grow. For that, I applaud you. Now let’s investigate your expert opinions.

We must first acknowledge that your instincts are to look only for evidence that supports your initial conclusion while dismissing anything that might undermine them. You are a defender of what makes you feel comfortable, not an asker of relevant questions. You likely have a persistent habit of deferring to snap, surface level judgments that prevent you from acquiring the wisdom that comes with an open-minded exploration of alternative perspectives. That’s ok. This is something every human is at some point guilty of. Only those who endlessly practice tuning out distractions, regulating their emotions, challenging their own assumptions and conclusions, and truly investigating relevant questions are cable of evening beginning to overcome this tendency. My hope is that one day you will see this as a better path to the truth.
We are exploring your objection to the possibility that the debate could have been staged. Your point about Anderson Cooper possibly having time to pull a prepared cue card is relevant. Is it possible? Sure. Is it also possible that he was aware that O’Malley was going to bring the subject up when he did because aspects of the debate were heavily scripted? Yes, that is also possible.

Let’s for a moment assume you are correct, that it was not staged. Do you believe that a debate or a news event has ever been staged in the past? Do you believe it possible that one might be staged in the future? If so, when would you become aware of this fact? Would you recognize it while it was happening? Or would you refuse to believe it to be true until it were made public and widely accepted by everyone years later? Consider Watergate. Most people would have called you crazy if before Watergate was made public, you made statements accusing the president of what we ultimately discovered him to be guilty of. It wasn’t until later that what seemed ridiculous became truth.
The questions we are facing don’t involve surface level observations of a specific event. The question we are concerned with involve whether or not the mainstream media and our politicians might be deceiving us. I won’t insult your intelligence Dave by going into just how important this question is due to the effect that the media has on what thoughts people have and what they believe to be important at any given moment. Your emotional reaction to listening to two minutes of an alternative perspective, and your ensuing obsession with calling it wrong make it clear that you are aware of this influential effect.

My guess is that you don’t believe events have been staged in the past, and you don’t believe they will be in the future. That seems to be the lens you are judging this issue on Dave. Your default seems to be that you kind of accept what you see on the news at face value. You are not actively considering all the layers of deception that could be used against you. While you might not believe everything you hear, you likely spend more time questioning only those news commentators who have a different opinion than you while blindly accepting those who are on “your side” or who “speak the truth” as I imagine you might think of it. The other default is to critically question everything that is seen on the news, believing it to be not a tool for delivery of the news, but instead a tool for shaping public perception according to the agenda of those who have control over it.
If it is true that the media has a tendency to deceive, then questioning such events is the best way to understand the news. In fact, if this is the case and you don’t question it, then you are at the mercy of whatever deception they decide to use. If it is true that we should accept what the mainstream media presents to us at face value, that we should trust what the eyes see and the ears hear, then you are correct in your critical judgments against those who question.

If an investigation does prove the media to lean towards deception, we must consider what that means. If deception is present, isn’t it of the utmost importance that we question, not just those views that are alternative to ours, but that we question even what aligns with our own values and beliefs? If you are a student of Aristotle, as I’m certain that you must be, you are well aware that those skilled in the art of deception strive to align with the most important values and beliefs of those they seek to deceive.
Let’s start by looking at the nature of deception.

As history proves, deception is rarely prevented. Instead, it is most often only discovered only after we’ve already been deceived. With this being the case, in those moments that we are being deceived we are completely unaware of the deception. This means that unless we are never to again be deceived in our lives, then there will be moments when we are completely blind to the deception being used against us our best interests. Is that a fair statement, Dave? Take declassified documents for instance. We always find out about them much much later. At the time those events were occurring, we had no idea. In fact, there are classified programs operating right now that we will find out about in the future that if we knew about right now, might just blow our minds.

Having established that deception has caught us unaware in the past, and is likely to again, we must make ourselves aware of a natural human tendency regarding perception. That tendency being to deny that we are being deceived either because we are too smart for it, or because we don’t think the accuser would do such a thing. It often takes being slapped in the face with the consequences of deception to finally admit what we refused to see.

Now let’s consider the patterns of behavior, and historical precedent. Whether it a person like Anderson Cooper, or an entity, like the mainstream media, it is difficult to determine the motives of a surface level behavior without looking to the broader behavioral and historical precedents. Wouldn’t you agree Dave?
Have there been incidents of those involved in the mainstream media using their mass communications platform to deceive millions? There is the recent Brain Williams suspension. There are the filmed and blatant discrepancies told by Bill O’Reilly. There is Dan Rather. As an informed citizen, I’m certain that you know that this list could go on for a while. Is it more likely that they are the only ones deceiving? Or is it more likely that we are simply unaware of the others?

Instead of documenting the long history of politicians who have spread what turned out to be lies through the mainstream media, let’s quickly mention one big one. The testimony of Nayirah was aired by multiple mainstream networks, retold multiple times by George Bush, and ultimately helped garner the public’s support for the Gulf War. I’m certain you are aware of the story but in case you aren’t, her testimony was a lie. It was a multi-million dollar propaganda campaign set up by a New Work PR firm, Hill & Knowlton. The fact that there are PR firms that specialize in war should be telling. This should answer your question as to whether fake events have been spread through the mainstream media in a way that shaped public opinion drastically. Is it likely that this is the only time this has occurred? Well no, because if you do your research you will find plenty of other examples. However, isn’t it generally true that the exposed tip of an iceberg is usually only a tiny fraction of what we’ve yet to see?

So, we’ve established that the means of mass communication are sometimes used to deceive the public for the purpose of an agenda, but are these just rogue politicians, and members of the media, or is there something more to it? Research points to something more.

I have to ask you Dave, have you researched the history of mass communications? Are you aware of the patterns of how propaganda has been spread through the available means of mass communications since the beginning of time? Have you studied Alexander the Great? Julius Caesar? What about crowd and behavioral psychology, and how mass communication tools have been used to shape the perception of the public by centuries of leaders? Have you read the aforementioned Operation Mockingbird documents about how the CIA infiltrated news outlets all over the country for the purpose of spreading propaganda? What about operation Northwoods? What about Anderson Cooper? Monica mentioned his time with the CIA. Have you verified this? It is easily verifiable. The documentation is all available. Certainly you know about Edward Bernays, Walter Lippmann, and the Creel Commission.

To save you some time, anyone who has done their research will discover that the goal of the mainstream media is not to accurately report the news. The mainstream media has been since its inception, a tool used to control the mass public. If you were in charge of millions of people, how would you best communicate what you wanted to them? How would you prevent them from discovering what you didn’t want them to discover? Would you go door to door? Would you send mailers? Or would you try to reach as many people in as little time as possible by presenting what you wanted to present through what already has their attention? Every government since the beginning of time has controlled the masses either through force, or subtle manipulation.

So, was the debate staged? Let’s say that someone you love Dave cheats on your over and over and over again. I hope that never happens to you, but for the sake of argument. You love that person and want them to change. But, since you have seen the patterns of their cheating behavior repeatedly, you know what it looks like, and are particularly tuned into it. Now let’s say you and I are hanging out, God forbid, and you point out to me that this person you love is cheating because of something we both just witnessed. I’m might call you crazy because I haven’t looked into the past behavioral patterns of this person. Neither one of us will be able to know with 100% certainty at that moment which one of us is correct, but because of what you know and what I’ve yet to learn, you are a lot less likely to be deceived than I am. So, I ask you Dave, are you crazy for being suspicious when you see a serial cheater do something that looks like cheating? Or am I naïve for trusting what my eyes see and my ears hear without first considering what my mind has yet to learn?

Dave, I know you might be conflicted in considering whether or not to respond. You have likely already set aside the logic I have hoped to inspire within you and are eager to put me in my place. The problem is that if you do respond quickly, you prove once again that those two minutes of listening to the radio that you were so dismissive of have turned into an obsession for you. On top of that, a quick response will be a clear indication that it is more important to you to fire back than to do the recommend research. On the other hand, if you don’t respond, we might assume it to be out of spite. Not me. I will give you the benefit of the doubt. I will assume you have opened your mind and are exploring what might have once made you uncomfortable. I believe in you Dave.

In closing, might I make a suggestion? We live on a rock that we believe to be spinning at a rate of 1000 mph, within a galaxy of an estimated 3 billion or so stars, within a Universe of only God knows how big. We have a lot more questions than we do answers. If you want to truly get closer to the truth, it is far wiser to model yourself after Socrates than it is to model yourself after Fox News or CNN.

Wow! A 19-paragraph response to my comments, sent at 7:13 a.m. on a rainy Monday morning. You must have a lot of time on your hands. How long did it take you to write it? Based on its time stamp and, assuming they are not boilerplate paragraphs, you must have started around 5:00 a.m. That’s rather pathetic. Don’t you have a job?

The way you laid out the time track between my listening to Ms. Perez, changing to another station, continuing to drive, picking up my granddaughter and taking her to her guitar lesson then for an ice cream cone, stopping to spend more time with her little brother and sister, going home, Googling Perez and seeing the absurd statements and comments about Anderson Cooper and the debate, as well as other conspiracy theory drivel, writing my sarcastic comment, “waiting” for twenty-four hours to see a response from someone which was utterly predictable, responding to Missy… You sir, are a genius!

To be able to track me like that is amazing. And then, to be able to conclude that I am “overwhelmed with cognitive dissonance” and that I “must first acknowledge that (my) instincts are to look only for evidence that support (my) initial conclusion while dismissing anything that might undermine them.” And—gosh, I marvel at how you deduced that I actually did the 23-second stopwatch experiment, as if otherwise I would not have had the remotest concept of what 23 seconds actually is… Man, that is some kind of marketable skill.

Oh, and the number of conspiracies you cite: Brain (sic) Williams. Oh, that’s right: he was on his own, got caught, admitted it and paid the price. And why did you find it necessary to burst my bubble and tell me that politicians LIE? What a revelation!

To answer some your irrelevant questions: yes, I have studied Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar (and all of the other Roman Emperors, as well as every word ever written by Socrates, Aristotle, Plato, Thomas More, John Milton, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Winston Churchill and myriad other great thinkers), behavioral psychology and the Mockingbird documents. And in undergraduate school, I interned with a company during my sophomore and junior years, just as Cooper did with the CIA. (By the way, are you suggesting that we abolish the CIA? Just curious).

You have concluded, without ever meeting me or knowing anything about me, that I am a helpless naïf, who has neither the ability to think for himself, nor the brain power to evaluate bullshit when I hear it on the radio or see it in a rambling email. You seem to suggest that I must spend every waking hour (as you apparently do) looking behind every door and under every rug for a conspiracy by the Mainstream Media (by the way, what as its “inception” date that you referenced?)In fact, I have an extraordinarily rich and fulfilling life.

In conclusion, and to allay your concerns, Johnny Blastoff, I am not the least bit conflicted about responding to you. Son, you really need to get a life. Trust me, I’ve been dealing with conspiracy theorists all my life and they are universally unhappy people, nearly always angry and tend to congregate only with other conspiracy theorists; or, worse yet, become loners and do unspeakable things. Go out and try to put some joy into your life. Start examining yourself, rather than laboring over emails to a stranger at five o’clock on a rainy Monday morning.

You sound like a thoughtful person. You have better things to do with your life.

I’m not sure how long it took me Dave. Perhaps I can borrow your fancy CIA stopwatch and time myself in the future. I think you might be evaluating how long it took me based on how long you estimate it might have taken you. While most of your response lacks any and all substance, there is one thing you said that fascinates me. You read every word that Socrates ever wrote? WOW. When were his writings discovered? Are they in a chamber at the CIA? Perhaps you have a CIA time machine and you went back in time to recover them for us? It must be a pretty good feeling being the only person alive who has READ what Socrates wrote. Up until this moment, the entire world was still under the impression that Socrates left no writings, that we could only learn of his wisdom through the writings of his students. Unless of course you are lying. Because anyone who has truly studied philosophy is well aware that Socrates left no writings, and would never claim to have read every word Socrates ever wrote.

For the record, you choose the phrase, “helpless naïf”, not me. Although, I compliment on your accurate self-representation. Per your question about the CIA, I in no way suggested that, and I am confused as to how you could jump to such a conclusion. That is a giant leap to make when all I did was point out verifiable evidence.

I don’t think playing the victim role here is going to win you any pity Dave. You could have come to this website and engaged in open-minded discussion. People could have disagreed while still being cordial. We all could have grown a little. You might have even influenced someone to take a different position. Instead, you showed up specifically to attack. Remember your first comment Dave, the one that started and ended with unprovoked insults?

What I find odd is that you acknowledge that politicians lie, you acknowledge that the media lies, and you claim to have read Government documents that explicitly demonstrate conspiratorial activities. Yet you are tired of dealing with conspiracy theorists? You came to this website and provoked, and you are the only one up until who used the word conspiracy. And surely you are aware of the federal conspiracy laws and the many defendants that are prosecuted for conspiracy every year. None of your reasoning makes any sense.

The underlying theme of my previous comment was that with so much verifiable information that comes directly from the government, and the media, we are better off asking questions than we are blindly accepting what we are spoon fed. Do you disagree with this? Are you arguing that we shouldn’t ask questions?

What you might not understand is that the media affects more than just political life. It affects the way people feel about themselves, and often causes them not to recognize the brilliance they have inside of them. There are millions of people walking around who don’t recognize their own beauty, who fail to see just how capable they are, who if they just gained the confidence could accomplish absolutely anything their minds could imagine. Instead, they are surrounded by media outlets and politicians that keep them living in fear, stifle their creativity, and make them believe they are dependent on the government to save them from all their troubles. Are you anti-people? Do you not want others to be uplifted?

What exactly did you do at the CIA? Your tendency for jumping to conclusions makes it clear that you weren’t an analyst. You’re failed attempt at categorizing me makes it clear that you weren’t a profiler or a field agent either. I love people Dave. I work with them all the time. I’m a teacher. Not a public school teacher. I work with adults. I help them discover and develop their unique qualities in a way that they can practically apply them to make a living, a fulfilling living. Nothing makes me happier than seeing someone realize just how great they are. I believe in people, even you Dave. I believe that people already have the tools to help them live amazing lives inside of them. It’s just about unearthing and growing them.

You sound like a thoughtful person too Dave. If you do have wealth, that’s great. I’m truly happy for you. I don’t however believe for a second that you are fulfilled. The anger oozes from your words man. I responded to your earlier comments because you chose to come to this site and attack when you could have just as easily chosen to do something different this time. You could have chosen to engage in respectful discussion instead. I believe that I could learn a lot from you, and I mean that, just as I believe that you could learn a lot from the others who visit this site. Why engage in battle when you could have engaged in diplomacy? Why try to bring others down when you could have enlightened them? Why allow anger to win out over the most important human quality of all….empathy?


Monica doesn’t “wallow in the mire”. Using YOUR simplistic logic, “Perhaps you think like that because it’s something that you would do.” Thank God not everyone jumps to infantile conclusions for support.

Given the obvious manipulation of the media, some people are not threatened by considering the obvious. You are the media’s perfect audience, which sort of makes you an ignoramus. Maybe you should ask Anderson Cooper what he thinks and then buy whatever he tells you.

Hi Johnny,

I’ve been in NYC on business for the past few days and am just now catching up with my personal email.

First, thank you for educating me about nothing having been written by Socrates; I was not aware of that. Perhaps I should have said “… every word attributed to him, (for I have), but that would have denied you the gotcha’ moment you so obviously relished.

How did you possibly conclude that my college internship was at the CIA? Damn! Talk about jumping to conclusions! Let me paste my sentence here for your review: “in undergraduate school, I interned with a company during my sophomore and junior years, just as Cooper did with the CIA. The company I worked for was in the financial industry. As did Cooper, I found it educational, but rather dull, and took my subsequent education, military experience and career in a completely different direction.

You wrote that you “love people” and that you “work with them all the time,” (come on, Johnny; who else are you going to work with?) and that you’re a “teacher—NOT A PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHER (emphasis mine)—and that you “help them discover and develop their unique qualities in a way that they can practically apply them to make a living, a fulfilling living (sic).”

Considering your CV, I found it revealing that you interpreted my use of the phrase “rich and fulfilling” as “wealth.” As a teacher, who charges people for his advice about self-awareness and skill identification, certainly you are aware of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Although I think it’s a somewhat simplistic method of categorizing human beings, I achieved Self Actualization at age 32, and it had absolutely nothing to do with my net worth. Further, you can rest assured that had I any anger to “ooze”, I would not be spending this time in having some fun with you. I would step up to the issue that was causing the anger, address it and correct it. That’s what adults do.

I have no idea whether or not you know, or have any history with, MTBarbee, Anonymous, or MissKing on Monica’s blog, but you all need to learn how to structure a persuasive argument, rather than slinging terms such as, “… which makes you sort of an ignoramus,” “get a life,” “you are a defender of what makes you feel comfortable, not an asker of questions,” “are you anti-people?” And, “HildeBeast’? How original.

The crowning touch, Johnny, bordering on hubris, was your, “I don’t however believe for a second that you are fulfilled.” Think about that comment for a moment, and then read your own words, below:

“What you might not understand is that the media affects more than just political life. It affects the way people feel about themselves, and often causes them not to recognize the brilliance they have inside of them. There are millions of people walking around who don’t recognize their own beauty, who fail to see just how capable they are, who if they just gained the confidence could accomplish absolutely anything their minds could imagine. Instead, they are surrounded by media outlets and politicians that keep them living in fear, stifle their creativity, and make them believe they are dependent on the government to save them from all their troubles. Are you anti-people? Do you not want others to be uplifted?”

Are you fulfilled by writing stuff like that? Truth be told, it sounds like a middle school essay that would rate a C-minus and some snarky, red ink notes from the teacher. It’s full of sound and fury… I’m sure you know the rest.

I remember Marshall McLuhan’s, “The Media Is The Message,” but don’t know who first came up with the term Mainstream Media. It’s certainly become the gold standard (no pun intended) as the go-to villain for all that is wrong with American politics for both the Far Right and the Libertarians, hasn’t it? (Did you like Ted Cruz’s spiel about it at last night’s debate?) By the way, I think you and I would probably agree that the moderators were dreadfuI, but there was nothing “conspiratorial” about it. Incompetent and embarassing, to be sure, but, if that was the result of a conspiracy, I think we can all sleep well tonight (with our loaded guns under our pillows, hopefully out of reach any two-year-olds who happen to live in the house).

I was raised and educated at a time when we were encouraged to develop critical thinking skills (yes, in public, i.e., government schools). At Boston Latin School, we had to be able to defend anything we wrote or said. We learned to read opposing views, develop and deliver written and oral arguments for classroom debates with fellow students and with teachers. We were taught never to accept anything at face value, and never give in to the urge stoop to an ad hominem attack against your opponent. When given reading assignments, we were expected to research everything about the author, his or her biases and reputation, as well the author’s other works. Were learned the magic of satire, irony, parody and humor. This has seved me well throughout my personal and professional lives. I learned, at a very young age, that The Boston Globe leaned left and The Boston Herald leaned right. My parents subscribed to both, encouraged their five kids to read them, and often discussed issues with us at the dinner table. As the youngest, I fought hard to earn the respect of my brothers and sister and, to this day, none of us lets any of the others get away with a casual, snarky remark about anything of importanace.

The five siblings developed into kind, well-educated and extraordinarily successful adults. One brother, with whom I shared a room, started a software company on a shoestring, not making a dime for two years. Ten years later, he sold the company to venture capitalists, and each of his fifteen original employees (he had a total of 600), received a check for sums ranging from $2 million to $13 million in thanks for their contributions. (As the sole stockholder, he could have kept it all for himself.) Another, after serving five years as an Air Force pilot and graduating from the Tuck School at Dartmouth, started and sold five different companies employing a total of more than ten thousand people.

All told, we raised sixteen children with wide and varied careeers, ranging from surgeon to professional athlete to college professors to entrepreneurs. They, in turn, are raising twenty-eight children, the five oldest of whom attend Ivy League colleges, Tufts University and Wellesley College, and all of whom attended, or are still attending, public schools around the country. My wife of 43 years, our children and I hosted French exchange students three times, and have attended all of their weddings in Paris and Chalone sur Saone. Our son spent two months with Thomas, our first student, travelling through St. Petersburg, Moscow, Mongolia and France. They are closer than brothers, and Thomas attended our son’s and our daughter’s weddings here in Georgia. He called me at midnight, about a year ago, to tell me about the birth of his first child, a son named Joseph. He said his next call was going to be to his parents.

When I was 59, my daughter challenged me to get into shape and run a marathon. Never having run as much as a 5K, let alone a marathon, I laughed. She persisted in badgering me and sent me an 18-week training schedule. After three weeks into the schedule, I was about to throw in the proverbial towel. She said she wanted it to be my birthday present to her. Because I love her more than life itself, on December 10th we crossed the finish line at 26.2 miles, hand-in-hand, and shared a group hug with my wife/her mother. I ran nine more over the next four years, winning my age group three times, then suffered a brain stem stroke. My neurologist told me that the only reason it didn’t kill me was my heart was so strong ( I had run ten miles that morning). After a week in the hospital and six months of physical therapy four times a week, I discarded my cane. While we were driving to Florida three months later, I received a text from my daughter that read: “Dad, Start training again because I’ve signed us up for the Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon starting at Turner Field. See you at the starting line. I love you!.” I met her there, we ran, albeit more slowly and unsteadily than prior races, and we finished, sharing another group hug with Mom.

I tell you this, not to paint some quaint scene of a time gone by, but to help you understand what fulfillment means in real life. Yes, I’m wealthy, and I take great pleasure in writing big checks to the IRS and the Georgia Department of Revenue each year. You see, Johnny, we think we’ve got a pretty nice country here and have never viewed life here as an “Us-Against-Them” zero-sum game. I served four years as a Naval officer during Viet Nam, went to graduate school on the G.I. Bill, then started my entrepreneurial career (before people started referring to guys like me as “entrepreneurs”). I would like to see other young people have the same opportunities I did.

You claim I am “playing the victim?” Victim of what? I’m in the autumn of my life yet I haven’t been a victim of anything since suffering through my reading of the dreadful “Atlas Shrugged” at the insistence of my girlfriend, during our sophomore year. (We subsequently broke up, but still see each other at reunions and have a good laugh about it with our spouses.)

Please excuse me but the Patriots are on, and I’ve taken far too much or your time, and mine, on our little tête-à-tête, so I must close. I sincerely wish you nothing but happiness and success.

Best regards,


I’ll admit I only read about half your last post. I just want to point something out – you came to this site for no other reason than to insult someone. After supposedly minutes listening to the Monica Perez Show, you jumped to a huge, nasty conclusion about a person who is extremely well-informed, extremely intelligent, fun to listen to, and KIND to ALL her callers. Monica engages in open-minded and accepting discussions with people with all sorts of opinions and beliefs. Even if they are being rude to her. She steps out on a limb and questions what other people tell her to think. That’s harder than it sounds because she doesn’t have 99% of the world to fall back on when she needs evidence or information, a friendly perspective, help formulating her opinion, or validation. I didn’t interpret anything Monica said as some huge, horrible conspiracy theory – it was just a discussion and question based on an observation she made. You insulted her for thinking for herself and investigating a question. I just hope she doesn’t have TOO many people like you in her world who actively seek her out to criticize her for trying to learn the truth and then share the wealth. And with regard to your comment to me a few days ago, you misunderstood me – I was saying there were too FEW cards on the table for it to make sense to me, NOT too many. But it’s just a personal opinion. I don’t KNOW what happened. It’s just something I observed and think. So what I’m saying is, your defensive, life story post seems a little silly to me considering how you began this conversation. Why are you okay with the pretentious, “you’re either incredibly ignorant or terribly uninformed,” but not the more original, “you’re sort of an ignoramus.” (For goodness’ sake, that’s a rhetorical question.)

Dave! A C-minus?! C’mon…..Bump me up to a B-minus at least. If I get another C on my report card, I won’t feel safe and I’ll drop down another level on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

You are right Dave. I made an assumption that by rich, you meant wealthy. It was careless of me to assume that you sometimes tell others about your wealth as a way of proving yourself. Also, thank you for the reassurance that you are in fact wealthy, proving my earlier assumption correct. But you are right, I should not have assumed in the first place, especially after I had just gotten on to you about assuming that anyone who asks questions is a conspiracy theorist.

I am happy to say that I agree with you about those moderators.

You take great pleasure in writing big checks to the IRS? Surely you aren’t serious. We should all play our part but that is a bit over the top, if not unbelievable.

You thought Atlas Shrugged was dreadful? Hmmmmm.

Your life story is interesting Dave. I look forward to hearing you tell it when you run for office one day. Congratulations on self actualizing by age 32. That must be some kind of record. I’ve put together this video for you. Since you learned the magic of humor in school, I know you will appreciate it.

Assume all my questions are rhetorical. There is no need to respond.

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