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What a difference a candidate makes

In yet another attack against journalism and free speech, the Trump administration and their allies are ready to target journalists they deem as “hostile” with background checks, in an effort to publicize damaging information. The focus so far largely is on employees of the Washington Post, New York Times and CNN.

This is just another example of how Trump and friends try to intimidate news sources that publish legitimate stories about the government. To be honest, this is the stuff you expect from Saudi Arabia, Russia or even China.

Republican operatives will go back decades to find any harmful public posts from journalists—and their families—the White House thinks are damaging to Trump’s re-election bid. This is a new low for any sitting president, one who has been unable to stop credible leaks from the inner workings of his administration.

As we get closer to the 2020 election, these background checks may be expanded to other activists and political opponents. It’s no wonder in a recent USA Today/Suffolk University poll, Americans look at the upcoming presidential election with “dread.” See the USA Today poll

Since it’s quite difficult to determine what or how much information they have found, this could be just another exaggeration from a president known to stretch the truth. A person to help lead this right wing effort is Arthur Schwartz, an aggressive conservative consultant and friend of the president’s oldest son. “If the @nytimes thinks this settles the matter we can expose a few of their other bigots,” he tweeted last week. See the NYTimes story

The important thing to note is this latest effort is not about doing the right thing or making a point about who is the best candidate. It’s about attacking and intimidating perceived enemies because of different views about the truth and how to govern. Even though we’re supposed to be on the same team—the United States of America.

On the other hand, Bernie Sanders wants to implement a targeted advertising tax, to help fund local journalism against the information monopolies of Google and Facebook. This is part of a comprehensive plan to support local journalism.

Although I’m not real excited about taxing advertisers, the goal is to help local journalism, a critical ingredient in supporting free speech. Here’s a link about Sanders’ efforts. See the related story

NOTE: Live links to the supporting articles can be found  on the COURIER website.

Overwhelmed by reader support

I never thought it would take a column about my dog to receive a record number of comments of support, but that’s exactly what happened after the loss of my dog, Pixie.

It wasn’t just the number of responses, but how people reacted and the kindness they showed. I was also sent a children’s book, Dog Heaven, by Cynthia Rylant—that is still difficult for me to review—but has wonderful words about our attachment and loss of our furry best friends.

Although we were going to wait several months, the Weinberger family found the perfect new member to our family and budding COURIER mascot. Mia is currently 11 weeks old and up to 2.5 pounds and rising. She is 75 percent Chihuahua, with a little Terrier mixed in.

You will see Mia included in future videos after some much needed coaching.