Archive for July, 2019

Way to Go, Teams USA!

Tuesday, July 9th, 2019

 


Megan Rapinoe ... she delivered

Megan Rapinoe … she delivered

By Bob Gaydos

The feel-good story of the past weekend was:

  1. The U.S. Women’s Soccer Team winning the world championship.
  2. Jeffrey Epstein being arrested and charged with sex trafficking involving dozens of young girls.
  3. Both.

    Bear with me.

    Clearly, the women’s soccer team repeating as world champions is the hands-down reason to celebrate in the “We’re still number one!” category. Ever since Brandi Chastain tore off her jersey after scoring the winning goal against China to clinch the world championship in the Rose Bowl in 1999, the team has been performing at a level far beyond the recognition, respect and rewards due it. That one was its second world title and the current one is its fourth. The tournament has only been held eight times and the U.S. team has won half the championships, finished second once and third the other three times. That’s the kind of performance Americans like to brag about … then forget about.

     These young athletes won’t let us forget. Having far exceeded the success of the men’s national soccer team, the women’s team deserves, not equal compensation with the men, but compensation commensurate with their success. Pay them.

   The Epstein story is as sordid as the soccer story is salubrious, yet it also stirred a feeling in me — and others, I believe — of, “Yes! Good! Terrific! About time! Get the bastards!”

   That both events happened on the same day, that both involve young females and that, as seemingly everything these days, both have connections to Donald Trump, will seem to some as no big deal, or a coincidence. I’m going with synchronicity. The universe is setting some things straight.

    Misogyny was one of the character defects put on display early in Trump’s presidential campaign. (Actually, it was common knowledge well before.) His “grab ‘em by the p***y tape was one of many red flags that should have, but failed to end his candidacy. Paying off pornstars to keep quiet about sexual affairs while his wife, Melania, was taking care of their newborn son was more of the same.

     Trump simply could not behave presidentially when Megan Rapinoe, captain and star of the women’s soccer team, said during World Cup competition that there was no way she would go to the “f****ng White House” if the team was invited. She was responding to a reporter’s question. She’s not thrilled with Trump’s views on women, gays and lots of other things.

      Trump responded on Twitter: “Megan should WIN first before she TALKS! Finish the job! Megan should never disrespect our Country, the White House, or our Flag, especially since so much has been done for her & the team.”

       Well, Megan finished the job, winning awards for top scorer and most valuable player as well as the World Cup. Following the victory, which was celebrated with added gusto by Americans who saw it as a perfect put-down to Trump, Rapinoe added, “We say what we feel. All of us really, I know that my voice sometimes is louder, but in meal rooms, in conversations, everybody is in this together. We are such a proud and strong and defiant group of women.”

    New York City promised a parade in the canyon of champions and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi invited the team to The Capitol. Trump was silent on any invitation, not being a fan of strong and defiant women.

     Nor is Jeffrey Epstein, billionaire financier, of whom Trump once said: “(Epstein’s) a lot of fun to be with … It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.” Epstein is in jail in New York City, awaiting a bail hearing. Prosecutors say he is a flight risk, having great wealth, several passports, a private jet and facing the possibility of spending the rest of his life in prison.

    Epstein’s list of famous, wealthy connections includes Bill Clinton as well as Trump, but don’t expect many Democrats to argue against prosecuting Epstein because of that possible embarrassment the way Republicans will line up to shield Trump from being linked to pedophilia.

    The justice here is that in the #metoo era women whose accusations about Epstein and others may now be heard, not quashed as they were in a deal in Florida in 2005 when Epstein was allowed to plead guilty to a state prostituon charge and avoid prosecution on federal charges involving sex with young girls. In that case, Epstein served 13 months, was required to make payments to victims and register as a sex offender.

     The federal prosecutor in that case was Alex Acosta, now Trump’s secretary of labor. A federal judge in Florida ruled recently that Acosta broke the law by not informing Epstein’s accusers of the secret deal. Now, with federal prosecutors in New York saying they are not bound by the Florida case, the women feel they will finally have their day in court.

     Acosta, using the Trump mode of communication, sent out a series of tweets Tuesday, including: “Now that new evidence and additional testimony is available, the NY prosecution offers an important opportunity to more fully bring him to justice.”

     Sounds like someone desperately trying to save his job. But he may be right. New York prosecutors said Monday they discovered a “vast trove” of lewd photographs of young females during a raid on Epstein’s New York City mansion. They also said they found papers and phone records corroborating the alleged crimes, and a massage room still set up the way accusers said.

      As I said, it’s a sordid story, but one that may finally see daylight, thanks in large part, by the way, to dogged reporting by The Miami Herald. There’s nothing fake about this news.

     One more reason to like this story and acknowledge synchronicity — one of the federal prosecutors in the New York case against Epstein is Maureen Comey. Yes, she’s the daughter of James Comey, the FBI director fired by Trump for refusing to make collusion charges simply go away like the sex trafficking charges against Epstein disappeared in Florida.

     So, way to go U.S. women’s soccer team and way to go Southern District New York federal prosecutors office. Best weekend this country has had in a long time..

rjgaydos@gmail,com

      

 

Happy Birthday to Us, America

Monday, July 1st, 2019

By Bob Gaydos

DF7D27AC-9A10-4CDF-8AB5-9978FC52E730My country ‘‘tis of thee,

Today, I fear for thee.

The Orange Pretender, having stolen the presidency, plans to heist the nation’s birthday party as his own. At the memorial for America’s greatest president, no less. It will be a celebration of ego and pomposity on a grand scale. (He wants tanks!)

Such is the shell-shocked state of the republic, many Americans will go about their lives as if this is normal. ‘Burgers, hot dogs and fireworks. Business as usual. It’s an effort to preserve sanity, which, I understand, is necessary when so many others who share the same situation seem to have no problem with the behavior of the dotard on the dais.

But it’s not normal, America, not by a long shot, and it pains me to have to reflect on what this pretend president did in the days preceding the 243rd birthday of the republic.

On the anniversary of the killing of five journalists in the newsroom of the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Md., Donald Trump met with Vladimir Putin, the man who helped install him as president. Putin is a president who routinely locks up Russian reporters or, if they are really troublesome, has them poisoned or thrown out hotel room windows. Trump and Putin joked about how it would be nice to be “rid” of such annoyances. Trump also jokingly asked Putin not to interfere in the next U.S. election. Ha ha.

Trump subsequently professed his close friendship with the Saudi crown prince who had done exactly what Trump joked about — he ordered the torture and dismemberment of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi writer who was living in America and working for The Washington Post. Trump thinks this is no big deal because Saudi Arabia will be spending a lot of money on “a lot of things” in America. And staying at Trump hotels.

And, in a great meeting of the minds, Trump met Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea, on his turf, to create the photo op both yearned for — thereby giving instant credibility to a murderous, nuclear-weapon-armed tyrant who is much less circumspect than Putin or the Saudi prince in terminally eliminating impediments to his dictates. (Of  course, Trump also lied that Barack Obama had yearned for and been denied a similar meeting with Kim in North Korea when Obama was president. But that was just typical Trump B.S.)

You can throw in Trump insulting our ally and his G20 summit host, Japan, backing down on his China tariff threat in the one area it made sense, exhibiting a profound ignorance of what the word “busing”” refers to when discussing schools, and denying yet another allegation of sexual assault by saying, “She’s not my type.“ A class act this Trump.

Even for Trump, the week was quite a display of ego, ignorance and insensitivity. And now we get Trump at the Lincoln Memorial telling us his version of what America is all about. There will apparently be lots of tanks and troops and planes. Someone will probably slip the words freedom and liberty into his speech. He will mouth them uncomprehendingly. Look at the great party I threw for America!

I’ve said it before. I take it personally when the president calls me “the enemy of the people.“ I take it personally when journalists are murdered for doing their jobs. I take it personally when not enough people seem to get the connection between the president’s words and the dead journalists. Like it’s OK for a president to say such things.

I know there are plenty of people who share my views and are as appalled as I am with Trump and many have voiced their opinions. But I’m still waiting for the Republicans among them to state so publicly. He has branded their party as surely as he has branded every one of his failed business ventures.

So have your burgers and fireworks. Take a dip in the pool. If you have time, maybe stop and think about what this holiday signifies. Liberty, opportunity, and, as Lincoln, a president who could actually craft coherent, profound messages, noted, “the proposition that all men are created equal.” Were he writing today, Lincoln would have said “men and women,” so that his message was clear.

“All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.” The words of another eloquent statesman, Edmund Burke, Ireland, in the 18th century.

What Trump is doing is not normal, America, and it’s important to say so. In fact, I’m proud and grateful that I live in a country that still grants me that freedom.

So, happy birthday, to us.

Bob Gaydos is a freelance writer. He was news editor and executive editor of the Evening Capital in Annapolis in the early 1970s. rjgaydos@gmail.com