Posts Tagged ‘Biden’

What Did You Do on D-Day?

Saturday, June 8th, 2024

By Bob Gaydos

President Joe Biden reaches out to touch a U.S. soldier's tombstone as he and first lady Jill Biden tour the Normandy American Cemetery on the 80th anniversary of D-Day on June 6, 2024 in Colleville-sur-Mer, France.

President Joe Biden reaches out to touch a U.S. soldier’s tombstone as he and first lady Jill Biden tour the Normandy American Cemetery on the 80th anniversary of D-Day on June 6, 2024 in Colleville-sur-Mer, France.

   “Where were you on D-Day this year, Daddy?”

     “Well, honey, I was at work, as usual, but I did take the time to see how the leaders of our two political parties remembered that fateful day 80 years ago that led to the defeat of the German army in Europe. After all, without the bravery of those Allied soldiers on that day, the Nazis might have prevailed and you and I might not even be having this conversation.

     “Anyhow, I read that President Joe Biden was in France, at Pointe du Hoc, a point on Normandy beaches where Army Rangers scaled 100-foot cliffs to capture machine guns and ammunition from the Germans that was to be used against Allied forces on Omaha and Utah beaches.

   “The president said in his speech, ‘As we gather here today, it’s not just to honor those who showed such remarkable bravery that day June 6, 1944. It’s to listen to the echo of their voices. To hear them. Because they are summoning us and they’re summoning us now. They’re asking us what will we do? They’re not asking us to scale these cliffs. They’re asking us to stay true to what America stands for. They’re not asking us to do their job. They’re asking us to do our job. Protect freedom in our time, defend democracy, stand up to aggression abroad and at home, be part of something bigger than ourselves.’ ”

    “And where was Donald Trump, daddy?”

     “Well, honey, being out on bond after just being convicted in New York of 34 felony charges for trying to illegally influence the 2016 election in a case involving an extramarital affair with a porn star, Trump, the leader of the Republican Party and its probable presidential nominee, was at a campaign event in Arizona, speaking to a group of young MAGAs in training. 

    “He blamed all our country’s troubles on Biden and immigrants unlawfully entering the U.S. from Mexico, encouraged Republicans to oppose the president’s plan to put a temporary moratorium on border crossings, which Trump has also proposed, because it would help Biden’s reelection campaign.

   “Trump also commented on the happenings ‘here in Texas’ regarding banning abortion and said the state’s Republican governor, Greg Abbott had ‘done a very good job.’

     But, of course, Trump was in Arizona, where he did not mention Normandy or Nazis or D-Day or veterans, although six years ago he did refer to veterans buried in France as ‘losers’ and ‘suckers.’ Also in Arizona this year, he did vow to use his power to get revenge on those he calls his enemies if he is elected president. He did not speak about doing our job to protect freedom and democracy.

   “Oh, President Biden also met and thanked a group of veterans for ‘saving the world.’

   “And that’s what the men running for president of the United States of America did on D-Day, honey.”


rjgaydos@gmail.com


The Death of The Fourth Estate?

Friday, May 10th, 2024

… Or, when I realized that my suspicion that The New York Times was not going to do anything to help save democracy in America was correct.

E9BBCF23-9A7D-4C7A-8ABC-D679F44D1FE4                         

                                ***

“To say that the threats of democracy are so great that the media is going to abandon its central role as a source of impartial information to help people vote — that’s essentially saying that the news media should become a propaganda arm for a single candidate, because we prefer that candidate’s agenda.”

Joe Kahn, editor NY Times,

May 5 in an interview with Semafor

                         ***

  “On this particular day, I looked to see what the great gray lady, The New York Times, had to say about the Trump trial. Its editorial went into great detail, carefully explaining all the nuances of the justice system and why everything was being done the way it was being done, etc. It was not until the end of what the paper itself described as “a seven-minute read,” that the editorial referred to Trump’s “disregard for the rule of law and his willingness to demean American justice when it suits his interests.”

   It continued, “Those actions render him manifestly unfit for office and would pose unique dangers to the United States during a second term. The greatest of those dangers, and the one that Americans should be most attuned to, is the damage that a second Trump presidency would inflict on the rule of law.”

      Well, no you-know-what Sherlock. Did no one at the Times ever explain to the editorial writer that “don’t bury the lead“ applies to editorials as well as news stories. Seven minutes to tell people don’t ever put this lunatic in office again? He’s too dangerous?! “Manifestly unfit!”

    Give me a break! Tell them at the top, tell them why and tell them again at the bottom. Tell them every damn day while you’ve still got a press! Geez, people, this is no time to be gentle.”

Me, April 18, in a column on Substack and zestoforange.com

                         ***

— The time, spring, 2034. The scene: A New York Times editor is watching the news on Government Channel 1 with his 10 year-old daughter.

Daughter: “Daddy, what were you doing when our great Orange Leader, who sadly just died, was saying he had to be made president for life, so that he could save the country from all the evil people trying to sneak into it and send them all back where they came from, and that he had to release all of those people who were wrongly put in jail for trying to kill the vice president, who was actually a traitor, and free the Capitol from a Congress that wasn’t following the Constitution and that he needed to punish all those people who were telling all those lies about him and stop Congress from sending money to Ukraine for weapons to fight Russia because Czar Putin was a good man and that we really needed instead to focus on saving the world from windmills? And he did! Do you remember what you were doing when he was saying all that?”

Daddy: “Well, yes, honey, I was a reporter at The Times and my job was writing about whether Marjorie Taylor Greene, an influential member of Congress at the time and now Secretary of State, thought the plans of our aging president, Joe Biden, for example to make life more affordable for everyone and to let people actually make their own decisions about their own lives, made any sense.

Daughter. Oh. Cool.

— Bob Gaydos




A Kennedy in Name Only

Wednesday, April 24th, 2024

By Bob Gaydos

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

    Once upon a time, in an America in which politicians discussed, debated, argued and compromised in order to pass laws for the betterment of the nation, a man named Robert F. Kennedy ran for president.

       He had previously served as attorney general of the country and was a key adviser to the president, who happened to be his brother, John F. Kennedy.

       President Kennedy was assassinated in 1963 and his brother, commonly called Bobby, eventually moved from Massachusetts (where his younger brother, Ted, would serve as senator for 47 years) to New York, where he was elected senator. Bobby served New York from 1965 to 1968, when he, too, ran for president.

       Life being sometimes cruelly unpredictable, Bobby Kennedy was also assassinated, being shot to death in a hotel kitchen while campaigning in California in 1968.

       Today, in an America in which one of the two major political parties has abandoned negotiation for fear, threats, lies and violence, Kennedy’s son, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., trading on the family name and legacy, is running for president. 

     Not as a Democrat, like his father and uncles, but as an independent candidate. Unfortunately, this apple has fallen far from the family tree. So far, in fact, that every member of his family has endorsed Democrat Joe Biden for president and encouraged Americans not to vote for RFK Jr. 

      When I decided to write about Kennedy’s third-party candidacy, it was mostly because I was angry that he would likely take votes away from Biden, since many Americans, while pridefully long on opinions, are woefully short on actual information. I thought, they’ll see the Kennedy name, think progressive Democrat, and figure, what the heck, he’s a lot younger than Joe.

      Yeah, but he’s more like Donald Trump and the Republican Party, which has abandoned all traditional American political principles. A lot more like Trump, in fact.

     Kennedy is a conspiracy theorist. An anti-vaccine activist. He says he’ll put the country on Blockchain currency if elected president. He threw the environmental group largely responsible for reclaiming the Hudson River, not far from me, into turmoil when he decided he wanted to take it over.

   And he’s definitely anti-Democrat. In fact, Kennedy’s New York campaign manager specifically said Junior was running as an independent, knowing full well he has no chance of winning, in order to take votes away from Biden.

    But guess what? Life being, as I said, unpredictable, those annoying polls, which keep popping up with dubious information, have apparently started showing Kennedy taking more votes away from Trump than from Biden.

     Maybe it’s the same theory: What the heck, he’s just as nutty and he’s a lot younger than Trump.

     For what it’s worth, Trump never got more votes than his opponent and he truly cannot afford to lose votes to a third-party candidate. Much more so than Biden, So Republicans are worried about Bobby Junior, too.

      I don’t know and I really don’t think the pollsters know. I do know that no third-party candidate is going to get elected president and that Americans who are familiar with history and cherish democracy have a duty to educate others who are familiar only with the name, Robert F. Kennedy. Names can be deceiving.

      I saw and heard Bobby Kennedy campaign for the presidency in person. This is not that Bobby Kennedy.

rjgaydos@gmail.com

     

 

        

Taking Any Bets on Ohtani’s Story?

Friday, March 22nd, 2024

By Bob Gaydos

    Temporarily out of touch and easing my way back in via the sports portal, which used to be a place to escape from a world gone mad. Used to be. With a nod to Jimmy Cannon …

Shohei Ohtani and his former interpreter in happier times.

Shohei Ohtani and his former interpreter in happier times.

  • Maybe it’s just me, but: I’d love to be having a cuppa coffee with Pete Rose right now. I don’t know about you, but I’m not buying any of the stories the Los Angeles Dodgers and Shohei Ohtani‘s lawyers have offered so far regarding an IRS investigation into the Japanese star’s interpreter and gambling. The interpreter was supposedly ripping off Ohtani or, in another story, Shohei was helping the guy pay off illegal gambling debts. The keyword here for the interpreter, who has been fired by the Dodgers, is illegal. Sports betting is illegal in California. The keyword here for Ohtani is gambling. Unfortunately, all major sports have succumbed to the lure of easy money via gambling, while repeatedly urging players not to do it, because, you know, people might wonder what you’re placing a bet on. And, of course, betting on your own sport, in this case baseball, is forbidden. Ohtani’s now former interpreter has assured everyone that he never, never, ever, cross-his -heart-and-hopes-to-die bet on baseball. Because, you know, cheating. Integrity of the game. But a bookie was owed a lot of money, apparently, and Ohtani did, or didn’t try to pay him off for his interpreter, but didn’t notice a bunch of money missing from his bank account. Or something. Baseball’s investigating and no one’s talking now but the lawyers so Ohtani can try to focus on baseball. The slugger/pitcher recently signed a $700 million contract with the Dodgers. He agreed to take just $2 million a year while he played for them so they could afford to pay the rest of the team. Take the rest when he retires. Nice. If Pete and I are still around then, maybe we can all get together for a cup of coffee in Cooperstown and lay odds on who’s going to get into the Hall of Fame that year.
  • Maybe it’s just me, but: I’m a little confused when Major League Baseball sends the aforementioned Dodgers and the San Diego Padres to Korea to play two official,  season-opening baseball games, then has them come back to the States to resume spring training with the rest of the teams. Couldn’t they just be exhibition games or couldn’t they just start the actual season? And while they were at it, couldn’t they just take that ghost runner off second base to start the 10th inning?
  • Maybe it’s just me, but: I’m hoping Aaron Rodgers has had enough time to decide whether he wants to try again to play football for the New York Jets this fall or run for vice president of the United States as Bobby Kennedy Jr.’s running mate. Tough choice, I know. Rodgers is known to have some political views that are as, umm, unusual as Kennedy’s and the quarterback’s ego undoubtedly found the mention by the third-party presidential candidate flattering, but instead of playing second fiddle to a conspiracy theory fanatic, he’s likely to find more acceptance in New York playing quarterback for a team that desperately needs one. At least he has a wealth of experience at that job. And of course, there’s the fact that he had to be helped off the field after his first series of downs for the team last year never to take another snap. Unfinished business. Stick with what you know, Mr. Rodgers, and they’ll cheer you in the Meadowlands.
  • Maybe it’s just me, but: On the positive side, it was nice to see the Robert Kennedy family gather for a reunion (without Bobby Junior) at the Washington, D.C.  home of family friend, Joe Biden. Warmth and support all around the White House. I think the family patriarch would have understood and appreciated. Bobby Kennedy understood the importance of freedom and democracy and I’m pretty sure would’ve recognized President Biden as the best bet this year to maintain and continue to fight for both. In fact, I’d take that bet to the bank.

‘Old Joe’ Tells It Like It Is

Saturday, March 9th, 2024

By Bob Gaydos

President Biden is applauded by his back bench, Vice President Kamala Harris.

President Biden is applauded by his back bench, Vice President Kamala Harris. RJ Photography Photo Illustration

   Speaking, if I may, for the legions of octogenarians who have had it up to our cataract-surgery-repaired eyes with all the nonsense that Joe Biden is too old to be president, thank you, Mr. President, for that wonderfully direct and forceful takedown of Mr. MAGA and all the little MAGATTS in Congress the other night. The State of the Union will be just fine in your hands.

     And that’s really the point, people. Not how old Biden is, but how capable and competent he is compared to the other guy, “my predecessor” as Biden cleverly put it.

     Heck, Donald Trump himself is a sloppy, flabby, slow-moving, memory-challenged 77-year-old, who looks like even making 80 would be an upset. And he doesn’t know or care one whit about what it means to be the leader of the free world, the spokesperson for democracy and champion of liberty. 

    Biden knows. He’s lived it. He understands it. He can articulate it. Maybe the words come out a little softer and slower, although the other night there was no problem hearing the message or noticing that Biden was in total control of the event, to the ultimate frustration of the juveniles in the Republican section who had nothing to offer but shouts and eventual surrender.

    Yup, Joe, Mr. President, you demonstrated that age and experience and wisdom and caring and compassion and a sense of duty and moral purpose can all coexist in the same somewhat worn but still functioning body. And mind. 

       And you demonstrated that passion and perhaps some anger can still be expressed by a uniquely experienced gentleman who’s tired of being told he’s too old for the job when the only other guy up for it is an old, twice-impeached, out-of-shape adjudged rapist and pathological liar currently facing 91 felony charges in four separate courts, who has been convicted of massive business fraud charges and who recently told Vladimir Putin to go ahead and attack some NATO countries, no big deal. 

     This is the story, folks. Thanks for reminding the world about that, Joe. 

      As someone also privileged to reach the 90th decade of my life, I have written that I would prefer that the presidential candidate for both Democratic and Republican parties be younger than either Biden or Trump. I still do. Maybe it was my own mental fatigue from the last eight years showing, but, in general, I would prefer a somewhat younger president. 

      However, the reality is that neither party has come up with a younger candidate to seriously challenge these two men. That’s something both parties need to address. Given the current choice, and still having most of my wits about me, I prefer the man who comforts the families of mass shooting victims and promotes sensible gun control laws over the guy who flippantly tells them to “get over it.” Disgusting.

     People age differently. Some (the current president) do it gracefully, demonstrating confidence, patience, wisdom and experience, even though their gait and words may be sometimes halting. It can be deceptive.

    Some (the predecessor) just get older, nastier and more selfish. And they don’t walk or talk so great either. What you see is what you get.

     Take your time getting to the podium, Joe. Then give ‘em hell.    

rjgaydos@gmail.com

      

      

All the News … If You Can Find It

Wednesday, March 6th, 2024

By BOB GAYDOS

The big news of the day. RJ Photography

The big news of the day.
RJ Photography

   It’s definitely time to connect the dots. When (1.) your Sunday New York Times, which you still get delivered to home, comes with a touching note from the delivery person thanking his customers for 12 years of “kindness and generosity” and announcing that, as of March 17, home delivery of the local morning paper, The Times Herald-Record, will cease and that the delivery person learned of the contract termination in the much slimmed-down version of the paper itself {which you no longer get delivered}, well, you kind of pause and wonder what those 29 years of your life were all about, (2.) decide to write more about that in a future column and (3) go looking in still-functioning news sources for some positive news, such as (4) Mitch McConnell, the two-faced weasel from Kentucky announcing that he will step down as Republican leader in the Senate in November after 18 years in which his primary motivation was to use his power to thwart any Democratic president or program and pack the Supreme Court with rightwing stooges to do the bidding of wealthy Republican backers, McConnell’s relinquishing of power also being (5) likely to result in a Donald Trump boot-licker ascending to the Republican leadership in the Senate and, one hopes, further hastening the death of the party as a vehicle for responsible governing, something which (6) the aforementioned Great Gray Lady of New York refuses to use its reputation and power to accomplish, preferring instead (7.) to feature stories on polls declaring that American voters are worried that Joe Biden, who has more hands-on experience in how to properly govern than any previous president and has rescued the country from the ethical and economic morass that Donald Trump left behind, is too old for the job, at 81, because he confused a couple of names while running the country, handling delicate foreign policy and dealing with a Republican Party that refuses to do its job, (8.) because it’s being led by a 77-year-old man who repeatedly confuses who the actual president is, confuses Nikki Haley for Nancy Pelosi, warns about a possible World War II, encourages Vladimir Putin to attack our NATO allies, insists he is immune from prosecution for (not innocent of) any crime he committed as president, claims to be a billionaire but can’t post $500,000 bond in New York to appeal a court ruling that his business there was a massive fraud, faces 91 felony counts, incited an insurrection, raped a woman in a New York City department store, hasn’t the foggiest idea or interest in learning how government is supposed to serve the people, says he will get rid of his enemies on Day One of a new Trump term and whose former staffers say is not only unfit for the office of president, but is also deteriorating mentally, which (9.) many Americans seem to have no problem with and, The Times tells us, can’t seem to even remember what the Trump four years were really like, possibly because the newspaper is too busy trying to be all things to all readers (“The best way to clear ear wax” arrived in today’s issue) to (10.) remind us daily, like a newspaper fighting to protect its First Amendment protection from forces out to abolish it, of Trump’s lying and vindictiveness and ignorance or to explain that sitting presidents typically have low favorability ratings in polls early in a reelection year because they are actually doing the job and the poll, assuming first of all that it’s accurate, may reflect the current situation, but does not predict the future, (11.) which, the way things are going, may not include home delivery of The New York Times. 

rjgaydos@gmail.com

Bob Gaydos is writer-in-residence at zestoforange.com.

The (not so) Sweet Mysteries of Life

Friday, February 16th, 2024

By Bob Gaydos

Life is full of mysteries. Too many to solve and some (Why did Mario Cuomo not get on the plane to New Hampshire?*) never to be fully resolved. Lately, there are too many to keep up with.

Me and Mario Cuomo, circa late 1980’s, at a budget dinner presentation at the Governor’s Mansion in Albany, where he was apparently more comfortable than he would have been in the White House.

Me and Mario Cuomo, circa late 1980’s, at a budget dinner presentation at the Governor’s Mansion in Albany, where he was apparently more comfortable than he would have been in the White House.

 

     At such times, I lean on a tactic made famous by a favorite sports writer of mine from a half century ago or more, Jimmy Cannon. With a deep bow of respect:

  • Maybe it’s just me, but:  When the leading vocal critic of Vladimir Putin dies unexpectedly during a stroll at a prison in the Arctic and that critic, Alexei Navolny, is only 47 years old, is there any doubt that the Russian president, a well-known fan of poisoning his detractors, is behind it? The only mystery is what story the Kremlin will come up with to “explain” the death since there were no  10th-story windows for Navolny to fall out of.
  • Maybe it’s just me, but: If I am the governor of the state that just witnessed its crowning glory celebration of another Super Bowl win turn into a bloody mass shooting with one dead and more than 20 injured, including many children, I might want to rethink my state’s gun laws. In fact, I might think about actually having some. No sign yet that Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, a rock-ribbed, pro-gun Republican if there ever was one, has had such a moment of clarity. Parson, who was at the Kansas City celebration of the Chiefs’ championship, along with his wife and thousands of other happy fans, revealed that his security detail had quickly moved him and his wife to safety. Others had no such protection. In fact, Parson as governor has squelched efforts by Kansas City and St. Louis officials to pass stronger laws because of an increase in shooting deaths in both cities. He also supported a state law that forbad local police from enforcing stricter federal gun laws. The courts overturned that. Missouri has no state licensing requirement for possession of a rifle, shotgun or handgun, nor is any state permit required for purchase of those firearms, as per the NRA’s official site. It’s an open carry state. The shooting was reportedly the result of an argument among teenagers. The mystery: How do you live with yourself and your bloodied celebration just to get campaign donations from a corrupt organization?
  • Maybe it’s just me, but: When a former president, who has bankrupted several businesses, run a fraud university and phony charity, lied to banks and others about the value of his properties, been ordered by the court to pay $364 million in fines because of it, has routinely failed to pay lawyers and contractors and also showed a remarkable indifference to and ignorance of history and world affairs says he would be OK if Putin sent Russian troops against NATO countries who are behind on paying their dues, I don’t understand the so-called thinking of Americans who profess  patriotism, yet support such a man to be president of this country.
  • Maybe it’s just me, but: The decision by West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin not to launch an independent campaign for president under the No Labels Party — a rare wise decision by the retiring Democrat — should be enough to convince the phony baloney independent group to drop its efforts to field a spoiler in the 2024 presidential election. Manchin even said he didn’t want to play that role. The mystery here is, when the choice in November will be between democracy (Joe Biden) and fascism (Trump or another Republican wannabe Trump), why anyone would want to play that role.

*Mario Cuomo, the so-called “Hamlet on the Hudson,” was widely considered to be a leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1992. He kept a plane on the runway with its motor running on the day to register for the New Hampshire primary, but never got on the plane. A lingering mystery.

rjgaydos@gmail.com

A Quiet Walk Midst an Insurrection

Saturday, January 6th, 2024

(This was written three years ago. The words still stand.)


By Bob Gaydos
   

The insurrection.

The insurrection.

  I took a walk around the pond  Wednesday afternoon, January 6, a little before 4:30. It was cold, but still light out. The sun had just begun to set. As I walked I thought about how lucky — privileged — I was to be able to enjoy such a quiet moment in such a beautiful place in such a shithole country.

    No, friends and family, I haven’t moved. I still live in America, in a particularly scenic part of it, I think. For new readers, that place is upstate New York. It’s a place where a man can be alone to enjoy nature, if the man turns off his electronic devices.

     Two hours of watching live news reports out of Washington, D.C., had made me feel something I had never felt before — a combination of fear, anger, sadness, shame and profound outrage. The calming words and presence of President-elect Joe Biden had finally broken the spell the scenes of chaos had cast on me. It will end, I told myself. It will not succeed. There aren’t enough of them. They are all fury and delusion, taking selfies as they lay waste to the seat of government of the country they profess to love. Ignorance and arrogance, the Trump formula. In the end, it fails, but oh the harm it does. He doesn’t care. They, the rioters, are too dumb to know. That’s the nicest way I can put it. Or they are racists. Or both.

       Those are the facts. And for several hours on a Wednesday afternoon, as our Congress was attempting to perform its constitutional duty of confirming a new president,  these “Make America Great Again” terrorists made it look like one of those “shithole countries“ their leader once referred to with intent to insult. Yep, that’s what it looked like to me. …

                                                              ***.                                     

        … As I resume writing, it is now a week later. Trump has been impeached, again. Incitement to insurrection. Five people died in the attempted coup on The Capitol, including a police officer who was beaten to death by the rioters. White rterrorists carrying a Blue Lives Matter flag killed a Capitol police officer. They spread feces and urine throughout the building. They ransacked offices and went looking for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Mike Pence. The whole time, the rioters took selfies of themselves. Eventually, they went home or some D.C. bar, apparently thinking that would be the end of it. Just a friendly little failed insurrection in the nation’s capital, broadcast live around the world.

           If you stop to think about it – and apparently the rioters did not — the ignorance is astounding. It is surpassed only by the hypocrisy of the Republican members of Congress who encouraged and invited the assault and who voted against seating Biden as the duly elected president, even after the insurrection had been quelled. They stuck to the lies of the election being stolen from Trump, even though every one of them – except for perhaps a couple of conspiracy lunatics — knows that that is a lie. It was Trump’s biggest and most dangerous lie. In truth, a treasonous lie.

         Since that now infamous Wednesday, much more has been revealed about the attack on the Capitol. It wasn’t as innocent as it first appeared. There was a plan. There may have been inside help from some Republican members of Congress. Maybe even from the Capitol police, who were woefully unprepared for a massive event that was announced well in advance. There was a delay in getting National Guard troops to the scene, perhaps caused by someone in the Defense Department.

          There will be investigations. May they go on for as long as necessary and bring to justice all those who we’re involved in this assault on America. Every last one of them. Homegrown terrorists. White supremacists. Members of Congress. Conspiracy nuts. Nazis. Klansmen. Racists. Pick a name. The list includes police and ex-military members as well. The attackers were virtually all white, which is why they are still alive. Lock them all up. People who bring swastikas and Confederate flags to attack the seat of the government of the United States of America deserve no mercy.

           Trump now stands accused by Congress and convicted by the majority of the American people and the rest of the world of Inciting an attempted overthrow of a duly elected government. But his accomplices in the Republican Party are also guilty. They have ignored his assault on democratic principles for four years, out of fear or for their own gain or because they agreed with him. They deserve what they’re reaping. The party deserves to die. May it be reborn in some semblance of a responsible political party, perhaps including those Republicans who had the courage to speak out publicly and fight against Trumpism.

            America has been put on notice. There are those among us, appearing publicly as patriotic citizens, but operating out of hate and fear that their dream of a white, Christian nation with everyone else second-class citizens, is about to die. And in their foolhardy effort to avoid that fate, they may have actually hastened it. Republicans who remained silent, evangelicals who remained silent as Trump ravaged democracy, all stand indicted. Those who supported him financially along the way and now seek to distance themselves, all stand indicted. Rupert Murdoch and Fox News stand indicted. 

            In a country Trump would call a “shithole,” those seeking to overthrow the government usually try to get the military on their side if they hope to succeed. When they don’t, they don’t. As I watched with Lester Holt on NBC News as the idiots stormed the Capitol, I kept thinking, well, sooner or later troops with weapons and bullets will arrive. Hopefully, with orders to shoot. I also was dumbfounded that people were posting images of themselves on the Internet as they perpetrated this terrorist attack against this nation and gave no thought to the fact that this would make it easy to track them down and arrest them. Ignorance and arrogance.

              Yes, we have a lot of work to do, but the first thing is not to give into Republican pleas of coming together for the good of the country. They spent four years quietly watching Trump tearing the country apart. They must pay the price. I repeat, there are many more of us than them and what is necessary now is for all who know and love and respect what this nation is about to speak out forcefully in defense of it. Bring to justice those responsible. Convict Trump. Convict him again and again on whatever charges may be filed when he leaves office. Teach young people that actions have accountability. When we get around to it, teach young people about civics and government and history in school again. Clearly a lot of Americans slept through those classes. Evangelical Christians are on their own in this one.

           Joe Biden faces a monumental task when he becomes president on January 20, but he will have full control of the Congress to back him up and, I believe, fervent support of a vast majority of Americans as well. That white mob that assaulted the Capitol was an embarrassment to this nation, but maybe a lesson as well. American exceptionalism was put to the lie.

            No, this is not a “shithole” country, yet. I can still take a quiet walk around the pond every day. But those who would take the right to feel that safe and at home in this country away from anyone whose skin color or nationality or religion or politics they find fault with must know there can be no healing until the wounds are closed, Not until the guilty are prosecuted and those who aided and abetted admit their guilt. Not until journalists are not casually referred to as “enemies of the people.” Not until children are not put in cages. Not until all lives truly matter.                      

            Enough.

rjgaydos@gmail.com

Bob Gaydos is writer-in-residence at zestoforange.com.

         

           

            

         

          

Resolved: Work to Preserve Democracy

Monday, January 1st, 2024

By Bob Gaydos

 F6C3ED4D-2822-4ACE-865A-78176390446D   A friend of mine was talking recently about making  New Year’s resolutions and how it can be a futile or even delusional exercise (my words, probably misrembering his) since we rarely live up to them.

     I agreed. But … there are resolutions and then there are Resolutions. So, this year I resolve to continue to try to (1.) maintain a healthful diet, avoiding food and drink that will harm, not help, this aging body to keep on aging in a healthy way, (2.) get more sleep, (3.) pay more attention to the garden, (4.) pick up a book, (5.) take all my vitamins, (6.) keep in touch with family and friends, (7.) walk more, (8.) argue less, (9.) be more patient with the dogs and (10.) learn a new language.

    Ten ought to be enough and the key word was the first: “try.” (That language thing was a rounding throw-in.)

      Those are the first kind of resolutions. The ones we usually forget about around February. I will give them a good shot, but can’t promise anything.

      This year, though, I have another Resolution, one which I pledge to keep alive every single day: To do everything within my abilities to comment on the news and spread the truth as I see it, without fear or favor, until Joe Biden is re-elected president, Donald Trump is convicted and imprisoned and American democracy is saved from being tossed on the ash heap of history.

     That’s the story of 2024. That’s how important I think the coming election and the four Trump trials are. In my opinion, the future of this country as I have known it is in peril and far too many of my fellow citizens apparently don’t know or, worse, don’t care.

       I’ve given up on the “don’t care” crowd. I presume they like where Trump, the Republican Party and the MAGAS are headed. Maybe they’ll March off a cliff. Not caring is out of my reach.

       Instead, I’m going to focus on the “don’t knows,” starting with, “Where the hell have you been the past eight years?”

       Democracy requires participation, which means being involved in community, knowing who’s running for office and voting for those whose views coincide with yours. Just blindly pulling levers by party or not voting at all got us where we are today,

    “They” are not all the same.

   There is a world of difference between Joe Biden, a decent, intelligent, caring, experienced public servant and Donald Trump, who is none of the above.  And many Republican officeholders know this full well. They don’t care. They simply want the votes of his followers. If you don’t agree with him, don’t give them yours. Let them march off that cliff.

     It’s that simple. We are a majority. If we all do our part to preserve our democracy, we will prevail. I resolve to keep reminding you. This year, it’s that important.

rjgaydos@gmail.com

Artificial Ethics and Artificial Intelligence

Sunday, November 26th, 2023

       By Bob Gaydos 

Justice Clarence Thomas … the reason for the Supreme Court’s new code of conduct.

Justice Clarence Thomas, the reason for the code.

     There used to be a regular newspaper feature called “Ripley’s Believe It Or Not,” which some younger people might not be aware of, given (1.) the rapid disappearance of community newspapers across the country, but (2.) there are still about 20 museums of the same name scattered across the United States in tourist areas, from New York to Los Angeles, although (3.) the ones in Atlantic City and Baltimore have permanently closed, presumably because of economic factors, not the absence of unusual stories people might have trouble believing, or, in this era of “fake news,” simply accepting as true, which would be the case with (4.) the U.S. Supreme Court making a big deal recently about finally adopting a code of ethics for the nine justices, who hitherto have been bound only by their own sense of morality in rendering opinions, unlike all other judges in the country, the code being a step the high court took only because of real news stories about (5.) Justice Clarence Thomas getting expensive gifts, vacations, education expenses for a young relative, all from individuals with issues coming before the court and (6.) his wife, Ginny, being financed by ultra-conservative groups as she actively fought the phony Trump fight to undo the legitimate 2020 election results, (7.) which did not stop her hubby from sitting in court and hearing cases about the legitimacy of the “stop the steal” campaign, apparently not seeing any conflict of interest, which was the most glaring, but not only, reason for a need for a code of ethics for the justices, which would be legitimately good news if it were, well, real, which (8.) it is not because there is no official process for an individual citizen to file a complaint nor any clear way given for justices to enforce the code among themselves, relying strictly on each justice’s own, ahem, sense of honor to recuse him or herself from a case in which there could be a conflict of interest or to avoid accepting expensive favors or doing anything else that could cast doubt on the court’s independence, all of which (9.) argues for Congress to set some legitimate ethics standards for the justices, given its power of approval of appointments to the court and control of its budget, two factors which apparently didn’t matter (10.) to the geniuses at OpenAI, the makers of the artificial intelligence product ChatGPT, when the non-profit board that governs the for-profit company (a system set up supposedly to protect against greed driving the new technology into dangerous territory) voted (11.) to fire Sam Altman, the genuine brain behind OpenAI and the company’s chief executive, a decision that was unexpected and laid to Altman not being fully forthcoming with the board, but not even AI could predict that (12.), in less than a week, Altman would be back as the boss of OpenAI and the nonprofit board of directors had been replaced by a whole new board, a development that was inevitable when Microsoft, sensing a way to dominate AI, quickly hired Altman after his firing and the next top Open AI executive and a bunch of employees all quit, also being hired by Microsoft, leaving the non-profit board with pretty much nothing to direct, so the members resigned and Altman and everyone else came back to OpenAI, signaling (13.) a victory for greed over prudent concern and (14.) giving more credence and urgency to the Biden administration’s creating a team to study how to deal with artificial intelligence before it’s too late and the whole human race winds up (15.) as an exhibit in an AI robot-built version of Believe It or Not.

    It’ll be big on AI Tik-Tok.

Bob Gaydos is writer-in-residence at zestoforange.com.