Posts Tagged ‘Biden’

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.

GOP’s make believe presidential debates

Friday, November 10th, 2023

By Bob Gaydos

The Republican presidential debaters.

The Republican presidential debaters.

    Let me state at the outset that I have not watched any of the Republican Party “presidential” debates, nor do I anticipate watching any in the near future. I see no reason to subject myself to hours of meaningless posturing.

    I say meaningless because the Republican Party apparently is and will remain hostage to Donald Trump’s MAGA minions until and unless he is removed from the equation by a judge, jury or some higher power. 

      Thus far, no Republican has been capable of challenging him for leadership of the once-proud party, or even saying why he or she would be a better president than Trump. Even with years of evidence to make the case.

       Let me also note here that, while I haven’t watched any of the Republican debates, I have read many and varied accounts of them and am aware of the fact that no one on stage — not even Chris Christie, the most vocal Trump critic — could simply point to Trump’s reckless, self-serving, ineffectual approach to running the country, including promises unkept, and articulate what he or she would do or would have done differently. You know, maybe send in the National Guard right away on Jan. 6. Something concrete.

    The so-called presidential hopefuls appear to be campaigning to be the “best” one remaining should Trump — who leads all of them by a wide margin in polling among Republicans and who has ignored all the debates in favor of court appearances and campaign rallies, which he sometimes confuses — somehow turn out not to be the party’s nominee.

      But even then, with Republicans suffering losses in each election since Trump was elected president, the party presidential candidate would face the issue of how to gain more votes — appeal to a wider base of Americans  — without losing the MAGA base that is all Trump all the time.

        Democrats don’t have the same problem. While Republicans were debating, polls were “revealing” that Trump has a lead over President Biden in a hypothetical 2024 rematch. It happens all the time to incumbents.

     Age is supposedly one of the issues, even though Biden is 80 and Trump 77. I’m betting on Biden’s lifestyle and health care over Trump’s.

     But Biden also has an impressive presidential record of accomplishment to run on (employment is up, roads and bridges are being rebuilt, Medicare can negotiate drug prices, inflation is being wrestled down), a lifelong resume of leadership and — do not ignore this — a demonstrated respect for American democracy, the rule of law and the Constitution.

    Trump has none of that. And none of his so-called challengers seems willing to simply make that case. It’s as if we are supposed to simply trust that under another Trump administration America would not be further divided politically, more threatened by world leaders playing to Trump’s ego and ignorance and even more prone to believe the lies of charlatans.

    Polls notwithstanding,  Biden a year from now will have a strong record to run on while Trump may be in jail or in court or both. Answering to 91 felony counts can be time consuming. Even some of his allies are bailing on him in court cases and in books that also expose their complicity.

     Trump is simply a menace to democracy and doesn’t belong anywhere near the White House again. The facts and his daily statements make that abundantly clear to a majority of Americans. 

   In any campaign for president against Donald Trump, Joe Biden, as he did in 2020, can proudly, unequivocally and truthfully say that he represents America’s best choice to protect and preserve democracy.

     Apparently, other Republican “candidates” for president can’t find the courage to make the same case for themselves.

     Meaningless posturing.

rjgaydos@gmail.com

 

As Maine Goes … Well, Never Mind

Friday, November 3rd, 2023

By Bob Gaydos

Cameras captured images of the shooter in Maine.

Cameras captured images of the shooter in Lewiston, Maine.

Well, it is was another typical week in America: A mass shooting, a judge telling Donald Trump, in effect, to shut up and Republicans in the House of Representatives choosing a “leader” who doesn’t believe in the separation of church and state, wants to give rich people more money and take food away from the not-so-rich.

 Let’s be mercifully brief and start with (1.) the Republicans’ latest demonstration that it is a political party out of touch with a majority of Americans and has no interest in actually governing, to wit, the election of Mike Johnson (who?!) to be Speaker of the House, with a mandate from the rightwing extremists who control the GOP to (2.) refuse to negotiate with President Biden and the Democrat-controlled Senate on pretty much anything, as quickly evidenced by Johnson’s (3.) opposition to further aid to Ukraine, (4.) tying aid to Israel to (5.) a cut in funding for the Internal Revenue Service, which would mean fewer agents to audit the rich, billions less in taxes paid and a larger budget deficit and (6). a cut in SNAP benefits, which provides food to the needy, who presumably should just (7.) pray for a miracle from the Almighty, which would seem to be the guiding principle for a man who, as a Christian Nationalist, believes the U.S. is a Christian nation, refers to the Constitution’s “so-called ‘separation of church and state’” and was once (8.) dean of a law school at a Baptist university in Louisiana that never opened its doors to teach its “biblical worldview,” which Johnson can now try to bring to the Congress instead and maybe even lead the Freedom Caucus Trumpers in praying that (9.) Judge Tanya Chutkan, presiding over Trump’s election overthrow attempt trial in Washington, D.C., doesn’t finally lose patience with the pathological liar and toss his twice-impeached, four times indicted rear end into jail for repeatedly violating her orders not to threaten or harass prosecutors, potential witnesses or court personnel as he continues to demean the status of the office he once held while his successor, Joe Biden, (10.) demonstrates just the opposite, including (11.) a trip to Maine to mourn with survivors and, indeed, the whole state, for the 18 victims (nearly the average toll for shooting deaths in a year in Maine) of a mass shooter, who chose kids’ night at a bowling alley to start his killing spree, one that was (12.) predicted by the shooter himself, his family, his superior officers and other members of his Army Reserve unit, flagged by a two-week stay in a psychiatric facility in New York State, including an evaluation at the military hospital at West Point, none of which, apparently (13.) was reason enough for anyone in any position of authority in the entire state of Maine to take his assault rifles and ammunition away from him before he actually did what the voices in his head were telling him to do, because Maine (14.) is one of those states where people are free to buy any kind of guns any time and walk around with them anywhere they please and (15.) doesn’t have a “red flag“ law requiring that guns be taken away from people who exhibit all the behaviors this shooter did, a situation that is (16.) likely to get the attention of lawmakers there who have always felt proud to proclaim, “Things like that don’t happen in Maine.”

    (17.) Not anymore.

rjgaydos@gmail.com

News? War Trumps Everything

Sunday, October 15th, 2023

By Bob Gaydos

F5BE3EB8-ADE1-4B6F-8DBA-31EEF43376F0    Reporting the most significant news of the day is always a combination of judgment and opinion, seasoned by experience. But, within the variables, one thing is certain: War trumps  everything.

      The terrorist attack by Hamas on Israel was so brutally vicious, claiming the lives of more than a thousand innocent civilians, including women and children, the elderly, people dragged out of their homes, young people at a festival, even babies and also resulting in the taking of hostages that it (1.) overshadowed the unprecedented shutting down of the House of Representatives because Republicans, the majority party, had removed their chosen Speaker and could not agree on a new one, putting in peril (2) funding for the government itself, (3) aid to Ukraine in its war with Russia and (4) aid to longtime ally Israel in its declared war against Hamas, which (5.) did not seem to trouble the small group of rightwing radical Republicans holding the government hostage, or their anointed leader, Donald Trump, who (6.) gave his blessing for new Speaker to Jim Jordan, the ineffectual Ohio congressman who aided and abetted Trump in the failed January 6 insurrection and whose only goal seems to be to shut down the government and, in the process, all the investigations and court proceedings against Trump, who (7.) took the Hamas terrorist attack on Israel as an occasion to compliment Hezbollah, another Islamic terrorist group with a target on Israel and (8.) to blame Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu for the success of the surprise attack, most likely as payback for the fact that Netanyahu (9.) was the first foreign leader to congratulate Joe Biden on his election as America’s president in 2020, something which Trump, Jordan and the rest of the MAGA crowd are still  (10.) trying to undo even as (11.) Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., a member of one of America’s most celebrated political families, flip-flopped between conspiracy theories and strategies in his own ego-driven campaign for the 2024 presidential election, having (12.) announced that he is dropping his plan to run as a Democrat to run instead as an independent candidate, probably because he was gaining little traction among Democratic voters since his extreme views more closely resemble those of Trump supporters, (13.) a development which caused confusion among political prognosticators as to whether Kennedy as an independent candidate with a famous Democratic name  would take more voters from Trump or Biden, (14.) something which would be more of a worry for Democrats if RFK Jr. even vaguely resembled his late father politically and personally (he’s no Bobby Kennedy) and had also not recently been accused of anti-Semitism, but, again, was complicated by (15.) Kennedy’s unambiguous reaction to the Hamas attack on Israel: “This ignominious, unprovoked, and barbaric attack on Israel must be met with world condemnation and unequivocal support for the Jewish state’s right to self-defense. We must provide Israel with whatever it needs to defend itself — now.”

    War trumps everything.

rjgaydos@gmail.com

 

Stink Bugs, the GOP and a Clean House

Friday, October 6th, 2023

By Bob Gaydos

Stink bug

Stink bug

    There were two significant events this past week:

  1. The stink bugs arrived in the neighborhood and settled on the screens to the kitchen windows, resulting in constant barking by the resident beagle.

Kevin McCRthy

Kevin McCarthy

 2. Kevin McCarthy became the first speaker of the House of Representatives to be removed by a vote of its members in the history of the United States of America, as a result of a motion introduced by members of his own Republican Party, no less.

    The odor emanating out of Washington was far worse than anything the bugs could offer and, while Republicans kept barking that Democrats were to blame for McCarthy’s squashing, for a change no one was listening. He and they are victims of their own cravenness.

      While a quick finger snap on the screen got rid of the bugs (at least temporarily), Republicans had to shut down the entire House of Representatives for the rest of the week after their  Tuesday dethronement of their “leader” because no one was sure what to do next.

      Apparently, a lot of Republicans expected the Democrats to provide the necessary votes to keep McCarthy in the speaker’s position, even though he had given them no reason to do so, having gone back on his word to President Biden on a deal to avoid a government shutdown and then having agreed to a sham hearing to decide whether there was any conceivable reason to begin impeachment proceedings against Biden. There wasn’t.

     So yeah, Democrats really felt like supporting McCarthy. Your mess, you fix it, they said. Rightly so.

     The mess, of course, is the inevitable result of the GOP’s own deal with the devil. In this case, the part of Faust was played by the Tea Party.

     When the GOP grew weary of traditionally lagging badly behind Democrats in registered voters, rather than seeking to offer ideas for a new century, rather than offering programs and projects that might appeal to more Americans, and, thus, result in more votes for Republicans, the party simply agreed to let in more radical rightwing thinkers whose ideas were even less popular with a majority of Americans, simply because they at least represented more numbers.

     But those new “Republicans” never had any concept of how to govern, and, indeed, never intended to do so. They wanted mainly to gain the power to strip the government of virtually all its control of how corporations and businesses make money and to impose their own strict, moral code on the nation. To heck with “of the people, by the people, for the people.” They wanted it their way and were willing to do anything to get it

    Over time, efforts to prevent certain people (non-whites) from voting weren’t successful enough to boost Republican election numbers, so the party simply let in pretty much anyone who could sign his or her name and say no to every Democrat.

     A few of them eventually wound up in Congress and, in the House of Representatives, which is almost evenly split between Republicans and Democrats, their disproportionate ability to sway the vote for speaker despite their numbers saw them pressure McCarthy to promise to give them anything they wanted if they would let him be Speaker of the House. Pretty please with a tax cut on top.

      And so he did and so they did and so, predictably, they — now calling themselves the Freedom Caucus — turned on him the only time he tried to actually do his job and keep the government open so that tens of thousands of Americans could get their paychecks and government services could proceed as usual.

   McCarthy, driven purely by ego and apparently devoid of any backbone, didn’t understand that they were giving him the title, but not the power. A whole lot of other Republicans in the House simply sat quietly while they watched the travesty unfold, apparently waiting for Democrats to save McCarthy from the knives of his own party. Again: Fear, ego, cowardice.

      Of course, while this was going on, the leader of the onetime actual political party, Donald Trump, was in court, having been found guilty on business fraud charges which stripped the gold-plated phony of his claims of being a business genius and maybe of all his businesses.

    There are about a half dozen other court appearances still waiting for him. And he is still considered to be the leading candidate for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination in 2024, although some of that support has apparently been slipping lately. Apparently, some feel that’s in direct proportion to his own slipping mental capacities.

     At week’s end, as weary and wary Americans waited, unimpressed by the history of the moment, there was still no clue as to who the new speaker of the House might be. Steve Scalise and Jim Jordan, two of the least competent, least intelligent Republican members had declared themselves candidates for the job. Trump was reportedly pushing for Jordan.

      Meanwhile, the stink bugs on the screens had quietly disappeared, knowing they were unwelcome. Experts say the best way to avoid a stink bug infestation is to make sure that windows are properly caulked and weatherstripped, window screens are not torn and any other openings into the home are sealed. It’s also advisable to keep your lawn mowed regularly and keep your lawn vegetation maintained.

      In other words, keep a clean house and you shouldn’t have a problem. But if one of the stinky buggers should somehow sneak in, the recommended approach is to hit them with soapy water and flush them down the toilet.

      Wonder if that would work with the Republican Party.

rjgaydos@gmail.com

 

Joe: Join the Strikers; Train Your Dog

Thursday, September 28th, 2023

 By Bob Gaydos

President Biden and Commander

President Biden and Commander

    Not that you’d notice it, what with all the media attention paid to the lies, threats, chaos and confusion generated by the Party of Trump, but (1.) President Biden made history this week as he became the first sitting president of the United States of America to walk a picket line when he joined  striking auto industry union workers, which is as bold and clear a statement of support for the working people of America as any president can make and far removed from (2.)the phony effort by Trump to court those same workers by showing up at a non-union auto parts plant to complain about electric vehicles (promoted by Biden to help save the planet) taking workers jobs, which is more Trump nonsense, when, in reality, (3.) his motivation was to avoid yet another confrontation with the rest of the field seeking the Republican nomination for president because, as more and more Republicans fear, the twice-impeached, four times indicted, twice found guilty in civil court ex-president seems to be having even more difficulty than usual keeping his facts straight and may actually fear having to debate other Trump wannabes in public, especially since (4.) there’s yet another book out written by a former Trump White House insider laying out the selfishness and hypocrisy in his administration, that book being a memoir by Cassidy Hutchinson, the young woman who bravely testified before the Jan. 6 committee about her experiences as chief aide to Mark Meadows, Trump’s chief of staff, and, (5.) like all the others, is looking to cash in on her experience now that Trump may actually be held accountable for his many crimes, which is (6.) the fate a Democrat, New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez, is facing, having been accused by the Justice Department in a bribery scheme, along with his wife, in which he’s accused of trading political favors for lots of cash (several hundred thousand dollars of it being found in his home, some stuffed in pockets of his suits) and gold bullion (also found in a search of his home), all of which (7.) prompted a call from many Democrats in the Senate, including fellow New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, for Menendez to resign, a reaction strikingly different from typical Republican response to misbehavior within their ranks, but no doubt prompted by the fact that (8.) Menendez was charged with a similar crime a few years ago by the Justice Department but a trial resulted in a hung jury and, Jersey voters being, well, Jersey voters, Menendez subsequently was reelected to the Senate where, from all appearances, he learned nothing from his misbehavior, which, also, (9.) unfortunately, seems to be the pattern with family pets the president has brought to the White House, the most recent one being a German Shepherd Dog named Commander, who reportedly (10.) bit a Secret Service agent (again) in the family quarters of the White House, reviving stories of a previous German Shepherd who was shipped off to Delaware for similarly inappropriate behavior, prompting one (me) to (11.) wonder what steps Biden and all those security conscious people around him have taken to make sure the shepherds, who are highly intelligent dogs bred to herd sheep and to protect, have received proper training as puppies so that they can be comfortable in social situations with non-threatening individuals, such as Secret Service agents and other “friends” they come into contact with routinely during the day and whether there is (12.) a designated handler for the dog, perhaps First Lady Jill Biden and maybe a Secret Service agent, who work regularly with the dog so that he is friendly, alert and obedient and only aggressive when needed, which is what basic training for such a dog would provide and Commander, being only two years old, could likely learn, thereby allowing everyone to feel comfortable in his presence and (13.) avoiding any more “Dog bites Secret Service agent” headlines, which only tarnish the reputation of these special dogs, just because some humans have neglected to provide them with the proper training that, in fact, should allow Commander to (14.) walk anywhere with the president, including a picket line, without any fear of “President’s dog bites man” headlines.

      Sit. Stay. Friend. Good boy.




Umm, About That Decongestant …

Thursday, September 21st, 2023

By Bob Gaydos

Safe, but useless for stuffy noses.

Safe, but useless for stuffy noses. RJ Photography

   A quick stream through news you may have missed, starting with, of all places, the FDA, a government agency notoriously reluctant to make waves, much less headlines, but which nonetheless issued a statement (1.) informing all Americans with stuffy noses that the pill or liquid they’re taking to relieve the congestion doesn’t work, in fact (2.) probably never has worked, even though it’s been used for 75 years, but don’t worry, it’s still safe to take if, say, you have a headache and can’t figure a cheaper way to deal with that or just hate to throw stuff out, even if it doesn’t work because, after all, (3.) the FDA hasn’t told the drug companies to take it off the shelves because it contains phenylephrine as its decongestant-fighting ingredient and an advisory group formed by the agency voted unanimously that (4.) tests show the stuff doesn’t decongest any noses when in pill or liquid form because it doesn’t reach the affected area, which is actually what another advisory group told the FDA  about phenylephrine in 2007, but the FDA (see notoriously reluctant to make waves) decided to let it remain on the shelves because, well, it’s apparently safe, just not useful as a decongestant, and so now the agency will (5.) solicit public input on the question before deciding whether to pull the products off the shelves and replace them with something that works, but not likely (6.)  pseudoephedrine, which was moved behind pharmacy counters in 2006, by law, because pseudoephedrine (as millions of viewers of “Breaking Bad” and “Better Call Saul,” learned) can be processed into methamphetamine and America was fighting a war on drugs and, yes, (7.) pseudoephedrine is still available without a prescription and meth is somehow still being made, but let’s not confuse the issue with facts because the FDA still has to go through the lengthy process of determining whether to remove these oral decongestants from the market and (8.) wants to know what you think (assuming you don’t want to simply toss the pills and liquids and switch to nasal sprays, which are effective) and so we’ll have to wait and in the meantime (9.) consider a recent deal the Biden administration made with the government of Iran to free five Americans who were being held as spies in exchange for the release by the U.S. of five Iranians (10.) and (follow the bouncing ball here) unfreezing of $6 billion in Iranian assets (oil money) being held in a bank in the Republic of Korea (the good guys) to be transferred to a bank in Qatar (not sure), where it can only be (12.) withdrawn to be used for things like food, medicine and other humanitarian needs Iran has apparently been struggling to provide, but not (13.) for weapons, all of which (14.) prompted Republicans in America to scream about the U. S. not paying ransom money, even though it was technically Iran’s money, but critics argued it could free up other Iranian money to pay for weaponry, etc., although Republicans, and for that matter no one else, has ever offered a better, non-hostile way to free Americans being held in hostile countries, which would seem to be a more serious problem than that which House Speaker Kevin McCarthy should face in (15.) fulfilling that body’s duty to provide a budget for the government on time so that it can function, since his party controls the House where the spending bills originate and also since McCarthy had already (16.) reached an agreement with President Biden about a budget bill to avoid a government shutdown, none of which matters to the rowdy kids of the Freedom Caucus in the Republican Party, who don’t seem to care about shutting down the government, affecting millions of Americans, and (17.) are more interested in trying to find any evidence that would justify an impeachment investigation into Biden, rather than presenting any evidence that would justify an investigation, which leaves McCarthy looking again, (18.) like the hapless fool he is, begging and pleading and cajoling a group of spoiled brats to act like grown-ups, not like rowdy teenagers making out in the theater, which is the signal to (19.) cue in Rep. Lauren Bobert, a prominent member of the Freedom Caucus, loudly talking and singing, arguing with other audience members, vaping, groping, being groped by (oops!) the owner of a gay club that offers drag entertainers and ultimately being escorted out of a live performance of “Beetlejuice” at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, which (20.) had some more responsible members of the GOP (there are one or two) reaching for the Sudafed or DayQuil because at least the acetaminophen in them still works, (21.). Or so the FDA tells us.

rjgaydos@gmail.com