Posts Tagged ‘Hush money’

Worms and Other Weird Happenings

Tuesday, May 21st, 2024

By Bob Gaydos

King Charles and his portrait.

King Charles and his official portrait.

  The week of weirdness started with the story about a worm eating part of Bobby Kennedy Junior’s brain. It ended with a portrait of Britain’s new King Charles bathed in bloody red. In between, it was just normal weird.

      After deliberating about it for a few days, I decided not to comment on the parasite in Kennedy’s brain because there would be no way to do so in good taste, what with social media twisting everyone’s words to negative stuff and I have already said plenty of that about Kennedy and anything else would likely be seen as unseemly and just a way to get in another cheap shot at someone who has done his best to sully the legacy of a father, who did not, as far as I know, have a parasite in his brain.

      So I moved on to the actual parasites who showed up at Donald Trump’s hush money trial in New York City, to lend The Leader an artificial image of support, since neither Melania nor most of his children had actually showed up to hear about how Daddy had cheated on Mommy with a porn star and some other naked lady, no less, while Melania was home with baby Baron and how Daddy then wrote checks while sitting in the Oval Office to cover up the stories. Lovely.

   The parasites I refer to here are Republican members of Congress, including House Speaker Mike Johnson, who have done no actual legislating in months, but chose to leave D.C. to go to Manhattan and suck up to the boss by reading prepared insults of the judge, prosecutor and others outside the courtroom, since Trump has been ordered by the judge not to do so.

     The depths of self-degradation to which so many Republicans have sunk continues to amaze and disgust me. My phone (which likes to write along with me) offered “dismay.” Sorry, Apple, we’re way beyond dismay and disappoint. In fact, I’m looking for a stronger word than disgust to refer to these MAGGATS.

      Not far behind in terms of “have you no respect for yourself” comes Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, already under fire for not disclosing expensive travel gifts, being caught with his pants down. That is, his Stars and Stripes hanging upside down, on the outside of his home. The initial weirdness here is that the flag episode happened three years ago and was only now reported by The New York Times. The upside down flag was seen as a way to signal support for the insurrectionists who attacked the Capitol as part of the “Stop the Steal” campaign promoted by Trump when he lost the 2020 election.

     Surprised by the report, which included an actual photo of the inverted flag, Alito rose to the occasion and blamed his wife. It was her idea, he said. So, a Supreme Court Justice has no sway in his own home?

      Maybe Alito was taking his cue from fellow justice, Clarence Thomas, whose wife actually helped plan the “Stop the steal” campaign, which has resulted in no negative consequences for her or her husband.

     In any event, Mrs. Alito can’t be pleased with hubby’s passing the buck. Then again, those expensive vacations are very nice. With these two justices refusing to recuse themselves from cases in which they, or their wives, are involved, not to mention countless expensive, unreported gifts, this court is looking anything but supreme. It is certainly not capable of policing itself.

      Also managing to make a supreme fool of himself (again, except to MAGGATS) was Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker, who delivered a commencement speech at Benedictine College in which he managed to insult all women by suggesting they hang their diplomas and retire to the kitchen and nursery for life, while also criticizing the Catholic Church for what he sees as failures of many priests and bishops to adhere to strict religious teachings (on abortion, gays, marriage) and the Church itself for not institutionalizing the Latin Mass everywhere. He didn’t mention altar boys. He chose to preach this ultra-conservative Catholicism at a Catholic university. The nuns were not pleased.

     Also, the National Football League was not happy with his address, saying it disagreed with the comments on a woman’s role. Weirdly, though, the wife of the owner of the Chiefs, said she supported the speech. That should make for some interesting dinner table talk. Meanwhile, female NFL fans will surely let Butker know how they feel this coming season every time he comes on the field to kick.

    Finally, the official royal portrait. Words fail me. King Charles sat formally for the painting, which will hang forever somewhere in Britain, inviting viewers to guess at what the heck the artist was thinking when he added a butterfly to the work and then drenched the whole thing in a rich, red hue. You have to strain to actually see much of His Royal Highness.

     While many loyal subjects were critical of the painting, Charles reportedly was pleased with it. Well, he is king now and he did wait a long time for his coronation. No word on whether there’s a worm in his family tree.

rjgaydos@gmail.com       



Just Another Day in America

Thursday, April 18th, 2024

By Bob Gaydos

78BD258A-80FB-4BFD-BC7B-E0E8E239379D    A quick snapshot of a recent day in America:

    A former president of the United States was on trial in a New York City courtroom in a story that could’ve been written by the National Enquirer. Well, actually, it was supposed to be, but then the Enquirer killed the story and that’s all part of what the trial is about.

    Donald Trump, the defendant, brooded, slept, glared, argued with his lawyers and pretty much showed he didn’t want to be where he was, sitting at the accused’s table in court. The judge kept warning him not to misbehave, but somehow still resisted locking Trump’s butt up for being a constant threat to the community with his comments on social media and elsewhere, an action that would prove to the rest of us that the law is truly applied equally to everyone. No matter. That day has to come.

   And despite Trump’s call to arms that “all hell will break loose” on Monday when his trial started, the only menacing site outside the courthouse was a group of college Young Republicans trying to figure out what the heck they were doing there. Not very menacing.

    Anyway, the trial is all about hush money paid to porn stars to keep them from going public with their stories, and hurting Trump’s chances of being elected president in 2016. Mostly, a lot of lying about what money was used for what purpose and one of the key witnesses against Trump is his old lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen, who served a term in the federal prison just down the road from me for lying about all that money a few years ago.

   Anyway, it’s sleazy and salacious and I’m embarrassed as an American that this man once sat in the Oval Office and apparently a lot of Americans still think he should be given another shot at the job he totally botched. They keep showing up in these polls that are supposedly fair and scientific, but for which I have never been contacted in my entire life.

    Oh yeah, he’s the first American president ever to face criminal charges after leaving office. Well, that’s something he can lay claim to without having to lie about it.

     On the same day, NBA commissioner Adam Silver banned some player I never heard of from ever playing in the league for committing “a cardinal sin” of betting on the league’s games and sharing information on his own play, removing himself from games pretending to be injured, and controlling betting on his own play. The player actually played in Toronto, which is not in America, but the rest of the league is.

    Sports betting may yet be the downfall of the major sports leagues, but there seems to be no limit to it. The Los Angeles Dodgers only recently escaped major disaster as star Shohei Ohtani‘s former translator took the fall for stealing money from the ball player to cover millions of dollars in gambling losses. No baseball. The FBI says Ohtani didn’t know about it. Well, OK. Perhaps he’s taking English lessons now.

    On this particular day, I looked to see what the great grey 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.

      A friend of mine recently asked how I felt about the direction this country was heading. Well, the first four presidents of my lifetime were Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy.

    Maybe it was a trick question.


rjgaydos@gmal.com

Was It An ‘Invitation’ I Couldn’t Refuse?

Tuesday, May 16th, 2023

By Bob Gaydos

The invitation

The invitation

     Sometimes, it’s the mundane, easy to overlook things that give a week it’s meaning.

      For example, I recently bought two medium coffees at a drive-through window for a popular coffee chain. After the male voice inside the screen repeated the order back to us, he said, “That will be 6 oh 3, please drive around.”

      We looked at each other in surprise. $6.03? As I scrambled for three pennies to go with the 10-dollar bill, I thought it seemed like just a short while ago that same order was under $4. More recently, a bit more than $5. My friend, a regular customer of the franchise, agreed.

       Inflation? Supply chain issues with Latin America? I think a bit of profit-taking is the more likely explanation. By the way, the coffee chain in question was not Starbucks.

        Not long after this encounter with corporate America, I had occasion to stop by another local establishment for some suet and birdseed. It’s been a good year for cardinals, blue jays, finches, doves, sparrows, red-winged blackbirds, starlings, woodpeckers, wrens, squirrels and other hungry feeders.  As I approached the front door, a small sign, recently posted, caught my attention: “Lawful concealed carry permitted on these premises.”


Again, I paused. Hmm. Good to know, I thought, should I ever feel threatened wandering around the bird seed and chicken feed. Although I must admit, I am puzzled at the sudden need for this notice in the first place.

     Back home, while routinely scrolling through my daily emails, I was surprised to find a message that was the highlight of the week: An invitation to dinner with a former president of the United States of America. Wow, I thought, that doesn’t happen a lot. In fact, it’s never happened to me.

    Then I read a little further. It seems I was being invited to take a chance on being invited to dinner with a former president of the United States of America. All I had to do was donate some money to be placed on the list from which one “lucky“ winner, and a guest, would be chosen to have dinner with, of course, Donald Trump, at one of his golf courses.

    That’s not all. The invitation also said, “That’s right – I’lI cover your flight, your accommodations, and your terrific dinner.

And we’ll take a picture together so that you can keep a photograph of this incredible memory forever.”

     Donate now!

     How could I refuse this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity? This was a chance to rub elbows, shake hands, drink coffee and have a photo taken with a man just convicted by a jury of sexually abusing a woman nearly 30 years ago in a dressing room of a Fifth Avenue Manhattan department store and publicly calling her a liar and saying all sorts of vile things about her when she accused him of rape, a man that jury said owed the woman $5 million for the harm he caused to her reputation.

      A man, coincidentally, also recently indicted by a Manhattan grand jury for campaign finance fraud in a case involving paying hush money to a porn star he cheated with shortly after his third wife, Melania, had given birth to their son, Baron.

       In fact, this was a man also facing possible indictment in Georgia for trying to convince officials to change the results of that state’s vote in the 2020 presidential election, which he lost.

       And, come to think of it, this was a man under investigation for taking hundreds of classified government documents with him when he left office and refusing to return them until the FBI served him with a warrant. Sonofagun if he didn’t even brag about taking those documents on TV the day after the Manhattan jury found him guilty of sexual abuse. Why, he even took that opportunity to insult his victim again.

      Yes, that ex-president. The same one who refused to do anything to stop the riot at the Capitol on January 6, 2021, when the results of the 2020 election were being certified. The one who placed his own vice president’s life in jeopardy with remarks he made on that day, never mind the lives of all members of Congress, police and those working in the Capitol.

     This was the former president who, for good measure, on that same misbegotten TV presentation, would not say who he wanted to win the war between Russia and Ukraine. Coincidentally, while he was president, he said he admired Russian President Vladimir Putin and was impeached (for the second time) for threatening to withhold U.S. military aid to Ukraine unless their president came up with some dirt on Joe Biden’s family. Biden, of course, was his opponent in the presidential election in 2020, an election Biden won.

      Well, that very busy ex-president was now offering me the opportunity to have dinner with him. All I had to do was kick in a few bucks for a chance at winning the raffle. I mean, they didn’t say why this supposed billionaire needed the money, although he did say he’s running for president again. So …

      Donate now! Time is running out. I got the same urgent message about three or four days in a row. I guess they wanted to make sure that every loyal American — even registered independent voters — had an opportunity to win this once-in-a-lifetime event.

   I hesitated. I mean, it was quite an opportunity, after all. A chance to maybe speak to a former president of the United States of America. But then I thought, what would I, a mere retired journalist of 40-plus years’ experience, have to say at dinner to this man? Pass the ketchup?

     I decided not to send in a donation and, the cost of coffee being what it is, ordered sushi for dinner. I deleted the email. A new invitation came the next day, but I figured we’d be needing birdseed again soon.

rjgaydos@gmail.com   

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