Posts Tagged ‘MAGA’

You’ve Got Mail, Please Read It

Wednesday, February 21st, 2024

By BOB GAYDOS

The mail. RJ Photography

The mail. RJ Photography

You can tell a lot about people by the contents of their mailboxes. In fact, if you pay attention, you can even learn a bit about yourself.

      For example, a recent day’s delivery to my box included ACLU Magazine, a letter from Planned Parenthood, one from the Southern Poverty Law Center and a note from Marlo Thomas for St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital.

     Now, anyone who is familiar with my columns would hardly be surprised by this mix. Since my days of reading David Bernstein’s daily editorials in The Sun-Bulletin in Binghamton, N.Y. (1965-1973), I’ve been a dyed-in-the-wool liberal. Before that I was just a kid out of college who liked JFK. Since then, I’m lefty and proud and public.

     And I guess that’s the point here. Public and proud. I’ve been writing and commenting on the news and life in general for more than 50 years, but it has never seemed more important to me to be clear and forceful and consistent in expressing my opinions, however repetitive some may find them. Especially about politics and the state of the nation today.

     One of the two major political parties has, for all intents and purposes, abandoned the principle of compromise in governing for the good of the country. The Republican Party, as a willing and aggressive tool of Donald Trump, is a clear and present danger to our democracy. The past eight years testify to that.

     That’s my opinion and the opinion of many others. But still, there are millions of Americans who are buying the snake oil and gold sneakers to keep the Trump lies alive.

      And so, when I get my mail these days, I notice a certain urgency and consistency to it. These are people who feel the same as I do and are doing all they can to preserve and protect what was established in Philadelphia 248 years ago. Our democracy is at stake. This is our reality.

       I try to spread their messages so that those who have not yet recognized the true threat of the MAGA Party might one day hear it and realize what it means to them, to their freedom.

     This may sound a bit high-minded and exaggerated to some. But, again, I go back to my mailbox.

     The SPLC tells me about the spread of hate groups and its efforts to fight the threat of violent white nationalism and racism that has “gone mainstream’’ and is spreading  through our politics, media and schools and the constant racist rhetoric of Trump and a segment of the Republican Party. 

    The ACLU tells me about its legal efforts to protect voting rights from efforts, again, by Republicans, to restrict them for certain groups of people rather than promote ideas and programs those people might approve of and vote accordingly.

    The ACLU also tells me about its efforts to protect pregnant workers and  abortion rights and free speech.

    And Planned Parenthood tells me about its ongoing and increased efforts to educate the public about the threats to abortion access and to advocate for policies that protect sexual and reproductive health care for all.

     Freedom. It’s all about freedom. Many of you probably have similar messages in your mailboxes. 

   Again, that’s the point. Read them. They are there for a reason and I noticed them on this particular day for a reason.

    Our much-celebrated way of life is under attack and too many people still don’t recognize it. I would much rather write about the great work of the St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital that also comes in my mail, but if the MAGAs prevail, that will surely suffer also. Bigotry and hatred become pervasive.

      So I pay attention to my mail. I read it and I write about it. Because I still can. Because defense of freedom is not junk mail.

rjgaydos@gmail.com

Donald and Nikki, How Will It End?

Friday, January 26th, 2024

By Bob Gaydos

Jack and Rose, together in “Titanic.”

Jack and Rose, together in “Titanic.”          

Throughout history, there has been no shortage of famous duos. Most famously perhaps, there was Romeo and Juliet. But also, remember Antony and Cleopatra, Ozzie and Harriet, Napoleon and Josephine, Abbott and Costello, Batman and Robin, Butch and Sundance, Sonny and Cher, Charles and Diana, Franklin and Eleanor, Heckle and Jeckle, Jekyll and Hyde, Bonnie and Clyde

    That seems an appropriate place to stop to consider this year’s dynamic duo: Donald and Nikki. A match made in MAGA heaven.

    Or maybe not.

     As Donald Trump’s would-be challengers for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination have quickly dropped by the wayside, being too honest (Chris Christie) or too boring (Ron DeSantis), the party found itself in January with only Nikki Haley still running against the man facing 91 felony indictments.

      This is all very un-Republican, what with Haley being a woman and an accomplished, outspoken one at that. Where are her traditional family values? Doesn’t she know her place? Did she really question Der Donald’s mental status just because he repeatedly confused her with Nancy Pelosi and said Joe Biden could ignite World War uh Two? Did she really suggest Trump (and Biden) might be too old to be president?

      Yes, she did and Trump reacted in his customary style, with insults and threats, typed in all caps and misspelled on his social media platform. The ultimate threat: Anyone supporting Haley will be cut off from any MAGA connection. Ostracized financially. Out of the cult.

      Still she persists, to borrow a Democratic Party notion. And, having shown some surprising support among Republicans in New Hampshire, she moves on to the primary in South Carolina, where she was a popular governor, offering a more traditional Republican message than Trump’s scorched-earth, I-am-a-victim-of-Biden-oppression-and-will-get-revenge-on-my-enemies-when-I-am-re-elected message.

    Haley presents a dilemma for those Republicans who can’t stand Trump, but are too afraid to say so because they need the votes of the aggrieved, angry whites who make up MAGA, the volatile base of the GOP, but who don’t outnumber the relatively sane voters populating the rest of the electorate.  Haley speaks to some of those people. When she wants to. Sometimes, she bows to the Trump persecution complex strategy. She’ll pardon him if necessary. But now that she seems to be on the verge of being labeled a disloyal, ungrateful (Trump did make her his UN ambassador) umm, woman, she runs the risk of breaking up the Donald/Nikki duo before it becomes official. Before the tango becomes a waltz. As in running mates. With Donald taking the lead, of course.

    Trump’s most avid supporters say that must never happen. Assuming Trump wins the Republican nomination and assuming he is not in prison and assuming the Supreme Court allows him to run anyway (not a given), the MAGAs want no part of Haley as a vice presidential candidate.

    But, if she is left standing and looking legit, she would bring some voters Trump can’t reach. Non-MAGA women. Some sane Republicans. And, as the daughter of parents who came from India, immigrants.

     I don’t see it happening, Trump being Trump. He likes the easy way, predictably obedient foot soldiers willing to take the fall and not complain or testify against him.

     For her part, Haley has tried to play it both ways, sometimes supporting Trump so as not to anger his base, and sometimes speaking the truth, acknowledging other views. Ignoring slavery as a cause of the Civil War, talking about raising the Social Security age and cutting government controls but, unlike Trump, supporting more U.S. support for Ukraine in its war with Russia and for Israel in its war against terrorist groups.

  Who knows, maybe Trump will be convicted of one or more of the 91 felonies before the Republican nominating convention. Maybe some judge will actually lock him up for defying a gag order.

   Liz Cheney, another accomplished, outspoken woman who was, in effect, expelled from the Republican Party for daring to speak the truth about Trump and the January 6 insurrection, has encouraged Haley to stay in the race. To continue the tango. The male chorus remains mute.

     It remains to be seen whether Donald and Nikki become a true couple or wind up like another famous duo, Jack and Rose on the Titanic. A brief flirtation, but only room for one on the raft.

rjgaydos@gmail.com

 

     

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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

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

 

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

 

Trump is Unashamedly Non-fungible

Wednesday, December 21st, 2022

By Bob Gaydos

     Now it’s NFTs?

Trump NFTs

Trump NFTs

 Having just publicly confessed my bewilderment at the willingness, even eagerness, of many people to invest in cryptocurrency — a form of digital “money“ that is complicated to own and even more complicated to spend — I now learn there are such things as NFTs.

    Non-Fungible Tokens. 

    Who knew?

    Well, Donald Trump, of course. If it involves money and it’s hard to figure out exactly what is going on, you can be sure Trump is around. And so we have Trump Digital Trading Cards, which has introduced me to the world of non-fungible tokens.

      “Art” for crypto lovers.

      Having made a rather subdued announcement that he’s running for president again, Trump followed up with a “major” announcement: He is issuing limited edition digital trading cards containing his image in various heroic poses. No one is quite sure how many different poses there are. Supposedly there won’t be more than 20 copies of any one pose and other poses will have far fewer copies. To make them more valuable. They are yours to collect, “just like baseball cards.” Only $99 each. But you can only buy one hundred at a time.

       If memory serves me right, I used to get bubblegum and five baseball trading cards for a quarter. But that’s another story.

     NFTs are theoretically unique. That is, you cannot replace one of them with another one of the same and equal value. If you could, that would make them fungible.

     Now, right away, we have the issue of confusion. I’m pretty sure that “fungible“ is not a word with which many people are familiar. Ask the next five people you meet and see if I’m right.

    Something that is fungible is replaceable by another tangible object of similar value. You can exchange a wrinkled dollar bill for another dollar bill and it’s a fair trade, for example.

     What supposedly makes NFTs unique is that, like cryptocurrency, each has its own digital identity. In this case, a stamp. So, even though anybody can buy one of these trading cards for $99 in actual cash or the equivalent in ether cryptocurrency, and the image is exactly the same on all of them, each is supposedly a unique item.

     People have apparently paid thousands of dollars for a digital image — a non-fungible token — of some “unique” tweet or meme or other Internet creation, which they can then apparently proudly say they own. Like a Picasso.

     It’s an investment, I’m told. Aha. Here’s where I would attempt to explain how NFT’s work and why someone would want one, but I have read more than half a dozen columns from technical websites “explaining” how NFTS work and I am more confused than ever, which goes to my original point.

     If it’s too complicated and confusing for the average person to understand and if even those who do understand how it works call it “risky” as an investment, why would anyone want to get involved?

     For some, like Trump, it’s simple — to try to make some quick cash off people by playing on their emotions. It’s his go-to strategy. The images of Trump on his trading cards are amateurish, even clownish, for a reason. MAGAs have been conditioned to distrust the talented, the educated and to revel in the coarse. Stick it to the elite, the socialist leftists. Hence, the “Let’s go Brandon” signs in my neighborhood. So clever.

    The more the Trump cards are ridiculed by people with even average artistic sensibilities, the more the MAGAs will scoop them up. At least that’s what Trump is betting on. He’s betting on a feeling. He’s also throwing in an opportunity to have dinner with him at Mar-a-Lago as an enticement if you buy 45 cards in one shot. That’s $4,455.

   What any of these “cards” will be worth years from now is anyone’s guess. You can’t frame them and put them on the wall, although anyone is free to print out a copy of one of these cards and display it. They may turn into ether like the currency used to buy them.

   Still, as of now, it appears that Trump may have played his cards right and is laughing all the way to the offshore bank. The website announced that all 44,000 minted cards sold out in the first day. 

     Whether that’s real news or not and whether more cards will be minted remains to be seen. There is also the question of whether this was all a money-laundering scam for a down-on-his-luck ex-president and phony billionaire about to be indicted for sedition.

      Bottom line: If there’s money involved, there is no place that is too low for Trump to go. A wink and a nod and give me your dollar. 

     The same goes for power, as he demonstrated in the White House. He is beyond embarrassment.

      The embarrassment, sadly, belongs to us as a nation. We invested in a non-fungible fraud. We got our money’s worth.

rjgaydos@gmail.com

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

       

       

       

Judge Needs 61 in 154 Games, or Less

Tuesday, September 6th, 2022

By Bob Gaydos

(With a nod of respect and appreciation for the late, great Jimmy Cannon.)

Maybe it’s just me, but:

Aaron Judge, hitting another one.

Aaron Judge, hitting another one.

— If Aaron Judge hits his 61st home run within the Yankees’ first 154 games, he is the undisputed, no asterisk necessary, single-season home run king of the American League. That makes him, to me at least, the record holder for all of baseball, because all those who hit more (National Leaguers Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire) did so while using steroids to enhance their performance. That’s cheating. Baseball says it doesn’t approve of cheating.

As for that asterisk, baseball used to put one next to Roger Maris’ name as home run king because he hit 61 in an expanded 162-game season in 1961. In the Yankees’ last game, in fact. That meant Babe Ruth’s magic 60 number (hit in a 154-game season) still stood. That asterisk now only exists in the minds of some older baseball fans. That’s why I say Judge can erase any doubts by getting to 61 or 62 in 154 games. But if he tops Maris in 162 games, he’ll still be the all-time single-season home run champ in my book … unless they catch him using steroids or some other performance enhancer. This may sound naive to some, but I don’t see how someone who cheats, however talented he or she may be, should be credited with any kind of athletic performance record. Otherwise, what’s the point of keeping records?

— Maybe it’s just me, but: The judge granting Donald Trump’s request for a special master to review the thousands of federal documents the FBI removed from his Mar-a-Lago home is no big victory for the ex-president. It’s a sign the judge is being careful in this precedent-setting case. Any claims by Republicans beyond that is just more smoke. It may slow the investigation down a bit, which is what Trump always tries to do, but don’t you think the FBI is already well aware of what’s in those documents they’ve been scouring for days? Bottom line: No legitimate reason for Trump to have them.

— Maybe it’s just me, but: Mikhail Gorbachev’s death, or rather, how it was received by many Russians, has a lesson for Americans who think Trump and the MAGAs are no big deal here. Many Russians criticized, even hated, the author of glasnost (an open government policy) because they felt the end of the Soviet Union represented a huge loss of Russian standing as a world power, rather than a victory for freedom and equal rights for all citizens of the union. They preferred the projection of world power to the right to live as they chose, rather than as how the Communist Party dictated. Russian President Vladimir Putin, a product of the Soviet regime, has worked tirelessly at recreating that dynamic. He snubbed Gorbachev’s funeral. The former Russian president did not even get a state funeral. Only one foreign dignitary attended (from Hungary), because of Putin’s invasion and continuing war in Ukraine. Authoritarians and their followers, once they have a taste of power, do not give it up easily. That’s why the Jan. 6 congressional hearings and the FBI probe into Trump’s stash of secret and classified government documents at his home are important. It’s also why voting for any political candidate who doesn’t agree with that statement is a vote against glasnost.

— Maybe it’s just me, but: Serena Williams deserves all the accolades she received on her retirement from tennis. A true champion in every way.

rjgaydos@gmail.com

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

Take America Out to the Ball Game

Friday, July 1st, 2022
Playing ball at Dutchess Stadium. RJ Photography RJ Photography

Playing ball at Dutchess Stadium.
RJ Photography

By Bob Gaydos

It was ‘90s Prom Night. All the music was from the ‘90s. There were teenaged girls in lovely prom dresses. Their dates wore matching tuxes. There was a race against a video opponent. Sing the next line of the song. Show us your best ‘90s dance moves. Yes, musical chairs! Crown a prom king and queen. A rousing chorus of “God Bless America.” A six-year-old boy wearing a DiMaggio #5 jersey. A 66-year-old wearing a Maris #9. Another rousing chorus of “Take Me Out to ….” … Yes. The ball game.

     But not just any ballgame. A Hudson Renegades/Brooklyn Cyclones ballgame. Class A minor league baseball at its best. The future Yankees (the Renegades) hosted the future Mets at a splendid ballpark in Dutchess County, not far from the Hudson River and a one-hour commuter train ride from the big ballpark in the Bronx.

    What better way to spend a perfect summer night than with America’s traditional pastime when much of the rest of the country was participating in America’s new pastime — bickering over how serious it was that a defeated president threw his lunch against the wall because his coup attempt was not going well. A couple of thousand locals thought the same.

     The only hint of possible friction at the ballpark came when the public address announcer reported that the Houston Astros had defeated the Mets that afternoon. The hometown Renegades/Yankees fans cheered loudly. All in fun.

      Americans, I think, are desperate to have fun again. Real fun, relaxed fun, not frenetic demonstrations of rebellion against a Covid mask mandate or some other hyped display of look-at-me bravado.

     A hot-dog-at-a-ballgame kind of fun.

     Without trying to sound corny, a night out with friends at Dutchess Stadium really was a perfect antidote for what ailed me — Trumper tantrums, MAGA mania and a Supreme Court run amok. I had had the unsettling talk with myself earlier that went something like, “I’ve been promoting a pro-choice, gun control, equal rights, save-the-planet agenda in my writing for decades and yet, here we are. I need a ballgame.”

       I was right.

      The whole country needs a ball game, especially one between young men in their early 20s chasing a dream – to someday become a Yankee or a Met. I’d venture to say that, to most in the crowd, the outcome of the game didn’t matter nearly as much as simply being there.

        Even when the Renegades pitcher walked the first Cyclone batter, hit the next one with a pitch and gave up a home run on his first pitch to the third batter, everyone seemed to be pretty relaxed, having a good time, except maybe the Renegades pitcher.

       But never fear, there was still a lot of baseball to be played. And hotdogs and burgers and peanuts and popcorn and french fries and even tacos to be eaten. Local sponsors got promoted on the big screen. Birthdays were announced. Bases were stolen and home runs were hit. Three in all. 

        In the end, the Renegades won, 8 to 5.  In honor of the evening’s theme, there was dancing on the field after the game to ‘90s music under flashing colored lights. Dancing on the field!

         To top it off, since the Renegades are now an uptown team, they play the Yankees’ traditional send-the-fans-home-happy song — Frank Sinatra singing “New York, New York.” We all knew the words.

          Start spreading the news. The MAGAs will still be there. I’ll make a brand new start of it … Tomorrow.

         Boy, did I make the right call about needing a ball game.

rjgaydos@gmail.com

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

       

 

‘Survey’ Says: It’s the Media’s Fault

Sunday, June 10th, 2018

By Bob Gaydos

mainstream-mediaThere I was, minding my own business (sort of), scrolling through my Facebook news feed trying to find a video on the Yankees game sandwiched in among all the posts about ICE agents snatching kids away from their parents at the border, Scott Pruitt using his security detail to fetch him lotion and the trending, new puzzle — “Where’s Melania?” — when the ad grabbed my attention.

Did I want to take the “Mainstream Media Accountability Survey’’?

Huh? The what?

Who the heck is conducting this survey? I blurted to no one in particular.

It didn’t take long to find out. The ad, I was informed by Facebook’s new, better-late-than-never policy of full disclosure, was “Paid for by the Trump Make America Great Again Committee, a joint fundraising committee authorized by and composed of Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. and the Republican National Committee.”

Swell.

In the process of telling Facebook to never send me another post from the Trump MAGA Committee, I asked Facebook (as it now also allows me to do) how I even got this targeted ad — I’m familiar with targeting Facebook ads — in the first place.

Facebook offered two possibilities:

  1. I shared the views of Trump MAGA. Uh, you could probably know that wasn’t true within 10 seconds of scrolling my wall.
  2. The committee was targeting individuals between the ages of 18 and 65 living in the United States of America. That would be known as a pretty loose target audience, geography wise, but I fit. However, I have aged out of the age parameters, so Facebook messed up anyway. Your algorithms still need work, folks.

At any rate, being a longtime member of said “mainstream media,” I was hooked. I had to check out the “survey.”

George Orwell would have been proud; George Gallup not so much.

Here’s the first question: “Do you trust the mainstream media to put the interests of Americans first?

  • Yes
  • No
  • No opinion
  • Other, please specify:”

Loaded much? Remember, it’s supposedly targeted to like-minded individuals. As surveys go, this one evidenced the Trump team’s view of the scientific method: Ignore it.

Question number two: “Do you trust the mainstream media to report fairly on our presidency?” Same choices.

Then, in order: “Do you trust (NBC, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News) to report fairly on our presidency?” Same options.

If you’re sensing a pattern, you are correct. It’s all in the same vein as Der Leader’s message: These people are really untrustworthy enemies of the people, aren’t they?

Here’s just one more question, to demonstrate what passes for policy in the Trump GOP: “On which issues does the mainstream media do the worst job of representing President Trump? (Select as many that apply.)”

  • Immigration
  • Economics
  • Radical Islamic Terrorism
  • Pro-life values/social issues
  • Religion
  • Health care
  • Second Amendment rights”

Note — “the worst job” as the operative choice and “as many as apply.” Nothing like piling on, folks.

The questions get more ridiculously slanted as the 25-question “survey” goes on. I fully expect the results to be proudly posted on Facebook and bantered around Fox News, With any luck and if Facebook follows my instructions, I won’t see them. But millions will and, again, those people who buy anything Trump sells will believe it and I’m pretty sure the Mainstream Media isn’t going to come out too well.

In the same week this ad appeared, Trump came late and left early at the G7 meeting of top world economies in Canada, but not before wrongly accusing Canada of burning down the White House in 1812 and threatening to cut off trade with our staunchest ally and largest trading partner while insisting Russia, which was booted out of the group after “annexing” Crimea, should be allowed back in.

Then Drumpf headed to Singapore where he intended to conduct negotiations on nuclear weapons with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un by sizing up his opposite number in the first minute or so via “feel.” It was also reported that Dennis Rodman, the former NBA star and reputed friend of Kim, was heading to Singapore, perhaps to play second fiddle to Kim as he once did for Michael Jordan. Trump had John Bolton as his sidekick. Rodman has the size, but I’d bet anything Bolton uses his elbows under the boards.

What’s the point of all this? Well, maybe that, under Trump, the real, the true, the factual, the serious business of life has become demonized and trivialized to the point that everything is treated as a reality TV show and millions of Americans are — for reasons no one has yet explained to my satisfaction beyond sheer ignorance and bigotry — hooked. Those videos of children being snatched from parents and locked up by ICE? Not true, say Trumpsters. Media lies. Or, if true, then necessary, the attorney general says, because … as if there could be any legitimate “because.”

The Republican Party as a functioning political organization has ceased to exist. Trump makes it up as he goes along and scapegoats anyone who points out his lies, ignorance, pettiness, greed and other overwhelming deficiencies. But the “survey” will come out and it will confirm his claims of bias by the mainstream media and it will be posted on social media and mailed to all white people in America likely to vote for Trump because that country with the strongest economy ever, that country that promises freedom and opportunity to all, that country so many “other” people are willing to risk losing their lives — or their children — in order to live in, needs to be made great again.

Survey says Betsy DeVos can relax. The dumbing-down of America is well under way.

rjgaydos@gmail.com