Posts Tagged ‘trump’

Biden, Hummingbirds and History

Monday, July 22nd, 2024

By Bob Gaydos

      Thanks, Joe. … 

President Joe Biden withdrew from the 2024 presidential race.

President Joe Biden withdrew from the 2024 presidential race.

   That’s all I could muster at first. The news alert — “Biden dropping out of presidential race” — had popped onto my I-Phone screen about five minutes earlier and I reacted with surprise and I wasn’t sure what else.

       So I drank some tea, popped a couple of vitamins and went outside to watch our three resident hummingbirds try to keep an aggressive woodpecker away from their feeders. Their subsistence. Their future. Through persistence, remarkable athleticism and teamwork, they succeeded. The woodpecker left for easier pickins.

      And I had a moment of clarity.

      It seems I have a pattern. When confronted with a dramatic historic moment, rather than yielding to the ingrained journalistic instinct and rushing to write about it, I take a break to reconnect with, I suppose, real life.

      On Sept. 11, 2001, after watching on TV as a second plane flew into the World Trade Center, I got into my car, turned on the radio and drove to a park close to the newspaper where I worked. As editorial page editor, I knew I would have to write about the attack. The park was familiar to me because I used to walk my dog there before going to work in the morning. I had since moved and there was no dog, but I relaxed as I enjoyed the quiet and watched other people walking their dogs, drank my coffee and listened to reports of a plane striking the Pentagon.

     Then I went to work and wrote an editorial stating that the U.S. was at war.

      Nineteen years later, on Jan. 6, 2020, after watching on TV for two hours as a mob egged on by a president who refused to accept the fact he had lost an election laid waste to the U.S. Capitol, I finally turned off the TV, looked at the new dog and said, “Let’s go for a walk.” We took a quiet stroll around the pond in the back and, though it was cold, it reminded me of the beauty in my life.

     Then I went back in and wrote a column about the fear and anger and shame I felt at this attempted coup and about how the calming words of President-elect Joe Biden helped me to feel there was still hope. He faced a “monumental task,” I wrote, to overcome the disastrous Trump presidency and return America to its place of dignity and stability as the world’s symbol of democracy.

     Which in large part, in a remarkably successful presidency, he did. But the rot in the Republican Party, a gold-plated chamber pot of fear, racism, ignorance, greed, corruption, cowardice, hypocrisy, bigotry, opportunism, threats, lies and lust for power fueled by religious extremism, has not yet been eradicated.

       And President Joe Biden has been told by many of his formerly closest allies in the Democratic Party and much of the mainstream media that he is too old to finish the job.

       I don’t know. He’s 81 and showing signs of mental and physical fatigue. But he knows how to do the job and understands right from wrong. Trump, meanwhile, is 78, a physical, moral and mental wreck and doesn’t really care about the job, just the title and the perks. But Republicans apparently love him and too many Americans still don’t understand the threat he and his enablers pose to that American democracy.

        So as I watched the hummingbirds Sunday afternoon, I thought about what an act of selflessness it was for Biden, who clearly believes he can still do the job, to agree to step aside for someone younger, because, well because it’s the right thing to do. The patriotic thing to do. The politically smart thing to do. At least that’s what he had been constantly told for a month since his poor performance in the debate with Trump (whose litany of lies and accusations was largely ignored).

          Now, Joe Biden, with a lifetime of service to country, has thought of country first and done his job again. He has stood aside for someone younger — most likely Vice President Kamala Harris — who can bring the fight to Trump (now the only old man in the race) and the Republicans and, more importantly, convince a lot of Democrats and other Americans to unite behind her to drive away the threat to America’s future. To their future. Just like the hummingbirds did.

      Thanks, Joe … for everything.

So Many Questions …

Wednesday, July 17th, 2024

By Bob Gaydos

     So many questions, so few answers.

Donald Trump … two days after the shooting

Donald Trump … two days after the shooting

     The question of the hour was whether to go with George Clooney or Bernie Sanders on whether Joe Biden should stay or go. The hour was 6 p.m., Saturday, July 13.

      The question of the hour at 7 p.m. Saturday was who shot at Donald Trump. And why.

       And then …. 

  • How did the shooter get so close?
  • Why were Trump’s shoes off?
  • Why did the Secret Service let him stop to put them back on with an active shooter in the area?
  • Why did the Secret Service let him stand up, show his face and fist bump with an active shooter in the area?
  • Did a bullet really graze Trump’s ear?
  • Why has no medical professional spoken publicly about the ear wound?
  • Why am I asking these questions? No political candidate would be so cynical as to stage an assassination attempt in which an innocent bystander — a supporter — was killed and two others critically wounded, would he?
  • Why was Trump playing golf the morning after someone tried to kill him?
  • Why did he not call the families of the three shooting victims?
  • Will this incident change the Republican Party position on gun control laws?

    On Monday, the first question of the day was how much was Judge Aileen Cannon promised by those rich people who buy off judges (including Supreme Court judges) to dismiss all charges against Trump in the stolen classified documents case in her Florida courtroom? Cannon, who was appointed as a federal judge by Trump when he was president, ruled that Special Counsel Jack Smith was illegally appointed by the Justice Department. This, despite many previous court rulings to the contrary.

    The second question of the day was how coincidental was it that Cannon’s ruling echoed an opinion expressed by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas (he of the dozens of unreported gifts) in the Supreme Court’s bizarre ruling granting presidents wide immunity from prosecution. Thomas, in a separate statement, suggested that courts should consider whether the special prosecutor office had been “established by law.” The question here was why didn’t he know that several courts have already done so and agreed that it was.

       The question of the hour on Tuesday was how did Ohio Senator J.D. Vance manage to out-obsequious Florida Senator Marco Rubio and every other Republican at the party’s nominating convention to become Trump’s pick for vice presidential running mate and potential gallows customer?

      And finally, one last question in an extended weekend of questions: Couldn’t Trump find a bigger bandage to cover his grazed-ear wound?


(PS.: I’m leaning to Bernie, since he’s a senator and actually ran for president and especially since Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a frequent Democrat boat-rocker, joined him on staying with Joe, while Clooney is a rich actor who once played Batman.)


I’ll Take Team Biden Over Team Trump

Wednesday, July 10th, 2024

By Bob Gaydos

The Biden team.

The Biden team.

Sometimes the nay-sayers unintentionally help the aye-sayers.

     For example, with all the media hype on whether Joe Biden should seek re-election and questions about whether he is too old and is still capable of handling the responsibilities of the presidency, one of the strongest arguments in his favor has been his record of accomplishments in office. It  is considerable.

      He brought inflation down and employment way up. He lowered prescription drug prices and capped the cost of insulin for seniors. He got wealthy corporations to pay their fair share of taxes and got legislation through Congress to combat gun violence. He actually made a major investment in rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure, something which his opponent talked about a lot but never did anything about. He revived the American chip industry. He added a new nation to NATO and solidified America’s alliances in the Pacific Rim. Oh yeah, the leading stock market indicators are at record highs.

     To which some nay-sayers reply: How do you know? There could be a cabinet of people running things on his behalf.

       Well, I sure hope so. The sign of a good leader, a good executive, a good president is having people around him capable of making his or her vision a reality.

    No president can do it alone. Whom he chooses to be part of his team and what the team accomplishes says a lot about the president. So by trying to take credit away from Biden by saying maybe a whole bunch of other people accomplished these things in his name, the critics are actually complimenting Biden for his vision, for choosing good people and for listening to what they have to say and helping them get it done.

      By comparison, many team members from Donald Trump‘s chaotic presidency have criticized him for his lack of understanding or caring about presidential responsibilities. Others are in prison. Possible members of a Trump team in 2025 have authored the notorious Project 2025, which explains in detail how they would dissemble American democracy in favor of an authoritarian Christian nation.

    Predictably, since details of that document have been made public and been widely criticized, Trump, whose name appears throughout the document, has disavowed it. That’s because Trump, a convicted felon, has no agenda other than himself and power. If it’s going to hurt his ratings, he tries to run away from it. He bragged about getting Roe v. Wade overturned by appointing Supreme Court justices who would do it. But when that decision met strong opposition, he tried to backtrack from that, too. He simply lies about everything and fires people who don’t help feed his ego.

     Suffice to say, any team of folks behind the scenes doing things in Trump’s name are going to do their best to make him happy. And he’s already told us many times that what makes him happy is being treated special (absolute immunity!) and getting even with those who don’t comply. The team wagging the dog for Trump will be ruthless and vicious because he will pick those who will do his bidding in order to further their own agenda. Not the nicest and not necessarily the best and brightest. He learned that from his first term in office. He knows more than all the generals. Sycophants and soldiers, that’s what he wants.

     So, nay-sayers, do I want all those mysterious, intelligent, caring people behind the scenes making all those decisions for old, arthritic Joe Biden or do I want all those “authoritarian, anti-democratic, rightwing Christian, post the 10 Commandments in every classroom, women’s place is in the kitchen and pregnant, cut Social Security, arrest the homeless and leave billionaires alone, don’t force us to be violent” people making decisions for Donald Trump while he goes around the world like a reality show Don Quixote, jousting at windmills?

      Thanks, I’ll stick with Joe’s team.

What’s Plan B? Well, There is a VP

Friday, July 5th, 2024

By Bob Gaydos

Vice President Kamala Harris.

Vice President Kamala Harris.

Why do we  elect vice presidents?

     That’s not a rhetorical question. In fact, it’s the answer to a question many Democrats have been asking themselves for more than a week.

      In a virtual meltdown since Joe Biden’s shutdown performance in his first debate with Donald Trump, and under a constant New York Times-led media barrage about Biden‘s age and his capability to handle the job of president, many wealthy Democratic Party supporters and plenty of everyday Democrats have been asking, “What is Plan B?”

     As in, “If we don’t think Joe can win, who should the party’s candidate be? Quick!”

     Funny thing is, all the names quickly mentioned as possible presidential candidates quickly said they’re still backing Biden. Now, that may be because it would be unseemly to challenge the leader of the party or simply because none of them wants to face Trump now when they might have an easier race four years from now.

    The other funny thing is, even though presidents run with vice presidential candidates, who, theoretically at least, can step in immediately and take over the duties of president if necessary, whether because of incapacitation or resignation, hardly anyone mentioned Vice President Kamala Harris as a potential substitute for Biden.

       But isn’t that her job?

       This is in no way an argument for Biden to decline to run again “for the good of the party and the country” or for him to dramatically resign the office of president. I have no way of knowing, any more than do any of those big media pundits, whether Biden is capable of fulfilling the duties of president while also conducting an aggressive reelection campaign against Trump and his Republican cult followers. If Biden’s running, he’s got my vote.

       All I am saying is that if he feels he is not up to it, his vice president would seem to be the person most qualified and capable of doing so. Harris has been with Biden through all the successes of nearly four years in office, been part of the planning and prodding and preaching necessary to get things done. She has dealt with leaders on the world stage. If people like what the Biden White House has done, well, then Harris has been part and parcel of all that.

    Plus, she is Donald Trump‘s greatest nemesis: An educated, articulate, outspoken, politically astute black woman. She has been district attorney of San Francisco, Attorney General of the state of California and served as a United States senator from California. She knows how government works. She can take on the issue of abortion head-on. She can talk frankly about voter suppression tactics. In fact, she can talk about any issue Trump or Republicans throw out there with more clarity and knowledge than can Trump.

       In fact, so can Biden. But if by Plan B Democrats want someone to more aggressively get up in Trump’s face, call out his constant lies, which much of the media now seems to accept as, well, acceptable, then Kamala Harris is their woman.

     Plus, you’d have the whole first woman president angle going again, the one stolen from Hillary. And if Biden did take the dramatic step of resigning (which he has given no indication of doing, nor am I suggesting), she would have access to the Biden campaign’s considerable funds.

        All of this, of course, would be dependent on Democrats doing something they always have trouble doing — getting behind one candidate and sticking to the script.

       Republicans have mastered the art of uniting behind even the most despicable of candidates imaginable, with Trump the felon exhibit A. They are a political party without a soul. Democrats, however, usually spend an inordinate amount of time challenging each other over who is the most noble of candidates. It often produces confusion, not votes.

       Joe Biden has been a good president. He has served this country well his entire adult life and grown old in the process. Few are granted the opportunity. In an election which is in sum a contest between democracy and despotism, he is the symbol of what our forefathers had in mind when they said farewell to the king.

       When the script hit the fan, their Plan B was to have a vice president.


Gambling and Sports — a Bad Bet

Monday, June 17th, 2024

By Bob Gaydos

     Clearing my note pad of news that bugs me before it gets buried by other news that bugs me. With a deep bow to the late, great Jimmy Cannon …

Sports betting.

Sports betting.

  • Maybe it’s just me, but: The major sports leagues made a bad bet when they allowed themselves to be partnered with legalized gambling. For many “fans,” the legal gambling books have taken over much of the reason for watching the games and the lure of money that can be made by betting on someone winning or losing, or striking out, or missing a field goal or a foul shot will always prove too be too much for some involved in the games to follow the rules. The rule, actually, is simple in all majors sports leagues: anyone connected officially with the league in any manner — player, coach, official, employee — is free to legally gamble on any other  sport, but not the one in which they are engaged. To protect the integrity of the sport, you know. So that fans know games they are gambling on aren’t fixed or no one is trying to make things happen in a game to cover a bet or a gambling debt. Well, in recent weeks, a Major League Baseball player and a player in the National Basketball League have both been banned from their sport for life for gambling on it. The basketball player is even said to have tried to make his team, the Toronto Raptors, lose so he could win his bets. The 24-year-old San Diego baseball player is the first active player in a century to be banned for life for gambling. (Look up the Chicago Black Sox scandal.) And now a Major League Baseball umpire (talk about controlling the outcome of a game) has been suspended while he is investigated for gambling. He denies the allegations and says he only bet on other sports. But there’s the rub. If you’re bad  at betting on other sports and lose a lot of money, it can be tempting to try to make up the losses by fixing a game you know very well. It has happened before. Baseball has thus far managed to escape the major scare of its marquee player, Shohei Ohtani, being involved in gambling, when  Ohtani’s interpreter pleaded guilty to gambling with an illegal bookie with a lot of money which the interpreter stole from the Los Angeles star. The National Football League so far seems to have escaped trouble, although the game is virtually built around legal sports betting in many places, including TV. It may be too late for the sports leagues to change their minds, with too much money already involved in all the business deals, but this oldtimer who used to help his father check the bookie’s college football/basketball weekly betting sheets back in the day thinks this has all the earmarks of a bad marriage waiting to break up over gambling and money.
  • Maybe it’s just me, but: If Chief Justice John Roberts doesn’t want history to remember the Roberts Court as the one that destroyed American democracy, he needs to get Justices Thomas and Alito in his chambers, knock their heads together and tell them to recuse themselves from any cases involving Donald Trump, clue their wives in to the meaning of conflict of interest for judges and their families and stop accepting lavish gifts from people who have cases coming before the court. Pretty basic stuff. He can also write a meaningful conflict of interest policy for the court. And he can have some guts and honor a request from Congress to talk about what’s going on under his watch and his nose. Or, he can stop pretending to be the moderate voice of reason on the court.
  • Maybe it’s just me, but: Even an addle-brained Donald Trump should have known better than to go to the Libertarian Party’s convention looking for a warm reception. Not only didn’t he get the party’s presidential nomination, he got laughed at and booed, suggesting there is some hope for these defenders of their liberty. Heck, they even rejected Bobby Kennedy Jr. Of course, they did select someone to run as a third party candidate, meaning some voters who might have gone for Joe Biden instead of Trump will waste their important votes on someone who can’t win, while ignoring the best choice to actually protect their liberty. But of course that never concerns the billionaire Libertarian Koch Brothers, who feel free to try to buy their freedom and anything else.



What Did You Do on D-Day?

Saturday, June 8th, 2024

By Bob Gaydos

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

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

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

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

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

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

    “And where was Donald Trump, daddy?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guilty! What Does it Mean, America?

Friday, May 31st, 2024

By Bob Gaydos
8893E6E3-E362-47C2-84E8-31C1791D89B4 America now has a convicted felon former president, 34 times … and still counting. I don’t know whether to be saddened or proud. I guess a bit of both.

    If, as some say, life is all a matter of how you look at it, then some people I know would say the Donald Trump era has been a disaster, a dark stain in the history of America. And it has.

    But others might say Trump has also given America another freaking growth opportunity. If you’re a fan of the AFGO philosophy, it’s easy to see that some people have failed to grasp the opportunity. They are called Republicans.

      Trump’s conviction in a Manhattan court was a tacky story of marital infidelity, lying, cheating and phony business records. Amoral from beginning to end, all to please one person. In other words, typical Trump.

       The fact that this man was once president of the United States made it an embarrassing spectacle, with Trump spreading lies outside the courtroom after each session in the court and the judge sealing the names of the jurors to protect them from threats by Trump supporters. 

      At the same time, the fact that 12 ordinary citizens of New York City found the ex-president guilty of illegally trying to influence the 2016 election was a vote of confidence for the country and the Constitution. No man is above the law.

      Thus, I am conflicted. There’s a lot more legal activity to come before several courts, including the supreme one, and I guess we’ll just have to wait to see how it all works out. So far, so good.

      But with leading Republican officials routinely siding with Trump, criticizing the trial, spreading his lies and ignoring his basic lack of character and morals, there’s no doubt about what the Trump era has meant to a once proud political party: A total loss of moral fiber and, really, no apparent sense of shame, all in a desire for power and its rewards. Faust without the music.

    Any sense of dignity has been lost with the party’s nearly totally blind obeisance to Trump. Abe, Teddy, Ike and probably even Reagan would be aghast at the lack of self-respect many members of this party have for themselves as well as their lack of any sense of obligation to the oaths they took to serve this country.

       There has been virtual silence (which I have noted many times) among elected Republican officials at the national, state and local levels for eight years, regardless of the recklessness of Trump’s words and actions. Talk about hush money. Talk about cowardice.

       So, while the Manhattan trial was a step in the right direction, the jury is still out on the eventual effect of the Trump era on the country. Actually, several juries, which have yet to be selected. But there is hope.

        Not so for this Republican Party. This growth opportunity has been squandered. Which, I guess, leaves a wonderful growth opportunity for new individuals with a sense of morals and dignity and dedication to country to create a new kind of political party.

     That’s the thing with AFGO. You can’t escape it.





When Ambition Trumps Trust

Friday, May 24th, 2024

By Bob Gaydos

Nikki Haley … changing her vote

Nikki Haley … changing her vote

    A while back I wrote a column that focused on three basic rules to live by:

— If it’s not true, don’t say it.

— If it’s not yours, don’t take it.

— If it’s not right, don’t do it.

    The impetus for the column was the obvious fact that The Leader of the Republican Party and many of his followers had never heard of such rules and, in any event, felt no obligation to live by them.

      That situation hasn’t changed. But I have come up with yet another one of what I feel should be a basic rule of life: Be true to your word. The impetus, again, is questionable behavior by Republicans, one a politician, one a judge.

        I realize that trusting the words of a politician is a fool’s choice, but Nikki Haley has managed to lower the bar even further for acceptable if smarmy hypocrisy with her pronouncement that she will vote for Donald Trump for president.

      Haley waged an aggressive primary campaign against Trump for their party’s presidential nomination and, while not succeeding, had respectable results. She found there are indeed some Republicans who are not happy with Trump.

     Among the arguments she made for voting for her and not Trump: “Of course, many of the same politicians who now publicly embrace Trump privately dread him. They know what a disaster he’s been and will continue to be for our party. They’re just too afraid to say it out loud.”

    She accused Trump of being “confused,” “unhinged,” “not qualified” and “too old” to be president.

      So OK, even with her past history of flip-flops (serving as Trump’s UN ambassador and then resigning after two years; saying she would not run against him for president and then running against him for president), those are pretty strong and accurate comments she made about Trump. So why does she now say she is voting for him?

        Ambition. Political ambition, pure and simple. She can vote for whomever she wants in private, but in public she still wants some of Trump’s followers in the party to remember her four years from now when she’ll want to run for president again. 

      She’s willing to sacrifice any personal integrity she might have to preserve that hope for the future, even though she knows full well that a Trump second term in office could change the country’s political landscape drastically.

     (Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who also challenged Trump unsuccessfully in the primaries, is hedging a similar bet. He tried to out- Trump Trump in the primaries, but learned that no one could do that. Now, DeSantis is raising money for Trump and waiting for 2028.)

      The other culprit in this tale of untrustworthiness is Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, he of the, not one, but two flags flying in support of Trump’s “stop the steal” campaign to undo the results of the 2020 election.

        One of the few things Americans learn in school about government and the law is that judges, especially when they are called “justices,” are supposed to be unbiased arbiters in matters that come before them in court. No sign of even a possible conflict of interest is allowed, so there is no doubt about the hearing or the ruling.

      Alito, although he probably swore to such things when he became a judge, apparently never grasped that not taking sides concept.

Samuel Alito

Samuel Alito

    After it was revealed that an American flag flew in distress position at his home, in support of the “stop the steal” campaign, Alito blamed his wife for the incident. Now, photos of a different flag signifying the same support and flying at his vacation home, have been uncovered. No word on whom he’s blaming this time.

    Of course, Alito has only himself to blame. With cases involving Trump and the 2020 election coming before the court, he has refused to recuse himself from them. This is a blatant violation of what most judges believe is their ethical duty, whether written into any code of ethics or not. 

   This Supreme Court, with its casual code of conduct to “guide” members, apparently feels they are special enough to recognize what behavior is ethical and proper for them. Clearly, some of them are not.

     People need to have confidence in the impartiality of their judges. If you are a judge and are involved in a case, or could appear to be involved (say, because your wife likes one side), you have a moral obligation to remove yourself from the case no matter what any code says. You also should have the common sense not to publicly display any statement that shows support for one side. This is basic stuff.

      Like Haley, Alito, who has also taken unreported gifts, appears to be driven by an ambitious desire to change the political landscape of the country. He’ll apparently swear to anything as long as he’s got his robe and lifetime appointment to protect him.

       Another basic life lesson: Trust must be earned and protected by regular investments. Haley and Alito are bankrupt in this regard.


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.       

You Mean We Don’t Shoot Dogs?

Sunday, May 5th, 2024

By Bob Gaydos

Kiss your VP hopes goodbye, governor.

Kiss your VP hopes goodbye, governor.

    Poor Kristi Noem. All she wanted to do was please The Leader and spend four years by his side eagerly dismantling American democracy and maybe making a few bucks on the side. Not an unreasonable dream for a simple farm girl from South Dakota.

    Then she went and shot and killed a puppy. On purpose. For good measure, she also knocked off a goat, reloading her shotgun after initially wounding the animal, which apparently had the annoying habit of acting like, well, a goat.

      And of course, to make sure the world, and especially Donald Trump, knew that she was a no-nonsense woman and politician who could handle difficult situations, such as might be delegated to a vice president, she wrote about it in a memoir.

     When the manuscript of the not-yet published book was leaked, to Noem’s surprise, the world was pretty much shocked that someone would kill a puppy because she couldn’t train him and not simply give him to someone else who could.

      Worse for Noem, The Leader, learning of the shooting, book, etc., reportedly was disgusted and said, “Why would she do that?” Meaning, write all about it. In true Trump fashion, he observed that the South Dakota governor obviously has a poor sense of “public relations.”

       In her attempt to out-Trump Trump, she actually bragged about her evil side. Perhaps she hadn’t been paying attention to the trials, the lies, the stream of victimhood pouring from Trump’s mouth daily. Do it, yes. Then deny, deny, deny. It’s on tape? Deny. Fake news. There were witnesses? Deny. 

        Kill a puppy? It would have to have been viciously attacking, at your throat, no choice but to defend yourself. He killed a chicken? Umm … have Michael Cohen kill the story. Get a non-disclosure agreement from the farmer.

     Noem also admitted to one slight “error” in her memoir — she never actually met North Korea President Kim Jung Il in her wanderings. Somehow he wound up on a list of political figures with whom she had, um, some kind of personal connection. Vice presidential bona fides.

     Noem’s bloodthirsty naked ambition is yet another example of the depths of desperate ignorance and immorality to which much of today’s Republican Party has succumbed. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis also ran afoul of the out-Trump Trump strategy in his brief, unsuccessful campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, especially by being tough on the issue of abortion. Can’t be done. Trump both criticized DeSantis’ strict policies and took credit for the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade.

    If anything positive emerged from Noem’s dog story, it showed that there were actually still some in her party with a heart. No one, even Republicans, seemed to like the thought of shooting a perhaps difficult dog rather than re-homing him to someone who would train and love him.

      Now, immigrants seeking asylum by crossing the border with Mexico, or students demonstrating on college campuses are still different stories. We might need the Army or National Guard to, you know, protect us.

       Anyway, after the dog story went viral, Noem was disinvited from a big Republican Party event and removed from any Trump vice presidential running mate list, if one exists.

     Maybe she can chalk this political misstep up to being from South Dakota, which is in the middle of nowhere and has fewer than a million residents and only three votes in the outdated Electoral College.

      I’ve heard rumors that there are so few people in South Dakota who are politically inclined that the residents take turns at being governor and Noem got the job because the guy ahead of her moved to Florida to sell t-shirts with a “100 percent genuine” photo of Trump and Kim embracing in the Korean Demilitarized Zone. Now that sounds like a good political move for a Republican.