Grapevine: Clinton in drag

August 24, 2019 20:18
Bill Clinton

Bill CLINTON – creating a hostile environment for women. (Reuters). (photo credit: REUTERS)

The suicide of pedophile, scandal-ridden billionaire Jeffrey Epstein has not caused his name to disappear from the headlines. Thanks to certain British media outlets dedicated to exposing the foibles of the famous, an audacious and, to some people, outrageous painting of former US president Bill Clinton in drag, is among the art works that were displayed in Epstein’s Manhattan mansion.

The portrait of Clinton in red high heels and a blue dress reminiscent of Monica Lewinsky shows him lounging in a provocative pose in a chair in the Oval Office and pointing a defiant, accusatory finger. The artist was Petrina Ryan-Kleid.

Until the painting appeared on the Internet, Ryan-Kleid had no idea who bought it. In 2012, as a student at the New York Academy of Art, she had painted presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush for her master’s thesis. Later that year, when the school ran a fundraiser at the Tribeca Ball, the paintings were put up for sale, and her Clinton portrait was purchased by someone who was in attendance. She lost track of the painting until it resurfaced in the volume of media coverage of Epstein’s life and death.

The painting, which suggests that there is more to Clinton than meets the eye, is all over the Internet, and presumably in weeks to come, other bizarre objects d’art from Epstein’s collection will also find their way to the web.

Clinton has denied knowledge of Epstein’s immoral and illegal activities, although he has admitted flying several times on Epstein’s private plane. Epstein was also a frequent visitor to the White House during Clinton’s time in office.

The fact that Epstein’s passion for underage females was far from secret does not necessarily mean that all people in high places were in the know. Several prominent personalities who had business and philanthropic interests with Epstein have denied all knowledge of his sex island, or the fact that he procured underage young women to act out the sexual fantasies of the rich and the famous. Unfortunately, one of the social norms that remains constant regardless of behavioral changes in society is that one is judged by the company one keeps.

■ THE DECISION by the High Court of Justice to freeze the appointment of Ofir Cohen, who was appointed by Justice Minister Amir Ohana to replace Emi Palmor as director-general of the ministry, illustrates the importance of having clear legislation stating that no appointments can be made by an interim government. If Likud wins the elections, it is safe to assume that Ohana will retain his role as justice minister and will then be able to officially appoint his friend Cohen as director-general. But if Likud doesn’t win, then Ohana will no longer be justice minister and Cohen will be out of a job. One can only imagine how this can affect other aspects of his life. As is so often the case when members of the government make decisions that run contrary to proper practice, the situation was put back on track by attorney Eliad Shraga, who, for almost 30 years has headed the Movement for Quality Government that fights all forms of corruption at all levels of government. In this respect, he is arguably one of the most influential figures in Israel. Even as a student, he often made newspaper headlines by staging one-man protests opposite the President’s Residence whenever he thought that the government had overstepped its mandate.

■ ACCORDING TO Jewish teachings, prophecy was given to fools and children. Indeed, change is so frequent in Israel, that it’s risky to attempt to predict anything. However, one thing remains certain – at least for as long as Ran Erez remains head of the union of secondary school teachers. Every year, just before the start of the school year, Erez threatens a nationwide teachers’ strike unless certain conditions related to teachers’ salaries are met. The Education Ministry, which is suffering a shortage of good, qualified teachers, would be inclined to go along with him, but the Finance Ministry remains his nemesis – or perhaps he theirs. This year, he launched his strike threats somewhat earlier than usual, and presumably the Finance Ministry will give way at the 11th hour as has happened in the past. The question is whether it is actually empowered to do so under an interim government. As painful an issue as proper remuneration and conditions for teachers may be, of even greater importance is the education of special needs children. Almost every day in recent weeks, there are horror stories of parents of special needs children being notified by local municipalities that their children can no longer attend the schools at which they have been studying, or that there is no school that can accommodate a child with particular special needs, for instance, a child who suffers from multiple food allergies, some of which are fatal. There is nothing wrong with the child’s brain. It’s just that during meal times, a teacher must be present to ensure that the child does not swap lunches with another student, and eats only what his health condition permits. That’s not too difficult a task, but no school or municipality wants to undertake that responsibility, and therefore the child is left without an educational framework and cannot go to school. During this past year, tremendous strides have been made around the world to include children and adults with disabilities in the activities of mainstream society. This is particularly important in schools, where children who do not suffer from intellectual or physical development problems learn to accept and help those who do. The fact that they are integrated enables children with disabilities to make better progress in their studies and to often reach standards of achievement which they, their parents, teachers and physicians once thought impossible. Even at this late stage, parents are being notified that there is no placement for such children in regular schools, and in many cases find it impossible to enroll them elsewhere. This is a travesty that should be addressed immediately.

■ OF ALL the countries caught up in the Second World War, the greatest loss of human life was arguably on Polish soil, because the Germans chose Poland as their location for implementing the final solution to the Jewish problem, in addition to which they murdered gypsies, homosexuals, Catholic priests and nuns, people with disabilities and Poles who did whatever they could to rescue Jews. The Poles were also the first to fight back. To honor those who did, Polish Ambassador Marek Magierowski, together with Joanna Hoffman, the director of the Polish Institute in Tel Aviv, will host the opening of an exhibition, “First to Fight” on Sunday, September 8. It should be remembered that the Polish resistance movement headed by the Polish Home Army, known in Polish as Armia Krajowa,was the largest in Europe, and was the military arm of the Polish underground. But before the founding in 1942 of Armia Krajowa, which became the umbrella for most of the underground resistance forces, the Secret Polish Army (Tajna Armia Polska) was founded in November 1939, two months after the Nazi invasion, by Witold Pilecki and Jan Wlodarkiewicz. In addition to specifically Jewish resistance organizations and underground groups, Jews also fought shoulder to shoulder with Polish resistance fighters both in and out of uniform. In 1998, a memorial for the close to 200,000 Jews who fought in the Polish Armed Forces from 1939-45 was dedicated on Mount Herzl. The monument constructed out of pink stone bears the various insignia of the Polish Army and is inscribed with the Biblical verse from the second Book of Samuel: “They were swifter than eagles; they were stronger than lions.”

■ US PRESIDENT Donald Trump will be among world leaders participating in memorial events in Warsaw between August 31 and September 2. It will be his second visit to the Polish capital since taking office and his ninth meeting with Polish President Andrzej Duda whose Krakow-born wife, Agata Kornhauser-Duda, is of Jewish background. Trump was scheduled to proceed from Poland to Denmark, but canceled the visit after his plan to buy Greenland was rebuffed. This was after Denmark had already made all the arrangements for the presidential visit. Although it has been speculated that Trump wants to buy Greenland for its potential valuable raw materials, which have yet to be discovered, there’s also the possibility that Trump might want to turn Greenland into America’s Hong Kong – in other words, an island that is not attached to the mainland, and where the population lives by different rules. For instance, he could get rid of his migrant problem by shuttling immigrants from South and Central America to Greenland, if the Danes would only agree to making a deal. But the Danes have no intention of selling Greenland. Still it could be in Trump’s mind that buying Greenland, putting so-called illegal immigrants there and starting up diverse industries would obviate the need to build walls on America’s southern border. America could then live up to what is engraved on the Statue of Liberty. Instead of a wall along the border, there would be processing offices, health clinics, bathrooms, restaurants and provisions for taking the new immigrants to Greenland. It would be something like the Israeli immigration system in the first decade of the state, but much more efficient and sophisticated. However, none of that can happen because Greenland is not for sale.

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