Sunday, July 5, 2020

The Pandemic Duo: Numb and Number

            Where is Mike Pence today to tell everybody it's all under control? Come out, come out, wherever you are, people.

            Not to go all InfoWars here, but I'm going to offer a conspiracy theory: Everywhere Pence visits, COVID cases spike. Is he our super-spreader?

            Where is Donald Trump today? What workplace has he contaminated with his unchecked thermal breath?

            He's done nasal swabs. Maybe he will breathe on a week's worth of short ribs.

            Trump clearly thought he met his monthly quota simply by contaminating Tulsa. Yes, but it's July.

            Remember Tulsa? Sorry, we can't get Tulsa out of our heads – the stupidity of cramming people together sans masks, campaign attendants frantically removing stickers on seats that advised six-feet separation.

            Turns out the MAGA regulars had all the elbow room anyone would desire.

            I heard Trump's surgeon general speak this morning on TV. Talk about a non-essential job. He knows whatever he says, his boss will do the opposite.

            Trump says he needs no face covering because he's clean of the virus. The quintessential editorial cartoon depicting Pence reveals that he needs no facemask because he has no face.

            They are the face of the Republican Party, welcome mat for the novel coronavirus.

            Infected or no, if Trump were an actual leader who had a shred of compassion for people suffering and dying, he'd be the first to don a mask, like Joe Biden has done.

            I don't know what the focus groups are finding in honing Biden's campaign slogans, but I would like to nominate something he's said about the chief obligation of a president, and that is a "duty to care." Print that sucker and stick it in some front lawns.

            Which brings us back to all those things health professionals say we should do if we really want the economy back.

            As for those bleeping face coverings, two imperatives commend them: (1) actual protection – you know, "duty to care" (2) and modeling -- you know, showing you give a fig about doing the right thing.

            The most ridiculous claim made by those eschewing social distancing and other measures is that such things restrict their freedom. Dr. Payal Kohli, a cardiologist who appears on Denver television to discuss health issues, has an apt response.

            She calls the mask "a symbol of freedom," a means toward mobility and some normalcy in a very abnormal time.

            How we get the economy going again is listening to health professionals -- not Trump, not Larry Kudlow.

            Commentator John Pavlovitz, who has had a laser focus on Trump idiot-ology from the start, writes of the "cultic adoration" that has caused people to refuse to wear masks because "to do so would mean (Trump) was wrong all along and that they were lied to and that we are in grave danger."

            Which we are. The numbers don't lie. The Pandemic Duo lies.

            Watch as the cult now tries to say that this disease isn't so much of a problem because not as many people are dying of COVID-19, percentage-wise, compared to infection rates.

            Well, hear from those who've had the disease and didn't die. Anyone who continues to equate this to the flu deserves a "been-there, done that" dose. You first, Rush Limbaugh.

            In the midst of this, said Joe Biden, "We don't need a cheerleader, Mr. President. We need a president."

            Biden also might have said we need a president and vice president with certifiable nerve endings.

            "I'll show him," thought Trump. "I'll go to Mount Rushmore for fireworks."

Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: jyoungcolumn@gmail.com.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Stupidity spread in droplets

            Here we go, a slide down a razor blade of more death and disruption.

            This against a foe we know how to beat.

            New York is beating it. Europe is beating it. Australia is beating it. But vast swaths of the United States are getting their cans kicked.

            Why? Because greed and stupidity remain even more immutable than COVID-19.

            Let's acknowledge others getting their cans clobbered: Donald Trump and his droid army.

            They have demonstrated that "getting the economy rolling again" means revving up ambulances and hearses. Move 'em up, head 'em out.

            How many months of sacrifice by how many people since March? How many billions of dollars in sustenance for businesses and workers sidelined by the disease? And the curve that was flattening now is fattening -- again.

            As the meme goes: They say you can't fix stupid. You can't quarantine it, either.

            Don't wear masks. Don't social-distance. Smirk at testing's role. Aerosolize those thoughts and prayers. Karaoke Night is Thursdays as always.

            No, this is not how to "get the economy rolling again." This is how to return to lockdowns and swamped hospitals.

            Back during the AIDS crisis, much was made of Patient Zero, whose wanton sexual activities made him a super-spreader.

            Who is Patient Zero of this pandemic? Clinicians are certain to identify Texas Lt. Gov. Patrick.

            Not that he has the virus (not that he knows), but he was among the first to promote the social disease by which unnecessary suffering is certain to endure.

            Patrick's line, "There's more important things than living, and that's saving the economy," is being bronzed in the halls of Texas hospitals.

            Of course, he was speaking of the most vulnerable among us who might die. Disposable. Distractions. Data points. Impediments to GOP erotica -- any uptick in GDP.

            Speaking of data: Today's poll numbers show Trump should be reserving a Fuhrerbunker in the Alps for the autumn. Chief among previous supporters fleeing his spell are those over 65.

            Why, oh, why? Could it be that 127,000 deaths and counting into this pandemic, Trump invariably opts for political posturing and campaign-ad framing over medical science and common sense?

            Older Americans tend to listen to doctors. Trump doesn't.

            Oh, wait. Associated Press reports that the administration was recruiting "pro-Trump" physicians to go on television and tell viewers it's wise to rev the economy as quickly as possible.

            Where are those physicians? Any in Texas right now? Florida? Arizona?

            Older Americans, the ones whom the party of Trump and Patrick considers to be cannon fodder, are turning to the party of Biden, the leaders taking this pandemic seriously.

            The Democrats said this week they don't need to cram a convention hall for the purpose of wearing funny hats and sharing spittle. Their national convention will be virtual.

            The Republican National Convention simply will be contagious, and not in terms of enthusiasm.

            In a New York Times commentary on why increasing numbers of older voters have turned away from Trump -- political scientist Rudy Teixeira cites the "ostentatious concern with reopening the economy rather than preventing deaths among the most vulnerable."

            The concern is not limited to the aged. In a New York Times/Siena College poll showing Biden leading Trump nationwide by 14 points, a double-digit majority says the federal government's priority "should be to limit the spread of the coronavirus, even if it hurts the economy."

            This must be disappointing to Dan Patrick and the Chief Poser. For as we are seeing, not controlling the virus has undermined the two chief objectives of the Republican Party – to boost the economy for the most comfortable among us, and to make Donald Trump look good.

            Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: jyoungcolumn@gmail.com.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Glock-Man takes on antifa

            It was a small misunderstanding.  A little thing, really.

            The two men were prone on the ground face-first, fearing for their lives. A man with two Glocks and the tactical vest had 'em there. He was sure they were antifa.

            Leave it to the media to make a big thing out of this: the fact that they were not antifa but roofing salesmen walking the streets of Loveland, Colo., wearing pandemic facial coverings, wearing company logos on their polo shirts, carrying clipboards and company pamphlets.

            Also, the media made a big deal out of the fact that the one who is black, a member of the Colorado State University football team, had been secured by the man's knee to his neck.

            Big overreaction by the media.

            As President Trump has advised, we should be on the lookout for antifa. They (it?) could be anywhere.

            Glock-man Scott Gudmundsen was doing his job as a patriotic citizen. Why should a court order him to explain this to a shrink?

            What about a man's freedom to express himself with his carbine? That's Amendments 1 and 2.

            I know; a few who don't watch Fox News ask, "What the 'fa' is antifa?"

            What and where and who? Tell us where it is, so we can smite it and them.

            Well, as Donald Rumsfeld once explained about weapons of mass destruction, antifa is there, and there, and over there.

            So, yeah, what is this antifa? Is it the antifa? Is it an antifa? Capitalized or no? Anywhere, everywhere or nowhere?

            The failing Washington Post sent out one of its two-bit, no-talent reporters, Isaac Stanley-Becker, with his worthless doctorate in history from Oxford, to ask.

            His conclusion: Though antifa may actually be a thing, it isn't much of one. Par for the course, lamestreamers.

            After interviewing a raft of experts about domestic extremism, he reported, "The group the Trump administration has labeled a menace has mostly been non-existent."

            You mean Trump was misleading us when he said a bony 75-year-old white man pushed to the ground at a Black Lives Matter protest in Buffalo was not doing antifa's bidding by menacing --"scanning" -- police with his – um -- cell phone?

            Can't be true. Trump always levels with us, he and Fox News. Don't dare call this just another example of right-wing hysteri-"fa."

            Oh, sure, Fox on occasion has taken a speck of something and built an interstate with it, but it's all for a good cause.

            In 2008 with the threat of a black president looming over our nation, Fox News constructed a mortal threat out of a near-handful of Black Panthers – well, two -- who showed up at a Philadelphia polling station looking intimidating. Fox News devoted 95 news segments to the matter.

            That paled in comparison to the white rage over brown people coming our way in 2018 via a Central American "caravan" awash with criminals – 300, count 'em.

            Inquiring, pain-in-the-patootie reporters tried to apply math to the claim. They asked the Trump administration to provide a list or actual evidence. But why provide evidence if straight-shooters like Sean Hannity will devote sufficient air time without it?

            And now with marches about racial justice involving a goodly sample of multi-colored bodies, set your binoculars on the advance of antifa, the formless foe.

            Sen. Chuck Schumer calls the whole thing an attempt to frame legitimate protests "as terrorist threats to justify unnecessary federal, even military, intervention." What a snowflake.

            "Antifa." It means anti-fascist. And what is fascism? It's a leader who puts himself above the people, who uses the military to bolster himself and his ego, who elevates the unholy to the holy and his kin above the whole.

            Well, I'm against that. My wife is against that. So are the sons we've raised and all their friends and mine. So, Glock-man has a legitimate fear. Antifa is everywhere.

            Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: jyoungcolumn@gmail.com.