Sunday, October 18, 2020

Your take on Trump now, Corruption Lady

           At 3:20 p.m. Mountain Time Oct. 13 in the ballot drop box at the Larimer County Courthouse, Fort Collins, Colo., I solemnly cast my vote to consign Donald Trump to the criminal justice system.

            The most corrupt president in U.S. history knows that the only thing that separates him from any number of people with numbers on their jumpsuits is the office he holds.

            Prosecutors in New York have made a bead on criminality affirmed by Trump's longtime attorney, Michael Cohen before Congress: tax fraud, bank fraud, insurance fraud.

            That doesn't even include the use of campaign dollars to try to keep a porn star silent.

            At these revelations and more, I've thought of an indignant lady I heard on a sidewalk four years ago.

            What got her going was a "Hillary" button.

            She supported Trump, she huffed, and offered: "Better someone coarse than someone corrupt."

            Yes, she was concerned about corruption, apparently the Clinton Foundation's dealings with foreign governments. What is she saying now?

            Is she concerned about Trump's businesses raking in millions of dollars as corporations, lobbyists and – yes, foreign governments – have lined up to put a coin in the tin at Mar-a-Lago and other Trump properties?

            A New York Times investigation of the avowed "swamp drainer" finds "Trump didn't merely fail to end Washington's insider culture of lobbying and favor-seeking. He reinvented it, turning his own hotels and resorts into the Beltway's new backrooms."

            What is Corruption Lady's read on this?

            What does she say of that alleged trifecta of fraud explained by longtime Trump fixer Michael Cohen? Trump inflated property values for insurance and collateral purposes and deflated them for tax purposes.

            Corruption Lady may consider that all-American wizardry, business smarts, particularly the part about paying almost no taxes. New York County District Attorney Cyrus Vance has a criminal angle he wants to explain to a jury.

            Michael Cohen will be happy to testify, having gone to prison for things he did for The Boss, known in court documents as Individual One.

            In his book "Disloyal," Cohen writes, "I'm certain that Trump knows he will face prison time if he leaves office." Yes, he said "if."

            Cohen attributes Trump's rise as a businessman and politician to "rat-like cunning."

            He describes how Trump paid for bots to vote in an online TV poll ranking business titans.

            He describes how Trump paid for people to populate his coming-out event as a presidential candidate.

            He describes the utter baloney and connery that was just about anything to do with Trump University.

            He describes how Trump ingratiated himself with evangelical mullahs like Jerry Falwell Jr. and Franklin Graham, righteous hands laid upon him, only to turn around later and say, "Can you believe people believe that bullshit?"

            Cohen describes Trump's overtures toward Putin and Russia about a Trump tower in Moscow.

            No collusion? Whatever the case, writes Cohen, Trump "wanted to do all he could to enable him to borrow money from people in Putin's circle."

            We now know Trump owes someone somewhere $421 million. Who and where might those debtors be?

            Ah, yes, corruption.

            Back in 2018 when the state of New York shut down the Trump Foundation and a judge ordered Trump to pay $2 million for using the so-called charity as a personal and political slush fund, I thought of Corruption Lady and those accusatory claims about the Clinton Foundation -- its efforts to prevent disease, educate children overseas and generally improve the planet.

            What is she thinking now?

            Probably that we need to know more about Hunter Biden.

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

 

Monday, October 12, 2020

Flies are circling GOP's false claims

            The Biden flyswatters are sold out.

            Hurry now, though, and you can have a Mike Pence bobble-head with Insecta Diptera perched just above his study brow – as seen on TV.  

            Flies seek things rotten. When that now-famous fly chose a place to land in last week's vice presidential debate, Pence's right brain proved irresistible.

            Right brain: associated with reason.

            The fly heard talk of our pandemic. It heard Pence say, with a face as straight as a carpenter's square, that "from the very first day" Donald Trump "put the health of Americans first."

            That may be the best joke since Abbott and Costello loaded the bases.

            "Who got sick first at the White House?"

            "No, What."

            "That was my question. Who?"

            "No, What."

            "OK, then, who got it third?"

            "That's what I want to find out."

            The fly heard Pence say that under Trump, the federal response to COVID-19 was "the greatest national mobilization since World War II."

            First, it's one heck of an insult to post-World War II America. We must have inhabited the past 75 years in a bucket of chicken.

            Second, more Americans have died from this virus than from all U.S. wars since.

            Anyone with eyes to see – and a fly has three – knows that when the virus came calling on these shores, Trump made it a game. He lied about its severity. He ridiculed governors who, unlike him, took it seriously.

            Now he has the disease that has killed so many, for goodness sakes, and he acts like Ferris Bueller in a borrowed convertible.

            "The biggest mistake people make in public life is not telling the truth, particularly in something with as much public interest as (the virus) because you know the real story is going to come out."

            Who said that? Rachel Maddow? Hillary Clinton?

            No, those words come from Texas' own Sen. John Cornyn, ruminating for Houston Chronicle editors about Trump's current straits, credibility-wise.

            Cornyn the candidate suddenly is emphasizing the candid in a race that's much, much tighter than handicappers ever imagined.

            If Democrat MJ Hegar defeats him, she'll have to stand in line for rightful props because so many Republican senators who hitched their stars to the liar-in-chief are similarly endangered. Right, Lindsey Graham?

            The virus is just one of countless venues on which, with Trump as its leader and role model, the GOP has become a liar's banquet.

            The outrageous effort to cast doubt about the security of mail-in ballots is built on lies.

            One of the most revealing moments of the Trump years was the other day when a reporter called the administration's hand on a tall tale about absentee ballots tossed in a river.

            When repeatedly asked, "What river?" Trump press secretary Kayleigh McEnany became Donald Rumsfeld who, of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, said, "We know where they are," then demonstrated he had no idea.

            The river turned out to be a ditch. A bag of mail indeed was found there. However, postal officials found no ballots in it.

            End of story, but not the end of GOP horror stories about the perils of any alternative to standing in ghastly lines on Election Day.

            One of the most stunning insults to voters of all stripes was Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's unfathomable directive to limit counties to one ballot drop box.

            His claim that this is about ballot security is as empty and weather-beaten as all the other GOP machinations to tamp down the vote.

            Texas voters will remember this when Abbott is on the ballot in 2022.

            Back to the presidential race, and to a fly's nod to the rot that has become of the Party of Trump.

            Kamala Harris had a sound rejoinder when Pence said the administration's reckless posture on masks and social distancing "is about respecting the freedom of the American people."

            Said Harris: "You respect the American people when you tell them the truth."

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

 

Sunday, October 4, 2020

The Super-Spreader is sidelined

           Ten months and 200,000-plus deaths after it knew what we know now about this virus, the White House is saving some lives.

            Cramped, mask-less campaign rallies. Canceled. Sycophantic fundraisers. Canceled. Red-clad gatherings hosted by the Super-Spreader himself. Cancelled.

            Lives saved.

            Good information and precautions suddenly are enunciated. Caution. Precaution. Thoughts and prayers and social distancing!

            Suddenly on Fox News, the coronavirus is a serious matter.

            Sure, the matter was serious 10 months ago, just not on that network or in this White House. Both played it down for weeks and months, death after death.

            Masks save lives, but the man in charge of a nation's response mocked them -- even two days before reality arrived in a fever.

            At the presidential debate his family and supporters sat before him mask-less.

            Today some members of Joe Biden's campaign team at the debate wonder if they were exposed by this recklessness.

            They wore their masks. They were thoughtful about others.

            So, now we trace the steps of Patient One and the cast of contagion carriers, our focus misdirected at one aide, Hope Hicks.

            That's wrong. That's stupid.

            I don't blame Hope Hicks.

            I blame everyone who heard health professionals and ignored what those experts had to say about this disease.

            I blame everyone who couldn't bear to wear that mask into that Walmart.

            I blame all the bikers who bellied up to the bars of Sturgis.

            I blame those who say a spot at the bar is more important than, well, life itself.

            I blame politicians who preach that commerce is more important than anyone of us who might perish for the cause, like the elderly. Little did those politicians ponder the fact that their vaunted leader is of that demographic.

            I blame preachers who insist the word of the Lord can't be heard on Zoom but instead must be shared via aerosolized droplets.

            I blame people who couldn't put off that big gathering until tomorrow, risking others' tomorrows.

            I blame people who think masks are too big a sacrifice. Tell that to the dead and their survivors.

            I blame people who say this is about "freedom." Bovine excrement.

            I blame those who say football is more important than fighting a pandemic.

            I blame those who assumed it was all over after a few months and who up until a certain high-profile prognosis were treating the pandemic as something in the past.

            I blame those who want to blame China, as if that theory is germane to anything. The virus is here. It's everywhere. In some countries it's under control. In our country it's not even close.

            I blame governors who put their constituents in jeopardy by recklessly opening things up too soon.

            I blame horribly misinformed Republican governors.

            (Georgia's Brian Kemp acknowledged in April he didn't realize people lacking symptoms could spread the virus.  As late as July Florida's Ron DeSantis was saying children are at almost "zero risk." Could these pretenders do some research if they're going to lead large states?)

            I blame those who issued death threats and denounced governors who took the threat seriously.

            I blame mercenaries of myth who, offering themselves as experts, get air time on Fox News providing a counter-narrative to scientific consensus. (See: climate change. See: smoking and cancer.)

            I blame everyone – everyone -- who dismissed this matter from the start. Of course, this starts with the man – now known as Patient One -- who said it would all go away with the heat of April, he who said last week we are "rounding the corner." Instead the virus made a direct turn toward him.

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