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:

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:


Sunday, June 14, 2020

Pandemic? Black holocaust? Ah, just forget it

            It was beyond horrific: Lungs collapsing under the weight of their own resistance. Vibrant and alive by morning. Dead by night.

            The influenza pandemic of 1918 did something else ever etched into the minds of those who cared for the dying. In many cases it turned white people black. Race: indecipherable.

            Of course, at the time people couldn't see a virus, either.

            Not that many know about this. History books have been Cloroxed of it.

            The college history book that long had been my go-to source for maps and charts and battle lines? Not a word about influenza. Another book on the shelf about transformative American moments? Zip.

            Could someone have thought scrubbing from memory something that killed 50 million worldwide would make us safer?

            Scrub, scrub, scrub. Is this how history will remember our moment in time?

            Speaking of race: I doubt one in 100 Americans knew of what many are learning this week about a horrific date in Tulsa, Okla., as Donald Trump plans a COVID-soup rally there.

            On June 1, 1921, a white mob gathered to lynch a young black man but met a black group assembled to protect him. Instead, the mob turned its fury on Tulsa's Greenwood District, a thriving hub of black-owned businesses known as "Black Wall Street."

            In a hail of gunfire, a blur of flame, Black Wall Street burned to the ground. Three hundred died. Vibrant by morning, dead by night.

            I'm a maven of history. I hadn't heard of this until the nation was forced once again to confront its heritage of racism as people took to the streets to support Black Lives Matter.

            Oh, the land mines placed on the paths of those who rejoiced their freedom one bright June day in 1865.

            To them, slavery's end gave them humanity. To others, it took away control.

            So many stories swept under the rug: Take "Ax Handle Saturday" in Jacksonville, Fla., where in August the Republicans plan to convene a COVID cocktail party to nominate Trump.

            There in another August, 1960, a group of black youths marched peacefully to protest all-white lunch counters. They were met by Klansmen and their sympathizers who chased them down the street, eventually turning ax handles and baseball bats on any black person they saw.

            So much of the violence in incidents like this was attributed to "agitators" and "infiltrators," when it really came down to privileged and empowered white people wanting any reason at all to crack heads. This tendency pertains to too many police officers.

            It was somewhat of an abomination to hear news media reports continually say that the peaceful protests worldwide were about the death of one man at the hands of police. Hence, efforts by the MAGA crowd to make George Floyd appear worthy of harsh treatment at the hands of police.

            Stop it. The protests aren't about George Floyd. They are about generations of George Floyds.

            What has happened with Floyd's murder is that the viral video of his death while face-down on the pavement, his neck under the knee of a white policeman, hands in his pockets and pressing, and pressing, cannot be Cloroxed.

            It has caused us all to stop and ponder injustices that have gone on since the first slave ships arrived on our continent: America's original sin.

            All those 400 years later, have we learned? Some haven't. They are still clinging to the power they consider a birthright and the monuments for which they stand.

            Oh, did someone mention a pandemic? We're having one, and it's stunning how closely the actions of our president match the play-it-down, way-down actions of President Wilson in 1918 as disease killed so many. Wilson had World War I to worry about. Donald Trump has his re-election to worry about.

            Alfred Crosby, author of "America's Forgotten Pandemic," says that for those who experienced the 1918 disaster it was "in the individual memory" for life, "but it's not in the collective memory."

            That helps explain why, of course, we now see that very history repeated today.

            Individual memory, not collective memory.

            Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email:


Sunday, June 7, 2020

Brave walk from bunker to Bible-op

            Accentuate the positive.

            Donald Trump had peaceful protesters gassed, had them flash-banged and chased by mounted park rangers, to clear his path for a two-bit photo-op. But at least he didn't take a golf cart.

            He didn't have his coterie of sycophants lay palm fronds before him. He didn't ride the Popemobile.

            No, pluckily negotiating the grit of a paved walking surface and the traction of God-given wingtips, Trump made it to St. John's Episcopal Church. There he held a Bible to the sky, much like a stunned first-time fisher-person for whom a -- whatcha call it? A carp? – had taken his hook.

            As my son says, "What a poser."

            All I can say as a citizen is that I'm glad someone had a camera.

            Once again, Americans were reminded of what a venal and out-of-touch figure has infested the White House for the last 3.5 years.

            The day before he had been in the White House bunker so as not to feel the hot breaths of real Americans concerned about real injustices.

            His explanation of this was fascinating. At first he said he hadn't been in the bunker. Then he said he was there for a tour.

            "Well, as you can see, Mr. President, this is a wall, and this is a wall. We have two more walls just like this. And this is the door through which you came."

            At this point we can hope at minimum that Donald Trump knows where the door is.

            He should not be where he is. He has no concept of the job for which he applied. The job was well explained by Joe Biden the other day in a speech that showed what it means to have actual human representation at the highest levels of government.

            A president "has a duty to care," said Biden.

            Over the last few months Trump has indicated with every word and action, "Not my job."

            Not a hint of compassion about thousands of deaths of marginalized people struggling through a pandemic. Nor about oppression that strains the lives of many people of color.

            He cares about the stock market. He cares about the GDP. He cares about the meat supply. He wonders if anything will save his bacon.

            Streets molten with rage, two Politico headlines said it in so many words:

            "Racial wounds rip open under a president with a history of exploiting them."

            "Trump confronts a culture war of his own making."

            Let's not interpret "confronts" in this case as one might a plumber who arrives for a burst pipe. Trump has confronted this situation much like one of the ProudBoys or any provocateur who flies a Confederate flag from his pickup aerial outside a Juneteenth gathering.

            With his inflammatory tweets and Hitler-like threats of deploying the military against American citizens, observed Trump's one-time secretary of defense, James Mattis (to be dittoed by ex-chief of staff John Kelley):

            "Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people – does not even pretend to try. Instead, he tries to divide us."

            If "law and order" Republicans are concerned about people flying off the handle, they should look at their chief role model.

            ABC News has documented 54 instances where perpetrators invoked Trump's name in "violent acts, threats of violence and allegations assault."

            Enough media and law enforcement witnesses were outside the gates of the White House that day to know that the protests Trump quelled with horses and gas were peaceful and not the "terrorists" former White House attorney John Dowd called them. Of course, safe in his shell, Trump shared the remarks by Twitter.

            Oh, well. You can take the man out of the bunker, but you can't take the bunker out of the man.

            Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: