From voting rights to vaccinations, ever since we Americans have been forced to stare at the split-screen evolution of our political schizophrenia, we have always known that our new reality leads us to just one core question.

Our problem is that we not only know The Question, but we also know The Answer.

Today we will be looking at ways we can convert our new split-screen reality into a power-tool of manipulation. Then perhaps we can use it to save thousands of lives by finally getting America out of the pandemic mess in which the COVID-19 Delta variant seems to be surging out of control among the half of us who have refused to be vaccinated. Government experts say that 99 percent of those currently contracting coronavirus were unvaccinated. And polls show most of those were Republicans who voted for Trump. (Sticky Note goes here; we’ll get to it soon.)

Last Tuesday, in Philadelphia, President Joe Biden asked, quite publicly and powerfully, The Question in a way it hadn’t been asked so bluntly before. He asked it in a context that was about You-Know-Who’s determination to destroy our democracy with a firehose of feckless, fact-less lies to convince history that he didn’t really lose the 2020 election that he definitely lost.

Beginning slowly and most powerfully, Biden began by slowly but most powerfully setting up The Question: “You don’t call facts ‘fake’ and then try to bring down the American experiment just because you’re unhappy. … That’s not statesmanship; that’s selfishness. … It suppresses. It subjugates.” Then he asked it:

“Have you no shame?”

Our problem – and our president’s problem – is, of course, that we not only know The Question, but we also know The Answer as it applies to You-Know-Who. He has no shame. Never has. Never will. That cannot be altered or erased. But perhaps this self-evident truth can be used to help finally conquer COVID-19, if done just right.

(Hint: If we do it right, Biden may be able to manipulate his predecessor with a success achieved, time and again, by a certain former KGB manipulator who long ago figured out how he could manipulate our former president to end their summit by disavowing his own CIA and saying he trusted, even more, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin!)

Two days before Biden spoke in Philadelphia, Donald Trump ventured out of his Mar-a-Lago Elba to woo his die-hard faithful (and as COVID-19’s dreaded Delta variant surges, that seems their sad but likeliest prospect) at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas. Trump sprayed them with his firehose of lies to convince history he wasn’t the 2020 election loser, that it was all rigged. Before Trump got there, the crowd actually cheered lustily when a speaker bragged that the federal government experts failed to achieve the vaccination totals they expected.

Somehow saving lives has become a red-blue/left-right thing in the sick-mindedness of TrumpWorld. Yet when Trump spoke, he bragged at length about how his Operation Warp Speed had achieved three vaccines “to end the pandemic in record time.” This past spring, Trump bragged (perhaps jokingly) to a gathering of hundreds of donors he invited to Mar-a-Lago that he not only deserved credit for the vaccines, but he wants the coronavirus vaccine to be named: “Trumpcine.” (Now check out our Sticky Note.)

On the matter of manipulating his predecessor, Biden needs to understand that he holds all the aces. He just needs to lead his Trump card. Try hard to imagine this: Biden announces that indeed his predecessor’s Operation Warp Speed produced those three vaccines that have saved millions of lives in record time. Then, Biden really announces that from now on he’ll be calling all three the “Trump Vaccines.” (Whoa! The thunder of millions of minds boggling is ear-splitting! But stay the course.)

And sailing his bipartisanship through these uncharted waters, imagine Biden asking his predecessor, who, after all, festoons his name in neon and gold atop edifices around the planet, to deep-six politics and campaign coast-to-coast to help convince Trump’s true-believers to safeguard themselves and their loved ones by being vaccinated by a lifesaving Trump Vaccine. It would be Trump’s one and only chance to salvage his legacy. It would be Biden’s best chance to save Americans from dying.

Even in that most powerful, forcefully worded denunciation of the Trump Republicans’ attacks on our democracy’s voting rights, Biden also concluded by saying:

“This isn’t about Democrats and Republicans; it’s literally about who we are as Americans. It’s that basic. It’s about the kind of country we want today, the kind of country we want for our children and grandchildren tomorrow. And quite frankly, the whole world is watching.”

Martin Schram, an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service, is a veteran Washington journalist, author and TV documentary executive. Readers may send him email at


(6) comments


The percentage of people presenting with COVID and people dying of COVID are overwhelming not vaccinated. You're suspicious that there both 99%, fine. Do you think they are way off? The CDC has not gotten data on COVID deaths in vaccinated people. A different group. That does not change the numbers on counting people ill or dying with non vaccinated status. Are you hung up on the percenatges being exactly the same or do you doubt that that the entire concept is right? Either you think the overall report is logical, or you think that it's a scam to frighten people?


The FNP should request a refund on this one. Schram the Sham (sans the Pharaohs) couldn't spell "credible" if you spotted him "cred." It's fine to cut on Donald Trump who admittedly is a one man target rich environment of prevarication, negativity, classlessness, boorishness, and just plain old bad karma. But, for god sakes don't try to sell Joe Biden as palatable, credible, reasonable, even handed antidote to Dastardly Donald. Sleepy Joe has his own "firehose of feckless, fact-less lies" the most recent example of which includes calling common sense, legitimate voter legislation the greatest threat to American democracy since the Civil War --The Civil *#^kin War! -- which has to be the dumbest utterance yet of this man who managed to achieve the highest office in the land despite a 40 year career notorious for his inane, stupid comments, flights of fancy, plagiarism and outright lies. And as for Putin, ol Vlad has been living rent free in Biden's head for the past seven months, as he eats Biden's lunch on a regular basis. It's OK to craft heavy handed partisan screeds, but The Sham assumes his audience to be as vacuous as he is. Ol veritas is insulted - and you should be too.


People reporting to health care facilities found to be COVID positive are explaining that they are unvaccinated at 99% according to health care facilities. Fairly clear, vaccinated people are not reporting for COVID illnesses; so there's your answer. Right in the letter. I love how you were sure you found a flaw in there.


Respectfully to jth7 100 -- There are flaws aplenty. The column we are commenting upon attributes to "government experts" that 99% of those infected are the unvaccinated. But In June, the announcement was that 99% of COVID deaths were to the unvaccinated. Same percentage, why not. The Associated Press and the CDC Director pushed this COVID death statistic. But the AP had to acknowledge: "The CDC itself has not estimated what percentage of hospitalizations and deaths are in fully vaccinated people, citing limitations in the data." So I will ask again, where do these 99% come from? What are the sources of the data?


"Government experts say that 99 percent of those currently contracting coronavirus were unvaccinated." Where is this statistic coming from? What are the sources of the data? On May 24, on the front page of the Frederick News-Post, an Associated Press article stated the following: "Fully vaccinated Americans can largely skip getting tested for the coronavirus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said last week that most people who have received the full course of shots and have no COVID-19 symptoms don’t need to be screened for the virus, even if exposed to someone infected." Obviously, if vaccinated people aren't getting tested, the positives will be among the unvaccinated. This is now being abused to demonstrate the desperate need for more vaccination.


“He has no shame. Never has. Never will.”

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