Faux News: Trump Replaces Health Advisors, Threatens Court Martials for West Point Seniors

Trump announced today that he was firing advisors Fauci and Birx and replacing them with Rutherford Jackson, the scientist who invented the drug hydroxychloroquine and whose controversial views of fighting the Covid-19 epidemic involve “bodily cleansing.” While Mr. Jackson’s credentials are unclear, he is called “The Doctor” by his followers and has recently caught the ear of the President, who has shown impatience regarding social distancing and stay-at-home orders, which are devasting the economy. In a recent interview on Fox news “The Doctor” refuted the critics who have argued that there is no scientific evidence that hydroxychloroquine has any positive impact on curing patients with Covid-19, but that it can have serious side effects and should be avoided. “The Doctor” responded that all the evidence by his scientific team actually points to a cure by ingesting this drug in addition to other substances recommended by Trump at his press conference on Thursday such as rubbing alcohol, Lysol, and bleach. He referred to his critics as “a bunch of wimps and sissies.”

“It all has to do with bodily cleansing,” said The Doctor, “Besides rubbing alcohol and bleach, my favorite cleansers are nitroglycerin and Lysol. If swallowed in appropriate doses, they will kill anything.”

Following the announcement of the appointment of Mr. Jackson, the stock market rose over 1,000 points due largely to increases in stock prices of drug and cleanser manufacturers, including TrumpPharma, whose CEO is Donald Trump Jr. The healthcare community reacted immediately warning that ingesting any of these substances could lead to immediate death. There has been no response as of this reporting by the White House.

Following the President’s announcement to appoint Jackson as his primary health advisor, Trump announced that he has ordered all graduating seniors back to West Point where he will give the commencement address. He has notified the officials at the school that any graduate who misses the event should be court martialed. He also has insisted that all the traditional ceremonies, such as when the graduates throw their hats into the sky, will be honored, and all social distancing regulations will be lifted for the cadets and for all who attend the ceremony. For security reasons, no masks will be permitted, but Trump has ordered that dispensers of hydroxychloroquine and Lysol should be placed at various strategic locations in the stadium such as exits and restrooms.

Faux News: Breaking News, Trump Hints At Civil War

In an abrupt about-face, President Trump today called on his supporters to “liberate America” from the stay-at-home orders associated with the Covid-19 crisis, which he said were concocted by Democrats and fueled by the fake news media.

“There is no pandemic,” tweeted the president, “Never has been, never was, TAKE BACK OUR COUNTRY. NOW!” Boarding the presidential helicopter this morning, he was confronted by several in the news media asking why he had supported these stay-at-home measures before and in fact had just issued directives for governors to proceed with a gradual loosening of restrictions. The president lashed out at the reporters, arguing that he never claimed that the country was experiencing a pandemic. “These are all lies by the fake news media. Total lies. I have said from the get-go that just like the global warming nonsense, the whole thing is a hoax. I want everyone back to work!”

“Look,” said the president, “More people die each year in automobile accidents than have died in this fake pandemic. It is all an attempt to make me look bad during an election year, to hurt my businesses, and to kill the strongest economy the world has ever seen, the economy which I created basically single-handedly by the way. My supporters understand this and will have none of it. These reckless stay-at-home actions have put over 22 million Americans out of work. And so, my rallies will continue; and if my supporters want to protest at the statehouses occupied by dictatorial, Democratic governors, I say just do it. Take ‘em over if you have to! Do whatever it takes to liberate these states, and the federal government will be behind you.”

Vice President Pence was the first to praise the president, saying to reporters, as he typically does whenever given a chance to speak, that Trump is the “greatest ruler of all time,” and that Trump’s call for the end of “so called health restrictions” was long overdue. Led by Mitch McConnell and Lindsay Graham, most Republican senators were quick to fall in line, congratulating the president for his “courageous leadership.” Strong encouragement also came from the Kremlin when this morning President Putin offered his support in whatever ways would help President Trump including the use of the Russian military, if requested.

It remains unclear what will happen next. Large mobs are gathering today on the grounds of most state capitols where a Democrat is governor. Many of the protestors are armed with assault weapons and hand grenades, and several in the news media have reported seeing rocket launchers. It is rumored that some of the agitators may have access to nuclear weapons. Several observers have noted that the actions appear to be planned and well organized. Some eyewitnesses to these gathering also report hearing what sounds like the Russian language being spoken.

The country remains in what has been described by many as the biggest crisis most of us will experience in our life times. Virtually all health care experts have warned that lifting the physical distancing orders now, before extensive testing is in place, will have a disastrous effect allowing the Covid-19 coronavirus to spread like wildfire. They say that the reason that the fatalities have been lower than what was forecasted is due to the rigorous distancing regulations and the closing of businesses and nonessential activities, and that deaths are likely to skyrocket if people are suddenly allowed and encouraged to go back to work.

Many in the country, especially Democratic Party elected officials, appeared to have been caught off guard by Trump’s tweets and his support for the protesters, and are unclear as to how to respond. Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader Schumer are meeting this afternoon with other leading Democrats including the apparent nominee for president, Joe Biden, to develop a response to Trump’s actions. If Trump orders the U.S. military to assist actions by protestors to take over local and state governments, it is not clear what the outcome will be. Attorney General William Barr is reported to have urged the president to declare a national state of emergency, temporarily suspend the U.S. Constitution, postpone indefinitely all elections, and put the country under martial law. President Trump is said to be seriously considering these options.

Let Us Now Praise Famous Men and Women

During this time of the Covid 19 pandemic, let us give praise. Let us praise all those people who are working every day to save lives in hospitals, wellness centers, and emergency rooms. They are there for us all the time, but we think about them rarely, mainly in times of crisis like we are in now. Many do this at great risk of getting infected, and some have paid the price with their lives. Let us praise the doctors, the nurses, the nursing assistants, and the medical technicians. Let us praise those who keep them going—those who greet patients, answer the phone, run the computers, turn on the lights, prepare the food, wash dishes,clean up, fix what is broken, provide security, and all those behind the scenes who keep the hospitals and doctors’ offices open.

Let us praise the first responders, those whom we honored after 9-11, but whom often we take for granted. Let us praise the emergency health care workers, the police, and firefighters, and all those who are there for us in times of great crisis.

Let us praise the hospital chaplains, the clergy, the social workers, and all those who comfort the sick and the bereaved, their families, and loved ones.

Let us praise the researchers and scientists who are working 24-7 to figure this pandemic out, to soften its blow, and to develop a vaccine.

Let us praise our teachers and professors, who are now teaching from home using the internet to connect with students.

Let us praise those who work in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and senior’s housing where the losses have been so great and the personal risks so high.

Let us praise all those people who are keeping us going in our own homes as we struggle to deal with stay-at-home orders, isolation, and physical distancing. Let us praise those who are still working in essential businesses like grocery stores and pharmacies, those who prepare food for delivery and get it to us, those who drive the buses, trains, trucks and airplanes that get essential items to us, those who produce the food, and those who drive the taxis and cars that take us where we need to go. Let us praise those who deliver our mail, pick up our trash, clean our streets and public areas, and those who work in the apartment buildings where so many of us live. Let us praise those in government who get to us essential services and financial aid. Let us praise our military and those who are keeping our country safe and strong. Let us praise our elected officials at all levels of government who are making difficult decisions every day regarding how to deal with the pandemic.

And let us praise the everyday people who are lending a hand here and there, trying to ease the pain we all are going through. Let us praise the small business owner who continues to keep staff on, knowing that if government help does not come soon enough, it could mean the end of the business. Let us praise the landlord who gives tenants a break on the rent and lenders who put off foreclosures and loan payments. Let us praise all those who call a neighbor or friend just to check on how they are doing and to see if help is needed. Let us praise those who volunteer to provide services to shut-ins and those most isolated and at risk. Let us praise all who are trying to do their part by keeping a safe distance and staying at home. These are the unsung heroes.

Let us now praise all these famous men and women.

Faux News: Inside the Meeting to Reopen America

Our Faux News reporter, disguised as a medic with a thermometer to assure the absence of covid-19 by taking the temperature of all those present at the high-level meeting yesterday, secretly recorded the following unedited discussion. Those present included Vice President Pence, Attorney General Barr, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin, health advisers, Doctors Fauci and Birx and three unidentified advisers.

Trump: I am sick of this shit. It is time to reopen the country and reopen it now. I want it done tomorrow. Does anyone have any idea how much money I am losing every day on my shuttered hotels and resorts? This stay-at-home stuff has totally gotten out of hand, and now unemployment is hitting the double digits. I am sick, sick, sick of this, and the American people won’t stand for it.

Pence: Thank you, Mr. President. I agree with everything you say. I always agree with everything you say. You are the greatest, the best president we have ever had. I am so lucky to have the honor of serving you. The American public loves you. You are not capable of making a mistake, Ever. Thank you, thank you, thank you….

Trump: Enough Pence. What do the rest of you think?

Barr: Agree.

Mnuchin: Agree.

Fauci: Not so fast, Mr. President. The physical distancing is working. The stay-at-home orders are working. That is why the projections have gone down from 60,000 deaths to maybe 40,000, but if we were to stop the distancing and the stay-at-home orders, the projections could easily jump to well over 100,000 deaths and perhaps as much as over one million deaths in the U.S. The problem is we really don’t know, and we can’t know without testing, and we do not have the testing we need yet.

Trump: Yes, we do. I have said many times that anyone in the U.S. who wants to get tested can get tested immediately.

Fauci: With all due respect, Mr. President, that is not the case. We are working on getting the tests out, but having the proper number is still weeks, maybe months away.

Trump: Fauci, you are fired.

(Fauci exits the room.)

Trump: Birx, what about you?

Birx: With respect, sir, I am afraid to say that I have to agree with Tony. We can’t risk seeing the deaths go up astronomically. The time will come when we can go back to something approaching normalcy, but we will not be able to do this until we are able to test millions of more people. Every health expert in the country agrees with us on this.

Trump: Not the ones on Fox News. Birx, you are fired.

(Birx exits the room.)

Trump: Now that the fake experts are gone, we can get down to business. I am going to announce at the briefing that everyone is expected to be at work on Monday and to throw the face masks in the waste basket. The fake pandemic is over, and America is going back to work. It is time to celebrate, and I want to see everyone in church on Easter Day, except for me, of course. I can’t get out of my scheduled golf game. Anyone not showing up for work on Monday will be jailed. Now let’s do it. I want those unemployment numbers going down. Now!

Barr: Bravo, Mr. President! I will get the ball rolling.

Adviser 1: With respect, Mr. President, you may want to slow this down a bit, and you may want to reconsider firing your healthcare experts. It will not play well with the press corps except, of course, for Fox News.

Trump: Have you seen my TV ratings? I am killing them. Off the charts! My ratings will really soar when everyone is back at work. And who cares about the fake press anyway? Nobody gives a twit about the lying bastards. Hunter Biden will not have a chance.

Adviser 1: You mean Joe Biden? In any event, sir, we honor you and believe you know best. I will withdraw my objection.

Pence: Good move, young man. The president is always right. Always. He never has made a mistake. He is incapable of making a mistake. Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you so much. You are so great! Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you….

Trump: Enough Pence. Anyone else have any objections?

Adviser 2: Of course, Mr. President, I agree with you too like everyone else in the room right now. We all agree with you. But I feel, sir, obligated to point out the political risk if we are not careful. Two things. First, I believe the governors of the states will have the last say on this. This is really in their court.

Trump: Barr, is he right on this?

Barr: Mr. President. You can do anything you damn well please.

Trump: Thanks, Bill. Second point?

Adviser 2: According to the experts, we could see many more deaths if the stay-at-home and distancing orders are softened, and the number may spike near election time into the hundreds of thousands. That might not look good for your reelection.

Trump: Do you think for one moment that I give a flying twit about how many die? Most are old codgers who are going to die anyway. I just do not understand why this is such a big deal. People die all the time. And besides the vast majority are poor and black. Do you think anyone cares about them?

Adviser 2: Of course, I agree. We all agree. All I am saying is that it may not look good, and it may cost you votes. Plus, if you argue for everyone going back to work and the Democratic governors don’t go along with you, then you can blame the unemployment figures on them. You will be the hero.

Trump: Ok, I see your point. But what I want to know is this: Is it possible to hold back all federal aid to the blue states and the states where the governors do not appreciate me or say kind things about me?

Barr: Mr. President, you can do anything you damn well please.

Adviser 3: That is correct, Mr. President, we all agree with you, and we all know that you do not make errors, but what we believe makes the most sense is to take it a tad slower. Yes, screw the Democrats, yes, screw the governors, and yes, let the masses die, but do not do it in a way that might look bad, at least for now, until your reelection is assured. We humbly and respectfully request that you do not fire Fauci and Birx right now but delay that and delay opening up America until May 1– and then you do all you can to screw the governors who do not comply, but try to keep it under the radar.

(prolonged silence)

Trump: Ok, I will make the announcement. May 1 it is, and for now I won’t fire my fake experts, at least not yet, but do not think for one moment that I will take anything they say seriously. And by the way, Barr, I want you working on making absentee voting illegal…

Barr: I am on it, Mr. President.

Trump: Ok, meeting adjourned.

Pence: Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you….

Trump: For God’s sake, Pence, the meeting is over.

A Time for Everything

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
Ecclesiastes 3 New International Version

And so it is that our time has come. The entire planet is now affected. Covid-19 is changing the world forever. We just are not sure how. Right now, April 6, over 40 percent of the world’s population is on stay-at-home orders or something equivalent. Over 90 percent of the world’s children are not attending school. The infections number almost 1.3 million world-wide, resulting in 70,000 deaths. In the US we are approaching 350,000 infections and 10,000 deaths. And we are told it is only going to get worse. A lot worse. There may never have been an event in human history where so many lives have been–or will be– affected. While we are nowhere near the infections or fatalities of the 1918 flu, at least not yet, the quarantine and distancing orders are impacting virtually all of us. Yes, the pandemic will pass, eventually leaving in its wake misery and suffering beyond measure; but beyond that, the world economy we are told is likely to take years longer to recover.

Our time, that is, our collective time on the planet Earth, has come.

For Christians this is Holy Week. Easter comes in just six days. Easter historically has been a time of renewal and hope. Many churches will be empty this year due to the pandemic. Passover begins on Wednesday and goes for eight days through the next Thursday. Whether we realize it or not, this moment in history has profound religious significance regardless of whether we are part of any religious organization and regardless of what we say we “believe.” It is religious because it raises questions about the meaning of life on this planet, reminds us of our fragility and our vulnerability, and forces us to look again at our own lives and at what is important and what is not.It is a reminder that we humans are not always in charge.

We will get through this, we are told by our leaders, and, of course, we will. We humans are resilient. But with how much suffering and sadness, this we do not know. Will this help us identify with our brothers and sisters all over the planet? Will it give us more compassion? Will it give us more wisdom? Will we use this to come together to save the planet and each other or to retreat into tribalism and despair?

This is one of those times, I suspect, that whether we are religious or not, believers or not, we fall back on the wisdom of the ages like the words in Ecclesiastes 3, looking for a glimmer of hope, and realizing that the mysteries of life are beyond human understanding. Many will simply say the prayer, “God help us.”

Embry’s Favorite Books

If you are running out of good books to read during this period of house arrest, Embry has some suggestions for you. She is always reading two or three books at at time and right now is in three book clubs. I don’t know how she does it but do know that the books I have read on her list are all good. Here is the list:
Books from Childhood and Adolescence
Bible Stories (as read by my grandmother)
Miss Minerva books (as read by my mother)
Betsy, Tacy, and Tibb—Maude Hart Lovelace
Anne of Green Gables—Lucy Maude Montgomery
Green Mansions—W.H. Hudson
Little Women—Luisa May Alcott
Jane Eyre– Charlotte Brontë
The Last of the Just– André Schwarz-Bart
Biographies and Memoirs
The Long Walk to Freedom—Nelson Mandela
Katherine Graham’s Personal History—Katherine Graham
Dreams from My Father—Barack Obama
A Tale of Love and Darkness—Amos Oz
Any of Antonia Fraser’s biographies, such as Mary Queen of Scots.
This is too vast a subject, but here are a few novels I loved (“So many books, so little time”):
Death Comes to the Archbishop—Willa Cather
Heart of Darkness—Joseph Conrad
Anna Karenina—Leo Tolstoy
Germinal—Emile Zola
Scarlet Letter—Nathaniel Hawthorne
Le Rouge et le Noir (Red and the Black)—Stendhal
One Hundred Years of Solitude—Gabriel Garcia Marquez
James Mitchener’s books, all fun reads
Passage to India—E. M. Forster
Half a Yellow Sun–Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
The Kitchen God’s Wife—Amy Tan
Cutting for Stone—Abraham Verghese
The Hungry Tide—Amitav Ghosh
A Thousand Acres—Jane Smiley
Crossing to Safety—Wallace Stegner (Joe’s Favorite, too)
Snow—Orphan Pamuk
Dr. Zhivago—Boris Pasternak
The Color Purple—Alice Walker
Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man—James Joyce
Great Expectations—Charles Dickens
A Fine Balance—Rohington Mistry
To Kill a Mockingbird—Harper Lee
Pride and Prejudice—Jane Austen
A Day in the Live of Ivan Denisovich—Alexander Solzhenitsyn
The Stranger—Albert Camus
The Magic Mountain—Thomas Mann
The Metamorphosis—Franz Kafka
Short Stories:
Stories by Eudora Welty, Flannery O’Connor, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Jhumpa Lahiri, Alice Munro, and John Cheever.
The Second Sex—Simone de Beauvoir
Simple Justice—Richard Kruger
Nickle and Dimed—Barbara Ehrenreich
Democracy in America—Alexis de Tocqueville
Guns of August—Barbara Tuchman
Guns, Germs, and Steel—Jared Diamond
Joe Howell’s books, available online