THEM and us

Henry VIII Tudor
Courtesy The New Yorker

If you ever doubted the huge divide between the elites and you commoners, I’m sure your doubts have, by now, been assuaged by the current administration. First, the President’s daughter and son-in-law demonstrated that they, unlike you, are not required to follow the rules.Virus? Schmirus. If they want to “drive” to New Jersey for Passover, they’re going to do so.

The reason I put “drive” in quotes is because I’m sure their trip was different than any you have taken. I’m sure they did not get everybody into a Prius and head north. More likely,  they were driven in a government SUV by members of their Secret Service detail. It’s possible–if not likely–that there vehicle was the lead for a small caravan, with staff, sycophants, and others following.

There’s an old expression, “You think your shit doesn’t stink!” Mike Pence goes a step farther. His corporeal entity is apparently devoid of any harmful bacteria, viruses, or pathogens. The Mayo Clinic’s requirement that wearing a mask inside the building does not apply to him, because he gets “tested weekly for COVID-19.” Unfortunately, many pathogens are opportunistic and infect those who are compromised in other ways–such as by COVID-19. Many HIV-AIDS patients succumbed to tuberculosis, a disease that had been virtually eliminated in the US, until it could attack those with compromised immune systems.

Then there’s the Donald. If you haven’t figured out how he sees himself as above all others, you’ve obviously been in a coma for many years. I won’t give any examples  because by the time I post this, he will have exceeded anything you could imagine.

 

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A Chicken, a Chicken, My Kingdom for a Chicken

President Trump is planning on issuing an Executive Order under the Defense Production Act to force meat processing plants to remain open. He’s said that he will protect plant operators from liability should their employees contract COVID-19.

How do you open plants if the workers:

  1. Refuse to show up;
  2. Insist on getting sick; or
  3. Have the audacity to die.

If they don’t show up at work, they can be fired. Most people who work in meat processing plants work there because they do not have a myriad of career options.

At least the company owners, such as the Chinese owners of Smithfield Meats will be safe.*

So far there is no similar protection employees.

 

* Smithfield is a wholly owned subsidiary of WH Group, formerly known as the Shuanghui Group  (双汇集团). It’s totally coincidental that Donald Trump, as an individual and/or corporate entity, owes the Chinese owned national bank $112 million.

 

It’ll Never Happen

Here’s a scenario that will never happen.

President Trump calls Sean Hannity at home and they chat for a while.

Later that day Fox reports, “President Trump advises everyone to apply peanut butter to the bottom of your feet to prevent COVID-19.”

At President Trump’s daily coronavirus pep rally press briefing—

Reporter:  “Mr. President, do you support the peanut butter cure?”

President Trump: “All I can say is that it has received a lot of attention from the media. You can’t ignore that. Next question, please.”

Hours later, President Trump and Sean Hannity again talk on the phone with one another.

Hannity (trying to control himself)- “So how many people do you think are going to bed tonight with peanut butter on their feet?”

Trump (laughing) – “Just about every undereducated male goomba out there. You know which states have the most undereducated goombas, don’t you?”

Hannity — “Of course! That’s where I get my highest ratings!”

Trump — “Speaking of education, I forget. What college did you graduate from?”

Hannity  (laughing) – “Graduate? Hell! I was–and am still–too important to worry about graduating. Nevertheless, people still follow me like sheep to the slaughterhouse behind a Judas goat!”

Trump — “I’m going to have to go. My slippers are–never mind. Hey, Sean, just in case, in 2021 . . . ?”

Hannity — “Umm, let me get back to you on that. Gotta run, bye.”

[CLICK]

 

 

Coming to a Theater Near You

clapboard

 

An imaginary business meeting

CAMERA 1 FADES IN
Agent (excitedly): Listen, JB, This can’t lose! Sequels are in–look at them: Star Wars! Men in Black! Marvel Comics! Harry Potter! This is the ultimate! It’s got life and death, skullduggery, and intrigue! If we don’t make this movie, someone else will and they will be the ones to be rich and famous!

CUT TO CAMERA 2 ON JB
JB (skeptically): I know, but it’s incomplete. We don’t know how it’s going to end. It’s missing key plot points to make the story work.

CAMERA 2 PANS FROM JB TO AGENT
Agent (somewhat frustrated): Working in sex is no problem. Part of this will be set in DC and it’s crawling with gorgeous, young female staffers. Even better, we’ll be filming in the south–Southern Belles, no unions, tax breaks, sunshine–it’s perfect.

FADE TO CAMERA 1 WHICH INCLUDES BOTH AGENT AND JB IN THE FRAME
JB (thoughtfully): Why in the south?

Agent: That’s where the “remain in place” directives have been the weakest and will probably be the first to be eliminated. That’s essential to the plot.

Sharp focus on JB with soft focus on the agent
JB:
How are you going to guarantee the . . . .

CUT TO CAMERA TWO ON AGENT
Agent (Interrupting, then leaning forward toward JB): The states we’re looking at are lifting their restrictions early. There’s bound to be a second wave;  we’ve even hired people to protest self-isolation in several states.

CUT TO CAMERA ONE–BOTH JB AND AGENT IN FRAME–FOCUS CLEAR ON JB
JB (shaking his finger at agent): You’d better be right. If the second wave doesn’t have at least 100 thousand dead, I’m going to be pissed! If I’m going to pitch this to the investors, it needs a snappy working title.

CAMERA ONE–SAME FRAME–SHIFT FOCUS TO AGENT
Agent (smugly): Coronavirus–The Sequel

 

 

 

President Troll

Your adversaries are known for spreading disinformation by any means necessary, including social media. The purpose of their actions?  They want to sow confusion for two reasons:

  1. So that people in targeted countries lose faith and trust in their government.
  2. To create divisions within the targeted countries.

The Chinese, the Russians, North Koreans, Iran, and a number of other adversaries are well organized and quite effective with their disinformation tactics. Currently, there a number of false and illogical causes of COVID-19 being promoted. These include:  It came from a “wet” market in China. It’s a secret weapon created by (choose one) the Chinese or the American military. The real culprit is the implementation of 5G telephone service.

Unfortunately, there are not enough facts to adequately explain the coronavirus cause. Even so, some theories, such as 5G, should be intuitively obvious as being false. Nevertheless, each of these theories is endorsed and shared by some individuals. It appears that either by coincidence, or by intentional disinformation, both of your adversaries’ goals have been achieved.

Some countries establish military or government entities to push disinformation. Others contract it out to people in a third country. Collectively, these various groups of disinformation spreaders are known as troll farms.

Troll farms can be rather sophisticated. Some have teams of three; the first publishes a legitimate news story with their interpretation, which favors their employer’s message. The second then challenges the original viewpoint, while the third adds polite comments which support the disinformation. By having a point, counterpoint, and then a moderate it makes the information seem more believable.

However, when your President Trump gets involved, things get worse. Skipping over all the known falsehoods and self-contradictions, he still does immense damage. Why, for example, did he tie the Second Amendment to the pandemic? What does the right to keep and bear arms have to do with practices meant to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus?

Nothing, but the tactic has further fueled the divisiveness your country is experiencing. At the same time, when the US President makes such statements, it can only diminish faith and trust in the government. His actions aid and support your country’s adversaries.

 

Trust Me, I’m a Doctor

snakeoil-and-medicine-shows

Trump is trying to ignore (as much as possible) qualified experts, like Dr. Birtz and Dr. Fauci, but don’t worry. As an experienced fake-reality television personality, he’s now got Dr. Oz (great name for a flim-flam man) and Dr. Phil.

Oz is, at least, a medical doctor, although his bona fides list him as “a television personality, pseudoscience promoter, etc.” as well as a surgeon. Incidentally, surgeons are not experts on epidemiology.

Dr. Phil on the other hand is also a television personality, author, and former psychologist who holds a doctorate in clinical psychology, but is not licensed to practice. Incidentally, psychologists, including those who are unlicensed, are not experts on epidemiology.

Now given that your survival is in the hands of television personalities, don’t you feel better?

 

 

Lies, Damn Lies, and COVID-19 Speeches

There are so many claims as to what the future of the COVID-19 will be.

First off, as Doc Brown said in the final installment of Back to the Future, “The future hasn’t been written yet!” Nevertheless, various people are spouting things about the future with no idea as to their probability, much less future reality. For example:

  • The US economy will reopen on May 1.
  • There will be a vaccine by September.
  • When the weather changes, the virus will diminish–if not cease.

When you’ve lived as long as I have, you know that reality’s most frequent pitch is the curve ball. There is no harm in telling the truth–even if the truth is “I don’t know.”

Political Quotes

Here are some interesting quotes that might have come from a political party’s guide for today’s candidates and campaign managers.

  • “The victor will never be asked if he told the truth. ”
  • “The leader of genius must have the ability to make different opponents appear as if they belonged to one category. ”
  • “Humanitarianism is the expression of stupidity and cowardice.”
  • “I use emotion for the many and reserve reason for the few.”

Like most quotations, they may not be 100 percent accurate, but you get the idea. The source of these was a very popular and powerful politician. If you don’t recognize them, maybe the next one will help.

  • “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.”

The author?  Adolph Hitler.