All posts by markwaters01

2020.20- The Covid-19 War

Introduction

It all started with a ‘bug.’

 An unknown virus began to make the news, and China was its creator. Some would say it was designed to take over the world with the help of a few other bad actors who wanted power, and the Chinese government was willing to give it… for a price. But was the Chinese government the mastermind of the attack? Or was it the other way around?

As it turned out, the virus, 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), otherwise known as COVID-19, appeared as a strain of the flu at the onset of the infection. At first, it did not seem like a big deal. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) Early on, we were told a pack of lies, or to be charitable… mistruths. But the biggest one was that the virus was not spread by human to human contact. Still, the Chinese government knew it wasn’t the truth and kept that information to themselves and other misinformation.

Just a couple of weeks in, the Chinese lies were being exposed, and the WHO was its early accomplice. The President ordered all flights into and from China to be canceled. He was mocked and criticized for the decision. Many on the left called him a xenophobe and a host of other criticisms aimed in defense of the Chinese. In many cases, hindsight can be the victor, and in the end, the President made the right decision. He managed to stop the bleeding, but it was already too late. Leaders from the Chinese government, or their designees, flew citizens infected to all corners of the globe to spread its mayhem. The plan was already in play. During their scheme to poison the planet, the Chinese were secretly hoarding masks, ventilators, and other medical equipment and supplies for their own, but withheld shipment of these supplies to other parts of the world. Even though a few of those companies that manufactured those items were U.S. companies doing business within China’s borders, they were refused shipment of those products outside the mainland. The rat was already shedding its stench.

On January 4, WHO announced that a “cluster” of pneumonia cases had broken out in Wuhan, the Hubei province of China. Within a couple of weeks, on January 19, 2020, the first known case of COVID-19 had reached our shores.

As the virus spread and folks started to die. Both agencies, the WHO and the CDC, began to change their tune. The Chinese broke their silence, not because they wanted to, but they had to. They were caught with their hands in the cookie jar and had to fess up, but not entirely.

“Never let a good crisis go to waste.”

Rahm Emanuel, former President Obama’s chief of staff

Chapter 1

January 21, 2020

The situation room at the White House

The President didn’t waste any time and was the first to speak, then started with the National Security Advisor, Robert O’Leary.

“Bob, what do you think?

“Mr. President, I think this is a deliberate attack.”

The President sat up in his chair, and asked, “That’s pretty ballsy, Bob. Why?”

Arms flailing, he replied, “Do you think for a minute this came from a fucking fish market? No way!” He then exclaimed, “The Chinese don’t give a flying fuck about their own damn people, so why would they care about the rest of the world?”

Humorously, the President said, “Now, Bob, don’t hold back. Tell us what you really think.”

A bit of snickering could be heard.

“Oh, there is plenty more. We have satellite images of busloads carrying something surrounding crematories, and we think they are bodies. Witnesses are saying that erns are falling off the shelves in Wuhan. Mr. President, the facts seem clear to me. They hid and withheld evidence. Those assholes at WHO are certainly complicit. From where I sit, the world economy on the verge of collapse.”

The President asked, “But why? What is the motivation?”

“The trade deal, Mr. President, they hate it. Call it national pride, or whatever. Before we knew a damn thing, the Chinese flew contaminated folks all over the world. It’s going to get ugly very quickly. I already see the writing on the wall. Those trips seemed deliberate and intentional to me.”

“It doesn’t make sense that they’d destroy the planet over a trade deal.”

“Mr. President, the trade deal to them is a declaration of war. With the way things are now with the tension in Hong Kong and their own economic uncertainty, it was almost predictable. As a bonus, with Taiwan lingering in the background, it adds up to a ticking time bomb.”

“But it’s not a war; it’s business.”

“Begging your pardon, Mr. President, it doesn’t matter to them. It is a war, and the net results are the same whether a single bullet was fired or not.”

Then the President asked, “Where is Fauchi on all this?”

Someone uttered, “Still riding the fence, Mr. President. He is a scientist, not a policy guy. He stays clear of politics.”

The President asked, “Does anyone think we have seen the worst of this thing?”

“Mr. President, the prediction models tell us we haven’t even got started. It will get worse before it gets better.”

“What do you think we should do?”

Dr. Stein, Director of the CDC, replied, “Mr. President, I believe now is the time to contain the virus at its origin.

“Robert, if I understand what you are saying, you are right.” The President stood up, slammed his fist on the table, and said, “We need to stop the bleeding, and I mean now! I want all flights into and out of China to stop immediately.”

Charles Wolfe from Homeland Security responded with, “We’ll catch some heat. They’ll accuse you of overreacting, saying you are a xenophobe, or whatever else is in their playbook, especially your pals on the left.”

“I don’t give a damn, just do it!”

Call it instinct, a gut feeling, or a calculated gamble, but that decision most likely saved tens of thousands, maybe even hundreds of thousands. Charles was right, the President did catch some heat by the left and their co-conspirators in the media.

A few days after the travel ban announcement, a second confirmed case of the virus had shown its ugly face. The patient recently returned from Wuhan, China, where an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by this novel coronavirus that had been around since December 2019.

On January 30, Director-General of the World Health Organization met with the Chinese President and shared information about the virus. He promised their cooperation with the WHO to get the virus under control. On the same day, the shit hit the fan.

The World Health Organization announced to the world that the virus was now a public health emergency, and the outbreak met all the criteria for such a warning. Every country was told to prepare for sudden illnesses associated with the virus. The plan included containment, surveillance, early detection, and isolation to reduce human infection and prevent secondary infections.

The Chinese continued to put on a happy face and assured the rest of us they had everything under control. Wrong. The world was beginning to panic as word of a global pandemic spread universally.

It was the President’s job to become our Commander in Chief Cheerleader and try to comfort a frightened nation.

“We think we have it very well under control. We think it’s going to have a very good ending for us. That I can assure you.”- President Donald Trump

Before the travel restrictions, it was estimated that 300,000 people came to the U.S. from China in January 2020, with no limits on Americans going back and forth to China.

On February 2, the travel restrictions with China began. The only flights allowed into the U.S. were those carrying immediate family members of U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and the flight crew. Still, all were subject to a two-week quarantine. The others were refused entry.

Conspiracies and deception were already crowding the information put forth on the internet, but one thing did remain a fact. Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, head of the World Health Organization, was hand-picked by the Chinese government and continued with the narrative that the Chinese government had everything under control. Wrong again.

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization had to step up and tell the entire world that the COVID-19 outbreak was now a global pandemic. Infected people in China grew thirteen times as initially reported, and the number of infected countries had tripled. There were more than 118,000 cases in 114 countries, and 4,291 victims lost their lives. Three days later, the virus had spread to all the U.S.

March 22, 2020

Governor Cuomo signs the ‘New York State on PAUSE’ Executive Order, which was code for a stay at home order. What they referred to as non-essential businesses, were ordered to close until further notice. The rest of the country followed suit except for rare exceptions. This was the beginning of the end of a thriving economy. We had gone from record unemployment numbers in the low single digits, then swelled to double-digit, nearing depression-era unemployment. The country, as well as most of the world, was not only bleeding to death, it was hemorrhaging.

We were ordered to go on lockdown in our own homes and ‘stay in place,’ then we had to go back to kindergarten, you know, wash your hands, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, and for God’s sake, don’t touch your face. Social distancing became the phrase of the day. Stay six feet apart from one another when out in public, and only when you could, or had to leave your home. Hugs, handshakes, and any other form of friendship were practically outlawed, other than a distant wave.

Most of the country was only allowed to leave our homes to go to grocery stores, pharmacies, big retail box stores, and a handful of others. Everything else was ordered to shut down or face fines or jail time. Haircuts, restaurants, and private gyms were ordered to close. We couldn’t even bury our dead with a decent funeral, and usually, the only guest was the one in the box. But the most painful of all was no more manicures or pedicures.

As the pandemic plagued the nation, widespread panic was in full force. Grocery stores were being emptied, antiseptic products and toilet paper became the hot commodities, and all were wiped out.

We were told not to wear a face mask, then we were told to wear a face mask, and that debate continued; to wear or not to wear, that is the question. And yes, you guessed it, another shortage. At the President’s requests, manufacturers were commissioned to make masks, and they did… by the millions. Hospitals were yelling to high heaven about the shortage of much-needed respirators. Again, good ole’ fashion U.S. ingenuity ramped up, and they delivered.

As the virus continued its journey, and folks started to die, both primary agencies in charge of things, the Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization changed their tunes. The Chinese broke their silence, not because they wanted to, but they had to. They were caught with their hands in the cookie jar and had to fess up, but not entirely.

Within just a few short weeks, our Constitution was just a piece of paper to wipe our collective asses, and the Bill of Rights was tossed out the window. As news of the pandemic began to make its way across the world, the reality of it all started to set in.

To add fuel to the fire during the first six weeks of the pandemic and as a bonus to the pandemic arbitrators, a black man was essentially murdered by four cops in Minnesota. The country was already a tinderbox, and this was all that was needed to light the fuse.

Tensions were already on full alert, and people were at their wits-ends, and this was all the excuse folks needed to go outdoors. Unfortunately, their outdoor activities and peaceful demonstrations turned into riots, looting, and the destruction of many businesses.

Those were the facts, now let us get to the truth.

Chapter 2

The first attack was a success to a degree, but not near the damage they intended. However, it still spread worldwide fear and a global economic collapse. Entire nations were on lockdown, massive unemployment and chaos followed. Hospitals were flooded, Navy Hospital ships were deployed, and makeshift triage units were spread across the country in known “hotspots.” Anyone with a hangover or a migraine thought they were victims of the virus and rushed off to the nearest ER.

We were all confused at first. Were our guts going to explode, or our brains leak out of our ears? We were clueless… even the experts. As time moved along, the early victims who died were the elderly. Children were thought to be immune, but that all changed when some of them died as well. The sweet spot for survival seemed to be somewhere between late adolescents and those under sixty-five, but it was the oldest that suffered the most. Basically, you were screwed if you were sixty-six and older.

World economies were falling in ruin, but one setback still remained; the virus was not as lethal as earlier expected. They needed a plan B.

***

Somewhere at a hidden location.

A small group of men met in a small cabin hidden deep in a wooded area somewhere in the middle of nowhere.

It was a cold afternoon, snow fluttered to the ground, and covered everything in its path. Surrounding the perimeter, was a ten-foot-tall stone wall, topped with razor fencing, and tripwires. The only entrance to the camp was a sentry of heavily armed guards. Those in attendance were representatives of world power players who met to discuss the virus’s first wave and continued plans for future attacks. Five men had already gathered, awaiting the sixth.

The remaining member was Kurek Halushki. He kicked in the door, then slammed it behind with a loud thud. The others stood at attention and composed.

Kurek slammed a newspaper on the table for all to examine, then shouted, “Can someone explain to me what the fuck is going on?”

Reluctantly, Sergio, Kurek’s right-hand man, stood up and replied, “What’s the problem, Kurek? We accomplished what we were ordered to do.”

Kurek, pointed at the newspaper, then shouted, “Oh, really? What accomplishment? Where are all the dead people?”

Another replied, “China took a big hit.”

“Oh, wow. That’s amazing. Hey, dumb shit, the Chinese are supposed to be on our side!” Kurek calmed down a bit, then gathered his thoughts. “I guess it’s alright. It fits the narrative.”

“What do you mean.?”

“Don’t you think it might be a little suspicious if everyone started dropping dead instead of them?”

Sergio replied, “I suppose you are right, but those writing all those checks want results, and this lackluster attack didn’t impress them one damn bit. What do we do now?”

Kurek’s answer was brief.

“We wait.”


***

The Chinese government continued to deny the virus had anything to do with them and reported to the world the U.S. military was the cause and spread it. Everyone with a brain stem wrote it off as just another distraction. As quickly they made the claim, just as quickly it went away, yet the virus continued its worldwide path of destruction regardless of its origin. Millions were infected, entire governments were held at bay by an invisible enemy as the President called it, and we were at its mercy.

We witnessed France, Italy, and Spain go down in flames, and the death toll mounted, then it was South Korea and Iran. The other neighboring countries soon followed. Not by any coincidence, Italy, South Korea, and Iran all had close ties to China, but in Italy, they bought up everything that wasn’t nailed down. The relationship with Iran was indeed military, but South Korea, we had no clue. The U.S. watched in horror as the virus headed our way with a vengeance, and nothing we could do would stop it. We just had to wait for our turn. Several countries underreported many of their deaths, either from neglect or for political reasons. North Korea reported no deaths. We were helpless, and the only thing we could do was fight back, but how?

Dr. Fauchi and his crowd kept giving us wrong information. The models used to predict COVID-19’s impact was grossly overstated, and the geniuses at the CDC and WHO followed them like sheep going to slaughter, and we were brought along for the ride.

The President and his team held daily briefings, sometimes lasting only minutes, others as long as a couple of hours. Vice-president Pence was eventually assigned to lead the task force orchestrating plans moving forward, but the President was always the frontman. Pence did a good job, but the President was always present to fill in the gaps. The pressure put at his feet had to have been unmeasurable, but he held his own. The news media’s only agenda was to try and trip him up at every opportunity. Why didn’t he do this or that? Are you sick? Do you have a plan? All the while, he did have a plan, and worked it to the best he could. The mayor of New York complained he needed more respirators. Our stockpile had been depleted, and we needed more. Again, the POTUS went into action. Every resource he could muster was put into play. Corporations and manufacturers were called into action, and they produced. GM and others turned some of their facilities into respirator manufactures, and before we knew it, we were overstocked and shipped to other countries, but the best reward was it shut up that loudmouth in New York.

Chapter 3

A low-level technician at the Wuhan lab asked a colleague, “What have we done?”

“We have done nothing! The Americans are playing their silly propaganda games. Our safety protocol is at the highest level. Even those pesky inspectors from WHO said our measures go beyond their own requirements.”

“Then tell me, how did this thing get out?”

“They say it was the wet markets, then they say it was U.S. military.”

“Who are we to believe?”

“Our President, Comrade Xi, that’s who. We must trust his leadership.”

***

Chapter 4

In front of a live audience on a national news channel, the President said these words,

“Nobody could have predicted something like this…” Donald Trump

Six weeks after the travel restrictions were laid in place, the President held a meeting in the Oval Office. The attendees were the regular Joint Chiefs of Staff, excluding the chairman and vice-chairman. The Director of the CIA was also present. All were gathered and on time enjoying a morning cup of coffee, then walked in the President. They stood at attention until the Commander in Chief took a seat behind his historical desk.

“I’d like to thank you all for coming in on such short notice.”

“Mr. President, will the Secretary (of defense) be joining us?”

“Not today, gentlemen. He’s out of the country, and to be honest, I want candid assessments of what we are dealing with, and I don’t need a couple of politicians hanging around.”

There was brief laughter.

General Jim McNabb of the U.S. Army was the first in line for a quick Q & A.

“Let’s get to it. Jim, I want you to tell me what you know. Was this intentional?”

“Mr. President, from where I sit, and the intel we have gathered, it is still hard to be ascertained.”

“What about you, Dave?” pointing at the Marine Core leader, General David Baldwin.

“Mr. President, we are in the same position as Jim. We just don’t know. It looks suspicious enough that they might pull a stunt like this. We have folks on the ground as we speak, and when I know something, I’ll pass it around to you and the others.”

“What about the Russians? Do you think they are involved?”

“No, sir, not a chance.”

“That’s good to know. I’ve caught enough heat to last a lifetime!”

The President tone elevated, he stood up, then pounded his fist on his desk.

“Folks, people are starting to die. We have five-thousand confirmed deaths to date, just in the U.S., and according to Fauchi and the scarf lady…” the President looked around for an answer to her name.

“Dr. Birx.”

“Sorry, I keep forgetting. According to those damn models, the predictions could reach hundreds of thousands of deaths just here at home before we find a cure or vaccine. So, what the hell is going on, Mike?”

Admiral Mike Goodwin, Chief of Naval Operations, responded.

“The virus is in our midst, and we know where it came from and how it got here, but putting the full blame on the Chinese, in my opinion, is still premature.”

“Why?”

“Sir, the Chinese are a global economic superpower. Why would they want to piss off all their customers and trading partners? To me, it just doesn’t add up.”

Tina Haslett, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency was asked, “Tina, you haven’t said much. What do you people have?”

“Mr. President, we have been keeping a close eye on the Chinese navy, and so far, it has been the usual tit-for-tat maneuvers they are famous for. Nothing out of the ordinary, except for one thing.”

Leaning forward in his chair, the President said, “I’m listening.” The others also leaned forward a bit.

“The Chinese seem to be using some of their battle fleet, mostly destroyers as cargo ships of sorts. Satellite images have shown dozens of crates being loaded onto the deck, then stowed below.”

“Weapons?”

“No Sir. Too small. Besides, when they load their arsenal, they want the world to see.”

“What else do you have?”

“One thing that is curious to my team is the back and forth movement between mainland China and Kognizant Key. The Chinese claim it is a routine R & R destination for its naval crew and a vacation retreat for dignitaries.”

“Where in the hell is Kognizant Key? I’ve never heard of it.”

“Not many have, Sir. It’s about the size of Guam with a population of about five-hundred or so. It is a tribal island with no ruling class except for an elected mayor. He is selected by unknown sources. The main trade is fishing by the locals, and pardon me, Sir, but the women and children are also big into basket weaving. It’s a huge export business.”

The President replied, “And we used to joke it was a useless degree.”

A few chuckles could be heard.

“Tell us more, Tina.”

“Yes Sir. There are a couple tourist type facilities that include a large gambling casino, and a nice hotel retreat, both employed by outsiders. Big shots and celebrities are their primary clientele and trust me, this isn’t Disneyland.” Tina stepped aside and said, “Admiral, show them what you’ve got so far.”

Admiral Goodwin stood up from his chair and showed a map of the area using a projector then detailed as much as was available.

“It is a secluded island, barely a blip on the radar,” then using a laser pointer, gave a tour of the island. “It is southeast of the China Sea between the Philippines and Malaysia in the Celebes Sea. It is surrounded by a cluster of uninhabited islands; Pothos, Sabal Palmetto Island, and a couple of others, and Kognizant is smack dab in the middle.”

The President then says with a smile, “I better brush up on my geography.”

Tina interrupted the admiral with, “Don’t bother, Sir, you won’t find it on a map. We found it by tracking Chinese naval exercises and then following the trail leading to Kognizant. It is a great location militarily, beyond that, nothing unusual. Very few personnel, just a small police contingent, that’s it. But there is one thing that has our attention. I’ll let David weigh in on this one.”

General David Goldstein, Chief of Staff of the Air Force, told all he knew.

“We have spotted a mysterious concrete building near the shore. Nothing fancy, three stories tall, really just a box. We calculate it is about one hundred fifty feet wide, by one fifty deep with few windows on the bottom floor.”

The President was very curious, then asked, “That is interesting. What else?”

“It gets better. Up top is fully equipped with satellite antennas, a couple of radars, a backup power generator, but no fencing surrounding the perimeter. Motion detectors and security cameras are everywhere. We also spotted a very upscale docking and loading area with a small warehouse just a few yards away. It is designed for larger ships, I’d say ten-thousand tons or more.”

Tina added, “There is no human traffic in or out. We suspect they are using tunnels near the docking area, but we can’t get in close enough to take a peek.”

“This island sure doesn’t appear to just be a weekend get-a-way for Chinese sailors.”

“We don’t think so either, Mr. President, but to add to it, we have located two un-classed subs off-shore just sitting there in two-hundred feet of water. The boats’ signatures and our best guess are, they are attack subs.”

“Chinese?”

“No Sir. We don’t have a clue who they are, we just know who they aren’t.”

Chapter 5

CIA Headquarters- Langley, Virginia

The Director needed questions answered for the President, and she needed them now. Tina reached for her phone and asked the operator to find former CIA Station Chief, Danny Hufnagel. Not a particularly easy task. Danny retired and was leading a life of quiet solitude. A few days later, her phone rang.

“Director Haslett speaking.”

“Hello, Tina, this is Danny. How can I help you?”

“Danny, I’m glad you called. How’s the gig at Fox?”

“Beer money. What’s on your mind?”

“First, I need to ask… are you still cleared?”

“Yes, I still have all my credentials. Why do you ask?”

“I might need a favor or two. Have you been keeping up with things?”

“I guess you mean the virus, and what the Chinese have to do with it, and what are they hiding, and is this an attack? Those sort of things?”

“Yes, those sorts of things. I assume you still have pals in the agency.”

“We talk.”

“So much for a peaceful retirement.”

 “Well, you know, idle hands are the devil’s workshop. I’m sure you are aware of the missing doctor at the Wuhan lab.”

Tina replied, “Yes. The whistleblower.”

Danny responded. “But do you know under what circumstances?”

“Please entertain me. What do you know?”

“This is everywhere in the news, and not a big secret, but she was one of ‘the good guys.’ She warned everyone who would listen about the virus and presented several cases to colleagues. It was reported eight of them were called in by the cops for revealing information about respiratory illnesses. Another associate, a medical eye doctor, also set out a warning to med school grads but was chastised by the government for spreading rumors. He later died from the virus, or so we heard.”

What about the original whistleblower?Do we know her whereabouts, or if she is still alive?”

“Hard to say. I don’t think the Chinese would kill one of their brightest. Most likely, they stuck her in prison, house arrest, or rehabilitation camp for dissidents. We think sometime in March, two armed men in Chinese military uniforms showed up and questioned her.”

“We know all that.”

“But you don’t know this. Those two weren’t Chinese but knew the language well enough to get around.”

“You are right. This is news to me. Go on.”

“All we know is they had easy access to the lab and allowed to wander around, questioned a few techs and other doctors until they found her. When they got to her, only one word was spoken; ‘líkāi.’

“Meaning?”

“Come.”

“Do you have any idea who they were?”

“We’re still digging.”

“We’re?”

“I do some side jobs and gathered a team of ‘mercs” and a couple of guys from the agency to work on a few projects in several hot spots. We mostly just gather information and intelligence.”

“Mercenaries? Are they still active? Who authorized it?”

“Yes, mercenaries, and yes again, still active, and you don’t want to know.”

“Why wouldn’t I want to know who authorized this?”

“The simple answer is plausible deniability. You don’t want to be in a position to answer any questions, especially in front of the intelligence committee. Tina, listen to me very carefully. There has been some quiet, encrypted chatter coming to and from China, and the Chinese did most of the listening, and stayed very tight-lipped. Whoever is at the other end of the line is a mystery. We are trying to figure out who and where the incoming calls are coming from. If our sources are correct, and what we’ve been listening to are close to accurate, this whole virus thing is a lot bigger than just a simple bug.”

As Danny’s briefing unfolded, Tina was intrigued, but as a professional, tried her best to stay calm. Even a seasoned pro like Tina, had a chill that ran down her spine. A million scenarios ran through her head such as what countermeasures if this was determined to be a deliberate attack as some have suggested. Bullets you can see and hear, but this “invisible enemy” lurked in silence.

“Danny, I heard you say that you had great concern, and something like a heightened interest in congress and the Whitehouse about coming up with a way to counter this. My question is whether you meant counter the virus, or our response to it?”

“To be honest, Tina, I’m not sure what I meant, but this I do know. China is going to suffer, and is already suffering economically, and I wouldn’t put it past them to take the rest of the planet along for the ride, but how is the question. Someone needs to be held accountable, and China might be the fall guy.”

“What do you mean, fall guy?”

“I think there is more to the story.”

“Fine, but staying on the subject, and this is way out there, but if it can be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, that this was a deliberate attack by the Chinese government, what do you think would be a proportional response?”

“I’d ask the Secretary of Defense. Those sort of decisions are out of my pay grade.”

“But I’m asking you.”

“Tina, this is the best answer I can give at the moment. “We’re still connecting the dots, and there are a lot of dots.”

“Fair enough. I have to get to a meeting. We’ll talk soon.”

“I’m sure we will.”

***

Adhering to CDC guidelines, and at the urging of the government, we managed to “flatten the curve” and slow the spread of the virus, and it worked. Folks began to wander out a bit more, and business began to breathe new life, but the virus continued, and the death toll steadily climbed. Unfortunately, hotspots around the country began to emerge, causing more concern. We were forced to lockdown before, but we’d had enough, and many were willing to take their chances. Some argued the cure was more devastating than COVID-19 itself. Suicides, homicides, divorce, and child abuse and neglect were the direct result of the pandemic. Added to the list were unemployment and business failures and were all victims of the first shutdown. The government did everything in its power, with the help of a gigantic checkbook to ease the economic hardships placed on individuals, families, and businesses. Still, it was not enough, and the suffering continued.

The Whitehouse had daily briefings with the press, then they stopped, then started again, but not as much fanfare as before. This time, the POTUS did most of the talking and answered a few questions. Within days of the new briefings, China threw us another curve ball. This time it was packages of unknown plant seeds supposedly coming from the state-owed postal company. The small packages were labeled containing toys to jewelry, and a few others in between. The packages got the attention of federal investigators — with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Now it was their turn to get into the action along with Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS) working alongside the Department of Homeland Security’s Custom and Border Protection and other federal and state agencies.

After closer examination, it turned out they were just random plant seeds ranging from fruits and vegetables, and a couple of blooming plants, but we were warned that some of them could be an invasive species of plant life and urged to turn all the packages over to the USDA.

Several experts believed it was part of a scam to get higher ratings with online shopping companies, others saw something more sinister.

***

Tensions mounted between the U.S. and China, and the “sabre rattling” grew louder. We closed and embassy, then they closed one. Those in the intelligence agencies, top military brass, and the Whitehouse kept a keen eye on China, especially Beijing and Wuhan, and the “seed deal” broadened their focus. Satellites, and their images, as well as boots on the ground, tried to piece together as much evidence against the Chinese as possible. The former CIA Station Chief, Danny Hufnagel, was appointed to be the point-man to watch over things and report directly to Tina Haslett, Director of the CIA.

Notes:

What came to the minds of a few, was the 1956 movie, Invasion of the Body Snatchers. That idea quickly left those minds siting the pods were too small, but could be a Trojan Horse instead, which seemed to make more sense.

The President has a heated exchange with China, threatening to beat them back to the stone age with economic sanctions, and remove all manufacturing. No one listens in as per the custom.

Countries around the world that suffered, most of them were collateral damage… The US was the prize. Our allies were driven to the brink of military extinction, leaving us to fend for ourselves. The smaller countries were of no consequence.

Why do you think the Chinese have been wearing masks for years? Why? Because they knew their own government would someday do something like this.

In some cases, the virus had a secondary illness that attacked other parts of the body, even when thought they were cured. Time release. Not all the viruses around the world were the same. Different strains.

Sicken our allies military, weaken them.

2020.20- The Covid-19 War

The first attack was a success to a degree, but not near the damage they intended. However, it still spread worldwide fear and a global economic collapse. Entire nations were on lockdown, massive unemployment and chaos followed. Hospitals were flooded, Navy Hospital ships were deployed, and makeshift triage units were spread across the country in known “hotspots.” Anyone with a hangover or a migraine thought they were victims of the virus and rushed off to the nearest ER.

We were all confused at first. Were our guts going to explode, or our brains leak out of our ears? We were clueless… even the experts. As time moved along, the early victims who died were the elderly. Children were thought to be immune, but that all changed when some of them died as well. The sweet spot for survival seemed to be somewhere between late adolescents and those under sixty-five, but it was the oldest that suffered the most. Basically, you were screwed if you were sixty-six and older.

World economies were falling in ruin, but one setback still remained; the virus was not as lethal as earlier expected. They needed a plan B.

***

Somewhere at a hidden location.

A small group of men met in a small cabin hidden deep in a wooded area somewhere in the middle of nowhere.

It was a cold afternoon, snow fluttered to the ground, and covered everything in its path. Surrounding the perimeter, was a ten-foot-tall stone wall, topped with razor fencing, and tripwires. The only entrance to the camp was a sentry of heavily armed guards. Those in attendance were representatives of world power players who met to discuss the virus’s first wave and continued plans for future attacks. Five men had already gathered, awaiting the sixth.

The remaining member was Kurek Borsh. He kicked in the door, then slammed it behind with a loud thud. The others stood at attention and composed.

Kurek slammed a newspaper on the table for all to examine, then shouted, “Can someone explain to me what the fuck is going on?”

Reluctantly, Sergio, Kurek’s right-hand man, stood up and replied, “What’s the problem, Kurek? We accomplished what we were ordered to do.”

Kurek, pointed at the newspaper, then shouted, “Oh, really? What accomplishment? Where are all the dead people?”

Another replied, “China took a big hit.”

“Oh, wow. That’s amazing. Hey, dumb shit, the Chinese are supposed to be on our side!” Kurek calmed down a bit, then gathered his thoughts. “I guess it’s alright. It fits the narrative.”

“What do you mean.?”

“Don’t you think it might be a little suspicious if everyone started dropping dead instead of them?”

Sergio replied, “I suppose you are right, but those writing all those checks want results, and this lackluster attack didn’t impress them one damn bit. What do we do now?”

Kurek’s answer was brief.

“We wait.”


Quick lesson about faith

He tells me more stories of hope and faith. Now it seems to be the right time to ask Him what a lot of us want to know.

“All we have is faith. Why don’t you show yourself?”

“Show myself? Are you kidding me? I’m everywhere! Don’t you remember the big word you learned—omnipresent?”

Getting back to His more serious side, He continues.

“I have performed miracles all over the place, yet few pay any attention, or worse, seem to care. Let me tell a story about faith. Who is your father? What is his name?”

“Eugene.”

“You say Eugene is your father, how do you know?”

“First of all, I have a birth certificate, and his name is on it.”

God shrugs his shoulders, and asks, “What does that prove?”

He continues to press the issue.

How do you know?”

Now I’m getting irritated.

“I don’t know, I just do.”

“Let me tell you this Tony, your little piece of paper doesn’t mean squat. Think about this and please excuse the analogy, but I want to make a point.”

Oh great, another point.”

Silly me keeps forgetting about His mind-reading trick.

“You are aware that I’m sitting right next to you? Now, may I finish?”

“Yes, you may.”

“Why thank you, Tony.”

Then He looks right at me, and says, “My point is, only one knows without a shadow-of-a-doubt that your father, as you claim, is your father.”

I consider myself a reasonably smart guy, but that one flew over my head, and the most intelligent thing I can say is, “OK, I’ll bite.”

“Drum roll please.”

I pause for a moment, then placating him, use my leg as a drum and let out a rat-a-tat-tat.

“The answer is—only your mother knows for sure—and of course, me—that your father is, as you say, your father.”

“I don’t get it.”

Now God is thinking, “This guy got through law school?”

“Did you say something? Ha! Chad has been teaching me a few tricks too!”

“I’ll visit with him later. Anyway, faith is why you believe your father is your father, and you would defend that faith to the death if it were necessary. It’s that kind of faith that gets folks into Heaven. Remember this always—Heaven is not a place for the holy; it is a home for the faithful. My hope is, by using your eyes and ears I am giving the flock a peek into Heaven, using you as a witness. I’m getting weary with all I see, and my patience is wavering.”

 “Why me? I’ve never been very religious, or even too faithful,” then I lower my head, “I have questioned my faith—a lot. I don’t even go to church very often.”

“Tony, I assure you, one has nothing to do with the other. I’d rather you be one of the faithful kicked back on your Lazy Boy on a Sunday morning, than a faithless hypocrite warming a pew. So, I guess you’re one of those C and E types.”

“What’s that?”

“Only goes to church on Christmas and Easter.”

With my head still lowered, I reply, “Pretty much—” then I peek up for a moment, “but I do go to as many funerals as I can; they’re usually at a church.”

“Very nice.”

He taps me on the head, and I look up.

“What I am saying is going to church does not make you any more faithful than swimming in the sea makes you a fish. People want things in life bigger than themselves, and I provide them, they only need to meet me halfway. The first step in believing in me is wanting to believe in me, and when they do, faith will not be far behind. Strain your brain, Tony, this may be hard to grasp, but the greatest majority who make it to Heaven are squeakers as Jesus puts it.”

 He looks over at me and doesn’t say anything.

I can’t resist, and say, “I know; I know—like lawyers.”

Grinning, He says, “If the shoe fits.”


2020 2.0- “The COVID-19 War”

Introduction

It all started with a ‘bug.’

 An unknown virus began to make the news, and China was its creator. Some would say it was designed to take over the world with the help of a few other bad actors who wanted power, and the Chinese government was willing to give it… for a price. But was the Chinese government the mastermind of the attack? Or was it the other way around?

As it turned out, the virus, 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), otherwise known as COVID-19, appeared as a strain of the flu at the onset of the infection. At first, it did not seem like a big deal. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) early on, we were told a pack of lies, or to be charitable… mistruths. But the biggest one was that the virus was not spread by human to human contact. Still, the Chinese government knew it wasn’t the truth and kept that information to themselves and other misinformation.

Just a couple of weeks in, the Chinese lies were being exposed, and the WHO was its early accomplice. The President ordered all flights into and from China to be canceled. He was mocked and criticized for the decision. Many on the left called him a xenophobe and a host of other criticisms aimed in defense of the Chinese. In many cases, hindsight can be the victor, and in the end, the President made the right decision. He managed to stop the bleeding, but it was already too late. Leaders from the Chinese government, or their designees, flew citizens infected to all corners of the globe to spread its mayhem. The plan was already in play. During their scheme to poison the planet, the Chinese were secretly hoarding masks, ventilators, and other medical equipment and supplies for their own, but withheld shipment of these supplies to other parts of the world. Even though a few of those companies that manufactured those items were U.S. companies doing business within China’s borders, they were refused shipment of those products outside the mainland. The rat was already shedding its stench.

On January 4, WHO announced that a “cluster” of pneumonia cases had broken out in Wuhan, the Hubei province of China. Within a couple of weeks, on January 19, 2020, the first known case of COVID-19 had reached our shores.

As the virus spread and folks started to die, both of those agencies, the WHO, and the CDC changed their tune. The Chinese broke their silence, not because they wanted to, but they had to. They were caught with their hands in the cookie jar and had to fess up, but not entirely.

“Never let a good crisis go to waste.”

Rahm Emanuel, former President Obama’s chief of staff

Chapter 1

January 21, 2020

The situation room at the White House

The President didn’t waste any time, and was the first to speak, then started with the National Security Advisor, Robert O’Leary.

“Bob, what do you think?

“Mr. President, I think this is a deliberate attack.”

The President sat up in his chair, and asked, “That’s pretty ballsy, Bob. Why?”

Arms flailing, he replied, “Do you think for one minute this came from a fucking fish market? No way!” Then he exclaimed, “The Chinese don’t give a flying fuck about their own damn people, so why would they care about the rest of the world?”

Humorously, the President said, “Now, Bob, don’t hold back. Tell us what you really think.”

A bit of snickering could be heard.

“Oh, there is plenty more. We have satellite images of busloads carrying something surrounding crematories, and we think they are bodies. Witness say that erns are falling off the shelves in Wuhan. Mr. President, the facts seem clear to me. They hid and withheld evidence. Those assholes at WHO are certainly complicit. From where I sit, the world economy on the verge of collapse.”

The President asked, “But why? What is the motivation?”

“The trade deal, Mr. President, they hate it. Call it national pride, or whatever. Before we knew a damn thing, the Chinese flew contaminated folks all over the world. It’s going to ugly very quickly. I already see the writing on the wall. Those trips seemed deliberate and intentional to me.”

“It doesn’t make sense that they’d destroy the planet over a trade deal.”

“Mr. President, the trade deal to them is a declaration of war. With the way things are now with the tension in Hong Kong and their own economic uncertainty, it was almost predictable. As a bonus, with Taiwan lingering in the background, it adds up to a ticking time bomb.”

“But it’s not a war; its business.”

“Begging your pardon, Mr. President, it doesn’t matter to them. It is a war, and the net results are the same whether a single bullet was fired or not.”

Then the President asked, “Where is Fauchi on all this?”

Someone uttered, “Still riding the fence, Mr. President. He is a scientist, not a policy guy. He stays clear of politics.”

The President asked, “Does anyone think we have seen the worst of this thing?”

“Mr. President, the prediction models tell us we haven’t even got started. It will get worse before it gets better.”

“What do you think we should do?”

Dr. Stein, director of the CDC replied, “Mr. President, I believe now is the time to contain the virus at its origin.

“Robert, if I understand what you are saying, you are right.” The President stood up, and slammed his fist on the table, then said, “We need to stop the bleeding, and I mean now! I want all flights into and out of China to stop immediately.”

Charles Wolfe from Homeland Security responded with, “We’ll catch some heat. They’ll accuse you of overreacting, saying you are a xenophobe, or whatever else is in their playbook, especially your pals on the left.”

“I don’t give a damn, just do it!”

Call it instinct, a gut feeling, or a calculated gamble, but that decision most likely saved tens of thousands, maybe even hundreds of thousands. Charles was right, the President did catch some heat by the left and their co-conspirators in the media.

A few days after the travel ban announcement, a second confirmed case of the virus had shown its ugly face. The patient recently returned from Wuhan, China, where an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by this novel coronavirus that had been around since December 2019.

On January 30, the Director-General of the World Health Organization met with the Chinese President and shared information about the virus and promised their cooperation with the WHO to get the virus under control. On the same day, the shit hit the fan.

The World Health Organization announced to the world that the virus was now a public health emergency, and the outbreak met all the criteria for such a warning. Every country was told to prepare for sudden illnesses associated with the virus. The plan included containment, surveillance, early detection, and isolation to reduce human infection and to prevent secondary infections.

The Chinese continued to put on a happy face and assured the rest of us they had everything under control. Wrong. The world was beginning to panic as word of a global pandemic spread universally.

It was the Presidents job to become our Commander in Chief Cheerleader and tried to comfort a frightened nation.

“We think we have it very well under control. We think it’s going to have a very good ending for us. That I can assure you.”

Before the travel restrictions, it was estimated that 300,000 people came to the U.S. from China in January 2020, with no restrictions on Americans going back and forth to China.

On February 2, the travel restrictions with China began. The only flights allowed into the U.S. were those carrying immediate family members of U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and the flight crew, but all were subject to a two-week quarantine. The others were refused entry.

Conspiracies and deception were already crowding the information put forth on the internet, but one thing did remain a fact. Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, head of the World Health Organization, was hand-picked by the Chinese government and continued with the narrative that the Chinese government had everything under control. Wrong again.

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization had to step up and tell the entire world that the COVID-19 outbreak was now a global pandemic. Infected people in China grew thirteen times as initially reported, and the number of infected countries had tripled. There were more than 118,000 cases in 114 countries, and 4291 victims lost their lives. Three days later, the virus had spread to all the U.S.

March 22, 2020

Governor Cuomo Signs the ‘New York State on PAUSE’ Executive Order, which was really code for a stay at home order. What they referred to as non-essential businesses, were ordered to close until further notice. The rest of the country followed suit except for rare exceptions. This was the beginning of the end of a thriving economy. We had gone from record unemployment numbers in the low single digits, then swelled to double-digit, nearing depression-era unemployment. The country, as well as most of the world, was not only bleeding to death, it was hemorrhaging.

We were ordered to go on lockdown in our own homes and ‘stay in place,’ then we had to go back to kindergarten, you know, wash your hands, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, and for God’s sake, don’t touch your face. Social distancing became the phrase of the day. Stay six feet apart from one another when out in public, and only when you could, or had to leave your home. Hugs, handshakes, and any other form of friendship were practically outlawed, other than a distant wave.

Most of the country was only allowed to leave our homes to go to grocery stores, pharmacies, big retail box stores, and a handful of others. Everything else was ordered to shut down or face fines or jail time. Haircuts, restaurants, and private gyms were ordered to close. We couldn’t even bury our dead with a decent funeral, and usually, the only guest was the one in the box. But the most painful of all was no more manicures or pedicures.

As the pandemic spread, widespread panic was in full force. Grocery stores were being emptied, antiseptic products and toilet paper became the hot commodities, and all were wiped out.

We were told not to wear a face mask, then we were told to wear a face mask, and that debate continued; to wear or not to wear, that is the question. And yes, you guessed it, another shortage. At the President’s requests, manufacturers were commissioned to make masks, and they did… by the millions. Hospitals were yelling to high heaven about the shortage of much-needed respirators. Again, good ole’ fashion U.S. ingenuity ramped up, and they delivered.

As the virus continued its journey, and folks started to die, the primary agencies in charge of things, the Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization changed its tune. The Chinese broke their silence, not because they wanted to, but they had to. They were caught with their hands in the cookie jar and had to fess up, but not entirely.

Within just a few short weeks, our Constitution was just a piece of paper to wipe our collective asses, and the Bill of Rights was tossed out the window. As news of the pandemic began to make its way across the world, the reality of it all started to set in.

To add fuel to the fire during the first six-weeks of the pandemic, and as a bonus to the arbitrators of the pandemic, a black man was essentially murdered by four cops in Minnesota. The country was already a tinderbox, and this was all that was needed to light the fuse.

Tensions were already on full alert, and peoples were at their wits-ends, and this was all the excuse folks needed to go outdoors. Unfortunately, their outdoor activities and peaceful demonstrations turned into riots, looting, and the destruction of many businesses.

Those were the facts, now let us get to the truth.

Chapter 2

The first attack was a success to a degree, but not near the damage they intended. However, it still spread worldwide fear and a global economic collapse. Entire nations were on lockdown, massive unemployment, and chaos followed. Hospitals were flooded, Navy Hospital ships were deployed, and makeshift triage units were spread across the country in known “hotspots.” Anyone with a hangover or a migraine thought they were victims of the virus and rushed off to the nearest ER.

We were all confused at first. Were our guts going to explode, or our brains leak out of our ears? We were clueless… even the experts. As time moved along, the early victims who died were the elderly. Children were thought to be immune, but that all changed when some of them died as well. The sweet spot for survival seemed to be somewhere between late adolescents and those under sixty-five, but it was the oldest that suffered the most. Basically, you were screwed if you were sixty-six and older.

World economies were falling in ruin, but one setback still remained; the virus was not as lethal as earlier expected. They needed a plan B.

***

Somewhere at a hidden location.

A small group of men met in a small cabin hidden deep in a wooded area somewhere in the middle of nowhere.

It was a cold afternoon, snow fluttered to the ground, and covered everything in its path. Surrounding the perimeter, was a ten-foot-tall stone wall, topped with razor fencing, and tripwires. The only entrance to the camp was a sentry of heavily armed guards. Those in attendance were representatives of world power players who met to discuss the virus’s first wave and continued plans for future attacks. Five men had already gathered, awaiting the sixth.

The remaining member was Kurek. He kicked in the door, then slammed it behind with a loud thud. The others stood at attention and composed.

Kurek slammed a newspaper on the table for all to examine, then shouted, “Can someone explain to me what the fuck is going on?”

Reluctantly, Sergio, Kurek’s right-hand man, stood up and replied, “What’s the problem, Kurek? We accomplished what we were ordered to do.”

Kurek, pointed at the newspaper, then shouted, “Oh, really? What accomplishment? Where are all the dead people?”

Another replied, “China took a big hit.”

“Oh, wow. That’s amazing. Hey, dumb shit, the Chinese are supposed to be on our side!” Kurek calmed down a bit, then gathered his thoughts. “I guess it’s alright. It fits the narrative.”

“What do you mean.?”

“Don’t you think it might be a little suspicious if everyone started dropping dead instead of them?”

Sergio replied, “I suppose you are right, but those writing all those checks want results, and this lackluster attack didn’t impress them one damn bit. What do we do now?”

Kurek’s answer was brief.

“We wait.”


 

2020.20- The COVID-19 War

Chapter 4

In front of a live audience on a national news channel, the President said these words, “Nobody could have predicted something like this…” Donald Trump

Six weeks after the travel restrictions were laid in place, the President held a meeting in the Oval Office. The attendees were the regular Joint Chiefs of Staff, excluding the chairman and vice-chairman. The Director of the CIA was also present. All were gathered and on time enjoying a morning cup of coffee, then walked in the President. They stood at attention until the Commander in Chief took a seat behind his historical desk.

“I’d like to thank you all for coming in on such short notice.”

“Mr. President, will the Secretary (of defense) be joining us?”

“Not today. He’s out of the country, and to be honest, I want candid assessments of what we are dealing with, and I don’t need a couple of politicians hanging around.”

There was brief laughter.

General Jim McNabb of the U.S. Army was the first in line for a quick Q & A.

“Let’s get to it. Jim, I want you to tell me what you know. Was this intentional?”

“Mr. President, from where I sit, and the intel we have gathered, it is still hard to ascertain.”

“What about you, Dave?” pointing at the Marine Core leader, General David Baldwin.

“Mr. President, we are in the same position as Jim. We just don’t know. It looks suspicious enough that they might pull a stunt like this. We have folks on the ground as we speak, and when I know something, I’ll pass it around to you and the others.”

“What about the Russians? Do you think they are involved?”

“No sir, not a chance.”

“That’s good to know. I’ve caught enough heat to last a lifetime!”

The President tone elevated, he stood up, then pounded his fist on his desk.

“Folks, people are starting to die. We have five-thousand confirmed deaths to date, just in the U.S., and according to Fauchi and the scarf lady…” the President looked around for an answer to her name.

“Dr. Birx.”

“Sorry, I keep forgetting. According to those damn models, the predictions could reach hundreds of thousands of deaths just here at home before we find a cure or vaccine. So, what the hell is going on, Mike?”

Admiral Mike Goodwin, Chief of Naval Operations, responded.

“The virus is in our midst, and we know where it came from and how it got here, but putting the full blame on the Chinese, in my opinion, is still premature.”

“Why?”

“Sir, the Chinese are a global economic superpower. Why would they want to piss off all their customers and trading partners? To me, it just doesn’t add up.”

Tina Haslett, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency was asked, “Tina, you haven’t said much. What do you people have?”

“Mr. President, we have been keeping a close eye on the Chinese navy, and so far, it has been the usual tit-for-tat maneuvers they are famous for. Nothing out of the ordinary, except for one thing.”

Leaning forward in his chair, the President said, “I’m listening.” The others also leaned forward a bit.

“The Chinese seem to be using some of their battle fleet, mostly destroyers as cargo ships of sorts. Satellite images have shown dozens of crates being loaded onto the deck, then stowed below.”

“Weapons?”

“No Sir. Too small. Besides, when they load their arsenal, they want the world to see.”

“What else do you have?”

“One thing that is curious to my team is the back and forth movement between mainland China and Kognizant Key. The Chinese claim it is a routine R & R destination for its naval crew and a vacation retreat for dignitaries.”

“Where in the hell is Kognizant Key? I’ve never heard of it.”

“Not many have, Sir. It’s about the size of Guam with a population of about five-hundred or so. It is a tribal nation with no ruling class except for an elected mayor. He is selected by unknown sources. The main trade is fishing by the locals, and pardon me, Sir, but they are also big into basket weaving. It’s a huge export business.”

The President replied, “And we used to joke it was a useless college degree.”

A few chuckles could be heard.

“Tell us more, Tina.”

“Yes Sir. There are a couple tourist type facilities that include a large gambling casino, and a nice hotel retreat, both employed by outsiders. Big shots and celebrities are their primary customers and trust me, this isn’t Disneyland. Admiral, show them what you’ve got so far.”

Admiral Goodwin stood up from his chair and showed a map of the area using a projector then detailed as much as was available.

“It is a secluded island nation, barely a blip on the radar,” then using a laser pointer, gave a tour of the island. “It is southeast of the China Sea between the Philippines and Malaysia in the Celebes Sea. It is surrounded by a cluster of uninhabited islands; Pothos, Sabal Palmetto Island, and a couple of others, and Kognizant is smack dab in the middle.”

The President then says with a smile, “I better brush up on my geography.”

Tina continued with, “Don’t bother, Sir, you won’t find it on a map. The only way we found it was by tracking Chinese naval exercises and then following the trail leading to Kognizant. It is a great location militarily, beyond that, nothing unusual. Very few personnel, just a small police contingent, that’s it. But there is one thing that has our attention. I’ll let David weigh in on this one.”

General David Goldstein, Chief of Staff of the Air Force, told all he knew.

“We have spotted a mysterious concrete building near the shore. Nothing fancy, three stories tall, really just a box. We calculate it is about one hundred fifty feet wide, by one fifty deep with few windows on the bottom floor.”

The President was very curious, then asked, “That is interesting. What else?”

“It gets better. Up top is fully equipped with satellite antennas, a couple of radars, a backup power generator, but no fencing surrounding the perimeter. Motion detectors and security cameras are everywhere. We also spotted a very upscale docking and loading area with a small warehouse just a few yards away. It is designed for larger ships, I’d say ten-thousand tons or more.”

“This island sure doesn’t appear to be a weekend get-a-way for Chinese sailors.”

“We don’t think so either, Mr. President, but to add to it, we have located two un-classed subs off-shore just sitting there in two-hundred feet of water. The boats’ signatures and our best guess is, they are attack subs.”

“Chinese?”

“No Sir. We don’t have a clue who they are, we just know who they aren’t.”

God and his favorite joke

“Tony, I’ve got a joke for you. It’s a humdinger. Are you ready?”

“Fire away. I can’t wait.”

“OK, here it goes. Stop me if you’ve heard it.”

I think in my mind, “I wouldn’t even if I had heard it; I’m not taking any chances.

“May I please begin?”

“Go for it.”

“Thank you, Tony.”

“Here we go.”

“A man was having a conversation with Godthat would be me—and he asks, Tell me, God, I’m curious, what is a million years to you?

“I answer, A second, my child.”

“Well then, the man continues, what is a million dollars to you?”

“Again, I reply, A penny.”

“So, the man asks, Can I borrow a penny?”

God snickers, then says, “Certainly, in just a second.”

He cracks up and slaps me on the back.

“That’s the funniest joke I know!”

I reach around and rub my back as best I can.

“Yeah, that’s a real rib-tickler, or in this case, a rib-bruiser.”

We spend a few minutes doing much of nothing; our eyes just wandering about.

Still reeling from the slap, I say, “You don’t look like I expected.”

“What were you expecting? Long gray hair and a robe? Oh yeah, let’s not forget the halo.”

“Now that you mention it, yes. You seem so gentle and frail.”

He chuckles. “Frail? I’m not the one who croaked!”

“Good point.”

“Laugh out loud hilarious!!!”

I’m working on a couple of spinoffs from my novel, Port Summerville. They are two short stories that didn’t make the final cut, not because they weren’t good, just didn’t fit the overall narrative of the story.
The first one is, Port Summerville – “The Parade”
It starts out like this:

I wasn’t particularly proud of this, but we had a local KKK chapter — sort of. It began when the founding club members, all of them friends or acquaintances, decided they wanted to start a club, which was more of an excuse to drink than socialize. It is a story of a few of Port Summerville’s misfits, and were friends. They had heard of the KKK, but not a clue what they stood for. They were told it was a fraternal order, and assumed it was like a college fraternity, and they’d be brothers with their noble endeavor. They would finally get the respect from the community they deserved. This motley crew were made up of a few white guys, a black fellow, a Latino, one Jew, a couple of Vietnamese, and a gay guy.

You can only imagine how this works out.

Having Faith; easier than you think

He tells me more stories of hope and faith. Now it seems to be the right time to ask Him what a lot of us want to know.

“All we have is faith. Why don’t you show yourself?”

“Show myself? Are you kidding me? I’m everywhere! Don’t you remember the big word you learned—omnipresent?”

Getting back to His more serious side, He continues.

“I have performed miracles all over the place, yet few pay any attention, or worse, seem to care. Let me tell a story about faith. Who is your father? What is his name?”

“Eugene.”

“You say Eugene is your father, how do you know?”

“First of all, I have a birth certificate, and his name is on it.”

God shrugs his shoulders, and asks, “What does that prove?”

He continues to press the issue.

How do you know?”

Now I’m getting irritated.

“I don’t know, I just do.”

“Let me tell you this Tony, your little piece of paper doesn’t mean squat. Think about this and please excuse the analogy, but I want to make a point.”

Oh great, another point.”

Silly me keeps forgetting about His mind-reading trick.

“You are aware that I’m sitting right next to you? Now, may I finish?”

“Yes, you may.”

“Why thank you, Tony.”

Then He looks right at me, and says, “My point is, only one knows without a shadow-of-a-doubt that your father, as you claim, is your father.”

I consider myself a fairly smart guy, but that one flew over my head, and the most intelligent thing I can say is, “OK, I’ll bite.”

“Drum roll please.”

I pause for a moment, then placating him, use my leg as a drum and let out a rat-a-tat-tat.

“The answer is—only your mother knows for sure—and of course, me—that your father is, as you say, your father.”

“I don’t get it.”

Now God is thinking, “This guy got through law school?”

“Did you say something? Ha! Chad has been teaching me a few tricks too!”

“I’ll visit with him later. Anyway, faith is why you believe your father is your father, and you would defend that faith to the death if it were necessary. It’s that kind of faith that gets folks into Heaven. Remember this always—Heaven is not a place for the holy; it is a home for the faithful. My hope is, by using your eyes and ears I am giving the flock a peek into Heaven, using you as a witness. I’m getting weary with all I see and my patience is wavering.”

 “Why me? I’ve never been very religious, or even too faithful,” then I lower my head, “I have questioned my faith—a lot. I don’t even go to church very often.”

“Tony, I assure you, one has nothing to do with the other. I’d rather you be one of the faithful kicked back on your Lazy Boy on a Sunday morning, than a faithless hypocrite warming a pew. So, I guess you’re one of those C and E types.”

“What’s that?”

“Only goes to church on Christmas and Easter.”

With my head still lowered, I reply, “Pretty much—” then I peek up for a moment, “but I do go to as many funerals as I can; they’re usually at a church.”

“Very nice.”

He taps me on the head and I look up.

“What I am saying is going to church does not make you any more faithful than swimming in the sea makes you a fish. People want things in life bigger than themselves, and I provide them, they only need to meet me halfway. The first step in believing in me, is wanting to believe in me, and when they do, faith will not be far behind. Strain your brain, Tony, this may be hard to grasp, but the greatest majority who make it to Heaven are squeakers as Jesus puts it.”

 He looks over at me and doesn’t say anything.

I can’t resist, and say, “I know; I know—like lawyers.”

Grinning, He says, “If the shoe fits.”

Not to add insult to injury, I say, “I cannot believe what I’m about to say, so I’ll just spit it out. I forget to pray over a meal sometimes, to be honest, most of the time.”

“Don’t worry Tony, me either. Who would I talk to?” A grin grows on his face.

As with many times before, both of us let out a chuckle.

“Here’s a newsflash, I know people’s hearts, and I know yours. You are a good and honorable man. I know choice is a huge burden to put on people, but it’s the clearest and easiest way to test their worthiness for an invitation to my home. By the time I’m done with the teachings, you’ll be overflowing with faith, not to mention we’re actually talking. You know who impressed me?”

“I give up. Who?”

“Noah. Talk about faith! Remember this; in the so-called modern era, trained professionals and engineers assembled the Titanic, and a winemaker a few years ahead of the caveman built the Ark. He did it with a lot of faith as his blueprint.”

He continues with a few more examples.

“And poor Job; don’t get me started with him. He had it really rough and still remained faithful. Nowadays it’s easy. You won’t even break a sweat, not like then. Back in the day, I had them doing so many offerings and making sacrifices; I’m surprised Noah had enough to fill up the Ark!”

He gives the example of children and their faith in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. As they grow older, not only do they lose their belief in those two; sometimes God gets lost in the mix as well.

“So, faith is the barometer I use. You got a better idea?”

“I think you’ve got it covered.”

“Tony, you are a hoot! I’m glad you agree.”

I spend some time thinking about the whole concept of faith. It seems so easy; maybe too easy. Many years ago, people had to prove their faith. Nowadays all we need to do is proclaim it. In my practice, I had to make many complicated business and legal decisions, and given my current set of circumstances; those didn’t mean a thing. Legal matters I’d decided on were often temporary fixes to the problem. A decision of faith will carry you through and beyond eternity. It finally makes sense.

Why the title, Suicide by Death

Some have questioned the title, Suicide by Death. At first, I thought it was cute —sort of an artsy thing, but in the back of my mind, I knew what it meant. For anyone who saw the movie Star Trek: Wrath of Khan, near the end Mr. Spock rescues the ship but sacrifices his life. Captain Kirk runs to Spock to save him and tries to open a fuel chamber. Dr. McCoy, “Bones,” said it would flood the compartment with radiation, and he and Scotty restrained the captain. Kirk struggled to free himself and murmured, “He’ll die.” Scotty replied in his thick, Scottish accent, said, “Sir, he’s dead already.”

He wasn’t dead yet and had enough time to share a personal moment with Kirk, but the fact remained that Spock was on his way out; death only needed to catch up.

Folks rarely pick up a gun and blow their brains out on a whim. It takes an amount of planning. And so it begins. You have already committed suicide in your mind; it simply needs to be followed up with a bullet, noose, jump off a skyscraper or whatever; then death’s bitter door swings wide open and welcomes you.

Everyday products made from Fossil Fuel

A partial list of products made from Petroleum (6000 items). One 42-gallon barrel of oil creates 19.4 gallons of gasoline. The rest (over half) is used to make things like: Although the major use of petroleum is as a fuel, (gasoline, jet fuel, heating oil), and petroleum and natural gas are often used to generate electricity, there are many other uses. Here are some of the ways petroleum is used in our every day lives. All plastic is made from petroleum and plastic is used almost everywhere: in cars, houses, toys, computers and clothing. Asphalt used in road construction is a petroleum product as is the synthetic rubber in the tires. Paraffin wax comes from petroleum, as do fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides, detergents, phonograph records, photographic film, furniture, packaging materials, surfboards, paints, and artificial fibers used in clothing, upholstery, and carpet backing.

Solvents Diesel Motor Oil Bearing Grease
Ink Floor Wax Ballpoint Pens Football Cleats
Upholstery Sweaters Boats Insecticides
Bicycle Tires Sports Car Bodies Nail Polish Fishing lures
Dresses Tires Golf Bags Perfumes
Cassettes Dishwasher Tool Boxes Shoe Polish
Motorcycle Helmet Caulking Petroleum Jelly Transparent Tape
CD Player Faucet Washers Antiseptics Clothesline
Curtains Food Preservatives Basketballs Soap
Vitamin Capsules Antihistamines Purses Shoes
Dashboards Cortisone Deodorant Footballs
Putty Dyes Panty Hose Refrigerant
Percolators Life Jackets Rubbing Alcohol Linings
Skis TV Cabinets Shag Rugs Electrician’s Tape
Tool Racks Car Battery Cases Epoxy Paint
Mops Slacks Insect Repellent Oil Filters
Umbrellas Yarn Fertilizers Hair Coloring
Roofing Toilet Seats Fishing Rods Lipstick
Denture Adhesive Linoleum Ice Cube Trays Synthetic Rubber
Speakers Plastic Wood Electric Blankets Glycerin
Tennis Rackets Rubber Cement Fishing Boots Dice
Nylon Rope Candles Trash Bags House Paint
Water Pipes Hand Lotion Roller Skates Surf Boards
Shampoo Wheels Paint Rollers Shower Curtains
Guitar Strings Luggage Aspirin Safety Glasses
Antifreeze Football Helmets Awnings Eyeglasses
Clothes Toothbrushes Ice Chests Footballs
Combs CD’s Paint Brushes Detergents
Vaporizers Balloons Sun Glasses Tents
Heart Valves Crayons Parachutes Telephones
Enamel Pillows Dishes Cameras
Anesthetics Artificial Turf Artificial limbs Bandages
Dentures Model Cars Folding Doors Hair Curlers
Cold cream Movie film Soft Contact lenses Drinking Cups
Fan Belts Car Enamel Shaving Cream Ammonia
Refrigerators Golf Balls Toothpaste Gasoline
Ink  Dishwashing liquids  Paint brushes  Telephones
 Toys  Unbreakable dishes  Insecticides  Antiseptics
 Dolls  Car sound insulation  Fishing lures  Deodorant
 Tires  Motorcycle helmets  Linoleum  Sweaters
 Tents  Refrigerator linings  Paint rollers  Floor wax
 Shoes  Electrician’s tape  Plastic wood  Model cars
Glue  Roller-skate wheels  Trash bags  Soap dishes
 Skis  Permanent press clothes  Hand lotion  Clothesline
 Dyes  Soft contact lenses  Shampoo  Panty hose
 Cameras  Food preservatives  Fishing rods  Oil filters
 Combs  Transparent tape  Anesthetics  Upholstery
 Dice  Disposable diapers  TV cabinets  Cassettes
 Mops  Sports car bodies  Salad bowls  House paint
 Purses  Electric blankets  Awnings  Ammonia
 Dresses  Car battery cases  Safety glass  Hair curlers
 Pajamas  Synthetic rubber  VCR tapes  Eyeglasses
 Pillows  Vitamin capsules  Movie film  Ice chests
 Candles  Rubbing alcohol  Loudspeakers  Ice buckets  
 Boats  Ice cube trays  Credit cards  Fertilizers  
 Crayons  Insect repellent  Water pipes  Toilet seats  
 Caulking  Roofing shingles  Fishing boots  Life jackets  
 Balloons  Shower curtains  Garden hose  Golf balls  
 Curtains  Plywood adhesive  Umbrellas  Detergents  
 Milk jugs  Beach umbrellas  Rubber cement  Sun glasses  
 Putty  Faucet washers  Cold cream  Bandages  
 Tool racks  Antihistamines  Hair coloring  Nail polish  
 Slacks  Drinking cups  Guitar strings  False teeth  
 Yarn  Petroleum jelly Toothpaste  Golf bags  
 Roofing  Tennis rackets  Toothbrushes  Perfume  
 Luggage  Wire insulation  Folding doors  Shoe polish  
 Fan belts  Ballpoint pens  Shower doors  Cortisone  
 Carpeting  Artificial turf  Heart valves  LP records  
 Lipstick  Artificial limbs  Hearing aids  Vaporizers  
 Aspirin  Shaving cream  Wading pools  Parachutes  

Americans consume petroleum products at a rate of three-and-a-half gallons of oil and more than 250 cubic feet of natural gas per day each! But, as shown here petroleum is not just used for fuel.

The world’s top five crude oil-producing countries are: Saudi Arabia, Russia, United States, Iran, and China

Over one-fourth of the crude oil produced in the United States is produced offshore in the Gulf of Mexico. The top crude oil producing states are: Texas, Alaska, California, Louisiana, and Oklahoma.

About 59.5 percent of the crude oil and petroleum products used in the United States come from other countries.