Leaders from around the world are arriving in New York City today for the start of the new United Nation’s General Assembly session and to hear tomorrow’s big speech from the joke. “There is a lot to worry about in the world today, which is why all of us are so eager to hear what the joke has to say,” says António Manuel de Oliveira Guterres of Portugal, the U.N. secretary general. “Will the joke insult allies for being freeloaders or soft on terrorism or will the joke accidentally—or maybe not accidentally!—put the United States in the same camp as the fascists of the 1930s? There’s just so much to anticipate.”
It’s traditional for the president of the United States to make opening remarks at the General Assembly because of the country’s role as the host of the U.N., it’s biggest financial contributor, and as a chief founder of the world body. This year there is an extra amount of buzz about the opening session because the joke will be speaking.
“For many of us, this will be the first time we will see the joke in person,” said Amina J. Mohammed of Nigeria, the deputy secretary general. “Up to this point, everything we know about the joke we’ve read about in the news or seen on TV. Will the joke look as stupid in real life as it does on TV or in pictures? Will the joke do something as stupid as it has in the past at other gatherings of leaders? There’s just so much to anticipate.”
The United Nation’s is taking extra security precautions this year because of a rise in global instability since the joke burst onto the scene 18 months ago. Accords and institutions that have kept the peace for many years, and in some cases for decades, are starting to come apart, accelerating the sense among many leaders that the world order is shifting rapidly away from the United States. Which is why so many leaders are wondering what the joke will have to say.
“It will be a fascinating speech because the joke is uniquely unqualified to deal with the tsunami of problems facing the world today,” said Peter Thomson of Fiji, president of the U.N. General Assembly. “This is especially the case since many of the problems are of the joke’s own making. That makes anything the joke says compelling. Will the joke pour gasoline on the flames? How can you not be interested in hearing what will be said?”
The diplomat said it would be nice if the joke was funny but it’s not, which is why there’s so much nervous tittering directed at the joke itself. “We try not to laugh but it’s impossible not to,” he said. “We know laughing at the joke will only make the situation worse, but it’s like having a sore tooth in your mouth. It’s best to leave it alone but you can’t help playing with it with your tongue. I guess the joke’s on us. Ha-ha. That’s so funny, except that it’s not. Ow! Ow! It hurts to laugh! Stop me from hurting myself. Ha-ha! Ow!”
This is a work of satire. It is a fictional news article not meant to be taken seriously. Photos: pd and cc. Creative Commons and public domain. Not necessarily an endorsed use of images.
WASHINGTON—In a sensational shot across the bow, American President Donald Trump said at the White House today that North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, is a “vindictive, narcissistic sociopath’ who mustn’t be allowed to have nuclear weapons because he’s “impulsive, unstable, and holds a grudge.” Trump also said he lies “practically every time” he opens his mouth. “What we have in North Korea is a man who only got where he is today because of his father,” Trump told reporters. Kim is the third leader in the Kim dynasty, which began in 1948 when Kim Il-sung led his country’s effort to overthrow Japanese rule. Kim then elevated his son, Kim Jong-il, to the post of Supreme Leader in 1994, and then Kim Jong-il elevated Kim Jong-un in 2011, when he was 27. More.
SACRAMENTO, Calif.—Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said today he believes the moon landing in 1969 was real but “many people” believe the whole thing was orchestrated by the federal government to impress the world and scare the Soviets. “I’m not saying I believe that, but many people have questions about it,” Trump said at a campaign appearance here. “There are people who know about these things who say they saw the interior of a warehouse in Los Angeles converted to look like the surface of the moon, complete with fine dust and craters and the whole thing. Lot of tinfoil lying around. More.
President Donald Trump said today he might drop more bombs in hot spots around the world because people appear to like the bombs on a bipartisan basis. “Who would have thought the bombs would be so popular, but they are and we’re going to do more of them, I can guarantee you,” Trump said at a press briefing after meeting with business officials on tax reform. “Syria was a big win for us. People liked the Tomahawks. President Bashar al-Assad poisoned his own people. We fired the bombs. That was good. A big win. Then we dropped the mother of all bombs on Afghanistan. People are sick of Afghanistan. They can’t believe we’re still there. We can’t get out of that country? We dropped the bomb.” More.
President Donald Trump, his step a little lighter now that the reviews have been good on his decision to bomb a Syrian airbase, says Americans can expect more bombings in the weeks ahead. “There are going to be so many good opportunities to bomb things,” Trump said in his weekly radio address at the White House today. “We have North Korea. We have Iran. We have some other hot spots we’re looking at but aren’t ready to talk about yet. But they’ll be good bombing targets. A lot of pride among Americans, especially after all those disastrous Obama years when we blew so few things up.” Trump acknowledged he wasn’t expecting reviews across the political spectrum to be so good in response to his snap decision to send 59 Tomahawk missiles to the Shayrat military airbase in response to the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons on its own citizens. More.
President Donald Trump said he based his decision to bomb the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria on “raw emotion” and he’s left it to his generals to create a long-term engagement strategy that doesn’t leave Americans more vulnerable to middle east chaos. “I saw children murdered by their own government and I reacted to that,” Trump said today at the White House. “Now we’re working hard to build a policy around my decision. I think we’ll have a plan soon, maybe even before the weekend.” Trump said he’d been given policy papers on the situation in Syria, but what matters is what he sees on cable news. “And what I saw horrified me,” said Trump. “I think it’s important for the head of a country to act on the basis of emotions and without a long-term plan.” More.
PALO ALTO, Calif.—A major symposium on the presidency of Donald Trump erupted into a heated discussion yesterday as some of the United States’ most distinguished professors of political science disagreed over whether President Trump is an utter moron or an absolute idiot. Benjamin Heitzberg, professor emeritus of political science at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, said Trump burst from the starting gate as an utter moron by targeting an entire religion in his immigration ban. “The United States has become a great nation in part because it’s been a beacon of hope for people the world over to come here and realize their full potential,” said Heitzberg, who last year was awarded a lifetime achievement award by the International Society of Political Scientists. “Only an utter moron would purposefully damage one of the country’s greatest intangible assets.” More.
White House Spokesperson Sean Spicer said there’s no truth to rumors that President Trump and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte have agreed to shoot a television commercial for Viagra®, the erectile dysfunction drug, while Duterte is in Washington for his White House meeting. “The fake news operation of the Democratic party is at it again,” said Spicer at his press briefing this morning. “The claim that President Trump and Philippine President Duterte have any intention of shooting a Viagra® commercial is absurd.” More.
In a problem that has never happened before, according to historians, just nine weeks into the presidency of Donald Trump the White House has exhausted its supply of foreign leaders willing to come to Washington to meet with the president and analysts cannot figure out why. “In every past administration, the problem has been too many foreign leaders wanting to come to Washington to meet with what many people regard as the most powerful person in the world,” says Jake Tapper, Washington correspondent for CNN. “Now, leaders around the world are saying they’re too busy to come. It’s weird.” That’s not to say President Trump has hosted no foreign leaders. Among others, he’s hosted Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, British Prime Minister Theresa May, and Japanese Prime Minster Shinzo Abe. And just last week he hosted German Chancellor Angela Merkel. But White House aides say no more foreign leaders are lined up to come. More.
Shinzō Abe, the Japanese prime minister, made a desperate cry for help last week in the White House, where his hand was held against its will by the hand of President Donald Trump. “Nobody likes to be imprisoned, but few things are worse than having your hand imprisoned because your hand is the most important exponent of freedom a person has,” said Abe, the leader of Japan since 2012 and not normally a person given to abstract philosophical musings about freedom and hands. Abe said he empathizes with Melania Trump, wife of Donald Trump, who, during the presidential inauguration on January 20, made a similar desperate cry for help about her imprisonment by her husband. More.
British Prime Minister Theresa May says she held the hand of President Donald Trump as they walked to the White House press room for their news conference earlier this week so she would know where his hand was at all times. “Frankly, I thought it was more important to keep tabs on his hand than worry about any ridicule I might incur from the international community,” May said today. May said she normally doesn’t worry about where the hands of world leaders are, but she didn’t want to take a chance on joining the more than two dozen women who have accused Trump of groping them. “If it were just one woman who was accusing him, then I wouldn’t be too concerned,” she said. “But there have been some two dozen, which is not a small number.” More.
As he vowed to do, President Barack Obama retaliated against Russian hacking of the U.S. election by releasing photos that Russian President Vladimir Putin is embarrassed to see on the Internet. “We were clear to President Putin that he would regret meddling in the election, which is so fundamental to our Democracy,” said White House spokesperson Josh Earnest this morning. “President Obama was very clear that the United States would retaliate in a manner and at a time of its choosing, and today we have made good on that threat with the release of these embarrassing photos of Vladimir Putin.” The photos are devastating indictments of Putin, say security experts and intelligence analysts. In one photo, Putin is wearing an anti-Putin t-shirt. In another, he has a propeller hat on his head. In a third, he has a message taped to his back that says “Kick me!” More.
John Forrester made his name picking apart the weaknesses of George W. Bush and now he has put our next president, Donald Trump, under his knife with his new book, How to Play Trump Like a Fiddle: A Guide for Foreign Leaders. The book immediately rose to the top of The New York Times bestseller list, with rave reviews like this one, from Andrew McNair of The New Yorker: “Forrester expertly walks prime ministers, presidents, chancellors, and business leaders through the three basic steps that will all but guarantee you will get what you want from Donald Trump while making him think he made a good deal.” More.
Americans across the country took delight in watching President-elect Donald Trump give the world’s largest country a poke by speaking on the phone with the president of Taiwan, a breach of diplomatic protocol, and then tweeting snarky statements about China’s trade practices. “It feels good after so many years of watching China eat our lunch to see our president-elect give the country the ol’ Donald Trump treatment,” says Ronald Portman, a retired mechanic in St. Paul, Minn. “Ha ha.” More.
Not waiting to get into the White House to exercise his unique brand of Twitter diplomacy, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump late last night wondered aloud if Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, and his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, get their pantsuit ideas from the same JC Penney catalog. “I notice it’s not a catalogue Melania has laying around on her nightstand,” he said. “Maybe there’s a reason for that. Does Victoria Secret make sizes big enough for them? I doubt it!” He also called North Korea’s launch of a ballistic missile from a submarine two weeks ago a “pathetic” attempt to be relevant in the global arena and said it makes the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un, look “small and sad.” Trump also revisited one of his favorite topics about China—its currency manipulation—by condemning the International Monetary Fund for adding the Yuan to its list of reserve currencies. “Just like it manipulates its currency, China has manipulated the losers at the IMF,” he said. More.
Russian president Vladimir Putin says he’s enjoying the positive coverage he’s getting from the endorsement of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump but he doesn’t want to give the impression his success is all about his leadership skills; it helps to be an authoritarian, he says. Putin says he could never work his will if he couldn’t jail critics or have them killed, which takes care of a lot of opposition. He also takes advantage of a rubber-stamp legislative body and gets to set the terms of his election, which is better than running campaign ads, even if they’re good ones. “Truth be told, it helps to do what you want without checks and balances,” he says. “Sure, I’m a good leader. I’m strong. But at the end of the day, I never lose sight of the real source of my strength: my authoritarianism.” More.
Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein came back from the dead today to throw some shade at Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump for praising the 82 percent approval rating of Russian president Vlaidmir Putin. “Eighty-two percent! I snort at that!” said Hussein, who was executed by the Federal Government of Iraq in 2006, when he was 69. “My Revolutionary Command Council would have had a good laugh if I had run my country as a strongman with only an 82 percent approval, I can tell you that, my friend!” Hussein said a strong leader should never have anything under 100 percent approval, and he pointed to his impressive 111 percent approval rating when he asked his people in a poll what they thought of his job performance in 2003, shortly before an international coalition of forces invaded his country and forced him into hiding. “I am not a sentimental person, but I shed a tear at the love of my people on that day,” said Hussein. More.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, fresh from his dramatic trip to Mexico to discuss immigration policy, said he would allow Angélica Rivera, the wife of Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto, into the country if she wants to come. “We would make an exception for her, absolutely, and I told her that when I was in Mexico,” Trump said at a campaign stop in Albuquerque, N.M. “I told her I’ll have a car ready for her anytime she wants to come. She has my number. She said she’d like to see Trump Tower. I said I’d like to show it to her.” Rivera, 47, an actress and model before she became Mexico’s First Lady, was born in Mexico City. She has been married to Peña Nieto since 2010. Trump’s trip to Mexico has generated a considerable amount of analysis. In Mexico, he appeared to take a conciliatory approach to the country, but that appeared to change in a major address he gave in Phoenix that night. More.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry wrapped up a week-long meeting with Chinese government and business leaders with a request for the Chinese to give back the millions of jobs American businesses shipped to them over the years. “We are not blaming you for taking them,” Kerry said in his departing statement, given at the American embassy in Beijing. “We gave them to you of our own free will, and you were free to take them. But we’d like to have them back now, and so if you wouldn’t mind returning them to us, we would appreciate it.” The United States has transferred some 15 million jobs to Chinese companies since China was granted Most Favored National (MFN) trade status in 1994, when Bill Clinton was president. Since that time, China has grown to have the second largest economy in the world and is on the verge of overtaking the United States in the size of its gross domestic product, although the country would still lag the U.S. in per-capita GDP. More.
BEIJING—China this week released its plan to dominate the world by 2020 and also host a summit on the overfishing of red herring in the South Sea. “This is China’s century and we are determined to assert our interests globally in accordance with our stature as the one true superpower,” Chinese President Xi Jinping said in a news conference here yesterday. China is the world’s largest country by population, with 1.36 million people, not counting ethnic Uighurs, and the world’s second largest economy, with a gross domestic product of $16.1 trillion. That is about $1 trillion less than the United States, although that gap is expected to close within the next 18 months because of America’s declining productivity and “black president,” the plan says. More.