John Semmens: Semi-News — A Satirical Look at Recent News
President Obama’s appearance on the Daily Show turned into a major coup for his reelection campaign. Obama inverted host Jon Stewart’s gibe about his response to the Benghazi attack with a crushing rebuttal.
Stewart’s suggestion that the Administration’s actions were “confused” and “not optimal” seemed to unnerve the President at first as he conceded that the death of four Americans in the attack was “not optimal.” However, the President landed a sound counter blow by pointing out that Stewart offered no better ideas of his own.
“We can sit around and second-guess what we did all day, but can you say what you would’ve done in my place?” the President asked. “Unless you’ve got a better plan to offer why tear down what I’ve done?”
Stewart’s reply “perhaps allowing consulate security to have bullets in their guns or not ginning up some bogus excuse blaming a cheesy video” was cut short when CNN’s Candy Crowley emerged from the audience to declare that “I’ve got the transcript right here. The President is right on this. Let’s move on to the next topic.”
“Thank you Candy,” Obama said. “I think what we’ve seen here tonight shows that there are two paths this nation can take. We could divisively question every step I’ve taken to advance a progressive agenda for America. Or we can, as Ms. Crowley demonstrated, all pull together for the common good.”
After the show, Crowley admitted that her intervention on behalf of the President had no factual basis. “I don’t see my role in life as just some sterile adjudicator of facts,” she bragged. “Our nation’s President was under attack. I couldn’t sit by and let his credibility be destroyed. Coming to his aid is what any loyal citizen would do.”
President Says High Gas Prices Are Sign of Prosperity
In a desperate effort to try to persuade voters that the economy is starting to recover, President Obama touted high gas prices as “proof that things are better than most people think they are.”
“Rising demand is what pushes prices up,” Obama explained. “The fact that gasoline prices have more than doubled since I took office shows that people must be driving more. Since studies show that driving to work accounts for the bulk of most folks’ travel I think it’s safe to say that the jobs picture has to be a lot better than we’ve been led to believe.”
The President boasted that “my efforts to boost the price of fuel had to overcome strenuous resistance from my political opponents. The GOP’s relentless crusade to open up drilling sites and ease regulations had one goal in mind—thwarting the economic recovery by preventing prices from rising. I’m confident that voters will see this obstruction for what it is and not be fooled into reversing course.”
When Obama took office in January 2009 the average price of gasoline was $1.80. Today it is $3.80. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu expressed the hope that “similar gains can be achieved over the next four years if the President is reelected.”
Obama Campaign Buoyed by Welfare Gains
A report just issued by the Congressional Research Service reveals that federal government outlays for means-tested welfare programs have surged by more than 30% over the last four years and now top the trillion dollars per year level. Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod called this “very encouraging news.”
“The entire Republican campaign is premised on the idea that only 47% of the population is dependent on subsidies from the government,” Axelrod observed. “They think that they can count on the productive 53% to carry the day for them. However, this report indicates that their constituency may be smaller than they think.”
“Keep in mind that this trillion dollars of federal spending on welfare doesn’t include non-means-tested hand outs to favored constituencies like green energy corporations and the unions,” Axelrod added. “On top of this there are also state and local government programs distributing benefits to reliably Democratic voting blocs. If everyone votes their pocketbooks a vital break-point may have been passed ensuring that the President’s envisioned transformation for this country can never be undone.”
Axelrod brushed off polls that seem to be trending against Obama. “We’re thinking that the same people who don’t want to admit they’ll be voting for more hand-outs to themselves to pollsters will, in the privacy of the voting booth, pull the lever for the Democratic ticket. That’s also why election day exit polls will differ from the official vote tallies, just like they did in the recent Venezuelan election.”
Rise in Violent Crime No Cause for Concern AG Says
This week, the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics reported that violent crimes jumped by 18% from 2010 to 2011.The increase was attributed to “an increased tendency of people to express themselves through non-verbal means of communication.”
“If you look more deeply into the data you’ll see that a 22% increase in simple assault more than accounts for the uptick in violence,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “It’s largely a case of more people being more physically demonstrative in how they interact with others.”
These “physically demonstrative interactions are widely misconstrued due to cultural prejudices that work against those who are verbally challenged,” Holder argued. “People who can’t understand how a push or a punch could represent a valid way of making a point file charges. The filing of charges inflates the crime statistics.”
Holder said he couldn’t help but feel that “there is a tinge of racism at work here. White folks who are oblivious to how their non-physical words or attitudes might hurt the feelings of others are quick to take offense if one of their victims responds with a fist to their face. Unfortunately, as it now stands, the law is biased in their favor.”
The Attorney General promised that “a second term for President Obama will present the opportunity to revisit the laws on assault and provide for a fairer balance.” Holder speculated that “a new category of ‘expressive assault’ could be established that would place physical and non-physical forms of interaction on a more level playing field.”
Whether the creation of a new category of assault would lead to a review of cases of persons currently serving time in prison for assault, Holder declined to say. “It’s certainly something we’d want to take a look at, but we can’t make any hard promises at this point in time,” Holder said.
Pundit Questions Propriety of Presidential Debates
While debates have been a part of the electoral process since the beginning of this country, MSNBC’s host of the show Hardball—Chris Matthews—questioned whether they should be.
“Should the President of the United States—America’s ‘first citizen’ so to speak, and acknowledged leader of the free world—have to put up with the likes of someone like Mitt Romney?” Matthews wondered. “Isn’t it bad enough that Romney is allowed to traipse about the country lambasting the President’s policies? Is it fair to force the President to be confronted face-to-face with his detractor?”
Particularly irksome from Matthews point of view was the moment in last Tuesday’s debate when Romney rebuffed Obama’s interruption by urging the President to wait for his turn before speaking.
“Who does Romney think he is?” Matthews demanded to know. “Obama is THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. He should speak whenever he deems necessary. If the situation requires that he interrupt someone else then he should interrupt. Preventing him from interrupting strikes me as possibly unConstitutional.”
Matthews further charged that “Romney’s notion that everyone should get a turn is simply childish. This is not some playground game. Treating it like it is was very disrespectful. While President Obama was too much of a gentleman to put Romney in his proper place I’m hoping the voters aren’t so squeamish.”
In related news, CNN dismissed GOP complaints that their moderator—Candy Crowley—gave Obama more time to speak than Romney, interrupted Romney three times as often, and gave Obama the last word on 8 out of 11 occasions. “This debate was in line with the previous two debates of this campaign,” the network’s managing editor Mark Whitaker maintained. “Showing the proper respect for the sitting President and Vice-President is not something we should be criticized for. Governor Romney should consider himself lucky he was allowed on the same stage as the President. The President would’ve been entirely within his rights to refuse to debate Mr. Romney, as was President Johnson when he refused to debate Goldwater in the 1964 election campaign.”
Jesse Jackson Jr Headed for Reelection
Despite being under investigation for “suspicious activity” regarding his congressional finances and being absent from Congress for months while being treated for mental illness at the Mayo Clinic, Representative Jesse Jackson, Jr (D-Ill) seems bound for reelection.
Illinois Governor Patrick Quinn (D) insisted that “neither his prolonged absence from his post nor his potential criminal indictment should be construed as disqualifying him for office. The job of a Representative is to represent his constituents. Who’s to say that he doesn’t represent the people of his district?”
In support of his position, Quinn pointed out that “many of those elected to serve our state have later ended up in prison. I think the fact that this has happened repeatedly argues that Jackson, for all his faults, may be exactly the type of person the people of Illinois want to represent them. And isn’t letting the people elect who they want to represent them what democracy is all about?”
First Lady Makes Pitch for “Knucklehead Vote”
As polling data show Romney making gains among all the traditional voting blocs—men, women, whites, minorities, Jews, Christians—the need for the Obama campaign to find replacement votes has inspired First Lady Michelle Obama to make an appeal for the “knucklehead vote.”
At a campaign rally in Ohio, Michelle urged supporters to “leave no stone unturned in the search for votes. Talk to everyone you know—your friends, your neighbors, that cousin you haven’t seen in a while, that student sitting next to you in class, you know he’s kind of a knucklehead. He’s not into politics. He doesn’t know the issues or the candidates. But guess what, his vote counts the same as that of the most informed expert.”
“Of course, getting a knucklehead to make the effort to vote may prove a challenge,” she continued. “He may figure why should I have to get off my duff to go vote. You tell him that getting off your duff on one day to vote is a lot easier than getting off your duff everyday to go to work. And that’s what’ll happen if we let the Republicans win this election.”
In addition to the 32% gain in welfare benefits that has transpired during her husband’s first term, Michelle promised further gains in the next four years. “You know how the Affordable Care Act requires parents to carry their children on their health insurance until they’re 26,” Michelle reminded. “Well, health care isn’t all a person needs to live. What about food and shelter?”
Michelle said her husband is looking at a possible Executive Order that would bar any parent from forcing a child to move out against his or her will. “It’s your home, too,” she contended. “You’ve spent your whole life there. Why should your parents be permitted to kick you out based on their one-sided opinion that it’s time you should take care of yourself? A person’s needs don’t stop just because you get older.”
Veep Says Planned Parenthood Performing Illegal Abortions
Though he has been insisting that Planned Parenthood is barred by law from performing abortions, Vice-President Joe Biden says he was stunned to find out that the organization has actually aborted nearly a million babies over the past three years.
“You mean, all this time they’ve been lying to us?” an incredulous Biden asked after being confronted with the statistics. “Barack and I thought they were giving women mammy-grams. That’s what we were told.”
A bemused Anderson Cooper, anchor of the CNN news show Anderson Cooper 360°, asked Biden, “What’s a mammy-gram?”
“It’s a kind of medical read-out that shows whether a woman can be a mammy, that’s a mother for those who don’t know the technical jargon,” Biden explained.
The Vice-President said he expected “we’ll have to revisit this issue in the second term. We don’t want this great organization to have to continue working outside the law. I think if we can work out a way for the government to cover the costs of any abortions Planned Parenthood has to perform it would make things easier all around.”
For its part, Planned Parenthood has been financing campaign ads urging voters to reelect President Obama.
Executive Order Authorizes Seizing Bank Accounts
An October 9th Executive Order issued by President Obama authorizes the federal government to seize the bank accounts of “sanctioned persons.” A “sanctioned person” is “an individual is declared by the president, the secretary of state, or the secretary of the treasury to be a ‘sanctioned person.’”
Representative Ron Paul (R-Tex) labeled the move “as blatant and tyrannical an assault on our liberties as any this President has taken. It criminalizes a person merely on the say so of a government official, confiscates his assets, and gives him no legal recourse for undoing this injustice. It would’ve been bad enough if Congress had enacted such a monstrosity. Having the President decree it by fiat is an unConstitutional usurpation.”
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano defended the measure calling it “just another tool for us to use against those who would do us harm. One must question the motives of those like Congressman Paul who would like to hamper the government’s ability to deal with its enemies. Why doesn’t he trust the highest officers of the US Government to judiciously use this new authority? Is he afraid that they’d sanction a person without a good reason?”
A statement by Democratic National Committee Chairperson, Representative Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (FLA) seems to lend some credence to Representative Paul’s concerns. “I think the Republicans are showing they are un-American by badgering the Administration over this whole Benghazi thing,” Wasserman-Schultz complained. “The President has accepted responsibility. There’s no point to any further discussion. Persisting can only damage our national interests. Luckily, the government now has the authority to sanction these people if we need to.”
A Satirical Look at Recent News
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