By John Semmens: Semi-News — A Satirical Look at Recent News
To the surprise of nearly everyone, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has awarded its 2009 Peace Prize to US President Barack Obama. Committee Chairman Thorbjørn Jagland said that “a number of key factors went into our decision.”
“First, President Obama is more for peace than any other person on the planet,” Jagland asserted. “Such earnest enthusiasm for an ideal merits special recognition.” Jagland observed that a similar standard led the Committee to award the Peace Prize to former US Vice-President Al Gore in 2007. “If we are giving Mr. Gore the Prize for his earnest enthusiasm on behalf of global warming, failure to do something similar for Mr. Obama might be construed as latent racism,” Jagland argued.
“Second, we felt that the award could serve as a sort of consolation prize for the snubbing of Mr. Obama by the International Olympic Committee when they rejected his entreaties to grant the 2016 Olympic games to Chicago,” Jagland continued. “While we recognize that the financial gain Mr. Obama could have reaped from the Olympic award to his hometown dwarf those of our Prize, we felt it might ease his pain.”
“Finally, the barrage of criticism from the right-wing media in America—most notably the recent lampooning of Mr. Obama by the Saturday Night Live television program—is undermining his progressive agenda,” Jagland concluded. “It is our hope that our award will offset, if not silence, this criticism.”
Presidential advisor David Axelrod characterized the award as “game changing.” “Enemies of the President have made a big show of popular opposition with these so-called ‘tea parties,’” Axelrod said. “Now that the President’s genius has been internationally proclaimed it will be harder for them to gain traction.”
In related news, 2007 Peace Prize recipient Al Gore congratulated President Obama, but reminded everyone that “I also received an Oscar. So, I’m still ahead as far as the awarding of major awards go.”
White House Seeks Peace Deal with Taliban
In an effort to extract U.S. armed forces from Afghanistan, the Obama Administration has sent out peace feelers to the Taliban contingent upon their disentanglement of themselves from al-Qaeda.
Press Secretary Robert Gibbs sought to clarify the difference between Taliban and al-Qaeda. “Al-Qaeda has carried out terrorist strikes around the world,” Gibbs pointed out. “The Taliban have confined their murders and oppression to those within the borders of Afghanistan. The President is confident he can live with that.”
Taliban leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar is said to have welcomed “the offer of surrender from the ‘Great Satan,’” expressed his willingness “to accommodate a brief truce to allow infidel armies to withdraw from our land,” and vowed a “righteous retribution against all who collaborated with the occupiers.”
Kennedy Book Chapter Boasts of Sexual Conquests
In a draft chapter that failed to make the final editor’s cut, the late Senator Ted Kennedy boasted that he had slept with more than 1,000 women during his life. The Senator also recounted that he was quite pleased that it only cost him a total of $10 million in hush money.
“In a way, the drowning of Mary Jo helped keep down the costs,” Kennedy wrote. “My ability to skate on that convinced many of my subsequent conquests to be reasonable in their demands lest a similar fate befall them.”
The chapter also expressed some regret over the Kopechne incident. “Sad to say, I can’t count Mary Jo in my list of conquests since she died before I could consummate our union,” he wrote. “So, in a very real way, I, too, was a big loser on that tragic evening.”
Ousted Honduran President Sees Widespread Conspiracy
Former Honduran president Manuel Zelaya complained that a “broad coalition of conspirators collaborated in ousting me from my post.” The conspirators are alleged to include US right-wing politicians, the international Zionist cabal, and extraterrestrials.
“The hand of these nefarious agents can be seen in the manner of both my removal from office and in the continuing humiliation I am forced to endure,” Zelaya argued. “Rather than just having me shot by a military junta as is the time-honored custom in our part of the world, the conspiracy invoked constitutional procedures jointly endorsed by the court and legislature. Now I must endure the jeers of my countrymen instead of enjoying a heroic martyrdom.”
In addition to the jeers of his countrymen, Zelaya is said to be suffering from brain-melting Israeli death rays relayed via an alien spacecraft orbiting the Earth. “My only hope is that the great, wise and merciful Obama will rescue me from my misery,” Zelaya wailed.
The scope of the hoped for succor remains to be seen. President Obama has ordered the Honduran government to reinstate Zelaya as president. Thus far, the post-Zelaya government refuses to recognize President Obama’s authority in the matter. Whether the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Obama will be sufficient to generate the desired obedience to his will is unknown.
House Speaker Touts Value Added Tax
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) says it’s time we “got in step with the civilized nations and adopted our own value added tax.” A value added tax assesses each producer of output for the increment of additional value he/she contributes to the making of goods or services. This type of tax is common in Europe.
“This nation is desperately in need of more revenue to support government programs,” Pelosi asserted. “We need to tap new sources. A huge untapped source is the activity of creating value in the products sold.”
The Speaker maintained that “simple equity and environmental justice argue for such a tax. People who can add value to anything are obviously able to create wealth. It’s only fair to those who are unable to do the same be supported by those who are. There’s also the issue of environmental impact to consider. Those adding value are exploiting our natural resources. It’s only right that they pay an added fee for the privilege.”
Pelosi characterized a value added tax as “the third leg of a well-balance stool of public finance. We’ve got the progressive income tax to penalize those who earn too much. We’ve got the capital gains tax to penalize those who invest too much. It’s only fitting that we take a piece out of those who are creating value.”
NAACP Pushes Drive to Get Out Prison Vote
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is working assiduously to get prisoners registered to vote in the state of Maine. Maine is one of only two states in which it is legal for prison inmates to vote. Vermont is the other.
Rachel Talbot Ross, president of the Portland chapter of the NAACP said “it is time to bring prisoner voting into the mainstream. A growing proportion of our population is comprised of criminals who are behind bars. Denying this segment of society the right to participate in self-government is a taint on our democracy.”
Ross pointed out that “not all criminals are in jail. Those able to avoid going to prison are allowed to vote. Why should those who are paying their debt to society be singled out for discriminatory treatment? And do I need to mention the fact that some of the most corrupt and dishonest among us are the ones making our laws? I mean, not only is tax-cheat Representative Charles Rangel (D-NY) not behind bars, he’s chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. So, when you think about it, we’re not asking for much.”
In related news, House Democrats beat back an attempt by Republicans calling for Rangel to step down from his post as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. “Who better to ferret out hidden sources of wealth that can be taxed than a man who has hidden some of his own,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif), explaining why the Democratic Party rejected replacing Rangel as chairman of the committee.
Senator Says Comparison Unfair
Illinois Senator Dick Durbin (D) said those criticizing the healthcare bill because of its length (over 1,000 pages) compared to the Ten Commandments of the Bible aren’t being fair.
“Look, first off, God was dealing with simpler issues in simpler times,” Durbin complained. “We live in more complex times. It’s to be expected that we’d need more words to deal with these more complex issues.”
“Besides, has the brevity of the Ten Commandments really done the job?” Durbin asked. “It seems that many didn’t get the message. If God had been a little more verbose maybe the world wouldn’t be such a mess.”
Durbin contended that “lengthy provisions specifying penalties for infractions and providing for government oversight make the healthcare bill a vastly superior document. In my view, accuracy and thoroughness are more important than pithy sloganeering.”
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