John Semmens: Semi-News — A Satirical Look at Recent News
Despite sworn testimony to the contrary by State Department officials at a House of Representatives hearing this week, Vice-President Joe Biden claimed during his debate with GOP VP nominee Congressman Paul Ryan that the White House had no warning of the security problems at the Libyan Consulat
Presidential Press Secretary Jay Carney suggested that “perhaps this issue was covered in one of the national security briefings that the President was unable to attend. We all know the President has more things to do than he has time to do them. So, there are going to be occasions when he may be ‘out of the loop’ so to speak.”
Statistics from the Government Accountability Institute lend support to Carney’s contention that the President is often “out-of-the-loop.” Since the start of his term, President Obama has attended less than half of the national security briefings held at the White House. This year he has attended only a third of the briefings. In the week before the murder of the Ambassador he attended none of them.
As for the State Department’s admission that slain Ambassador Christopher Stevens had made several requests for additional security months before the attack that killed him, Carney laid the blame on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. “This is her turf,” Carney explained. “The President has delegated the authority to the State Department to handle this kind of issue. If there are any presumed lapses that’s where you should look.”
For her part, the Secretary refused to accept blame insisting that the decision to forgo the requested extra security was a jointly agreed upon course. “Both the President and I concurred in the plan to outsource the consulate and embassy security to the February 17 Martyrs’ Brigade,” Clinton said. “How were we to know that this would prove inadequate?”
The possibility that their on-site ambassador’s opinion that security wasn’t adequate might have been a clue was apparently beyond the comprehension of both the President and the Secretary. Ansar al Sharia, the al-Qaida-linked militia believed to have organized and carried out the attack on the US Libyan Consulate in September, is a spinoff of the February 17 Martyrs Brigade.
Meanwhile, Obama campaign spokesperson Stephanie Cutter maintained that “the issue is being blown out of proportion by both the Romney campaign and the media. The murder of the Ambassador, while tragic, is just an isolated incident. We mustn’t award it undue attention when more critical items are at stake in this campaign.”
Asked to enumerate a few “more critical items,” Cutter pointed to “the very real threat that a GOP victory would cut government funding for abortion, force sexually active young women to pay for their own birth control, and cancel the tax increase scheduled for January 2013. We think voters should look past an unfortunate event that we can’t undo and focus on the ‘bread-and-butter’ issues that the Democratic Party has always delivered on.”
Obama Defeat May Lead to Rioting, Emigration
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano warned that “vibes we’ve been picking up indicate that a defeat for the President in November would ignite a wave of civil strife like we’ve never seen in this country.”
“The blogosphere and world of twitters is flush with credible threats of violence and mayhem that our Department thinks should be taken very seriously,” the Secretary said.
“Voters can help thwart this threat by ensuring the President’s reelection,” Napolitano advised. “Even if voters are dissatisfied with the progress the Administration has made or are attracted to Romney’s siren song, they need to ask themselves whether it is worth the risk of being assaulted in the streets or having their homes burned down before they cast a vote against the President.”
A second concern cited by the Secretary was the prospect that “many of our best and brightest would follow through with their promise to leave the country should the President lose the election. This demographic is the foundation stone of the President’s plan to transform America. If we lose too many of these people the nation could spiral backwards toward a society where individuals are forced to fend for themselves.”
In related news, the Federal Aviation Administration announced plans to have as many as 30,000 aerial drones patrolling America’s airspace by the end of the decade. Napolitano enthusiastically endorsed the plan. “The success the President has had using these types of weapons to neutralize our enemies abroad recommends it for domestic deployment,” she said. “Our porous borders as well as the growing threat of home-grown right-wing terrorism demonstrate the need for the ability to strike closer to home.”
President Pledges He Will Save Big Bird
Gloating over what they consider a “colossal blunder,” the Obama campaign has launched a series of ads promising that Obama will save the Sesame Street character from “extinction” at the hands of the GOP.
Obama Campaign spokesperson, Jennifer Psaki boasted that “the cruel side of Governor Romney is now on display for every voter with school-aged children to see. The idea that he would even consider defunding this American icon is the unkindest cut of all. We won’t let voters forget it.”
Whether Big Bird or Sesame Street would face extinction without federal subsidies seems dubious. The Sesame Street operation grossed over $100 million last year and has nearly $300 million in assets on the company’s books. Merchandise sales, copyright licensing fees, and corporate sponsorships account for 90% of their revenues. Federal subsidies make up less than 10% of total revenues. Ironically, at a salary of over $300,000, the actor who plays Big Bird falls in the group the Obama Administration says needs to pay higher taxes.
A lawyer for Sesame Street has requested that the Obama Campaign refrain from using its characters in its ads. Psaki acknowledged receipt of the complaint, but declined to confirm the campaign would comply with the request. “If the President feels he needs to use these characters to make his point he will continue to use them,” Psaki asserted. “After all, the needs of the nation surely override this organization’s hope to make a profit. Besides, it is by no means clear who owns the rights to these characters. If the government subsidizes Sesame Street why shouldn’t it control how the benefits of that subsidy are dispersed?”
Obama campaign adviser Robert Gibbs seconded Psaki’s take. “The fact of the matter is that what the President says or does about anything takes precedence over what anybody else has to say or do,” Gibbs argued. “He represents all Americans. As such, whatever he determines is right for the country supersedes the private interests of any other individual or organization.”
President Woos College Women with Promise of Free Birth Control
In a bid to shift the narrative to an issue he sees as more advantageous, President Obama told a George Mason University audience that “ensuring college-aged women’s access to free birth control services is what’s at stake in this election. A coed shouldn’t have to give up sex just because she can’t afford to pay for birth control. Neither should she be forced to make space in her budget for condoms or birth control pills.”
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops vehemently opposes the Administration’s insistence that all employers, regardless of religious or ethical objections, must finance birth control and abortion. The Bishops contested the supposed rationale for the Obamacare mandate, pointing out that “access to contraception is ubiquitous and inexpensive. This mandate is about the federal government riding roughshod over freedoms guaranteed by the US Constitution.”
The President boldly dismissed these religious objections to the Obamacare mandate requiring employers to provide for birth control and abortion services in their healthcare plans. “The enemies of women’s rights attempts to evade their responsibility to provide for these rights will not prevail,” Obama bragged. “This election is about a test of wills to determine what vision for America will prevail. I assure you, that as long as I am President religious dogma will not be allowed to negate the benefits the Affordable Care Act has bestowed upon the women of this country.”
In related news, Darden Restaurants, owner of the Red Lobster and Olive Garden chains, says it is moving away from offering full-time positions. The aim is to avoid Obamacare’s requirement that firms pay for health insurance for workers who put in 30 hours or more per week. Sadly, many of those affected are women.
Wisconsin Sheriff Won’t Stop Felons from Voting
Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney has instructed his staff not to assist in checking the felony status of those seeking to cast votes in the county. This is despite a state law mandating such assistance.
“It may be a state law, but the Constitution’s provision for a government of, by, and for the people outranks it,” Mahoney claimed. “Felons are people too. They have a right to participate in the selection of who will govern them. I cannot stand by and be a party to misguided state efforts to disenfranchise them.”
Mahoney had hoped to keep his directive within the confines of the Sheriff’s Office. However, a deputy leaked the internal memo to the press garnering some unwanted scrutiny for the questionable action. Mahoney says he deplored the leak and called the whistle-blower responsible “unprofessional.” “I count on the men who work for me to show their loyalty in how they comport themselves,” Mahoney said. “As their superior officer, it is my prerogative to interpret the law and determine how or whether we will enforce it. Going outside the chain of command is totally unacceptable.”
In related news, in similarly progressive Illinois, it was discovered that over 1,000 prison inmates are receiving unemployment compensation from the Illinois Department of Employment Security. Governor Pat Quinn (D) defended the distributions saying “I don’t see a problem. If you’re in jail I think it’s pretty obvious that you’re unemployed. Why shouldn’t you receive compensation? I mean, it could be used to bribe fellow inmates not to rape you or it could come in handy when you eventually get out.”
Obama Campaign Downplays Illegal Donation Issue
While the Obama campaign was boasting about raising more campaign cash than the GOP during September it now looks like a significant share (an estimated 68%) of this cash may have been obtained illegally. It appears that two-thirds of the campaign’s web donors are foreigners. By law, foreigners are barred from donating to US political campaigns.
David Axelrod emphasized what he called “the inherent inequity” of the ban on foreign money. “Look, it isn’t only Americans who are affected by who is elected,” Axelrod pointed out. “We’re not a small insignificant country. What we do has ripple affects all over the globe. It impacts people in other countries. Naturally, these people would like to have some input to the process.”
In support of the idea that foreigners should have a right to contribute to President Obama’s reelection, Axelrod cited a GlobalPost poll indicating that 68% of foreigners favor Obama’s reelection and a Gallup poll of foreign voters that would give Obama 81% of the vote.
“The vast majority of the people of the world want President Obama to continue in office,” he observed. “In fact, the ratio of support is greater than three-to-one in one poll and four-to-one in another. Should this make no difference? It’s bad enough that all the people affected by US policies can’t vote for who runs America. Must we also deny them the opportunity to ‘put their two cents in’ so to speak?”
Professor Says President Misrepresenting His Study
All along the campaign trail President Obama has been asserting that Governor Romney’s tax plan would boost levies on middle income earners. He has been citing a study by Harvard economist Martin Feldstein and Princeton economist Harvey Rosen that he claims validates his case.
The problem is, Professor Rosen has said the President is misconstruing his work. “The main conclusion of my study is that under plausible assumptions, a proposal along the lines suggested by Governor Romney can both be revenue neutral and that an increase in the tax burden on lower and middle income individuals is not required in order to make the overall plan revenue neutral,” Rosen explained.
“I suppose it comes down to who you’re going to believe,” said Obama Campaign Press Secretary Ben LaBolt. “On the one hand, you have the President of the United States—a man everyone in America knows,” LaBolt said. “On the other hand, we have an obscure professor who I’d bet not one voter in a thousand has ever heard of before. Would you take the word of a stranger over that of the President? Well, we feel pretty confident that the majority of Americans will choose the President as the person they’ll want to trust on this issue.”
Obama Advisers Pan Romney’s “Peace through Strength” Foreign Policy
Obama national security advisers Michele Flournoy and Colin Kahl sought to lampoon Govern Mitt Romney’s pitch for a foreign policy founded on a “peace through strength” approach as “old hat.”
“This lame attempt to revive a policy championed by Ronald Reagan is so out-of-date it’s laughable,” Flournoy chortled. “Time has moved on and the world has changed since these ideas were fashionable. It makes no sense for us to go backward—what—more than 30 years. Let’s get real.”
Flournoy called “the attempt to divide nations into ‘friend-or-foe’ categories as a basis for guiding our international relationships is simplistic. As President Obama has shown over the last four years, a more nuanced view is more successful. In his world view there are no foes. There are only differing degrees of friendship.”
“Just because there are disagreements between countries doesn’t mean they can’t still be friends,” Flournoy continued. “President Obama hasn’t shied from making the first move toward building bridges toward improved relations. His aggressive move at the outset of his term to admit and apologize for our country’s transgressions opened up new possibilities for progress around the world.”
As proof of the superiority of Obama’s foreign policy, Flournoy reminded that “Reagan never won a Nobel Peace Prize. President Obama won one in his first year on the job.”
A Satirical Look at Recent News
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