Tag Archives: opinion

Whodunnit

Frustrated administration officials admitted today that they were no closer to identifying those responsible for recent attacks on Chuck Hagel, President Obama’s nominee for Secretary of Defense.

A spokesman for the Defense Department said, “shadowy organizations calling themselves “Use Your Mandate,” “Americans for a Strong Defense” and “Secure America Now” have launched brazen assaults on Mr. Hagel’s character, but we have no way of knowing who’s really behind them.

“These groups hide out in the wild border regions between Northern Virginia and the District of Columbia, where they often operate with total impunity, given the lack of any real government oversight. Apparently they are extremely well-financed, and they’re careful not to reveal their funding sources. Identifying who’s bankrolling them is a real problem for us.

“We think they’re probably a loose confederation of determined ideologues with their own agendas, but who share a common hatred of the president. They come together briefly to plan an attack, place an ad buy and then disappear back into their clandestine caves on K Street. One day it may be Sheldon Adelson, defense contractors and drug manufacturers, and the next it’s Karl Rove and energy companies.”

An administration spokesman added, “we have convincing evidence that they sometimes coordinate their activities with certain members of Congress, but they’re careful not to leave any fingerprints.

“It’s pretty annoying, but we’re doing what we can with what we have to work with. We can wish all we want that America was better able to control its rogue elements and that its political system was more transparent, but when you’re dealing with a country in  which wealthy oligarchs wield enormous power and the where the legislature and the courts don’t really value democratic principles, that’s what you get.”

Eureka

“Boss, I think I’ve got it!”

”%$#@! Do you know what time it is?”

“Sorry, boss. I couldn’t sleep. It just came to me! THE solution! It’s so SIMPLE! It works all day! I tell you, it’s GENIUS!”

“That’s what you boys down in Skunkworks said about the last brainstorm you morons had, Finley, remember? Total gridlock his entire first term, and there’s no way Obama wins a second chance, right? And the Dems lose the Senate in the bargain. Isn’t that what you told me?  Guaranteed. Look where that one got us.”

“Okay, so that was a mistake, I admit it. But this one is different.”

“We damn near lost the company on that one, Finley. The Republican Party is Evil Science Labs biggest client, and to say they’re not happy is an understatement. If we lose them what’ve we got? Venezuela, with Chavez in a coma. Assad’s hanging by a thread and Morsi’s completely losing it in Egypt. After that fiasco in Libya we almost had to pack up our tents. If we lose the GOP we’re about three minutes from bankruptcy.”

“I’m telling you, boss, this is the BIG ONE, the one we’ve been waiting for!”

“Right. Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t total opposition to immigration reform, gay rights and contraception your last big unbeatable idea?”

“A minor miscalculation.”

“Well, there’s no way I’m going back to sleep now. Might as well tell me your latest brilliant scheme.”

“Okay, follow me, now. The states can allocate their electoral votes any way they want, right?”

“Yeah, so?”

“For most of them it’s winner take all, but a couple assign them proportionally.”

“I got you so far.”

“Okay, here’s where it gets interesting. Nebraska and Maine give each congressional district an electoral vote. In other words, if a candidate for president wins a specific congressional district, he gets that electoral vote.”

“So what?”

“Don’t you see? If we did this in states like Virginia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, which Obama won, Romney would have taken the majority of electoral votes!”

“Huh. How is that possible?”

“Because the congressional districts are gerrymandered like crazy. There are more safe Republican congressional seats than Democratic, even though more people voted for Democrats. That’s how the GOP kept the House even though House Republicans lost the popular vote by a landslide.

“And it gets even better. Republicans control both houses and the governor’s mansion in 24 states. If all of them changed to this system, we can virtually guarantee that Republicans never lose the presidency again!”

“Okay, Finley, I admit I’m interested.”

“The genius of this is Republicans won’t even have to worry about moderating their image or going through the sickening charade of appealing to Hispanics and gays and women. No more embarrassing soul-searching or self-reflection. They can continue being the party of out-of-touch white men forever, boss! They win even when they lose!”

“I’m warming to it, but let me play devils advocate here. Isn’t there a risk people will be so angry at what appears to be a raw power grab the whole thing could backfire? You, know, protest, take to the streets, get violent? And Republicans could be blamed for the unrest.”

“Listen, boss. Republicans keep the House no matter how much they lose the popular vote, and nobody squawks. We’re just applying the same system to the presidency. Oh, sure, there might be some grousing, but they’ll get used to it. We’re talking about fat, lazy Americans here, not Egyptians.”

“Hmmm. I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself, but I like it. I think you may be on to something.”

“This one’s a winner, boss. I can feel it.”

“Let’s say you’re right. That takes care of the House and the presidency. What about the Senate?”

“We’re working on it.”

The Republican Response

Shortly after President Obama concluded his inaugural address, the Republican Party released the following statement:

Moments ago, President Obama challenged the American people to come together as one nation to address the many issues that confront our nation.

Without offering specifics, the president mentioned the numerous tasks we must undertake to ensure the continued strength of our nation, from managing the deficit and an economy still recovering all too slowly, to the difficult choices me must make in dealing with climate change, gun violence, immigration policy, national security, energy independence, the social safety net, and extending the full benefit of our nation’s freedoms to all it’s citizens, whatever their gender, ethnic background or sexual orientation.

Mr. Obama called upon us all to work together, across philosophic differences and party lines, to see past the poisonous partisan politics so that the next four years will be marked by progress toward a better, stronger, more just America and a safer, freer, more democratic world.

Faced with a such a stirring call to ignore our baser instincts and appeal to our better angels, to work hand-in-hand with the president to lead America and the world into a brighter future, we in the loyal opposition have a responsibility to respond to the challenge laid before us.

Mr. President, here is our answer:

NO

New NRA Ad

The NRA yesterday released a genuinely despicable ad featuring Obama’s children. One can only imagine what their next assault on reason and propriety might be:

Video: Spilt screen: Still picture of Malia and Sasha Obama/picture of Secret Service agents

Audio: It’s bad enough that Obama’s children have round the clock protection from armed Secret Service agents, and yours don’t.

Video: Photo of Obama, as the words “ELITIST” and “HYPOCRITE” flash on screen

Video: Children walking down hallway in school building

Audio: Instead of being able to defend themselves openly, your kids have to hide their guns in their lockers at school. That’s bad and it’s wrong, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Video: Policemen hunkered down behind patrol cars, firing guns at unseen felons

Audio: The police carry their firearms right out in the open, and if a bad guy shoots at them, they can shoot back—any time, anywhere. But elitist hypocrites in Washington don’t want you to have the same right. They even want to prosecute brave, patriotic vigilantes who take the law into their own hands. They want you to be totally dependent on trained law enforcement agents to enforce the law. 

Video: Photo of White House, as words “ELITIST” and “HYPOCRITE” flash on screen

Video: American Soldiers on patrol in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Audio: Soldiers can carry powerful military weapons anywhere they want, and nobody minds.  But elitist hypocrites in Washington don’t want you to be able to defend yourself when Islamist militants attack your home. 

Video: Islamic militants firing weapons

Video: Man in gun shop filling out paperwork

Audio: And you can bet our soldiers don’t have to go through background checks and waiting periods before they fire back at the bad guys. And they never have anyone trying to take away their assault weapons and their high-capacity ammunition clips. But you try taking your legally-purchased AR-15 into a movie theater or a school and see what happens. The next thing you know elitist hypocrites in Washington are howling for your guns.

Video: Capitol Building, as words “ELITIST” and HYPOCRITE” flash on screen

Audio: And when the Marxist socialist president…

Video: Photo of Obama, as words “MARXIST” and “SOCIALIST” flash on screen

Video: American soldier aiming gun at camera

Audio: …orders those troops to take away your freedoms and turn your neighborhood into a concentration camp, you won’t be able to do anything about it. 

Video: Photo of Siberian prison

Audio: Remember, just because we make absolutely no sense and we’re insanely paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not coming for you. Hahahaha. High-pitched hysterical laughter, drowned out by a machine gun burst.

Video: Fade to black

Obama’s Challenge

President Obama, in his inaugural address on Monday, will ask Americans to think small and lower their expectations.

“Our nation faces a series of enormous challenges and great opportunities,” a draft of his proposed remarks, obtained yesterday by this reporter, begins.

“Throughout our glorious history,” Mr. Obama evidently plans to say, “America has always risen to the moment, summoned the courage and the will to answer the challenge of the day, and emerged stronger and more vibrant. Not this time, baby.

“We face a stagnant economy, a growing wealth disparity that’s threatening to destroy our middle class and turn us into a third world country, an enormous deficit, a rising tide of gun violence, and the very real danger of climate change. Time and again, throughout our history, in moments of great crisis, Americans have put aside our differences, rolled up our sleeves, and worked together to solve our problems. Our hard work, our ingenuity, our selfless devotion to our fellow citizens, have made us the strongest, most successful nation in history, and the envy of the world.

“That was then, this is now.

“Let’s face it. The myopic Republican bozos in Congress can’t see past the next debt ceiling fight. My new cabinet is a bunch of party apparatchiks and loyalists from my inner circle with no real agenda but protecting my rear end. If you honestly believe that either group could solve an easy Sudoku puzzle, much less the national debt, I’ve got a solar panel company you can buy cheap.

“I’ve got about a year and a half before I’m a complete lame duck with no clout at all, and it’s pretty clear I’m going to spend that entire time bogged down in endless fights with those morons in the House over a bunch of idiotic self-imposed budgetary crises, with zero chance of addressing important stuff like energy independence, reforming our education system or saving the planet from global warming.

“As you know, I came into this office four years ago with high hopes and grand dreams, hopes and dreams you once shared, but as a very perceptive woman once said, ‘How’s that hopey changey thing working out for ya?’ I think we all know the answer.

“So, today, I ask all Americans, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, whatever your religion or ethnic background, to join with me in forgetting about leaders with vision, a government that actually functions, a Washington that works for you and not just for moneyed interests. Do not dream of a better world, a safer planet, or a brighter future for our children, at least not any time soon.

“Maybe some day, in the distant future, a future we cannot see from here, things will change, and the partisan gridlock that seems permanent now will somehow evaporate and we will magically return to the kind of functioning democracy our founding fathers envisioned. Perhaps Hillary can do something in 2016. 

“But it’s probably not going to happen on my watch. Get used to it.

“God bless you, and God bless America.”

The Problem With Hagel

Opposition to President Obama’s choice of Chuck Hagel for Defense Secretary continued to mount as Republicans and others voiced doubts about the selection. While representatives of Jewish and gay groups expressed concern about previous statements made by Mr. Hagel, the main criticism came from Senate Republicans.

“I’m a Vietnam vet like Chuck,” said John McCain, “I appreciate that he’s the first enlisted man ever to be nominated for this post, that he understands what it’s like to be in combat, that he was wounded twice, that he’s a war hero. That’s exactly why he’s wrong for the job.”

Senator Lindsey Graham echoed those sentiments. “This nation has a long history of old men who never saw combat sending other people’s kids to war. Will a guy who actually knows what being under fire is like be willing to use our nation’s youth as cannon fodder in a completely pointless war?”

A former official in the George W. Bush administration, who asked not to be identitifed, added, “While I respect Mr. Hagel’s war record, he was one of the first senators to recognize that the war in Iraq was a total sham. And he’s a Republican! The guy just can’t be trusted to get us into the next unnecessary conflict.”

“Our whole bloated defense budget depends on us jumping from one trumped-up war in some failed backwater state to the next so that our defense contractors can keep the assembly lines humming. And those companies are huge campaign contributors,” noted McCain. “I don’t think Chuck gets that.”

Texas Senator John Cornyn was especially blunt. “He’s the worst possible guy for the job. Chuck Hagel doesn’t understand how much of America’s economy depends on putting as many of our young people as possible in harm’s way for the sole reason of enriching mega-corporations like Halliburton.

“Where the heck would this country be today if we’d never invaded Iraq or Afghanistan?”

The Hottest Year

image

The National Agency for Climate Change Denial (NACCD) issued a statement yesterday denouncing the recent report that 2012 was the hottest year on record.

“We categorically reject the assumption that the so-called “record heat” had anything to do with human activity,” the statement read. “This is yet further evidence of the massive global warming fraud being foisted on gullible Americans by evil scientists dedicated to proving their crackpot theories, even if they have to destroy our planet to do it.”

The statement was in response to the release on Tuesday by The National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C., of its official tally showing that the average temperate in the United States during 2012 was 55.3 degrees, a full degree warmer than the previous high.

 “This has gone beyond being a mere hoax,” a spokesman for the climate denial agency angrily charged. “We now believe that this is a full-fledged international conspiracy.”

The privately-funded agency, staffed by a broad spectrum of global warming skeptics, was established during the second Bush administration by officials alarmed by the growing belief among voters that climate change might be real and that the government might be expected to do something about it.

“Look at the evidence. Climate scientists predict that the temperature is rising, and then they come up with data showing that it’s rising. They predict melting ice caps, and the ice caps melt. They warn that we’ll get more severe storms, and we get killer tornadoes in the South and Midwest and superstorms along the coasts. They say the oceans will rise, and right on schedule, the oceans rise.

“We at the NACCD aren’t scientist—we’re religious fundamentalists, industry mouthpieces and former congressmen entirely beholden to special interests—so we don’t know how they’re doing it. All we know is, these climatologists are extremely dangerous and they must be stopped.

“They’ve already caused massive damage. Dozens dead from tornadoes. Homes and businesses leveled. New Orleans and now New York flooded. Damage in the tens of billions of dollars. Who knows where they’ll strike next in their deranged campaign to persuade people that they’re right about global warming.”

“In the coming days, the agency will issue a number of far-ranging proposals to limit any further damage climate scientists can do. I won’t get into specifics now, but some of the main suggestions will be to stop funding science education in the schools, to make it a crime to collect climate data, and—most important—to refuse to provide disaster funds for any future storm damage caused by these deranged scientists. It’s just bad public policy to continue to reward their recklessness.

“Finally, we ask these self-proclaimed climate experts one question: how stupid do you think we are, anyway? You really try to scare us into believing your scam by claiming that 55 degrees is record heat? Americans aren’t fooled so easily.”

“That’s sweater weather.”

House Finally Acts

imageIn a surprise move, the House of Representatives yesterday voted overwhelmingly to secede from the union.

Shortly after taking their oaths of office and posing for ceremonial pictures with House Speaker John Boehner, the newly-installed members of the 113th Congress acted on a bill offered jointly by Chuck Fleischmann, Republican from Tennessee, and Joe Barton of Texas, compelling the House to formally withdraw from the United States of America.

All 233 Republicans voted for the measure, ensuring its passage. Not a single Democrat voted in favor.

Rep. Barton, explaining his reasons for offering the bill, said, “In this last election, the American people spoke loud and clear. They want a Congress that will solve this country’s problems, that will move beyond narrow partisan gridlock, that will take issues like global warming and guns violence seriously. That sure as heck isn’t what we in this chamber want.”

Michele Bachmann, Republican from Minnesota, an early and enthusiastic supporter of the bill, added, “It’s pretty dang clear that America and the House don’t see eye to eye on pretty much anything. Their agenda is so out of whack with ours it’s ridiculous even trying to talk to them. Health care for all, a progressive tax system, putting the interests of the people ahead of our campaign contributors—let’s face it, we have nothing in common with America.”

Speaker Boehner, in a last-minute attempt to stave off the vote, proposed a Plan B in which the House would move to an undisclosed offshore location but remain part of the country, but he was unable to muster enough support in the Republican caucus to bring the measure to the floor.

After the vote, a triumphant Eric Cantor, the House Majority Leader, exclaimed, “Let’s see them call us a do-nothing congress after this!”

New NRA Policy

image

The National Rifle Association (NRA), stung by outrage over its response to the slaughter of 20 school children in Newtown, Conn., yesterday modified its stance on guns in schools.

NRA head Wayne LaPierre, speaking at a hastily-convened press conference, said, “in the heat of the moment, after the terrible events at Sandy Hook Elementary, I proposed that teachers and school officials all across the country be armed. I understand the anger people expressed after I made that statement. It was unfortunately incomplete, and gave people the wrong impression. For that I apologize.

“What I should have said was that everyone in every school should be armed. It’s not fair to expect teachers and principals alone to carry the burden of defending their schools, when the students could and should be armed, as well.

“What armed-to-the-gills lunatic in his right mind would try to invade a school if every child there was packing heat? Imagine what might have happened if instead of being in a gun-free zone, every six-year-old at Sandy Hook had had a serious weapon. That guy would’ve been toast. Sure, some kids and teachers might have been caught in the crossfire, but I bet you a nickel-plated slug the body count would have been a lot less.”

“This policy would have other benefits, as well. Kids would think twice before starting arguments on the playground if they knew the other guy had a Bushmaster .223 tucked into his jeans. And no child is going to talk back to a teacher who has a Ruger in his desk drawer. Unless the kid has more firepower, of course, but that’s an issue for another time and place.”

Reminded that half the students in high school probably already have guns in their lockers, LaPierre replied, “Yes, and I admit that’s a real problem. If some nutbag invades the school, there’s no time for the kids to go out in the hall and grab their Smith and Wessons. They should have them in their lunchboxes or in their briefcases where they can get to them quickly.

“Again, I apologize for my hasty comments after Newtown. I hope this clarifies the NRA’s position on the issue.

“One last thing before we adjourn. I’m personally appalled that some politicians and many in the media chose to use this terrible tragedy for political gain.

“That’s our job.”

Avoiding the Cliff

In a rare show of bipartisanship, a reluctant House of Representatives yesterday went along with the Senate and passed legislation designed to avert the so-called fiscal cliff of tax increases and budget cuts scheduled to go into effect on January 1. The compromise legislation raises taxes on Americans making more than $400,000, extends unemployment insurance and buys Congress more time to address deep spending cuts.

Majority Leader Eric Cantor, the No. 2 man in the House, said in a prepared statement, “Today the members of the House of Representatives chose to put the best interests of the nation ahead of our own narrow self-interests. That will never happen again on my watch.”

Angry rank-and-file Republicans, many of whom held their noses and voted to support the bill, passed earlier by the Senate, echoed Mr. Cantor’s sentiments.

Rep. John Campbell of California said, “Today the American people, not the politicians and not the special interests who fund our campaigns, are the real winners. It’s sickening. I don’t know how I’m going to explain this to the wealthy contributors who rightly expect us turn the entire national treasury over to them.”

Mr. Cantor added, “At least we still have the debt ceiling to fight over. We can look forward to bringing the government into default and destroying our credit rating in a few weeks. There’s still ample opportunity to derail this recovery and throw America into recession again if we play our cards right. As soon as the new members are sworn in, we can get down to the business of making the 113th Congress even more lame than the 112th. This isn’t over. Not by a long shot.”