Tag Archives: Political Humor

Limbaugh could be between a rock and a place with universal health care.

Rush Limbaugh said today that he will leave the country if the health care reform bill passes. He said he’d go to Costa Rica, but if he’s principled, he’ll have to go somewhere else: Costa Rica has universal health coverage.

Rush could have some real problems finding a place to live in the style to which he has become accustomed. The US is the only developed nation that does not supply universal health coverage, and I don’t think he’ll be happy with most other options. He could choose anywhere in Africa, with the exception of South Africa, the last developed country (not including the U.S.) to institute universal coverage. South America has a very few places: Columbia and Bolivia spring to mind. He could go to Kazakhstan or Mongolia.

Iraq would certainly have homes and palaces that would meet Rush’s needs, and many of them are currently empty, but alas, Iraq has universal health care. Universal health care provided by the United States. Your tax dollars at work.

Good luck Rush. Don’t forget to write. Assuming you find a country with a post office.

The Mostly Nice Nation and the Very Scary Person — A Cautionary Fairy Tale

Once upon a time there was a Nation. This Nation was very much like all nations: some people were rich and some were poor, some educated and some ignorant, some wise and some foolish.  As with all Nations, most of the people were well intentioned.

There came a time when the Nation’s economy was very, very bad.  The Nation had a very large deficit, mostly because the government had to pay for the wars it fought with other nations.  Many people were out of work and many were hungry. There were still Banks in the Nation that had lots of money, but they weren’t willing to lend it, even though lending it would have helped the people of the Nation.

The Nation’s government was like most nation’s governments..  Some of the politicians were rich and some were poor, some educated and wise and some ignorant and foolish.  As with all politicians, most were well intentioned.

Politicians and their advisers tried hard to solve the Nation’s economic problems, mostly by figuring out the Facts and trying to decide what was best to do. But the Nation’s money problems were made even worse by a world-wide economic problem that was caused by the failure of some Large Banks that had made foolish and risky investments.  The foolish Large Banks ended up making a very large Financial Bubble, which, like all bubbles, eventually burst.  The bursting Bubble, like all bursting bubbles, splashed all over.  Everywhere it splashed it caused more financial problems, and because the Bubble was a very large Bubble indeed, is splashed very far.

All of the Nation’s economic problems made everyone in the Nation very sad.  The smart people in the government still tried to solve the puzzle of the economy, so that the people would be happy again.  Mostly, they tried to solve the puzzle by thinking about Facts.  

After a while, many of the people in the Nation became angry that the smart people in the government hadn’t been able to fix that Nation’s problems. Some of them decided that trying to solve problems by making decisions based upon the Facts wasn’t working.  Almost all of these people were ignorant, because only an ignorant person ignores Facts, and they were all foolish, because even an ignorant person who ignores facts should be glad that the politicians in charge were trying to use Facts to solve problems, even when the problems were very, very large.

The foolish people were very mad, but they couldn’t do much about it.  Because they were foolish, they had no ideas about solving the Nation’s economic puzzle, so mostly they complained and said foolish and ignorant things, which were (mostly) ignored.

As it turned out, some of the politicians were much more interested in Power than they were in solving the Nation’s puzzle.  The Politicians who were interested in Power began telling the angry people about a time in the Wonderful Past, before there were economic problems and puzzles, and when everyone was happy. Those Politicians realized that the stories about a Wonderful Past gave all the foolish and angry people something to hope for, and that the foolish and angry people were angry enough to hope for anything, even if that something was a Magic story about a Wonderful and Make-Believe Past when everything was beautiful.  Many of the angry people supported the Politicians who told Magic Tales, which made the Politicians happy, because it made them more Powerful.

The days went by, as days always do, until one day a Very Scary Person began telling stories to the angry people. The angry people were told that the Nation was Special amongst all the other nations of the world, and that the people who were True Citizens of the Nation were also Special, and would do Wonderful Things.   But the Very Scary Person said that not all of the Nation’s people were True Citizens.  Some of the people living in the Nation belonged to evil groups that hated the Nation, didn’t believe the Magic Story, and wanted the Nation to fail.  Fortunately, the Very Scary Person said, these people were easy to identify. Many of these people looked different or belonged to a different religion than most of the True Citizens.  Some of these people were boys that loved other boys, or girls that loved other girls.  And, the Very Scary Person said, people who weren’t True Citizens believed in Facts and didn’t believe in the Magic Story.

The Very Scary Person said that if all of the people in the Nation believed with all their hearts in the Magic Story, and didn’t listen to Facts or to any people who weren’t True Citizens, the Magic Story would come true.  The Nation would once again be the most Special Nation in all the world, and the True Citizens would be recognized as the best and most Special people.  But they were warned that if there were too many people who doubted the Story or questioned the Very Scary Person, the Magic Story might never come true.

And the foolish people who were afraid of the Facts believed the Very Scary Person.  They tried their hardest to believe in the Magic Story and to chase away all doubts.  And when someone talked about Facts, or questioned the Very Scary Person, the foolish people would cover their ears, yell and sing songs about the Nation as loudly as possible, so that they wouldn’t hear any Facts that might make them doubt the Magic Story or the things the Very Scary Person told them.

It may be hard to believe that people could really think they could make something wonderful come true just by believing in it. But there have been people like this ever since there were stories to believe. And there are many stories that teach that belief can make wonderful things come true. There is the story of Peter Pan, who believed that fairies would be real if everyone believed that they were, and clapped their hands. And then there is the story of Dumbo, who believed that he had a magic feather that let him fly, and then found out that he didn’t even need the magic feather to fly because belief was enough! And there was Oral Roberts, who told people that a 900-foot-tall Jesus would kill him, unless enough people believed and showed their belief by giving Oral eight million dollars. There were enough people who believed that story that Oral got nine million dollars. And then there is the 700 Club. But there are far too many stories about foolish people to tell here, and, besides, we must find out what happened to the Nation and the Very Scary Person.

The Very Scary Person made the foolish people very happy. They liked to believe that problems could be solved by Belief, and they liked to believe the Magic Story would come true. They also liked knowing that there were some people who weren’t True Citizens who could be blamed when the Magic Story didn’t come true.

And so the Very Scary Person was elected leader of the Nation. But after a while, the Very Scary Person decided that maybe the rest of the world should be taught about how Special the Nation was and how Special the True Citizens were. And so the Very Scary Person got all the Nation’s soldiers together. And invaded Poland.

Moral:

Even people who remember history can be forced to repeat it if enough people don’t remember, don’t care and don’t want to listen;

Or…

In the real world, elephants who think they can fly always come to a bad end.

Proposed Post-Birth Abortion Ban Could Shut Down Iraq War

Democrats in the House of Representatives have proposed a bill that would legislatively create a twenty-year period of “Post-Birth Fetal Development,” during which abortion would be completely illegal. Rep. Roberta Goldwaithe, the bill’s primary sponsor, thinks this is an idea whose time has come. “Neurologists have established that the human brain isn’t completely developed through adolescence. This explains why many young people engage in irrational and dangerous behaviors; drinking and driving, date rape, signing up for the Marines… every parent has his or her own horror story. It’s time for those of us who believe in the sanctity of human life to put our principles before our politics. We must protect all human life, including those who have not yet fully developed into independent creatures.”

Republicans have concerns that the “Post-Birth Fetal Development Pro-Life Abortion Ban Act” is a legislative Trojan horse with potential consequences reaching far beyond the abortion clinic, perhaps as far as Iraq, but Rep. Goldwaithe dismisses these accusations. “A Republican who would vote against the Pro-Life Abortion Ban Act is clearly a closest pro-choice, anti-life satanist, and I know that voters will be smart enough to recognize that come election day.” Goldwaithe admits, however, that the new law would affect the war in Iraq:

It goes without saying that being placed in a war zone would threaten fetal life, but this is a secondary concern. President Bush recently pledged, ‘I believe human life is a sacred gift from our Creator. I worry about a culture that devalues life, and believe as your President I have an important obligation to foster and encourage respect for life in America and throughout the world.’

The President expressed these sentiments to explain why he vetoed a bill that would have allowed federal funds for stem cell research. Embryos used for stem cell research consist of less than 200 cells. The vast majority will never develop into anything but freezer burn, and will eventually be destroyed. On the other hand, fetuses protected by the Post-Birth Act can be as much as six feet tall, and contain well over a hundred trillion cells. With proper care, all have the potential to become fully developed human beings. It’s inconceivable, pardon the phrase, that the President would refuse to protect the sanctity of life merely because it would interfere with military plans.

White House spokesman Tony Snow refused to comment directly on the proposed law, but did say that the administration would continue to support the right of a fetus to bear arms.

AG Gonzales Outed as Hologram

A highly placed government software developer revealed today that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is actually a sophisticated hologram. The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, joined the Gonzales project when the Attorney General was still in beta. Her team of programmers, many of whom had prior experience at various Hollywood special effects studios, are responsible for Gonzales’ colorful and lifelike simulation of a human Cabinet level official.

“Attorney General Gonzales can be fully projected with voice and high-def 3D visuals anywhere in the Justice Building.” Appearing outside of a few blocks from his office, however, requires portable wireless equipment, and presents more of a challenge. gonzales-fades.jpg“Just projecting the Attorney General outside the building takes a lot of bandwidth, limiting his ability to connect with his central processor. That can really interfere with the AG’s ability to access memory. Plus, he can look a little grainy when there’s a lot of cell-phone traffic in the area.”

Despite these problems, the silicon-based AG has out-performed initial expectations. “Most of us worked in Hollywood, so we were concerned about Gonzales’ ability to simulate sincere emotions. But lacking a full emotional repertoire turns out to be a plus in politics. And we were really surprised to discover that other technical problems can also be turned to an advantage. Gonzales is programmed with a limited number of responses to inquiries. As programmers, we’d call this a problem with his ‘cognitive display,’ but in politics it’s called ‘staying on message.’ Gonzales can ‘stay on message’ for very long periods without displaying the shame or embarrassment that would be inevitable in a flesh-and-blood person.”

During today’s press briefing, Tony Snow would neither confirm nor deny the humanity of the Attorney General, but did point out the irrelevance of the issue: “The President has full confidence in the Attorney General, and that won’t change simply because General Gonzales may not be a sentient being. I mean, think about it. Alberto Gonzales overcame the obstacle of his Hispanic-American background to become the number one man in the Department of Justice. He’s even more worthy of admiration if it turns out he is a non-corporeal computer simulation of an Hispanic-American.”

The response from both sides of the political spectrum was immediate. Senator Leahy, who questioned AG Gonzales at length during a number of Congressional hearings, admitted he had not heard the news but seemed unsurprised, noting, “It would explain a lot.”

Meanwhile, former-mayor and 2008 Presidential candidate, Rudolph Giuliani, approved of the idea, but said he didn’t think the present administration had gone far enough. “Most, if not all, of the Cabinet could be replaced by holograms. In fact, I believe that the heads of some agencies — the EPA and the Department of Education come immediately to mind — could be replaced with a voice-activated digital telephone system at great savings to the public.”

Former-governor Mitt Romney’s campaign office had no comment, further fueling suspicions that he himself is a computer-based life form. Pundits have previously suggested that this rumor, if true, could actually help Romney in the primaries: “The Democrats are trying to raise excitement with the possibility of running the first black or female candidate. Running a computer-generated Mormon for the top job would really steal the their thunder.”

The Swiftian news

Dick Cheney’s jet, Air Force 2, was attacked by a suicide bomber, specifically a bird that threw itself into the right engine just before the jet’s landing at O’Hare airstrip. No particular group of birds has claimed responsibility for the attack, though analysts believe the VP’s favorite prey — farm-raised quail — were involved.

Cheney, unharmed but visibly shaken, said he would not alter his hunting strategy.

I will not give in to a few fowl terrorists. I will continue to shoot farm-raised birds released for my recreational pleasure from cages hidden behind bushes, and I will kill those birds. Quitting would render meaningless the sacrifice of my good friend, Harry Whittington, whom I shot in the face.

The Vice-President was in Chicago to speak at a function organized by the Heritage Foundation. The Vice President spoke about the importance refusing to set a specific date to withdraw from Iraq:

“It is impossible to argue that an unconditional timetable for retreat could serve the security interests of the United States. It would send a message to our enemies that the calendar is their friend, that all they have to do is wait us out, wait for the date certain, and then claim victory the day after.

Leaders of insurgency groups in Iraq responded with anger to the VP’s comments. “We must know the US withdrawal date in order to plan our victory-claiming celebration. The catering preparations alone will take forty-eight hours. And don’t even talk to me about making all those effigies.”

In other news, the President announced a plan to appoint a “war czar,” to finally achive victory in Iraq and Afghanistan. When asked for details, the President responded:

When I wish upon my czar;
Makes no difference who they are;
When I have a czar he’ll make my dreams come true.

President Bush then explained we could easily win in Iraq, but we all need to believe. He requested everyone present who believed in victory to clap their hands.

There were no additional questions.

Finally, on the human interest front, the winner of the Anna Nicole Smith baby contest was finally chosen from the group of finalists in the Bahamas. A disappointed crowd of men went home tanned, but empty-handed, when photographer Larry Birkhead was declared winner. Birkhead said he attributed his success to timing. “Anna asked me to set a definite time for withdrawal, but I refused.”

The Vice-President has not yet commented on Birkhead’s strategy.

A Short Primer on Select Enemies of the United States

Germany — An enemy of the US during the early 1940’s. At that time, Germany was led by Adolf Hitler, a very bad man. America and its allies (including the USSR, led at the time by Joseph Stalin) fought and defeated Hitler.

USSR — An enemy of the US during Cold War, from the mid-1940’s until early 1990’s. At the start of the Cold War the USSR was led by Joseph Stalin, now a very bad man. Starting in the late 1970’s until 1989, the US financed, armed and trained a group called the mujahideen to fight the USSR in Afghanistan. The mujahideen was a group of Muslim “freedom fighters” (according to Pres. Reagan) subscribing to militant Islamic ideologies.

Afghanistan — An enemy of the US from 1996 until the present day. Starting in 1996, Afghanistan was led by the Taliban, very bad men who follow a doctrine of militant Islamic ideologies. The Taliban supported Osama bin Laden, a very bad man, leader of the Al-Qaida, a group of very bad men, primarily consisting of former mujahideen, (previously known as “freedom fighters”). The Al-Qaida is a terrorist organization subscribing to militant Islamic ideologies. The Al-Qaida, under the leadership of Osama bin Laden, are responsible for the 9/11/01 suicide bombing attack on the World Trade Towers.

Iraq — An enemy of the US, invaded by the US in 2003. As a secular state with no connections to the Taliban, Osama bin Laden, the Al-Qaida, or the 9/11/01 suicide bombing attack on the World Trade Towers, Iraq has no connection whatsoever to do with anything above. I’m sorry I added it to this list. My bad.

Mum’s the Word

I recently had the opportunity to interview the Director of the Executive Non-Communications Office in Washington, D.C. It had been trying to contact ENCO for years, but they never returned my calls, so you can imagine my pleased surprise when I received the invitation.

I arrived at the State Department HQ at the appointed time, and was guided to ENCO’s office, down in the labyrinth of the sub-sub basement. The director was at his desk when I arrived. He wore mirrored aviator sunglasses and held a small bull-horn shaped voice-scrambler that he spoke through during our conversation. His voice coming out of the machine was metallic and flat, bearing eerie resemblance to the voice of Dick Cheney.

I shook his hand and was invited to sit down.

“I appreciate your taking the time to meet with me,” I began eagerly. “I hope I can give the public some insight into ENCO’s achievements.”

“I’m more than happy to speak with you. As you probably know, our work is confidential, but a decision was made to leak information to the public. This conversation is entirely off the record. Feel free to take notes and publish whatever you’d like. We’ll just deny this interview ever took place. Given your place in the journalistic pecking order, everyone will believe you made it all up, but, with luck, the regular press will cover the story of your deceit, and the information will get out, unconfirmed. So you see, we’ll all get what we want. I only mention this to provide an example of ENCO expertise in matters of non-communication.”

“Uhhh… thank you… Maybe you can start by telling me about your organizational responsibilities. I take it from your address that ENCO is part of the State Department?”

“Oh no, not at all. Our office is located here to maintain our confidentiality. We hide behind the cloud of irrelevancy surrounding the State Department, but we have very little to do with them — to be honest, we’ve pretty much replaced the State Department. As head of the Office, I report directly to the President, who in turn keeps Vice-President Cheney apprised of our activities. We’re funded under through FEMA’s budget for providing emergency hurricane relief to New Orleans.”

“Wait a minute…. your budget comes from Katrina relief funds? Is that legal?”

“Of course it’s legal” The Director’s mechanized voice seemed to grow even colder. “The President authorized the reallocation of funds in a signing statement that accompanied his approval of the emergency budget. Then the Attorney Genera wrote a memo assuring the legality of the President’s signing statement. After all, our office is dedicated to protecting the country — including New Orleans — from terrorism.”

“I’m surprised none of this came out in the press. At least I don’t think I’ve heard anything.”

“Of course you haven’t!” the Director snapped. “The reallocation, the signing statement and the AG’s memo are all classified, Executive Eyes Only. This is just the sort of information that would encourage our enemies and demoralize the troops were it to get out.” He peered at me again. “Say, you’re not one of those traitors who wish Saddam was still in power are you?

“N-No.. of course not! I’m just amazed… the whole plan is so… diabolical.”

The Director leaned back in his chair again and smiled. “Thank you. The entire plan came out of this shop. It was the first official recommendation of the Non-Communication Office.”

“Is that the sort of work the Office routinely does?”

“Oh no, our primary mission is international diplomacy management. We’re constantly reviewing the international situation and recommending where to focus the nation’s diplomatic efforts.”

“I see. I’ve noticed…” — I decided to tread carefully on this ground — “I’ve noticed the liberal media complains that the administration hasn’t accomplished much through diplomacy.”

“There’s actually quite a bit going on — we’re currently engaged in diplomatic efforts with a number of countries —- Canada, Australia, Norway…. oh, and let’s not forget Poland.”

“Those really don’t seem to be nations where diplomacy is needed to resolve problems….”

The director smiled broadly. I could almost hear pride in his electronic voice. “That’s where ENCO’s planning has really paid off. US diplomatic efforts are now focused on countries where there aren’t any problems to resolve. It makes the work so much easier. And more social. We like to call those nations the ‘coalition of the chillin’.” His synthesized laugh made me shiver. “…you get it, right? “chillin’? It sort of rhymes with ‘willin’? Like willing, only….”

I tried to keep my forced laugh from sounding as flat as his mechanical giggle. “Yes, I see. Very good joke. But I can’t help wondering…. what about places where diplomacy might solve real problem? Shouldn’t we be spending more time in, oh, I don’t know… Iran, say? Or Syria… Lebanon… maybe Palestine?

“The President has a very strict policy about those countries. Being allowed to talk with the United States is a privilege, and the President will not reward countries who are engaged in activities we don’t approve of. It just gives them the attention they want.

“So we’ll never have talks with Iran?”

“Of course we will! We’ll open talks with Iran as soon as they start behaving.”

“Which means…..”

Well, we’ve placed a Presidential attention embargo on Iran because of their nuclear power program and their interference with Iraqi freedom. All Iran has to do is to stop doing those things, and the President will open negotiations with them.”

“But…… aren’t those issues the reason why we need talks?”

“Of course.”

“But we won’t talk with them….

“….until the stop doing the things that are problems. Exactly. Then we’ll send in all the diplomats they’d like. You have to admit it’s a perfect policy. By the time talks start, the really big issues are solved!”

“I have to admit, I’m awed. What other nations is the President punishing with silence?

“Well, the list is changing all the time. Let’s see… we won’t talk with Syria or Lebanon or the Palestinian Authority. In fact, the President was so upset about the Palestinian elections, we may not even speak with them when they get rid of Abbas. Not until the people themselves apologize for misusing their precious freedom to put the Hamas in power in the first place. And .. let’s see… there’s Venezuela, Darfur…

“Wait a minute — we have a policy of purposely ignoring Darfur?!”

“Of course! Haven’t you read about what’s going on in that country? It’s a mess! People are being killed, tortured…. I admit it’s been a tough nut to crack. We’ve been ignoring them for three years now, and there hasn’t been much improvement. But the President believes if we stay the course, the leaders in Darfur…. whoever they are….will eventually accede to our unspoken demand to fix everything up so that diplomatic relations with the United States can begin. Darfur has probably been on our list longer than anyone else. Except maybe Antarctica…”

By this point, I felt nothing would shock me. “You’re saying we refuse to engage in diplomatic relations with a continent. You do know there isn’t a government there?”

“Well, yes, but there have been a lot of problems in Antarctica, all that snow melting and global warming talk. The President feels we should be prepared to do our best to encourage Antarctica to pull itself up by it’s bootstraps, should there be any Antarcticans to encourage. It’s an example of the President’s long-range vision for America. Be sure to mention that in your article, should you ever be tempted to write one about this off-the-record discussion.

The Director went on: “The President wanted to add the Arctic to the Non-Communication list, until someone in the office pointed out there’s really no land there. Did you know all those polar bears and seals and things live on huge chunks of ice with nothing underneath? It’s no wonder they’re having problems up there. Anyway, we didn’t think it would be worth the President’s effort to ignore a bunch of icebergs. And really, the problem seems to be taking care of itself, doesn’t it?”

The Director didn’t seem to need more encouragement to talk about ENCO’s accomplishments. “There are lots of people and things that aren’t nations that fall under ENCO’s jurisdiction. I guess you could say Antarctica is only the tip of the iceberg,” he grinned. That’s sort of an office joke.” I grimaced politely and nodded him on.

“Other targets of punitive non-communcation include groups and individuals. For example, the President will talk with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, but he’s made a commitment to not listen to him. He absolutely won’t speak with anyone at the United Nations. In fact, President Bush was so upset with Kofi Anan that he considered locking him in the UN building without supper.

He’s never listened to Congress, of course, and recently he went so far as sticking his fingers in his ears and singing loudly during a policy discussion with Nancy Pelosi.

He was very upset, even hurt, by the Iraqi Study Group, and has ignored them entirely. Except for Mr. Baker, of course, though he often pretends he’s not in his office when he knows Baker is coming.

Our most recent recommendation, made just after the last election, led to he President’s decision to refuse to listen to the American people. This was really a tough decision for him. I think it really hurts him more than it hurts the people, but the President knows that a leader must stand firm on doing what he knows is right.”

“Wait a minute! How can he do that? Isn’t there any concern that ignoring Congress and the American people might hurt Republicans badly in 2008?”

“That did come up, but the President feels strongly that this is a crucial moment of change in the history of the country. He used to think God elected him to the Presidency to fix Iraq, but for various reasons he’s decided that his real holy mission is to teach the American people that they have to listen to their leaders if they expect their leaders to listen to them. So he’s decided to ignore the 2008 election and continue as President until the electorate learns their lesson. We’ve run the idea by focus groups, and we’re pretty sure that the American people will do anything he wants if he promises to listen to them in 2012.”