APES Reports More Satirists Lost over “Stand Your Ground” Debacle

Americans for the Prevention of the Extinction of Satire (APES) have issued an alert and put forward the Gloomsday Clock by 6 seconds. The alert is in response to events in Florida which have caused yet more Usaian satirists to renounce their calling and seek other forms of employment.

US satirists have long been threatened by the sheer alarming silliness of real events in the US and the tendency of Usaian people and institutions to be self-satirising. APES president and spokesperson, noted satirist Rush Limbaugh, explains: “It is difficult for a working satirist to make a living these days. In order to be funny I have to sound more extreme than the right-wing pundits I am mocking and that is becoming nearly impossible to do.”

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Historically, US satire has been under fire for a long time. Many trace the decline to the famous declaration by Tom Lehrer that political satire became obsolete when Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Kissinger was already one of the most famous mass-murdering warmongers in human history but also, as his intended co-laureate Le Duc Tho indicated (when explaining why he would not be accepting the prize) the prize was awarded for bringing an end to a war which was still raging and still causing mass suffering and death.

The problem is not a US problem alone. The Nobel Institute is not American at all. But as Limbaugh points out, the problem of satire has much deeper roots in the US. “People tend to forget that the Ku Klux Klan have always looked and sounded really stupid and insane. People forget that in 1985 the Philadelphia police dropped two bombs on some political activists causing a fire that killed eleven people and destroyed 61 homes. It’s not actually funny, but even so, how could a satirist top that?”

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The latest losses to US satire have come in response to a number of connected matters. The first is Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law. Mirrored by identical or near identical legislation in many states, the law provides that a person who feels threatened in a place in which they are lawfully entitled to be has no duty to retreat. The effect is that there is a greatly enhanced ability to claim self-defence. You only need a reasonable belief that you are in danger in order to/ use lethal force to defend yourself. Naturally, since anyone could, like yourself, be carrying a concealed weapon and could at any time shoot you and credibly claim to be threatened because you in turn can shoot them and credibly claim to be threatened, the ultimate logic is problematic. If this were applied to the Wild West there wouldn’t even have to be some sort of tense showdown between pistol packing hombres, each willing the other to draw first. Unlike those civilised and lawful times both gun-totin’ yahoos could open fire whenever they felt like it, secure in the knowledge that whomever was left alive at the end would be safely exonerated.

When the Circus court came to town they acquitted George Zimmerman. I won’t go into much detail, but his self-defence claims rested on his own testimony. The prosecution could not question this version of events by showing that Zimmerman had contradicted himself on other occasions, because it was the prosecution that introduced the testimony. The prosecutor of the case had recently been more successful in securing a conviction against Marissa Alexander who had fired a warning shot to deter her enraged and dangerous ex-husband. She fired into the ceiling and, because a judge rejected her argument of innocence under “Stand Your Ground”, she was sentenced to 20 years in prison for an incident in which no one got hurt. Alexander is of African descent.

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“The actual application of the Stand Your Ground law by police and courts in Florida” Limbaugh explains, “reveals a certain racial bias. In reality what it means is that if you are not black, and you want to shoot a black man or teenage boy, you can do so. It is like lynching. The problem for our members is that afterwards you have to engage in a South Park-like ritual of constructing some emotive narrative about how the unarmed man that you just shot to death with the deadly weapon that you had on you was really, really super-scary and how you’ll probably have to have therapy now because you have been forced to take a human life and that will scar you forever. We lost a lot of good satirists over the Zimmerman affair, and I’m personally struggling to do anything with it that sounds satirical at all.”

Asked about the renowned Gloomsday Clock, Limbaugh responded that “I think we added about 10 seconds to the clock. It is now well into the early afternoon.” Opinions differ as to the significance of the clock. Some think that when midnight is struck it will symbolise the time at which all satire has become eradicated, others believe that there is even less time and believe that by the time midnight actually strikes everyone is going to be far too drunk to care any more. Still others view the Gloomsday Clock in a more exotic light. To them, time is cyclical and midnight will mark only the end of another revolution. In this theory, by this point, the satirists will have become the real political actors while the politicians and pundits will have become a comical sideshow. “It’s already happening. People are watching The Daily Show as their primary source of news. The satirical website Alternet now just prints the news and lists of the most insane thing the police or Republicans are doing. And last year the Republican Presidential Primary Show made a clean sweep of television awards in both the comedy and daytime drama categories.”

Best Supporting Candidate in a comedy role

Limbaugh slumps back in his chair, as if suddenly deflated and burdened. “Increasingly my own audience don’t even think of me as a satirist. Soon the transformation will be complete. Me, at least the person I think of as me, will be gone, dead. And some right-wing loudmouth will be all that’s left. He… I, will probably run for office.” Limbaugh sighs deeply and sadly. “There’s a natural order to things, and that’s all there is too it.”

 

UPDATE:

Since going to press, APES has put forward the Gloomsday Clock by a further 18 seconds. It is now 1:38:46PM. In a press release APES attributes the two recent news stories. The first reveals that the US Government is justifying its alcohol prohibition policy by citing how well alcohol prohibition worked in the 1920’s. The other story is entitled: “Abu Ghraib Torture Victims Sued by Their Torturers“. USANITY will post regular APES updates, detailing the stories that push the Gloomsday Clock forward and make satirists lives so hard.

“That Would Be Illegal!”: Obama’s Most Rousing Speech Yet

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To an electrified crowd President Barack Obama delivered a powerful speech yesterday, a speech delivered in the very language of Martin Luther King Jr. himself (English). USANITY, by permission, presents to you the transcript of the exciting conclusion:

“Technological change is a force to be reckoned with. We can’t turn back the tide, we can’t hold back the clock like Old King Cole. It was always inevitable that we would have the capability to gather all the data on everyone’s activities online as well as keeping the recorded content of all telephone conversations. It is just the nature of technology that makes it impossible for us not to do these things, which is why over the last several decades we and our intelligence partners have spent hundreds of billions of dollars developing these capabilities – because it was inevitable.

“So when people ask me, can you guys just turn around and invade our privacy any time you want? I say Yes We Can. I say Yes We Can but I also say I Share Your Concerns and remind them not to worry because, That Would Be Illegal.

“These programmes are subject to rigorous oversight from all three branches of government. When people ask does that mean that the government can simply assign theoretical oversight powers to the judicial and legislative branches of government whilst giving them no actual practical ability to oversee activities? I say Yes We Can. When they point out that the NSA withholds information from congressional oversight committees and that a FISC judge himself says that our activities are illegal under the constitution and under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act itself – I say that I understand your worries and I Share Your Concerns. We are a government of laws not men, and I want to assure each and every one of you that just because we have an unbroken record of breaking the law in our intelligence activities that goes back 100 years, there should be no concerns about our intelligence agents continuing to break the law because [pause] That Would Be Illegal” [The crowd chants along with the President].

“These programmes are essential to the national security of this great nation, and the security of this great nation is the thing that I must take most seriously in my role as Commander-in-Chief. You see, when you get to be in a position like mine where, you know, you have to consider all the angles you realise just how pervasive and diverse these threats are. These are very real threats. There are people out there who think very bad things, and if they spread those thoughts to other people those people might get very angry. There could be rioting. American lives might be lost. Confidence in our institutions could be undermined. These are a very clear and present danger to our way of life – a way of life that has brought us to where we are today, the richest most powerful nation on Earth with the richest and most powerful people. People like Bill Gates [cheers]. Like Sheldon Adelson [cheers]. People like Jamie Dimon [cheers]. People like the Waltons [rapturous cheers]. These people are a source of pride for all of us as Americans. So when you think of some homeless vet living in the ruins of what used to be Detroit, imagine how bad he would feel if he couldn’t take pride in being part of the same great nation that produced the Koch brothers.

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“That is why when we spy on people we include all threats to our national security which includes threats to the political status quo. People often point out that we have a history of local, state and federal police and intelligence agencies infiltrating and spying on dissenting political agencies; entrapping people in our own fake terrorist plots; framing people; and, yes, even assassinating or attempting to assassinate the most successful spokespeople for change from Fred Hampton to Judi Bari. People say that our prisons hold many who are guilty of nothing but political dissent or embarrassing the US government. People such as the Holy Land Foundation 5, the Cuban 5, and Lynne Stewart. But embarrassing the US government is a serious threat to national security. When I say that I mean embarrassing the US government more that the US government embarrasses itself, which we can all agree is extremism at its most extreme.

“So when people ask me if we can use the implied threat of terrorist attacks to go after people we consider threats because of their political beliefs I answer Yes We Can. Yes We Can in the finest traditions of a country whose Espionage Act was written to punish dissidents not spies, in the proud traditions of the Red Scare, McCarthyism, COINTELPRO, the Green Scare and the Global War on Terror (Homeland Edition). Of course, patriotic Americans have some concerns. They ask, does this mean I can be targeted just because I am a member of an armed right-wing militia that explicitly advocates the violent overthrow of the Federal government? I want to assure those patriots that I Share Your Concerns, but even if we did consider them threats to national security, which we don’t, we will never treat them the way we treated the Black Panthers because… That Would Be Illegal.

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“So in summary, can we bypass any law that we feel like that is supposed to protect your privacy: Yes We Can and I Share Your Concerns, but That Would Be Illegal!

“Can we persecute political dissidents and say it is because of national security just like China and Iran: Yes We Can and I Share Your Concerns, but That Would Be Illegal!

“Can we continue a system where the law doesn’t apply to the rich and the powerful, be they in government or in the private sector or both, but utterly grinds up poor people and destroys their lives for the most petty infractions: Yes We Can and I Share Your Concerns, but That Would Be Illegal!

Finally, I want to assure people that as long as they don’t do really stupid things like use an online search engine to look for ‘steam-pressure cookers’ and ‘quinoa’, and as long as they are not deemed to be foreigners, they will almost certainly not be raided by a SWAT team at 3 am because… That Would Be Illegal!

The crowds cheers rise to a crescendo, a chant rising from beneath to become overwhelming as more and more join in “That would be illegal! That would be illegal!” In this correspondent’s opinion, having spent many years covering such events, this may be the most aroused and most passionate display from the Washington press corps since the golden days of the George W. Bush cheerleading era.

Next at the podium, Jay Carney announced that today’s Two Minutes Hate was to be directed at the traitor Bradley “Hitler” Manning.

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Dead Declared to have Been Militants

The Whitehouse is seeking bring all departments in line with Department of Defense practices and has issued a Presidential finding that it henceforth be official US policy that dead people are militants. This follows an earlier move at the Pentagon to formalise a de facto policy that had been followed on an ad hoc basis.

At a joint DoD/Whitehouse press conference, Pentagon spokesperson Lt. Col. Clint “Rambo” Stallone explained that this practice had been followed sporadically “for many moons, since the time of my forefathers”. He continued by explaining that it been “actuated” when circumstances were such that it “seemed necessary; was deemed necessitated; and/or was felt to be necessitudinal or in any sense worth a try”.

Lt. Col.Stallone declined to take questions or make eye-contact with the gathered journalists, yielding the podium to Whitehouse Press Secretary Jay Carney. Carney immediately found himself in hot water when questions were posed by ABC correspondent Claire Shipman:

“Jay, if I understand this correctly, this new finding would be a blanket labelling of all deceased persons who will henceforth be designated as ‘militants’. Now, I am sensitive to the fact that these are matters of national security and I, of course, would not wish you to cross any lines here. I don’t want to cross any lines myself. In fact, if I did overstep any lines, any lines at all with respect to national security, I would fully expect you to arrest me, detain me, to torture and humiliate me with cruel conditions, to try me in a kangaroo court and to lock me away for ever. So, you know, I don’t want to overstep those lines, but what exactly is the government’s understanding of what a militant is?”

“Well, um, you know. A militant.”

“Yeah, but what is a militant?”

“I think I have a very personable demeanour.”

“That is not answering the question.”

After asking around unsuccessfully to find if anyone knew what the word “militant” actually means, Carney was finally able to acquire a dictionary:

“There we go, a militant is someone who is militant. I hope that answers your question. I still maintain that I am, in fact, quite personable. Perhaps this would be a good time for Lt. Col. Stallone to explain something more about the historical context of this policy.”

Reading from typewritten sheets, Stallone held forth in his distinctively melodic monotone:

“Since time immemorial there has always been the noble and honourable practice of killing men. This is the job of our heroes, the proud people of the United States military who are heroes because it is their job and their sacrifice is to lay everything on the line to be heroes. They are in harm’s way.

“Killing men is honourable and valid and it is allowed under Rules of Engagement, but sometimes it turns out that the men are not armed. Some times it turns out that they were helpless and wounded, or unarmed and running away, or zip-cuffed with a bag over their head. Sometimes they are actually women and children. This is OK because you can’t just kill the ones with weapons. The ones with weapons can be very dangerous and it is usually safer to choose someone else to kill.

kNOW YOUR ENEMY

“Because people watch too many movies, they think we should only be killing the people with guns. This is mad. You would be as likely to end up being killed as to kill the other guy. We don’t want that to happen to our heroes do we? When we were killing people in Vietnam we couldn’t just kill the guys with guns because we had to produce body counts. The guys with guns would hide from us, but the people in the villages couldn’t just run away into the jungle. According to Army records during one operation called Speedy Express in Vietnam over 6 months the 9th Infantry division killed 10,899 ‘enemies’ and only got 748 weapons. In one week 699 were added to the body count, but the division only had one tragic American death and only found 9 weapons. When a reporter asled about this, we told him that we had killed lots of ‘unarmed guerillas’. That’s why we had the mere gook rule. The mere gook rule said that ‘if they are Vietnamese and dead, then they are VC.’ That’s what we told the people who watch too many movies, that these were VC, as if that meant they were soldiers with weapons. That is all they needed to hear. They like their heroes.

“It turned out, though, that the ‘mere gook rule’ was racist. Lots of us in the military were surprised. We never thought of ‘gooks’ in racial terms, and so it was a shock find out that this sort of thing is racist. To someone like me, the way I think, a race is like ‘blacks’ or ‘whites’ or maybe ‘Mexicans’. A gook is like, just a dink. A little thing, more like some kind of species than what I’d call a race. But that is how it was.

“When we went to Iraq, though, we did it much better. We didn’t call it the ‘mere Haji rule’ but the same thing applied, except now the dead were just the ‘bad guys’. It was perfect because it was exactly what the people who watch too many movies would expect. The heroes kill the bad guys. They didn’t need to know the details because they had seen it all so many times before on a screen.”

Amid angry murmuring from the assembled journalists, Carney once more stepped forward to the podium. “Well, I don’t think we need to get bogged down in detail here. I think the point that we all need to take away from this is that bad things happened in the past and we are working strenuously to to rectify those mistakes that come from a dark period in our history. Even more recently we have been age and gender specific with regards to our drone programme, automatically designating all military aged males killed by drones to have been militants. We want to assure people that there is no place in this administration for the continuation of any racist, ageist or sexist policies. Now, are there any final questions?”

“Does the Whitehouse anticipate any positive operational effects from these policies when they are applied in the field?”

“Well, it is interesting that you should ask that because, although this policy is very new, it has already proven to be the greatest boost yet in our efforts to secure our national interests. Yesterday’s tragic helicopter collision in Afghanistan, for example, resulted in the deaths of 16 militants. No matter which way you look at the ethics of the circumstances, that is 16 less militants out there who might do harm to these United States, and I am not going to apologise for thinking that that is good news. Right, one last question.”

“Does this ruling on militants apply retrospectively? Does it apply to historical figures?”

“Could you give me a for instance?”

“Say, Mark Twain”

“Oh yeah, right of course. Yes it would apply to Twain.”

“What about Thomas Paine?”

“Well, yeah.”

“Abe Lincoln?”

“Umm…”

“George Washington?”

“This conference is over.” Carney gestures to security personnel.

“Ronald Reagan? What about Jesus Christ, or Moses? No. Wait! It was just a question. No. Please! Don’t tase me bro!”

Bipartisan Move to Impeach Next President

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In an unprecedented move both Republicans and Democrats in Congress have initiated impeachment proceedings against the next elected President of the United States.

“Ideally impeachment proceedings should be undertaken against an incumbent,” explained Rep. J. R. Jelly (D-KY), “but we learned the hard way, during the Bush years, that you’ve really gotta be ahead of the eight-ball on these things. This time, we’re going to do this right.”

At least one Republican colleague agrees: “I’d love to impeach Obama. We all would,” says Rep. Carson Luber (R-KY), “but realistically even my own party was asleep at the wheel for his first term. Heck, we all thought he was a straight up guy who wanted to put the Whitehouse back on a sound legal and moral footing. That’s why we hated him. But now we see that he has been committing all of these high crimes and misdemeanours. We’d love to stick it to him, but these things take time.” Asked whether Obama’s “high crimes and misdemeanours” were not, in fact, continuations of Bush era policies, Luber responded by pointing out of a window and yelling “Look out! Pterodactyl!” before trying to conceal himself within a stationery cupboard. Luber refused to acknowledge any further queries.

For many the move to impeach an as yet unidentified future President is symptomatic of a wider Washington malaise. Bureaucratic inertia has combined with partisan gridlock and a moribund electoral system in which incumbents are returned at rates which frequently exceed 100%. Inside the beltway the full realisation that the system was broken came with an incident in the Senate towards the end of George W. Bush’s second term. When Vice President Richard “Ricardo” Cheney attempted to conduct a ritual of human sacrifice, all efforts to thwart, halt, delay, moderate or censure these activities were blocked by a filibuster of heavily armed evil monks. “I’m just a farm-boy, mind you. Not some fancy constitutional lawyer,” recalled Sen. Oren Stretchy (In-KY), “but I don’t think our founding fathers had chainsaw wielding Satanists on the Senate floor in mind when they made provisions for the orderly conduct of the business of government.” [Stretchy was forced to retract these words when lawyers discovered that genetically modified pollen had lodged in his frontal lobe. It was declared that his brain and all of its products were the intellectual property of Monsanto. On legal advice, we have retained this quote after receiving assurances that Stretchy will officially utter these words again as soon as his royalty check to Monsanto clears.]

One of the most noticeable trends arising from this new norm of anticipatory impeachment is the ambivalent position occupied by prospective presidential candidates. Being political animals, each wants to be a prominent leader in the move to impeach, yet each believes him- or herself to be divinely ordained and destined to become President. In dealing with this conundrum they broadly fall into two different camps – those who fully embrace self-impeachment despite its contradictions and those who plan to pull out at the last minute in the hope that they will avoid a sticky outcome. The most committed self-impeacher is Sen. Rand “Randypoo” Paul (R-CZ). Seizing the moral high ground he declared his intention to vigorously pursue impeachment proceedings against himself as a matter of fundamental principles essential to maintaining the rule of law and the functioning of free markets. This will be of no surprise to many in Washington, where it has long been rumoured that Paul’s political career was first spawned when his mother [Rep. Ron Paul (D-KY)] walked in on him impeaching himself before a full-length mirror.

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Surprisingly some of Paul’s Republican rivals outside the capital are committed to the same course of action. New Jersey governor Chris Christie is thought to be a flaming self-impeacher and Donald Trump has taken things much, much further by being Donald Trump (see graphic). But this is not a partisan issue, Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton (best known as Fidel Castro’s estranged mistress) is an enthusisatic self-impeacher. In contrast, former something-or-other Rick Santorum has rejected self-impeachment completely. Instead he seems almost eager for impeachment at the hands of others. Santorum also seems to be anticipating a certain number of oral submissions to be made on the House floor. “Bring it on bitches”, he pants with a fire in his eyes. But Santorum has a liberal side “If I’m going to be impeached then I want it to be all races, all genders, all ages and bipartisan. Come one, come all!”

Ralph Nader could not be reached for comment.