Obama Hails Economic Progress During His Administration
In his speech at the Democratic Convention President Obama contended that "by so many measures, our country is stronger and more prosperous than it was when we started." Unfortunately, a number of key statistics seem to contradict that assessment. There are 3 million more people in poverty. Household incomes for those in the bottom 20% declined. Nearly 9 million more individuals are receiving food stamps. And 14 million have left the workforce.
Press Secretary Josh Earnest insisted that "these statistics need to be properly interpreted. Before we leap to a hasty conclusion that the President's policies have been ineffective let's consider what has really taken place. A mere increase in the number of persons below the poverty line is not a clear indication that they suffering. In our country, people below the poverty line are provided with amenities—like air-conditioned apartments, cable TV, and cell phones—that even the so-called middle class in other countries lack."
"Why should we worry about earned incomes declining when the benefits offered by government are so generous?" Earnest asked. "Isn't the fact that people get to consume more important than whether they can afford to pay for it? Isn't the fact that more Americans are overweight than ever a sign that the increase in food stamps is a success? And don't get me started on the millions who have left the workforce. Surely being able to live without having a job is a step forward in human civilization. The gains in leisure have got to far outstrip any assumed loss of dignity from becoming dependent on others."
In related news, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) sought to explain polls showing low levels of support for Hillary among non-college educated men as "evidence of a failure to accept their logical role in the social collective. Men are endowed with greater physical strength than women. Those of them who have not proved their intellectual fitness to lead must expect to bear the burden of toil befitting their strength for the greater good of the whole. Of the two major party candidates only Hillary understands this and can be counted upon to take the steps needed to implement it."
Democrats Accuse Trump of Treason
The Wikileaks release of 20,000 Democratic National Committee emails show how Party officials rigged the presidential primary campaign to favor Hillary Clinton over Sen Bernie Sanders (S-Vt) confirmed what many have suspected for the last six months. DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (Fla) was quick to initiate a narrative blaming Russia for hacking into the DNC's server.
"That a foreign government with a long-running enmity to America could so easily break into confidential computer files of the Democratic Party is a matter of serious concern," she alleged. "The public exposure of our private communications could influence the outcome of the November election. Such an invasion into a political process that is none of their business will not be forgotten."
GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump called Wasserman-Schultz's concerns "belated and self-serving. As I recall, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was recently reprimanded by the FBI for 'extraordinary carelessness' in her handling of classified government information on a non-secure computer. The odds that that server was hacked are extremely high. Foreign governments and criminals could have gotten a hold of sensitive information that could be used to the detriment of this country."
While professing no knowledge of who might have done the hacking, Trump suggested that "the Russians or whoever might be responsible should look for the 30,000 emails Hillary says she deleted." Sen Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri) immediately labeled Trump's suggestion "treason. Encouraging a foreign power to break into potentially classified communications violates the Logan Act."
Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort called MacCaskill's remarks "telling. According to Mrs. Clinton, the 30,000 missing emails were all of a personal nature and not part of the business of the State Department. That is how she justified deleting them despite her statutory obligation to turn over all her correspondence. Wouldn't the publication of those emails by Russia or whoever may have them vindicate Hillary's dubious contention?"
Clinton Campaign Manager Robbie Mook argued that "the exposure of personal emails could still be an embarrassment. As we have seen from the publication from the DNC hack, emails with derogatory, demeaning, and insensitive content could be just as damaging as actual security breeches. Anything that could contribute to undermining respect for a prospective commander-in-chief is, in my opinion, treasonous."
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) suggested that Trump's remarks "disqualify him as a candidate. That he would side with hackers and encourage them to expose a great American's 'dirty laundry,' so to speak raises genuine questions regarding his loyalty to this country. Even if he thinks Secretary Clinton is a rat, she is our rat. Coming together to support one another is every patriot's obligation. Submerging our differences in pursuit of a unified collective whole is the sacrifice we all must make for the greater good."
Reid went on to advise that Trump be given fake national security briefings in order to "keep the nation's most precious secrets from this unworthy individual and to set him up for future campaign gaffes that will ensure his defeat in November."
Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) seconded Reid's proposal in a letter to President Obama. "A mindless adherence to the tradition of briefing both major candidates must not be allowed to block a sensible tool for ensuring a favorable outcome at the ballot box," Cicilline wrote.
In related news, the DNC issued a letter of apology to Sen. Sanders for "shafting you during the primaries," but urged him to "shake it off. Many athletic contests are marred by errant calls by umpires or referees, but the results are never overturned." Sanders was advised to "wait until 'next season' to mount a campaign to rectify this injustice."
Clinton Campaign Disses Idea of Press Conferences
One tradition that has been notably absent from Hillary Clinton's campaign for the presidency has been press conferences where the media are invited to query the candidate.
"We'll have a press conference when we want to have a press conference," Clinton pollster Joel Benenson said on ABC News this past week. "Our candidate is under no legal obligation to answer to the press. We will control what is said to whom and when it will be said. We acknowledge that this may be inconvenient from the media's perspective, but they'll just have to bear with it."
Benenson also pointed out that "it's not like the media is going to switch sides over this. More than 90% of them are with us on the issues. In a way, the lack of press conferences let's them off the hook. The effort they'd have to go to in order to appear even-handed has got to be stressful for them. By carefully controlling the exposition of our candidate's message we can all arrive at our commonly agreed upon destination with a minimum of fuss."
Trump Places Competence Ahead of Compassion
Vice-President Joe Biden explained the difference between a Clinton and a Trump administration in a raucous speech to the Democratic National Convention, contending that Trump's catchphrase from his Apprentice reality show "'you're fired,' reveals a gaping existential chasm between Democrats and Republicans."
"Just because a person can't handle a job doesn't mean he doesn't need that job," Biden pointed out. "Yet, Trump would callously cast employees aside based merely upon performance. Is this the kind of man we want to place at the head of our government?"
"In contrast, our nominee has the compassion to understand that competence is not the most important attribute we should seek from an employee," Biden said. "The right frame of mind and the commitment to a shared social goal is far more valuable than whether an individual can get a job done. We can always add more employees if those we have on hand lack the skills needed to complete tasks."
To those concerned that a "compassionate" approach might result in a bloated bureaucracy, Biden asked "would it really be better to cast the so-called 'dead wood' out into the street? We are a rich country. We can easily afford keeping loyal civil servants on the payroll. I shudder to think what might have become of me had a harsh demand for performance been applied to me. Democratic voters have spared me the ignominy of finding out. By electing Hillary voters will spare millions of government employees from finding out."
Democratic VP nominee Urges Voters to Trust Hillary Clinton
Freshly nominated Democratic Party candidate for vice-president Sen Tim Kaine took up the delicate issue of whether voters could afford to trust running mate Hillary Clinton.
"We've heard that her use of an insecure non-government computer server for her emails was too risky," Kaine recounted. "We've heard that her neglect of security for the Benghazi Consulate was a dereliction of duty. We've heard FBI Director James Comey characterize her handling of classified information as 'extraordinarily careless.' We've seen that she lied on numerous occasions in efforts to conceal her illegal and dangerous behavior. However, I am asking voters to look past these mistakes and elect her president."
"Naturally, many will wonder how they can be expected to ignore these seemingly serious shortcomings," Kaine said. "Well, let's look at the biggest decision she's had to make since sewing up the nomination. Out of all the people she could have chosen as her running mate, she chose me. The brilliance of this one decision should blow away all fear that she can't be trusted to wisely govern. She had the integrity to bypass the obvious choice of naming rival Bernie Sanders as her VP. She had the guts not to latch on to the easy option of putting two-time VP Joe Biden on the ticket. She picked me. Since I know what a swell guy I am and what a great job I could do as president should the need arise, I am persuaded that voters can put their trust in her as president."
John Kerry Reaches New Height of Idiocy
Secretary of State John Kerry reached a new height of idiocy this past week by suggesting air conditioners were just as dangerous as ISIS. The remarks came in Vienna where Kerry was representing the US in negotiations aimed at reducing emissions that contribute to global warming.
"Granted, the terror attacks carried out by these misguided individuals are splashy," Kerry observed. "Dozens die and even more are maimed and injured, but the fact is that these effects are small-scale and of limited duration and consequence. We easily overlook some of the offsetting benefits. The people killed cease to be carbon emitters. This has a salutary impact on global temperatures."
"In contrast, air-conditioning is much vaster in scope and impact," Kerry explained. "It's a habit too many people have fallen into out of a selfish pursuit of their own comfort. Breaking this cycle is of greater urgency than our efforts to mitigate terror attacks."
Despite the professed greater threat posed by air conditioning, the Secretary brushed aside suggestions that AC units at the State Department be turned off as an example to others. "The comfort of those of us charged with the responsibility to lead this country cannot be sacrificed in a quixotic attempt to model exemplary behavior," Kerry said. "Discomfort needs to be apportioned according to the importance, or lack thereof, of those being asked to endure it."