No Room for Parody

I was sound asleep when the phone rang and so I cannot be absolutely sure the conversation was not a dream, but it seemed real enough.

“Hello,” the caller began. “My name is Mr. Mensch, I am president of the Parodists of the World, professional comedy writers, and we want to engage you in a suit against the administration for tortious interference with our livelihood.”

“What exactly are you alleging, I mean specifics?” I responded.

He then launched into a litany of grievances against the administration which the Parodists claimed had made it impossible for them to continue making a living.

“First, our country sent no one to the important anti-terrorism demonstration in Paris, and then there’s Valerie Jarrett calling the march against the slaughter of innocents in Paris a ‘Parade’, as if this were some sort of celebration.‘ Certainly We Would Have Loved To Participate In The Parade," But We "Got The Substance Right"’.” She said and then proceeded to claim that Holder couldn’t attend because he was in a very important terrorism conference at the time, forgetting that we knew everyone else at the conference made it to the march except Holder. So at the time of the march he was meeting with himself, it seems.”

“Well, that was silly, “I agreed.  “And?” I waited for the next item.

“Then our secretary of state, John Kerry, whose entire life has been fashioned around his self-imagined superior diplomatic skills and international affairs expertise, shows up speaking execrable high school level French, accompanied by  an aging ex-druggie who sings to the grieving French ‘You’ve Got a Friend’”

“I have to agree that was preposterous and really embarrassing. One wag suggested the French ought to respond by having Carly Simon sing, ‘You’re so Vain’ to the President and his Secretary of State. ‘Send in the Clowns’ comes to mind.”

“It’s all of a piece you know. It’s cutting substantially into our employment prospects. Let me read this to you,” Mensch said:

“ ‘A scandal has erupted in the American Consulate in Jerusalem, as three Israeli security guards have quit following a plan to hire 35 armed Palestinian guards from East Jerusalem. The Palestinians have been undergoing weapons training in Jericho in recent days. The decision to hire and arm the Palestinian security personnel was made by the consulate’s chief security officer, Dan Cronin. The plan is to employ them mostly as escorts to American diplomats’ convoys in the West Bank. Their operating base will be at the consulate in the city’s west, as well as six other facilities around the city belonging to the consulate, of which five are in western Jerusalem.

The plan is a breach of a 2011 agreement between the consulate and the Israeli government, which determined that only former IDF combat soldiers hired by the consulate would be allowed to carry weapons. That year, Israel gave the consulate approval to keep about 100 guns for its security guards, but only if they’re American diplomats or Israelis who served in the army. While the consulate employs scores of guards from East Jerusalem, they have not been armed up until now.’”

“Sounds like a bad joke to me,” I replied. “With the world’s attention focused on Moslem extremists. New jihadi groups showing up all through Europe, and Palestinians continuing to attack our ally Israel  and we train and arm Palestinian guards to protect us in Jerusalem in violation of  our agreement with Israel?”

“Even the liberal foreign policy pundit Leslie Gelb is concerned that the administration is absolutely clueless,” sputtered Mensch.

“And he keeps releasing men from Gitmo who then return to fight against us. He released Mullah Abdul Rauf and immediately on his return he’s recruiting for the Taliban in Afghanistan.”

By this time Mensch was on a roll.

“The White House spokesman, Josh Earnest is tripping over his own tongue trying not to say the magic words ’Moslem extremist’. Listen to this circumlocution of his: ‘We want to describe exactly what happened. These are individuals who carried out an act of terrorism. And they later tried to justify that act of terrorism by invoking the religion of Islam and their own deviant view of it.’”

“Then there’s the nonsensical negotiations with Iran,” I interjected.

Mensch sputtered, “Thursday Obama announced he would not tighten sanctions on Iran which is violating the sanctions already in place because if we tighten the reins it will only drive them to war. Think about that! If we impose stricter sanctions on them, they’ll go to war, and if we don’t, they’ll go to war with nuclear weapons.” 

“That’s nothing to joke about,” I said.

“Precisely! Obama‘s leaving us nothing to parody. We can’t make a living in comedy. He and his administration are themselves the joke. We might as well just send in news clippings to our editors as try to dream up anything wackier than what they’re doing. And, look, it’s not just foreign affairs. Take the Keystone Pipeline -- I mean it should be clear to everyone that we are hurting Iran and Russia financially each time we and others increase the supply of gas and oil on the world market and we need jobs badly, so why is he still sitting on this? George Will captured this bit of nuttiness,” he added and I heard the rustle of newspaper as he read this to me.

Actually, there no longer is any reason to think he has ever reasoned about this. He said he would not make up his mind until the Nebraska Supreme Court ruled. It ruled to permit construction, so he promptly vowed to veto authorization of construction.

The more Obama has talked about Keystone, the less economic understanding he has demonstrated. On Nov. 14, he said Keystone is merely about “providing the ability of Canada to pump their oil, send it through our land, down to the gulf, where it will be sold everywhere else. That doesn’t have an impact on U.S. gas prices.” By Dec. 19, someone with remarkable patience had explained to him that there is a world market price for oil, so he said, correctly, that Keystone would have a “nominal” impact on oil prices but then went on to disparage job creation by Keystone. He said it would create “a couple thousand” jobs (the State Department study says approximately 42,100 “direct, indirect, and induced”) and said, unintelligibly, “Those are temporary jobs until the construction actually happens.” Well.

“I understand your distress,” I sympathized, “but to make your case you have to prove that Obama intended to harm your business, and as Will notes it’s just that he isn’t that smart.”

“C’mon,” the parodist, countered, “Almost every professor in America supported and voted for him. Are you calling them all stupid?”

I was sound asleep when the phone rang and so I cannot be absolutely sure the conversation was not a dream, but it seemed real enough.

“Hello,” the caller began. “My name is Mr. Mensch, I am president of the Parodists of the World, professional comedy writers, and we want to engage you in a suit against the administration for tortious interference with our livelihood.”

“What exactly are you alleging, I mean specifics?” I responded.

He then launched into a litany of grievances against the administration which the Parodists claimed had made it impossible for them to continue making a living.

“First, our country sent no one to the important anti-terrorism demonstration in Paris, and then there’s Valerie Jarrett calling the march against the slaughter of innocents in Paris a ‘Parade’, as if this were some sort of celebration.‘ Certainly We Would Have Loved To Participate In The Parade," But We "Got The Substance Right"’.” She said and then proceeded to claim that Holder couldn’t attend because he was in a very important terrorism conference at the time, forgetting that we knew everyone else at the conference made it to the march except Holder. So at the time of the march he was meeting with himself, it seems.”

“Well, that was silly, “I agreed.  “And?” I waited for the next item.

“Then our secretary of state, John Kerry, whose entire life has been fashioned around his self-imagined superior diplomatic skills and international affairs expertise, shows up speaking execrable high school level French, accompanied by  an aging ex-druggie who sings to the grieving French ‘You’ve Got a Friend’”

“I have to agree that was preposterous and really embarrassing. One wag suggested the French ought to respond by having Carly Simon sing, ‘You’re so Vain’ to the President and his Secretary of State. ‘Send in the Clowns’ comes to mind.”

“It’s all of a piece you know. It’s cutting substantially into our employment prospects. Let me read this to you,” Mensch said:

“ ‘A scandal has erupted in the American Consulate in Jerusalem, as three Israeli security guards have quit following a plan to hire 35 armed Palestinian guards from East Jerusalem. The Palestinians have been undergoing weapons training in Jericho in recent days. The decision to hire and arm the Palestinian security personnel was made by the consulate’s chief security officer, Dan Cronin. The plan is to employ them mostly as escorts to American diplomats’ convoys in the West Bank. Their operating base will be at the consulate in the city’s west, as well as six other facilities around the city belonging to the consulate, of which five are in western Jerusalem.

The plan is a breach of a 2011 agreement between the consulate and the Israeli government, which determined that only former IDF combat soldiers hired by the consulate would be allowed to carry weapons. That year, Israel gave the consulate approval to keep about 100 guns for its security guards, but only if they’re American diplomats or Israelis who served in the army. While the consulate employs scores of guards from East Jerusalem, they have not been armed up until now.’”

“Sounds like a bad joke to me,” I replied. “With the world’s attention focused on Moslem extremists. New jihadi groups showing up all through Europe, and Palestinians continuing to attack our ally Israel  and we train and arm Palestinian guards to protect us in Jerusalem in violation of  our agreement with Israel?”

“Even the liberal foreign policy pundit Leslie Gelb is concerned that the administration is absolutely clueless,” sputtered Mensch.

“And he keeps releasing men from Gitmo who then return to fight against us. He released Mullah Abdul Rauf and immediately on his return he’s recruiting for the Taliban in Afghanistan.”

By this time Mensch was on a roll.

“The White House spokesman, Josh Earnest is tripping over his own tongue trying not to say the magic words ’Moslem extremist’. Listen to this circumlocution of his: ‘We want to describe exactly what happened. These are individuals who carried out an act of terrorism. And they later tried to justify that act of terrorism by invoking the religion of Islam and their own deviant view of it.’”

“Then there’s the nonsensical negotiations with Iran,” I interjected.

Mensch sputtered, “Thursday Obama announced he would not tighten sanctions on Iran which is violating the sanctions already in place because if we tighten the reins it will only drive them to war. Think about that! If we impose stricter sanctions on them, they’ll go to war, and if we don’t, they’ll go to war with nuclear weapons.” 

“That’s nothing to joke about,” I said.

“Precisely! Obama‘s leaving us nothing to parody. We can’t make a living in comedy. He and his administration are themselves the joke. We might as well just send in news clippings to our editors as try to dream up anything wackier than what they’re doing. And, look, it’s not just foreign affairs. Take the Keystone Pipeline -- I mean it should be clear to everyone that we are hurting Iran and Russia financially each time we and others increase the supply of gas and oil on the world market and we need jobs badly, so why is he still sitting on this? George Will captured this bit of nuttiness,” he added and I heard the rustle of newspaper as he read this to me.

Actually, there no longer is any reason to think he has ever reasoned about this. He said he would not make up his mind until the Nebraska Supreme Court ruled. It ruled to permit construction, so he promptly vowed to veto authorization of construction.

The more Obama has talked about Keystone, the less economic understanding he has demonstrated. On Nov. 14, he said Keystone is merely about “providing the ability of Canada to pump their oil, send it through our land, down to the gulf, where it will be sold everywhere else. That doesn’t have an impact on U.S. gas prices.” By Dec. 19, someone with remarkable patience had explained to him that there is a world market price for oil, so he said, correctly, that Keystone would have a “nominal” impact on oil prices but then went on to disparage job creation by Keystone. He said it would create “a couple thousand” jobs (the State Department study says approximately 42,100 “direct, indirect, and induced”) and said, unintelligibly, “Those are temporary jobs until the construction actually happens.” Well.

“I understand your distress,” I sympathized, “but to make your case you have to prove that Obama intended to harm your business, and as Will notes it’s just that he isn’t that smart.”

“C’mon,” the parodist, countered, “Almost every professor in America supported and voted for him. Are you calling them all stupid?”