Are we going for the Longest Fisk Ever™? We don’t know if it will get quite that far, but one thing’s for sure, we’ve never read bullshit as deep and wide as president Food Stamp’s latest bloviations.
If you decide to stick with it, go get a beverage first because it will take a while. Even had to drag the emperors out of cold storage to help me out with it:
Thank you so much. Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you. Please, be seated.
AUGUSTUS: “Please, please, PLEASE come BACK here, I haven’t even started yet!” would somehow seem more appropriate.
CALIGULA: I think that’s what he meant. The people standing up were probably getting ready to leave.
Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, members of Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow Americans,
TIBERIUS: He has “fellow Americans?” Wouldn’t he have to become one first?
last month I went to Andrews Air Force Base and welcomed home some of our last troops to serve in Iraq.
AUGUSTUS: A parade would have been nice but that would have been too much to ask of him. It might take time away from his orgies.
Together, we offered a final, proud salute to the colors under which more than a million of our fellow citizens fought, and several thousand gave their lives.
CALIGULA: His salute was one-fingered, but proud nonetheless. As proud as his wife’s.
We gather tonight knowing that this generation of heroes has made the United States safer and more respected around the world.
TIBERIUS: In spite of that plebeian’s best efforts to destroy that respect. I can see how that must infuriate him.
For the first time in nine years, there are no Americans fighting in Iraq.
CLAUDIUS: What’s that s-s-strange thing he’s d-doing up th-there?
EMPEROR MISHA I: It’s called an “end zone dance”, but usually it is only done by the person who actually accomplished the thing being celebrated.
For the first time in two decades, Osama bin Laden is not a threat to this country.
TIBERIUS: It’s going to be a looong night. Do you have enough of those wondrous pills you call “aspirins” for all of us, Emperor?
Most of Al Qaida’s top lieutenants have been defeated. The Taliban’s momentum has been broken. And some troops in Afghanistan have begun to come home.
AUGUSTUS: And you’re negotiating the best terms of surrender with the rest of the Taliban and al Qaeda even as we speak. Only it’s not their surrender you’re talking about.
TIBERIUS: “Remember: The Germanic tribes are not our enemies per se!”
AUGUSTUS: If only somebody had told Publius Quinctilius Varus.
These achievements are a testament to the courage, selflessness, and teamwork of America’s armed forces.
CLAUDIUS: And, of c-c-course, y-your exemp-p-plary l-leadership!
At a time when too many of our institutions have let us down,
TIBERIUS: Such as the entire government of the nation?
they exceed all expectations. They’re not consumed with personal ambition.
AUGUSTUS: Unlike somebody we could mention.
They don’t obsess over their differences.
AUGUSTUS: Unlike somebody we could…
CALIGULA: Alright, alright, we get it!
They focus on the mission at hand. They work together.
CALIGULA: Really? REALLY? We GET IT, m’kay???
Imagine what we could accomplish if we followed their example.
TIBERIUS: Imagine indeed. All of the roads leading to DC would be lined with Democrats nailed to flaming crosses.
Think about the America within our reach: a country that leads the world in educating its people;
CLAUDIUS: Is he t-t-talking about the America that existed before his p-p-arty took over education?
an America that attracts a new generation of high-tech manufacturing and high-paying jobs;
CLAUDIUS: As opposed to an America that does everything in its p-power to ch-chase them overseas b-because of over-regulation, onerous t-t-taxation and p-plain idiocy?
EMPEROR MISHA I: All of us Tea Partiers are imagining just that.
a future where we’re in control of our own energy;
AUGUSTUS: A future in which imbecile presidents aren’t putting a stop to each and every initiative to develop domestic energy sources. Is he up there actually writing the ads that will be run against him in the fall?
and our security and prosperity aren’t so tied to unstable parts of the world. An economy built to last, where hard work pays off and responsibility is rewarded.
TIBERIUS: Unless, of course, the rewards are just too darned big. When those hard workers have just earned enough money.
We can do this. I know we can, because we’ve done it before.
TONTO: Who is this “we” you’re talking about, Kemosabe?
AUGUSTUS: Who’s HE? No, never mind, I rather like him.
At the end of World War II, when another generation of heroes returned home from combat, they built the strongest economy and middle class the world has ever known.
AUGUSTUS: They also had a little something called a “parade” to mark their victory.
My grandfather, a veteran of Patton’s Army,
CLAUDIUS: That w-w-would be the one who liberated Auschwitz from the G-germans, sorry, the S-soviet, sorry, we’re getting confused h-here.
got the chance to go to college on the G.I. Bill. My grandmother, who worked on a bomber assembly line, was part of a workforce that turned out the best products on Earth.
TIBERIUS: OK, so we’ve covered the maternal part of your lineage. What about the paternal one?
EMPEROR MISHA I: We’re not supposed to talk about that. That’s considered “extremist.”
TIBERIUS: But isn’t anything questioning that serf’s lineage considered “extremist” by his party?
EMPEROR MISHA I: I have no idea what the DNC considers it. That’s what the GOP considers it to be. Also “unhelpful.” But I’m sure that it will eventually turn out that one of his ancestors single-handedly defeated the British at Isandlwana armed with nothing but a sliced cucumber.
The two of them shared the optimism of a nation that had triumphed over a depression and fascism. They understood they were part of something larger, that they were contributing to a story of success that every American had a chance to share: the basic American promise that if you worked hard, you could do well enough to raise a family, own a home, send your kids to college, and put a little away for retirement.
TIBERIUS: Unless you’d earned “enough” and therefore had to hand your sestertii over to the government for the Common Good™.
The defining issue of our time is how to keep that promise alive.
CALIGULA: Getting rid of that clown up on the podium would seem to be a good first step.
No challenge is more urgent. No debate is more important. We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well,
TIBERIUS: But enough talking about politicians and union bosses.
while a growing number of Americans barely get by,
CALIGULA: President Food Stamp!
EMPEROR MISHA I: Hush! That’s unhelpful and uncivilized and will probably get Gabby Giffords shot a second time!
CALIGULA: Channeling Debbie Whassername Schultz, my Emperor?
EMPEROR MISHA I: No. The entire staff at Hot Air.
or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules.
AUGUSTUS: He’s not actually saying that Congress will have to abide by the same laws that they pass to rule the people, is he?
EMPEROR MISHA I: In a word: No.
What’s at stake aren’t Democratic values or Republican values, but American values. And we have to reclaim them.
Let’s remember how we got here. Long before the recession, jobs and manufacturing began leaving our shores. Technology made businesses more efficient, but also made some jobs obsolete.
CLAUDIUS: Those horrible ATMs again, is it?
Folks at the top saw their incomes rise like never before, but most hard- working Americans struggled with costs that were growing, paychecks that weren’t, and personal debt that kept piling up.
CALIGULA: And costs of living that kept sky-rocketing because the price of energy went up, thanks to a certain Numidian outlawing domestic energy production unless it was A) inefficient and B) filled the pockets of his supporters.
In 2008, the house of cards collapsed. We learned that mortgages had been sold to people who couldn’t afford or understand them.
AUGUSTUS: Because the party of the current president had been forcing the banks to lend money to deadbeats at gunpoint in the name of “fairness.”
Banks had made huge bets and bonuses with other people’s money. Regulators had looked the other way, or didn’t have the authority to stop the bad behavior.
AUGUSTUS: Regulators? Wasn’t every single attempt by this idiot’s party’s opponents to actually regulate the nonsense stonewalled by that same party?
EMPEROR MISHA I: Hush. We’re not in the real world anymore. We’re in his community-based reality.
It was wrong. It was irresponsible. And it plunged our economy into a crisis that put millions out of work, saddled us with more debt, and left innocent, hard-working Americans holding the bag.
TIBERIUS: Actually, it left them paying for the bag when you used their money to bail out your friends and donors.
In the six months before I took office, we lost nearly 4 million jobs. And we lost another 4 million before our policies were in full effect. Those are the facts.
CLAUDIUS: Trying to do s-some c-calculating here. W-wasn’t his party in c-control of C-congress for 24 of those f-first s-six months? So t-they managed to l-lose 8 m-million jobs total?
EMPEROR MISHA I: Hush! Remember, his enlightened policies aren’t “fully implemented” yet! They’ve only had 5 years!
JOSEF STALIN: One more five year plan and TRUE socialist utopia will finally be here!
EMPEROR MISHA I: OK, somebody throw that sack of shit out of here!
But so are these. In the last 22 months, businesses have created more than 3 million jobs.
EMPEROR MISHA I: Almost all of them in states not controlled by Democrats.
Last year, they created the most jobs since 2005. American manufacturers are hiring again, creating jobs for the first time since the late 1990s. Together, we’ve agreed to cut the deficit by more than $2 trillion.
AUGUSTUS: They have?
EMPEROR MISHA I: Who knows? Remember, we’re in the community-based reality still. But even if they have, they still haven’t agreed on how to actually do it. But they’ve agreed to do it somehow, and that’s all that counts.
AUGUSTUS: Very well then. I was a bit confused there, seeing as how it doesn’t make much sense for him to insist that the debt ceiling be raised by another $1.2 trillion if the deficit has been cut by $2 trillion.
EMPEROR MISHA I: There you go again: Using math and facts. VISIGOTH EXTREMIST RACIST!
And we’ve put in place new rules to hold Wall Street accountable, so a crisis like this never happens again.
NEVILLE CHAMBERLAIN: I hold in my hand a piece of paper guaranteeing peace in our…
CALIGULA: What? Is this an open house all of a sudden?
The state of our union is getting stronger, and we’ve come too far to turn back now.
AUGUSTUS: I think the words he’s looking for are “we’ve come too far to be able to turn back now.”
TIBERIUS: Your Majesty? Why is the band playing “nearer my G-d, to thee?”
CALIGULA: Who cares? I needed ice for my whiskey anyway.
As long as I’m president, I will work with anyone in this chamber to build on this momentum.
AUGUSTUS: As long as “anybody” is a Democrat, obviously.
But I intend to fight obstruction with action, and I will oppose any effort to return to the very same policies that brought on this economic crisis in the first place.
CALIGULA: “Even if it means breaking the law and violating the Constitution!” Really, he may be an idiot, but I kinda like his utter disrespect for the rule of law.
CLAUDIUS: You w-would, nephew, you would.
No, we will not go back to an economy weakened by outsourcing, bad debt, and phony financial profits. Tonight, I want to speak about how we move forward and lay out a blueprint for an economy that’s built to last, an economy built on American manufacturing, American energy, skills for American workers, and a renewal of American values.
AUGUSTUS: He’s going to offer his resignation during a State of the Union Address? Now THAT would be a first!
This blueprint begins with American manufacturing.
On the day I took office, our auto industry was on the verge of collapse. Some even said we should let it die. With a million jobs at stake, I refused to let that happen.
AUGUSTUS: After all, most of those jobs were union ones and they’re the ones paying for your party’s existence. So instead, you chose to use everybody else’s money on screwing over the creditors of the auto industry, buying up the company, tying a bow on it and handing it over to your friends. How anybody would call that “corrupt” is beyond me!
EMPEROR MISHA I: If I didn’t know you were being sarcastic, I’d say you were perfect for a job at the Weekly Standard, dear Augustus.
In exchange for help, we demanded responsibility.
CLAUDIUS: …and campaign donations. But mostly campaign d-donations.
We got workers and automakers to settle their differences.
CALIGULA: By not offering the automakers a seat at the table. BRILLIANT. Now that’s bipartisanship that We Can Believe In™.
We got the industry to retool and restructure. Today, General Motors is back on top as the world’s number-one automaker.
EMPEROR MISHA I: When it comes to being the number-one autoseller, on the other hand, but let’s not talk about that. They’re making cars. That nobody wants. But they’re making them, dammit! WINNING!
Chrysler has grown faster in the U.S. than any major car company. Ford is investing billions in U.S. plants and factories. And together, the entire industry added nearly 160,000 jobs.
CLAUDIUS: But F-ford wasn’t part of the “use t-taxpayer funds to give my union friends a present” d-deal, were they?
EMPEROR MISHA I: Shut… UP! RACIST!
We bet on American workers. We bet on American ingenuity. And tonight, the American auto industry is back.
What’s happening in Detroit can happen in other industries.
CALIGULA: I’ve had plenty of time down in the Imperial Dungeons to study what is happening in Detroit, and if that comment of his isn’t the most beautiful threat I’ve ever seen, then I don’t know WHAT is!
It can happen in Cleveland and Pittsburgh and Raleigh.
AUGUSTUS: But, fortunately, it doesn’t look like it can happen in any state run by a non-Democrat party.
We can’t bring every job back that’s left our shore.
EMPEROR MISHA I: Particularly not the Brazilian oil drilling ones that U.S. taxpayers are paying for now
But right now, it’s getting more expensive to do business in places like China. Meanwhile, America is more productive.
TIBERIUS: Building the future on the hopes that the rest of the world will go down the toilet faster than the U.S. Now there’s a visionary for you!
A few weeks ago, the CEO of Master Lock told me that it now makes business sense for him to bring jobs back home.
Today, for the first time in 15 years, Master Lock’s unionized plant in Milwaukee is running at full capacity.
So we have a huge opportunity at this moment to bring manufacturing back. But we have to seize it. Tonight, my message to business leaders is simple: Ask yourselves what you can do to bring jobs back to your country, and your country will do everything we can to help you succeed.
AUGUSTUS: We somehow think that at least part of the answer is: What can you do to make us believe that we won’t be taking it up the arse if we happen to make money in the U.S. because we’re not paying our “fair share” of your re-election fund.
We should start with our tax code. Right now, companies get tax breaks for moving jobs and profits overseas. Meanwhile, companies that choose to stay in America get hit with one of the highest tax rates in the world. It makes no sense, and everyone knows it.
So let’s change it. First, if you’re a business that wants to outsource jobs, you shouldn’t get a tax deduction for doing it.
CLAUDIUS: The man is a genius! Lesser minds would have said something like “we’ll make businesses bring jobs back home by making sure that they won’t go bankrupt by doing so”, but this J-jovian intellect cuts right through that n-nonsense by saying, instead, “w-we’ll make sure that n-no matter w-where you are, as l-long as you h-have a U.S. p-presence, we’ll make s-sure that you’ll take it up the arse on your p-profit margins!” Because that’s s-sure to make every s-single b-business in the world want to hold on t-to their U.S. presence!
That money should be used to cover moving expenses for companies like Master Lock that decide to bring jobs home.
Second, no American company should be able to avoid paying its fair share of taxes by moving jobs and profits overseas.
CLAUDIUS: S-see? He’s brilliant! That most c-certainly WON’T make any businesses who still have ties to the U.S. cut those t-tied immediately to m-move to more f-friendly shores!
CALIGULA: Seriously, uncle Claudius, we didn’t know you were that good with sarcasm!
From now on, every multinational company should have to pay a basic minimum tax.
TIBERIUS: And who would enforce that if they chose to move all of their operations elsewhere
?And every penny should go towards lowering taxes for companies that choose to stay here and hire here in America.
Third, if you’re an American manufacturer, you should get a bigger tax cut.
AUGUSTUS: Wait! Haven’t they already “earned enough money?”
If you’re a high-tech manufacturer, we should double the tax deduction you get for making your products here. And if you want to relocate in a community that was hit hard when a factory left town, you should get help financing a new plant, equipment, or training for new workers.
AUGUSTUS: Wasn’t he against “corporate welfare” at some point?
EMPEROR MISHA I: Only if the corporation wasn’t wholly owned by the unions and, by extension, the Democrat Party.
So my message…
My message is simple. It is time to stop rewarding businesses that ship jobs overseas and start rewarding companies that create jobs right here in America. Send me these tax reforms, and I will sign them right away.
We’re also making it easier for American businesses to sell products all over the world. Two years ago, I set a goal of doubling U.S. exports over five years.
EMPEROR MISHA I: And we all know how well that worked out, not to mention how imperial edicts work out in general. Just ask king Canute and how he managed to stop the tide rolling in. At least he was joking at the time.
With the bipartisan trade agreements we signed into law, we’re on track to meet that goal ahead of schedule.
And soon there will be millions of new customers for American goods in Panama, Colombia, and South Korea. Soon, there will be new cars on the streets of Seoul imported from Detroit, and Toledo, and Chicago.
TIBERIUS: And the American taxpayers will be on the hook for all of the corporate welfare subsidies that will enable those companies to sell those useless death traps at a price where anybody might even consider buying them.
I will go anywhere in the world to open new markets for American products. And I will not stand by when our competitors don’t play by the rules. We’ve brought trade cases against China at nearly twice the rate as the last administration, and it’s made a difference.
AUGUSTUS: Other than pissing the Chinese off?
Over a thousand Americans are working today because we stopped a surge in Chinese tires.
CLAUDIUS: 8,000,000 jobs lost d-during his p-party’s rule, but they’ve actually created m-more than a 1,000 to make up for it? W-w-WINNING!
But we need to do more.
CLAUDIUS: About 7,999,000 jobs w-worth more.
It’s not right when another country lets our movies, music, and software be pirated. It’s not fair when foreign manufacturers have a leg up on ours only because they’re heavily subsidized.
AUGUSTUS: Unlike the utter fairness in each Government Chevy Dolt costing a quarter million in subsidies so that anybody can even afford to consider buying one?
Tonight, I’m announcing the creation of a Trade Enforcement Unit that will be charged with investigating unfair trading practices in countries like China. There will be more inspections…
TIBERIUS: And I’m sure that the Chinese are already shivering in their boots just thinking about what you might do if you find them non-compliant!
AUGUSTUS: Who is going to enforce those inspections, anyway?
TIBERIUS: Doesn’t matter. He’ll personally outlaw the sale of Kung Pao Chicken in America if they don’t submit!
There will be more inspections to prevent counterfeit or unsafe goods from crossing our borders.
CALIGULA: Will this include ATF-mandated weapons transfers to Mexican drug cartels? Because I might want to step in and make a mint off of that if Eric Holder is banned from undercutting my prices.
And this Congress should make sure that no foreign company has an advantage over American manufacturing when it comes to accessing financing or new markets like Russia. Our workers are the most productive on Earth, and if the playing field is level, I promise you: America will always win.
CLAUDIUS: And the best way to “level the playing field” is to give every American company as many reasons as possible for l-leaving the country for other s-shores where they’re not p-penalized for not p-paying their fair share into the DNC’s c-coffers.
I also hear from many business leaders who want to hire in the United States but can’t find workers with the right skills.
TIBERIUS: Not much demand for Master’s degrees in gender studies, is there?
Growing industries in science and technology have twice as many openings as we have workers who can do the job. Think about that: openings at a time when millions of Americans are looking for work.
TIBERIUS: Tell that to the 99%’ers that you endorsed who have spent their lives borrowing $100,000 to get a degree in the sexual habits of fruit flies.
It’s inexcusable. And we know how to fix it.
EMPEROR MISHA I: We do. It’s called “November.”
Jackie Bray is a single mom from North Carolina who was laid off from her job as a mechanic. Then Siemens opened a gas turbine factory in Charlotte and formed a partnership with Central Piedmont Community College. The company helped the college design courses in laser and robotics training. It paid Jackie’s tuition, then hired her to help operate their plant.
I want every American looking for work to have the same opportunity as Jackie did. Join me in a national commitment to train 2 million Americans with skills that will lead directly to a job.
AUGUSTUS: Or join me in my commitment to create businesses that will give mechanics like Jackie a job as a mechanic.
My administration has already lined up more companies that want to help. Model partnerships between businesses like Siemens and community colleges in places like Charlotte, and Orlando, and Louisville are up and running. Now you need to give more community colleges the resources they need to become community career centers, places that teach people skills that businesses are looking for right now, from data management to high-tech manufacturing.
EMPEROR MISHA I: Or just help not making it impossible for businesses already employing those people to continue doing business here.
And I want to cut through the maze of confusing training programs so that from now on people like Jackie have one program, one website, and one place to go for all the information and help that they need.
ADOLF HITLER: GLEICHSCHALTUNG!
EMPEROR MISHA I: Guards, please shoot that bastard!
EMPEROR MISHA I: Thank you.
It is time to turn our unemployment system into a re- employment system that puts people to work.
These reforms will help people get jobs that are open today. But to prepare for the jobs of tomorrow, our commitment to skills and education has to start earlier.
For less than 1 percent of what our nation spends on education each year, we’ve convinced nearly every state in the country to raise their standards for teaching and learning, the first time that’s happened in a generation.
But challenges remain. And we know how to solve them.
At a time when other countries are doubling down on education, tight budgets have forced states to lay off thousands of teachers.
AUGUSTUS: And they have done SUCH a great job up until now. The cost of educating kids and paying the union teachers has gone up by an order of magnitude over the last half a century, and the SATs have moved not an inch. So let’s throw MORE money at them!
We know a good teacher can increase the lifetime income of a classroom by over $250,000. A great teacher can offer an escape from poverty to the child who dreams beyond his circumstance.
CLAUDIUS: And an utterly useless one can’t be f-fired and will, instead, sp-spend the rest of his or her life in a r-rubber r-room, collecting full pay and pension, because otherwise the union dues wouldn’t be filling the DNC war chest.
Every person in this chamber can point to a teacher who changed the trajectory of their lives.
AUGUSTUS: And every person in this chamber can also point to an utterly useless waste of skin who, in spite of having no skills whatsoever other than paying his or her dues to the NEA, collected every bit as much of a penny doing nothing whatsoever. WINNING!
Most teachers work tirelessly, with modest pay, sometimes digging into their own pocket for school supplies, just to make a difference.
AUGUSTUS: Quite a few work not at all, spending nothing of their own, not even their time, yet they’re still rewarded exactly the same as the ones you’re talking about. It’s a bloody wonder that any teachers are doing anything at all under those conditions as they might as well not even try.
Teachers matter. So instead of bashing them, or defending the status quo, let’s offer schools a deal. Give them the resources to keep good teachers on the job, and reward the best ones. And in return, grant schools flexibility: to teach with creativity and passion; to stop teaching to the test and to replace teachers who just aren’t helping kids learn. That’s a bargain worth making.
AUGUSTUS: How about firing the useless ones so as to concentrate the resources on the ones who do some good?
We also know that when students don’t walk away from their education, more of them walk the stage to get their diploma. When students are not allowed to drop out, they do better. So tonight, I am proposing that every state, every state, requires that all students stay in high school until they graduate or turn 18.
AUGUSTUS: And if that means making “F” a passing grade, then so be it. It will make us WIN! Seriously, my Emperor, tell us again why euthanasia is a bad idea?
When kids do graduate, the most daunting challenge can be the cost of college. At a time when Americans owe more in tuition debt than credit card debt, this Congress needs to stop the interest rates on student loans from doubling in July.
CLAUDIUS: How about stopping the practice of putting the taxpayers on the hook for student loans? P-possibly that might force colleges to s-start thinking about what they ch-charge students for tuition?
Extend the tuition tax credit we started that saves millions of middle-class families thousands of dollars. And give more young people the chance to earn their way through college by doubling the number of work-study jobs in the next five years.
Of course, it’s not enough for us to increase student aid.
We can’t just keep subsidizing skyrocketing tuition.
CLAUDIUS: That sounds almost intelligent!
We’ll run out of money. States also need to do their part, by making higher education a higher priority in their budgets. And colleges and universities have to do their part by working to keep costs down.
CLAUDIUS: A bit hard when the c-current model states t-that colleges d-don’t have to worry about the l-likelihood that those loans will ever be p-paid back since the g-government or, rather, the t-taxpayers will be f-footing the bill when they d-default because there’s just no demand for PhDs in c-comparative f-folk dancing.
Now, recently, I spoke with a group of college presidents who’ve done just that. Some schools redesign courses to help students finish more quickly.
CLAUDIUS: They’re degrees are s-still worthless, but they c-can now pass with an F.
Some use better technology. The point is, it’s possible.
So let me put colleges and universities on notice: If you can’t stop tuition from going up, the funding you get from taxpayers will go down. Higher education can’t be a luxury. It is an economic imperative that every family in America should be able to afford.
And let’s also remember that hundreds of thousands of talented, hard-working students in this country face another challenge: the fact that they aren’t yet American citizens.
AUGUSTUS: They might try applying for it, then. Of course, that would require them to be in the country legally in the first place.
Many were brought here as small children, are American through and through, yet they live every day with the threat of deportation. Others came more recently, to study business and science and engineering, but as soon as they get their degree, we send them home to invent new products and create new jobs somewhere else. That doesn’t make sense.
EMPEROR MISHA I: Because every single one of them, by virtue of not being American, are bound to be the next Stephen Hawking, unlike those bitter clinger buck-toothed hicks who will have to pay for their education.
I believe as strongly as ever that we should take on illegal immigration. That’s why my administration has put more boots on the border than ever before.
TIBERIUS: And made damn sure that none of those boots impede Eric Holder’s “No Mexican Drug Cartel Left Unarmed” program, even if they end up being murdered in the process. How can anybody not love this guy?
That’s why there are fewer illegal crossings than when I took office.
AUGUSTUS: It has nothing to do with the fact that prospects in America are worse than prospects in Mexico, thanks to his administration’s retarded policies. Give him four more years and Floridians will be building rafts to escape to Cuba.
The opponents of action are out of excuses. We should be working on comprehensive immigration reform right now.
But if election-year politics keeps Congress from acting on a comprehensive plan, let’s at least agree to stop expelling responsible young people who want to staff our labs, start new businesses, defend this country. Send me a law that gives them the chance to earn their citizenship; I will sign it right away.
AUGUSTUS: Can we at least ask them to prove that they’re the next Nikola Tesla before we hand them automatic citizenship?
You see, an economy built to last is one where we encourage the talent and ingenuity of every person in this country. That means women should earn equal pay for equal work.
AUGUSTUS: Was anybody ever opposed to that? The reason that women, sometimes, are paid less than their male counterparts is that they’re more likely to take leaves of absence due to perfectly good reasons, but should you really be compensated the same for doing less of a job?
It means we should support everyone who’s willing to work and every risk-taker and entrepreneur who aspires to become the next Steve Jobs.
After all, innovation is what America has always been about. Most new jobs are created in startups and small businesses. So let’s pass an agenda that helps them succeed. Tear down regulations that prevent aspiring entrepreneurs from getting the financing to grow.
AUGUSTUS: So the 80,000 pages of new regulations that your administration has been pumping out every year will now be a thing of the past? You’re shutting the EPA down?
Expand tax relief to small businesses that are raising wages and creating good jobs. Both parties agree on these ideas. So put them in a bill, and get it on my desk this year.
Innovation also demands basic research. Today, the discoveries taking place in our federally financed labs
CLAUDIUS: And no worthwhile research takes place in private labs whose entire existence depends on their research being worthwhile, unlike federally funded ones who will suck up the gravy whether they produce anything or not.
and universities could lead to new treatments that kill cancer cells but leave healthy ones untouched, new lightweight vests for cops and soldiers that can stop any bullet.
EMPEROR MISHA I: All of that was based on federally funded research?
Don’t gut these investments in our budget. Don’t let other countries win the race for the future. Support the same kind of research and innovation that led to the computer chip and the Internet, to new American jobs and new American industries.
And nowhere is the promise of innovation greater than in American-made energy. Over the last three years, we’ve opened millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration.
TIBERIUS: And then promptly shut them down because they might provide a viable alternative to Solyndra which nobody, the GOP included, wants to talk about.
And tonight, I’m directing my administration to open more than 75 percent of our potential offshore oil and gas resources.
TIBERIUS: As long as they don’t actually drill there, because that would be against the Imperial Ogabe Permitorium.
Right now — right now, American oil production is the highest that it’s been in eight years. That’s right, eight years. Not only that, last year, we relied less on foreign oil than in any of the past 16 years.
AUGUSTUS: Because once employed Americans can’t afford gas at $4 a gallon.
But with only 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves, oil isn’t enough. This country needs an all-out, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy a strategy that’s cleaner, cheaper, and full of new jobs.
AUGUSTUS: And you already have it. It’s called “nuclear”. Not to mention that your wholly invented out of full cloth “2 percent” is enough to fuel American for quite a few centuries.
We have a supply of natural gas that can last America nearly 100 years.
TIBERIUS: And if you as much as THINK about using it, the EPA will kill you!
And my administration will take every possible action to safely develop this energy.
TIBERIUS: “Safely” meaning “not.”
Experts believe this will support more than 600,000 jobs by the end of the decade.
CLAUDIUS: As-assuming that h-h-he’s done reviewing it and c-coming up with n-new reasons for st-stopping it by then.
And I’m requiring all companies that drill for gas on public lands to disclose the chemicals they use, because America will develop this resource without putting the health and safety of our citizens at risk.
AUGUSTUS: Correct me if I’m wrong, Your Majesty, but haven’t those kinds of extractions been done for quite some time without Americans giving birth to three-headed children and dropping dead in the streets?
EMPEROR MISHA I: Hey, don’t look at me. I got nuthin’!
The development of natural gas will create jobs and power trucks and factories that are cleaner and cheaper, proving that we don’t have to choose between our environment and our economy.
AUGUSTUS: Excuse me, but isn’t that exactly what his administration is doing right now? Strangling the economy to protect the environment from non-existent dangers?
EMPEROR MISHA I: Got me again. Plus, given the choice between freezing to death on your sixth year of “funemployment” and some four-toed tree frog, we somehow think that it would be goodnight, Gracie, for the frog if most Americans had their way.
And, by the way, it was public research dollars — over the course of 30 years — that helped develop the technologies to extract all this natural gas out of shale rock, reminding us that government support is critical in helping businesses get new energy ideas off the ground.
TIBERIUS: Yep. That’s it. Done right here in America exclusively, and only because of taxpayer money. Nowhere else on Earth was anybody extracting gas from shale rock because, really, how could they? Seeing as how it was exclusively done here in American due entirely to federal U.S. dollars.
EMPEROR MISHA I: Some columnist for the New York Times is probably going to explain tomorrow how every word you just said was racist.
CALIGULA: So, am I getting this right? I just have to ask before I go get another amphora of wine: He’s bragging about how he single-handedly invented fracking, only to put a complete stop to it? Heh. And the historians say that I was insane!
Now what’s true for natural gas is just as true for clean energy. In three years, our partnership with the private sector has already positioned America to be the world’s leading manufacturer of high-tech batteries.
CLAUDIUS: Unf-fortunately, the company making those h-high tech b-ba-batteries just filed for Chapter 11 protection.
AUGUSTUS: But, other than that, it was a resounding success!
TIBERIUS: At least they had the courtesy to hold off filing until after this dimwitted serf’s speech.
Because of federal investments, renewable energy use has nearly doubled, and thousands of Americans have jobs because of it.
AUGUSTUS: Until they, too, find themselves on the street because their “green” companies file. But up until then, there were literally thousands of people working there, thousands! Oh, and six million more unemployed who didn’t happen to work for one of the clown’s friends.
When Bryan Ritterby was laid off from his job making furniture, he said he worried that, at 55, no one would give him a second chance. But he found work at Energetx, a wind turbine manufacturer in Michigan.
CALIGULA: What’t the over-under on their bankruptcy proceedings?
TIBERIUS: If they’re halfway decent friends of his, I’d say no sooner than mid-November. Yes. My powers of prediction are fascinating.
Before the recession, the factory only made luxury yachts. Today, it’s hiring workers like Bryan, who said, “I’m proud to be working in the industry of the future.”
TIBERIUS: Come back to us about that come December, will you?
CALIGULA: Come on, give him some credit for the snide dig against the Evil Rich there. “Only made luxury yachts”… Nice. At least they didn’t make corporate jets.
Our experience with shale gas, our experience with natural gas, shows us that the payoffs on these public investments don’t always come right away. Some technologies don’t pan out; some companies fail.
AUGUSTUS: That group happening to be 100% identical to the group of firms being subsidized by Obama Corp.
But I will not walk away from the promise of clean energy.
AUGUSTUS: If he has to hand over every single dime in the Treasury to his friends to prove it! There he goes with the threats again. Oh, that’s supposed to sound impressive? Cato he isn’t. Although he has both of them decisively beat in the long-winded department.
I will not walk away from workers like Bryan.
TIBERIUS: Every single other worker in the country, on the other hand? You’re on your own, bitches!
I will not cede the wind or solar or battery industry to China or Germany because we refuse to make the same commitment here.
TIBERIUS: Based on the amount of success those two countries have had in their pursuit of Fairy Dust™ and Magic Beans™ as a source of energy, I’m sure they’re massively relieved to hear that they won’t be left to hold the dunce cap on their own.
We’ve subsidized oil companies for a century. That’s long enough.
TIBERIUS: Of course, the oil companies actually have something to show for it, but…
It’s time to end the taxpayer giveaways to an industry that rarely has been more profitable and double down on a clean energy industry that never has been more promising.
AUGUSTUS: He actually just said that with a straight face? Very well then. That is impressive.
Pass clean-energy tax credits. Create these jobs.
TIBERIUS: Retreat, oceans! Arise, sun! Part before me, waters! Reminds me of this one guy during my time in office but, then again, he actually could walk on water, according to the reports I was getting from there.
We can also spur energy innovation with new incentives. The differences in this chamber may be too deep right now to pass a comprehensive plan to fight climate change, but there’s no reason why Congress shouldn’t at least set a clean energy standard that creates a market for innovation.
AUGUSTUS: Listen, going back to horse-drawn buggies and triremes isn’t actually “innovation”, you know.
So far, you haven’t acted. Well, tonight, I will.
CALIGULA: Quick, hide your wallets!
I’m directing my administration to allow the development of clean energy on enough public land to power 3 million homes. And I’m proud to announce that the Department of Defense, working with us, the world’s largest consumer of energy, will make one of the largest commitments to clean energy in history, with the Navy purchasing enough capacity to power a quarter of a million homes a year.
AUGUSTUS: Is he talking about that stroke of genius where the Navy was ordered to pay several times as much for fuel in order to keep even more of his friends from filing for bankruptcy, thus increasing the deficit even more than he already did when forking the borrowed money over to his buddies in the first place?
TIBERIUS: And don’t forget that this is while criticizing and slashing the Department of Defense for being too damn wasteful.
Of course, the easiest way to save money is to waste less energy. So here’s a proposal: Help manufacturers eliminate energy waste in their factories and give businesses incentives to upgrade their buildings. Their energy bills will be $100 billion lower over the next decade,
AUGUSTUS: At the rates businesses are closing under his administration, he might actually be speaking the truth there.
and America will have less pollution, more manufacturing, more jobs for construction workers who need them.
TIBERIUS: Demolishing old shut down factories now counts as “construction jobs?”
AUGUSTUS: Well… They are “constructing” itty bitty pieces of concrete from really really large pieces of concrete, aren’t they?
Send me a bill that creates these jobs.
Building this new energy future should be just one part of a broader agenda to repair America’s infrastructure. So much of America needs to be rebuilt.
TIBERIUS: Quite. And the longer that drooling idiot remains in office, the more work there’ll be for the ones who survive him and his gang of goons.
We’ve got crumbling roads and bridges, a power grid that wastes too much energy, an incomplete high-speed broadband network that prevents a small-business owner in rural America from selling her products all over the world.
CLAUDIUS: So the l-lack of free br-broadband access in Podunk is w-what is st-st-stopping Aunt Martha’s Homemade Quilts and Comforters from f-f-flooding global markets and t-turning the American economy a-around?
During the Great Depression, America built the Hoover Dam and the Golden Gate Bridge.
CALIGULA: And Germany built the Autobahns. And a few other things.
After World War II, we connected our states with a system of highways. Democratic and Republican administrations invested in great projects that benefited everybody, from the workers who built them to the businesses that still use them today.
CALIGULA: So therefore, we’re going to build them again! Whether they’re needed, wanted or not. Hey, how about building the Great Wall of China too?
EMPEROR MISHA I: Build it along the border with Mexico and he might actually get some support for that.
In the next few weeks, I will sign an executive order clearing away the red tape that slows down too many construction projects. But you need to fund these projects. Take the money we’re no longer spending at war,
CALIGULA: Oh, did he mention the bit where he single-handedly tracked down Osama and strangled him with his own hands, right before he ended the war in Iraq? I thought he did. Gods below! DRINK!
use half of it to pay down our debt, and use the rest to do some nation-building right here at home.
AUGUSTUS: Somebody stole the nation while we weren’t looking? Why didn’t anybody report it?
TIBERIUS: I have a pretty good idea as to the exact kind of nation he’s planning on building.
There’s never been a better time to build,
TIBERIUS: Which explains perfectly why nobody is actually building.
especially since the construction industry was one of the hardest hit when the housing bubble burst. Of course, construction workers weren’t the only ones who were hurt. So were millions of innocent Americans who’ve seen their home values decline. And while government can’t fix the problem on its own,
AUGUSTUS: He should have finished that sentence right after “…fix the problem.”
responsible homeowners shouldn’t have to sit and wait for the housing market to hit bottom to get some relief.
And that’s why I’m sending this Congress a plan that gives every responsible homeowner the chance to save about $3,000 a year on their mortgage by refinancing at historically low rates. No more red tape. No more runaround from the banks. A small fee on the largest financial institutions will ensure that it won’t add to the deficit
AUGUSTUS: Except for the “deficit” of the financial institutions, of course. That thing they also call “the bottom line.” That thing that they have to make up for shortfalls in by placing more “small” fees on their customers. So he’s proposing this “bold” plan of giving a pittance of relief to homeowners, a pittance they will have to pay for themselves in the end. If they have a bank account, that is. Or a mortgage. Which, presumably, they do. It’s the mortgage they’re getting “help” with, after all.
TIBERIUS: It’s all so clear now when you put it that way.
AUGUSTUS: Too clear for the idiot voters of this declining nation to understand, obviously.
and will give those banks that were rescued by taxpayers a chance to repay a deficit of trust.
Let’s never forget: Millions of Americans who work hard and play by the rules every day deserve a government and a financial system that do the same.
CLAUDIUS: He s-should probably t-take that up with that H-Holder guy of his, n-n-not to mention the horde of t-tax cheats in his own ad-administration.
It’s time to apply the same rules from top to bottom: no bailouts, no handouts, and no copouts.
AUGUSTUS: Unless you’re a member of the administration, a friend of the administration or somebody who has some dirt on the administration. Of course. But other than that it is going to be the, all together now:
ALL: Most. Honest. Transparent. Administration. EVAH!
AUGUSTUS: Funny. It didn’t sound any more believable the second time around.
An America built to last insists on responsibility from everybody.
We’ve all paid the price for lenders who sold mortgages to people who couldn’t afford them and buyers who knew they couldn’t afford them.
TIBERIUS: But got them anyway because your party forced the banks to give them to them.
AUGUSTUS: Which is the banks’ fault.
CLAUDIUS: And n-not at ALL B-barney F-f-frank’s fault!
CALIGULA: Barney Frank? There is this really, creepy old guy by the same name who keeps hitting on me on my Facebook account.
CLAUDIUS: Careful with th-that one. He’ll g-g-gum you to d-death!
That’s why we need smart regulations to prevent irresponsible behavior.
Rules to prevent financial fraud, or toxic dumping, or faulty medical devices, these don’t destroy the free market. They make the free market work better.
TIBERIUS: And while we’re at it, rules to outlaw cancer, rules to guarantee tailwinds on bicycle paths in all directions, rules to keep snow from accumulating on roads and rules to keep the Kardashians out of the media for at least a hundred years. OK, that last one actually has some merit. I could back that one.
Now, there’s no question that some regulations are outdated, unnecessary, or too costly. In fact, I’ve approved fewer regulations in the first three years of my presidency than my Republican predecessor did in his.
AUGUSTUS: Of course, then there are all the ones that your agencies make up themselves without waiting for Congress but… Who’s counting?
I’ve ordered every federal agency to eliminate rules that don’t make sense.
TIBERIUS: Wait. They’re shutting down Washington DC and Congress?
We’ve already announced over 500 reforms, and just a fraction of them will save business and citizens more than $10 billion over the next five years.
CLAUDIUS: The rest? Well, they won’t do anything at all.
We got rid of one rule from 40 years ago that could have forced some dairy farmers to spend $10,000 a year proving that they could contain a spill, because milk was somehow classified as an oil. With a rule like that, I guess it was worth crying over spilled milk.
CALIGULA: Why is everybody just sitting there?
TIBERIUS: He’ll start begging any moment now.
AUGUSTUS: But you can rest assured that he’s got people taking down the names of people not Sufficiently Roaring With Laughter At His Enormous Wit™.
CALIGULA: I wish somebody would just get it over with and at least pretend to giggle. He won’t ever get started again until he gets his cue.
AUGUSTUS: Probably worked all night on that joke too.
TIBERIUS: Should have stuck with the poetry about fig eating monkeys.
CALIGULA: Ah! Finally! Somebody laughed!
AUGUSTUS: I think that was a sneeze, actually.
CALIGULA: By the forehead of Jove, who cares? As long as it gets him started again. Besides, that plastic grin he’s been holding up there while waiting for applause for the past fifteen minutes is beginning to creep the Charybdis out of me!
Now, I’m confident a farmer can contain a milk spill without a federal agency looking over his shoulder.
TIBERIUS: Odd that your federal agencies don’t believe that they can at all, then. Oh, and do quit trying to milk that joke, if may commit a minor comedy atrocity myself here.
But I will not back down from making sure an oil company can contain the kind of oil spill we saw in the gulf two years ago.
CLAUDIUS: About that… Now that the spill is long c-contained and cl-cleaned up, any update on w-when your t-t-temporary drilling b-ban is g-g-going to end?
I will not back down from protecting our kids from mercury poisoning
AUGUSTUS: Jupiter be praised! How we managed to live through those dark days of the Bush administration when people were actually dropping like flies from mercury poisoning every day we simply do not know! Of course, we were technically speaking already dead but… You get my point.
or making sure that our food is safe and our water is clean. I will not go back to the days when health insurance companies had unchecked power to cancel your policy, deny your coverage, or charge women differently from men.
TIBERIUS: Why the Hades should you pay less in car insurance just because you have been driving for 20 years without an accident? Why shouldn’t you be charged for car insurance at all simply because you don’t own a car! He’s right! Er… Wait…
And I will not go back to the days when Wall Street was allowed to play by its own set of rules.
CLAUDIUS: Your b-bag men at G-goldman S-sachs aren’t g-g-going to like that one l-little bit.
AUGUSTUS: You’re right. They wouldn’t. If they believed for a second that he actually meant a word of it. But they, unlike the ones who voted him into office, have the benefit of having a brain.
The new rules we passed restore what should be any financial system’s core purpose: getting funding to entrepreneurs with the best ideas, and getting loans to responsible families who want to buy a home, or start a business, or send their kids to college.
TIBERIUS: And the financial geniuses in the administration get to decide who has the “best ideas” and/or are “responsible.” How, I hear you ask? A simple questionnaire attached to the application: “Have you or are you planning on donating a substantial amount of money to the DNC?”
So if you are a big bank or financial institution, you’re no longer allowed to make risky bets with your customers’ deposits.
TIBERIUS: The government is finally going to be out of the banking business?
You’re required to write out a living will that details exactly how you’ll pay the bills if you fail, because the rest of us are not bailing you out ever again.
TIBERIUS: Unless, of course (see the response to the questionnaire above)…
And if you’re a mortgage lender or a payday lender or a credit card company, the days of signing people up for products they can’t afford with confusing forms and deceptive practices, those days are over. Today, American consumers finally have a watchdog in Richard Cordray, with one job: to look out for them.
AUGUSTUS: Which is why you went as far as to commit a high crime by violating the Constitution and your oath to same by making him a “recess” appointment without an actual recess being in progress.
We’ll also establish a Financial Crimes Unit of highly trained investigators to crack down on large-scale fraud and protect people’s investments. Some financial firms violate major antifraud laws because there’s no real penalty for being a repeat offender. That’s bad for consumers, and it’s bad for the vast majority of bankers and financial service professionals who do the right thing. So pass legislation that makes the penalties for fraud count.
TIBERIUS: How on earth are Congress members going to make a living if that goes into effect?
And tonight, I’m asking my attorney general
CALIGULA: If he can take time away from being the chief suspect and witness in the Fast and Furious investigations, of course.
to create a special unit of federal prosecutors and leading state attorneys general to expand our investigations into the abusive lending and packaging of risky mortgages that led to the housing crisis.
CALIGULA: They’re going to have to shut down the underground gun railroad to Mexican drug lords to find the staff to run that.
This new unit will hold accountable those who broke the law, speed assistance to homeowners, and help turn the page on an era of recklessness that hurt so many Americans.
TIBERIUS: Also, they’ll cure cancer and give everybody a free pony!
Now, a return to the American values of fair play and shared responsibility will help protect our people and our economy. But it should also guide us as we look to pay down our debt and invest in our future.
Right now, our most immediate priority is stopping a tax hike on 160 million working Americans while the recovery is still fragile.
People cannot afford losing $40 out of each paycheck this year.
TIBERIUS: If they even have a paycheck, that is, which is fast becoming a rare commodity.
There are plenty of ways to get this done. So let’s agree right here, right now: No side issues. No drama. Pass the payroll tax cut without delay. Let’s get it done.
CLAUDIUS: I’m confused. Is he standing up there talking about how we have to make a t-temporary tax cut p-p-permanent because, otherwise, it’s a tax hike?
AUGUSTUS: Different tax cuts, different rules.
When it comes to the deficit, we’ve already agreed to more than $2 trillion in cuts and savings. But we need to do more, and that means making choices.
Right now, we’re poised to spend nearly $1 trillion more on what was supposed to be a temporary tax break for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans.
AUGUSTUS: See? There he goes again. Remember, children, the ones receiving a cut from those Evil Bush Cuts, a group also known as “everybody who pays taxes”, belongs to the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans. Ought to be a huge relief to them to know that they’re rich.
Right now, because of loopholes and shelters in the tax code, a quarter of all millionaires pay lower tax rates than millions of middle-class households.
TIBERIUS: Just as Warren Buffett’s Two Home “Secretary” if you don’t believe him! Of course, those evil rich still somehow manage to pay about 3/4 of all taxes in the nation, but that’s irrelevant.
Right now, Warren Buffett pays a lower tax rate than his secretary.
TIBERIUS: Right on cue.
Do we want to keep these tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans? Or do we want to keep our investments in everything else, like education and medical research, a strong military and care for our veterans? Because if we’re serious about paying down our debt, we can’t do both.
CALIGULA: It’s a good thing I don’t have to drink every time he calls “profligate, irresponsible spending” an “investment” or I’d be dead, again, and the Emperor would be out of liquor.
The American people know what the right choice is. So do I. As I told the speaker this summer, I’m prepared to make more reforms that rein in the long-term costs of Medicare and Medicaid and strengthen Social Security, so long as those programs remain a guarantee of security for seniors.
But in return, we need to change our tax code so that people like me, and an awful lot of members of Congress, pay our fair share of taxes.
Tax reform should follow the Buffett rule: If you make more than a million dollars a year, you should not pay less than 30 percent in taxes.
CLAUDIUS: And that… t-t-tadaaaa, would cover… let’s s-see here… About 4% of the deficit!
AUGUSTUS: If it were ever to actually happen, that is.
And my Republican friend Tom Coburn is right: Washington should stop subsidizing millionaires.
In fact, if you’re earning a million dollars a year, you shouldn’t get special tax subsidies or deductions. On the other hand, if you make under $250,000 a year — like 98 percent of American families — your taxes shouldn’t go up. You’re the ones struggling with rising costs and stagnant wages.
TIBERIUS: Did he just spell “non-existent” “s-t-a-g-n-a-n-t?”
You’re the ones who need relief.
TIBERIUS: Right on. And, gods willing, we’ll have some around January 2013.
Now, you can call this class warfare all you want. But asking a billionaire to pay at least as much as his secretary in taxes? Most Americans would call that common sense.
We don’t begrudge financial success in this country. We admire it.
AUGUSTUS: Especially if you’re a “corporate jet owner”. In which case we show our admiration by harping on it all day long and encouraging people to take to the streets and commit rape, burglarly, arson, murder and random other acts of “mostly peaceful” dissent.
When Americans talk about folks like me paying my fair share of taxes, it’s not because they envy the rich. It’s because they understand that when I get a tax break I don’t need and the country can’t afford, it either adds to the deficit or somebody else has to make up the difference, like a senior on a fixed income, or a student trying to get through school, or a family trying to make ends meet.
TIBERIUS: Of course, nobody is actually keeping you from cutting a check to the Treasury to return the break you don’t “need” but, hey, why complicate matters?
That’s not right. Americans know that’s not right. They know that this generation’s success is only possible because past generations felt a responsibility to each other, and to the future of their country, and they know our way of life will only endure if we feel that same sense of shared responsibility. That’s how we’ll reduce our deficit. That’s an America built to last.
AUGUSTUS: America was built upon shared responsibility, the common good and “fairness”, Emperor? I’ve been reading all of the history books you gave us to catch up, and that one’s new to me.
EMPEROR MISHA I: To everybody else happening to live in the actual real world too.
Now, I recognize that people watching tonight have differing views about taxes and debt, energy and health care. But no matter what party they belong to, I bet most Americans are thinking the same thing right about now: Nothing will get done in Washington this year, or next year, or maybe even the year after that, because Washington is broken. Can you blame them for feeling a little cynical?
The greatest blow to our confidence in our economy last year didn’t come from events beyond our control. It came from a debate in Washington over whether the United States would pay its bills or not. Who benefited from that fiasco?
ALLAHPUNDIT: Mitt Romney, that’s who!!!
CALIGULA: Who in the name of Mars’ right testicle is THAT?
EMPEROR MISHA I: Must have slipped past the guards disguised as a maid.
I’ve talked tonight about the deficit of trust between Main Street and Wall Street. But the divide between this city and the rest of the country is at least as bad, and it seems to get worse every year.
Now, some of this has to do with the corrosive influence of money in politics. So together, let’s take some steps to fix that. Send me a bill that bans insider trading by members of Congress; I will sign it tomorrow.
TIBERIUS: That horrid hag of yours, Nancy Pelosi, is going to love that!
Let’s limit any elected official from owning stocks in industries they impact. Let’s make sure people who bundle campaign contributions for Congress can’t lobby Congress, and vice versa, an idea that has bipartisan support, at least outside of Washington.
Some of what’s broken has to do with the way Congress does its business these days. A simple majority is no longer enough to get anything — even routine business — passed through the Senate.
Neither party has been blameless in these tactics. Now both parties should put an end to it.
For starters, I ask the Senate to pass a simple rule, that all judicial and public service nominations receive a simple up-or-down vote within 90 days.
AUGUSTUS: How about proposed budgets? Will they get an up-down vote within at least 1,000 days?
The executive branch also needs to change. Too often, it’s inefficient, outdated, and remote.
TIBERIUS: But most of the time it can be found on the nearest golf course.
That’s why I’ve asked this Congress to grant me the authority to consolidate the federal bureaucracy so that our government is leaner, quicker, and more responsive to the needs of the American people.
CALIGULA: Here’s an idea: Fire your unelected czars. That ought to cut down the slack a bit.
Finally, none of this can happen unless we also lower the temperature in this town. We need to end the notion that the two parties must be locked in a perpetual campaign of mutual destruction, that politics is about clinging to rigid ideologies instead of building consensus around commonsense ideas.
I’m a Democrat. But I believe what Republican Abraham Lincoln believed, that government should do for people only what they cannot do better by themselves, and no more.
TIBERIUS: And, obviously, one of the many, many, many, many, many things that people can’t do better than government is to pick which light bulbs they’d prefer in their homes. Lincoln would have been completely on board with that. If he’d had light bulbs to worry about.
That’s why my education reform offers more competition and more control for schools and states. That’s why we’re getting rid of regulations that don’t work. That’s why our health care law relies on a reformed private market, not a government program.
On the other hand, even my Republican friends who complain the most about government spending have supported federally financed roads, and clean-energy projects, and federal offices for the folks back home.
The point is, we should all want a smarter, more effective government. And while we may not be able to bridge our biggest philosophical differences this year, we can make real progress.
With or without this Congress, I will keep taking actions that help the economy grow.
AUGUSTUS: Yes. I do believe that most people with an IQ above boiled eggs has realized by now that you don’t care a rotting fig whether you’re violating the Constitution. If you don’t like what Congress passes or doesn’t pass, you’ll just do it yourself anyway. If there were any members of the opposition in DC with a spine, there would be a gallows with your name on it waiting eagerly for you.
But I can do a whole lot more with your help, because when we act together, there’s nothing the United States of America can’t achieve.
That’s the lesson we’ve learned from our actions abroad over the last few years. Ending the Iraq war has allowed us to strike decisive blows against our enemies.
CALIGULA: Curses. Again with the “did I mention I won the war.” DRINK!
From Pakistan to Yemen, the Al Qaida operatives who remain are scrambling, knowing that they can’t escape the reach of the United States of America.
CALIGULA: And when he says the United States of America, he really means “the reach of my awesome, terrible swift sword. Right, Osama?” DRINK!
From this position of strength, we’ve begun to wind down the war in Afghanistan. Ten thousand of our troops have come home. Twenty- three thousand more will leave by the end of this summer. This transition to Afghan lead will continue, and we will build an enduring partnership with Afghanistan, so that it is never again a source of attacks against America.
TIBERIUS: As soon as they can reach an agreement with the Taliban, that is. But that’s OK, because they’re not really the enemy per se. Not anymore.
As the tide of war recedes, a wave of change has washed across the Middle East and North Africa, from Tunis to Cairo, from Sana’a to Tripoli.
TIBERIUS: Indeed. And all along the way it’s been Islamic Fundamentalist for the WIN!
A year ago, Gadhafi was one of the world’s longest-serving dictators, a murderer with American blood on his hands. Today, he is gone.
CALIGULA: “Did I mention that I personally had him killed?” DRINK!
And in Syria, I have no doubt that the Assad regime will soon discover that the forces of change cannot be reversed and that human dignity cannot be denied.
TIBERIUS: And if it means sitting on the sidelines, “witnessing history” until every last protester has been slaughtered by Assad, then so be it!
How this incredible transformation will end remains uncertain, but we have a huge stake in the outcome.
AUGUSTUS: And so far, “you” as in “you and your Muslim Brotherhood friends”, are looking pretty good. The rest of the world? Oh well…
And while it’s ultimately up to the people of the region to decide their fate, we will advocate for those values that have served our own country so well.
AUGUSTUS: Sharia, anti-Semitism, stonings, theocracy… You name it. It’s all right there in the Constitution.
We will stand against violence and intimidation. We will stand for the rights and dignity of all human beings, men and women, Christians, Muslims, and Jews. We will support policies that lead to strong and stable democracies and open markets, because tyranny is no match for liberty.
TIBERIUS: As you are about to find out, comrade.
And we will safeguard America’s own security against those who threaten our citizens, our friends, and our interests. Look at Iran. Through the power of our diplomacy, a world that was once divided about how to deal with Iran’s nuclear program now stands as one.
TIBERIUS: United in Failure™. Because, last I checked, they were still building nukes.
The regime is more isolated than ever before.
TIBERIUS: They’re not getting a lot of Christmas cards anymore but, hey, they’re still building nukes.
Its leaders are faced with crippling sanctions.
TIBERIUS: None of which they’re actually hit with. Oh, and did I mention that they’re still building nukes?
And as long as they shirk their responsibilities, this pressure will not relent.
TIBERIUS: And they’ll keep building, you know, nukes.
Let there be no doubt: America is determined to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and I will take no options off the table to achieve that goal.
TIBERIUS: Other than, you know, actually stopping them from building nukes.
But a peaceful resolution of this issue is still possible, and far better. And if Iran changes course and meets its obligations, it can rejoin the community of nations.
TIBERIUS: Something they have shown us all is really high on their list of priorities. Right below building nukes. And murdering every Jew in the world. But then, then they’d really like to rejoin this community of which you speak.
The renewal of American leadership can be felt across the globe. Our oldest alliances in Europe and Asia are stronger than ever.
AUGUSTUS: Turkey and China? Who knew?
Our ties to the Americas are deeper.
CALIGULA: Mexico, just to name one, depends almost entirely upon your attorney general for their supply of automatic weapons, for instance.
Our iron-clad commitment — and I mean iron-clad — to Israel’s security has meant the closest military cooperation between our two countries in history.
AUGUSTUS: Somebody please tell Mr. Netanyahu that, because he doesn’t seem to have gotten the memo.
We’ve made it clear that America is a Pacific power, and a new beginning in Burma has lit a new hope.
AUGUSTUS: Burma? It’s called Burma again now?
TIBERIUS: That’s probably the “new beginning” he’s speaking of, because nobody else seems to have heard of it. But it must be important if he says so.
From the coalitions we’ve built to secure nuclear materials, to the missions we’ve led against hunger and disease, from the blows we’ve dealt our enemies, to the enduring power of our moral example, America is back. Anyone who tells you otherwise, anyone who tells you that America is in decline or that our influence has waned, doesn’t know what they’re talking about.
That’s not the message we get from leaders around the world who are eager to work with us. That’s not how people feel from Tokyo to Berlin, from Cape Town to Rio, where opinions of America are higher than they’ve been in years.
CALIGULA: News to a lot of people. Including the people allegedly having such a renewed high opinion of America.
Yes, the world is changing. No, we can’t control every event. But America remains the one indispensable nation in world affairs. And as long as I’m president, I intend to keep it that way.
That’s why, working with our military leaders, I’ve proposed a new defense strategy that ensures we maintain the finest military in the world, while saving nearly half a trillion dollars in our budget.
CLAUDIUS: Sounds an a-awful lot like how h-he w-was going to save a b-bundle on healthcare w-while improving q-quality and c-coverage.
TIBERIUS: And I can promise, right now, that it’s going to work out just as fantastically!
To stay one step ahead of our adversaries, I’ve already sent this Congress legislation that will secure our country from the growing danger of cyber threats.
Above all, our freedom endures because of the men and women in uniform who defend it.
As they come home, we must serve them as well as they’ve served us. That includes giving them the care and the benefits they have earned, which is why we’ve increased annual V.A. spending every year I’ve been president.
And it means enlisting our veterans in the work of rebuilding our nation. With the bipartisan support of this Congress, we’re providing new tax credits to companies that hire vets. Michelle and Jill Biden have worked with American businesses to secure a pledge of 135,000 jobs for veterans and their families. And tonight, I’m proposing a Veterans Job Corps that will help our communities hire veterans as cops and firefighters, so that America is as strong as those who defend her.
AUGUSTUS: Because, up until now, having a cop or a firefighter who was also a vet was pretty much unheard of!
Which brings me back to where I began. Those of us who’ve been sent here to serve can learn a thing or two from the service of our troops. When you put on that uniform, it doesn’t matter if you’re black or white, Asian, Latino, Native American, conservative, liberal, rich, poor, gay, straight. When you’re marching into battle, you look out for the person next to you, or the mission fails. When you’re in the thick of the fight, you rise or fall as one unit, serving one nation, leaving no one behind. You know, one of my proudest possessions is the flag that the SEAL team took with them on the mission to get bin Laden.
CALIGULA: Gasshp… Not AGAIN? DRINK!
On it are each of their names. Some may be Democrats; some may be Republicans.
TIBERIUS: Care for a quick bet?
But that doesn’t matter. Just like it didn’t matter that day in the Situation Room, when I sat next to Bob Gates, a man who was George Bush’s defense secretary, and Hillary Clinton, a woman who ran against me for president.
CALIGULA: While I, I, I took out bin Laden!!! Sheesh… I’m off for another bottle. Be right back. You keep the tally up for me. Should probably bring a dozen bottles…
All that mattered that day was the mission. No one thought about politics. No one thought about themselves.
One of the young men involved in the raid later told me that he didn’t deserve credit for the mission.
AUGUSTUS: Hey, Caligula! Make that two dozen bottles!
It only succeeded, he said, because every single member of that unit did their job: the pilot who landed the helicopter that spun out of control; the translator who kept others from entering the compound; the troops who separated the women and children from the fight; the SEALs who charged up the stairs. More than that, the mission only succeeded because every member of that unit trusted each other, because you can’t charge up those stairs into darkness and danger unless you know that there’s somebody behind you watching your back.
So it is with America. Each time I look at that flag,
TIBERIUS: You’re almost overcome by a strong urge to vomit?
I’m reminded that our destiny is stitched together like those fifty stars and those thirteen stripes. No one built this country on their own. This nation is great because we built it together. This nation is great because we worked as a team. This nation is great because we get each other’s backs. And if we hold fast to that truth, in this moment of trial, there is no challenge too great; no mission too hard. As long as we’re joined in common purpose, as long as we maintain our common resolve, our journey moves forward, and our future is hopeful, and the state of our union will always be strong.
TIBERIUS: Wait a minute. Did he just suggest that all of those bickering civilian plebes should be more like the military and just do as they’re told…
AUGUSTUS: …which would be awfully convenient for a Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, I know. Yes, he did. Wish I’d thought of that…
CALIGULA: But… Uncle Augustus… You DID!
AUGUSTUS: Sigh. I know. That was sarcasm. Tell you what, hand me one of those bottles of yours. And Emperor? We are NOT doing this again! Send us back into deep freeze if you must, but please, by all that is holy, do not subject us to that ever again.
EMPEROR MISHA I: Hey, you gotta earn your pay somehow.
AUGUSTUS: Does the phrase “a fate worse than death” mean anything to you? Because it does to us now.