Saturday, January 04, 2014

Press Briefing

PRESS SECRETARY: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Thanks for coming to this daily briefing. Before we get to questions, I want to lay out the basic ideas behind the new defense policy. This policy does represent a major change from previous approaches, so it's important to get the rationale for it.

As you know, there has been considerable worry recently about the percentage of the budget going to defense, so we've been looking for programs that are more easily sustainable, but still quite effective. At the same time, it is absolutely imperative that we send a message to the entire world that the United States is still the elite military power on this globe, and that, no matter how serious anyone else may be about their military capabilities, they simply cannot be more serious than the United States is. We have also been looking into shovel-ready military projects, that can be quickly developed because the groundwork has already been established in local industries.

I am pleased to be able to let you know that the first phase of this exciting new project has already begun to show serious promise. We are breeding giant destructo-lobsters as big and heavily armored as tanks. Initial worries were that with that much armor the lobsters would be unable to move and would just sit on the bottom of the seafloor, but it turns out that this was a very easy method to solve, since we just fitted them out with hydraulics when we put in the ballistic missiles. What is especially exciting about this program is the relatively foolproof character of it; we can reasonably guarantee that in any deployment we would lose no more than two and a half percent of the local civilian population, and to maintain this guarantee of safety we've only had to put the coast of Maine under naval quarantine. A similar program, a bit behind schedule but nonetheless under budget, is underway for the West Coast using Alaskan snow crab.

I don't have to tell you all that there is no other nation in the world that is even close to being able to wield an army of giant destructo-lobsters. Even our allies are not this seriously in the forefront of modern-day military technology. The closest are the British, of course, but it's well known that they've been having difficulty getting the project finished since the board of the Scottish company in charge of the project suddenly and without warning took a vacation at one of those vacation resorts in Syria. Our speed and efficiency in developing this project will certainly show the world that we mean serious business when it comes to defense policy. This is really what we want to highlight today: The United States is serious about defense, more serious than anyone else, and we have the lobsters to prove it.

I'll now take any questions.

Q. You mentioned the budget before. How are you paying for this project?

PRESS SECRETARY. That's an excellent question. My understanding is that the President and the Vice President are each funding about twenty-five percent of it out of pocket, and most of the rest comes from selling obsolete lobsters to restaurants. We are also planning on holding Ireland hostage, and our economic experts tell us that we can probably get three or four thousand dollars from that. This Administration is committed to making the population of giant destructo-lobsters self-sustaining.

Q. You said that this was phase one. What is phase two?

PRESS SECRETARY. Ah, that's very exciting. We've already begun it, although certain aspects are still years away from their final stages. Phase two consists of weaponizing seagulls with stealth technology and nuclear missiles. Initial testing shows that the basic idea is sound, but obviously there are certain environmental concerns that will require further research and development. We are confident about our ability to surmount those obstacles, of course; nothing in the world can outpace American ingenuity.

Q. Is there any truth to the rumors of a phase three?

PRESS SECRETARY. Obviously I cannot go into details about the kind of national security deliberations occurring behind the scenes, but we do want to put to rest recent scurrilous reports by Republicans that we are planning on hurling American bison through the air into the path of oncoming missiles. This is certainly not true, and it's sad that people will make up stories like this. We are very much in favor of protecting the American bison population, and I would like to point out that it was Republicans in Congress, not this Administration, that killed the bill that would have let us establish no-fly zones for buffalo. This Administration is strongly committed to the development of a rational, consistent defense policy based on the principle of shock and awe. What is shocking and awful about bison soaring through the air? Absolutely nothing. What is really shocking and awful is that anybody believes such obvious fictions.

Q. On a separate issue, reports today that the U.S. has halted all nonlethal aid to Quebec -- I’m wondering, is the U.S. losing faith in the ability of rebels to fight without Francophone extremist interference or participation?

PRESS SECRETARY. Well, Dave, as you know, most of our approach to Canada is geared toward supporting those terrorists who are moderately committed to respecting basic human rights. So that's really our goal when it comes to the provision of nonlethal aid.

We have seen the reports that the NDP has seized the maple syrup warehouses belonging to Quebec, and we’re obviously concerned by those reports. We’re still gathering intel, but we have suspended all further deliveries of nonlethal assistance to Quebec. At the same time it's important to to understand that any aid distributed through international and nongovernmental organizations is unaffected by this decision. Likewise, certain military assistance programs are unaffect, so the government of Quebec will still be getting their supply of shrieking parakeets.

Q. The President said last week that he had a plan for reducing the deficit that would be declared this week; but so far there hasn't been any word of it.

PRESS SECRETARY. Let me stop you right there, because I know exactly what you're talking about. There was a bit of a snag due to the President's attention being taken up by the threats of a disgruntled NSA employee to leak state secrets -- you've certainly heard of this -- but as this happily resolved itself when his plane went down in flames due to pilot error, we are now back on track and should have it for you next week. I can't tell you the details, but I can tell you that it involves blackmailing all the politicians in the free world. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, that will better show this Administration's commitment to reducing the deficit, and it will also show the naysayers that the money being spent on NSA surveillance is money well spent.

Thanks, everybody. Have a good Friday.

Q. Does the President have anything on his schedule the rest of the week?

PRESS SECRETARY. Aside from visiting his volcano lair, I don't think so, but there's some possibility that something else will be coming up a bit later. As we get some more details, we’ll let you know.

Thanks, everyone.


  1. MrsDarwin7:02 PM

    We'd need to see an outline of the rest of the episode, but we feel you've got the makings of a very successful pilot here. Casting is already looking at an appropriately diverse set of actors, but we're having a few problems with the bison union -- they think the word "buffalo" is offensive and demand a rewrite before they'll negotiate with us.

  2. branemrys8:12 PM

    I've toyed with the idea of doing a book, entitled President Beltrane, about a President who is a popular supervillain (and his running mate, Vice President Minion), in which the most insanely implausible solutions to problems are treated as obviously rational and political cant is regularly taken with absurd literalness. (E.g., President Beltrane's universal health care plan is to require everyone to see doctors every week, because it's not universal unless everyone's doing it; and his immigration reform is to impress immigrants to chain gangs to do the jobs Americans won't do; and his response to climate change is to fund research into weather machines so he can change it more advantageously.)

    Tell the bison that the rewrite is acceptable as long as they do their own stunts.

  3. MrsDarwin10:09 PM

    You should totally write it as a radio drama in the form of the regular press briefings and put it out as a podcast.

    The bison union has gone on strike, but there are some Asian water buffalo ready to do the job for much less, and they'll also cut a deal on the side for housekeeping and yard care services.

  4. You could moonlight in public affairs at the White House.

  5. branemrys4:01 PM

    It can always be a fallback option for employment!


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