Michael P. Ackley has worked more than three decades as a journalist, the majority of that time at the Sacramento Union. His experience includes reporting, editing and writing commentary. He retired from teaching journalism for California State University at Hayward.More ↓Less ↑
Editor’s note: Michael Ackley’s columns may include satire and parody based on current events, and thus mix fact with fiction. He assumes informed readers will be able to tell the difference.
At last, at the 11th hour before the election, we learn why the Obama administration failed to fly to the aid of its beleaguered ambassador to Libya.
At last, as Americans prepare to vote in the presidential election, the administration has explained its lack of response to the real-time pleas for aid from the Benghazi consulate, and its failure to respond to the real-time descriptions and video of the seven-hour assault.
At last the administration has presented a plausible explanation for the non-mobilization of our air assets (only an hour away across the Mediterranean) and our quick-strike ground forces (only two hours away).
And – most importantly – the administration has identified the staff member responsible, however indirectly, for the deaths of four Americans in the besieged consulate. That staffer, appropriately contrite, was trotted out Sunday to give a prepared statement.
“I did it; it was my fault,” said Jill Poke, limousine driver for the Obama children, Sasha and Malia. “I had dropped the girls off after school and was kind of poking around the White House basement when I saw an unused computer station in the Situation Room.
“My shift was over, so I went in to play a little ‘World of Warcraft,’ as I often do. I thought I was just losing the game, but now I know I was looking at the transmission from the consulate in Benghazi.”
Poke said she felt “just terrible” that she hadn’t been able to distinguish an actual assault from a video game, but she explained, “Computer graphics today are so realistic, it was just a natural mistake. I’m really sorry.”
When the limo driver finished speaking, Assistant Press Secretary Amy Handleman took the podium to announce that Poke was “too distraught” to take questions.
“We’ve done an exhaustive investigation, and I can say definitively that this is as high as blame can go in this administration,” said Handleman. “You can rest assured that Ms. Poke’s discipline will be severe, especially since we have determined she also was responsible for ‘Fast and Furious.’ As this is a personnel matter, we can’t reveal exactly what her discipline will be, but I’m pretty sure she no longer will have Situation Room computer privileges.”
Asked about repeated presidential statements that the Benghazi attack was a street demonstration against an offensive movie trailer – a rally that got out of hand – Handleman said, “We’re still probing that question, and we expect that in pursuing it expeditiously we will have a firm answer by 2017.”
Let the healing begin: The Poke press conference also produced the announcement that one of the first acts of a new Obama administration will be to restore civility to public discourse.
“So many hurtful things were said during this latest election,” Handleman told the press gathering. “The president is determined to continue his quest to change Washington, which he tried so hard to do in his first four years.
“Altering the culture of the vicious, child-starving, elder-abusing, environment-degrading opposition has proved more difficult than anyone could have known, but President Obama thinks he still can do it. To that end he will appoint a commission on civility, drawn from all areas of public life. And this commission with hold a conference!
“While all its members won’t all be appointed until January, we’re pleased to announce its co-chairmen will be Michael Moore and David Letterman.”
Political “science”: Thanks to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, we now know that Hurricane Sandy was the result of man-caused global warming.
“I’ve never seen anything like this storm,” said the governor. “Therefore, it must be something entirely new, something that never before occurred in North America in the 1.8 billion years of its existence.”
Asked how he could be so sure, Cuomo replied, “Have you ever experienced anything like Sandy? I sure haven’t – and I’m 55 years old!”
Column reader Peter van der Hoek, 18, had a pithy comment on Obama’s fundraising trip to Las Vegas the day after the Benghazi debacle: “America’s Nero.”