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Tommy Carcetti

Tommy Carcetti's Journal
Tommy Carcetti's Journal
July 18, 2024

Yes, the distinction between debris and bullet *is* important.

I am well aware that the shooter--and once again as we'll all point out, a fellow Republican--was shooting at Trump and even if one of his bullets did not hit Trump, that wouldn't disqualify it as an assassination attempt.

Some people--even here--have said that whether Trump was actually shot or merely shot at and injured by debris is nothing more than a distinction without a difference.

But Trump's immediate reaction, his supporters' reactions, and their overall proclivity to lie and distort the truth and thereby control the messaging should not be swept aside.

"Took a bullet" sells much better to the voting public than "took some inadvertent debris." It sounds neater, more cool, more sacrificial for a man who is inherently selfish by nature.

They want people to think Trump is literally bullet proof, that bullets could magically bounce off his body as if it were rubber.

And if it was truthfully a bullet, so be it.

But I've heard from a fair amount of people that a bullet of that type from that sort of gun even providing a side glance to the head wouldn't have done nearly that minimal damage that we saw. That what we saw was more consistent with some sort of debris from the shooting hitting Trump in the process, whether it be glass or something else.

So, yes, we as the American public do deserve to know the truth as to whether Trump was actually shot, or merely shot at and received minor injuries in the process.

Because Trump and his campaign can't be trusted with handling the truth themselves. They never have been.

June 28, 2024

Oh, for fuck's sake, people.

I did not watch yesterday’s debate; I’m currently on vacation, have already made up my mind as to who I’m voting for, and I wanted to spend the evening enjoying vacation things.

I see everyone is worked up because conventional wisdom is that President Biden had a subpar performance, and now everyone’s talking about how he’s too old and what not. Some even want him to step aside so we can exchange him for some newer, more exciting model like Gavin Fucking Newsome.

This is absurd. Ridiculous. Kafkaesque.

On one side you have people wanting the President to step aside because they thought he was disappointing at a debate. And if debate performances were an accurate barometer of electoral success in November, then we’d have President Gore or President Kerry or President Hillary.

So to freak out now—in June—is just plain silly.

On the other hand, you have a guy who not only was convicted of 34 felonies last month, but also was found liable for fraud, defamation and sexual assault. And who currently stands indicted in 3 other courts on charges ranging from election interference to knowingly withholding classified documents. And who was unprecedentedly impeached twice, with members of his own party voting for his removal. And who had an embarrassingly terrible one term track record as President and never held an average approval rating over 50% and never won a popular vote. And who was elbows deep in involvement with foreign adversaries like Vladimir Putin.

Who incited a violent insurrection at the US Capitol and who not only has never once apologized for that, but now lionizes the criminal participants.

And no one is calling for him to step aside. No one.

No, sorry, this is all fucking bullshit and all the Chicken Littles calling for President Biden to step aside need to calm the fuck down, because President Biden does not need to step aside. And if we’re cowardly enough to insist on someone different, they’ll go after that person just as hard. Maybe not over age, but certainly something.

Trumpism is a scourge on this country, this election is a referendum against it and I’d much rather go with the bird in the hand over the two in the bush.

Seriously, people.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going back on vacation now.

May 14, 2024

As Ukraine pleads for help, Washington remains mostly silent

AS UKRAINE PLEADS FOR HELP, WASHINGTON REMAINS MOSTLY SILENT

By Tommy Carcetti
May 14, 2024

LVIV—Speaking from inside the well-fortified government headquarters in the provisional capital city of Lviv, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky once again made a desperate plea today for American assistance as the country struggles to hold off a relentless Russian military onslaught that threatens what remains of the war-torn country.

Zelensky’s urgent request brought to mind similar conversations he had with President Donald Trump five years ago during his administration’s first term, which ultimately lead to the President’s impeachment. Critics of the President have openly speculated the entire incident has significantly jaded President Trump’s approach towards Ukraine in the two and a half years since the full-scale Russian military invasion of the country, a claim that the administration vehemently denies.

Nonetheless, the mood in Washington appears to remain rather cool towards offering any form of aid or assistance towards Ukraine, even though many have argued the United States is morally obligated to intervene pursuant to the terms of the April 2023 Hong Kong Agreement, which it helped negotiate.

Speaking on Fox News Sunday this past week, Secretary of Defense Michael Flynn stated, “Our priorities remain inward and in the interests of the American people first and foremost.” Secretary Flynn cited the continued build-up of American troops along the U.S.-Mexico border as the issue of highest importance, insisting the mobilization is necessary to protect against drug trafficking and illegal immigration. Flynn also pointed to the supplementation of deputized National Guard troops stationed in Chicago, Detroit, Portland and other U.S. cities which the administration continues to maintain is necessary in order to protect against civil unrest.

“The fact is while we as Americans certainly feel for the Ukrainian people, the situation over there remains on the bottom of the totem pole so to speak as opposed to our own national defense interests,” Flynn said.

Following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to launch a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in late February 2022, the dynamics of the conflict were radically altered by President Trump’s sudden and unexpected announcement on March 11, 2022 that he was unilaterally withdrawing the United States from all NATO alliance agreements.

The governments of Hungary and Turkey announced shortly thereafter that those countries would be leaving the NATO alliance as well. While both of those countries have officially maintained that they remain neutral in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Ukrainian government officials have continuously accused Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban of secretly providing assistance to the Russian military.

Meanwhile, NATO remains in a chaotic, fractured state following the loss of its most powerful ally, even as open Russian threats to NATO countries such as Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and the Baltic states have dramatically increased.

Following the U.S. withdrawal from NATO, an emboldened Russian military was able to make rapid progress throughout Eastern and Southern Ukraine, displacing nearly half of the country’s entire population in the process.

In March 2023, President Trump offered his own personal services as a neutral broker to end the conflict. While Russian President Putin immediately responded to the offer, the Ukrainians were far more hesitant to accept any assistance. Only after the fall of Kharkiv—Ukraine’s second largest city—to Russian control did Ukrainian President Zelensky ultimately agree to peace talks.

Accepting the Chinese government’s offer of Hong Kong as the venue for negotiations, the four-day talks in April 2023 were described as extremely tense and contentious. Ultimately, however, it was President Trump who announced a resolution: Ukraine would effectively cede control of its Kharkiv, Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia, Kherson, Mykolaiv, and Odesa regions to Russia, as well as surrendering any claim to the Crimean Peninsula which Russia had illegally annexed in 2014. The result would leave Ukraine effectively landlocked and without access to the Black Sea.

In exchange, Russian President Putin agreed he would cease any further incursion into Ukrainian territory absent “any substantive provocation” by Ukrainian forces. As a guaranteeing measure, President Trump announced that should either country violate the terms of the agreement, the United States would “appropriately intervene” with “proper means of assistance, including military” to the non-breaching party.

The truce would not last long. Within three weeks of the agreement, Moscow had accused the Ukrainian military of breaching its terms, a claim which the Ukrainian government vehemently denied. By June 2023, Russia had resumed full scale military operations, and on August 10, 2023, the Ukrainian capital city of Kyiv effectively fell to Russian control, sending President Zelensky and members of the Ukrainian government fleeing to the far west of the country for their own personal safety.

Since the fall of Kyiv, Ukrainian forces have retreated to beyond the Teteriv and Pivdennyi Buh River basins, leaving Ukraine with roughly a quarter of its original pre-war territory remaining under its control. The cities of Zhyotmyr and Vinnytsia—now representing the front lines of the conflict—stand uninhabitable, having been nearly destroyed beyond all recognition. After gaining the status of Ukraine’s new capital, Lviv has endured constant round after round of missile and drove attacks. Over 20 million Ukrainians have been displaced from their homes since the start of the war, and with the remaining portion of the country unable to support the refugees, a spillover into Ukraine’s neighbors has created a growing humanitarian crisis.

For those Ukrainians left behind in territory now controlled by Russia the story remains far less clear, although reports that have emerged from those areas have painted an extremely grim picture filled with harrowing stories of human rights abuses. A civilian death toll has been equally difficult to nail down, although the consensus is that the figure extends well into the hundreds of thousands.

But despite Ukraine’s increasingly tenuous grip on its own rapidly shrinking territory, as well as the ever-growing threat posed by Russia to Ukraine’s neighbors, the Trump administration has exhibited little to no interest in coming to the side of either Ukraine or any of America’s former NATO allies.

After meeting with Russian President Putin in Moscow last month, Secretary of State Paul Manafort reported that there was “simply an insufficient basis” to conclude that Russia’s claim of Ukrainian provocation after the Hong Kong Agreement was unjustified or unreasonable.

Meanwhile, in a scenario that would have certainly invoked an Article 5 response back when the U.S. was a member of NATO, the Polish government expressed its extreme frustration that the Trump administration had offered no comment or condemnation when the border town of Przemysl was struck last week by a large barrage of Russian missiles, killing five civilians and damaging numerous structures in the center of town; the Kremlin has responded by simply claiming the strike was “inadvertent” but has not otherwise apologized for the incident.

“There appears to be little willpower within the Trump administration to want to address anything relating to matters overseas, let alone Ukraine,” noted John Kerry, former Secretary of State under President Obama. “The stock market has just climbed back over 20,000 points, unemployment is back in single digit territory and there are signs that inflation may soon be slowing down. I just don’t think I see them doing anything to make waves or have the public suddenly worrying about any sort of foreign engagement.”

Nor has the ongoing situation in Ukraine and Eastern Europe barely registered at all on Congress’s radar; much of the most recent session has been spent attempting to rally support amongst the state legislatures to speedily ratify the 28th Amendment that was passed by the Republican Congressional supermajority last year. If ratified by the states, the Amendment would immediately and retroactively repeal the 22nd Amendment limiting a President to two terms in office and pave the way for President Trump to be officially nominated this summer for a third consecutive term in office.

But in Ukraine, constitutional machinations in the United States are the furthest thing from people’s minds as the country prepares to make what might be its last stand as a free and independent nation. While many hope the more hilly and mountainous terrain of Western Ukraine might provide local forces with more of a geographic advantage against Russian forces than the open terrain in the east of the country, the fact remains that without sufficient weaponry in the hands of its military, such an advantage would likely be meaningless.

And barring a sudden and unexpected about face from the Trump administration in its policy position, it appears unlikely that the United States will answer the Ukrainian government’s increasingly desperate calls to intervene in its fight against Russia.

“The bottom line is that Ukraine is dealing with the Trump administration, and President Trump has for whatever reason chosen to give Ukraine the cold shoulder thus far,” Secretary Kerry remarked. “While I’m sure we all might want to speculate how a President Hillary Clinton or a President Joe Biden might have handled the situation with Ukraine and Russia, the fact of the matter is that we’re dealing with a President Donald Trump here, and nothing in the world right now can change that.”

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

NOTE TO DU: As hopefully you were able to quickly discern from the content of the article--if not the byline itself--this is not an actual news article, but rather my own personal work of alternate historical fiction depicting how the situation in Ukraine might be currently unfolding had Donald Trump somehow been elected to a second term in office.

Over the past few years, I've taken to writing as both a hobby and a therapeutic exercise. I actually completed an entire novel, which eventually one day I might try to shop for publication. I also recently wrote a personal essay piece to which I actively am soliciting various journals.

And as some of you here at DU might know, I'll occasionally curse this website with my "BREAKING NEWS" bit, that increasingly hit-or-miss satirical news articles that inevitably end up with those two goofy looking news anchors declaring "Details at eleven." The purpose of those pieces (other than a diversion of my own time) is just to poke fun and throw out as absurd and non-sensical of a story as I can possibly put forward while maintaining just the slightest bit of plausibility in a truly fucked-up world.

This, however, was not intended to be a fun, satirical piece like those are.

Rather, this was intended to show the real world consequences of what electing a person like Donald Trump to office might have on world events, based on the four year track record of what we already know those devastating consequences to be. And it serves as a warning for this November of the real danger that might face us if we are forced to endure even just a day more of that horror show in office.

And on a more personal level, while writing this did allow me to flex some creative muscles, it was nonetheless something that was also rather difficult emotionally for me to put together. Given that I have relatives currently living in Ukraine--and more specifically in Western Ukraine, which so far has been spared the worst of the war's violence--the uncertain future in Ukraine and that part of the world weighs heavily on me for their sake.

That being said, please feel free to take this however you wish to take it.

And keep all of this in mind come November.

Thanks,

TC

May 3, 2024

BREAKING NEWS: Judge Merchan grants Trump permission to attend Matt Gaetz's high school graduation

While former President Donald Trump may be confined to a Manhattan courtroom four days a week as he stands trial on charges of election interference for fraudulent concealment of hush money payments, the judge presiding over his case has permitted Trump to take a brief respite from court proceedings.

Specifically, Judge Juan Merchan granted Trump attorney’s request that the former President be allowed to travel to Fort Walton Beach, Florida on Thursday, May 23rd to attend the graduation of Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) from Choctawatchee High School.

“President Trump has long viewed Representative Gaetz as the son he never had,” Trump attorney Todd Blanche explained. “When President Trump had the opportunity to attend a World Series game in 2019, Matt was the very first person he thought to invite. Matt is the one person who fully encapsulates everything that Donald Trump stands for and represents who Donald Trump truly is as a human being.”

While Gaetz previously graduated from nearby Niceville High School back in 1999, a spokesperson from his congressional office told reporters that Gaetz recently chose to re-enroll in order to “further his education.”

“Most people have the opportunity in life to earn a high school degree, or at least an equivalent thereof,” the spokesperson said. “But very few people get to say they’ve had the chance to earn more than one high school degree. Because Representative Gaetz strives for the very best in life, he simply was not going to pass up this unprecedented opportunity.”

While his spokesperson noted that Gaetz posted an “impressive” grade point average of 2.12 which “placed him firmly within the top 85th percentile of his graduating class,” the area where Gaetz truly excelled was in the vast amount of extracurricular activities in which he participated.

“Speech and Debate club, Chemistry club, Field Hockey, Future Farmers of America, Beach Volleyball, Drama, Swimming, Student Government,” Gaetz’ spokesperson listed off. “Oh, and Cheerleading Squad. Matt especially enjoyed Cheerleading.”

“Boy, did that man ever love Cheerleading,” the spokesperson reiterated.

Back in Manhattan, former President Trump expressed gratitude for Judge Merchan’s ruling.

“This crooked leftist judge, who has been so unfair to me and so unjust to me in limiting my free speech abilities, had no choice but to grant my request or otherwise face being overturned once again by the Supreme Court, who--if you haven’t noticed yet--like me,” Trump told gathered reporters during a morning break in court proceedings. “They like me a lot. And now, I very much look forward to witnessing in person this momentous occasion in the life of my very good and lifelong friend, Mr. Mike Gats.”

As for the Representative from Florida himself, his spokesperson stated that Gaetz has no plans in slowing down in furthering his education.

“After he graduates from Choctawatchee, Matt’s looking to continue his education,” the spokesperson said. “Currently, he’s looking at enrolling either at Destin High School or maybe Navarre High School, with Fort Walton Beach High School as his safety school. The sky’s truly the limit for Matt.”

DETAILS AT ELEVEN


April 24, 2024

People do understand the difference between the National Enquirer and Weekly World News, right?

The National Enquirer is a celebrity gossip tabloid primarily dealing with stories (usually from paid and unverified sources) about actual people. (At least that's been its focus for the past few decades.)

The Weekly World News is a sensational tabloid always dealing with absurd stories of the supernatural (aliens, bigfoot, Batboy, etc.) and really serves as entertainment purposes only (unless you are extremely, extremely gullible).

People saying "It's crazy that anyone would believe anything in the tabloids" are essentially writing off what Donald Trump did with the National Enquirer in 2016 as no big deal by failing to make that distinction.

If you're standing in line at the supermarket and see the WWN and a story about Batboy, you'd almost certainly think, "Ha-ha, that's stupid."

But if you're standing in line at the supermarket and see the NE and a story about Hillary Clinton secretly being sick, you might think, "Well, that's just the Enquirer of course, but...maybe?"

After all, while almost all Enquirer stories are just basic unverifiable gossip, there have been instances of a few blind-squirrel-catches-nut moments over the years where they actually did manage to break a real story.

And if you're someone who doesn't follow the mainstream news closely, and you're not very ideological on the left-right spectrum, but you vote every four years out of a general sense of civic duty, and you stand in the line at the supermarket every week, and every week there's a story about Hillary Clinton being sick, or Hillary Clinton in legal trouble, or Donald Trump being the victim of a false set-up...maybe it has an effect.

Even if you've never bought a copy of the National Enquirer in your life, or opened it up to read the actual story...it could have an effect. After all, unlike legitimate newspapers, the headlines are catchy, to the point, and in big letters. And accompanied by a big picture that always seems to underline the point of the story. (E.g. a picture of a sickly looking or angry Hillary Clinton.)

And if you live in a swing state where there's enough of these passive, impressionable voters to make a difference in the outcome of the election, it's a very serious thing that just went on.

So, yes, the Batboy and UFO jokes all seem like they're in good fun, but really, there's nothing funny at all about what happened in 2016.

March 4, 2024

You're confusing "winning on a technicality" with "winning illegitimately."

I'm not saying that Trump won illegitimately--at least not to the extent that votes cast were unduly changed, over counted, or under counted (Russian interference and its influence on public opinion is a whole other matter)--I'm saying that his win was not reflective of the popular will of the people.

When the first three words of the Constitution set out the general theme for the rest of the document--even though actual history might not have immediately followed that theme (for example, human beings being counted as three-fifth's a person)--anything that runs counter to that theme is a technicality, a legal exception to the facts at hand.

So while We the People, speaking as a whole, may have preferred Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump in 2016, because of the recognized and occasionally convolute mechanism that is the Electoral College, strictly by the express technical terms of the US Constitution itself and no other concept, Donald Trump was the winner.

Let's say you have a group of five friends traveling in a car, two in the front seat and three in the back seat. And let's say they're trying to decide where to stop to eat for lunch.

And they take it to a vote. The three friends in the back seat all vote to eat at McDonalds. The two friends in the front seat vote to eat at Burger King.

So under a normal, traditional vote, they go to eat at McDonalds.

But let's say that there's some sort of longstanding, pre-understood agreement with these friends wherein whoever happens to be sitting in the front seats gets twice as many votes as whoever is sitting in the back seat.

So under this agreement--this technicality--even though the actual majority of friends in the car would prefer to go to McDonalds, under this mechanism, the vote actually is 4 votes for Burger King, 3 votes for McDonalds. So by virtue of technicality, Burger King has it.

Notably, this technicality does not always have contrary to popular will. Let's say one person in the front seat votes for Burger King, one person in the other front seat votes for McDonalds, and two people in the back seat vote for McDonalds and one votes for Burger King.

So the actual vote remains unchanged--3 to 2 in favor of McDonalds, and the technical result likewise is 4 to 3, but this time it favors McDonalds.

Or you might end up with two people in the front seat voting for McDonalds and only one out of three people in the back seat voting for Burger King. And in that case you have an exaggerated result of 5 votes for McDonalds but only two votes for Burger King. But in that case, it still reflects the popular majority in basic principle, but over reflects it as a matter of law.

So yes, a system where certain states are assigned a certain amount of electoral votes, even though it isn't guaranteed to proportionately match the overall popular vote across the entirety of the states, it is a technicality. That doesn't make it illegitimate. It simply makes it a technical matter of law.

February 16, 2024

With Putin, there is only death.

That's all I can really say right now.

January 16, 2024

BREAKING NEWS: Trump announces he needs "ten to twelve months" to properly mourn mother-in-law

Former President Donald Trump, currently running for the Republican party nomination for President in 2024, announced today that in the wake of the recent death of his wife Melania’s mother Amalija Knavs, he will need a period of at least ten to twelve months in order to “appropriately mourn” his mother-in-law’s passing.

“My mother-in-law, Am-m-a-lee-jee-a Ka-ka-novs, was once a beautiful young woman from the nation of Slovakia, located in the Baltic Peninsula in the furthest reaches of Asia,” Trump remarked at a recent campaign event in Keane, New Hampshire. “Then she got old—really, really old—and no longer beautiful at all, and because of that, now she’s dead. And that’s a horrible, terrible thing, when women get old and not beautiful. So, I’m going to need some time to process that in the best possible way I can, which is to spend my time here in front of you making America great again and not wasting it sitting inside any courtrooms for any phony witch hunts.”

Trump said he would not actually be pausing his campaign, but rather that he had merely asked his attorneys to file motions with all courts in which he currently has criminal and civil matters pending, asking to stay proceedings indefinitely in order for him to “deal with his crippling grief.”

“Before she died, and while she was so, so, very old, Amanka—that’s what we all called her, Amanka—told me, ‘Sir, don’t let that Unspecial Prosecutor Jack Smith or Sleepy Joe or those crooked Judges and those haters and loser RINOs keep you down, sir,’” Trump claimed. “She told me, ‘Sir, if I do die, my death is on their hands. Avenge me, sir—avenge me by winning the election in the greatest landslide this country has ever seen!’”

Trump said he would be celebrating the life and legacy of his mother-in-law “Amelia” by traveling the country to places such as New Hampshire, South Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas, California, Maine, Colorado, Iowa, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia and other states, and proclaiming the one message that she most strongly believed in, which was that “foreign immigrants from abroad were poisoning the blood of our country.”

Trump also said he needed time to visit his mother-in-law’s grave, located underneath the maintenance shed at the Trump National Doral Miami golf course, where he states she was buried according to his wishes and pursuant to “ancient Slobanian tradition.”

Trump warned that should any presiding judge deny his motion to stay proceedings, it could “send him into the depths of deepest despair,” which could only be remedied by visiting his wife’s ancestral homeland.

Sources close to the former President stated they later observed Trump asking his attorneys whether the country of “Solaria” had an extradition treaty with the United States.

DETAILS AT ELEVEN

December 6, 2023

BREAKING NEWS: Congress conditions further aid to Ukraine with construction of Louisiana waterpark

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-Louisiana) announced today his support for a plan that would condition any further aid and support for Ukraine in its ongoing war against Russia with construction of what he termed as a “totally bitchin’” waterpark in his home district.

Speaking before reporters, Johnson explained his thought process behind the policy move.

“While like all Americans, we offer our continued prayers and emotional support for the Ukrainian people in their fight against Russian aggression and occupation, there are nonetheless limits to be had,” Johnson said. “We must first look towards our own needs before those of all others, and especially the needs of parents in Northwestern Louisiana desperate to take their bored children someplace new on a hot summer’s day.”

With that, Johnson announced that any further packages of military aid and surplus equipment intended for the beleaguered European country must be paired with funding for Aquapolis, a sprawling new 32-acre water theme park to be constructed in suburban Eastwood, Louisiana, just outside of Shreveport.

“We’re not just talking about some rinky-dink little regional water park with a splash pad and a couple of small slides,” Johnson continued. “Aquapolis is going to have it all—over a dozen slides, including two side-by-side racing slides, a massive wave pool, a rapids rafting ride, a fast-paced water coaster and plenty of room for lounging, sunbathing and splashing galore. And if Ukrainians value their freedom and independence enough, they’ll understand that Americans too have a right to summertime fun and recreation. Otherwise, they’re more than welcome to take on Vladimir Putin all by themselves.”

Johnson pushed back against the notion that withholding invaluable equipment such as anti-tank missiles and fighter jets necessary for Ukraine to conduct counter-offensive operations unless funding for Aquapolis is approved was in any way an improper demand.

“Yes, Ukrainians have seen virtually all of the city of Mariupol reduced to rubble,” Johnson said. “They saw citizens in Bucha murdered in their own homes and their bodies left lying in the streets. So, they would be in the perfect position to emphasize with Shreveportians desperate to beat the August heat.”

“Because, let’s face it, Splash Kingdom Oasis just isn’t going to cut it anymore,” he added, referring to Shreveport’s other water park destination that opened back in 2010.

Sources close to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky describe him as being somewhat baffled by this most recent turn in events, but in a video statement released online, the leader nonetheless vowed to do everything it would take to receive the continued support of the United States.

“My American brothers and sisters, what is most important in all of this is the well-being of the next generation,” Zelensky said. “American children, free to have a place where their summer camp can take them for a carefree couple of hours. Ukrainian children, free not to be forcibly kidnapped by members of the Russian military and sent to far-off corners of Russia to be re-educated. We all remain forever one in the same in our problems and struggles.”

Johnson seemed to echo the Ukrainian president’s concerns about the perils faced by all parties going forward.

“I am sure that Ukrainians are fearful about the prospects of losing their homeland to an oppressive foreign invader,” Johnson said. “Just as some eight-year-old kid might be fearful the first time he stares down the Big Zipper Tornado Funnel Slide. Bottom line is if he is able to take that plunge, so should they. Let's help that little boy out, okay?”

DETAILS AT ELEVEN

October 25, 2023

BREAKING NEWS: Further embarrassment as new Speaker "Mike Johnson" revealed to be AI-generated non-entity

Shortly after seemingly ending a 22-day impasse that saw the ouster of previous Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy and three subsequent failed Speaker-Designates, House Republicans suffered an unexpected embarrassment as it was revealed that the newly elected Speaker, Mike Johnson of Louisiana, did not in fact exist in reality in any physical shape or form.

Instead, the alleged individual known as “Mike Johnson” was ultimately determined to be a completely AI-generated non-entity created by a series of complex computer algorithms based entirely on internet data collected on an agglomeration of existing Congressional Republicans.

“To say I’m embarrassed is a bit of an understatement,” one House Republican remarked. “I mean, I could have sworn Mike Johnson was an actual person. Honestly, the name sounded familiar enough. And I saw that he was a Republican from Louisiana, so that checked out. So, who was I to know that it turns out he was just an AI generated bot?”

Suspicion grew about Johnson’s existence when none of the 435 members of the House could ever remember ever having any sort of prior interaction with him either face-to-face or by any other means of communication.

While pictures of the alleged Mike Johnson widely circulated throughout the media prior to his election as Speaker, many people missed certain hints that those photos were actually created by AI image generating programs.

“There was a certain unearthly glossy sheen to all the pictures of the guy that just didn’t sit right,” MIT Data Tech analyst Tom Peters said. “That, and the fact that he appeared to have seven fingers on his right hand, an abnormally long neck, a third leg, and his suit jacket blended seamlessly into his bare left arm.”

Information in the fictitious Johnson’s official biography and various press releases also set off some red flags.

“His bio states he attended The University of Louisiana in New Orleans,” Peters noted. “But in reality, there is no such school. There's a University of Louisiana in Lafayette, and a Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. There must have been some crossed signals that ChatGPT was unable to independently justify.”

Peters said that Johnson was created by AI programs tasked with creating the profile of an archetypal Republican in Congress.

“A white male with a common sounding Anglo-American name, coming out the Southeast, expressing doubts about the validity of the 2020 election and signaling opposition to various policies of President Biden such as providing further military assistance to Ukraine,” Peters said. “All in all, computers couldn’t have made a more perfect Republican.”

Despite the underlying shame of electing a Speaker of the House who—as facts revealed—never actually existed, House Republicans say they have no current plans to replace the Faux Mike Johnson with an actual sentient living human being as Speaker.

“To be perfectly blunt, Mike Johnson’s everything we wanted in a Speaker, even though he’s nothing more than a very long string of zeroes and ones,” a Republican congressperson was quoted as saying. “We wanted someone who would cause government to come to a complete halt, thus sabotaging any efforts President Biden might have sought in progressing his agenda for the country’s interest. And who could be more perfect at doing that than someone who doesn’t actually exist in reality?”

DETAILS AT ELEVEN

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