By John Semmens: Semi-News — A Satirical Look at Recent News
Undaunted by polls showing a majority of Americans aren’t opposed to a partial shutdown of the federal government if that’s what it takes to get deeper cuts in the deficit, leaders of the Democratic Party vowed to “make any shutdown as painful as we have to.”
President Obama asserted that “what many people don’t realize is that government spending is the vital fluid of our nation’s prosperity. Cutting it back by even one percent would be like putting a tourniquet around the economy’s neck. I can’t allow Congress to take such a dangerous course. If I have to I will use my authority as Commander-in-Chief to ensure that this doesn’t happen.”
“Voters should be careful of what they wish for,” added Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev). “They imagine that the President will put some bureaucrats on furlough for a couple of days a month or that programs they see as nonessential, like federal funding of the arts, will take the hit. Let’s see how they like it when their Social Security checks stop coming or the public schools are closed.”
In federal government “shutdowns” during the Reagan, Bush and Clinton Administrations furloughing nonessential bureaucrats was the main cost-saving step taken. Care was taken to continue spending for programs considered necessary for the nation’s safety and well-being. These included, among other things, law enforcement, national defense and Social Security payments. However, these were discretionary decisions made by nation’s Chief Executive. President Obama is under no legal obligation to adhere to this precedent.
In related news, Senator Reid’s championing of federal funding for Elko, Nevada’s annual Cowboy Poetry Festival enabled him to win the Citizens against Government Waste’s prestigious “Porker of the Month” award for March 2011.
Illegal Immigrants Who Are Students Won’t Be Deported
US Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says that illegal immigrants who meet the requirements of last year’s unsuccessful “Dream Act” legislation will not be deported by her agency.
“Just because Congress dropped the ball on comprehensive immigration reform doesn’t mean I have to,” vowed a defiant Napolitano. “Integrating the undocumented portion of our population into our society is crucial to the President’s agenda. These students form a cadre of the best-and-brightest and are essential tools for the President’s promised transformation of our nation’s culture. I will not cast them aside out of a misguided devotion to pro forma enforcement of the existing laws.”
“The President says these are the kind of people he wants to see succeed,” John Morton, director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement pointed out. “Who am I to take any action that would thwart his wishes when he’s the one who’s running the government.”
Joe Garcia, Director of the New Democrat Network’s Hispanic Strategy Center, called the Secretary’s stance “an encouraging baby step toward the full acceptance and enfranchisement of all the Hispanics in America. Ultimately, there must be full citizenship, voting rights, and reparations for the years of exploitation that these victims of institutionalized racism and prejudice have had to endure.”
In related news, a study done for the State of Colorado revealed that nearly 12,000 non-citizens were registered to vote and that 5,000 of them cast ballots in the November 2010 election. While Representative Gregg Harper (R-Miss) found this “disturbing,” Representative Charles Gonzalez (D-Texas) labeled it “no big deal, 5,000 votes by non-citizens is smaller than the number of ballots cast from graveyards in many jurisdictions.”
Political Vetting of FOIA Requests Assailed/Defended
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Representative Darrell Issa’s (R-Calif) complaint that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is injecting political bias into the process of responding to freedom of information requests was dismissed as “sour grapes” by Representative Gerald Connelly (D-Va).
“Inasmuch as representative Issa himself has characterized DHS’ actions as ‘Nixonian’ I can’t see what his beef is,” Connelly argued. “Nixon was a Republican President. Now the shoe is on the other foot. So what?”
“Using a political compass to guide the agency’s response to requests for public documents is unlawful,” Issa asserted. “The fact that a previous president also engaged in unlawful behavior is not a valid defense of the current Administration’s practices.”
Notwithstanding former President Nixon’s abuses, a report from DHS Acting Inspector General Charles Edwards called the agency’s political vetting of requests “unprecedented involvement in the Freedom of Information Act process. Not only were requests handled in a discriminatory manner, but responses were often edited to black-out content that would potentially be embarrassing to the Administration.”
John Verdi, director of open government for the watchdog group Electronic Privacy Information Center, contends that DHS “has gone farther than any other agency in the Obama Administration in corrupting the process by inserting an illegal political bias into its handling of external requests for information.”
Robbery Victim May Go to Prison
Gun enthusiast Stanley Sokolowski is facing a possible prison term for what Lowell, Massachusetts police are calling “possession of terrorist paraphernalia.” The charges stem from an incident in which Sokolowski’s home was burglarized and his gun collection stolen. In addition to owning a number of firearms, Sokolowski also loaded his own ammunition. This means that he had gunpowder, shell casings, and shot that he personally assembled into the bullets used in his assorted weapons.
“We’re not saying a person can’t own a weapon,” said Lowell Police Department Spokesman Max Cretan. “But this privilege must be weighed against the state’s need to control access to firearms. So, when a person goes overboard like this we see it as a potentially serious threat to peace and order.”
Cretan was unmoved by the prospect that Sokolowski could spend more time behind bars than the guy who robbed him. “A burglar is your common, garden variety criminal,” Cretan observed. “We deal with this kind of problem every day. Sokolowski, on the other hand, is a greater threat. He has dangerous knowledge. And with the equipment he had he could easily assemble bombs. Making bombs is a terrorist activity. Having the means to make bombs is possession of terrorist paraphernalia. That’s against the law.”
In case a jury doesn’t concur in the charges leveled by the Lowell Police Department, they have taken the precaution of revoking Sokolowski’s gun permit “because this is something we can do on our own authority,” Cretan said. “We don’t have to get a judge or jury’s okay to take this step for public safety.”
President Accepts Transparency Award
In a ceremony closed to both the media and general public, President Obama received an award from the “open government community” for having “the most transparent Administration in this nation’s history.” Lucy Dalglish of the Reporters’ Committee for Freedom of the Press explained that “the meeting had to be kept closed to prevent the President’s enemies from using the event for their own political advantage. This way the President can strictly control the information that is released to the public.”
In remarks later released from the White House, President Obama declared himself “proud to be recognized as the most transparent President this nation has ever had,” but modestly acknowledged that “I couldn’t have achieved this without the unstinting support of my friends in the media. They have been veritable megaphones helping to promulgate my message of hope and change for America. Their loyalty will not be forgotten. Their reward will be a place of high honor in the New America I am creating for the American people.”
Democrats Spar over Libyan Intervention
President Obama’s unilateral decision to send US military forces to bomb the armed forces of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhaffi has produced a mixed reaction among members of his own Democratic Party.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton defended the President’s action, asserting that “as Commander-in-Chief he has the authority to use whatever military assets this country possesses in any manner he deems necessary. He does not have to obtain Congressional approval for any measures he has taken or may in the future take to achieve the goals of his Administration.”
Representative Charlie Rangel (D-NY) disagreed. “The Constitution says Congress has the power to declare war,” Rangel said. “Calling it a ‘kinetic military action’ is pure mumbo-jumbo and doesn’t excuse the President’s usurpation of a Congressional prerogative. I’d like to think that the House Leadership will be looking into an impeachment action, but unless polls start showing massive voter opposition to this war I’m afraid he’ll skate on this.”
Presidential Press Secretary Jay Carney predicted that “Rangel’s objections will carry little weight seeing that he himself was censured by the House last year for tax evasion and mishandling campaign funds.”
A Satirical Look at Recent News