By John Semmens: Semi-News — A Satirical Look at Recent News
With Senate passage of the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act (PROTECT IP), the US government has moved a step closer to total control over the Internet. Under the Act, the government will be authorized to seize domains, block websites and censor search engines.
Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) emphasized that “the bill is merely an extension of existing authority. It is not new censorship.” The extension was deemed necessary because “rogue websites can escape government control by locating outside the United States. This new law will counter this by allowing the government to block access to offshore websites.”
The bill is opposed by Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore) on the grounds that it imperils freedom of speech. “It is one thing to protect against copyright infringement through normal legal processes,” Wyden said. “Those who feel their intellectual property rights have been abused can sue for damages. This bill would allow for the seizure of people’s assets and livelihoods before a proper adjudication of the facts. It’s an invitation to tyranny.”
Death of Jose Guereña Blamed on “Right Wing Talk Radio”
Earlier this month a SWAT team burst into the home of Jose Guereña. Awaken by his wife’s screams that armed men were breaking into the house, Guereña grabbed his rifle to defend his family. The SWAT team shot him 60 times. As Guereña lay bleeding, they blocked paramedics from tending to his wounds. An hour later he died.
Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik blamed the “baleful influence of right wing talk radio” for the death. “If it weren’t for the repeated assertions by talk show hosts like Rush Limbaugh that people have a Constitutional right to keep and bear arms this tragedy would never have occurred,” Dupnik argued. “When people other than law enforcement agents are armed these kinds of mishaps are inevitable.”
Though Guereña never fired his weapon, in fact the safety was still on when he was shot by multiple sheriff’s deputies, Dupnik insisted that the killing was warranted. “Guereña lived in a bad neighborhood,” Dupnik claimed. “That alone creates a presumption of guilt. A guy with a gun in a bad neighborhood is a threat. My men had every right to take him down.”
The fact that Guereña was a Marine who had served two tours in Iraq was used to bolster Dupnik’s case. “Look, a Marine with a weapon represented a severe danger to my men,” Dupnik said. “If they hadn’t fired first he probably would’ve killed them all. It was only quick thinking that saved the day.”
As for blocking the paramedics, Dupnik maintained that the hour’s “delay was necessitated by the need for a search of the premises to ensure that there were no other gunmen, guns, or drugs to be dealt with. If that means a suspect has to bleed while we do it, so be it.”
No other gunmen, guns, or contraband of any sort were found in the home. Guereña’s wife and two children were in the house during the raid. Fortunately, the SWAT team refrained from shooting them.
UK National Health Service Dangerous for Elderly
Denial of treatment for those deemed “too old to invest in” isn’t the only hazard faced by those entrusted to the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS). Dehydration and starvation also take a toll. A recent study by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) indicated that dehydration contributes to 800 deaths and malnutrition to 300 deaths per year among those housed in NHS hospitals.
Spokesperson for the Hospital Workers Union, Mildred Ratched, placed the blame primarily on the doctors. “Our people are just following orders,” Ratched said. “If the doctors wanted these patients to have food and water they should have prescribed it.”
A secondary factor cited by Ms. Ratched was the patients themselves. “Even when we do bring food a lot of them don’t eat it,” she said. “How is that our fault?”
CQC criticized the NHS procedure of simply dumping off food while a patient was asleep and taking away the untouched meal a short while later while the patient was still asleep. Ratched defended the procedure as “part of our negotiated work rules. There has to be a schedule. If we have to accommodate different dining times for different patients we should get extra pay.”
Despite the problems with the NHS standards of care, US Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius insisted that “on balance, the NHS is a good system that provides a lot of useful guidance for us.”
Memphis May Turn to Speed Cameras for More Revenue
Memphis City Council Chairman Myron Lowery is proposing to bridge the city’s budget deficit by boosting yields from traffic fines on speeding. The plan is to add radar guns to existing red-light automated enforcement zones and capture photos of drivers exceeding the posted speed limits.
“Look, the overwhelming majority of drivers are speeders,” Lowery observed. “That’s a pretty big potential source of revenue that we could get our hands on.”
The National Motorists Association contends that “the majority of drivers speed because the posted limits are set below what they should be. They generate millions of pointless traffic tickets and billions of dollars of undeserved insurance surcharges, disrupt traffic flow, and increase congestion.”
“The traffic tickets are hardly pointless from the City’s perspective,” Lowery countered. “The revenue from citations is crucial if we want to maintain spending levels. If the majority of drivers think the limits are too low they can vote for higher limits by electing someone else to the Council.”
Governor Vetoes Voter ID Bill
Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton (D) vetoed legislation that would’ve required voters to show a photo ID in order to be given a ballot, saying that the GOP-backed bill would discourage voter turnout.
“It is important that our democracy have as wide a participation as possible,” Dayton said. “Requiring a photo ID would disenfranchise those lacking the specified documentation. Are people who are camera-shy or have warrants out for their arrest to be excluded from participation? How is that fair?”
To help illustrate the potential negative impact of the proposed law Dayton contended that “if this rule had been in place last year Al Franken wouldn’t now be a senator.”
Block of Pay Hike Called “Extortion”
Senator David Vitter (R-La) was assailed by Democrats for blocking a proposed $20,000 pay raise for Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.
“A lot of Americans are unemployed, people are losing their homes, and the federal government has a humungous deficit,” Vitter observed. “For a government bureaucrat to get a pay hike at a time like this would need to be preceded by an exemplary job performance. In Secretary Salazar’s case I just don’t see that. The weak economy has been pummeled by rising gas prices, yet Mr. Salazar hasn’t issued new oil drilling permits.”
Salazar characterized Vitter’s stance as “extortion.” “In what other instance has a government employee’s performance been a factor in determining eligibility for a raise?” Salazar asked. “Holding me to a higher standard is discriminatory and racist. My human rights are being violated.”
Dems Say No Budget Necessary
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) rejected the idea that the federal government should have a budget. “Budgets set limits and create expectations,” Reid pointed out. “They can only serve to hamstring policy and expose the Party to political disadvantage. We’d be fools to fall into that trap.”
Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N. Dak) concurred in Reid’s assessment. “The only reason Republicans are clamoring for a budget is so they can cut spending,” Conrad maintained. “We got along without a budget last year. With no budget we can carry on with the spending levels already in place and adjust them upward for inflation with continuing resolutions—leaving our opponents the uncomfortable dilemma of choosing between higher deficits and higher taxes. It’s a win-win situation for the Democratic Party.”
Over in the House of Representatives, Assistant Democratic Leader Jim Clyburn (S.C.) insisted that Republican demands that the Democrats produce a budget is “racism.” “They didn’t badger President Bush with demands for a budget,” Clyburn remembered. “They pretty much did whatever the white man wanted. Why can’t they do the same for a Black President Obama? There’s only one reason: racism.”
Government Investment in Electric Cars to Be Tested
A pilot program to test the efficiency of electric cars in five American cities is underway. The initial investment will cost $4.5 million and is projected to save $116,000 per year if successful. In order to recover the initial investment each electric car will need to be driven 600,000 miles. According to Consumer Reports, the average life expectancy of a new car is 150,000 miles.
A Satirical Look at Recent News