Category Archives: John Semmens
John Semmens: Semi-News — A Satirical Look at Recent News
As the number of seriously ill patients whose access to treatment has been impeded by the Affordable Care Act continues to increase, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius insists that “the actual number affected represents only a tiny minority of the population.”
“No plan can comfortably accommodate every single person,” Sebelius pointed out. “Trade-offs are inevitable. We can’t let ourselves be distracted by the pitiful stories of a handful of unfortunate victims of rare diseases. The vast majority are receiving the coverage we deem essential.”
Providing the “vast majority” with contraceptives, mammograms, and sex change surgery while short-changing the desperately sick would appear to contradict the main purpose of insurance. According to Sebelius, though, “serving the majority’s needs is more democratic. Why should the healthy majority be denied the convenience of having basic services covered at the cost of investing society’s scarce resources in a futile effort to treat those likely to die from their ailments?”
The secretary argued that “from a broader perspective, culling the weakest from the herd is the sounder investment. The money saved by diverting funds from being spent on hopeless cases can be better used to serve the much larger number of persons who can benefit from basic preventive care.”
The IRS has estimated that the “basic care” provided by the Affordable Care Act will cost the average American family $20,000 a year—a statistic that Sebelius insisted “bolsters the case for prioritizing outlays to ensure as wide a distribution of benefits as possible. The notion that we should concentrate these outlays for the benefit of a sick minority flies in the face of political reality.”
Putin Cites Historic Precedent for Crimea Vote
In rebuttal to President Obama’s assertion that having voters in the Crimea decide whether to be immediately absorbed into Russia or to first declare independence from Ukraine before being absorbed is illegal and “on the wrong side of history,” Russian President Vladimir Putin cited a 20th century precedent in justification.
“A plebiscite in which the people of a region decide their own fate is the most democrat way of resolving sovereignty issues,” Putin said. “We are not inventing this method. In 1938 it was used to allow the people of Austria to unite with their fellow ethnic Germans. Why should we not use it to permit the majority of ethnic Russians in the Crimea to reunite with their mother country?”
The presence of Russian troops in the Crimea, according to Putin, “will ensure that the fascist Ukrainian minority does not intimidate the Russian majority from freely expressing its wishes.” The Russian President intimated that he has similar concerns that ethnic Russians are being mistreated in other nations bordering his country and “would not rule out forceful intervention to secure their liberty from their oppressors.”
Perhaps the most tragic consequence of the Crimean crisis is that it may force President Obama to cut short his Florida vacation. The trip, his third vacation since January 1st of this year, is considered “vital to the nation,” according to First Lady Michelle. “How can Barack be expected to retain his image as the world’s most important and powerful man if a minor skirmish in a far off part of the world is permitted to disrupt his plans? Rather than allowing himself to be diminished by events he should rise above them by doing as he pleases.”
Carney Explains President’s “God’s Will” Comment
Speaking to a group of “pro-choice” advocates for government-funded abortions, President Obama praised them as “doing God’s work.” In a bid to stem criticism from “pro life” opponents of abortion, Press Secretary Jay Carney suggested that “since God is supposed to be all-powerful, how can the President’s assertion be wrong?”
“When a person dies the devoutly religious often say God has called him back to heaven,” Carney recalled. “So, if a doctor sends a fetus back to heaven who’s to say he isn’t doing God’s work? Look at all the suffering that is averted. An unwanted child is spared a lifetime of pain. A hard-pressed would-be mother is spared the encumbrance of two decades of imprisonment as an unwilling caregiver. Aren’t these objectives worthy of God’s appreciation? I think those taking the President to task on this are skating on thin ice.”
In related news, at the University of Georgia, the Women’s Studies Student Organization and Sexual Health Advocacy Group screened off an anti-abortion demonstration so it could not be seen by passersby. Danielle Duncan, one of the pro-choice activists, defended what she characterized as “guerrilla censorship,” contending that “the pro-life display is hate speech, pure and simple. Showing the dismembered bodies of aborted fetuses could trigger negative emotions. So-called freedom of speech shouldn’t be used to offend people in this way.”
Taking the 5th Is Only Option for Lerner, Lawyer Says
There is little doubt that former IRS official Lois Lerner possesses key information on illegal activities conducted by the Agency. Emails from her account verify that. Yet, on two occasions, Lerner has invoked the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee against self-incrimination and refused to testify before Congress.
Lerner’s attorney Bill Taylor argues that “it is her only chance if she hopes to come out of this alive. This point was made clear to me when we talked to representatives at the Department of Justice. The Administration has many potent options for taking extreme action against my client. Convincing the DOJ that she is unshakably loyal is the only safe course she has. Should there be a smidgen of doubt about this she’s a goner.”
Taylor portrayed a looming contempt of Congress citation as “an inconsequential threat. Even if they levy this against her it will be up to the DOJ to pursue the case. We have assurances from AG Holder that she has nothing to fear along these lines. No one with any sense can blame Ms. Lerner for preferring to risk the animosity of an impotent Congress to that of a deadly earnest President Obama.”
In related news, Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz’s call for the IRS to be abolished was labeled “totally irresponsible” by Commissioner John Koskinen. “Cruz’s proposal for a simple flat tax would eviscerate the Agency’s flexibility. All income would be treated alike. We’d have no latitude to guide the economy by granting exemptions for favored activities or groups. The Agency’s utility as a tool of the Administration for rewarding those who are contributing to the success of its policies would be severely curtailed.”
Democrats Denounce Continued GOP Interference with Obamacare
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) denounced the latest GOP efforts to intervene in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. The former Speaker’s remarks followed a House vote to delay the individual mandate to purchase health insurance or pay a penalty.
“When will these people recognize that this is the president’s law?” Pelosi asked. “They’re the ones that insist it be called Obamacare, for heavens sake. Shouldn’t it be clear that if any changes are needed that the President be the one to enact them?”
That changes might be needed seems readily evident. Problems with the website, complaints from key Democratic constituencies, and potential political setbacks for the party come November have already led the President to make nearly two dozen illegal modifications to the statute.
“The assertion that it takes an Act of Congress to amend an Act of Congress is a non-starter for this pivotal legislation,” Special Assistant to the President Josh Earnest said. “There can be little doubt that the GOP’s objectives are to undermine this law. The President, in contrast, is trying to protect it. Who should we trust?”
“The Republicans in the House are wasting their time,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid boasted. “I control the Senate. I will ensure that no revisions to this law originating outside the oval office will ever be heard, much less voted on, in this chamber. No matter how many tales of suffering or hardship may be concocted, I will not be swayed from my determination to protect the president’s prerogative to shape the law as he sees fit.”
Union Defends Publishing Names of “Opt-Outs”
Lawrence Roehrig, international vice president of AFSCME and secretary treasurer of Michigan AFSCME Council 25, defended the union’s decision to publish the names of hospital workers who opted out of the union.
“Social pressure is one of the time-honored ways the union has used to encourage people to accept their responsibility to join,” Roehrig said. “If a non-joiner can keep his apostasy secret he will be able to shirk his responsibility without consequence. If he knows he will be unmasked he will be more inclined to do the right thing.”
Roehrig maintained that “the people opting out are doing so for selfish reasons. They allege that they don’t get enough value out of the dues they have to pay. The purpose of the union, though, is to promote the collective benefit of the whole workforce. People shouldn’t be allowed to leave just because they personally would be better off. They have a duty to sacrifice for the good of the whole.”
“With their names posted for all to see, these miscreants will know that they have only themselves to blame if coworkers exact a bit of informal justice on them,” Roehrig pointed out. “If this brings them to their senses we’ll welcome them back with no hard feelings.”
A Satirical Look at Recent News
John Semmens is a retired economist who has written a weekly political satire column for The Arizona Conservative since 2005. He says working on his satires is one of the ways he tries to honor the liberties that our nation’s Founding Fathers tried to protect.
Please do us a favor. If you use material created by The Arizona Conservative, give us credit, and DO NOT change the context. Thank you.
John Semmens: Semi-News — A Satirical Look at Recent News
In the midst of the Obama Administration’s efforts to “reform” IRS regulations, the Senate Democratic majority rejected language proposed by Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) that would have blocked the IRS from acting to penalize dissent against government policies and programs.
The specific text of Senator Cruz’s proposed language would have made it unlawful for the IRS to “willfully act with the intent to injure, oppress, threaten, intimidate, or single out and subject to undue scrutiny any person or organization in any state.”
As Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) explained, “whether intent is malicious or scrutiny is undue is a matter of opinion. Senator Cruz’s amendment would invite persons dissatisfied with how they are treated by the IRS to put the issue before a court. Frankly, we don’t see they need for that. The president and his appointees at the IRS are fully capable of rendering an appropriate interpretation on whether any actions taken by the agency are malicious or excessive.”
The Democrats also unanimously rejected Cruz’s amendment that would require the IRS to use the Federal Election Commission’s definition of political activity as a guide for whether more scrutiny or other action is warranted in any given case.
“Tying the IRS to a preexisting standard would hamper its flexibility to adjust to changing conditions,” Reid observed. “The Government must have as wide a latitude as possible if we are to deter individuals and organizations from engaging in unwarranted and unwanted political activities. The job of governing the nation is difficult enough without organized attempts to challenge the wisdom or intent of policies we deem necessary.”
“To be truthful, I’m sick and tired of those who are using the First Amendment as a crutch for their persistent opposition to this Administration’s policies,” Reid angrily continued. “The voters elected President Obama to do a job. Loyal Americans have an obligation to support their president in his efforts. Those intent on obstructing him are about as un-American as I can imagine.”
President Complains Media Give too Much Credence to His Opponents
President Obama expressed his frustration with a news media that “feels compelled to give air time to opponents of my policies. We all know that there is no substance to the views of these malcontents, but out of a ‘knee-jerk’ compulsion to appear even-handed the media are allowing them to voice their opposition to a wide audience.”
While acknowledging that “mainstream media outlets have been appropriately favorable in most of their coverage of what I’m trying to do, the sliver of contention that they allow to be juxtaposed to the Administration’s official proclamations is undermining the country faith in our program.”
One sign of the undermining of faith cited by the President was a poll showing that nearly 60 percent of Americans are disappointed in the Obama Presidency. “This destabilizing shift of opinion never would’ve happened if the media had been more discreet and selective with who they give air time to,” Obama maintained. “Just think about the damage that would be done to people’s religious faith if Satan were given equal time, or even any time, at weekly church services. Isn’t it about time that we stop allowing the voices of political evil into our living rooms? Isn’t it about time that the FCC takes stronger measures to ensure these voices are more muted?”
Inability to Cancel Called a “Feature, not a Flaw” of Obamacare
A new problem with Obamacare is that people who have signed up and later changed their minds are finding it impossible to stop the automatic deductions of premiums from their bank accounts. A Florida man has spent over 50 hours trying to stop $300 per month debits to his checking account for coverage he no longer needs. After six weeks of effort he has yet to succeed.
“I found a plan that costs only $116 a month for similar coverage,” Andrew Robinson said. “I want to cancel the more expensive and now redundant $300 plan, but haven’t been able to accomplish that.”
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius denied that this is yet another “glitch” in the Affordable Care Act’s implementation. “We cannot have people canceling coverage willy-nilly,” she asserted. “The decision on whether to discontinue a plan is one that we cannot carelessly leave up to unqualified individuals.”
As for redundancy, Sebelius argued that “it is better that a person be over-insured than uninsured. If we let people just drop plans that they decide they don’t want there is too much risk that they’ll end up without any coverage. Our Department has a process for evaluating which plans are a better fit for each person. We will determine when or if a particular plan may or may not be dropped for any given individual.”
Sebelius also contended that “the so-called redundancy issue is phony. From a collective standpoint all of the premiums collected will be put to use for someone’s benefit. Any one person who pays for more than he needs simply helps contribute toward our shared responsibility for the well-being of others.”
In related news, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) characterized those who allege that they have been made worse off by the Affordable Care Act as “liars, pure and simple. This law was passed for the good of the country. It is inconceivable to me that the end result could be to make anyone worse off. Contentions that persons are being denied critical care because previous insurance that they liked was canceled by ACA rules can only be fabrications. We ought to be cracking down on these people for slandering the President and the Democratic Party.”
First Lady Calls for More Stringent Food Regulations
Claiming that “America’s moms are confused and bewildered by the task of selecting from a wide array of non-standardized options when it comes to feeding their families,” First Lady Michelle Obama made a plea for more rigorous government control over what’s available for purchase.
“Reading the labels of multiple alternatives for a single food item is, at best, time consuming,” Michelle complained. “Understanding these labels is also daunting. Is there any mom who can be expected to know how to choose wisely?”
The first lady suggested that “if nutrition experts were to oversee what’s available we could simplify the process of shopping by eliminating the redundancies of stocking more than one product for each food item. Rather than having to weigh which of a half-dozen cans of beans to buy, the shopper could simply decide whether to buy the only available can that has been certified as the best by the experts.”
“Businesses would also benefit from not having to stock so many items,” she added. “This will save time in purchasing inventory. It will reduce the shelf space needed and lower the real estate costs of grocery stores. If we could convert the unneeded floor space into an area for calisthenics the time moms saved by not having to read product labels could be invested in aerobic exercise that would be of far better benefit to their health.”
Senator Calls Keystone Pipeline a Health Threat
Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif) wants the EPA to take a closer look at the proposal to build the Keystone Pipeline. The pipeline would replace rail transport of oil from Canada and is considered a generally safer means of getting the flammable commodity to its destination.
Boxer sought to clarify her opposition to the pipeline, saying that “I’m not stupid. I know that trains sometimes get derailed and that in terms of the safety of transporting oil a pipeline would be less dangerous. The point I am trying to make is that a cheaper and safer mode of shipping will mean lower costs and higher supplies. This means more fossil fuel will be burned. The emissions from burning more fuel are what worry me.”
“The pollutants from fossil fuel burning cause cancer and heart disease,” Boxer declared. “Making this energy source more plentiful and affordable means more people will die. The EPA needs to consider the benefits of making fuel less plentiful and more expensive in its analysis of the Keystone proposal.”
“The higher we can push the cost of fueling automobile travel the better chance we will have of pricing people out of this market,” Boxer envisioned. “Those for whom we make it unaffordable to drive will have to use public transit. This requires more walking to reach stops and stations, which is healthier.”
AG Says Enforcing the Law Is “Optional”
US Attorney General Eric Holder urged his state attorney general counterparts “to not let rigid adherence to the prescribed duties of your office force you into enforcing laws with which you disagree. As your state’s top legal official you have a prosecutor’s discretion to decline to enforce such laws.”
Holder cited the Obama Administration’s successful refusal to enforce laws it dislikes “as proof it can be done. I’m not saying that there won’t be complaints. There most certainly will be those who try to pressure you to blindly follow your state’s laws. But what can they really do?”
The AG praised those “willing to boldly seize the initiative of overtly flouting imagined constraints,” but also admitted that “a subtler strategy of quietly dragging your feet could be just as effective in some jurisdictions.”
A Satirical Look at Recent News
John Semmens is a retired economist who has written a weekly political satire column for The Arizona Conservative since 2005. He says working on his satires is one of the ways he tries to honor the liberties that our nation’s Founding Fathers tried to protect.
Please do us a favor. If you use material created by The Arizona Conservative, give us credit, and DO NOT change the context. Thank you.
The Federal Communications Commission plan to send “researchers” into newsrooms in order to observe how stories are selected and reported has sparked fears of government intimidation and censorship. Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, said “the mere presence of agents of the government may exert a subtle pressure to slant reporting in a way that deters critical coverage of Administration policies.”
Ajit Pai, one of the FCC’s Commissioners, voiced his concern that “this claimed ‘information gathering effort’ to ascertain the ‘philosophy’ behind how those in the news media do their jobs could stifle dissent. It strikes me as beyond the scope of the Commission’s legitimate authority.”
Representative Fred Upton (R-Mich), Chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce argued that “The FCC was created to ensure that broadcast media is competitive and is not monopolized by any one business entity or point of view. Sending personnel from the FCC into newsrooms to ask about their ‘philosophy’ and demanding to know who chooses which stories to report isn’t a necessary or appropriate method for carrying out the agency’s legally authorized responsibilities. It has the heavy-handed appearance of a tactic aimed at influencing how the news is reported.”
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler characterized these apprehensions as “the typical overreactions of those who are out-of-step with President Obama’s agenda for transforming this country. Our goal at this stage of the process is to obtain information on who is doing what. Media outlets that are doing a good job of covering essential information and meeting the needs of under-served populations can avoid duplicating the fate of Jay Leno whose excessive and inappropriate mockery of the President necessitated his involuntary exit from his cherished gig as host of the Tonight Show.”
FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn defended the initiative saying that “we must emphatically insist that we leave no American behind when it comes to receiving the news that the Administration has determined is essential for them to hear. Finding out who is adequately doing this job and who is not must be the first step in any plan to reform how information is transmitted by media outlets entrusted with this public responsibility.”
First Lady Says Obamacare Needed to “Save Young People from Their Own Stupidity”
In an interview on the Tonight Show, Michelle Obama unveiled the latest effort of the Administration to induce young and healthy adults to sign up for health insurance by pointing out how stupid this target cohort is.
“If you look at how young people behave it’s clear that the vast majority of them are knuckleheads,” she asserted. “They can’t be trusted to do this simplest tasks—like making a sandwich—without hurting themselves. Their choices for leisure activities are typically dangerous and irresponsible—you know, smoking dope, getting drunk and then getting behind the steering wheel of a car. We’re trying to get the message to these youngsters that they need the insurance the Affordable Care Act requires them to buy.”
Michelle admitted that “the low enrollment rates for this group are a cause for concern. In hindsight, our expectation that these folks could be compelled to sign up of their own volition under threat of a penalty was probably overly optimistic. Educating them about their responsibility is a difficult and likely hopeless undertaking. We really need to find some way of making the sign-ups and the extraction of fees automatic.”
Perhaps, though, these young adults aren’t as clueless as the Administration thinks. True enough, they voted overwhelmingly for Obama. On the other hand, in a recent study, researchers from the Stanford University of Medicine found that among those suffering traumatic injuries, uninsured patients get better care than those who are insured. It seems that those with insurance are routed to hospitals on their plan while those without insurance are taken to the nearest trauma center.
This Week’s New Executive Orders
True to his word, President Obama bypassed Congress this week with a trifecta of new Executive Orders.
Concerned that trucking firms are “needlessly wasting money on gas-guzzling semi-trucks,” the President ordered haulers to “improve their MPGs.” As Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx explained, “no one cares more about this country and its well-being that President Obama. These truckers may be satisfied to fritter away costly fuel, but the President is not. Unless they clean up their act we will shut them down.”
In a bid to end the debate over global warming, President Obama issued an Executive Order declaring that “the science proving global warming is irrefutable.” Because the consequences of denying global warming are “severe” the Order bars any firm or individual that contests this irrefutable climate science from bidding on, or participating in, any work funded by the federal government.
On Wednesday President Obama corrected an omission from President Franklin Roosevelt’s 1941 State-of-the-Union speech by adding “freedom to enjoy sodomy” to FDR’s famous “four freedoms.” Previously, the four freedoms included freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. “Even though Americans’ right to pursue happiness could be construed to include this right—as it could be construed to include FDR’s list—for similar reasons it is clear to me that a more explicit enumeration is required to ensure that this right will never be abridged by those who refuse to participate under the guise of feigned religious objections by the practitioners and purveyors of intolerance.”
Administration Insists that Increase in Minimum Wage Will Increase Employment
The Obama Administration battled back against the Congressional Budget Office finding that boosting the minimum wage would cost the economy about 500,000 jobs.
In a “tweet” sent out to his followers, the President wrote “The notion that raising the price of labor will cause employers to purchase less of it is an out-dated misconception. Our research shows it will create 140,000 jobs.”
Jason Furman, Chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers explained that “the biggest disincentive for getting a job is low wages. Right now with the minimum wage at only $7.25 per hour it makes more sense for people to go on welfare than go to work. We estimate that raising the minimum to $10.10 will inspire as many as 140,000 of these so-called ‘slackers’ to accept jobs they previously scorned.”
“With additional 140,000 persons receiving these higher wages we will pump over $30 billion into the economy, thus making the increase self-financing,” Furman contended. “Better paid workers will buy more stuff. This will lead to higher sales and profits for businesses. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.”
Asked why businesses would have to be compelled to pay higher wages if his theories are correct, Furman suggested that “the people running businesses may not be sophisticated enough to grasp the big picture. From their short-sighted and self-centered perspective, they think that holding down costs is prudent and efficient. They can’t comprehend the seemingly nonsensical reality that paying more for something is the path to greater efficiency at the collective level. Thus, we must force them to do what’s best for themselves and everyone else.”
William Dunkelberg, small business, entrepreneurship and consumer behavior specialist for Forbes magazine, called the President’s and Furman’s contentions “ludicrous and utterly inane. If it is to survive a business must hold its costs below its revenues. If we raise the cost of labor it creates a need for businesses to reduce their use of this input. The inevitable outcome is that fewer jobs will be offered.”
White House Puts Lid on Drone Killing Info
Complaining that “the release of information on the Administration’s use of drones to kill its enemies has led to unforeseen consequences,” Presidential Press Secretary Jay Carney said “there will be no further information forthcoming about any aspect of this program.”
“The thinking was that the Administration’s aggressive use of this technology to counter threats to national security would be met with a greater sense of appreciation,” Carney opined. “Unfortunately, it has not. Instead it has resulted in a spiral of annoying questions from the media wanting to know too many details.”
“Some opponents of the President are raising accusations that these killings violate due process,” Carney said. “Others worry about the collateral damage to nearby innocent parties from using missiles to take out the intended target. These kind of distractions are impeding the President’s latitude to carry out actions he deems appropriate. It has become clear that a greater degree of secrecy would better serve our interests.”
Retiring NSA Snoop Says Eavesdropping Is Not Indiscriminate
General Keith Alexander, who is leaving his post as the Director of the Nation Security Agency next month, denied that the agency is spying on everyone. “We have not been indiscriminate in our selection of who to monitor,” Alexander maintained. “The Government pretty much knows who its enemies are.”
The General justified the huge volume of data being collected by alleging that “the dangerous persons we feel must be kept under surveillance easily exceeds tens of millions of individuals in this country alone. Sixty million people voted against President Obama in 2012. There are an estimated 270 million firearms in the hands of private citizens in the United States—obviously, many of these weapons are in the hands of the President’s opponents. Under such circumstances, it is prudent that we remain as alert and watchful as we can.”
John Semmens: Semi-News — A Satirical Look at Recent News
“The biggest problems we’re facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch, and not go through Congress at all,” the then 2008 presidential candidate Obama said. “That’s what I intend to reverse when I’m president of the United States of America.”
The sharp contrast of this earlier sentiment with his current “have pen, will rule” stance was brushed aside as “a phony issue” by President Obama. “The crucial point is the ends to which the power is used. Executive orders that thwart social justice and progressive policies are clearly abusive. However, when it is clear that those wielding legislative authority refuse to support these goals it is incumbent on the president to shoulder the burden. So, I’d have to say that given the differing circumstances there is no contradiction.”
“In fact, as well-informed observers have pointed out, my post enactment amendments to the Affordable Care Act are both ‘wise and courageous,’” the president added. “As MSNBC’s Chris Matthews put it, ‘we have in President Obama a bold leader willing to break free of the chains of stale legalistic formalism and blaze a new path of governance.’ Why shouldn’t I use every means I can to ensure that the best policies are implemented?”
NSA’s Revenue Generating Potential Being Explored
The Obama Administration is reportedly evaluating the possibility of using data gathered by the National Security Agency (NSA) to help fund the government.
NSA Deputy Director Richard Ledgett says that “for too long we’ve been overlooking the commercial opportunities of this vast surveillance project. We know what web sites people have been visiting. We know who they’ve been calling on their cell phones. And in many instances we’ve been reading their emails. There has got to be a lot of businesses that would pay substantial sums to have a peek at this information.”
Ledgett speculated that “the obvious customers for purchasing this information would appear to be corporations seeking probable buyers of their products or services. But on the flip side we believe that there may be a market amongst persons wanting us to withhold release of data that might be inconvenient or embarrassing. We haven’t yet developed a refined plan for realizing the full revenue potential, but we are seriously exploring options.”
Jason Furman, chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, sees the revenue potential as “a heretofore untapped resource. As changing lifestyles diminish the traditional methods of funding the government, as more people choose subsidized leisure over gainful employment, the idea that we can support the public sector by simply taxing productive effort is becoming out-dated. In our so-called ‘information age’ it seems fitting that we exploit the information the government has gone to such great lengths to acquire in order to help finance the government’s needs.”
Campaign Finance Law Enables IRS Harassment of Conservatives
The impetus behind the passage of federal laws to regulate contributions to political campaigns was the idea that this would prevent the surreptitious influence of big money in elections. By requiring donors identities to be disclosed to the Federal Elections Commission voters would be able to find out who was backing a candidate or a cause. That the government might use this information to punish dissent was overlooked.
Anonymity has long been a method by which persons critical of the government have protected themselves from retaliation. Pamphleteers of the American Revolutionary Era often used pseudonyms for this purpose. The failure of proponents of the campaign finance laws to consider why this was done has had pernicious effects.
Cleta Mitchell, member of the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Election Law, says that “many donors to conservative causes and candidates are showing up as targets of IRS audits. The increased frequency of this type of thing is disturbing. The message that is going to be taken from this is that daring to assist an opponent of the Democratic Party is an invitation to increased harassment.”
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen rebuffed GOP complaints saying that “there is nothing in the statutes that guarantees an equal distribution of audits among persons of various political leanings. If these GOP donors have done nothing wrong they have nothing to worry about.”
Mitchell wasn’t reassured, however. “An IRS audit is a grueling ordeal even when the taxpayer has totally complied with the complex tax code,” she observed. “By itself an audit is viewed as a punishment by the person undergoing the scrutiny. In the absence of probable cause one would hope that the selection of audit targets would be done in a random manner. That political factors might be used is abusive and tyrannical.”
President Urges Congressional Allies to Ignore Political Cost of Supporting His Agenda
With polls showing plunging support for his policies and programs, President Obama attempted to soothe the fears of Democrats facing reelection battles in November.
“The Democratic agenda is more important than whether any specific member of our Party wins in November,” Obama declared. “I’d even go so far as to say that whether we have a majority in either House after November is largely irrelevant. My executive authority is sufficient for the implementation of our agenda.”
Obama reassured that “those of you who are retired against your will by the voters of your state or district can count on me to find you a comfortable post within the executive branch.”
The president discounted the risk that “even should the Republicans gain a nominal majority in Congress I doubt we have much to fear. Many of the GOP leaders have privately assured me that we are on the same page with where we want to take the country. In some ways, allowing them to take over the Legislative branch could be optimal. I could still rule by executive order while they could futilely rant against my usurpation of their authority. Effective opposition would be totally neutralized.”
Not all Democrats were mollified by Obama’s reassurances. Senator Carl Levin (D-Mich) urged the President “to deploy the IRS to crack down on right wing political organizations in the months running up to the November elections. Short of secret arrests and assassinations, the IRS is the most potent weapon in the government’s arsenal. If we want to ensure that the champions of progressive policies can continue to hold onto the reins of power we need to use this weapon.”
Statistics from the 2012 election cycle appear to bear out Senator Levin’s perspective on the importance of the effective use of the IRS. During that cycle 100 percent of the political organizations subjected to IRS audit were conservative or “right-leaning” in their politics. While these right-leaning groups were otherwise preoccupied with fending off IRS harassment, President Obama sailed to reelection for a second term.
US Falls to 46th in Global Press Freedom Rankings
The annual report of Reporters without Borders rates the amount of “freedom of the press” that exists in each nation. In this year’s rankings the United States fell to 46th–meaning that 45 countries have a greater degree of freedom of the press than the U.S.
Included among the countries ranking as more free than the U.S. are former Communist nations (Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Latvia, and Romania) and third world nations (Jamaica, Costa Rica, Namibia, Cape Verde, Uruguay, Ghana, Belize, Suriname, Antigua and Barbuda, El Salvador, Samoa, Botswana, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, and Papua New Guinea).
Press Secretary Jay Carney said “the Administration has mixed feelings about these results. On the one hand, we are very happy with the kind of relationship we have with this country’s media. On the other hand, this ranking does give a negative impression, but at least we are ahead of Russia and China.”
Russia ranked 148th and China 175th in the report. Finland ranked 1st.
Homosexual Athlete as “Courageous as a Combat Soldier”
The public announcement of Missouri football player Michael Sam that he is homosexual was lauded as “courageous as a combat soldier” by Paulette Aniskoff, deputy assistant to the president and director of the Office of Public Engagement this past week.
“I’m not saying that our troops aren’t brave,” Aniskoff explained. “Sure, they could get shot or blown up, but this happens out of view in some far off land. Michael Sam’s homosexuality is on full public display right here in America. There’s no way for him to escape into anonymity.”
Ironically, “anonymity” regarding Sam’s sexual orientation is what he sacrificed by his unsolicited announcement. “That’s what makes his announcement so heroic,” Aniskoff insisted. “He gave up his privacy in a way that helps advance the president’s push to normalize homosexuality. Boys look to athletes as role models. If a high-profile player is homosexuality then it signals to every young man that being homosexual is okay, even admirable. In the grand scheme of things this accomplishes more than any soldier can achieve just by doing his job, even if he might be killed or wounded in the process.”
A Satirical Look at Recent News
John Semmens is a retired economist who has written a weekly political satire column for The Arizona Conservative since 2005. He says working on his satires is one of the ways he tries to honor the liberties that our nation’s Founding Fathers tried to protect.
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John Semmens: Semi-News — A Satirical Look at Recent News
Democrats touted a Congressional Budget Office report that projects more than 2 million workers will opt out of full time work because of the Affordable Care Act’s subsidies for unemployed and underemployed persons.
“While the Administration’s opponents will try to make this look like bad news, the fact is that work is a disutility,” said Press Secretary Jay Carney. “Everyone knows that leisure is man’s preferred state. By enabling more people to obtain health insurance at government expense, the Affordable Care Act is liberating millions from the drudgery of full time employment.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) maintains that “enabling more people to escape the burdens of toil was one of the key objectives of the Act. Ideally, we would’ve liked to extend this same benefit to every American. Unfortunately, some will still be required to work longer hours in order to provide the funds needed to subsidize the benefits we were able to give to those willing to abandon full time jobs.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid hailed “the end of job-lock. By leveraging the efforts of those willing to work longer hours we have been able to subsidize the health insurance of those who have better uses for their time. Combined with the expansion of the disability rolls and the extension of unemployment benefits, the Affordable Care Act is helping to create a new class of free agents in our society. It is a dream come true for a growing segment of our population.”
Ironically, the CBO report also projected that in 10 years the number of Americans without health insurance is expected to exceed 30 million—virtually the same number that was cited as a rationale for imposing the Obamacare mandate. “There will always be people who refuse to cooperate with the program,” Carney acknowledged. “Hopefully, the IRS will be able to track them down and fine them for noncompliance.”
In related news, Carney maintained that the $4,000 per year decline in median household income since the start of the Obama Administration is “evidence of an America turning away from materialistic concerns.
Households are taking home less money because the Administration’s policies have helped persuade people that grubbing for dollars is not an appealing way to live one’s life.”
Infrastructure, Not Freedom, Is Key to Economic Growth, Says Biden
Vice-President and potential contender for the 2016 Democratic nomination for President, Joe Biden rejected contentions that individual freedom is crucial to economic growth.
“I know a lot of people keep insisting that it is America’s free market and individual rights that account for this country’s phenomenal economic growth, but is that really the case?” Biden asked. “Look at the rapid economic growth achieved by the Soviet Union during the 1930s and 40s. By mobilizing armies of human labor to build canals and mine metals they were able to transform perishable human resources into the durable infrastructure that vaulted the country from a backward agrarian-based economy to a world super power.”
The vice-president wondered whether “their divergence from that strategy might be a factor in Russia’s recent decline from its pinnacle of rivalry with the United States. Perhaps their attempts to emulate our freer markets are misguided.”
Biden suggested that “maybe it’s time we rethink our mindless devotion to individualism in this country. The choices that many individuals make when decisions are left up to them are often frivolous and anti-social. Consumers don’t want to go ‘green’ because it’s more costly. They don’t want to use public transit because it’s less convenient. How long should we allow such selfish concerns to warp our economy?”
Jailed Legislator Defends Himself
Though currently serving a six-month sentence for assaulting a woman who declined to have sex with him, Representative Carlos Henriquez (D-Suffolk) refuses to resign from the Massachusetts House.
“First of all, my incarceration is illegal,” Henriquez argued. “Members of the legislature are supposed to have immunity. Secondly, the Ethics Committee’s recommendation that I be removed from office contradicts the vote of the people of my district who are entitled to have the person of their choice represent them. Nowhere in the State Constitution does it say that a person in prison cannot serve in the legislature.”
The representative has suggested that “a six-month leave of absence would best serve the interests of everyone involved. The will of the voters would be respected. The expense of a special election would be avoided. And I could rejoin the legislature refreshed and with a new perspective on the issue of state corrections policy.”
Henriquez, who has been a prominent advocate against gun violence, says there is no inconsistency in his behavior. “If that woman had a gun I’d probably be dead,” he pointed out. “So, I’d say that Massachusetts’ tight control over gun ownership has clearly saved at least one life.”
Congresswoman Proposes Expedited Legislative Procedure
Citing the “unwarranted thwarting of the will of the people by the Republicans in the House,” Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) unveiled what she called “an expedited legislative procedure.” Under this procedure, a so-called “full employment caucus” comprised of Democratic lawmakers will draft Executive Orders and pass them on to President Obama for his signature.
“We cannot sit by idly while the GOP uses out-dated clauses of the Constitution to block the initiatives of the Administration,” Jackson said. “By gathering the true representatives of voters into our caucus we can ensure that the President’s will prevails over obstructionism.”
Jackson went on to point out that “as long as everyone is willing to comply with the president’s executive orders they have the same impact as an Act of Congress. We’ll be able to bypass Congressional gridlock and get things moving.”
Included among the items under consideration for this expedited procedure are an increase in the minimum wage, extending unemployment benefits, loosening the restrictions on food stamps, and amnesty for immigrants in this country illegally. “Removing these impediments to prosperity is essential if the president’s vision for America is to be realized,” Jackson asserted.
Senator Cries “Foul” over Campaign Ads
Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) expressed outrage over a series of campaign ads informing voters of her support for the Affordable Care Act. While not disputing the accuracy of the content, Hagan contended that “the more important question is who is behind these ads.”
“Whether I voted for the Affordable Care Act years ago is a moot issue at this point in time,” the Senator claimed. “The past cannot be undone. What matters is the future. The money being put into rehashing the past by the Americans for Prosperity campaign against me is obscuring this crucial fact.”
“Instead of allowing themselves to be confused by ‘Monday morning quarterbacking’ of the sort that these ads are undertaking, voters need to focus on what I am promising to do for them if I am reelected,” Hagan urged. “They need to ask themselves if they want to follow the siren song of lower taxes that Americans for Prosperity is trying play for them or do they want to reconfirm the trust they placed in me six years ago.”
IRS Employees to Get Bonuses
The IRS will pay out over $40 million in employee performance bonuses for the year 2013. Commissioner John Koskinen explained that “the bonuses are necessary if we want to attract the kind of people we need at the agency.”
Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) called the bonuses “outrageous. Given the fact that the IRS was shown to be targeting conservatives for discriminatory treatment these bonuses send the wrong message.”
The National Treasury Employees Union took issue with Hatch’s view saying that “none of these employees should be punished for faithfully following orders. Senator Hatch’s grievance is with the president and his direct appointees, not the rank-and-file who merely carried out directives received from above.”
Commissioner Koskinen agreed saying that “rather than try to take his ‘pound of flesh’ from these loyal low-level bureaucrats, the Senator, if he has objections that he thinks warrant penalties, should aim them at his real target. If he thinks he has a case he should draft articles of impeachment against the President. The misuse of authority he alleges would appear to be an ‘impeachable offense’ as I understand the term.”
President Says O’Reilly Interview “Crossed the Line”
Bristling from what he characterized as “disrespectful and abusive treatment” he received during an interview, President Obama vowed never to appear on Fox News again.
“After I agreed to sacrifice some of my precious time in order to grant Mr. O’Reilly an interview prior to the Super Bowl I was greeted with insistent and intrusive questioning on topics I didn’t want to talk about,” Obama complained. “Worse, my veracity was impugned. Rather than just accept my word, Mr. Reilly seemed determined to demand some sort of independent verification, some sort of external evidence. I am not accustomed to being treated this way.”
The president said he will be conferring with advisers “to ascertain whether there are steps we can take to prevent a recurrence of this kind of disrespect. I’m certain that Mr. Reilly has done things that he’d rather keep private. If he were more clearly apprised of the risks he faces I am confident he will not repeat his errors.”
A Satirical Look at Recent News
John Semmens: Semi-News — A Satirical Look at Recent News
Inspired by the NFL’s aggressive action against unauthorized use of the term “Super Bowl,” the Obama Administration is reportedly taking steps to copyright the term “Obamacare.” The most recent example of the NFL’s protection of its copyright occurred when the town of East Rutherford, New Jersey—site of Super Bowl XLVIII—was barred from calling its pre-game block party a “Super Bowl” party.
“We understand that the people of East Rutherford might feel they have some rights because they funded the stadium,” said NFL spokesman Harvey Hogg. “Well, they have the right to see the game played in their home town if they buy a ticket.” Ticket prices range from $1500 per seat in the upper deck near the end zone to more than $5,000 for one at the 50-yard-line.
White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett reasoned that “by securing the copyright to the name ‘Obamacare’ we could prevent anyone from using it without our approval. Since all of the bad press over the healthcare mess is associated with this name, preventing our opponents from using it would crimp their ability to gain traction criticizing the program.”
Jarrett took comfort in a Jimmy Kimmel poll showing that “voters have a much more favorable impression of the ‘Affordable Care Act’ than they do of ‘Obamacare.’ If we can force the Republicans to refer to the healthcare program by its official name the battle for who will win the 2014 elections is half won before it even starts.”
Pelosi Disavows Responsibility for Obamacare Failures
In an appearance on The Daily Show, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) insisted that “none of the problems of the Affordable Care Act are my fault. The bill we passed was over 2800 pages. I didn’t have time, no one had time to carefully read all of its provisions to see if there might be any glitches.”
“Beyond this there is always the problem of bureaucratic incompetence,” Pelosi continued. “Time after time we have passed legislation aimed at helping people—veterans benefits, medicare, medicaid, and now universal health insurance—only to see treatments bungled, services denied, and money wasted. It’s criminal.”
The show’s host, Jon Stewart, seemed perplexed by the Minority Leader’s stance. “With a repetition of the same kinds of problems in program after program when does learning from experience set in?” he asked.
“That’s a good question,” Pelosi acknowledged. “But you’re asking the wrong person. I’m no policy analyst. It’s the job of Congress to express the aspirations of the people by enacting laws that address their hopes and dreams. We trust the experts to make these laws work. If they can’t do that I guess there is no hope and the dream turns into a nightmare. The one thing we must not let happen is to give in to the naysayers who would exploit this failure to divert us from our course.”
White House Denies Gender Hypocrisy
In his State-of-the-Union speech, President Obama denounced pay inequities between men and women. Critics expressing doubts about his sincerity cited the fact that on the President’s own staff men are paid more than women. Among White House employees the 228 women pull down a median annual salary of $65,000 while 231 male staffers receive nearly $75,000.
White House chief of staff Denis McDonough denied any hypocrisy on the part of the President. “Salaries at the White House are based on factors that consider skills, experience, level of education, and performance on the job,” McDonough said. “To use the raw data to imply that there is discrimination against women is unfair.”
McDonough saw no inconsistency in the President’s use of similar raw data to impugn the rest of the American economy. “We know that the President has no biases against women,” McDonough assured. “The same cannot be said for others. Government action to correct for the biases of the less enlightened employers who are wreaking injustice upon women and minorities is all the President was urging in his speech.”
That there might be more variables in the more complex employment environment outside the realm of White House desk jobs didn’t seem to faze either President Obama or his Chief of Staff. Studies have shown that more men than women choose jobs that offer higher monetary rewards. More men also work longer hours than women do. When these types of factors are considered the “pay gap” tends to disappear.
In related news, the New York Times reports that Obamacare regulations are inducing more employers to cut worker hours to under 30 per week in order to avoid having to pay for health insurance. The effects are disproportionately hurting female employees who, more so than men, tend to favor part time jobs.
Boehner Immigration Reform Outline Garners Praise
House Speaker John Boehner’s outline for a prospective immigration reform bill received an encouraging “thumbs up” of approval from Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY). “With the Republicans agreeing on a broad-based amnesty we have a good foundation for the type of reform we need.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) was more cautious in her assessment. “I don’t want to say what John has done isn’t a worthy effort,” she declared. “However, legalizing these immigrants without giving them a fast-track to citizenship is unacceptable. They’ve been mowing our lawns and making our beds for under-the-table wages for too long. It’s time they got full voting rights so they can participate in our democracy.”
President Obama’s pollster, Joel Benenson, echoed Pelosi’s view saying that “legalized non-citizens may satisfy the Chamber of Commerce’s interests, but it doesn’t offer enough to win Democratic support. If business gets their cheap labor we ought to get new Democratic voters as a quid pro quo.”
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush (R) called the GOP’s enactment of immigration reform “essential if they want me to run for president in 2016. It is the key to creating the kind of joyful environment that would make being the country’s president a worthwhile use of my time.”
SOTU Slams “Stagnant Economy”
President Obama vowed to rescue the country from the “enemies of prosperity” in his speech on the State-of-the-Union Tuesday.
“Too many people are without jobs because businesses place profit ahead of employment,” the president complained. “This is the outcome of the perverse incentives of our market economy. If Congress will not act to offset these incentives I will take Executive action to rectify this injustice.”
“Too many people are without an income because they have no jobs,” Obama asserted. “This is the outcome of a mentality that insists that being self-supporting is somehow a requirement for survival. If Congress will not act to eliminate this requirement I will take Executive action to see that it happens.”
“Too many people’s welfare benefits are threatened because the government lacks the resources to ensure a steady and reliable flow of resources to sustain them,” Obama warned. “This is the outcome of an obsession with fiscal solvency. If Congress will not raise the taxes needed to fully fund these programs I will take Executive action to secure whatever revenues are necessary.”
Representative Steve Stockman (R-Texas) took issue with both the President’s assertions and his proposed remedy of “Executive action.” “The job situation is bleak because the President’s policies have increased the cost of employing people,” Stockman contended. “The culture of dependency he has cultivated and vows to expand and entrench contradicts the principles of freedom upon which this country was founded. His intention to bypass Congress in order to impose his will is beyond his Constitutional authority and invites impeachment.”
In related news, North Carolina has enjoyed an economic boom since ending extended unemployment benefits last July. This occurred in the face of Democratic forecasts that cutting off these payments for not working would devastate the state’s economy. NC State Representative Jason Saine (R-Raleigh) who had himself been a recipient of extended unemployment benefits observed that “years of extended benefits didn’t seem to be having a positive effect on jobs. We decided, instead, to try cutting business taxes to stimulate the economy. I’m happy to say that this seems to be working.”
University Announces New “Kangaroo Court” Procedures for Sex Accusations
Determined to “stamp out the scourge of sexual abuse,” Columbia University President Lee Bollinger unveiled a new set of procedures for prosecuting students accused of sexual assault and harassment.
Under the new guidelines, a student accused of an offense will be given a five-day advance notice (if possible) of his disciplinary hearing, will not be entitled to legal representation, will not be permitted to directly question his accuser or any witnesses, and will be judged by a three-member panel of experts composed of two administrators and one student. Punishments may be imposed before a verdict is rendered at the discretion of the school.
“Those who are criticizing the so-called violations of due process that these procedures entail are seeking to inject notions of individual justice that are inappropriate for both the University and the seriousness of the charged offense,” Bollinger maintained. “The rights of the accused that they are trying to insist we observe do not apply to the University community. Accusers need to know that we will do everything we can to ensure that they need not live in fear that their accusations will be devalued by adherence to rigid standards of evidence or that clever legalistic cross examination might be used to discredit their story.”
Bollinger downplayed the risk that students might be unfairly accused or convicted by false or flimsy evidence saying that “we feel it is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to these kinds of allegations. Those who might be unjustly treated will still be free to carry on with their lives elsewhere. Those traumatized by what they perceive to have been a sexual assault or harassment are psychologically damaged for life.”
A Satirical Look at Recent News
John Semmens: Semi-News — A Satirical Look at Recent News
New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton defended the bludgeoning of 84 year old Kang Wong by City police officers as “fully justified.” The incident occurred as part of the City’s new “get tough on jaywalking” campaign. Wong, who does not speak English was roughed up by several cops when he failed to obey the first officer’s command to stay put as he wrote Wong a ticket for jaywalking. After the beat down Wong was taken to the hospital where surgical staples had to be applied to close a scalp wound.
Bratton insisted that the scalp wound “must’ve happened when Mr. Wong fell,” and discounted the possibility that one of the many blows to the head he received from the officers’ batons could have been responsible. “In our view, the intervention of the City Police may have saved Mr. Wong’s life,” Bratton speculated. “The street on which he was jaywalking was the site of a pedestrian fatality earlier that very same day.”
The Commissioner brushed aside critics’ contentions that excessive force was used. “Crossing the street mid-block is against the law,” Bratton pointed out. “Law breakers like Mr. Wong expose themselves to harm by breaking this law and have only themselves to blame if they suffer damage for lack of expeditious compliance with the commands of a duly authorized member of the Police Force.”
Fudged Bio Defended as “True in Spirit”
Recent revelations that the campaign biography touting the gubernatorial candidacy of Texas State Senator Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth) contains multiple inaccuracies were declared a “smear” by Davis.
“Whether any specific item is precisely factual is not as important as whether the essential message is true,” the Senator said. “Unlike my opponent, I am a working mother who has overcome significant handicaps to rise as a spokesperson for women’s rights. If we allow this essential truth to be submerged in a cacophony of nick-picking, fact-checking ‘gotchas’ we allow the good old boy network to win.”
Unlike most working mothers, Davis ceded custody of her two children (including one fathered by another man in a previous marriage) to her most recent former husband, whom she divorced after he finished paying off the costs of her Harvard Law School education.
Similarly, Davis’ contention that she has suffered hardships “unknown” to her opponent also raised a discordant note. Her opponent, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (R), age 56, has been confined to a wheel chair since age 26 when his spine was broken by a falling tree. “Well, Mr. Abbott may be paralyzed, but he has never known the pains of child birth,” Davis asserted. “So, I’d have to say that he is unable to identify with the half of the population that has to face this affliction solely because of their sex.”
Davis’ campaign remains confident that “our ‘stand with Wendy’ slogan’s imagery absolutely trumps anything Abbott can do. He’s in a wheelchair. How can anyone stand with him?’
AG Says US Still a “Nation of Cowards” on Race
US Attorney General Eric Holder doubled down on his 2009 claim that American whites are cowards when it comes to race. In a Q & A session after a speech at the University of Virginia, Holder professed himself “more convinced than ever of the ingrained cowardice of white racists.”
“Consider this, the majority of the members of Congress are whites,” Holder observed. “Many of them contend that I have violated the law by allowing guns to be shipped to Mexican gangsters. Others find fault with my disinclination to look into IRS abuses of the President’s political opponents. Our Constitution and laws prescribe tools for them to use against me for these alleged offenses. Yet, they do nothing. If that isn’t cowardice then what is it?”
“Are they squeamish because I know what’s in their FBI files?” Holder jibed. “From their posturing you’d think that the Constitution was the most important thing in the world. But apparently, the cringe-worthy details of their personal lives scare them off from the fulfillment of their Constitutional duty. Is this not a demonstration of cowardice? These types of racists were very ‘brave’ when they had the whips and the Black men were in chains. So, I’d have to say that based on the evidence, the charge of cowardice is sustained.”
In related news, Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) urged the IRS to “come down heavy on the Tea Party types in the run-up to the 2014 elections. The enemies of progressive policies must not be allowed free rein to slander the government while we have the means to stifle their lies and propaganda. For us not to use the power of the IRS would be like leaving our artillery idle when we could use it to decimate repel their attacks.”
NY Dems Say Conservatives Don’t Belong
First, Governor Andrew Cuomo declared that conservatives who are pro-life, pro-gun, and anti-gay marriage “have no place in the state of New York, because that’s not who New Yorkers are.”
These sentiments were seconded by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio who averred, “I stand by that 100%. Governing is hard when not everyone is marching to the same beat. People wander off into divergent, idiosyncratic directions. The cohesiveness of everyone pulling in the same direction is undermined.”
De Blasio worried that “just expelling these dissident elements isn’t necessarily the best solution. We need to make sure that if they leave they don’t abscond with the wealth that properly belongs to the collective whole. Take right-wing radio personality Sean Hannity, for example. He’s been saying that he’d like to escape with his swag and join Rush Limbaugh in Florida. I say. Let him go with the clothes on his back, one suit case of personal belongings, and a one-way bus ticket.”
Cuomo admitted to finding de Blasio’s eviction proposal “a bit harsh. I would hope that some method of reeducation could reclaim these people to an extent that might permit their continued residence in the state. It’s not these people, per se, that’s the problem. It’s their warped and despicable views that we must eradicate.”
President Hails 41st Anniversary of Roe vs. Wade
President Obama took the occasion of the 41st anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision proclaiming a woman’s right to an abortion to urge Americans to “recommit ourselves to the decision’s guiding principle: that every woman should be able to kill her own baby as long as she does so before it is born.”
The president also reaffirmed his “steadfast commitment to ensure that this right not be abridged by lack of funding. No baby should be forced to be born just because her mother cannot afford to pay for an abortion. Preventing this unwanted life is a social responsibility that all must participate in financing.”
“When we look back on the four decades since the Supreme Court’s historic decision we can be proud that over 50 million unwanted children have been spared degradation and heartache as a result of this courageous act on the part of the Court.”
So successful has the progressive abortion regime in New York been that for every 1,000 Black babies born, over 1,200 “have been spared degradation and heartache.”
President May Revoke Redskins Trademark
Among the Executive Orders under consideration by the Obama Administration is one that would revoke the “Redskins” football team trademark.
“Every right-thinking person agrees that using the name ‘Redskins’ for a football team is offensive,” Press Secretary Jay Carney maintained. “We have tried every manner of persuasion to try to get the team owners to willingly drop the use of this name. Rather than let the travesty linger on, the President is using his executive authority to unilaterally revoke the team’s trademark rights to the name.”
“What this means is that anyone would be enabled to produce Redskin-themed merchandise without having to pay royalties to the team,” Carney explained. “If they won’t do the right thing for the right reason, maybe once they lose their revenue stream from jerseys, mugs, and the like it will inspire them to do so.”
While the revocation of trademarks doesn’t seem to be one of the enumerated powers of the president, Carney insisted that the Constitution’s “insure domestic tranquility” clause was sufficient to authorize the proposed executive action. “It is only a matter of time before groups offended by the name create domestic disturbances,” Carney predicted. “To forestall this outbreak the President is within his authority to remove the provocation.”
Marijuana Legalization Called “Reckless”
James Capra, chief of operations at the Drug Enforcement Administration decried the growing trend of state governments legalizing marijuana as “reckless and irresponsible.”
“There are times when the only way we can get ‘bad apples’ off the streets is to hit them with a drug possession charge,” Capra lamented. “We know they’re guilty of some pretty bad stuff, but we can’t get the evidence we need. Having the ability to level a drug charge gives us a fall back option.”
“Baggies of drugs are light weight and easily concealed,” Capra elaborated. “Each of our agents can carry a handy piece of incriminating evidence that can be dropped near or found on the person we want to arrest. Faced with such evidence a perp with priors or a parole violation might be willing to rat out confederates to escape going to jail. Keeping drugs illegal is vital to this procedure. Without it more suspects may have to be shot resisting arrest. So, in a way, legalization endangers their safety.”
A Satirical Look at Recent News
John Semmens: Semi-News — A Satirical Look at Recent News
The Judge pooh-poohed contentions that IDs may be needed to prevent fraudulent voting. “The attempt to segregate voters into valid vs. fraudulent categories strikes at the very heart of our democratic values,” McGinley asserted. “Every human being is entitled to vote for those who rule over him. To exclude some on grounds that they fail to meet some geographic criterion or bureaucratic regulation is undemocratic.”
“The rule for voting should be simple: everyone who requests a ballot must be given one,” McGinley argued. “The fear that some individuals mat vote multiple times is exaggerated. Even if it were true, all it signifies is an above average concern for the outcome of an election. Aren’t such committed voters more in tune with the spirit of democracy? Shouldn’t we want such commitment to carry greater weight than the lesser exertions of others who limit themselves to voting only once?”
McGinley pointed out that “major league sports and American Idol have demonstrated successful adaptation of the ‘no-questions-asked’ distribution of ballots to all who request them. They accept votes from all over the world without quibbling over citizenship or place of residence. Since the scope of government is even broader than these entertainment enterprises shouldn’t its election processes be at least as inclusive?”
Communism Best for Fighting Global Warming
United Nations climate chief Christiana Figueres opined that communist governments would be better suited to combat global warming than governments trying to operate under democratic principles.
“The problem with democracy is that the ignorant masses have too much say in government policies,” Figueres complained. “Take the last 15 years in which there has been no increase in global temperature or the recent arctic type weather in the United States. This has caused many voters to discount the risk of global warming. Under communism, the will of the masses can easily be bypassed so policy can be determined by experts.”
The fact that China suffers from horrendous air pollution only bolstered Figueres enthusiasm for the communist system. “The particulate smog that chokes many of China’s urban areas serves to deflect sunlight that otherwise would warm the planet,” she pointed out. “This trade-off of greater respiratory distress for cooler temperatures would likely not be attainable in a democratic political environment. The difficulty breathing is a palpable phenomenon that distorts the average person’s judgment. Only a government that is independent of this distorted judgment can keep its focus on the longer term problem of global warming.”
Another positive cited by Figueres was the huge death toll attributed to communist regimes. “Just consider the added contribution the 90 million people killed by communist massacres, purges, and slave labor camps would have made to global warming had they lived,” Figueres observed. “Only communist governments can be counted on to make these kinds of sacrifices for the greater good of the planet.”
Poll Indicates that Government Is Top Problem
A recent Gallup poll revealed that the number one problem facing America, according to those polled, is “the government.” Twenty-one percent listed this as the worst problem facing the nation. Rounding out the top five problems were the economy (18%), unemployment (16%), healthcare (16%), and government debt (8%).
These poll results were dramatically out-of-sync with President Obama’s declaration that “income inequality” is this nation’s chief problem. Only 4% of the poll respondents agreed with his assessment.
As one poll respondent explained, “my work hours have been cut and my health insurance canceled. My wife has been unemployed for three years. We voted for Obama hoping he’d get us out of the Bush recession. As he promised, the government is doing more than ever, but things have just gotten worse.”
President Obama, though, denied government is to blame. “The vast majority of economic activity—manufacturing, distribution, jobs—is the responsibility of the private sector,” Obama said. “People pretty much get to do what they want. If they expect government to solve problems they’ve got to be willing to go where the government tells them and do as they’re told. Without this type of cooperation it isn’t fair that we are held accountable for people’s dissatisfaction with their lives.”
In related news, for the first time since the index of economic freedom has been kept by Heritage Foundation, the United States dropped out of the top ten. The US now ranks 12th, behind an array of countries that includes Chile, Mauritius, and the formerly Soviet Socialist Republic of Estonia.
Federal Government Wastes $100 Billion per Year on Erroneous Payments
The Office of Management and Budget reported that in fiscal 2012 the federal government improperly spent over $100 billion. Without delving into the issue of whether given programs are wise or warranted, the fact remains that the government is cutting checks to individuals and organizations that are not entitled to the money even under the dubious provisions of poorly crafted legislation and idiotic regulations.
Spending by the Department of Health and Human Services accounted for nearly $60 billion of the improper payments. This included welfare payments to those not entitled to receive them and disbursements for medical treatments not performed.
Secretary Kathleen Sebelius insisted that “the attention being paid to this issue is disproportionate to its actual importance. In the context of a $3.5 trillion budget, the $60 billion we lost is less than 2%. On top of this, who is to say that a person not legally entitled to welfare benefits doesn’t really deserve these payments? Maybe our criteria are too strict. Maybe these ‘improper payments’ are saving people from destitution.”
“When you’re running an operation as big as the federal government you’ve got to expect some money to fall through the cracks,” Sebelius said. “I take encouragement from the fact that 98% of the money is going to where it is legally intended.”
A Satirical Look at Recent News
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John Semmens: Semi-News — A Satirical Look at Recent News
A Republican bill that would require the Department of Health and Human Services to inform persons whose identities may have been stolen via the Obamacare website was roundly criticized as “defamatory” by Press Secretary Jay Carney on Thursday.
Carney insisted that “whether the risk is real is not the point. By raising fears that people’s identities might be stolen if they access the health care website the GOP is undermining people’s confidence in the government. The ripple effect of this is that fewer people will sign up for health insurance.”
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va) countered, saying that “millions of people are being victimized by a shoddily constructed website. It’s bad enough that the government has concocted its own man-made disaster in the effort to coerce everyone into a ‘Procrustean’ health insurance plan designed by idiots. Yet, despite widespread evidence of the noxious effects of the Affordable Care Act, Democrats refuse to offer any respite. Requiring HHS officials to warn potential ID theft victims is the least we can do.”
The press secretary characterized Cantor’s criticisms as “unpatriotic. As a member of Congress, Mr. Cantor has an obligation to stand up for the government. He should not be promulgating initiatives that sully the image and dilute the people’s respect for the government. In the grander scheme of things, the hassles that a few private individuals might suffer as a result of having their identities stolen is of far less consequence than the damage this proposed legislation has already done to the people’s faith in the President and his Administration.”
In related news, Senator Mark Udall (D-Colo) complained that the Colorado Division of Insurance’s accurate reports on the number of health insurance policies canceled in the state (nearly 250,000) were “destroying people’s confidence in their Government and in me as a representative of their interests. How can we get people to comply with the law’s mandate that everyone buy quality health insurance when they find out that many of those who already had insurance lost their insurance through no fault of their own? I’m not saying that the CDI should falsify the data. All I’m saying is that they could’ve just kept quiet about it.”
Cold Weather Feeds Global Warming Hysteria
Recent cold weather that has hit large swaths of the country with arctic temperatures has got the proponents of man made global warming scrambling for a plausible narrative.
President Obama warned Americans “whose pipes are frozen, whose cars won’t start, and whose faces get frost bitten on a five minute trip outside in sub-zero temperatures should not be fooled by your own experiences of extreme cold weather over the past week into disbelieving what I’ve been telling you about the dangers of global warming. Every scientist I’ve been listening to assures me that the threat of global warming is dire and that it is imperative that Government take a leading role in suppressing it.”
Representative Peter DeFazio (D-Ore) urged “even more extreme measures be undertaken to combat this very real threat to our existence. Climate change deniers are blathering idiots who would crassly use freezing weather to derail all our efforts to deal with this problem.”
De Fazio also insists that “we shouldn’t smugly assume that compelling anti-global warming behavior in America will be sufficient. After all, it is global warming that’s the problem. We need a global solution.” The representative suggested that “we should use our considerable military might to force other countries to take the anti-warming steps we have determined are needed.”
DOJ Says Schools Unfairly Punish Minorities
Attorney General Eric Holder slammed schools’ disciplinary standards that result in a “disproportionate number of minorities being penalized. These school administrators may feel that they’re being fair because the same rules apply to all students. But I’m saying this kind of simplistic notion is not good enough.”
Holder suggested that “differences in the subcultures of students from different racial, social, and economic backgrounds must be considered. Minorities who have been subjected to generations of oppression have a right to strike back against this oppression. An action that might justifiably be regarded as unwarranted if committed by a member of the privileged class of our society should be recognized as warranted rebellion against their oppressors if committed by a member of a minority.”
The attorney general also cautioned that “there might be some spillover effect when rage against white oppression does collateral damage against other minorities. A student vandalizing a school, bullying a classmate or stabbing a teacher shouldn’t face some knee-jerk reaction from school administrators. There needs to be a balanced consideration for all the factors that might have influenced the behavior.”
“Ideally, the ratio of persons punished by the schools should roughly reflect the ratios of each racial, ethnic, income and gender group within the school population,” Holder concluded. “Some will lampoon this as a quota system. But I call it affirmative disciplinary action.”
NJ Governor Says He’s Stunned by Thuggery of Staff
Touted GOP presidential frontrunner for 2016, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie professed himself “stunned” and “humiliated” that members of his hand-picked staff maliciously inflicted traffic congestion on Fort Lee by unnecessarily closing entrance ramps to the George Washington Bridge last year. The move cause havoc with emergency vehicle response times and may have contributed to an elderly woman’s death.
Whether Christie’s effort to salvage his political future will be successful remains to be seen. His assertions that he was “completely in the dark about this until I read about it in the paper” and “I am not a bully” were unimpressive despite his attempts to put them into context.
“The expectations we’ve laid at the feet of government exceed the capabilities of any person to manage it,” Christie declared. “A chief executive can’t help but be ignorant about a wide range of activities that go on in his administration. Look what happened to President Obama. His Department of Justice gun-running operation ended up arming Mexican drug lords. Underlings at his IRS abused authority to the disadvantage of his political opponents. Incompetence at his State Department got four people killed in Benghazi. Only right-wing extremists blame him for these mishaps. Why should I, a simple governor of one state, be held to a higher standard?”
In a bid to distinguish himself from President Obama, who has never fired anyone for the series blunders that have characterized his term in office, Christie fired his deputy chief of staff, Bridget Anne Kelly and vowed “she will never work in this state again as long as I’m governor.”
Congresswoman Argues for End to “Welfare” as We Know It
Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) urged that we stop using the term “welfare” to describe the handouts government gives to support a distressingly large portion of the population.
“Welfare conjures up an image of some lazy person sitting around watching TV while taxpayers have to foot her bills,” Jackson said. “We need to change this image.”
The change Jackson is pushing is to rename the program. “If we were to call it the transitional living fund we’d completely change people perception of what is going on,” she bragged. “’Transitional’ gives a sense of movement to replace the sense of stagnation that welfare implies. ‘Fund’ implies that it is an investment. And ‘living’ sounds so alive and uplifting.”
Representative John Conyers (D-Mich) praised Jackson’s intent, but urged caution. “There’s no question we need to upgrade the terminology,” Conyers agreed. “However, I’m not sure we should jettison the term welfare. The word ‘welfare’ is in the Constitution. ‘Transitional living fund’ is not. Since the ‘good and plenty’ clause of the Constitution authorizes Congress to provide welfare I don’t know if it would be safe to abandon it.”
EPA Voids 1905 Law, Cedes Town to Tribe
The Environmental Protection Agency voided a law passed by Congress in 1905 and awarded the town of Riverton, Wyoming to the Wind River Indian Reservation.
Wyoming Governor Matt Mead (R) questioned the legitimacy of the move asking “since when can a federal agency override an Act of Congress? I mean, if the EPA has objections to an existing law shouldn’t they be asking Congress to revise it? I see nothing in the Constitution granting the EPA the authority they’ve assumed.”
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson brushed aside Mead’s concerns as “excessively formalistic. The president has stressed that we take a broader view of the concept of environmental justice in our actions. When adherence to an out-of-date statute conflicts with this it is right that we put it aside. Voters elected the President to transform America. That takes precedence over complying with laws passed by white males who are long since dead.”
Jackson says that “the transfer of Riverton to tribal jurisdiction is expected to improve air quality and reduce global warming, as the normal, depressed economic conditions prevalent on Indian reservations are usually associated with fewer vehicle emissions. When more of a town’s businesses shut down and workers are laid off there’s less need to drive. Remember, driving is a major cause of society’s ills.”
A Satirical Look at Recent News
John Semmens: Semi-News — A Satirical Look at Recent News
President Says “Right of Conscience” Not Valid for Military Personnel
Even though he signed the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), President Obama says he will not abide by its provision protecting military chaplains from being compelled to perform services which violate their moral or religious beliefs.
“I am the commander-in-chief,” Obama explained. “It is every soldier’s duty to carry out my orders without hesitation or mental reservation. No religious dogma can be permitted to interfere with this duty.”
The genesis of the so-called “right of conscience” clause in the legislation was the desire to allow chaplains to be excused from performing same-sex “marriages” if their religious beliefs are opposed to the concept.
“The notion that those seeking same-sex marriage should just accept a minister from a denomination that accepts this practice is unacceptable,” the President declared. “For an army to function individual consciences must be suppressed. Isn’t there a commandment ‘thou shalt not kill’ in the Christian Bible? We don’t allow individual soldiers a ‘right of conscience’ privilege to refrain from obeying commands to kill enemies. How, then, can we allow individual chaplains a privilege to refrain from marrying soldiers of the same sex?”
Veep Suggests Platinum Solution to Gun Control
In what he called a “stroke of genius,” Vice-President Joe Biden suggested that President Obama could bypass both Congress and the Constitution by using an Executive Order to solve the gun violence crisis.
“It was when I heard people talking about minting trillion dollar platinum coins to solve the debt ceiling thing that I got the idea of using platinum to get around 2nd Amendment objections to gun control,” Biden boasted. “If the President were to simply require that platinum be the only metal permitted in bullets we could effectively eliminate privately held guns without actually banning them.”
The Vice-President argued that “as Commander-in-Chief, the president has the Constitutional authority to prescribe the types of weapons and ammunition that the 2nd Amendment says a ‘well regulated militia’ should have. The simplicity of my proposal is that we wouldn’t be infringing on the right to bear arms. People would still have this Constitutionally protected right, but very, very few could afford the cost of ammunition.”
Biden added that “there would also be significant gains from eliminating the accumulation of lead in our environment from spent rounds hitting trees and dirt when hunters miss their targets. So, in a way it’s kind of a bipolar inspiration I had.”
Senator Diane Feinstein (D-Calif) heralded Biden’s idea as “a breakthrough of enormous magnitude. The only thing I would add is a proviso that the platinum requirement would only apply to ammunition used by private gun owners. Government law enforcement would need to be exempt for budgetary reasons.”
Feinstein suggested that “existing stocks of lead bullets in private hands could be retrieved via some sort of mandatory ‘buy back’ program. This would effectively criminalize all possession of leaded ammunition as well as give the government an overwhelming advantage in firepower against any opposition.”
Attorney General Says Requiring DOJ to Comply with Law “Too Risky”
Attorney General Eric Holder is asking a federal court to absolve the Department of Justice (DOJ) from complying with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) because “not to do so would inflict irreparable harm.” The DOJ action came in response to a suit filed by Judicial Watch. The suit is aimed at obtaining public information on DOJ’s “fast and furious” scheme to supply guns to Mexican gangsters.
“There is no need for the people at Judicial Watch or, for that matter, anyone to know the details of this now defunct federal undertaking,” Holder insisted. “My Department has taken the necessary corrective actions. This belated attempt to poke around into government business is both unnecessary and destructive.”
While acknowledging that the FOIA mandates the requested information be released, the attorney general asserted that “a higher law argues against blind obedience to a statute originally aimed at the misdeeds of a prior Administration. All we are asking is that the nation’s broader interests take precedence over a mere observance of formalistic rules.”
Holder further suggested that “something along the lines of the 75-year sealing of the records on the JFK assassination imposed by the Warren Commission might be the appropriate model for how we should handle this. The American people’s faith in their government must not be allowed to be undermined by what, at this point, can only be viewed as an effort to satisfy ‘academic curiosity.’”
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton described Holder’s stance as “beyond ironic. At the same time that the Obama Administration is demanding unprecedented access to all sorts of information about private citizens who are not charged with any crimes, we see the attorney general contending that information relevant to actual crimes committed during its ill-conceived gun-running ‘sting’ operation be swept under the rug. His position is stunning in its ethical, moral, and legal incoherence.”
Kerry Defends President Obama’s Unilateral War-Making in Libya
Forty years ago, John Kerry, currently a Democratic senator from Massachusetts and President Obama’s nominee to take over as Secretary of State, denounced US bombing of Cambodia. More recently, he has excused President Obama’s bombing of Libya.
“How are these two instances different?” Senator Rand Paul (R-Ken) asked at Kerry’s confirmation hearing. “Weren’t both acts of war taken without Congressional authority? Doesn’t the Constitution vest the war-making power in Congress?”
“The issue is a complex one with many nuances,” Kerry replied. “In an effort to simplify it for you, let me point out that the bombing of Cambodia took place in a war that I already opposed. It was ordered by then President Nixon, who as it turns out, was a criminal that would’ve gone to prison if it weren’t for President Ford’s pardon.”
“In contrast, the bombing in Libya was ordered by a Nobel Prize winning President Obama,” Kerry pointed out. “Since President Obama is a credentialed man of peace his actions carry a patina of legitimacy that goes beyond the strictures of one nation’s Constitution. He is clearly a ‘man for all seasons’ and justifiably, in my opinion, cannot be restrained from using his superior wisdom to resolve international disputes.”
That the intervention ordered by Obama may have contributed to strengthening al-Qaeda in Libya and leading to the later assassination of Ambassador Stevens was brushed aside as “an unforeseen series of unfortunate events” by Senator Kerry. “Who could have predicted such an outcome? When even the best minds at the Department of State are stumped who are we to second guess them?”
Outgoing Energy Secretary Defends Administration’s “Green Investments”
Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced his resignation from the Obama Administration this week. Chu had clashed frequently with critics of Obama’s so-called green investment approach. He took the occasion of his pending departure to fire off a final volley at these critics.
“Much as these people would like to portray the bankruptcies of a large number of recipients of government aid as a failure of the Administration’s green investment policy, they are wrong,” Chu maintained. “Take the Solyndra Company as a example. The contention is that the $500 million we invested in this now bankrupt company was a waste takes a too narrow view of the program.”
“First of all, the $500 million we put into Solyndra is $500 million that was not available for a more environmentally damaging form of energy production,” Chu argued. “Money that might have been used to expand output of oil or coal was diverted away from these polluting technologies.”
“Second, the fact that Solyndra failed is another overlooked plus for the environment,” Chu continued. “As long as the company remained open it meant employees commuting to work and spewing emissions into the air. It meant lighting, heating, and cooling the facilities in which these employees worked. Since green energy sources couldn’t have met these needs, an idled plant helps reduce the consumption polluting energy sources.”
Chu suggested that “we ought to emulate China. They are making more headway on green energy than we can here. They don’t have naysayers nitpicking every idea insisting that it must meet some kind of ‘reasonable return on investment concept.’ The Government sees what it wants done and just orders everyone to fall in line.”
Ironically, half of the world’s annual coal consumption occurs in China. China’s urban areas also have dangerous levels of air pollution with coal soot particles more than 20 times higher than is considered safe.
Obama’s Passiveness over Benghazi Defended
Recent testimony at the Senate Armed Services Committee by Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey disclosed that President Obama showed little interest in the September 11, 2012 attack on the US Consulate.
“Some 90 minutes into the seven hour siege I briefed the president with what I felt we knew at the time,” Panetta said. “He didn’t react. He asked no questions. He gave no instructions.”
How this sworn testimony should be interpreted in light of Obama’s unsworn assertion that he gave clear directives to “secure our personnel” posed a challenge for Press Secretary Jay Carney.
“The President is legendary for his coolness under pressure,” Carney bragged. “It is easy to see how Secretary Panetta might construe this as not reacting to the shocking news. The President’s incomparable brilliance obviously enabled him to grasp everything without having to ask any questions.”
“As for the Secretary’s impression that the president gave no instructions, let me point out that it is the Secretary’s job to anticipate what the president wants without having to be explicitly told,” Carney added. “This gives the president the flexibility to embrace or disavow whatever action may be taken or not taken as seems most advantageous as the situation develops. Seeing that the president won reelection two months later, it should be apparent that those who are now second guessing his artful handling of the crisis are off base.”
Pelosi Takes Aim at Sequester’s “Cruelest Cut”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) characterized the limitations on Congressional pay in the looming sequester as “the cruelest cut in the entire package.”
“Considering all the money we have appropriated for those making dubious or even negative contributions to our society it is unconscionable that we should be treated so shabbily,” Pelosi contended. “We are key players in ruling this country. We ought to have salaries commensurate with the significance of our role.”
“Corporate executives presiding over budgets a tiny fraction of what we dispose of in a year take down salaries and bonuses in the millions of dollars,” she pointed out. “Equity argues for us to to paid on a similar scale.”
Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) seconded Pelosi’s take asserting that “a boost in my pay is necessary to complete the emancipation initiated by President Lincoln during the Civil War. I can’t be truly free until the repression suffered by my ancestors in slavery is repaid to me in cash.”
The Minority Leader conceded that it is unlikely that her view would prevail because “the GOP is too busy tearing down the magnificence of government in a calculated bid to starve it of the resources to which it is entitled. Their portrayal of government as a burden that must be lightened and a power that must be restrained is the exact opposite of what the voters who reelected President Obama want.”
Pelosi expressed optimism that “voters will tire of seeing their elected representatives suffer under the hardships imposed by the sequester and elect solid Democratic majorities in the 2014 balloting. Then there will be no impediments to the President’s progressive agenda to transform America.”Amendment to the Constitution barred the government from interfering with an individual’s right of conscience.
Administration Lashes Out at Congressmen’s Failure to Consume Office Budget Allowance
Senator Rand Paul (R-Ken) held a press event to announce he is returning $600,000 in unused funds to the US Treasury. The Senator said he was “proud of the fiscal prudence shown by my staff in making sure we are as efficient as possible with the taxpayers’ money.” This is the second time Paul has refunded money. Last year he returned $500,000.
Representative Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) also announced his office was returning $160,000 in unspent funds. “At a time when Americans are tightening their budgets, I have made an effort to do the same with my Congressional office budget,” Mulvaney said.
Presidential Press Secretary Jay Carney denounced the refunds, calling them “political grandstanding” and “deliberate attempts to undermine the nation’s confidence in the President’s program. Given the perilous state of the economy the President has made it clear that maintaining a high level of government spending is essential to sparking economic recovery. The savings on computers, paper and ink that Senator Paul boasts he has achieved are the exact opposite of what the President wants.”
The Press Secretary promised that “these uncooperative actions will not succeed. The amounts diverted by these Congressional misers are small enough that a single additional trip to a golf course outside of the DC area by the President can expend sufficient funds to completely obliterate their negative impact.”
Carney speculated that “seeing their errant penny-pinching wiped out by a leisure expenditure benefiting the President could be a severe blow to the morale of these right-wing obstructionists.”
Regulations Stifling Business
Fred Deluca, founder of Subway Restaurants says that government regulations are hurting business so much that if he were attempting to start Subway today he’d be unlikely to succeed. Among the regulations he cited as most harmful were the mandatory minimum wage and Obamacare.
“The costs incurred to comply with regulations are particularly hard on small businesses,” Deluca complained. “A guy trying to run a sandwich shop can’t afford the added legal expense of trying to keep up with constantly changing rules. Government bureaucrats think we can easily pass higher costs on to customers, but customers have many choices and will not simply dig deeper to pay more.”
Press Secretary Jay Carney characterized Deluca as “a first-class ingrate. Subway is already a large business. To the extent that regulations are driving up costs for small businesses government is actually helping him fend off the competition of newcomers. He should be thanking us.”
Government regulations discouraging new start-ups was seen as a good thing. “Going into business for yourself is risky,” Carney pointed out. “The majority of new small businesses fail. Stopping them before they get started saves them from the financial and emotional setbacks of failure. It’s not as if there aren’t already enough sandwich shops out there. Besides, the president is a cheeseburger and ice cream kind of guy anyway.”
Democrats Argue for Fairer Allocation of Nation’s Collective Wealth
Both President Obama and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) labeled GOP demands that the federal deficit be reduced by focusing on cuts in government spending “narrow minded.”
“By insisting on looking only at federal spending they’re ignoring 75 percent of the economy,” the President complained. “America produces $15 trillion of output per year. The federal government only spends $3.5 trillion of that. What we’re saying is that the fairest way to cut the deficit is to take a slice out of the bigger piece of the pie that currently is allocated to the private sector.”
“Every dollar we let the private sector take out of the nation’s GDP is a dollar that could be used to reduce the federal deficit,” Obama explained. “By siding with those who are already hogging the bigger share of the collective wealth of America, the GOP is siding with selfishness over community.”
“The Republicans’ argument that the private sector is earning its wealth overlooks the fact that the government is letting them do this,” Pelosi maintained. “The amount of the nation’s wealth that is allowed to flow to the private sector is a discretionary decision. The GOP’s attempt to assert that a person who produces it has some sort of claim on the output elevates greed over need as a matter of policy.”
Obama and Pelosi expressed optimism that “once the American people realize that the entire wealth of the nation can be redistributed by government action they will either press the Republicans to cooperate in the process or sweep them aside into the dustbin of history.”
The idea that government can make better use of the nation’s resources is cast into doubt by a recent Inspector General’s report showing that most of the $63 billion in taxpayer money spent to reconstruct Iraq has been wasted. Part of the money went to overpay for supplies like the $900 paid for a switch that retails for $7 and the $80 paid for pipe that retails for less than $2. Other funds went for construction projects never completed that now lie in ruins. Nearly a third of the $63 billion seems to have simply disappeared without a trace.
President Denies Debt Poses a Problem
In an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on “Good Morning America,” President Obama asserted that “there is no debt crisis in this country” and says he sees “no reason to bargain with Republicans over the budget.”
“The amusing little analogies Republicans are making about households having to make cuts when times are tough simply don’t apply to the federal government,” Obama declared. “I’ll grant that debt can be a problem for households having to cope with limited resources. But how is this relevant to the government?”
“Let’s assume we were going to pay back what we borrowed,” the President said. “In what sense are the government’s resources limited? The GDP is over $15 trillion per year. So one year’s output alone would be almost enough to pay back the whole outstanding debt. All Congress would have to do is enact the appropriate taxes to channel resources into paying debt.”
“Now let’s ask a more radical question—why should we pay back the debt?” Obama continued. “The people who lent the money did so of their own free will. The money was used for the benefit of the American people. A default on the debt would simply be a transfer from the bond buyers—most of whom are wealthy—to everyone else—most of whom are not wealthy. Would that really be so bad?”
Obama was quick to add that he wasn’t necessarily advocating default. “We don’t want to end up in court with creditors suing the government,” he said. “Even though the government is within its sovereign rights to default, litigation would be a pain. Having the Fed create enough additional money to cover all debts is probably the least troublesome way to get out from under any perceived obligation to repay.”
Dem Says Aides Face Starvation Because of Sequester
A tearful Representative Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fla) blamed “heartless Republicans” for the “severe hardships” the sequester is imposing on members of her staff.
“Nearly half of my office staff has been forced to forgo lunch on a daily basis because of the cruel budget cuts that have been forced down our throats by the GOP,” the Congresswoman claimed.
The “toll of suffering” has been less than half because “some have been able to make do with sack lunches of leftovers or peanut butter sandwiches they bring from home,” she explained. “This is not a solution that can be applied across-the-board, though. Some simply lack the skill required to assemble their own lunches. Others feel that going out for lunch is an essential part of being a person of stature.”
Wasserman-Schultz suggested that those wanting to help preserve the dignity and health of those serving in government could make a cash donation to the “Congressional Aide Feeding Fund” and should call her office (202- 225-7931) to arrange for automatic monthly transfers from their checking accounts.
Government Has Obligation to Infringe on Freedom
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended his “nanny state” inclinations saying that “there are certain times we should infringe on your freedom.”
“Freedom should not be taken for granted,” Bloomberg asserted. “I know that in America it has been built up into some sort of iconic vision for society, but government needs to ensure that it isn’t abused. Too many people are frivolously using their freedom to engage in socially destructive behaviors. They may think that whether they smoke, eat poorly, or act in an undisciplined manner is their own affair. At the same time they expect society to come to their rescue with health insurance, disability benefits, and welfare payments.”
“If we’re going to have a fiscally viable social safety net government must intervene to reduce the risk to society of the consequences of ill-thought-out actions,” Bloomberg insisted. “We have the means to do this. We have comprehensive databases, surveillance, and a wide range of public agencies to accomplish our objectives.”
Bloomberg acknowledged that his approach entails a massive invasion of privacy, but argued that “there is no way we can both preserve privacy and maximize collective well-being. People could be left to do as they please or they can be protected from the effects of their folly. Looking at the election results over the generations, I think it’s pretty clear that more and more voters prefer security over freedom.”
The mayor said he envisioned “a day when the proper lifestyle choices would be so ingrained that coercive measures are no longer necessary. In the meantime, though, we should not shy away from stern enforcement of rules that move us closer to this ideal.”
City Defends Hiring Non-Swimming Minorities as Lifeguards
While taking some flak for doing so, City of Phoenix officials are standing by their decision to accept non-swimming minorities as pool lifeguards.
“The problem with requiring swimming proficiency as a condition of employment is that minorities would be under-represented among those we hire,” City Parks and Recreation Administrator Alfredo Zote. “The mayor has asked us to strive for a workforce that mirrors the composition of the City’s population. We can’t do that if we impose qualifications that have a disproportionate impact on any racial or ethnic groups.”
As to whether the ability to swim might not be a crucial skill in the performance of the job, Zote demurred. “Few of the annual drownings that occur in our state are at public pools,” he pointed out. “And we can team the non-swimming minority hire with a strong-swimming white hiree. That way the non-swimmer can help spot a potential drowning victim and direct the swimmer to rescue him.”
While Zote acknowledged that he had no idea on whether the new policy would have any negative consequences for the safety of visitors to any of the City’s 23 public pools he did ask that “critics balance any undesired outcomes at the pools with the social gains of our minority hiring policy. Providing employment for disfavored groups is not without its benefits. Whether their gains in self-esteem outweigh losses in terms of injury or fatalities at our sites is, in my opinion, a judgment call.”
Obama Calls for Federally-Funded Pre-School for Four Year Olds
Saying that too many of our children are ill-prepared for the world of the future, President Obama urged Congress to enact federal funding for pre-schools.
“We need to replace the idiosyncratic influences of our ‘do-it-yourself’ methods of child rearing with a more cohesive approach,” the President said. “Leaving so much of the responsibility on each individual family is a formula for chaos. Different parents seek to instill different value systems. The result is that clashes of these value systems impede coordinated progress toward the collective well-being of all.”
“In addition to providing an environment for the inculcation of better values, a federally-funded pre-school program would alleviate a significant amount of parental suffering,” Obama added. “Having a place to ship your four-year-old off to each day for a few hours gives the parents extra free time they can spend on more satisfying pursuits while their child is under the capable care and instruction of trained education professionals.”
Future Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) endorsed the President’s proposal pointing out that “as Melissa Harris-Perry said on TV the other day, we’ve got to get past the notion that children belong to their parents. Children belong to the community. China understands this and has been pursuing an even more aggressive intervention with its children in order to ensure that a more uniform system of rearing the young contributes to a stronger and more unified nation. We need to get moving if we are to keep pace.”
Administration Pressures Washington DOT
A series of signs critical of President Obama may cost the State of Washington its share of federal aid for highway construction. The signs are on private property but can be seen by travelers on I-5 about 90 miles south of Seattle near the town of Chehalis.
“Interstate highways are 90 percent funded by the federal government,” said USDOT Secretary Ray LaHood. “It is improper that they be exploited for the communication of messages opposing the government.”
The secretary added “we’d regret having to resort to withholding funds, but when people don’t show the appropriate respect for all the President is trying to do for the country we can’t just sit back and take it. State officials aren’t going to be allowed to hide behind a ‘freedom-of-speech’ argument in order to evade taking action. We think the prospect of losing hundreds of millions of dollars in federal aid will inspire them to find a way to eliminate these affronts.”
WSDOT CEO Lynn Peterson acknowledged “feeling frustrated by the difficult position we’re in. We can’t afford to lose this money. Our contention that there is no proof the signs are having any impact was rejected by the USDOT. They say that waiting for proof would set a bad precedent.”
“We can’t just tear down the signs,” Peterson complained. “We don’t own the property they’re on. Trying to screen them from view is impractical. Any obstruction we might erect on our right-of-way could simply be avoided by moving the offending signs a few dozen yards. Our best bet might be to try to induce the locals to take action.”
The “inducement” reportedly under consideration is a threat by WSDOT to close the Chehalis on-ramp to I-5. The idea is that if drivers from the local area lose their access to the highway they may prevail upon the town council to zone these signs out. It’s also felt that fear of possible retaliation from angry neighbors might cause the owners of these signs to take them down themselves.
Administration Brochure Touts Food Stamp Benefits for Foreigners
It was recently discovered that the Obama Administration has been working jointly with the Mexican government to inform that country’s illegal migrants to the United States of their “rights to government food assistance.”
The product of this cooperative undertaking is a Spanish-language flyer supplied to the Mexican Embassy by the US Department of Agriculture. The flyer asserts that “even those who enter America illegally are still entitled to certain benefits” and explains how these “undocumented persons” may secure these benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala) called the revelation “evidence of a dangerously misguided policy. We are $16 trillion in debt. Adding foreign nationals to our welfare rolls is fiscally irresponsible.”
US Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack defended the outreach program saying “it clearly falls within the nation’s proud tradition of welcoming newcomers to our shores. Doesn’t our Statue of Liberty ask the world to give us their poor and hungry masses yearning to live free? How can we not feed them once they get here? Wouldn’t that be breach of promise?”
Vilsack hastened to point out that “our efforts aren’t confined to Mexicans. We’re very ecumenical in our outlook. One of the guys who bombed the Boston Marathon was a beneficiary of the SNAP food subsidies. We didn’t pry into his private life. We didn’t question his beliefs. To us he was a human being in need of help. That he may have been ungrateful for that help is something we can’t control. Should we let this unfortunate turn of events change who we are? Isn’t this when we’re supposed to turn the other cheek?”
Obamacare “Train Wreck” GOP’s Fault, Reid Says
Indications that President Obama’s Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), his signature legislative accomplishment, is turning into a fiasco of major proportions has Democrats uneasy.
A man instrumental in its enactment, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont), labeled it a “train wreck. The implementation is a total shambles. It’s as if Secretary Sebelius has no idea of what she’s doing. She’s been quick to ensure that everyone is entitled to abortion coverage, but how the average person is supposed to cope with unforeseen medical contingencies is up in the air. On top of this, employers across the nation are cutting employees hours in order to evade their responsibility to pay for health insurance.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) laid the blame squarely on the GOP. “We did our part to create this new entitlement, it’s the Republicans’ turn to step up and vote for the funding needed to finance it,” Reid said.
That funding is needed contradicts the original script of the Democrats’ case for the legislation. It was supposed to be self-financing. It was supposed to save money. Neither of which now seems to be true. In fact, projections now show that the cost of health insurance is set to increase by 25% to 50% under the law.
While the rising cost of Obamacare is now the consensus view, the contention that it will improve health care also received some disconcerting contrary news. A study of the federal Medicaid program in Oregon revealed that while spending rose by 35 percent for eligible recipients, health outcomes did not improve. In the 18-month period studied, participants fared no better than non-participants.
Based on this study’s results, Avik Roy, Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute called it “unethical to take money from taxpayers to fund a program that doesn’t improve health outcomes.”
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius disagreed. “Health outcomes aren’t the only metric with which we are concerned,” Sebelius asserted. “Taking money from those who have more than they need and spending it on those who have less is, in itself, a worthy goal. Just because a person is poor is no good reason for him to be denied the opportunity to have money spent on his behalf regardless of whether it does any good.”
President Tells Grads that Fear of Tyranny a “Mental Illness”
In a commencement address to graduates of Ohio State University, President Obama urged them to eschew “the deranged rantings of those who see growth of government as antithetical to human liberty.”
The President warned that “this particular form of mental illness can be traced back to the Founders of this country who portrayed the modest efforts of the British Government to instill some much-needed discipline into an unruly population as a so-called tyranny against Americans’ supposed natural rights.”
Obama alleged that “while the people of 1776 could be excused for their ignorance—after all, universal public education would not be implemented for another century or more—graduates of today’s top-of-the-line universities ought to break free of these delusions.”
The President concluded his remarks by encouraging new grads to “join my crusade to transform the ways we think about freedom in this country. It’s not enough to just have the liberty to live one’s own life if you don’t have the means to enjoy it. This is where an enlarged role for government comes into play. By wresting away the undeserved wealth from those who have more than they need, government can acquire the resources to ensure a richer and fuller life for all. By voting eagerly and often you can help make this happen.”
An indication that fear of tyranny might not be as “deranged” as President Obama would have us believe emerged when the IRS was forced to apologize for harassing Tea Party opponents of Obama’s policies. Top IRS official Lois Lerner admitted that “this invasion of privacy for purely political reasons was, of course, wrong. However, to put this into proper perspective, no one died as a result of this abuse of the agency’s authority. And in our defense the harassment was carried out at the request of high ranking members of the US Senate.”
The Senators reported to have demanded that the IRS audit or otherwise harry Tea Party members included Robert Bennett (D-Utah), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Al Franken (D-Minn), Tom Udall (D-NM), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Conn), and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore).
An unrepentant Senator Franken defiantly defended his request saying “we are at war for the conscience of America. Why shouldn’t we use every weapon at our disposal. These tea-baggers are relentless in their quest to resist their own government. We, who are the government, have every right to fight back as we see fit.”
Planned Parenthood Ad Campaign Breaks New Ground
Planned Parenthood’s new advertisement asserting that aborted babies will thank their would-be mothers evidences a shift to macabre honesty in the organization’s messaging.
“There’s nothing worse for a child than being unwanted,” claimed PP spokeswoman Adora Slaughter. “Add to this the burdensome tedium of motherhood and you have a formula that maximizes unhappiness. Abortion rescues all the participants from this fate.”
“Previously, we have invested almost all our energy on advising women to carefully consider the responsibilities they could avoid by aborting a potential child they don’t want,” Slaughter said. “I mean, having a baby you don’t want is like an 18-year sentence to hard labor. There’s the pain of childbirth, then the feeding, diapering, and constant supervision that tells a woman ‘your life is not your own.’ But anti-abortion agitators have been making inroads advancing a ‘benefit to the child’ line of argument. Our new campaign is taking that argument on and refuting its false logic.”
“Studies show that unwanted children are more likely to be victims of parental neglect and abuse,” Slaughter observed. “Worse yet, many of these neglected and abused children go on to lives of crime and degradation. Our new ad urges expectant mothers to weigh these negatives before being emotionally seduced into a misguided notion that going to term with an unwanted pregnancy is somehow more humane than a quick abortion. The gratitude of both a child spared an unworthy life and a society relieved of its consequences merit consideration.”
Slaughter dismissed the possible suffering of the aborted baby as “gruesome, but mercifully brief. Being dismembered in the womb is over in a matter of minutes. Even if the fetus can feel pain it is momentary compared to the full lifetime of pain that the unwanted child must face. No, abortion is the kinder choice.”
In related news, the conviction of Kermit Gosnell for murdering three babies who survived his attempt to legally abort them inspired Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) to call for more federal aid to fund abortions. “As it stands, the most remunerative fields for doctors are neurosurgery and cardiology, so that’s where the best talent goes,” Reid said. “If there were a bigger payoff for performing abortions we’d get doctors with the skills to legally kill the fetuses before they emerge from their mothers’ bodies. Then they wouldn’t have to be stabbed to death by clumsy incompetents like Gosnell.”
Criticizing Obama “Offensive” Says Aide
Daniel Pfeiffer, Senior Advisor to the President for Strategy and Communications, denounced criticism of President Obama in strident terms this past week, calling critics “uppity.”
“Here we have the leader of the free world, a Nobel Prize winner, being accosted by people unfit to lick his boots,” Pfeiffer complained. “How low has our civilization sunk that such effrontery is tolerated?”
Pfeiffer labeled inquiries about Benghazi, the IRS and phone taps of reporters “fishing expeditions. They think they’re going to find some ‘smoking gun’ linking the President to one or more of these incidents in some substantive way. Well, I’m telling you it’s not going to happen. The President has insulated himself from culpability for whatever may occur. There are strict rules about who may tell the President what that ensure he will honestly be able to disavow all knowledge of what is going on.”
“On top of this he has an enormously wide array of options for eliminating disloyal and uncooperative elements both inside and outside his Administration,” Pfeiffer pointed out. “Those chafing over getting hassled by the IRS ought to consider themselves lucky that sterner measures weren’t used against them.”
“It all comes down to whether people are going to show proper respect for the President,” Pfeiffer concluded. “We cannot sit by and allow the office and the great man who occupies it to undergo the type of heedless questioning of its authority that we have seen over the last few weeks. Rest assured that the President will do whatever it takes to assert and wield that authority. The alternative is too scary to contemplate.”
Mass Gov Says Welfare Irregularities Overblown
The release of an audit showing that over $2 million in welfare benefits were paid out to deceased recipients originally sent Governor Deval Patrick into seclusion. Now it has him fighting mad.
“First, let’s not blow things out of proportion,” Patrick pleaded. “In the context of the State’s $30 billion budget, the $2.4 million erroneously paid out to dead people is mere pocket change.”
“Second, it could be argued that being dead is the worst off a person can be,” Patrick added. “Since welfare is supposed to go to the least well off is it really such a travesty that money went to such persons? Granted, the deceased can’t spend the money himself, but surely his bereaved family has some needs that may have been intensified by his demise.”
The Governor’s adroit handling of this scandal is believed to have upped his stock as a potential successor for embattled Obama Administration Attorney General Eric Holder in the event the President feels compelled to dismiss him for his part in several scandals and his perjured testimony in Congress.
In related news, illegal alien and mother of seven, Marita Nelson recently celebrated her 20th anniversary of receiving government welfare. Nelson currently is in the midst of a personal crusade to convince as many other illegals as she can to sign up for welfare benefits. An ally in this crusade is the Obama Administration, which has hired recruiters to sign up as many welfare recipients as possible.
President Says Gov’t Spying on Citizens “a Modest Encroachment on 4th Amendment Rights”
Reports this last week that the federal government is compiling records of every phone call made in America and securing copies of every email and Internet posting stunned those who took then 2008 presidential candidate Barack Obama’s promise to “end spying on citizens who are not suspected of a crime and to stop tracking those who do nothing more than protest a government policy they disagree with” seriously.
A leak from a career intelligence officer to the Washington Post broke the news on the PRISM project—a covert program to collect and mine data from a slew of Internet service providers. The source justified leaking the information “because of its gross invasion of privacy. Without a court order or ‘probable cause’ federal agents are literally reading people’s words as they type.”
President Obama insists that “the consternation over this revelation is overwrought. We’re not listening to everyone’s phone calls. We’re not reading everyone’s mail. We’re only trying to hone in on those elements that pose a danger to our government. What we’re doing is trading off a modest encroachment on Fourth Amendment rights against the goal of keeping us safe.”
“People need to take a deep breath and calm down,” Obama continued. “The notion that their government might use any of the information gathered to intimidate dissidents is too farfetched. Only those designated as potential terrorists need be concerned that we are watching. And that’s a good thing.”
Not everyone is likely to agree with the president on this. For one thing, the Department of Homeland Security has included gun owners, ex-military, anti-abortionists, and tax protesters as “potential terrorists” worthy of extra scrutiny. For another, the IRS discriminatory harassment of groups with the words “patriot” and “TEA Party” in their names may be cause for concern.
Aiming to bolster the president’s position on this issue, Senator Diane Feinstein (D-Calif) urged that “people shouldn’t get bent out of shape over this. The spying has been going on for years and as far as we know no one has been harmed by this invasion of privacy.” Feinstein credited the program with “gathering information that helped fend off an attempt to bring down the Obama Administration last November.”
A measure of bipartisan support came from Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) who said he is “glad that the government is listening in on my calls and reading my emails. Sometimes I wonder whether anyone cares what I say. It is reassuring that someone in the government cares enough to spy on me. It makes me feel important.”
In related news, the FBI is demanding that all communications software build in a “backdoor” so that it may “surreptitiously intercept transmissions of interest to the Bureau.” FBI general counsel Andrew Weissman called the “backdoor” option “essential, otherwise there could be conversations we’d have no way of obtaining. All kinds of plots and schemes against the government could be hatched without us being any the wiser.”
President’s Africa Trip Has Hefty Price Tag
The First Family’s excursion to Africa is shaping up as the most expensive trip ever taken by an American president. As of now, the estimated cost is expected to range from $60 to $100 million. A big item of expense is the around-the-clock security. Not only will there be hundreds of Secret Service agents accompanying the First Family, there will also be a constant presence of military jets flying overhead. The bill easily dwarfs what it would’ve cost to provide extra security for the Libyan Ambassador who was killed by Islamic jihadis in Benghazi last September.
Press Secretary Jay Carney brushed aside criticism that the outlay is extravagant saying that “the extra precautions are the absolute minimum we feel are necessary. The President and his family are the most important people on the planet. It is our sacred obligation to make every effort deemed necessary to ensure their safety.”
Carney contended that “comparisons with the amounts not spent to protect Ambassador Stephens aren’t relevant. The ambassador’s death, tragic as it was, barely caused a ripple in the context of global affairs. Events since last September have proved that—the president was reelected, his government still rules. The same certainly wouldn’t be the case if even the slightest harm were to befall President Obama or his family. The consequences would be catastrophic beyond measure.”
“On top of this, who would disagree that the malice directed toward the president has to be far greater than that which brought Ambassador Stephens down,” Carney continued. “Terrorists have had dozens of their friends and co-conspirators killed by order of President Obama. Is there any doubt that they would go to great lengths to get back at him in whatever way they could? We are confident that the American people are willing to pay whatever it costs to keep their president safe.”
Congressman Demands “More Balanced” Campaign against Terrorism
Representative Jim McDermott (D-Wash) directed pointed criticism at the FBI’s focus on Islamic terrorists. His criticism was sparked by a bus ad that featured photos of 16 suspected terrorists that the agency is trying to apprehend. McDermott’s beef is that all 16 of the suspects featured in the ad are Islamic.
“I find it highly offensive that the FBI is concentrating on Muslims to the exclusion of other racial and religious groups,” McDermott said. “Our anti-terror campaign needs to be more balanced.”
Whether an anti-terror campaign could be more balanced is problematic. All but two of the FBI’s top 32 most wanted terrorism suspects are Muslims. An FBI spokesman explained that “the bus ad isn’t intended to be a comprehensive capsule of the Agency total efforts. It is just a snapshot aimed at informing citizens.”
McDermott wasn’t mollified by the FBI’s explanation, insisting that “they aren’t trying hard enough. Going after the guys who are setting bombs and hijacking airlines is obvious and easy. What about the more subtle threats posed by groups like the TEA Party that the IRS has ferreted out?”
The Congressman pledged “to work with my colleagues in the House to draft legislation that will end the discriminatory bias that has characterized our policy thus far. At the very least, there ought to be target quotas to produce a wider array of ethnic, racial, and religious terrorist suspects.”
More Government Spying Uncovered
The massive invasion of Americans’ privacy by the federal government isn’t the exclusive turf of the National Security Agency (NSA). Information released in response to a Freedom of Information Act filing indicates that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has been conducting warrant-less surveillance of the financial transactions of five million consumers.
CFPB Director Richard Cordray defended what he insisted was “mere data mining of an anonymous nature. There is no intent at this time to single out any individual. We’re only gathering statistics to help us craft the appropriate regulations to control how credit is used in our economy.”
“The accumulation of excessive debt for unnecessary consumption is a growing problem,” Cordray said. “It is the Bureau’s responsibility to devise rules that will act to prevent consumers from taking on such debt. Every dollar we can divert from the frivolous accumulation of unneeded stuff can be conserved for deployment toward more essential uses.”
One of the “more essential uses” cited by Cordray will be “the payment for coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Most consumers are unaware of the additional amount they will have to pay for health care insurance starting in January of 2014. By secretly observing the wasteful and imprudent abuses of credit exhibited by consumers we can better construct regulations to avert this behavior and ensure a more uniform compliance.”
A report published in the Journal of Economic Growth cast doubt on the benefits of government regulations. The report’s authors, John Dawson and John Seater say that over the last 60 years excessive regulation has significantly reduced Americans’ standard of living. They estimate that had regulations stayed at the level they were in 1949, average household income would now be $330,000 per year instead of the $53,000 it is currently.
Cordray was unimpressed by these findings. “If household income were six times as high that would just mean six times as much would be spent on selfish, materialistic impulses,” Cordray argued. “I don’t find it hard to believe that the benefits of the regulations added since 1949 are easily worth more than a quarter of a million dollars a year to each family in America.”
Obama Urges Africans to Accept Poverty to Save Planet
President Obama urged Africans to “step up and make the sacrifices needed to spare the world from the ravages of global warming.”
The President blamed global warming on “America’s insatiable lust for comfort and convenience. In America the people have grown soft. If they are hot they want to turn down a thermostat to cool an entire building. Instead of going to sleep when it gets dark they demand electricity to banish the night. Rather than confine their travel to destinations reachable on foot they drive everywhere.”
The “self-indulgent” behavior of Americans was contrasted with the “stoic heroism of average Africans who endure lives of squalor that place minimal burdens on the planet’s ecosystem. Your homes are built of mud and straw. Your food is natural and unprocessed. Manual labor and walking for hours each day keep you fit. It is a lifestyle to which all should aspire.”
Obama allowed that “it will take generations of effort and enlightened policies to bring Americans in line with the planet-saving modes of living that are the norm in Africa. I ask that you patiently wait for us to catch up with you rather than rushing to embark on the same destructive path we have taken.”
President to Defy Congressional Cut to Syrian Arms Aid
Concerned over evidence that some of the weapons the US has been supplying to enemies of the Syrian government have fallen into the hands of jihadists inimical to US interests, the House and Senate Intelligence Committee members of both Parties voted to restrict funding.
While Congress would appear to be acting within its powers according to the Constitution, the Obama Administration denounced the move as “unwarranted interference.” National Security Advisor Susan Rice declared that “the President’s latitude in conducting foreign policy cannot be infringed by fetters concocted in the halls of Congress. As long as he holds the office he will continue to arm those he deems deserving of our aid regardless of what anyone else thinks.”
The President’s usurpation of Congressional authority ruffled feathers in the legislative branch, but is not expected to result in any significant action against the president. House Intelligence Committee Chair, Representative Mike Rogers (R-Mich) appeared resigned to impotence. “Is it an impeachable offense?” he asked. “Yes, but the President could grab a child out of a crowd and strangle it on TV and the Democrats in the Senate would still vote against convicting him. He’s their guy and they will back him no matter what he does. The Framers’ notion that the legislature would jealously guard against executive tyranny has been proven false.”
Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Diane Feinstein (D-Calif) effectively concurred in Rogers’ assessment of the situation. “As the revelations of Edward Snowden have shown, the President has access to information that could humiliate anyone who opposes him in any serious way,” Feinstein admitted. “With that sword hanging over your head, why destroy your career if it’s clear that resistance is futile?”
In related news, the Obama Administration warned the Egyptian government to cease arresting members of the Muslim Brotherhood or face a curtailment of US foreign aid. “The contention that the Brotherhood is undermining the peace does not trump the fact that this organization is the legitimate government of Egypt and has the full confidence of President Obama,” said Secretary of State John Kerry.
AG Assails Zimmerman Verdict
The acquittal of George Zimmerman for the shooting death of Trayvon Martin spurred an incensed Attorney General Eric Holder to vow to rein-in “the senseless concept of self-defense.” A Florida jury decided that Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, used deadly force in self-defense after the bigger Martin attacked him, knocked him to the ground, and proceeded to beat him—breaking his nose, blackening his eyes, and bashing his head against the pavement.
“We don’t live in some primitive state-of-nature where everyone must defend himself,” Holder asserted. “We are a civilized society. It is the Government’s Constitutional responsibility to provide for the common defense. Granted, Government agents can’t be everywhere all the time, but to use this as an excuse to allow individuals to decide how much force they can use to protect themselves is a formula for anarchy.”
The attorney general claimed that “in an ideal world only government officers would have weapons. We are assiduously working toward that ideal, but aren’t there yet. Until we get there we ought to insist that self-defense be limited to a response in-kind. If someone punches you you’d be entitled to punch back, but not to escalate by retaliating with a weapon. If this concept of self-defense had been in place, Trayvon Martin would be alive today. Zimmerman might have taken a severe beating, but he’d probably have survived. The social cost of the run-in between these two would’ve been lower than it turned out to be under our antiquated concept.”
While admitting that he cannot seize all the privately owned guns, Holder took some small satisfaction in his authority to seize Zimmerman’s gun as “evidence” in a prospective trial for violating Martin’s civil rights. “The scope of the benefit is narrow and probably temporary—though, who can say how long our investigation might take,” Holder observed. “At the very least, we have disarmed an admitted killer for a while.”
In related news, Press Secretary Jay Carney disavowed the government’s responsibility to protect Zimmerman from widespread death threats. “To imply that the president has an obligation to protect this guy is ridiculous,” Carney maintained. “Besides, isn’t Zimmerman an advocate for self-defense? Wasn’t that his claim at his trial? I suppose he felt strong facing one unarmed teenager, but maybe isn’t so brave with hundreds after his scalp. He should’ve thought of that before he pulled the trigger on a boy who could’ve been the President’s son.”
US Ups Pressure for Russia to Allow Snowden Extradition
US Attorney General Eric Holder issued a written demand that the Russian government apprehend NSA whistle blower Edward Snowden and send him back to the United States to face charges of leaking national secrets. In an effort to soothe concerns that Snowden might be ill-treated, Holder promised that “we will not be seeking the death penalty, nor will Mr. Snowden be subjected to torture.”
To bolster his credibility, Holder cited the case of Private Bradley Manning, the U.S. soldier on trial for providing documents to WikiLeaks. “Private Manning wasn’t tortured,” Holder pointed out. “He has been provided with full accommodations of food and lodging while enjoying a fair trial.”
Upon his arrest, Manning was held in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day. The government is seeking a sentence of imprisonment for life for actions it says “aided and abetted the enemy.”
In the event that Holder’s “sweet talk” fails to persuade the Russians to surrender Snowden, the US Senate is taking up a bill introduced by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC). The bill would impose “sanctions” against any country that “harbors” Snowden.
“Snowden’s revelation of the surveillance performed by the NSA has done incalculable harm to the image of the United States,” Graham asserted. “Now that everyone knows the government is spying on them their vision of America as a free country has been irreparably damaged. Snowden’s fleeing to Russia has allowed this notorious trampler of human rights to pose as a defender of this traitor’s freedom of speech and travel.”
Graham said “ideally, Snowden ought to realize what he’s done is wrong and take his punishment like a man—as my good friend Senator McCain did when he was tormented for seven years as a prisoner-of-war in Vietnam. Failing this, it is important that Congress go on record condemning Snowden’s treachery and not let President Obama hog all the credit by taking him out with a drone strike while we look like a bunch of gutless wonders.”
Government Secrecy Becoming Pathological?
Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Carl Levin (D-Mich) rejected a request from ProPublica for a copy of a Defense Department document listing the countries the United States is currently at war with. “Who we are at war with is a matter for the government, not the general public,” Levin maintained. “Under the Constitution, war-making powers are vested in Congress and the president. We will decide what role others will play if and when it becomes necessary to do so.”
Concealing this information from the general public isn’t the only measure undertaken by the US Government. The US Army Brass has ordered all personnel to not read newspapers, access web sites, or view TV broadcasts that may reveal “secret” information.
“A crucial component of morale for US troops is the belief that America is the land of the free,” said Army Secretary John McHugh. “Certain reports in the media, like the ones indicating that the NSA is spying on ordinary citizens, tend to undermine morale. We can’t prevent civilians from obtaining this information, but we can surely make every effort to dissuade our soldiers from getting it.”
McHugh acknowledged that “there isn’t much we can do for military personnel posted outside of war zones. The opportunity to go off base when not on duty puts these individuals beyond our control. Thankfully, soldiers in the combat areas can be blocked from news that could breed doubts and disloyalty.”
Administration to Step Up Neighborhood Diversity Initiative
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced a new fair housing regulation aimed at increasing the diversity of America’s neighborhoods.
“Too many of our minorities are trapped in blighted, high-crime neighborhoods solely because they can’t afford to live where conditions are better,” HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan declared. “We are launching a two-pronged approach to remedy this social injustice.”
“Prong number one,” Donovan says, “will be an intensive data collection and analysis of the racial composition of every neighborhood in the country. Prong number two will be aiding the integration of an appropriate racial and ethnic mix of inhabitants.”
Aids to integration are reported to entail “government subsidies for persons who otherwise couldn’t afford to live in better neighborhoods” and “a relocation permit process to interdict movements that would tend to undermine the intent of the program.”
“Ideally, we’ll erase the distinctions between so-called good and bad neighborhoods,” Donovan promised. “Not only would we achieve a more equitable distribution of the population, we’d also eliminate the significant cost of people needlessly moving around in search of a better neighborhood. Every place would be the same.”
EEOC Vows to Appeal Judge’s Ruling
This past week, U.S. District Court Judge Roger Titus dismissed the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s contention that the use of criminal background checks for prospective employees unfairly discriminates against minorities. Titus labeled the EEOC’s arguments “laughable.”
EEOC Chairwoman Jacqueline Berrien called the Judge’s ruling “clearly erroneous. Statistics show that minorities represent a disproportionate share of those convicted of crimes. A hiring policy that screens out persons with a criminal history will inevitably screen out more minorities. This is illegal.”
Berrien conceded that “businesses may feel uncomfortable with the idea of hiring those with criminal records, but this must be balanced with the rights of minorities to obtain good-paying jobs.”
“The belief that a criminal record indicates a person is just dishonest is what we question,” Berrien argued. “Dishonesty is only one reason why a person might have a criminal record. Equally important is the fact that persons with lower intelligence are more likely to make errors that lead to their arrest and conviction. Numerous studies have indicated that minorities are also over represented amongst the ranks of those with low IQs.”
Berrien expressed confidence that “we’ll win on appeal. Titus is only one judge. He was appointed by Bush and obviously doesn’t understand the important transformations President Obama is trying to make to this country. As we go further up the line in the Courts there’ll be more opportunity for the President’s views to prevail like they did when Supreme Court Justice Roberts ‘surprisingly’ upheld Obamacare.”
President Justifies Usurpations
The rising tide of extralegal Presidential edicts bypassing Congress was justified by Obama himself in remarks during a CNN interview with Chris Cuomo.
According to the president, “most Republicans tell me privately that they’d like to support me, but are afraid of retaliation from Tea Party primary challenges or being lambasted by right-wing talk shows. They’re grateful that I’m taking the ‘hot potatoes’ out of their hands with these Executive Orders.”
In illustration of his case, Obama pointed to his Executive Order authorizing subsidies for members of Congress and their staffs to offset the higher health insurance costs of the Affordable Care Act. “Their inadvertent neglect to exempt themselves from the mandates of the Act put them in the same boat as private individuals vis a vis the requirement to purchase compliant coverage,” Obama said. “It was their own fault. I could’ve just sat by and let them take their lumps. That’s what a strict observance of the law would’ve required. My willingness to go outside the narrow confines of the law saved them from the pain of having to pay more without them having to face the embarrassment of explicitly amending the Act to save themselves.”
“Congress has two core responsibilities,” the president maintained. “One is to pass the legislation needed to promote the general welfare. The other is to provide the money the Government needs. When Congress fails to carry out these responsibilities it is up to me to bridge the gap.”
“There is a solid majority on both sides of the aisle for getting things done,” the president continued. “We could let ourselves be stymied by archaic limitations or we can adapt modern methods for meeting the needs of governing in a changing world. Thankfully, the consensus favors a dynamic and flexible approach.”
In related news, Obama deflected criticism of NSA spying on citizens. “Let me assure everyone that the government is not listening to your emails or reading your phone conversations,” Obama asserted. “The claim that we would or even could do such a thing is an absurdity that raises questions about the mental health of those who make the accusations.”
Meanwhile, the NSA’s campaign of intimidation against Dan McCall continues. McCall’s website LibertyManiacs.com lampooned the NSA as “the only part of government that actually listens to the people.” NSA Director, General Keith Alexander, defended the intimidation saying that “the important work we do deserves the respect and support of every American. Mockery merits repercussions.”
Facebook Post Leads to Interrogation
An Arizona man who expressed a fear that America was becoming a police state in a post to his Facebook page was called in for interrogation by FBI agents within hours of making the statement. Faced with the threat of having a SWAT team kick down his door, Blaine Cooper voluntarily complied with a request to report to his local police station for an interview with federal agents.
Cooper described the situation as “unnerving. It turned my vague sense of uneasiness over the country’s drift into tyranny into a palpable reality. They had every Facebook post I had ever made in a huge file, along with all my wife’s information, and parent’s information. They let me go for now, but reminded me that they will still be watching me.”
The FBI’s rapid response to Cooper’s Internet post was credited to the federal government’s XKeyscore program. “Thanks to technology we can be more vigilant that ever,” boasted FBI spokesman John Boot. “Implying that the United States might be a police state is dangerously defamatory. Dissemination of this idea undermines people’s faith in and loyalty to their government. We need to nip it in the bud.”
Boot expressed the hope that “Cooper was significantly impressed by our diligence in this matter and will refrain from future slanders against the reputation and policies of his government.”
In related news, scientists at the University of Washington demonstrated the ability to control another person’s movements via a direct brain-to-brain link. It is hoped that this new breakthrough can overcome the friction of free will that impedes the pathway between issuing a command and achieving obedience on the part of the targeted individual. Up until now, orders could be misunderstood or disobeyed. If this technique can be perfected government can eliminate the intervening consciousness and allow a designated official to directly control the actions of another person.
Reid Rejects Idea of Hearing Evidence from Russian Envoys
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) rejected Russia’s offer to send a pair of members of its parliament to testify to Congress on intelligence information it has gathered on the Syrian situation, saying that “the interjection of contradictory information would only muddy the waters.”
“We’ve already heard from the president and Secretary of State Kerry.” Reid said. “Our job is to support them. Bringing in outsiders who dispute the case they have presented will only make that harder to achieve.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin found Reid’s position to be “disappointing and incomprehensible. We have a 100-page intelligence report documenting that the rebels the US is seeking to aid have engaged in despicable atrocities—including the use of chemical weapons. Perhaps the Americans would doubt the validity of such a report, but shouldn’t they at least hear the evidence before discounting it?”
As bad as the Assad Regime is, the brutality of rebel fighters has sparked growing support for his government. Massacres of unbelievers, horrific filmed executions, and cannibalism perpetrated by opponents of Assad have persuaded many that he is the lesser of evils. One of the rebel faction’s vow to “slaughter all the Christians after Syria is liberated” suggests that a US role in helping to bring this about might not be a good idea.
Despite substantial evidence of the murderous nature of the main forces opposing Assad, Senator John McCain (R-Ariz) insists that “helping them is our only option. They may not live up to our ideals of freedom and humane human interactions, but who does in this part of the world. Oppression, persecution, and mass murder are the time-honored ways of governing in the Middle East. If we refuse to assist these rebels because they have innocent blood on their hands we won’t have any horse in this race.”
Secretary of State John Kerry sought to bolster the case for US intervention by citing the fact that one of the rebel leaders recited a poem before executing a group of captured Syrian troops as “proof that they are not simply barbarians, but also have the capacity for appreciating literature and possibly other fine arts. Should we just stand by while this spark of culture is crushed by a loathsome regime?”
Reid is expected to schedule a Senate vote on whether the US should or shouldn’t bomb Syria in support of the al-Qaeda rebels on September 11. The date is considered ironic since it would be the twelfth anniversary of al-Qaeda’s attack on the NY World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
“When you think about it, doesn’t it make more sense for us to align ourselves with an organization that has a broader reach than the Assad government?” Reid asked. “Assad has shown no capability to harm us. Al-Qaeda, obviously, has. Do we really want to risk disappointing them? Wouldn’t taking sides with the stronger party make the most sense?”
Reid Gloats over Budget Brinksmanship Strategy
Despite opining that “a government shutdown would be the worst possible outcome in our negotiations over the budget,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) vowed he will “make no compromises to avoid it.”
“We’ve got control of the narrative,” Reid boasted. “Why should we give Republicans a break? Almost half of Americans depend on the government to put money in their pockets. The other half are afraid of riots in the streets if the flow of subsidies to client populations is halted. The media are ‘all in’ for blaming the GOP if anything bad happens. When you have the winning hand you don’t need to be nice.”
The Senate Majority Leader’s perspective was echoed by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). “We’re past the point of no return in this country,” Boehner argued. “Too many people are on the government teat. The slide into the abyss can’t be avoided. All we can do is try to get our fair share of the loot before it all goes to Hell.”
Reid acknowledged that he wasn’t entirely unsympathetic to Boehner’s plight. “We’ve offered to help him fend off the Tea Partiers in his Party,” Reid said. “If he can bring enough Republicans over to our side on the budget we’ll see to it that those who cooperate get a bigger piece of the pie when it’s carved up.”
President Calls House Vote on Budget “Personal Attack on Me”
The House of Representatives’ Friday vote to fund everything in government except Obamacare was labeled a “personal attack on me” by President Obama. “I think this is the first time in the nation’s 200-year plus history that a House of Congress has singled out one program for budget cuts just to diss a President.”
Obama dismissed out-of-hand the possibility that House Republicans might be genuinely responding to the public’s aversion to Obamacare (polls show a majority of Americans favor defunding the program). “People who oppose this crucial health care reform are just plain wrong,” the President insisted. “My staff and I have made a heroic effort to educate everyone on its benefits. Only willful ignorance or racism can explain the continued resistance to this gift we are trying to bestow.”
While President Obama may construe the Affordable Care Act as a “gift,” it is not free to the intended recipients. Indications are that it will add thousands of dollars a year to the cost of obtaining health insurance coverage—amounts that the backers of the law had hoped would be borne by employers. Employers, however, have made use of provisions in the law that allow them to escape this burden by converting more employees to part time status (i.e., under 30 hours per week on the job). The Obama Administration has also generously (and illegally) deferred statutory deadlines to give businesses more time to accomplish this conversion.
Meanwhile, holders of “catastrophic coverage” policies are being told their plans do not comply with the new law. As Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius has explained, “People may think they only need coverage for major emergencies, but our experts have determined that more extensive coverage is the socially responsible way to go. On the one hand, broader coverage of preventive care can help reduce the risk of major health problems going undetected. On the other hand, the provision of coverage for elective services like abortions and sex changes helps spread these costs over a wider base—making them more affordable to those who choose to access these services.”
ACLU Charges Obamacare Violates Patients’ Rights to Sexual Privacy
After New York cardiologist Adam Budzikowski complained about new rules requiring him to query his heart patients about their sex lives, the New York chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union lodged a protest.
“Why must a cardiologist be force to compile a dossier on his patient’s sex history,” Budzikowski wanted to know. “I don’t need this information in order to treat my patients. I feel like they are turning me into a sort of Gestapo interrogator. If I don’t ask these invasive questions I’ll get fined by the IRS.”
US Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius defended the questions saying that “the struggle for a healthier America requires the full participation of everyone in the healthcare community. Every doctor must extract vital information. Every patient must cooperate by answering truthfully.”
“Under the Affordable Care Act the government is taking on the primary responsibility for maintaining the heath of every American,” Sebelius explained. “In order for us to be able to plan for the health needs of everyone—both in terms of laying out the appropriate therapies individuals will have to submit to and in terms of controlling the overall costs—we must know what risks people are taking. As a significant vector for several serious medical conditions, a person’s sexual behavior is pertinent information. No one can lawfully refuse to supply it.”
Sebelius tried to reassure the ACLU that “all of this information will be safely stored in a secure government site and will only be accessed on an ‘as-needed basis’ by those duly authorized to do so.”
In related news, the thousands of Obamacare “navigators” being hired to implement the program’s heath insurance exchanges will not be required to pass a background check. “There simply isn’t enough time,” Sebelius said. “We weighed the possibility that persons with a criminal history might be hired and misuse confidential information as relatively minor and worth the risk.” Thus far, an estimated $67 million has apparently been stolen from the Obamacare implementation fund.
Feds Spare No Expense to Close Popular Tourist Sites
Determined to put a real “sting” into the shutdown of the federal government in the absence of Congressional passage of a continuing resolution, the federal government incurred the added expense of shuttering popular open-air tourist sites.
“Money isn’t the issue,” National Parks Director Jonathan Jarvis insisted. “These parks are owned by the federal government. We say when they are open and when they are closed.”
As it turns out, the NPS exercised more authority than it has. The blockades included privately funded sites that the NPS “mistakenly believed” they had the right to close. The most prominent of these was Mount Vernon—the former home of George Washington that is now run by a privately funded foundation. For that matter, though it sits on federally owned land, the WWII memorial was also built with privately raised donations.
Not all of the blockades were successful. Washington, DC’s World War II memorial was successfully invaded by a contingent of 80 and 90-year-old veterans. “We had White House authorization to use deadly force if necessary,” said Park Ranger Bob Weaver. “But without comprehensive gun control laws we couldn’t be sure we wouldn’t be outgunned. Let’s not forget that some of these old guys stormed the beaches of Normandy facing down Nazi artillery and machine guns—firepower that, thus far, has been denied to us.”
Weaver didn’t sound optimistic that the NPS’s most recent ploy of wiring the barricades together would keep out the invading vets. “It’s not barbed wire and we can’t lay down a pattern of automatic weapons fire to deter the vets from penetrating the perimeter. Fortunately, this generation is dying off and future efforts to prevent unauthorized intrusions onto government property should go more smoothly.”
Out west, tourists are utilizing helicopter tours to bypass the government’s closure of Grand Canyon National Park’s roadway entrances. NPS Director Jarvis is pressing the president to declare a “no fly zone” over the Park. “The government owns the airspace over the Canyon just as much as the ground on which the park sits,” Jarvis contended. “If we say the Park is closed no one has the right to view any part of it by any means. Flying over our barricades to sneak a peek is like stealing. It’s just plain wrong.”
Meanwhile, the October 1st implementation of the Obamacare exchanges has been largely a bust. Computer glitches impeded those few who tried to access the program. Others were stunned to discover that they must first provide an array of personal data before being allowed to see details on the insurance packages offered. Those overcoming qualms learned that the plans offered were significantly more expensive than they had been led to believe—more costly than coverages available prior to the Affordable Care Act.
Shutdown Furloughs Indicate that 40% of Federal Workforce Is Non-Essential
Other than the high-profile barricading of selected tourist destinations there is little sign that the federal government shutdown is sparking the desired degree of panic in the population. Part of the problem may be that the 800,000 furloughed employees (about 40% of the total federal workforce) are non-essential.
Naturally, the question in many people’s minds is “why does the government keep so many non-essential employees on the payroll?” President Obama explained the rationale by pointing out that “the federal government is the nation’s largest employer. As such, it is our responsibility to sop up otherwise unemployable persons and give them seemingly meaningful jobs.”
The alternative, the president said, “would be to have hundreds of thousands of individuals with non-marketable skills cast into the pool of the unemployed. The functions carried out by these workers are not the kind of tasks that customers would freely pay for if they had an option. By giving these people a desk, a computer, and paperwork to do we are allowing them a dignity and sense of worth that they might not get if they had to slave over a minimum wage job.”
In related news, an unfortunate side effect of the shutdown has been an improvement in the federal government’s cash flow. While revenues coming in have been mostly unaffected, expenditures going out have significantly dropped. As a result, the deficit has temporarily turned into a surplus. If this were permitted to continue there would be no need to raise the debt ceiling.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) described this development as “a disaster” and pleaded with Wall Street “to use your financial muscle to bring the GOP back into line. Your government contracts, your subsidies, your tax breaks—all depend upon a robustly growing federal government. If you don’t step up now your gravy train will go off the tracks we have worked together so diligently to build over the years.”
Pelosi Rejects Any Responsibility for Obamacare Disaster
October 1st’s disastrous launch of the Affordable Care Act’s automated web site “is not any of my fault,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif), architect of the law, insisted.
The former Speaker rebuffed questions asking whether she has read the law since its 2010 enactment when she famously asserted that “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what’s in it.”
“If you look carefully at what I said you’ll see that I said we had to pass the law so you can find out what’s in it,” Pelosi said. “This law isn’t for me. I have the personal resources to cover any conceivable medical treatment I might need. The law is for little people. They and the ‘navigators’ must bear the burden of finding out what’s in it, not me.”
Thus far, the vast majority of individuals trying to use the heath care website have been unable to enroll in any heath insurance plan. Glitches in the $600 million dollar software program are frustrating even the most patient users.
Whether the “navigators” will be of much assistance remains to be seen. Some are misinformed about the requirements and insist that users must input credit scores to obtain coverage. Others are connected with organizations suspected of fraud. Background checks for all navigators were waived due to “lack of time.” The Attorneys General of 13 states have warned that the navigator program presents serious risks for identity theft.
John McAfee, creator of anti-virus software, predicts that thieves will hack into the Obamacare website, steal the personal information entered by those trying to enroll in the program, and use it to empty their bank accounts. “The official Obamacare website has no reliable safeguards at all,” McAfee observed. “The massive fleecing of vast numbers of those who enroll is just a matter of time.”
NPS Director Defends Aggressive Action to Shut Parks
Called to testify before the House Natural Resources, and Oversight and Government Reform committees, National Parks Service Director Jonathan Jarvis stood by his actions during the shutdown.
The most serious challenge to Jarvis’ actions came from Representative Rob Bishop (R-Utah) who accused him of violating the Anti-deficiency Act. This Act prohibits agencies from undertaking additional work during a lapse in funding such as occurred during the recent shutdown.
Jarvis didn’t deny that sending Park Rangers to barricade open air monuments and harass tourists violated this statute. “I will grant that the text of the statute would appear to prohibit the actions I authorized,” Jarvis admitted. “However, I discussed this matter with officials at the White House and Secretary Jewell. I was assured that the President’s authority superseded a rigid adherence to the statutory text.”
“I was told that if we left the Mall or the World War II Memorial open they wouldn’t really be shutdown,” Jarvis continued. “I mean, without the barricades how would the general public even know they were closed? Likewise, if we had allowed tourists to drive through our national parks and take photos it would have diluted the message that these places were closed. It’s not enough to just passively lock the doors of the visitors’ centers and think we’ve closed the parks if we let people take a peek from their vehicles while driving.”
An overlooked rationale for aggressively shutting down NPS sites according to Jarvis was the threat of terrorism. “If we left these sites open and unbarricaded they could’ve easily fallen into the hands of terrorists,” Jarvis contended. “As we saw, octogenarians were able to penetrate the perimeters we tried to establish. Imagine how much worse it could’ve been if, instead, al-Qaeda had chosen this occasion to seize these sites.”
In related news, President Obama created and awarded a Presidential Medal of Honor to Jarvis “for his heroic actions during the just concluded shutdown crisis. Without Director Jarvis’ steadfast leadership in this time of peril unauthorized viewing of some of America’s most treasured resources and sacred historic sites might have gone unopposed. In the full knowledge that he might face grievous criticism for actions many would classify as spiteful and vindictive, he did not waver from carrying out my orders.”
GOP Healthcare Bill Denounced
Senator Ron Johnson’s (R-Wisc) proposed legislation, the “If You Like Your Health Plan, You Can Keep It Act,” was immediately denounced by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) as “out of line.”
“This bill would completely undermine the Affordable Care Act,” Reid charged. “It trades on the simplistic notion that individuals should be permitted to decide what kind of health insurance they need. This is flawed logic. First of all, individuals aren’t qualified to assess the complex issues of health care coverage. Second, allowing people to keep plans they like would cater to the kind of selfishness that is wrecking this country.”
In defense of his bill, Senator Johnson argued that “it merely implements President Obama’s promise that those who like their existing insurance would be allowed to keep it. As we’re seeing millions of customers are being notified by their insurers that the Affordable Care Act requires the cancellation of ‘non-conforming plans.’”
“The president’s promise was never intended as a ‘blank check’ on behalf of personal greed,” Reid countered. “Those who like their existing insurance because it gives them coverage they want at a price they can afford are overlooking the broader social obligations they must bear as a member of society. All the President is asking is that we all share the burden of subsidizing the coverage of those worse off than themselves.”
The contingent of “worse off” includes those with pre-existing conditions, those with chronic health problems brought on by obesity, substance abuse, and serving in government. As Representative Charles Rangel (D-NY) explains, “the stress we face in our jobs is severe. On the one hand, lobbyists continually pressure us with temptations—free meals, free trips, campaign donations—that take a toll on our health. On the other hand, there is the constant fear that someone will perceive that we have done something wrong—taken a payoff to push legislation, cheated on our taxes—that disturbs our repose. We need and deserve a subsidy.”
While members of Congress’ salary of $174,000 per year plus assorted perks puts them well above the income level below which people must fall to qualify for Obamacare subsidies, Rangel and his colleagues, by executive order, will receive annual subsidies of nearly $11,000 to help fund their health insurance.
In related news, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius confirmed that she would not be signing up for Obamacare, saying that “I have a better plan that I’m satisfied with and I’m going to keep it.”
Press Secretary Insists President Didn’t Break Promise
As the first wave of Americans are discovering that they can’t keep heath insurance plans they like, the impression that President Obama lied to them is seeping into public awareness. Analysts predict that as many as 90 million will ultimately be forced off their current plans.
A desperate Presidential Press Secretary Jay Carney strove to deflect the impression that Obama lied about the impact the Affordable Care Act would have on policyholders. “The President didn’t lie to anyone in any meaningful sense,” Carney insisted. “While it’s true that a few who were satisfied with inferior plans will now be required to select new conforming plans, they need to realize that this is for their own good.”
Carney likened President Obama’s assurances to those that a parent gives a child. “There are times when a father or mother will offer to let a child choose a toy,” Carney said. “However, the parent reserves the right to veto the child’s choice if it would result in the purchase of a defective or dangerous product. All the Affordable Care Act is doing is vetoing the selection of defective and dangerous insurance policies.”
One of the “defects” of the policies that many would like to keep is the failure to provide mandated coverages like maternity benefits. As Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius explained to an incredulous Representative Renee Ellmers (R-NC), “just because a man is single doesn’t mean he can’t father a child, in which case he’ll be glad he has maternity coverage.”
After an off-microphone whispered conversation with a member of her staff, Sebelius revised her statement. “I am told that the example I just gave is incorrect, that the pregnant woman’s insurance would cover maternity costs,” Sebelius admitted. “But, since the Affordable Care Act covers sex-change surgery a person that starts out as a single man could become a woman and then benefit from maternity coverage.”
A second whispered consultation produced yet another revised statement. “My staff tells me it is not possible for a male undergoing a sex-change operation to become a mother,” Sebelius said. “Well, we are going to look into that and see if the Act can be amended to overcome this limitation. The President is committed to making this law work and we will do whatever it takes to make that happen.”
In related news, new research by scientists at the Medical Research Council Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit (MRC CBSU) and the University of Cambridge has shown that some patients declared to be in an irreversible vegetative state are actually more aware of their surroundings than thought. Whether this would change the currently approve protocol of removing life support from such patients “would be a matter for the Independent Payment Advisory Board to make,” said Sebelius. “We don’t have an unlimited amount of money to work with. If keeping these patients alive means we’d have to cut back on the number of abortions we can fund, well, that would be a decision for the Board to make. The needs of the few shouldn’t be allowed to trample the needs of the many.”
Health Secretary’s Big Announcement
After titillating the media for the past few days with hints of a “big announcement,” Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius told an audience in Atlanta that her office was taking a “historic step to aggressively deal with mental health issues under the Affordable Care Act.”
Undaunted by a spattering of audible groans from the audience, Sebelius plowed ahead explaining that “studies show that nearly 50 percent of Americans have serious mental health issues that have gone untreated. People who should be on medication are not currently receiving this benefit. People who should be institutionalized are not receiving this benefit. We are going to fix that.”
The secretary promised that “as soon as we get the bugs worked out of the computerized sign-up process we will be able to begin meting out these benefits to those who need them.” She brushed aside suggestions that some of the intended beneficiaries might not want the services she is vowing to impose on them. “People with untreated illnesses pose a risk to society that we cannot afford to ignore. Protecting the 50 percent of the population that is not afflicted with mental health problems is just as important as treating those who are.”
One measure reported to be under consideration would be to add anti-psychotic medications to the water supply. “One of the biggest difficulties in medicine is getting the patient to consistently and reliably take the drugs that are prescribed for him,” Sebelius pointed out. “If we add medications to the water supply people forgetting to take their meds will be a thing of the past. We already add fluoride to the water. The success of that program shows that removing the human element from the medicating procedure is the way to go.”
In related news, Sebelius labeled fears that increased government control over health care would lead to “passive extermination” of the seriously ill elderly as “exaggerated.” The fears were reignited by a report on how the UK’s National Health Service held 80-year-old patient Ron Jee without food or water for four days waiting for him to die.
“People are making a big deal about how this patient was crying and pleading for help during his treatment,” Sebelius said. “That is the narrow view. The broader perspective is that our resources are finite. Food and water expended on those who’s lives have little value to society subtracts from what we then have available for higher value individuals. Surely, the good of the whole outweighs the brief suffering of the few.”
President “Fixes” Obamacare
Stirred into action by the threat his signature legislation poses to Democrats’ hopes for the November 2014 elections, President Obama agreed to stand behind his false promise that those who liked their health insurance could keep it. The “fix” the president offers is that he will forgo enforcing the Affordable Care Act for one year.
Ironically, the year’s delay in enforcement is what the GOP proposed over two months ago. At that time delay was so unacceptable that Obama had the government shutdown rather than accede to the GOP proposal.
Whether the president’s fix is legal was questioned by former Governor Howard Dean (D-Vermont). “This would seem to violate the president’s oath of office,” Dean said. “As chief executive, the President is supposed to ensure that the laws of this country are faithfully enforced. Amending the clear language of the statute as President Obama has done usurps powers the Constitution delegates to Congress.”
A GOP attempt to codify the “fix” via enabling legislation was introduced by House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich). Upton’s bill—the “Keep Your Health Plan Act”–passed the House by a 261-157 vote. Nevertheless, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md) declared the vote “a waste of time and an infringement of the president’s flexibility. If we pass a statutory change to the Affordable Care Act it would tie the President’s hands. I mean, what if he determines that the delay needs to be rescinded?”
The White House has already vowed to veto the House measure should it make it through the Senate and reach the president’s desk. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) assured that “this will never happen. The president has shown the courage to rise above the petty constraints others would impose on his latitude. You don’t hog tie the person you’re counting on to save the day with fetters forged by those long dead. He needs a free hand to rule in the best interests of the American people.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) concurred in Reid’s assessment. “The notion that there are a lot of people who like their old policies is completely bogus,” Pelosi contended. “I have yet to meet a single person who isn’t glad that the government is forcing everyone to buy a new and improved insurance plan.”
Pelosi dismissed reports of cancer patients being thrown off their old insurance plans and widespread “sticker shock” at the higher prices of ACA compliant policies as “minor bumps in the road. Every major undertaking is bound to rack up a few casualties along the way. No insurance system can save everyone. The important thing is to get everyone on-board a plan that Health and Human Services has determined best serves the nation.”
FEC Rules against Tea Party
The Federal Election Commission ruled that “fear of harassment” is an insufficient reason for Tea Party affiliated groups to conceal the names, addresses, and places of employment of those who donate to their cause.
FEC Chair Ellen Weintraub rejected Tea Party arguments citing protections against disclosure granted to organizations like the NAACP and Socialist Workers Party. “The Socialist Workers Party has never been an effective organization,” Weintraub pointed out. “None of their candidates have ever been elected. The same cannot be said for the Tea Party.”
“The NAACP is working for the advancement of a racial minority,” Weintraub continued. “They need protection from harassment by a racist majority. The Tea Party arose, in part, to oppose the policies of a minority President. For them to try to claim the same protections would be a travesty.”
Weintraub dismissed revelations of Government spying by the NSA and harassment by the IRS of Tea Party groups as evidence of a real threat to freedom of speech. “There is no question that the values, views, and actions of Tea Party groups are out-of-sync with those of the federal government,” she declared. “It would seem that the Government has good reason to want to keep close tabs on them. Exposing the identities of the shadowy figures who are bankrolling these anti-government activists is our first line of defense against them.”
AG May File Suit against Abortion Drug Manufacturer
A recent warning by the manufacturer of Norlevo, a morning-after abortifacient, that the drug won’t prevent pregnancy in women weighing over 176 pounds and may be unreliable for women over 165 pounds inspired US Attorney General Eric Holder to threaten to sue the manufacturers of this and similar drugs.
“It is important that all be treated equally,” Holder declared. “To market a medicine that works for some, but not for others is, ipso facto, discriminatory, and thus, illegal.”
Holder said he isn’t buying the argument that inherent differences between individuals inevitably means that the responses to medications are not uniform from person to person. “We are a country dedicated to the concept of equal rights,” Holder maintained. “The equal right to medical care is undermined if therapies are devised that have unequal results for different people.”
The fact that the average weight of women in the United States is 166 pounds seemed to add fuel to Holder’s anger. “What this manufacturer is saying is that the average woman in America cannot rely upon their product,” Holder observed. “This means, that in essence, their remedy is only fit for a thin elite of this country’s female population. This is so wrong that it cannot go uncorrected.”
The attorney general acknowledged that he was “loath to issue a cease-and-desist order, since continued access to abortion for thinner women is a vital component of the president’s vision for the future. However, holding the company liable for every unwanted birth by the users of its product may be the only equitable solution.”
Under the “consent agreement” Holder’s agency is drafting, manufacturers of morning-after abortifacients would be required to reimburse every woman who uses their product the estimated $250,000 lifetime cost of raising a child in America if they later became pregnant.
Pundit in Awe of Obama
MSNBC’s Chris Matthews compared his interview with President Obama to Jesus Christ’s return from the dead. “He came among us,” Matthews breathlessly exclaimed. “He shook my hand. He sat right next to me. He answered my questions. He restored my faith.”
Matthews said he imagined that “this must be how the Apostles felt when they saw Jesus after the crucifixion and burial. I felt so privileged, so blessed to be so close to this awesomely great entity.”
In order to set up Matthews’ meeting with the awesome Barack Obama, American University bumped Ballet Petite’s final two dress rehearsals for “The Nutcracker.”
Melissa Carney, the ballet company’s artistic director, called the decision “heartbreaking and unnecessary. We made the reservation last January. These young performers have been rehearsing since August. To cut them off just prior to their opening night performance was thoughtless and cruel. Surely there were other stages available for a sit-down interview. Mr Matthews has a TV program. Why couldn’t they have used that venue?”
Matthews sought to minimize Carney’s concerns by pointing out that “performances of The Nutcracker have been going on for hundreds of years and will undoubtedly go on for hundreds more. This interview was a once-in-a-lifetime thing for me. Besides, I think my efforts to rescue the President from the media lynching he’s taken over the disastrous health care roll out are a far better use of the facility than gratifying the egos of a few juvenile prancers.”
Young People’s Objections to Obamacare Called Selfish
Polls indicating that Obamacare may be costing Democrats the youth vote sparked outrage from several sources. Representative Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (Fla), Chair of the Democratic National Committee, characterized concerns over the price as “selfish and misguided.”
“Those reacting negatively to insurance plans that double or triple their out-of-pocket costs for medical care are placing their own welfare ahead of society’s,” she declared. “Maybe they think they’re strong and healthy and don’t need medication or therapy, but what about those who do?”
The Congresswoman urged young people to “not try to substitute their thinking for that of the government’s experts. These experts have thoroughly reviewed the issue and determined that the collective well-being of the whole will be better served if the healthy young subsidize the sicker old.”
Over at the Department of Health and Human Services, Secretary Kathleen Sebelius sought to tackle what she called “youth obstinacy on this issue” by naming a video titled “Forget About the Price Tag” the grand prize winner in her agency’s contest to encourage young people to sign up for Obamacare.
“Now is not the time for young people to be shopping for a better value for what they pay,” Sebelius advised. “Now is the time for them to willingly shoulder the burdens that government has assigned to them. You know, the so-called ‘Greatest Generation’ didn’t question the role assigned to them by FDR. They accepted their task to defeat the Nazis, many of them at the cost of their own lives. We’re not asking nearly as much. All we want is these young people’s money. Why can’t they simply do as we ask?”
Administration’s Clueless Afghanistan Experts Testify
The Obama Administration’s cadre of experts in charge of the Afghan War testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee this week and revealed a profound ignorance of what is going on. None of the witnesses had any idea on what the war cost last year or how many Americans have been killed in the last 12 months.
James Dobbins, The State Department’s special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, complained that the questions were unfair, “No one told us there might be a quiz. Anyway, isn’t there some website where people can get these statistics? Why should we be expected to know them?”
Michael Dumont, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia, characterized the questioning as “intrusive. It seems to me that Congress is overstepping its bounds. The President is the Commander-in-Chief, not Congress. I have to question their need to know.”
Representative Gerald Connolly (D-Va) professed himself “stunned” by the testimony. “Knowing what a war costs in terms of lives and money is pretty basic stuff,” Connolly observed. “It’s not like we dragged some random people off the street to testify. These guys are paid by the taxpayers to carry out the business of the government. For them to appear before Congress and not know these things raises serious questions about the competence of those the President has entrusted with such grave responsibilities.”
Obamacare: Administration Grants More “Hardship” Exemptions
This week the Obama Administration granted yet another exemption from compliance with the Affordable Care Act. Using the “hardship clause” of the Act, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius ruled that “those whose previous insurance was canceled and who are unable to buy qualifying policies may buy substandard policies for the next year.”
Sebelius admitted that “it’s a bit ironic that our effort to push everyone into quality insurance plans has actually resulted in fewer people having health insurance than before the Affordable Care Act took effect. Among the more obedient segment of the population, the failures of the website have blocked many from acquiring policies that conform to the mandated standards. Among the more disagreeable segment, unwillingness to pay the higher premiums for coverage they deem inappropriate to their needs has led to many declining to participate.”
“Fortunately, the Act gives me virtually unconstrained authority to exempt whoever I feel warrants exemption,” the Secretary continued. “I’m using that authority to declare that the Act itself has created a hardship for people whose plans that they liked were canceled. I mean, if the President didn’t see this coming how can we have expected lesser common and ordinary people to have foreseen it?”
Robert Zirkelbach, spokesman for America’s Health Insurance Plans criticized the move as “disruptive and confusing. The whole premise of the Affordable Care Act was that it would enable us to insure the previously uninsurable by compelling the healthy to pay more for coverage they don’t need. Without this compulsory element the system won’t be financially feasible.”
Sebelius characterized Zirkelbach’s remarks as “unhelpful. We need solidarity and cooperation, not criticism. Everyone needs to pull together to get the ship of state righted. We need everyone to trust that we will get all the problems solved and give the American people the world’s best healthcare system if given enough time.”
How much time might be required is in dispute amongst the program’s supporters. Democratic National Committee Chairwoman, Representative Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (Fla) is convince the system will be working great in time to boost Democratic candidates’ chances in the November 2014 election. David Plouffe, former top adviser to President Obama, says we need to “wait until at least 2017 to know one way or the other.”
In related news, Teresa Fryer, the chief information security officer for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, told House Oversight Committee officials that the healthcare website is unsuitable for public use because of severe security risks. Fryer testified that she explicitly recommended denial of the website’s Authority to Operate, but was overruled by her superiors. “Sadly, the need to portray the President’s image as a man who keeps his promises prevailed over the reality of undue risk of identity theft to the website’s users,” Fryer said.
Detroit Ruins Draw Tourists to City
Detroit’s decline into bankruptcy and decay seems to have boosted its desirability as a sight for tourists to visit. Howard Carter, a recent visitor to the City’s ruins, was quite enthusiastic, “It’s like seeing the pyramids without having to wait thousands of years for them to turn into ruins.”
Carter congratulated himself on his good fortune. “Instead of having to pay thousands of dollars to take the family to Egypt we were all able to hop in the car and drive over from Canton,” Carter boasted. “At most we’re out a few hundred bucks instead of the thousands an overseas trip would’ve cost us. And every dollar we spent stayed in the US helping to boost our own economy.”
Locals are even giving guided tours. “We paid a guy $50 bucks for a three-hour tour,” Carter said. “In addition to describing the decay from prior greatness he was able to direct us past dangerous areas where roving gangs of violent youths battle each other for turf and prey upon unwary intruders.”
Retiring Mayor Dave Bing (D) declared himself “pleased with the city’s ability to transition to a new way of life. From the media coverage you’d think that the City is just a big wasteland. But even wastelands have a part to play in the evolution of a culture.”
Bing modestly refused to take all the credit, “I’ve done as much as I could in the last five years, but the momentum was established by policies set in place a long time ago. My role was more like a basketball player dribbling out the clock to preserve the team’s win.”
In related news, Wisconsin is spending millions of dollars to maintain vacant public school buildings rather than rent or sell the space to charter schools. Milwaukee Public Schools spokesman Anthony Tagliavia explains that “letting charter schools use these buildings and grounds would remove the one remaining competitive advantage public schools have over these rivals. Forcing charter schools to rent vacant commercial space denies them the opportunity to offer suitable playgrounds the children might use for recess or PE.”
Obamacare “Sticker-Shock” Hits More Americans
The Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) may seem to be anything but affordable to many average Americans. Take a middle class, middle aged couple earning a combined income of $65,000 a year. Under Obamacare, this couple would have to pay $19,400 before receiving a single dollar of benefits from their “bronze plan.” This is a total comprised of a $9,400 annual premium and a $10,000 deductible.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius disputed the contention that “merely because some people are paying more than they previously paid doesn’t make the overall program unaffordable. Many of those signing up are qualifying for subsidies. When we consider both those receiving subsidies and those paying higher premiums to help cover the cost of those subsidies the average outcome is in line with what the President is trying to achieve.”
Confronted with the above example couple, Sebelius pointed out that “even a cost of $19,400 per year is still less than 30 percent of their annual income. And that’s only if either one of them gets seriously ill. If neither one of them has to see a doctor they’re only out the $9,400 insurance premium. That’s less than 15 percent of their income. So, people can cut their own medical expenses in half if they stay healthy and keep away from doctors. That sounds pretty affordable to me.”
Ironically, prior to the passage of the ACA people could cut their own medical expenses to zero by staying healthy and keeping away from doctors. Consequently, it may be difficult for many people to fully appreciate Sebelius’ contention that the law is a benefit to them.
A Satirical Look at Recent News