The Best of John Semmens’ Semi-News — 2009

Dem Govs Say $1 Trillion Needed to Save States

Jan. 3, 2009

A bevy of Democratic governors made a desperate plea to incoming president Barack Obama for a bailout of their states. A statement joined in by New York’s Governor David Paterson, New Jersey’s Governor Jon Corzine, Massachusetts’ Governor Deval Patrick, Ohio’s Governor Ted Strickland and Wisconsin’s Governor Jim Doyle threatened “dire consequences” if the federal government doesn’t come through with financial aid.

“There are states that are talking of not being able to meet their financial obligations in the coming months,” Paterson said. “We have payrolls to meet. People are dependant upon the money we hand out.”

Paterson discounted the strategy of cutting costs by requesting employees to take unpaid leave. “Who’ll notice the difference if these jobs don’t get done?” he asked. “No one can explain why most of these people are on the payrolls. If we test the necessity, how can we justify taking them back when we have more money? It would be best that we not be forced to discover the truth.”

“We are not crying wolf, this is one of the worst situations our states have faced,” Strickland said. “Those who say we should cut the ‘fat’ out of our budgets don’t appreciate the role ‘fat’ plays in sustaining normal operations. We’re hoping we can rely on the Obama Administration to make sure we never have to find out.”

Corzine estimated that “$1 trillion in federal aid to our states is essential if we hope to be reelected.”

In related news, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) demanded that the federal government pay $9 billion to the NY City Government as part of the economic stimulus package. “New York is the icon city of America,” Schumer contended. “Its existence benefits every American. It is only fair that every American be required to help pay to support its city government.

Congressman Seeks Repeal of 22nd Amendment

Jan. 18, 2009

Representative Jose Serrano (D-NY) has introduced House Joint Resolution 5—a measure that would initiate steps aimed at repealing the 22nd Amendment to the US Constitution. The Amendment, added to the Constitution in 1951, limits an individual to two elected four-year terms as president.

“The idea that a man of such immense talent and vision as Barack Obama should be discarded after only eight years in office is foolish,” Serrano contended. “At only 47 years old, he could easily serve another 20 years or more. Why should the nation be forced to settle for lesser men as long as he’s willing to serve?”

“Electing a president and changing an administration is expensive and time-consuming,” Serrano pointed out. “We ought to be looking for ways to reduce this burden on the American people.”

Serrano suggested that voters be given the option of reelecting a sitting president for life. “After the first four years, voters should have a pretty good idea of whether they like the guy,” Serrano said. “They should be given the chance to extend his term for as long as he’s willing to serve. This would reduce the frequency, and thereby, the costs, of recurring, unnecessary elections and the accompanying turnover in executive branch personnel.”

In related news, a new poll shows that Obama is very popular in the state of New Jersey, with over 108% of registered voters favoring his reelection.

Gore to Ask Congress to Abolish Climate Change

Jan. 24, 2009

Former US vice president and Nobel prize winner Al Gore says he is “jazzed” about Democratic gains in the November elections and thinks the time is “ripe” for him to take his case to congress.

“My plea for the government to outlaw climate change has fallen on largely deaf ears,” Gore complained. “Even sympathetic members of congress were ‘bummed’ by the fear that Bush would veto anything they might pass. But now, with a Democratic president and Democratic majorities in both houses, the forces are aligned to abolish climate change once and for all—assuring Americans of this and future generations that normal weather will be allowed to reassert itself once humankind’s interference is eliminated.”

In a bill being drafted at Gore’s direction, congress will be urged to enact a law banning artificial means of living and promoting a more natural lifestyle. “Carbon-based methods for producing energy must be eliminated,” Gore insisted. “Whether we do this via punitive taxes or regulation is not as important as that it be done. People are warm-blooded mammals. If they’re cold they can put on more clothes to retain body heat. If they are hot they can take off their clothes. This is the environmentally friendly way to control climate.”

“Wind and solar power can serve most of our needs for energy,” Gore argued. “You know, Columbus discovered America using a wind-powered vessel. Yet, we have allowed this environmentally benign travel mode to atrophy. We’ve allowed ourselves to become addicted to gadding about town, creating massive traffic jams and polluting the air. We need to adapt our way of living to reduce unnecessary trips.”

Due to heavy demand for speaking appearances and the accompanying busy travel schedule, Gore is expected to fly into Washington on a private jet to testify on behalf of his proposed legislation.

President Declares He Will Decide Who Can Earn a Profit and When

Jan. 30, 2009

Inspired by anger over billions of dollars in bonuses handed out to Wall Street bankers for the last year’s largely dismal performance, President Obama declared that “now is not the time for these businesses to make a profit.”

In an unprecedented expansion of the concept of the president as the US “commander-in-chief,” Obama insisted that “in this time of economic crisis, my administration will make war on profiteering. As long as one person is without a job, those who are fortunate enough to be employed must not be allowed to take bonuses. As long as one business is in bankruptcy, those businesses enjoying a profit must sacrifice to spread the wealth around. We are all in this together. All must contribute to the good of the collective whole. As president, it is my job to see to it that all equitably share in the bounty produced by our economy.”

Obama’s position received support in congress. Senator Chris Dodd (D-Conn) demanded that the government “seize the bonus payments and excess profits of Wall Street” and add the money to the “stimulus” package now under debate in the senate. “These greedy profiteers must not be allowed to make decisions that are rightfully the prerogative of the people’s elected representatives,” Dodd argued. “This is the mandate for change voters demanded when they opted for the Democrats in November.”

Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri) seconded Dodd’s remarks and introduced a bill that would cap the salaries that could be paid to anyone in America to no more than that made by the US President. “President is the most important job in the world,” she asserted. “No one should be more highly compensated than he is.”

To “avoid subterfuges,” McCaskill’s bill targets “total compensation.” “There will be no skirting the law by funneling pay into bonuses, capital gains, profit-sharing, or any of the other clever dodges used by corporations to elude taxes,” she vowed. “Income from any and all sources, for any and all persons will be capped at the amount we pay the president. It is the height of arrogance for anyone to expect more.”

The president’s current salary is $400,000 per year.

Senate Majority Leader Explains, Excuses Democratic Tax Cheating

Feb. 7, 2009

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid sought to discount criticism of the tax evasion of so many of Barack Obama’s appointees. “Look, the country was ground under the heel of George Bush’s despotism for eight long years,” Reid argued. “Who can blame these patriotic Americans from seeking to fight this tyranny by starving it of funds.”

Obama nominees Tom Daschle and Nancy Killefer withdrew their candidacies for offices in the Obama Administration when it was revealed that they had neglected to pay significant amounts of taxes owed over multiple years. Treasury Secretary nominee and fellow tax cheat, Tim Geithner, was approved said Reid because “we want someone to head the IRS who knows the tricks others may attempt to use to evade tax liabilities.”

Since withdrawing from his appointment as Secretary of Health and Human Services, Daschle has asked if he could have the money he paid in back taxes returned to him. “I only paid because I thought it would help me get the job,” Daschle explained. “Since I’m not going to get the job I sure could use the $140,000.”

The executive branch members of the Democratic Party didn’t monopolize tax evasion antics. Would-be Minnesota senator Al Franken admitted that he owes around $50,000 in back taxes. And Representative Charles Rangel (N.Y.), chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee—the arm of congress that writes tax law—is reported to have made numerous errors on tax filings and other financial disclosure regulations over a 30-year period.

Obama Warns Officials Not to Let Taxpayers See Waste, Fraud or Inefficiency

Feb. 21, 2009

Concerned that the public sector spending binge that the passage of his so-called stimulus bill will unleash may lead to bad publicity, President Obama cautioned key recipients about maintaining the “appearance of propriety while the American people are watching.”

“Taxpayers are skeptical that the government can spend their money more wisely than they themselves can,” Obama warned. “The governors and mayors who will control this money must be careful not to expose evidence of waste, fraud, or inefficiency that would tend to corroborate this skepticism.”

The President admitted that he was calling for “an unprecedented level of trust from the American people, given the demoralizing disclosures of tax fraud by several of my nominees for high office.” He urged every American to study the 25,000-word manual detailing the regulations to be followed in the expenditure of this money “before launching premature attacks.”

“Sometimes things look bad on the surface,” the President observed. “Contracts may seem to be hastily awarded to friends of the governor. A mayor may be observed furtively stuffing an envelope in his pocket. But these actions may be in full compliance with the regulations. So, until you are up to speed on the rules, it would be best not to leap to conclusions.”

House Speaker Proposes “Windfall” Tax on IRAs and 401ks

March 14, 2009

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is proposing a “windfall” tax be levied on “so-called retirement accounts.”

“Who has the wherewithal to put money into these types of accounts?” Pelosi rhetorically asked. “I’ll tell you who—the rich. With unemployment soaring and businesses facing bankruptcy, people who can afford to put money into an IRA or 401k obviously have more than they need. Such selfishness must not be permitted to stand in the way of the President’s goal of equalizing incomes.”

Pelosi characterized IRAs and 401ks as “tax dodges” rather than retirement plans. “Social Security is the nation’s retirement plan,” she insisted. “No one is entitled to more if the resources to fund it are needed for other vital government programs.”

Under Pelosi’s proposal, funds currently in these tax-deferred accounts would be swept into a “Social Responsibility Trust” where they would be used to raise the standard of living of the poor, unemployed and minorities. “You know, there are an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in our country who need our help,” Pelosi asserted. “To let these funds sit idle or be paid out so a few can lead a pampered retirement is unacceptable.”

Pelosi assured those who have contributed to their own retirement accounts that “they would be eligible to receive payments from the Social Responsibility Trust if they can demonstrate a verifiable proof of need.”

Limits on Charitable Deductions Inspired by Research

March 28, 2009

The Obama Administration’s proposal to restrict the deductions from income taxes for charitable donations is said to have been inspired by research conducted by Arthur Brooks, a professor at Syracuse University, and published in his book Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism. The basic finding of the research is that hard-hearted conservatives donate more to charity than bleeding-heart liberals.

“The very fact that so-called conservatives donate more should be enough to raise anyone’s suspicions about the equity of allowing these tax deductions,” said White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. “I mean, when have these people every placed the well-being of others ahead of themselves.”

“When you think about it, tax deductions for charitable giving are an anarchic method of distributing the nation’s wealth,” Emanuel continued. “By changing the tax code we will be reducing the scope of personal giving and ensuring that more of each taxpayer’s income flows to the government. That way we can achieve a more controlled and better organized distribution of the nation’s bounty.”

President Apologizes to Europe

April 4, 2009

A contrite President Barack Obama apologized to Europeans for what he called “a history of American arrogance.”

“I am told by my advisors that the United States’ Army twice invaded the European continent during the 20th century, obliterating many cities by aerial bombardment, and destroying many precious artifacts” Obama said. “For this, let me express my sincere regrets on behalf of the American people.”

The President said he was shocked and appalled to learn that the US still has troops and weapons stationed in Europe. “The continued occupation of what should be sovereign nations is, indeed, a stain I will endeavor to scrub clean,” Obama promised. “We have bullied these people for far too long. It is time to make amends.”

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev called Obama “my new comrade” and praised the US President’s remarks as “long overdue, but welcome, nonetheless.” “While I think Mr. Obama may have gone a bit overboard apologizing for the initial invasions of American troops, I think he is right on target regarding the continued presence of both American troops and missiles in Europe,” Medvedev observed. “We eagerly anticipate the remedying of this continuing unwelcome intrusion into European affairs.”

Department of Homeland Security Warns Against ‘Right Wing’ Terror

April 18, 2009

Alleging that the Bush Administration’s “obsession” with the purported risk from Islamic jihadis had obscured the “clear and present danger” of “home-grown” terror, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Nipplitaliano issued new guidelines to security personnel.

“When you get right down to it, the number of Islamic terrorists on American soil has got to be pitifully small,” Nipplitaliano observed. “On the other hand, there are millions of veterans, gun owners, and pro-lifers living in the United States. These statistics alone argue that a long overdue shift in emphasis is needed.”

“Let’s not forget the damage done by Timothy McVeigh in the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995,” she continued. “He was a disgruntled veteran who used his military training against his fellow Americans. And I think I speak for most Americans when I say that these ‘tea parties’ we’re seeing all around the country are cause for great concern.”

Contending that “undermining respect for the Administration’s policies is the first step toward violent opposition,” the Secretary vowed that she would “take whatever action is necessary to snuff out trouble before anyone gets hurt. We are not going to get ‘caught with our pants down’ like we were in 1995.”

Tiller Murder Elicits Outrage

June 7, 2009

The shooting death of Dr. George Tiller, the nation’s foremost provider of late term abortions, inspired an uncharacteristic outburst of anger from President Barack Obama.

“I am shocked and outraged by the murder of Dr. George Tiller as he attended church services,” the President fulminated. “For a life to be ended so abruptly and without warning to the victim is truly a heinous act of violence.”

The president lauded Tiller’s work and described him as “an angel of mercy who relieved distraught women of the unwanted burdens of motherhood while simultaneously weeding the ‘garden of life’ of potentially harmful overgrowth. His services will be sorely missed by so many future beneficiaries.”

National Organization for Women President Kim Gandy echoed the president’s sentiments. “Dr. Tiller was the last escape option for women who were within days, hours, or in some cases just minutes of an unwanted motherhood,” Gandy said. “His cold blooded murder will doubtless send a chilling message to other defenders of reproductive rights. Who can say how many women will have their pregnancies forced to term if doctors fear to intervene? It is a tragedy I shudder to contemplate.”

“It’s so scary and unfair,” complained a staff member at an Austin reproductive clinic. “Dr. Tiller was unarmed and defenseless. He didn’t even know the guy that killed him. What kind of a world do we live in when such things can happen?”

Calling the reproductive services provided by Dr. Tiller and his peers “vital to our way of life,” US Attorney General Eric Holder ordered federal officers to increase security for abortion clinics throughout the nation.

President Kills Fly

June 21, 2009

Demonstrating what the media is calling “skills beyond those of any previous American president,” President Barack Obama swatted a fly during a recent press conference. Lest anyone present miss the significance of the deed, Obama himself pronounced it “impressive.”

On the Today Show (NBC), substitute-host David Gregory praised the President’s “super-human concentration and precision,” and added, “there’s no way that a President McCain could’ve done this. America’s voters obviously chose wisely last November.”

On The Early Show (CBS), Chris Wragge mused that Obama “must have had some ninja training.” Wragge speculated that the President’s reluctance to reveal this background to America’s enemies “is the logical explanation for why his educational records are kept confidential.”

On Good Morning America (ABC), Chris Cuomo provided a frame-by-frame analysis of the video that captured the President’s “rare talent” and decreed that “the President’s words at the moment of his triumph are beyond eloquent. Future school children will be asked to memorize them for their inspirational meaning.”

Obama’s words as he accomplished this wondrous feat were: “Hey! Get out of here,” which Cuomo called a gallant and chivalrous warning comparable to “engarde.” And after killing the fly, “I got the sucker,” which Cuomo insisted “ranks right up there with the final lines of Shakespeare’s Hamlet.”

Not everyone was so pleased by the President’s skill. PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) decried the “unnecessary bloodshed.” “He should have given consideration to a peaceful resolution of differences, instead of turning to violence as a first resort,” argued PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk. Newkirk said the President aggravated his “offense against nature” by “gloating over the death of an innocent creature.”

“Town Hall” Protests Irk Governing Elite

Aug. 15, 2009

Continued outpouring of opposition to the President’s health care legislation at so-called “town hall” meetings being held around the country by members of congress is fraying tempers among the governing class.

In an op ed penned for publication in the USA Today newspaper, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland) declared that opposition to the bill is “un-American.” “Great Americans from Presidents Lyndon Johnson to Bill Clinton have supported health care reform,” they wrote. “Three House Committees have passed the current bill out of their committees. The American Medical Association supports this bill. The American Trial Lawyers Association supports this bill. The American pharmaceutical industry supports this bill. American unions support this bill. If all these Americans are behind this reform, who can be against it but unAmericans?

Harry Reid characterized the legislation’s opponents as “evil mongers.” “Instead of supporting our efforts to improve the health care system, these people are badgering the government’s representatives in city after city across the land,” Reid complained. “Instead of listening to their own elected representatives they’re trying to tell us what to do. This is pure evil in my mind.”

White House Aide Linda Douglass called Administration opponents’ tactics reprehensible. “They have dredged up videos of what the President said in 2006 when he was a senator trying to use his own words to impeach his veracity,” Douglass said. “It’s like they’re saying he’s two-faced and can’t be trusted. This is disrespectful of the President. It shouldn’t be permitted in a free country.”

Former Democratic National Chairman, Governor Howard Dean, said that “such open and vociferous opposition is inciting violence.” The only violence to-date at the town halls has come from supporters of the President’s bill roughing up a few opponents. This, says Dean, makes his point. “People can’t be allowed to say whatever they want without taking responsibility for how this affects others,” Dean contended. “The protesters are making the good people of this country mad. Any blood shed will be on their hands.”

Bill Granting President Authority to Shutdown Internet Advances

August 30, 2009

Legislation that would grant President Obama the authority to selectively shutdown Internet sites is advancing in the senate. The “Cybersecurity Act of 2009” would allow the President to “declare a cybersecurity emergency” relating to “non-governmental” computer networks and do whatever he feels is necessary to respond to the threat.

Author of the bill, Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), declared that “recent events surrounding ‘town hall’ meetings on the President’s health care plan emphasize the need for this legislation. As we saw, access to the Internet enabled rightwing fanatics to quickly and inexpensively alert cadres of sympathizers who turned out to disrupt public forums held by members of congress to explain the plan. As a result, important reform of our health care system has been impeded.

“If the President had been authorized to take preventive measures, these anti-government agitators could have been thwarted before they even got started,” Rockefeller added. “It’s clear that the Internet is too precious a resource for us to allow it to be abused by the enemies of change.”

The 55-page bill includes a provision restricting the operation of Internet services to “professionals” who would be licensed by the government. “The inept, the unwholesome, and the disloyal must not be allowed to continue to run rampant through the nation’s cyberspace,” Rockefeller said. “The Internet must be reserved for uses compatible with the needs of a progressive society. My bill will ensure that this happens.”

Kennedy Memoir Apologizes for Chappaquiddick Incident

Sept. 5, 2009

It is being reported that the late Senator Ted Kennedy (D-Mass) apologized for his role in the Chappaquiddick “incident” in his memoir. In the book, Kennedy acknowledged that “in some small way not entirely clear to me even 40 years later, I may have contributed to the death of Mary Jo Kopechne.”

The memoir defended the late Senator’s “deferral of admission of responsibility” as “a necessary sacrifice for the national interest. My political enemies would have gladly used it to divert me from my mission to succor the indigent, the improvident, and the irresponsible during my long career of public service.”

Kennedy contrasted the “inestimable harm that would have transpired if I had not been able to continue my work with the relatively minor loss of one young woman of questionable character. Mary Jo was a person willing to have a one-night stand with a married man. She took advantage of my inebriated condition to seduce me. I could’ve been killed, but with God’s help, I was able to swim free.”

CBS News’ Bob Schieffer concurred with the late Senator’s take, calling him “a classic American hero.” “No ordinary man would have been able to so quickly assess the situation and recognize the comparable values of the two lives involved,” Schieffer said. “Instead of risking drowning in a futile attempt to rescue Ms. Kopechne, Senator Kennedy put the good of the country first. For that we must be truly grateful.”

In related news, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) boasted that “we will milk Senator Kennedy’s timely demise for as many sympathy votes as we can for the KennedyCare health reform bill. Of course, it would’ve been better if he’d been shot like his brothers, but we’ll make the best we can of his death.”

President Explains How Everyone Will Benefit from His Health Care Plan

September 12, 2009

President Barack Obama took to the airwaves to dispel what he called “a barrage of lies and fear thrown up by the forces of evil incarnate.” The President went on to insist that “contrary to what my enemies are saying, not a single person will be made worse off by the reforms I have proposed.”

“The sick will get the care they need,” Obama promised. “My bill calls for panels of experts to determine the best practices for every illness. No longer will patients be at the mercy of a single doctor. A communal scope for decision making will ensure that maximal aggregate health outcomes are achieved.”

“The healthy will be able to rest assured that the ill will no longer be allowed to refuse treatment that experts decide is necessary to protect the community’s over all health,” the President continued. “Carriers of contagion will be dealt with before they can spread germs to others.”

“Costs will be contained by vigorous use of preventive measures,” Obama reassured. “Behaviors that undermine good health will be discouraged or banned. Exercise and good diet will be encouraged or mandated. If you’re obese or lazy and lack the will power to change, we will apply the will power externally. Dangerous pastimes will be regulated or outlawed. If we control behavior we can control costs.”

The President said “the lifestyle of a person in training for the Olympics will be our ‘gold standard’ for reforming the health of the nation. When all who can adopt it do, the few who cannot because of illness or disability will be a small enough contingent left for the government to deal with.”

The President expressed his optimism that “most of these objectives can be accomplished on an ‘outpatient’ basis, but provisions for dealing with ‘hard cases’ with a ‘residency-based’ approach will be included. No one will be permitted to selfishly ‘opt out.’ Everyone must cooperate for the good of the whole.”

President Brokers Deficit Reduction Deal

November 15, 2009

Indications that American voters are becoming concerned with ballooning federal deficits is building pressure on the President to come up with a solution. A leak from a well-placed Administration official says a “blockbuster” deal is in the works.

The deal is said to involve a massive “payment-in-kind” to the nation’s largest creditor—the Government of China. Concerned that its holding of a trillion dollars in US Treasury debt might be wiped out by a collapse in the value of the US currency, the Government of China has reached tentative agreement with the Obama Administration for the debt to be cancelled in return for a trillion dollars worth of military hardware.

“It really makes a lot of sense when you think about it,” said the leaking official. “The Chinese Army has manpower, but is short on sophisticated equipment like aircraft carriers, long-range missiles, and high-performance airplanes. In contrast, we have far more than we need. Not only would transferring these military assets reduce the debt, it would also save us the expense of maintaining and manning these assets.”

The prospective deal is also deemed likely to reduce tensions between the two nations. “Look, tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union were greatly reduced when we supplied them with weapons during World War II,” said the official. “Why shouldn’t we expect a similar outcome here?”

“Real” News Media to Be Defined by Law

December 7, 2009

Concerned that “casual” and “irregular” so-called journalists are “confusing” the American people. Senators Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) have introduced legislation that attempts to “draw the line between legitimate and illegitimate purveyors of news.”

The legislation, Senate Bill 448, would define a legitimate journalist as a person working as a salaried employee of, or independent contractor for, a recognized publisher or broadcaster of news. Those falling outside this definition would be denied the privileges granted to established news media under freedom of the press.

“The American people need to be protected from being misled by unauthorized sources,” Feinstein declared. “It is so easy and cheap these days for just about anyone to publish whatever pops into his head on the Internet. To help sort things out, we need to establish a distinction between legitimate newspersons and unvetted amateurs. This bill does that.”

As an example of the “unvetted amateurs” she has in mind, the Senator cited the undercover operation conducted by James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles. “Here we have two untrained individuals taking it upon themselves to do a so-called expose´ of an important American institution,” she said. “We can’t allow these kind of individuals to enjoy the same privileges and immunities we would accord to reporters for the New York Times or CBS News. That is a road toward the anarchy of uncontrolled content.”

O’Keefe and Giles posed as pimp and prostitute, respectively, and visited the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) offices seeking advice on how to set up a brothel employing under-age, illegal immigrants. Video recordings of the helpful suggestions offered by numerous ACORN personnel in several different offices in several different states created a scandal last September.


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