NPR Changes Terminology

By John Semmens: Semi-News — A Satirical Look at Recent News 

Henceforth, government funded National Public Radio (NPR) will no longer use the terms “pro life” and “pro choice” to designate the opposing sides of the abortion debate. The new phrases to be used are “abortion rights advocates” and “abortion rights opponents.”

NPR Managing Editor David Sweeney explained that “the older terminology was misleading. While ‘pro choice’ accurately captured the thrust of one side of the argument, ‘pro life’ did not. It was clear that opponents of choice are ‘anti-choice.’ But the implication that the proponents of abortion rights are ‘anti-life’ isn’t accurate.”

“First, abortion rights advocates aren’t against all life,” Sweeney pointed out. “They themselves are living. And it’s not as if they’re indiscriminately opposing life for others.”

“Second, whether the aborted fetus is ‘life,’ per se, is one of the issues under contention,” Sweeney continued. “Many maintain that it is unwanted, and perhaps dangerous, biological tissue, much like a tumor. Removal of this biological tissue is a decision for the patient and her doctor to make.”

“The new terminology avoids confusion and clearly delineates a difference between those who are for rights and those who are against them,” Sweeney concluded. “The new terminology will make it easier for us promote a more socially constructive debate on the future of public policy on this issue.”

Obama Administration to Cut Mortgage Payments for Unemployed

The Obama administration announced it is cracking down on lenders who insist on being repaid for mortgage loans. Lenders will now be required to postpone or cancel repayment if the mortgage holder is unemployed.

“The idea that a debt must be repaid no matter what is simplistic and outdated,” said US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Shaun Donovan. “It assumes that a person can and should be permitted to make his or her own financial decisions without reference to social conditions or the nation’s collective well-being.”

Donovan defended the government’s intervention as “necessary to protect social justice. Just because a person can’t afford to make payments should mean that he can’t own a home. His lack of funds doesn’t negate his need. All we are doing is trying to inject this need into the calculus that determines who shall live where.”

To help “spread the burdens of home ownership more equitably,” Administration plans call for a surcharge to be placed on mortgage payments that are not delinquent. These charges would then be transferred to cover the shortages of mortgages that have gone into default due to a home owner’s unemployment.”

“This will allow for those with the means to help defray the costs of those without the means,” Donovan said. “It’s the strong lending a hand to those weaker than he. It’s brother helping brother. It’s a new paradigm for the new America the President has promised.”

President Dares GOP to Repeal Healthcare Law

Feeling chipper after Democrats prevailed over an ineffectively small Republican contingent in Congress to pass his multi-trillion dollar healthcare reform bill, President Barack Obama dared opponents to try to repeal it. Republican vows to repeal the law are fueled by polls showing a substantial majority of voters want them to do that very thing should they gain a majority in Congress in the November elections.

“They shouldn’t be so sure they’ll gain seats in the election,” Obama warned. “Voters love getting government handouts. Politicians who try to take them away usually don’t fare well on election day.”

The President added that “even if Republicans gain a majority it won’t be big enough to override my veto of any attempted repeal legislation. Remember, it takes a two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate to overturn a president’s veto. There’s no way they’ll win enough seats to do that.”

In related news, President Obama received a congratulatory note on the passage of his healthcare bill from former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. Calling government control of health care “an essential building block for socialism,” Castro praised Obama as “the caudillo that America has long needed to forge a progressive future.”

Bid to Block Viagra for Sex Offenders Fails

A Republican led attempt to amend the recently passed healthcare law to prevent government funding of Viagra and related erectile dysfunction drugs for convicted sex-offenders was defeated by a 57-42 vote in the Senate. The amendment was proposed by Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla) in an effort to highlight and remedy some of the lesser known outcomes of the passage of the “Obamacare” legislation.

Senator Max Baucus (D-Mont) called the proposed amendment a “mockery of the seriousness of the healthcare legislation. Before the ink is dry on this law, Republicans are trying to pick apart its supposed flaws.”

Baucus maintained that “for us to dictate who can receive what kind of medication would be a gross invasion of privacy. Lord knows, it’s already embarrassing enough to have to discuss your ED with your doctor. Anybody who’s got the balls to do that ought not be denied a prescription by some do-gooder amendment we pass.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) argued that the proposed ban wouldn’t be necessary because “a government healthcare panel established by the legislation will decide who can and can’t receive what kind of treatment. Rather than a blanket prohibition, the law will allow distinctions to be made at a micro level. Whether a former sex-offender should or shouldn’t get Viagra will be made on a case-by-case basis by those with the medical and psychological expertise we lack here in the Senate.”

Constitution’s “Good & Plenty” Clause Cited

Contentions that the recently passed Obamacare law might be unconstitutional were met with disdain by House Judiciary Committee Chairman, Representative John Conyers (D-Mich).

According to Conyers, “the government is empowered to do anything it deems necessary or useful under the ‘good and plenty’ clause. The Founding Fathers were wise enough to realize they couldn’t foresee the kinds of powers that would be needed in the future. So, they created language in that pretty much says we can do whatever we want if we think it’s for the benefit of the people. Forcing people to buy health insurance surely falls within this broad grant of authority.”

State Department Denies Passover Trip

A soldier’s request to visit Israel for the Jewish Passover celebration was nixed by the Obama Administration’s State Department. The terse rejection stated that “it would be inappropriate for active duty military personnel to travel to countries hostile to the United States.” The State Department letter cited “the incalculable damage done to US interests during the Vietnam War when uniformed American soldiers visited enemy territory.”

In related news, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton cited Israel’s construction of new homes in Jerusalem as “the main impediment to peace in the region.” One might have thought that rocket attacks on Israeli civilians by Hamas terrorists might rank higher, but according to Clinton, “these attacks wouldn’t be necessary if Israel weren’t instigating them by settling on land that the Palestinians claim as theirs.”

Stupak Defends Healthcare Vote

After months of holding out for a ban on abortion funding in the healthcare legislation, Representative Bart Stupak (D-Mich) went ahead a voted for the Senate version of the bill. This version allows federal funds to be used to perform abortions. Instead of a legislated ban on such funding, Stupak settled for a promise that President Obama would sign an Executive Order banning such funding and a $726,409 bribe for airport maintenance and improvements in his district.

“It’s the best I could do,” Stupak offered. “Look, the tide on abortion has been running pro-choice for decades. It’s only a matter of time before abortion anytime, anywhere is fully financed by government. It’s going to come regardless of where I stand on the issue.”

“On the other hand, the airport improvement funding is ‘found money,’” Stupak boasted. “It will be spent in my district, benefiting my constituents. It’s not the $100 million Senator Nelson got for his state, but it’s more than most of the others got for their votes. I could’ve gone down for a hopeless principle. Instead, I sold out for a decent payoff. I hope my voters appreciate that come November.”

UN Resolution Condemns Islamaphobia

The UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution “condemning Islamaphobic behavior wherever it may be found” and prescribing that “the necks of offenders should be cut and their bodies cast into the fiery pit of Hell.”

The resolution was said to be sparked by “repeated moves on the part of Zionist apologists to infringe upon the rights of Muslims to freely practice their religion, including their scared right of jihad against unbelievers and infidels.”

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AMA Announces Support for Obamacare Bill

By John Semmens: Semi-News — A Satirical Look at Recent News 

The American Medical Association (AMA)—the chief lobbying organization for America’s doctors—threw its support behind President Obama’s health care legislation.

James Rohack, president of the AMA, said that “while the pending legislation isn’t perfect, we have to acknowledge that the previous government intervention in health care to establish medicare and Medicaid led to an explosion of spending for doctors’ services. The prospect that something similar will happen with this bill has got to benefit the members of our Association.”

A key factor cited by Rohack is “simple logic. The insurance package that the government mandates under this bill is estimated to cost the typical family of four a minimum of $12,000 per year in premiums. A lot of that cash will be coming back to our members as patients try to gain some benefit for what they’ll be paying.”

“Further, if surveys showing that a third or more of currently practicing physicians will quit if the bill passes are true, the increased pool of money will be split among fewer recipients.” Rohack observed. “So, what’s not to like about a bill that simultaneously induces more people to consume services while also decreasing the number of doctors competing for a share of the bounty?”

Barbara Walters Takes Exception to Joke about Castro

While former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright got big laughs at the “Women in the World” summit with a joke about Fidel Castro being a “dinosaur,” TV journalist Barbara Walters took umbrage at the remark.

“President Castro is one of the giants of the 20th century,” Walters asserted. “He not only liberated Cuba from capitalist oppression, but he gave it the kind of universal health care that President Obama is struggling so mightily to bring to this country. He shouldn’t be made the butt of a cruel joke from this hideous crone.”

Walters insisted that her unusually ardent outburst “has nothing to do with the fact that Fidel made sweet love to me when I was nearly 50-years old in 1977. If every man were as sensitive and sensual the world would be a much better place.”

Arab World Faith in Obama Said to Be Dimming

Despite a surge in criticism of Israel by key members of the Obama Administration, Muslims throughout the Middle East say they are losing confidence in the “change” promised by President Obama in his Cairo speech.

“Merely insulting Jews, even if done in a very flamboyant and public way, falls far short of our expectations,” said Ayal Khutnutz, spokesman for the United Arab League. “For all his talk, Obama has yet to kill a single Jew. His promise of a new dawn in US-Muslim relations is an empty one.”

Khutnutz called for the United States government to “put an end to the Zionist occupation of Palestine. If they will not drive the occupier Jews into the sea themselves, then they should give us the same nuclear weapons they have given them and we will do it ourselves.”

In related news, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) lodged a complaint against the World of Islam textbooks by Mason Crest Publishing saying that “these books take the Quran’s admonition to slay Jews wherever they may be found out of context. They make no mention of the fact that throughout history Jews have ritually murdered and eaten Muslim children.” CAIR demanded that “instead of being used to warp the minds of Pennsylvania’s school children, these books and their authors ought to be burned in a public place.”

Congressman Says Citizens Have Only Selves to Blame for Government Corruption

Brazenly frank, Representative Tom Perriello (D-Va) put the blame for government corruption squarely on the shoulders of the voters.

“Look, the temptations of office are immense,” Perriello said. “The amounts of money we control are enormous. The fact that we write the laws means that we can legalize whatever distribution of this money we want. So, who can blame us for succumbing to the temptations to over spend and reward ourselves and those who are supportive of our careers?”

“If voters were really opposed to this they’d put a stop to it,” Perriello argued. “They could vote for guys who’d cut spending. But they don’t. Voters like their share of the goodies we dispense. We’re all on the government teat together. No one wants to be weaned. That’s why government has grown bigger over the last 100 years.”

Perriello said he remains confident that government will continue to grow because “we offer escape from responsibility. That is worth more to the average American than an abstract concept like freedom will ever be.”

Study Finds “Greens” More Likely to Be Dishonest

A study carried out by University of Toronto psychologists found that test subjects who characterize themselves as “green” or environmentally concerned were more likely to steal than test subjects who are not environmentalists. Specifically, green consumers were more likely to cheat merchants and took more than their fair share when asked to withdraw money from envelopes entrusted to them.

“Green” test participant Holly Gaia defended her larcenous actions by pointing out that “I was transferring resources from people who are raping the planet to someone—me—who would put these resources to more environmentally-friendly uses. So, in a way I was helping Mother Earth.”

Fellow test subject Justin Treehumper gave a similar rationale, saying “We need every advantage we can get if we’re going to save the planet. Taking funds away from the polluting majority and putting them into the hands of the friends of the environment is an important tool for us to use.”

Obama’s Press Secretary Denies Transparency Hypocrisy

When it comes to denying Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, the Obama Administration has outdone the “secretive” Bush Administration by a large margin. In its first year, the Obama Administration has rejected citizen requests for information about government activities 150% as often as the Bush crowd did.

Press Secretary Robert Gibbs dismissed charges of hypocrisy and defended the increase in denials as “warranted and proper.” “Bush was working against the interests of the American people,” Gibbs contended. “Blocking access to its nefarious schemes interfered with the people’s right to fight against these schemes.”

“On the other hand, we are working for the best interests of the American people,” Gibbs continued. “Blocking the access of enemies of our progressive agenda to information about our plans and actions is sound strategy. I mean, FDR wouldn’t have allowed the Nazis to peek in on his plans. We are merely following his example.”

Ceding US Offshore Oil to Foreign Firms OK Says Chu

US Secretary of Energy Steven Chu says he is not troubled by the prospect that potential sources of energy near US coastal waters may be tapped by foreign firms from China and Russia.

“The joke is on them,” Chu insisted. “They will remain hooked on oil with all its downsides. While they’re polluting their air burning gasoline and diesel we will be shifting to clean wind and solar power.”

Chu maintains that the prospect of oil shortages and higher prices for fuel will be “positives for our nation’s future. We will learn to do with less, weaning ourselves from the materialism that has poisoned our culture. We will live more in tune with nature. When it is cold outside we will huddle together inside. When it is hot outside we will shed our clothing and allow our bodies to be cooled by evaporating perspiration. We will be forced to refrain from frivolous travel. I see no negatives from our decision to forego any claim on offshore deposits.”

Chavez Critic to Face Prosecution

Venezuela’s government is filing charges against regime critic former Governor Oswaldo Alvarez Paz. The move comes after Alvarez said on a television program that “the country has become a haven for drug trafficking.” For these remarks Alvarez is being charged with “spreading false information and publicly inciting disrespect for duly elected authorities.”

The fact that Venezuela has no law, per se, against criticizing the government is not expected to deter Chavez from going after Alvarez. “The law cannot anticipate all contingencies,” Chavez explained. “Sometimes we discover that a wrong has been committed before we have made a law against it. To allow the wrongdoer to escape punishment because of such an oversight is a threat to order that we cannot abide.”

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is reported to be “following this case closely to see if it has any potential application to similar problems we are having here with extremists who are defaming the President with their unwanted commentary. This defamation is undermining the President’s program and ability to govern.”

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Arizona Lottery — ‘Fool’s Game’ — Sales are Low

Are people coming around to the wisdom that lotteries are bad for families? Is the recession bringing people to that conclusion? Whatever, the reason, Cathi Herrod, president of the Center for Arizona Policy reports how Arizona lottery sales pale in comparison to that of other states:

“The state auditor general has reported that Arizona lottery sales are lower than other states. My view is that Arizonans realize spending hard-earned dollars on lottery tickets is a fool’s game with little chance of return. Unfortunately, this report comes with a recommendation that the state should find ways to increase lottery sales. This idea is irresponsible and damaging to Arizona’s families. A 2006 analysis by the Tucson Citizen of Arizona Lottery Commission numbers found that over half of the $53 million in Tucson lottery sales took place in zip codes where the average income was less than $36,800. Learn more about the lottery through Focus on the Family’s Gambling Issue Analysis.”

Tax increases becoming too common in Arizona

By Byron Schlomach, Goldwater Institute
March 13, 2010

PHOENIX – When government revenues drop during economic downturns, there are only three choices government officials have at the state and local levels. They cannot print money so they are left with reducing spending, raising taxes, or borrowing. Raising taxes is the worst option, with borrowing a close second.

Raising taxes assaults the very marrow of the economy; draining resources from the private sector at a time when it can least afford the loss. Borrowing money means an uncertain future burden. Both options make it harder to weather future economic storms. Right now, the state is spending $700 million more each month than it is collecting in tax revenue. All levels of Arizona government have a combined $41 billion in bonded debt.

Yet, many in government seem unconcerned. Everywhere one turns, new taxes are proposed. On Tuesday, Scottsdale and Tempe voters approved higher taxes on hotel room rentals. Phoenix just imposed a 2 percent food tax. The legislature is considering raising car rental taxes to pay for a new spring training stadium for the Chicago Cubs. The legislature also wants to raise license plate fees. Tucson is pondering a number of potential tax increases.

On May 18, voters across Arizona will consider an 18 percent increase in the state sales tax. Studies show that raising the sales tax by 18 percent will cut the state’s real economic output by $1.2 billion and that Arizonans will see their total after-tax income, already hit hard by recession, fall by an average of $300 per household.

What’s more, these proposals don’t take into account that the state’s property taxes went up this year, or the electricity tax passed by the Corporation Commission a few years ago.

This state has lost more than 10 percent of its private employment compared to its peak. State and local governments together have lost less than 6 percent of their workforces. The capacity of the private sector to pay higher taxes is at the breaking point. Even with an economic recovery, increased taxes will only feed an even bigger government that will be that much harder to finance in the next inevitable recession.

For now and for the future, reducing government spending is the only principled solution to the problem of shrinking government revenue.

Tea Party Activist Jeff Smith Running for Arizona’s 6th Congressional District

Jeff Smith announced this week that he will run for the U.S. House of Representatives from Arizona’s 6th congressional district in 2010, opposing 10-year incumbent Jeff Flake. Smith, who is active in the East Valley and Greater Phoenix Tea Party movement, articulated the principles and values that will be the foundation of his candidacy:

“I believe the Constitution is a divinely inspired document that has come under assault from those who would continuously expand the size and scope of the federal government at the expense of our individual liberties and states’ rights.  I am committed to defending the Constitution, stopping the march toward socialism and redistribution of wealth, and to returning the federal government to the limits of its constitutional authority, as envisioned by the founders.”

Smith also identified certain issues where he differs from Jeff Flake, and feels Flake no longer represents the values of the voters in the district.  “Illegal immigration continues to be an issue of grave concern for Arizonans.  For too long the federal government has failed to secure the border and enforce existing immigration laws.  This lack of enforcement amounts to a massive subsidy to certain businesses and industries, at tremendous expense to our legal citizens and immigrants, the economy, and society at large.  This picking of winners and losers on the part of the government is tantamount to socialism.  I support vigorous enforcement of our immigration laws across all levels of law enforcement, and am opposed to amnesty in any form for those whose first act on American soil was to violate our laws.”

Smith, 44, is married to wife Camille and has three children ages 10, 13, and 15.  He graduated in 1989 from Brigham Young University with a degree in Economics and worked in the Banking Industry for a few years before returning to school, earning an MBA from the Goizueta Business School of Emory University. After graduating, he worked for eight years in the Telecommunications industry, then left to found a financial advisory firm in Arizona, which he sold two years ago.

Smith said he looks forward to a vigorous debate about the critical issues facing Arizona and the nation.   

“I am gratified by the response we have been getting to our message so far,” he said. ” There is clearly an appetite for a return to constitutional principles and conservative values upon which this country was founded.”   While he admires Jeff Flake and is grateful for his service to the district, he feels that Flake has lost touch with his constituents, drifting leftward on some of the crucial issues of our day.  Flake also ran on a promise not to stay more than three terms and if he runs again, this will be his sixth.

Arizona’s 6th congressional district encompasses parts of Maricopa and Pinal counties. In Maricopa County it includes most of Mesa and Chandler, as well as Gilbert and Queen Creek. In Pinal County it includes Apache Junction and Gold Canyon. It is an area known for cultural conservatism and, as such, is one of the nation’s most conservative Republican districts.

President Obama Aims to Restore People’s ‘Faith’ in Government

By John Semmens: Semi-News — A Satirical Look at Recent News 

President Obama contends that Americans have acquired a distrust in government that “endangers the future of the country.” He vowed to “do whatever it takes to reverse this trend and restore the kind of faith in government we saw during World War II.”

“During World War II, every American was joined in a common purpose,” Obama said. “Everyone did their part. Everyone had faith that following the leadership of the Roosevelt Administration would be best for all. There wasn’t all this quibbling over individual rights and personal prerogatives.”

The President acknowledged that “the scope of government control during the war was immense, but this very immensity of scope is what assured everyone that the common good would prevail over selfish individualism. People accepted that if the government needed them to do a job, they should do it. People accepted that their own personal consumption could be rationed for the greater good. It was like we were all part of one collective organism, each person doing his part for the good of the whole.”

“Today, there are too many separate and discrete decision-making entities,” Obama argued. “My program for change is aimed at consolidating decision-making so that one entity overseeing all can ensure that everyone pulls together toward a common end. When a single entity is empowered to take care that everyone’s needs are fulfilled, then faith in this entity will be the only option that makes sense.”

President Explains His Policy on Fraud and Waste in Healthcare

In the seemingly endless parade of “final pushes” for his healthcare legislation President Barack Obama attempted to explain why the bill is needed to fight fraud and waste in the government’s Medicare program.

“Right now, unscrupulous doctors are over billing the government for services that were never rendered,” Obama admitted. “Theoretically, we could make efforts to crack down on this without passing the healthcare bill. However, there are several key arguments against doing that.”

“First, calling attention to this fraud at this time would raise doubts about the proposed reform,” Obama said. “Many will think that if we have such a huge problem with fraud under existing government health programs, why wouldn’t these problems continue under the new legislation? A campaign to fight fraud now would tend to feed these negative thoughts and imperil the chances of getting the new legislation passed.”

“Second, if we make our efforts against fraud conditional upon passage of the new bill that will give fiscally-minded members of congress an incentive to support my bill,” Obama continued. “If my Administration were to combat this fraud before passage of my bill, their incentive to vote for it would be diluted.”

“Finally, a large part of the waste comes from investing scarce resources in perpetuating the longevity of persons with severe health problems,” Obama added. “My new bill forcefully addresses this waste by establishing government oversight of treatment protocols. This will relieve physicians of the responsibility for making the kind of life-and-death decisions that are more properly made in a social context.”

Vice-President Defends Rude Behavior

Vice-President Joe Biden dismissed criticism that his behavior during his visit to Israel was “improperly rude.”

The visit may have been doomed from the moment Biden selected MSNBC’s Chris Matthews to accompany him. Matthews put Israeli hackles up by characterizing Israelis’ higher opinion of former President Bush compared to President Obama as “racism, pure and simple” during a TV interview of New York Times reporter Ethan Bronner.

Not to be outdone by his traveling companion, Biden denounced the Israeli Government’s plans to build 1600 new homes in east Jerusalem as “the kind of lebensraum mentality we had to put down during World War II. It evinces a sense of permanence for a Jewish presence that will only make it harder for us to reach a final solution to the problem that has been plaguing this region since the 1940s.”

Frustrated by what he termed Israeli “inflexibility,” Biden and his wife showed up 90 minutes late for an official state dinner in his honor. “A vice-president has so little formal authority that being rude is about all I can do to get my point across,” Biden explained. “Besides, if they had been willing to honor my culinary request maybe we would’ve shown up on time.”

Reportedly, Biden’s “culinary request” was that the dinner have a “Hawaiian luau” theme that included roast pork as the main entrée. “I mean, not letting the supposed guest-of-honor choose his own meal is the kind of arrogance that has earned Jews the bad reputation they’ve enjoyed throughout history,” Biden claimed.

Legislator Proposes Banning Salt in Restaurant Food

New York Assemblyman Felix Ortiz (D-Brooklyn) has introduced a bill that would prohibit restaurants from adding salt to any food served to customers. The legislation calls for fines of up to $1,000 for each individual addition of salt by restaurant staff.

“Ideally, we ought to be eliminating salt from our diets,” Ortiz asserted. “It’s a dangerous, unhealthy, and unnecessary additive. Customers shouldn’t have it forced down their throats by restaurant owners trying to boost profits by trying to make their meals more palatable.”

Ortiz rejected the idea that the option that he himself uses whenever he eats out should suffice for other restaurant patrons. “Whenever I eat out, I ask if a dish has salt added,” Ortiz bragged. “If it does, I simply order something else that doesn’t.” Asked why this wasn’t good enough for others, Ortiz contended that “your average patron doesn’t have the presence of mind or the good sense to check. My legislation will protect these people from being victimized by their own ignorance or indolence.”

Critics of the legislation have pointed out that foods Ortiz says he frequently orders—ham, cheese, and bread—require salt in their manufacture. Ortiz characterized this revelation as “a scare tactic aimed squarely at the health of the American people,” and vowed he would “not be deterred from pursuing the public good by such unsubstantiated and outrageous propaganda.”

Offshore Drilling Ban to Be Extended for Length of Obama Presidency

Obama Administration Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced that offshore exploration for oil will be blocked “for as long as the President remains in office.” The action came despite an Obama campaign pledge to consider every option for meeting the nation’s energy needs.

Secretary Salazar explained that “opening up offshore sites would tend to increase supplies of energy. This would, in-turn, lead to lower prices and more consumption. These outcomes run counter to the fundamental policy aims of the Administration to reduce the unnecessary mobility that is enabled by cheaper gasoline.”

“Expensive fuel encourages people to ration their travel,” Salazar pointed out. “Cheap fuel allows them to waste precious resources on automobile trips that should be made on public transit. Right now, public transit is operating far below capacity. Day-after-day, billions of empty seat-miles are hauled around cities across the country. It would be more fuel-efficient if we filled these seats. Making it more costly to drive oneself is the most viable means for forcing more people to ride what would otherwise be mostly empty buses and trains.”

Election Tampering Allegations “Overblown” Says Gibbs

Representative Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) says that the Obama Administration offered him a “cushy job” if he would withdraw from challenging Senator Arlen Specter in the upcoming primary. Representative Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said that such an offer violates a federal statute which makes it a crime for a government employee to use his authority for the purpose of interfering with, or affecting, the nomination or the election of any candidate.

Obama Press Secretary urged Representative Issa “not to get carried away. These kinds of deals are normal within the context of how this country is governed. The only abnormal thing is that Representative Sestak openly admitted receiving the offer. That is the big faux pas here. It will be up to the President and Speaker Pelosi (D-Calif.) to determine what disciplinary action will need to be taken against him.”

As to the illegality of the offer, Gibbs dared Representative Issa to make an issue of it. “Even if he thinks this is illegal, the President can’t be hauled into court over it unless he’s impeached and convicted first,” Gibbs reminded. “With Democrats in control in both the House and Senate, I think even the dimmest of Republicans has to realize that this isn’t going to happen. Shutting up is the smartest option for them right now.”

Reid Defends Job Shift

Criticism that data on unemployment statistics don’t properly account for people being shifted from full-time to part-time jobs was brushed off by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev). “What these critics fail to consider is the fact that part-time jobs offer more leisure time,” Reid countered. “This extra leisure is a benefit that the Democratic Party has bestowed upon an overworked population. We don’t get proper credit for that.”

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The Case against McCain for Senate Re-Election

Big Government Bailouts

McCain also voted for the $850 billion bailout of the big banks, which included $150 billion in pork, proposed a $300 billion bailout for mortgage lenders and, according to the Heritage Foundation, sponsored an amnesty bill in 2007 that would have cost taxpayers $2.6 trillion over the long-term. 

In the fall of 2008, McCain left the campaign trail in a near panic to return to Washington where he voted in favor of a bailout despite significant Republican opposition and concerns expressed at the time.

Below is a list of seven of the top 20 (including the top five) donors to John McCain from 2003-2008 as compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.  It reads like a who’s who of companies that received bailout cash.  In fact, while these companies raised John McCain over $1.7 million, they were bailed out to the tune of some $135 billion

 COMPANY  McCain Donations  Bailout Money
 Merrill Lynch (taken over by Bank of America)  $373,595  (see Bank of America)
 Citigroup Inc  $322,051 $45,000,000,000
 Morgan Stanley        $273,452         $10,000,000,000
 Goldman Sachs  $230, 095  $10,000,000,000
 JPMorgan Chase & Co  $228, 107  $25,000,000,000
 Bank of America  $166,026  $45,000,000,000
 Bear Stearns (taken over by JPMorgan)  $117, 498  (see JPMorgan)
 TOTAL  $1,710,824 $135,000,000,000 

 

John McCain called the bailout bill an “obscenity,” but voted for it anyway.    It included $150 billion in earmarks.  And just last week in the Arizona Republic, the senior senator from Arizona claims he was duped, seeking to blame others for his bank bailout vote.  He repeated the claim on yesterday’s Meet The Press.  Ironically, he continues to tout his “experience” as to why Arizonans should return him to the Senate.    

Read the story here: http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/news/articles/2010/02/22/20100222mccain-tarp0222.html

“John McCain likes to talk tough about the bankers at the center of the economic meltdown, but he still kept their cash.  But as we saw with Charlie Keating, when it comes to financial interests McCain appears to have a blind spot,” said Hayworth campaign manager David Payne, “During the economic meltdown in the Fall of 08, Republicans all across America looked to McCain for leadership, but instead they saw a panicky career politician cave to the special interests and ensure Barack Obama’s election.” 

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Policy

In October of 2006, while participating in MSNBC’s Hardball College Tour, Senator McCain said in response to a question about “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”: “I understand the opposition to it, and I’ve had these debates and discussions, but the day that the leadership of the military comes to me and says, senator, we ought to change the policy, then I think we ought to consider seriously changing it because those leaders in the military are the ones we give the responsibility to.” (Emphasis added)

In an interview given this past June to Ana Marie Cox, McCain said this about the policy: “My opinion is shaped by the view of the leaders of the military.”

So when did Senator McCain change his mind about having his mind changed by military leaders?

Yesterday, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Admiral Robert Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testified on Capitol Hill that they think the policy of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” should come to an end.

And what response did Senator McCain give to these military leaders asking for a change?

“’Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ has been an imperfect, but effective policy. And at this moment when we’re asking more of our military than at any time in recent memory we should not repeal this law.” (Emphasis added)

McCain even went so far as to accuse Secretary Gates of trying to change the policy single-handedly, saying: “I’m happy to say we still have a Congress of the United States that would have to pass a law to repeal ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’, despite your efforts to repeal it, in many respects, by fiat.”

Dissing Senior Citizens

Prior to becoming a 73-year old senior himself McCain derided the well-known retirement community.
       
“Most of the people coming here are not senior citizens moving to Leisure World, I mean Seizure World, I mean, uh, Sun City…I mentioned Seizure World a moment ago…the last election in 1984, 97% of them came out to vote. I think the other 3% were in intensive care.”

According to a member of the audience, McCain characterized seniors as a group “that makes demands without contributing.” (Source: Casa Grande Dispatch | Casa Grande, Arizona | Friday, June 20, 1986)  

On Amnesty

John McCain refused to listen to over 80% of his constituents and the American public by Co-Sponsoring Amnesty legislation with Senator Kennedy in 2007 that would have turned millions of illegal aliens into US voters. McCain’s Amnesty legislation failed after the Capital phone system collapsed under the pressure of angry calls ranging 50-100 to 1 against his bill.

McCain apologized to and misled Republican voters in the 2008 GOP Primary for President by claiming he had changed his position on Amnesty and after winning the primary, he flip flopped and returned to his prior pro-Amnesty positions, which left many voters feeling they could not trust John McCain.

“So yeah, of course John McCain will get our vote,” said one Ku Klux Klan member in their endorsement

    video for Senator John McCain.  The video can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?   

    v=3ez2C4GwqE4.

 “But I’m going Republican and I talked to my guys and most of them are voting for McCain too,” said Ron Edwards.  Edwards is an Imperial Wizard with the Imperial Klans of America.

 

Social Issues

McCain supports federal funding for destructive embryonic stem cell research – “because Nancy Reagan supports it.” Rated 75 percent by the National Right to Life Committee, indicating a mixed record on abortion. (Dec 2006)

McCain voted against cloture on a federal marriage amendment.

Campaigning in New Hampshire in 2000, McCain said that if his teen-age daughter got pregnant, he would let her make the “choice” on whether or not to abort the child. This is the pro-abortion argument championed by Planned Parenthood and the abortion advocacy.

Big Government Regulations

Senator John McCain’s big government legislation to further regulate vitamins and supplements, hurting consumer choice and small businesses across Arizona.

The legislation sparked outrage throughout Arizona and the country.

Sen. McCain’s partnership with U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan (D-North Dakota) follows other liberal efforts with Joseph Lieberman on global warming, Ted Kennedy on amnesty and Russ Feingold on First Amendment regulations which were recently overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.  

“Use of vitamins and supplements should not be regulated simply because a few athletes want to redirect attention from their doping,” said Hayworth.

This bill is yet more “bipartisan” legislation by the 24-year incumbent that panders to those interested in increasing the size and scope of the federal government.   Senator McCain voted for the massive bank bailout bill in 2008, which included $150 billion in earmarks.  During his presidential run he proposed spending $300 billion to buy up every bad mortgage in America, again bailing out banks and borrowers.  And according to the Heritage Foundation his support for amnesty legislation would have cost taxpayers $2.6trillion.    

Voters to Judge McCain on what He Has Yet to Do

A new video shows Senator McCain saying he is confident that voters will judge him not for what he has done for Arizona during his 28 years in Washington, but bizarrely what he might do for them. That might be a good strategy on the part of Arizona’s senior senator, as the video shows puzzled voters trying to answer the question, “What has Senator McCain done for Arizona?” 
 

The video, called “McCain on McCain,” was released today by the campaign of JD Hayworth, the conservative challenger to the moderate McCain. 
 

The video can be seen by clicking here
 

In the video, Sen. McCain is heard saying that he is confident that the people of Arizona will “…judge me on not what I’ve done for them, but what they think I can do for them.” Most politicians who have spent as many years in the U.S. Senate as McCain has would be expected to run on their record – not their potential. 

Limits on Free Speech

 

McCain and Democrat Sen. Russ Feingold teamed up to create the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform, placing extreme limits on the freedom of speech during election campaign seasons.

 

Citizens United, a conservative non-profit organization that produced a documentary movie highly critical of then-candidate Hillary Clinton, wanted to distribute the move via video-on-demand technology, and run ads promoting the movie. The FEC ruled that they could not, under the electioneering communications sections of McCain-Feingold, air commercials promoting the movie or distribute the movie via video-on-demand technology. Citizens United appealed, and in June 2009 the U.S. Supreme Court announced it would re-hear oral arguments in the case specifically on the issue of whether they should overturn Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce, a 1990 decision permitting bans on independent expenditures in campaigns by corporations and unions. Oral arguments were held on September 9, 2009.

On January 21, 2010 in an unusual special session, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of Citizens United. It is a transformative which restores the First Amendment rights of businesses, unions and nonprofit advocacy groups to participate in campaigns. It’s an extraordinary win for free political speech rights by speakers of all stripes.

 

Gang of 14
“[T]he McCain Gang of 14 was a disaster that snatched defeat from the jaws of victory on judicial nominations.
Wendy Long, Bench Memo, National Review Online, February 5, 2008:

 

“In May 2005, Senate Republican leadership had worked for months to make sure they had the votes for the constitutional option. We were ready to put an end to judicial filibusters that liberals had used to kill great nominations.

“And then Senator McCain and his Gang of 14 arrogated the power to their little clique to determine what nominees would make it and what nominees would not, based on a subjective and undefined standard.

Michael Gaynor, Renew America, February 6, 2008

Economics

“I don’t know much about economics.” FactCheck: Said–then denied–he needed economics education. (Jan 2008)

Miscellaneous

Skipped voting against a government-funded Woodstock museum.

2000: Criticized Bush’s withdrawal from the Kyoto Treaty. (Jan 2004)

1st Republican to sign onto reducing GHGS. (May 2002)

Voted YES on banning drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. (Mar 2005)

Voted NO on Bush Administration Energy Policy. (Jul 2003)

Voted YES on removing consideration of drilling ANWR from budget bill. (Mar 2003)

Voted NO on drilling ANWR on national security grounds. (Apr 2002)

Voted NO on terminating CAFE standards within 15 months. (Mar 2002)

Pelosi Broaches Healthcare Deal with Pro-Life Democrats

By John Semmens: Semi-News — A Satirical Look at Recent News 

Concerned that the current Senate version of the President’s healthcare legislation won’t pass muster with House pro-life Democrats because of its provisions funding abortion, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) is proposing a deal in which pro-life Democrats will be allowed to introduce separate bills to strip abortion funding from the law if they go along with the President’s request that they vote for the Senate Bill.

“Getting the Senate Bill passed in the House without amendments is the only way we can get the legislation to the President for signature,” Pelosi asserted. “Once it’s signed we’ll have healthcare reform. We can go back later to try to eliminate the public funding of abortion. I have promised Representative Stupak that the House will allow a vote on any bill he presents to restrict public funding for abortions.”

Of course, there is no guarantee that a Stupak bill would garner a majority in both the House and Senate or that the President wouldn’t veto it if it did. No matter, says Pelosi, “This deal gives Representative Stupak and the other anti-choice advocates cover against constituent complaints. “They will still be able to show that they voted against abortion funding, while at the same time being able to take credit for a desperately needed overhaul of the nation’s healthcare system. It’d be a win-win for him and his allies.”

Rangel Defends Ignorance

Representative Charles Rangel (D-NY), forced to take a “temporary leave of absence” from his post as Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee for accepting lobbyist bribes, held firm to his profession of ignorance and labeled those who doubt it as “out of touch with the reality of Washington politics.”

Rangel contends that he didn’t know that the all-expenses-paid trips to posh resorts he’d received were funded by lobbyists. “How was I supposed to know?” Rangel asked.

The Congressman rebuffed arguments that his claim of ignorance was implausible and that he should have inquired more closely into the source of his good fortune. “Since when should I have to look a gift horse in the mouth?” Rangel demanded to know. “At the Capitol, the policy has always been don’t ask/don’t tell. And members of congress have always respected each others’ right to privacy in such matters.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi supported Rangel’s perspective. “We don’t even have time to read or familiarize ourselves with the laws before we enact them,” she pointed out. “How can we be expected to carefully examine every freebie that comes our way? If constituents are grateful for the heroic work we’re doing why shouldn’t they try to repay us in some tangible way?”

Pelosi characterized the allegations of corruption as “a ‘tempest in a tea pot’ that will blow over in a few months. The nation needs Charlie’s financial expertise on the Ways and Means Committee. I expect he’ll be restored to his chairmanship once this manufactured scandal has been buried by weightier concerns.”

Reid Lauds Jobs Numbers

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) heralded the February report showing a net loss of 36,000 jobs for the month as “a big day in America. At this low rate of job losses it will be more than 300 years before we reach total unemployment. So, I’d say our quick action in congress has bought us some valuable time.”

Obama on Verge of Deal with China Regarding Iran Sanctions

The long refusal of the Chinese government to go along with sanctions against Iran as a way of pressuring that country to give up its pursuit of nuclear weapons may be close to an end. President Obama announced that China will go along with sanctions if China is exempt from complying with them.

The President defended this deal as “necessary if we are to have a program of sanctions. This way, China will be a party to the policy of sanctions without having to forego their independent right to conduct trade with Iran.”

Obama rejected GOP arguments that “a net with this big of a hole is worthless.” “Iran will still be blocked from direct access to American-branded merchandise,” Obama argued. “They’ll be forced to settle for cheap Chinese knock-offs, many of which are adulterated or tainted in some fashion.”

Neither did the prospect of China acting as a middleman and reselling American-branded items to Iran faze the President because “resold items will have an added handling or mark-up cost and force Iran to pay more than they otherwise would to get the real thing,” Obama said. “This will put further pressure on the regime.”

McCain Denounces Hayworth Campaign Ad

A campaign ad on behalf of J.D. Hayworth’s effort to unseat Senator John McCain) in Arizona’s upcoming Republican primary election sparked an angry response from the Senator.

“Senators have a weighty responsibility of dealing with foreign affairs,” McCain said. “Senators, for example, must approve treaties. My opponent’s ad may have done serious damage to this nation’s ability to make treaties with the Na’vi in the future. Will the Na’vi be willing to come to the bargaining table with our nation after being mocked by a candidate for the US Senate? Such reckless disregard of delicate issues involving diplomacy demonstrate an unfitness for office of the person responsible.”

The Hayworth ad lampooned McCain by suggesting he should be an Oscar Award nominee for “best conservative actor” and portrayed him as a Na’vi character in the movie Avatar.

Government Surveillance of E-Mail to Increase

The Department of Homeland Security is upgrading a software program code-named “Einstein” in order to enable government agents to read every e-mail sent or received through a server located in the United States.

“We will leave no tool unused in our efforts to protect this government from attack,” boasted Secretary Janet Nipplitaliano. As for concerns this would be an Unconstitutional invasion of privacy, she insisted, “No one has a right to privacy in his or her communications if those communications threaten the government.”

Nipplitaliano expressed regret that “it has taken so long for us to develop this capability. Who knows, if we’d had access to every e-mail earlier maybe we could’ve snuffed out the so-called ‘Tea Party’ movement before it was able to take down several key members of the government or before it was able to intimidate congress and thwart critical legislation. Hopefully, we can now turn the tide.”

South African Land Reform Failing

The South African Government’s program of seizing farms from white owners and giving them to black owners isn’t going well. Nearly 90% of the redistributed farm lands are unproductive.

Land reform minister Gugile Nkwinti expressed his frustration with the beneficiaries of the land transfer. “They are complaining that the farms we gave them aren’t profitable,” Nkwinti said. “Well, they were profitable under the previous owners.”

Nkwinti speculated that “the fact that these people were given farms rather than having to earn them may have confused them as to how profits are made. There’s a lot of work needed to make the land produce a viable crop. Perhaps this fact was obscured in our efforts to redistribute the ownership of these formerly productive assets.”

Edwards Seeking Presidential Pardon

As a grand jury works on an indictment for possible campaign violations related to paying his mistress Rielle Hunter, former presidential candidate John Edwards is said to be seeking a pardon from President Obama.

“I can’t go to jail,” Edwards told friends. “The inmates would fight over a looker like me to see which one would make me his ‘bitch.’ Surely that would be cruel and unusual punishment for a person of my stature.”

Sebelius Thanks Insurers for Timely Rate Hikes

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius extended the Obama Administration’s gratitude to its allies in the insurance industry for their “timely and well-publicized rate hikes.”

“Our work with the industry to reform the healthcare system has been imperiled by the resistance of poorly-informed opponents in the Tea Party movement,” Sebelius told the assembled CEOs of Wellpoint, Aetna, Cigna, UnitedHealth Group and other companies. “Your latest announced round of increases in the premiums charged by private insurers makes the President’s contention that his bill will actually lower health costs seem less implausible. For this we are grateful.”

Sebelius took pains to reassure the executives that “the President isn’t out to ‘get’ private insurers. He is aiming to forge a joint public-private partnership that will be mutually beneficial. By passing a law requiring that everyone purchase insurance and by insisting that others boost their coverage, revenues for the industry will be pushed higher. And just like the public-private partnership that has enabled bank executives to take down big bonuses, we think the possibilities for top insurance executives will be similar.”

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Profiting from the Danger to Arizona’s Children

This week’s news out of California of a young girl brutally attacked and killed in a public park is one more painful reminder that too many sex offenders are lurking like sharks and taking a devastating toll on innocent citizens.

These people should not be let out of prison. It should be a one-strike-and-you’re-out policy.

Being that penal systems are far too lenient with sexual offenders, it’s up to citizens to be informed and wary.

One way to do is to use the Internet to find out if there are sexual predators living in your neighborhood. Much of this information is available to the public online and without charge.

The State of Arizona is not one of them. It costs $25 to look up the information.

Aside from the actual amount of the cost, it’s a bad principle to make people pay for information that can be used to protect the lives of their children.

This fee needs to be removed.

Flash! Forward without Photo Radar

Hopefully this will be the year that Arizona “flashes” forward without photo radar, an unconstitutional plague thrust upon the backs of families by greedy politicians during a recession, no less!

Gov. Jan Brewer plans to let the state’s contract with the Australian business operating the cameras expire in July.

There is strong support for a November election initiative calling for the repudiation of photo radar in Arizona – from lawmakers and private citizens alike.

According to a state report issued last fall, only 38 percent of people flashed by the cameras are paying the fine, which is exorbitantly higher than tickets issued to drivers stopped by actual law officers.

A February news report indicated the state lacks an appropriate number of troopers to serve summons on people who ignore the speeding notices they receive in the mail. The initial speeding notices are not recognized by courts because they are not sent as registered mail.

We strongly urge state leaders and residents alike to repeal photo radar.