By John Semmens: Semi-News — A Satirical Look at Recent News
The “Restoring American Financial Stability Act” sponsored by Senator Chris Dodd (D-Conn) would, among other things, require banks to monitor every transaction processed through their systems and forward this information to a newly created federal Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA).
Senator Dodd defended the surveillance, calling it “a crucial weapon for combating irresponsible consumer spending. Too many people can’t seem to manage their appetite for spending. They’ll overdraw their bank accounts and pile up credit card debt to buy things they don’t really need and can’t afford. If we’re to stop this behavior government needs to monitor transactions so it can intervene to prevent this squandering of the nation’s wealth.”
To guard against excessive consumer spending the CFPA would be empowered to order banks to freeze the accounts and credit cards of individuals and businesses the agency determines are not using their funds wisely.
Court Rules Terrorists’ Wives Entitled to Government Benefits
The European Court of Justice ordered the government of the United Kingdom to rescind rules that prevent the wives of terrorists from receiving welfare payments.
In its ruling the Court wrote: “Once a government has undertaken a program to guarantee a minimum of income to all of its people, it cannot presume to judge the lifestyles that are chosen and use that judgment to deny benefits to those who it alleges have not chosen approved behaviors. If a man cannot provide for his family because he is a drunkard, criminal or terrorist, it is the duty of government to assume this responsibility.”
According to the Court, “the wife of a terrorist is an especially worthy recipient. Her husband may be forced into hiding while plotting his activities. Under such circumstances, holding a job may be difficult or impossible. Further, he may face an elevated risk of being killed either inadvertently in the process of making a bomb, intentionally as a suicide bomber, or by the hostile actions of others during shoot-outs with police. It should be obvious that the needs of the spouses of individuals engaged in such activities are beyond contention.”
The Court explicitly rejected the argument that funds paid to terrorists’ dependents could end up aiding the propagation of terror. “The amounts contemplated are modest. Even if they did end up being forwarded to the husbands they would be tiny compared to the funds available from traditional sources like al-Qaeda or Hizbullah. This pittance is the price that must be paid if we are to have a socially just society.”
Mexico Denounces Arizona Immigration Law
The Mexican government verbally lambasted Arizona Governor Jan Brewer and the State Legislature for the enactment of a law that authorizes state and local police to check the immigration status of persons contacted during law enforcement actions. Mexican President Felipe Calderon said the new law “opens the door to intolerance, hate and discrimination. We won’t stand for it.”
Calderon’s harsh assessment of the Arizona law seems a bit hypocritical considering that Mexican law declares illegal immigrants to be felons and liable for two years in prison followed by deportation. Second offenders are liable for a ten-year prison sentence.
President Calderon insists that a comparison of his country’s immigration laws with those enacted in the United States is inapt. “First, our laws are made by and for Latinos,” Calderon pointed out. “The Arizona law is made by Anglos and imposed on Latinos.”
“Second, we are protecting our country from encroachment by outsiders,” Calderon added. “Arizona is encroaching on land that was stolen from Mexico. Trying to exclude Mexicans from territory that should, by right, belong to Mexico perpetuates the original offense.”
Law to Require Automobile “Black Boxes” Mulled
In a bid to save Americans from unsafe vehicles, Congress is proposing legislation to require all new cars sold in this country to come equipped with the same kind of “black box” technology now used on airliners. The spur to action was the recent problem with sticky accelerators in some Toyota models this past year.
Chairman of the House Commerce Committee, Representative Henry Waxman (D-Calif), called the bill “essential if we are to avoid the sort of problems we’ve seen in the automobile marketplace and on our streets. Right now, we are totally dependent on drivers responding to recall notices. This leaves too much up to individuals who may not appropriately respond. Government needs a means of stepping in to assure optimal social control. It’s a matter of public safety.”
A feature of the proposed technology that Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood called “absolutely critical” in testimony supporting the bill would be the capacity to remotely disable affected vehicles. “Contrary to our advice, many owners of the possibly defective Toyotas continued to drive these vehicles,” LaHood complained. “If the new technology were part of every vehicle we could have remotely shut them down and assured against further risk.”
LaHood discounted the potential danger of disabling vehicles that may be operating in traffic. “The technology will tell us where every vehicle is at any given moment and whether it is or isn’t in motion,” LaHood explained. “Shut-down signals wouldn’t be sent unless the vehicle isn’t moving.”
The potential inconvenience to motorists stranded because the government has disabled their vehicles is deemed “a small price to be paid to prevent potential crashes due to faulty equipment,” LaHood said. “Besides, most of the trips taken in automobiles aren’t strictly necessary anyway. For trips that are, people can take public transportation. There is no essential destination that isn’t served by a bus or train.”
President Says Americans May Be Making Too Much Money
President Barack Obama sought to deflect concerns over lingering high unemployment by suggesting that “people’s obsession with prosperity has gone too far in this country. I mean, there’s a point where a person has to realize that he’s got too much money.”
“Getting Americans to overcome this obsession is a difficult undertaking,” the President observed. “They’re going to need our help. Maybe it’ll take something like a value-added tax to sop up some of the excess funds that people are encumbered with. Plus, by transferring a greater share of the nation’s wealth from selfish individuals to the government we can simultaneously combat mammonism while providing more generous financing of socially needed investments like high-speed rail.”
Iranian Government Targets Tanned Women
The Iranian government announced a crackdown on sun-tanned women. Tehran police chief Hossien Sajedinia warned that “all women who appear to be tanned will be arrested. Tanning is one of the ways women use to seduce men into sexual acts. It will not be tolerated.”
The move to stamp out tan females was said to be inspored by an Imam’s recent warning that “immodest women increase the frequency of earthquakes.”
In related news, the United Nations (UN) announced that Iran has been elected to the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women. Haseeh Noheval, spokeswoman for the U.N.’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs, brushed off criticism alleging that the Iranian government is a major abuser of women’s rights in that country. “Iran is a place where the government takes a serious interest in women,” she said. “That’s more than can be said for a lot of other countries.”
Food Police Strike at Home and Abroad
Overseas, the US Army has banned Burger King, Pizza Hut and Subway food vendors from serving troops stationed in Afghanistan. General Stanley McChrystal characterized the new policy as “aimed at preserving the lives and health of our men in uniform. The cholesterol and salt in the foods served by these vendors are as deadly as the IEDs our soldiers have to face on a daily basis. What good will it do a soldier to dodge the bullets and bombs in Afghanistan only to be felled 40 or 50 years later by heart failure?”
The General dismissed some soldiers’ contentions that “these friendly reminders of home are a real morale booster after a hard day of fighting.” “We can’t put the immature cravings of people barely out of their teens ahead of the advice of nutritional experts,” McChrystal asserted. “Teaching good dietary discipline is every bit as important as anything else we could teach our troops.”
At home, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance prohibiting the inclusion of toys in fast food restaurants’ “Kids’ Meals.”
Board member, Liz Kniss, called the move “a necessary offset to poor parental judgment. Too many parents are failing to demonstrate adequate parenting skills when they let their children consume unhealthy products. This makes it necessary for government to intervene to correct their errors.”
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