GOP’s ‘Pledge to America’ Assailed

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

The Republican Party’s effort to clarify its stand prior to November’s election by issuing what it calls its “Pledge to America” was met by universal scorn from the Democratic Party and its allies.

White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer called the Pledge’s plan to cut taxes and trim federal spending “wrong for America. If this economic crisis has taught us anything it’s that we need more government now than we ever have in this nation’s history.”

Pfeiffer characterized Republican contentions that individuals and businesses would do a better job with their money than the government would “ludicrous.” “The idea that government is wasteful while private individuals aren’t is exactly backwards,” he wrote. “Private individuals are repeatedly spending money on things they don’t really need—big houses, big cars, fancy gadgets, fatty foods, you name it. The President is trying to stem this private waste. Electing Republicans will undo the progress he’s made so  far.”

Former President Bill Clinton labeled the Pledge “a hysterical rant against government” and “an attempt to capitalize on the failure of the president’s initiatives for political gain.” Clinton urged voters to forbear ousting Democrats from Congress this year in order to “give them more time to fix the mess they’ve made. If by 2012 voters are still dissatisfied they can vote the president out during the primaries.”

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) denounced the Pledge’s promise to cut government waste as “a dagger aimed straight at the heart of the public sector workforce. It’s the kind of thing you expect private sector firms to do to protect their profits. It is the task of government to rise above petty concerns for efficiency and solvency if that’s what it takes to ensure full employment.”

The LA Times editors opined that the “Pledge” is “the wrong medicine for what ails the economy. Promising to reduce ‘pork,’ ‘bailouts,’ and ‘special favors to corporate elites’ may sound good in theory, but these government payouts represent real income for real people. Letting ‘the Market’ determine who gets what overlooks the possibility that there may be no buyers for what these recipients of government payoffs might produce. As
Keynes so aptly pointed out, spending is the key to recovery. It is nonsensical to quibble about waste if the end result would be to cut spending. We hope Americans will see this truth before they vote.”

UK Royal Family Applies for Government Aid

Citing the rising cost of utilities, the British Royal Family has sought funds from a program designed to help poor households with their heating bills.

“The global recession hasn’t exempted the Queen and her kin from hardship,” said Reginald Smythe, spokesman for the Crown. “The million pounds a year it costs to heat and cool the Palace has put a real bite on the family’s budget. There’s even a fear that Prince Charles may have to sell his string of polo ponies just so his mother can make ends meet. Her Majesty felt such a turn of events would risk demoralizing the nation. To avoid this setback, the Queen thought it would be better to seek out this alternate source of money.”

Nation Not Ready for “Race-Neutral” Civil Rights Holder Says

The claim by prosecutor Christopher Coates that the Obama Administration’s Department of Justice (DOJ) has injected racial bias into its enforcement efforts was brushed aside by Attorney General Eric Holder. The claim stems from the DOJ’s refusal to go ahead with a case of voter intimidation against the New Black Panther Party.

On Election Day in 2008 members of that Party were videotaped harassing white voters in Philadelphia. One of the harassers with a prior criminal record for assault, brandished a club.

Holder defended his Office’s refusal to prosecute saying that “the scales of justice have long been tilted in favor of whites persecuting blacks. Jim Crow laws and the Klan harassed more blacks in more places over more years than these Black Panthers did in just one year in only one city. We are sympathetic to the desire for payback.”

The Attorney General hastened to add that “African-Americans should not take this case as a ‘blank check.’ A little menacing is one thing. Even some bruises and bleeding might be acceptable. However, we draw the line at lynchings. We would likely have to press charges against anyone videotaped committing these crimes.”

Cuomo Picks up Endorsements

Disgraced former Governor Eliot Spitzer (D-NY) announced he is throwing his support behind the current Democratic candidate for New York governor, Andrew Cuomo.

“He is the dirtiest, nastiest political player out there,” Spitzer said. “He knows what it takes to run this state and isn’t afraid to use whatever muscle it takes—leaning on people, cracking heads—to get the job done.”

Asked if he weren’t describing a Mafia don, Spitzer demurred, “it’s more like a caudillo or strongman. Sometimes we need a guy—a Fidel Castro type—who can rule with an iron fist and deal with big problems that defy normal governmental approaches.”

Cuomo also got the nod from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Bloomberg
asserted that “what the state needs is an active government that will prevent the people from making bad choices in how they lead their lives. Cuomo has shown that he has the brass to take on that thankless job. He has my full support.”

Muslims Sue Jailers

Two Muslim inmates in the Pierce County Jail in Tacoma, Washington have filed suit alleging that their religious rights aren’t being respected. Inmates Raymond Wesley Garland and Larry Edward Tarrer are being assisted by the ACLU in pursuit of their case.

While the jail is providing halal compliant meals and is allowing time for the five daily prayers required of Muslims, the plaintiffs contend that this is insufficient. “We are still compelled to dine amongst unbelievers,” Garland complained. “This is forbidden by sharia law.”

“If we are in our cells when it is time for prayer there is no problem,” Garland continued. “We can perform our ritual washing and have easy access to our prayer rugs. But if we are somewhere else there may not be a convenient place to wash. And what about our prayer rugs? Are we supposed to carry them everywhere?”

On the dining issue, the plaintiffs are demanding that a separate dining area be set aside for Muslims. “It must be walled off from where the unbelievers eat,” Garland said. “We must not be forced to see or hear them while we dine amongst the faithful.”

On the prayer issue, they are demanding that “suitable washing sites be established at every location accessible to inmates and that these sites be stocked with appropriate prayer rugs sufficient for every incarcerated Muslim.”

“It’s not like they’re asking that crucifixes be placed on public property,” said ACLU spokesman Bertram Petty. “These are simple requests that must be honored under our Constitution’s freedom of religion clause.”

In related news, two construction workers are facing three year jail terms in Algeria for drinking water in daylight hours during Ramadan. “The arguments that they were hot and thirsty and that they are not Muslim is no defense,” said prosecutor Ahmed Fula. “This is a Muslim country and all must abide by its rules regardless of what faith they may profess.”

President Has to Rebuff Numerous Requests for Campaign Help

According to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) Democrats aren’t running away from President Obama and his agenda. They are, in Representative Pelosi’s words, “clamoring for him to campaign with them.” The lack of joint appearances between Democratic congressional candidates and the president are due to “scheduling problems.”

“The President can’t be everywhere at the same time,” Pelosi explained. “So being nowhere at anytime may be the best option. That way he doesn’t show favoritism toward some while neglecting all the others.”

Man Burns Koran, Loses Job

Derek Fenton, 39, of Bloomingdale, New Jersey was videotaped burning a Koran at the 9/11 observance in New York City. He was subsequently fired from his NJ Transit job.

NJ Transit official, Alfred Tremor explained that the firing was “precautionary.” “Desecrating a Koran is a grievous offense to Muslims,” Tremor said. “Fanatics blow people up for that. We don’t want them to blow up one of our trains just to punish Mr. Fenton for his crime.” Tremor dismissed the possibility of a wrongful termination suit. “Burning flags may be protected free speech. Burning Korans isn’t. So, we’re not worried.”

Meanwhile, in the UK, two men were arrested for watching a video of Fenton burning a Koran. Northumbria Police declared this to be a “hate crime.” “The Koran is very sacred to Muslims,” said police chief, Charles Caitiff. “No one has the right to destroy it nor take pleasure in its destruction by someone else.”

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Candidate Runs Against Own Record

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

Saying he “learned a lot” during his two terms as a member of the House of Representatives, US Senate candidate Joe Sestak (D-Pennsylvania) maintained that “I believe that those who make mistakes deserve a second chance. I think the big ones I’ve made in Congress over the last four years make me the most deserving of that second chance.”

Calling Obamacare, TARP, and the Stimulus “some of the worst legislation enacted in this nation’s history,” Sestak offered his sincere apologies and said “I couldn’t envision myself voting for anything as bad once I’m a senator.” Sestak speculated that his habit of voting for the President’s agenda “might be due to a Navy career of following the orders of my superior officers. I mean, the President is the commander-in-chief. Bucking his orders would’ve been insubordination. So, I don’t really think I can be blamed for supporting him.”

Sestak cited his “chastening experience” as a clear advantage compared to his GOP challenger, Pat Toomey. “As a participant in the President’s failed initiatives I believe I have the experience needed to avoid making the same mistakes,” Sestak boasted. “Mr. Toomey’s been out of government for the last six years. He has had no personal failures to learn from. I urge voters to keep this in mind when casting their ballots.”

In related news, President Obama professed himself “unconcerned” with the growing numbers of Democrats who are running against his policies. “In elections you say what you need to say to win,” Obama confided. “Once you’ve won you do what you want. I am confident that every Democrat understands this.”

Debt Crisis “No Big Deal” Says Geithner

The Congressional Budget Office is warning that the rapidly growing federal debt could reach crisis proportions if it isn’t hemmed in soon.

“When you owe money you have to pay it back with interest,” the CBO wrote. “For this to be feasible your future income stream has to grow faster than the interest rate on that debt. When economic growth fails to match debt repayment requirements default and bankruptcy are the result.”

US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner dismissed the CBO report as “out of touch with modern monetary realities. Federal debt isn’t like private debt. 

Private debtors have to worry about how they’re going to earn the money needed to pay back lenders. The federal government doesn’t. We have options that private borrowers don’t have.”

“Taxes don’t have to be earned,” Geithner pointed out. “They can just be imposed. For example, income tax rates once went as high as 90% in this country and 95% in others. We could reinstitute these rates if we have to. On the other hand, the Federal Reserve can simply create as much money as we need to cover payments on our debt.  Finally, the President could declare a moratorium on debt repayment for the duration of the recession. So, really,
there’s no finite limit on how big the US debt can get. The CBO is getting worked up over nothing.”

State Gains Exception from Law on Military Ballots

The failure of military ballots to be mailed out in a timely manner during the 2008 election inspired Congress to enact legislation requiring a minimum of 45 days between the mailing of ballots and election day. It was believed that this would provide enough time for most overseas troops to cast votes that could be counted. The Obama  dministration, however, just granted an exemption to the state of Wisconsin—allowing military ballots to be sent only 32 days prior to election day.

Attorney General Eric Holder defended the exemption calling the “effort of state election officials to conduct elections as they see fit is a higher priority than trying to ensure the voting rights of military personnel. The probability that the missing military votes would be decisive is small. Therefore, states should not be encumbered by a futile effort to have these votes counted on election day.”

Holder also questioned whether military balloting is at all appropriate. “Our country has always prided itself on ‘civilian control,’” Holder argued. “It is not at all clear to me why anyone in uniform is permitted to vote. Allowing soldiers to take political positions contrary to those of the ‘commander-in-chief’ seems like it would undermine  iscipline. A soldier’s duty is to carry out his orders, not be encouraged to question them.”

President Says It’s OK for Voters to Blame Him for Economy

Though he insists that he is not at fault for the economy’s refusal to recover from the recession, President Barack Obama says that it is okay if voters blame him. “Just as a blameless Jesus took upon himself the sins of the world, I stand willing to take upon myself the blame for our nation’s economic troubles,” Obama declared.

Press Secretary Robert Gibbs defended the President’s controversial analogy saying that “there are eerie parallels  between the two lives. Both were born in obscure circumstances. Both have mysterious gaps in their chronologies.
Both offered a message of hope and change. Both have been criticized by the establishments they have sought to reform. If both end up being punished for the sins of others, then so be it.”

Tax Hike Needed to Prevent Waste of Resources

The coming tax hike scheduled for January 1, 2011 has a lot of economists and business people worried. Not even Keynesian economics favors boosting taxes in a time of recession. Nevertheless, President Obama is adamant in
his position that the tax hike take place.

“I will grant that the idea of a tax hike during a recession is counterintuitive,” the President said. “However, the key is how the money is spent. I’ve heard the arguments saying that families might need this money for that businesses could use it to hire more workers. But these are very ‘iffy’ possibilities. I can absolutely guarantee that these hundreds of billions of dollars would be immediately put to the best conceivable uses. So, I’d have to say I can’t let Congress interfere with the transfer of this money to the government because I have better things to do with the money.”

In related news, Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell (D) branded Republican opponents of higher taxes and government spending as “fruit loops” and “flat-out crazy.” “For anyone to argue in this time of economic crisis that
individuals could do a better job with their resources than the government can is just plain nuts,” Rendell contended. “Individuals are motivated by petty, selfish concerns. The government has the national interest to contend with. It needs to have full access to whatever resources are available.”

Sebelius Warns Insurers

In the wake of the health care law passed earlier this year, insurers have  been notifying their customers that new mandates for coverage will boost costs and premiums. In response, Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of Health and
Human Services, issued a stern warning to the health insurance industry, vowing to “put them out of business” for what she termed “unjustified” rate increases.

Arguing that the new law has “fundamentally transformed the health insurance industry,” Sebelius asserted that “all critical decisions on prices, coverage, and therapies have been transferred to my Department. We will decide who must be covered. We will decide what treatments, surgeries and drugs they may have. We will decide how much can be charged. Companies that have an issue with that are free to exit the business.”

Sebelius rejected the industry’s argument that premiums must be high enough to cover costs. “That may be how it worked in the old system,” Sebelius said, “but it’s not how it’s going to work in the future. If private carriers have to fold because they lose money providing coverage, the government is ready to fill the breach. If that ultimately means that government is the only insurer left standing, well what’s so bad about  that?”

Brown Has Secret Plan

California Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown announced that he has a “foolproof plan” to rescue the state from its current fiscal crisis, but can’t reveal what it is until after the election. “I can assure voters that my plan is ingenious,” Brown promised. “It will balance the budget without cutting any spending or laying-off any workers.”

Brown said he can’t reveal any more details “because I don’t want anyone to steal my ideas. I’ve been burned before.” Sources close to the former Governor indicate that he is still upset that his idea for a 30-year reunion was “stolen” as the plot for an Adam Sandler movie—“Grown Ups.” In the movie a bunch of goofballs reunite after 30 years and demonstrate that they are just as immature and clueless as ever. Brown contends that this is the basic
theme of his attempt to reassume the governorship of California that he held 30 years ago.

Brown contends that asking voters to take him on faith “isn’t as outlandish as my opponents argue. There is already precedent for acting without full knowledge as we saw with the President’s health care bill.”

Badgered by critics of the President’s 2,000+ page bill that few members of Congress read before voting on it, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) famously said that “we had to pass the bill in order to find out what was in
it.”

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Administration Appeals Court Stay on Stem Cell Funding

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

The Obama Administration’s Justice Department filed paperwork in federal court seeking to lift the ban on federal funding of human embryonic stem cell research that was ordered by Judge Royce Lamberth of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Lamberth ruled that a presidential executive order could not supplant existing legislation barring this use of taxpayer money.

The Justice Department’s motion argued that Lamberth’s ruling is invalid because “the President’s executive order was issued subsequent to the legislation upon which the Court based its ruling” and that “this subsequent law making, therefore supercedes the earlier act of congress.”

The motion also characterized Lamberth’s ruling as “anti-democratic.” “In 2008, voters chose Barack Obama to be this nation’s ruler for the next four years. For the Court to harken back to a law passed before he was elected would place a mere piece of paper ahead of the will of the people. This sort of rigidity undermines a democratic process that must be unfettered if government is to have the flexibility to respond to changing needs.”

A final argument offered by the motion cited the negative impact the ruling would have on employment at the National Institute of Health. “The scientists and staff of this well-respected institute have come to depend upon this money,” the motion read. “Surely, the needs of these real people must take precedence over the theoretical interests of the purported ‘human lives’ that the statute champions.”

Jobs Numbers Spark Divergent Responses

The August unemployment numbers showed official joblessness inching up to 9.6%. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) called this “a sign that we are on the right track” and asserted that “we’d be even further along on this track if it weren’t for the continued nay-saying of the Republicans and Tea Baggers.”

The Speaker refused to elaborate on how Republicans, who are in the minority in both houses of congress and the so-called “tea partiers” who have no members in congress, could be so influential in stopping the Democrats from enacting their agenda.

President Barack Obama acknowledged that the jobs numbers “aren’t what we would like them to be” and vowed to offer a menu of new stimulus measures soon. These measures are believed to include a possible 90% income tax on “high earners” who are defined as “those making more than the median income for all Americans.” Robert Reich, Secretary of Labor during the Clinton Administration, is pushing hard for this tax hike calling it “our last best hope for pulling the country out of the current depression.”  

“It’s a known fact that high earners don’t spend as great a proportion of their income as low earners,” Reich said. “Much of it goes into stocks, bonds or other forms of stored wealth. On the other hand, those at the lowest end tend to spend all they earn. And welfare recipients spend more than they’ve earned. So, if the President wants to stimulate spending the path he should take is clear ‘take resources away from those who won’t spend the money and put this money into the hands of those we know will spend it.”

Mindful of the role World War II played in “stimulating the economy,” the President and his advisors are also said to be mulling over options for “initiating advantageous hostilities with an appropriate foe.” The most promising scenario is deemed to be one where the United States responds to a possible Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear reactors. Rescuing Iran from “the aggression of a pariah state like Israel” is expected to provide both an economic stimulus and revolutionize this country’s relationships with the 1.5 billion-person Muslim portion of the global population.

Senator Says Fire Shows Need to Ban Oil Drilling

The fire at a Mariner Energy Inc. oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico has spurred calls for even stricter controls over who might be allowed to drill where for oil. This particular well is too shallow to have been covered by President Obama’s moratorium on deep water drilling.

Both the fire and the fact that the well fell outside the President’s ban was a matter of “grave concern” to Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ).”If nothing else, this disaster is further proof that oil drilling is an inherently dangerous practice one that we must stop,” Lautenberg said.

“Most people don’t realize that our cars are powered by mini-explosions of gasoline in the vehicles’ engines,” Lautenberg said. “This strikes me as an unnecessarily dangerous way to get around. The sooner we can get everyone onto electric, wind or solar-powered vehicles the safer we’ll all be. Maybe banning all further drilling for oil is the best way to achieve this.”

Lautenberg said he would also consider levying a tax on vehicles that use petroleum-based fuels in order to subsidize the production of alternatively powered ones. “Right now electric vehicles are out-performed by gasoline-powered ones,” he observed. “But if drivers had to pay a hefty tax for this higher performance they might be more willing to put up with the inferior capabilities of an all-electric vehicle. Of course, in an ideal world if everyone took public transportation the poor performance of electric power wouldn’t be so obvious.”

In related news, the Obama Administration announced a new federal “grading system” for cars. The idea is to encourage alternatives to gasoline-powered vehicles. Cars running on gasoline will receive a grade of “D.” Vehicles powered by electricity, wind, solar, or foot-pedals would receive grades from “C” to “A” depending upon how impractical they are.

Proposal to Do Away with Current Income Tax Forms under Consideration

President Obama’s tax reform commission is said to be mulling over the idea of dispensing with individuals filing income tax returns. Instead, the IRS would just send out its assessment of tax liability to each individual taxpayer. If taxes withheld from paychecks and bank accounts exceeded the amount the IRS determined was owed a refund check would be included. If withholding was deemed insufficient, a bill for the added amount due would be enclosed. Those who disagreed with the IRS assessment could file an appeal with the agency.

US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner praised the idea as “long overdue.” The current system relies too much on amateurs struggling with the tax code,” he said. “This is’t an efficient way to do it. The IRS has full-time tax professionals working the case. They’ve got to have a better handle on it.”

Geither brushed aside the fact that a majority of taxpayers hire professionals to help them file their taxes. “Yes, these are professionals with some expertise on the tax code,” Geithner admitted. “But their focus is the exact opposite of the IRS. They’re trying to minimize their clients’ tax burden, whereas the IRS is focused on making sure everyone pays a fair share.”

“Saving time is another benefit,” Geithner added. “Only those who want to challenge the IRS assessment would need to keep records and receipts and do their own calculations. This hassle would be avoided by simply paying what the IRS says you owe. I think most will choose convenience over confrontation. This will save a lot of time and trouble as well as boost the revenues flowing to the government.”

Some Carry Freedom too Far Says Governor

The Glenn Beck “Restoring Honor” rally at the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC was an “abuse of freedom” according to Governor Deval Patrick (D-Mass).

“For these white people to horn-in on a date and a place that hosted Martin Luther King’s I have a Dream speech is just too much,” complained Patrick. “Al Sharpton’s authentic Black celebration was shunted off to a crummy nearby high school auditorium. That’s not right.”

Even apprised of the fact that the site Beck used is a public place that anyone can, with a little advanced planning, reserve, Patrick was not mollified. “Just because you are free to do something doesn’t mean you should do it,” Patrick opined. “There are times when common sense should prevail. I supposed Beck and that crowd will say it’s a free country. I wish it werent.”

Patrick also speculated that the huge attendance at Beck’s rally was “inflated by people who were really looking for Al Sharpton’s rally.” Estimates place the crowd at Beck’s rally at 300,000 compared to Sharpton’s 3,000.

Governor Suspends Right to Bear Arms

As Hurricane Earl seemed to be bearing down on the state, Governor Beverly Perdue (D-NC) declared a state of emergency that included barring anyone from transporting a fire arm off of his private property.

“Police need a simple decision-making matrix for when to use deadly force in the event of a breakdown of order during the emergency,” Perdue explained. “What could be simpler than to know that anyone with a gun is a law-breaker. “Poof, all doubt about who’s in the wrong disappears. Officers can act with confidence that they will not be second-guessed if they have to discharge their own weapons.”

As it turned out, the hurricane did not come ashore in North Carolina and the state of emergency order was recinded. Nevertheless, the Governor’s Office congratulated itself for its “pro-active stance on preparedness.”

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