Treasury Secretary Makes Case for Higher Taxes

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

In testimony before a House of Representatives Committee, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner argued that higher taxes are needed “to forestall a potentially disastrous shrinkage of government.”
Representative Renee Ellmers (R-NC) challenged Geithner’s assertion pointing out that “government spending in this country now consumes almost two-thirds of the income generated by the private sector—the most ever in our history. This is hardly a shrinkage of government.”

“I didn’t say government was shrinking,” Geithner replied. “I was warning that it could shrink if we don’t find more revenue to feed it. A lot of people don’t understand that government is the crucial entity in our society. Unless it has the resources it needs to channel behavior toward socially beneficial purposes there’ll be no direction for our economy. My point is, why let the nation’s dwindling resources be squandered by an anarchic private sector when we can salvage them for the public good through targeted tax hikes?”

The fact that the most anarchic sphere of the private sector—small businesses—accounts for more than 60% of the job creation failed to sway Geithner. “Small businesses only create these jobs because they have the money,” Geithner pointed out. “If the government taxed that money away these businesses wouldn’t be creating those jobs, government would. And they’d be better jobs with higher pay and more growth potential.”

In related news, President Obama went to Pittsburgh to pitch his new “Advanced Manufacturing Partnership” program. “Under this program, government and businesses will work together for a better America,” Obama said. “The self-serving quest for profit will be supplanted by a coordinated plan for national renewal. Private greed will give way to serving public need. It’s a model for a transformed way of life for this country.”

Head of Fed Baffled

Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank (Fed) pronounced himself “baffled” by the state of the economy.

“The federal government is spending like there’s no tomorrow, we’ve added trillions to the national debt over the last three years, we’re cranking out more new money than ever before, yet the economy is lying there like a beached whale,” Bernanke mused. “I have to admit, I’m baffled by it all.”

Bernanke dismissed businesses’ reluctance to invest as “irrational.” “Look, our ‘quantitative easing’ couldn’t be clearer,” Bernanke insisted. “Whatever they borrow today can be paid back later in cheaper dollars. We’re effectively ripping off creditors for the benefit of debtors. Why aren’t businesses rushing to become debtors? It doesn’t make any sense to me.”

Likewise, Bernanke also rejected the perception of many that the Obama Administration is “anti-business” as a possible explanation. “Just because some lines of business have been hammered by the Administration doesn’t mean they’re against all business,” Bernanke observed. “There are ways to get on the good side of the President. A show of support for his reelection could open a few doors. Or businesses could invest in his ‘green agenda.’ You can still make money if you make the right moves.”

“And don’t get me started on taxes,” Bernanke continued. “Businesses don’t pay taxes. They pass them on to their customers. Besides, like I said about our ‘quantitative easing,’ taxes can be paid later in cheaper dollars.”

The Fed Chief implied that sterner measures may be necessary. “If businesses don’t willingly grasp the opportunities laid out for them a more direct role for government may be called for,” Bernanke suggested. “The government needn’t wait for companies to go bankrupt like GM did before stepping in to take control.”

Another Democratic Governor Vetoes Voter ID

North Carolina’s Governor Beverly Perdue (D) vetoed a bill that would’ve required voters to show photo IDs before casting their ballots.

“The right to choose our leaders is among the most precious freedoms we have,” Perdue said. “It shouldn’t be restricted to only those who can prove who they are. Just because a person has no documentary proof of who he is doesn’t mean he has no interest in who will govern him. The laws affect everyone. So everyone should have the right to vote without being impeded by unnecessary restrictions.”

President Says ATM a Symbol of What’s Wrong with this Country

With unemployment remaining stubbornly high after more than two years of his Administration’s economic stimulus policies, President Obama laid into the ATM (Automatic Teller Machine) as a symbol of what’s ailing the economy.

“First off, these machines displace workers, increasing unemployment,” Obama maintained. “People used to be employed as bank tellers to dispense cash and take deposits. Now, millions of these machines have eliminated millions of jobs.”

“Secondly, the government’s ability to control how money is dispensed is hampered,” the President added. “These machines are open around the clock and the process is pretty much automatic. If there’s money in your account the machine will pay you. There’s no opportunity for authorities to exercise discretion. The potential for effecting a more socially conscious deployment of the nation’s cash resources is diminished.”

“In an ideal world the government would exercise a more comprehensive oversight of how money is handled throughout society,” Obama opined. “Before anyone could access this resource it would have to be justified by a showing of need or conformance with the nation’s goals and policies.”

While some hailed the President’s perspective as “innovative” and “refreshing,” Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wisc) was notably unimpressed, dubbing it “a depressing display of economic ignorance.”
TSA Thefts from Passengers Called “Collateral Damage”

While the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) may have successfully sold the molestation of airline passengers as a “necessary inconvenience” on the road to national security, it is not so easy to explain away theft. Thus far, 200 current TSA officers have been formally accused of stealing from passengers’ luggage. Over 500 TSA officers have been fired or suspended for theft since the agency was established in 2001.

“We’re not saying that the thefts are acceptable,” said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. “They’re not. But in the grand scheme of things, the risk of losing something from your luggage must be weighed against the need to provide a safer travel environment. We should consider the thefts collateral damage.”

The opportunity for Americans to experience collateral damage will be expanding. Napolitano announced that up to 8,000 surprise raids by TSA agents will be taking place at a variety of locations over the next year. Working in cooperation with immigration and drug-enforcement personnel, the TSA will be conducting SWAT operations to thwart terrorists and smugglers.

A prime objective of the planned raids, according to the Secretary, will be “to seize the large sums of cash used by these public enemies. There is no good reason for law-abiding citizens to carry around large sums of cash. Possession of such sums is, by itself, prima facie evidence of illegal intent. Confiscation of this money will both hinder criminal activities and help fund future operations of the TSA.”

Georgia Sued over Immigration Law

The State of Georgia’s attempt to enforce the nation’s laws against illegal immigration has netted it a lawsuit filed by the government of Mexico.

It is the Mexican government’s contention that the Georgia law unconstitutionally interferes with international commerce. “The transport of people and commodities from Mexico to anywhere in the United States is a matter solely under the discretion of the United States federal government,” said Juan Malhechor, Deputy Minister of Commerce for the Mexican government. “The State of Georgia has no authority to interdict this trade.”

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) rndorsed the Mexican government’s suit. “The smuggling of persons or drugs into the United States is a matter under the jurisdiction of the federal government,” ACLU spokesman Bertram Petty declared. “Those traveling between nations or importing merchandise shouldn’t have to deal with a patchwork of potentially contradictory state-imposed standards.”

It is reported likely that the Obama Administration will also join the suit. “The prerogative to enforce or ignore federal laws belongs to the federal government,” US Attorney General Eric Holder asserted. “It is not permissible for the states to enforce federal laws in contradiction to a federal policy abstaining from doing so.”

House Action on Libya Will Be Ignored

Presidential Press Secretary Jay Carney brushed off a recent House of Representatives’ move to deny President Obama authority for continuing to make war on Libya. “He doesn’t need their approval,” Carney contended. “He is the Commander-in-Chief. The troops answer to him. They will follow his orders. Members of the House should keep that in mind if they want to tangle with him.”

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President Rejects Need for Congressional Approval of Libyan Military Operation

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

The Obama Administration rejected contentions that the attacks on Libya that he authorized beginning in March must conform to rules laid down by the 1973 War Powers Act.

“The intent of the War Powers Act was to restrain then President Nixon from abusing his authority,” State Department legal adviser Harold Koh argued. “Ultimately, it was his abuse of Presidential powers that led to his impeachment and resignation. That crisis has passed. The War Powers Act is no longer needed.”

Aside from the alleged “narrow historical applicability” argument, Koh also parsed the phrasing of the Act. “Strictly speaking, the War Powers Act bars a President from engaging in ‘hostilities’ without the approval of Congress,” Koh said. “Hostility was no part of the President’s motivation in ordering US forces to bomb targets in Libya. On the contrary it was his concern for the well-being of the Libyan people that guided his decision.”

The Administration’s case got bi-partisan support from Senators John McCain (R-Ariz) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC). “The threat that the War Powers Act was designed to thwart is gone,” Graham agreed. “There’s no need to tie President Obama’s hands with an obsolete statute.” Meanwhile, Senator McCain claimed that “the Constitution gives the President, as Commander-in-Chief, the unconstrained authority to deploy US military forces wherever and whenever he deems it warranted.”

On the other hand, Louis Fisher, a constitutional law expert at the Library of Congress, contends that President Obama’s Libyan adventure is without proper authority and constitutes a “very grave offense” that is “worthy of impeachment should Congress elect to enforce its Constitutional prerogative over the power to declare war. The failure of Congress to enforce this prerogative is tantamount to its acquiescence to an ‘imperial’ Presidency with unconstrained war-making powers. It’s a replay of how Rome morphed from a republic into a dictatorship.”

Administration Weighing Whether to Invade Belgium

Giddy with its success in fending off Congressional interference with its Libyan intervention, the Obama Administration is said to be assessing whether to take similar steps toward Belgium.
“For more than a year now Belgium has had no government,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton observed. “There hasn’t been any panic yet, but how long can we rely upon the traditional lethargy of the Belgians to keep things from getting out of hand?”

It’s not as if everything has come to a halt in Belgium. Shops are open. Factories continue to manufacture goods. Even government offices and officers are still on the job. The problem is there is no parliament to pass new laws and no recognized prime minister with which leaders of other nations can confer.

“It’s a situation fraught with peril,” Clinton insisted. “Without a government no new initiatives can be undertaken to deal with emerging crises. People will be left to themselves to figure out how to solve problems. It’s a humanitarian disaster waiting to happen.”

Clinton cautioned against those who suggest that the issue is outside of our jurisdiction. “We can’t sit idly by and hope that the Belgians will resolve the crisis themselves,” Clinton asserted. “The very lack of panic itself is an insidious temptation to surrounding states. We cannot rule out the possibility that they could easily lapse into a similar state of near anarchy. It may be necessary for us to inject an external military presence in order to restore a normal state of governance in the country.”

Candidate’s Attempt to Forge Bond Hits Sour Note

Republican presidential candidate former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s attempt to forge a bond with unemployed Florida voters hit a sour note when he tried to characterize himself as an “unemployed American.”

A spokesman for the Romney campaign insisted that the claim is “essentially true. He has no job. He’s not on anyone’s payroll. And he’s looking for work. He meets the criteria for being classified as unemployed.”

The fact that Romney is a millionaire and that his “job search” expenses are being paid out of a multimillion dollar campaign fund was brushed aside as irrelevant. “Corporate executives who are downsized are still counted as unemployed even if they have millions in the bank when they’re let go,” the spokesman pointed out. “So, based on the facts, the Governor’s statement is correct.”

Dems Deserve Credit for Economy

Chairperson of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), Representative Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Flor), urged Democrats to embrace the President’s economic program as a key selling point for voters to elect more Democrats in the 2012 balloting.

“People who are focusing on high unemployment and falling home prices are missing some truly impressive signs of an improving economy,” Wasserman-Schultz maintained. “For one, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s net worth rose 62% to $35 million last year. Does that sound like a recession to you?”

“Why, even Republicans are doing well,” Wasserman-Schultz added. “Current House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) boosted his wealth by 16% to $2.1 million over the same time period. The idea that the economy is uniformly bad is belied by these success stories. The President’s initiatives have created opportunities. It’s not his fault or the Democratic Party’s fault when people fail to seize these opportunities.”

Wasserman-Schultz warned against Republican demands for spending cuts that “would undermine the President’s strategy for targeted growth. The notion that lower taxes would produce better results has been disproved. Too much of the money in the private sector is wasted on frivolous expenditures. Maintaining government outlays at high levels is diverting this money into more fruitful uses.”

President Obama seconded Wasserman-Schultz’s take on the economy pointing out that “I have a bigger plane and a bigger entourage than I did three years ago. It’s proof that my programs are working and the economy is growing again.” The President also cited robust campaign donations from Wall Street for his reelection as “a sure sign my economic program is on the right track. Who knows more about investing than these guys?”

Palin E-Mails Unsettling

The release of more than 20,000 of former Governor Sarah Palin’s e-mails has yielded content that some are calling unsettling.

“We noted that on more than one occasion Governor Palin mentioned that she hoped for divine guidance to help her reach the right decision on an issue,” the Associated Press (AP) wrote in an unsigned editorial. “This is wrong on several levels. First, it is an illegal mingling of church and state. There’s supposed to be a wall between the two. Palin breached that wall.”

“Second, it implies a certain degree of helplessness on Palin’s part,” the AP editorial continued. “Were the tasks of being governor too big for her to handle in her own without imaginary assistance from a non-existent entity? Is this the kind of person we should trust to exercise governing authority?”

“Finally, if we grant that a god does exist is it fair to seek help from this source?” the AP editorial asked. “Isn’t it like a player asking a referee for special favors? Shouldn’t we want a level playing field in politics?”

Others found fault with the assessment that the e-mails were written at an 8th grade level of comprehension according to the Flesch-Kincaid readability test. “The average score for Palin’s e-mails was only 8.5,” Presidential Press Secretary Jay Carney crowed. “The President’s state-of-the-union address was rated 8.8—the same as Martin Luther King Jr.’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech.”

Democrat and Chief Executive Officer of 2tor (an on-line education organization) John Katzman cautioned that “comparing ordinary daily communications with historic speeches could be misleading. An e-mail is often a quick, off-the-cuff message. A state-of-the-union speech is crafted by a team over several weeks. That Palin’s e-mails come so close could be considered remarkable.”

Housing Crisis Doesn’t Faze Administration

A recent analysis of housing prices showing that they have fallen by 33% since 2006—a bigger decline than the 31% decrease that was experienced during the 1930s Great Depression—was downplayed by Obama Administration officials.

“In the 1930s they weren’t prepared,” said Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan. “People had to build their own shanties or live on the streets. Today we have government funded homeless shelters to take care of those who’ve lost their houses.”

Shaun cited statistics indicating that the number of people using government shelters surged by 57% between 2007 and 2010 in support of his contention that the Administration is prepared. “The idea that families need to live in private housing is incorrect,” Shaun contended. “People can be quite comfortable in our shelters. This housing is efficient and may even serve as a model for how we want to transform the way our society provides shelter for the masses in the future.”

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Homeland Security Urges More Citizens to Spy on Neighbors

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

Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano warned Americans not to take the slaying of Osama bin-Laden as a cue to ease up on our vigilance. “Al-Qaeda is not the only threat to our government,” Napolitano said. “Enemies are everywhere.”

Because enemies are everywhere Napolitano urged everyone to keep an eye out for signs of trouble.

“If you know of people in your neighborhood who have guns let us know,” the Secretary requested. “If you overhear conversations that are critical of government policies or programs give us a call.”

Napolitano counseled against “letting hazy conceptions about Constitutional rights deter anyone from reporting suspicious activity. An attitude of ‘zero tolerance’ should be everyone’s ‘rule-of-thumb.’ Don’t hold anything back. Let the courts decide who’s guilty. That’s their job, not yours. You shouldn’t try to judge for yourself whether what you see or hear may be innocent behavior.”

“Getting every loyal citizen on-board with our surveillance program is vital,” Napolitano maintained. “The Department’s budget is limited. We can’t afford to put officers everywhere we want. If enough Americans voluntarily assist us we can achieve maximum security with existing resources.”

Feds Raid Home Seeking Student Loan Repayment

A federal SWAT operation kicked down the doors of Kenneth Wright’s home in a 6 A.M. raid because his wife, who no longer lives at the residence, failed to repay her student loan. Wright, who had been sleeping, was dragged out of the house in his underwear, thrown face down on the front lawn and held at gunpoint. His three children were not harmed.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan defended the harsh tactics. “Too many people are defaulting on their student loans,” Duncan pointed out. “The old system of pursuing collections through the courts may have been the only alternative available to private lenders, but the government has other options.”

“People may ignore a civil summons, but it’s hard to ignore a dozen armed men breaking into your home,” Duncan bragged. “Fear and humiliation can be powerful incentives for paying your debts. I see no reason why we shouldn’t make use of these incentives.”

The fact that the debtor in question was not at the location of the SWAT raid in this instance was characterized as “a minor miscalculation. Would we have liked to haul in Mrs. Wright? Sure, but the  main objective is to make the point that bad things can happen to those who don’t pay up and to those who may harbor them.”

Attacks on Weiner “Culturally Backward”

MSNBC’s Chris Matthews called criticism of Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-NY) “culturally backward.” Weiner is currently under fire for sending nude pictures of himself to women across the nation and then lying about it.

“People say they want transparency from government,” Matthews observed. “What’s more transparent than a naked picture? Isn’t it saying ‘I have nothing to hide?’”

Matthews urged Weiner to resist pressures for his resignation. “He needs to stay the course,” Matthews argued. “Now is not the time to surrender to narrow-minded notions of what constitutes appropriate behavior. People shouldn’t be ashamed of their bodies. We shouldn’t hound out of office a visionary who has staked out new ground toward overcoming senseless inhibitions.”

As for Weiner’s initial denials, Matthews acknowledged “it was a mistake born of modesty and shouldn’t be held against him. Besides, politicians have lied about worse things. Remember the weapons of mass destruction fable that led us into war? I think we cut the Congressman some slack on this.”

In related news, Representative Weiner announced that he had explained his actions to former President Bill Clinton and been “completely forgiven.” “No one has suffered more from the criticisms of our puritanical culture than President Clinton has,” Weiner contended. “His compassion for my predicament and unwavering support for my continuing to serve in Congress was very uplifting. He is truly an inspiration and model for all who aspire to public service.”

Presidential Advice on Coping with Hard Times

Half way into a third year of economic recession during his term, President Obama offered his advice to families suffering from the effects of high unemployment and home mortgage defaults.
“First, don’t spend all your money,” Obama said. “As hard up as you may be, your finances can’t be in as bad a shape as the government’s. Chances are the government is going to need more of your money. What you’ve saved could be crucial to keeping government up and running.”

“Second, there’s a difference between saving and investing,” the President went on. “Saving just means you haven’t spent the money. Investing means the money has been put to more productive use. Your personal savings can be put to better use through government investments. So, it’s good to put something aside that the government can recycle into socially needed investments.”

“Finally, open your mind to new realities,” Obama concluded. “Don’t allow yourself to be hemmed in by out-dated premises like earning money before you spend it or that you have to pay back what you owe. If you can borrow money you can spend before you earn. If you have a greater need for the money than the lender you aren’t morally obligated to pay it back. My Administration has diverted some of the flow of money from the haves to the have-nots. Debts have been cancelled or reduced. In the regime of ‘hope and change’ I’ve brought to America you can reap what you have not sown if you can adapt to the new paradigm.”

In related news, Democrats are threatening to vote against raising the debt ceiling unless it includes raising taxes. “Why should the government have to borrow money when there’s plenty lying around in private hands?” Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore) asked. “We should be able to take money that people don’t need.”

GM Calls for Higher Fuel Taxes

Dan Akerson, CEO of General Motors, suggested that Congress raise gasoline taxes by at least $1 per gallon in order to encourage more people to buy more fuel-efficient cars.

“The Chevy Volt is a real dog as far as sales go,” Akerson complained. “Even with government subsidies we are having a hard time moving these $40,000 cars off the dealers’ lots. We figure that the higher the price of gasoline goes the better the Volt will sell. We’re getting some help from a shortage in fuel supplies thanks to President Obama’s drilling ban, but it’s not enough.”

“Of course, in an ideal world, only hybrids like the Volt would be legal,” Akerson opined. “But that’s probably not feasible until after the 2012 election. Until then, we’d hope that Congress could nudge gas prices up a bit by boosting the tax rate per gallon.”

Police Seize & Destroy Witnesses’ Cell Phones

Police in Miami Beach, Florida destroyed all witnesses’ cell phones after one of them used a phone to record the police fire 100 bullets at a suspect. The shooting left the suspect dead and four bystanders wounded.

Police spokesman, Richard Tator explained that the phone confiscation was “standard procedure.” “Multiple recordings of enforcement activities generate unnecessary complications that could endanger the prosecution’s case,” Tator asserted. “To avoid this problem officers are instructed to expunge all unauthorized recordings.”

The crushing of a half-dozen cell phones may not have accomplished the desired objective, though. One witness, Narces Benoit, managed to extract his phone’s memory card and conceal it in his mouth before police grabbed his phone. Images of the shooting have since been posted on YouTube—an action for which Benoit may be charged with “obstructing an official police investigation.”

Administration Insists Libyan War Actions Legal

Presidential Press Secretary Jay Carney deflected Congressional charges that the Administration is not in compliance with the War Power Act. Under that Act, any military action against another country cannot go beyond 60 days without express Congressional approval.

“As the President sees it, Congress hasn’t told him to stop what he’s doing in Libya,” Carney reminded. “I mean, the 60-day threshold has come and gone. Congress is within its rights to block funding for this war. The fact that they haven’t tells me they are okay with it.”

Carney also cited a resolution co-authored by Senators John McCain (R-Ariz) and John Kerry (D-Mass) that endorses the Administration’s attacks on Libya as “evidence of bi-partisan support for the President’s actions. On top of this, UN Security Council Resolution 1973 also provides authorization for the actions we’ve taken. So, in the absence of any definitive action in opposition from Congress the President feels he has a ‘green light’ to do whatever he deems necessary in this matter.”

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Congressman Unsure on Lewd Photo

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

The scandal involving the transmission of a lewd photograph to 21 year-old college student Gennette Cordova via his “Twitter” account has Representative Anthony Weiner (D-NY) wondering what happened.

In response to the question of whether he is the person in the photo, Weiner replied, “You know, I’m not sure. Like any normal guy, I’ve fooled around with my camera—including taking pictures of myself. So, I guess it could be me in the photo, but I don’t remember sending it to that girl in Washington. That’s why I think my account must have been hacked.”

Weiner said it is unlikely that he will be calling for an investigation of the alleged hacking because “after all, who was hurt? Regardless of who sent the picture, it’s no big thing. I’m sure college girls see guys in their underwear, or less, a lot. I mean, isn’t it at colleges where streaking is done? I think just dropping the whole thing would be the best course for me and for America. Besides, all the attention to this is upsetting my wife.”

Fellow New Yorker, Senator Charles Schumer (D), agreed, “The media is making a mountain out of a molehill. If it’s okay for a President to get a blow job from an intern, why is a photo of a congressman in his underwear a federal case? Let’s not lose our perspective. It’s only a small peccadillo. We need to move on.”

Joy Behar of “The View” sees the incident as “evidence of a right wing vendetta founded on a ‘knee-jerk’ opposition to pornography, which psychologists all agree is healthy. I just wish Congressman Weiner would include me the next time he tweets a photo of himself.”

California Dems Kill Bills that Would Scrutinize Their Behavior

Legislation that would increase oversight of legislators’ behavior has been pushed aside by the Democratic majority in the California Assembly. Among the bills torpedoed by the Democratic leadership were one aimed at requiring public officials to disclose their sources of compensation, another would’ve banned receiving of “freebies” from lobbyists, a third would’ve docked legislators’ per diem pay for absences.

Robin Swanson, spokeswoman for Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles), defended the deferrals of this reform legislation. “With the economy on the rocks and the state budget in shambles now is not the time to penalize hardworking legislators,” Swanson said. “Like everyone facing financial difficulties elected officials need every cent they can get to make ends meet. Taxpayers should be thankful that some of this money comes from outside of the public treasury.”

Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes (D-Sylmar) concurred that additional scrutiny is unnecessary. “Asking everyone to document who is paying them how much and for what is a waste of time,” Fuentes argued. “Voters need to trust those they’ve elected to office. If people think we are crooks they should prove it. We shouldn’t have to bear witness against ourselves.”

Bob Stern, president of the Center for Governmental Studies in Los Angeles said the reluctance to pass these kinds of reforms is natural. “You can’t expect them to make it easier for voters to observe what they’re doing,” Stern said. “Unless voters press the issue themselves nothing will happen.”

Senator Sam Blakeslee (R-San Luis Obispo) called the shelving of the reforms “an outrage.” “Democrats say these bills imply that they can’t be trusted,” Blakeslee recounted. “I say killing these bills goes a long way toward proving they can’t be.”

Reaction to Memorial Day Comment Surprises President

Thinking he was praising U.S. military forces by calling them “one of the finest fighting forces the world has ever known,” President Obama was shocked that some would take issue with his “one of” phrasing.

“A lot of people around the world have been abused by American troops,” Obama asserted. “They don’t think American fighting forces are in the least bit ‘fine.’ I put this criticism aside for one day and I get grief. You just can’t please some people.”

“Of course, from a historical perspective, one must acknowledge the achievements of other fighting forces—some of which dwarf anything U.S. troops have accomplished,” the President added. “To cite one example, the Mongols under Genghis Khan were able to conquer Asia, killing an estimated 40 million using only primitive weapons. Better armed American forces haven’t come close to duplicating this feat. And let’s not forget that American troops got whipped by the Viet Cong. On balance, I think I was being generous in my praise.”

Palin Vacation “Dangerous” Says CBS

Former Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin’s family vacation tour of historic sites has attracted hordes of media attention—a situation that CBS News Producer Ryan Corsaro characterizes as “dangerous.”
“We’ve been provided with no schedule or itinerary,” Corsaro complained. “We’re forced to stalk her if we want to find out where she’s going and what she’s doing. It’s very aggravating, not to mention dangerous. Every network wants to be first in line to get the best picture, to be close enough to overhear every conversation. Media vehicles are racing with each other, tailgating, weaving in and out of traffic trying to beat out the competition—it’s scary and nerve wracking.”

Corsaro rebuffed suggestions that as an uninvited guest he was, perhaps, invading Ms. Palin’s privacy. “Palin is not a private person,” Corsaro maintained. “People want to know what she’s up to. It’s our duty to tell them. She’s being inconsiderate with us. If she continues with this attitude she shouldn’t be surprised if our coverage turns negative toward her.”

In related news, MSNBC commentator Chris Matthews called Palin “the most divisive figure in American politics since Abraham Lincoln. Just like Lincoln, she has no respect for how the game is supposed to be played. Her criticism of Mitt Romney on the day he announced his candidacy was an insult to an established protocol. As a private citizen I think she should keep her opinions about politics to herself.”

Feds Threaten Indiana over Defunding of Planned Parenthood

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is threatening to withhold federal Medicaid funding to the State after its legislature enacted a law barring Planned Parenthood from receiving state money because some of it would be used to fund abortions.

Medicaid Administrator Donald Berwick said, “Indiana’s attempt to block funding for a recognized provider of family planning services conflicts with Administration policy. What is and isn’t covered is determined by the federal government. No state has the authority to deviate from the guidelines mandated by federal policy.”

Under federal Medicaid rules, states may bar service providers engaged in criminal acts. However, Berwick dismissed any contention that performing abortions meets this criterion. “The Supreme Court has decided that termination of a pregnancy is every woman’s right,” Berwick argued. “Consequently, every state has an obligation to ensure that every woman has access to the medical services required to exercise this right. The fact that some taxpayers feel it is morally repugnant for them to be compelled to fund the exercise of this right by those too poor to pay for their own abortions is irrelevant. Their idiosyncratic views cannot override the collective will of the majority.”

Former Speaker Predicts Democrats Will Take Back House

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) predicted that the Democrats will win a majority in the 2012 elections because “voters will have tired of Republican efforts to cut spending and resist tax increases.”

“The whole ‘Tea Party’ notion that voters oppose taxes is out-of-date by more than 200 years,” Pelosi averred. “The money isn’t going to the King of England. It’s buying Medicare, Social Security, welfare, corporate bailouts, you name it. Voters love these programs. Bigger government is the only way they can be sure that they continue. Republican demands for ‘fiscal sobriety’ require a self-discipline among voters that just isn’t there.”

Government Argues Obamacare Does Give Consumers Options

A suit maintaining that Obamacare’s individual mandate clause requiring people to buy health insurance is unconstitutional is being heard in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati. Plaintiffs assert that the federal government lacks authority to compel citizens to buy insurance.

Neal Kumar Katyal, the Obama Administration’s acting solicitor general, argues that the law doesn’t compel anyone to purchase insurance. “Under the ‘hardship exemption’ of the law, if you are too poor you don’t have to buy insurance,” Katyal pointed out. “In fact, if your income falls below the threshold set by the law the government will step in and insure you.”

“Persons who don’t want to be forced to buy insurance can avoid the mandate by lowering their income,” Katyal said. “They could take a lower-paying job, switch to part-time employment, or just quit—to name a few options. It’s also possible to avoid having to buy insurance if you are deceased. So, there are ways for people to opt out of the system. No one is absolutely forced to join.”

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