Democrats Call for Executive Action to Resolve Debt Ceiling Crisis

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

As the prospects for a legislated agreement on raising the debt ceiling remain remote, demands for President Obama to take unilateral action are increasing.

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md) suggested that “the president could use his authority under the 14th Amendment to raise the debt ceiling on his own. If Congress can’t agree on what’s right for the country, the President is empowered to go forward without their approval.”

Representative Jim Clyburn (D-SC) maintains that “under the 14th Amendment, the president has broad authority to act for the good of the people in the event that Congress can’t or won’t.” In support of his contention, Clyburn cited Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.

“President Lincoln had no Constitutional authority to free the slaves,” Clyburn pointed out. “In fact, the Constitution explicitly protected slavery. But he had a moral obligation to undo this blot on our nation’s history. A default on our debt would be another blot on our history. If Congress won’t take action to prevent it, it is the President’s moral obligation to do so.”

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) was even more strident in her characterization of Republican opposition to the President’s demands. “The secession Lincoln had to deal with was serious enough to warrant suspension of the Writ of Habeas Corpus. Today’s Republicans, though, are enemies of life on this planet. Measures that might be judged extreme under normal circumstances may be our only option.”

The section of the 14th Amendment the Democrats are saying empowers the President to raise the debt ceiling reads: “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.”

In related news, Representative Pete Stark (D-CA) called the whole debt ceiling debate “a charade. Look, at the end of the day the ceiling will be raised. It always has been. Too many people are counting on getting their hands on government money. The spending binge will go on until we go bankrupt. Then we’ll be forced to cut back. But until that day don’t expect anyone to stick his neck out for fiscal constraint. It just won’t happen.”

Downgrading of U.S. Debt “Virtually Inevitable”

Standard & Poor President Deven Sharma appeared before a House subcommittee and declared that a downgrade of US Treasury Debt is “virtually inevitable.”

“From an investor’s perspective, whether the debt ceiling is raised, at best, is irrelevant,” Sharma asserted. “After all, it is the United States that is the borrower. A borrower granting himself permission to borrow more money is meaningless if prospective lenders aren’t willing to lend.”

The key factor influencing potential lenders’ willingness to lend, according to Sharma, is the likelihood of repayment. “Current debt obligations and their projected growth under the Obama Administration evince a very palpable risk that US Government revenues will not be sufficient to service that debt,” Sharma observed. “Unless there is an immediate reduction in spending of at least
$400 billion per year beginning with fiscal 2012, a downgrade of US Treasury bonds will take place.”

Under a “best case scenario” a downgrade of US Treasuries would add hundreds of billions of dollars to each year’s deficit. Under a “worst case scenario” there might be insufficient buyers for any added debt.

DNC Chair Says Opposition to President Is Dangerous

Representative Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fla), chair of the Democratic National Committee, accused House Republicans of acting like dictators for their persistent opposition to President Obama’s Government.

“President Obama is trying to lead this country through perilous times,” Wasserman-Schultz said. “We need all hands to pull together toward a common goal. Yet, the Republicans adamantly refuse to accept his leadership. They cling to their own agenda of lower taxes and lower spending despite being told repeatedly that the President rejects these goals.”

“The president was elected to rule over all of America,” Wasserman-Schultz insisted. “It is our obligation as members of Congress to ensure that he has the ways and means necessary to carry out his responsibilities. Just because they have the majority of seats in the House doesn’t give Republicans the right to thwart his efforts. They’re acting like dictators. This is dangerous for the country.”

Absence of Democrat’s Plan for Debt Crisis Explained

While House Republicans have now produced two plans for addressing the debt ceiling crisis, the Democrats have yet to produce one. This hasn’t stopped Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) and President Obama from denouncing Republican efforts as unacceptable. The Democrats have cited the Constitution in defense of their position.

“The Constitution says that all revenue bills shall originate in the House of Representatives,” Reid pointed out. “It is their responsibility to resolve this crisis. All we can do in the Senate is badger them until they get it right.”

“The president needs to retain his freedom of action,” explained Presidential Press Secretary Jay Carney. “If he were to publicly commit to anything specific his ability to control events would be hampered. Besides, the Constitution places the responsibility for fiscal matters squarely in the House. The president is granted the power to make recommendations, but he is not required to do so.

Thus far, the president has found it more advantageous to stand back and criticize GOP proposals he finds unsuitable.”

President Mulling Amnesty Proclamation

In a speech before the National Council of La Raza, an organization dedicated to promoting the interests of the Latino “race,” President Obama commiserated with the “pain” of illegal immigrants and shared his frustration with what he called a “do nothing” Congress.

Obama said “the idea of bypassing Congress is very tempting. Getting a hundred senators and 400 representatives to take action on anything is like herding cats. Everybody’s got their own notions of where we ought to go. On top of this, many serve constituencies comprised of rednecks and rubes. So even if their hearts are in the right place they can’t risk alienating voters in their states.”

The president said he has been studying President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation as a possible model for a potential “Amnesty Proclamation” he might issue. “There’s actually more leeway for a declaration of amnesty for undocumented residents than there was for Lincoln to free the slaves,” Obama argued. “The Constitution specifically provided for slavery. The Constitution says nothing about prohibiting immigration. In fact, up until the 1920s anyone who wanted to could come into America.”

“An Executive Order declaring that every undocumented immigrant presently in the country shall be granted the full rights and privileges of US citizenship would cancel the inaction of Congress and make a significant stride toward the expansion of human rights for an oppressed people,” the President told the audience. “I mean, how long should a respect for so-called enumerated powers be allowed to impede such a righteous cause?”

As radical as the president’s possible amnesty proclamation might be, it fell short of fully placating La Raza supporters who demand that the land “stolen” from Mexico in the war of 1846 be returned. “The United States is going down the drain,” said audience member Manuel Trabajo. “Unemployment is nearly 10%. In Mexico unemployment is below 5%. Returning these lands to Mexico would restore both justice and prosperity to the Latinos who inhabit them.”

GOP Bill to Block US Foreign Aid to Corrupt Governments Opposed by Clinton

A House Foreign Affairs Committee approved bill would trim an estimated $6 billion from an Administration foreign aid budget request by blocking payments to countries that don’t meet certain standards aimed at reducing corruption and guaranteeing against funds being transferred to terrorist organizations. Egypt, Lebanon, Yemen and the Palestinian Authority are expected to be especially hard hit by these standards.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton denounced the bill as “an impediment to the goals and objectives of the Administration’s foreign policy. It is the President who is tasked with the responsibilities of conducting the nation’s relations with other countries. It is Congress’ task to make sure that adequate resources are available.”

Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla), the chairwoman of the House committee, expressed her disappointment with Clinton’s position. “All we were asking is that the Administration go on record certifying that recipients meet the standards before any of our tax dollars are given to these foreign governments,” Ros-Lehtinen said. “Secretary Clinton’s opposition to making such a certification seems to be saying that the option to fund corrupt governments or to indirectly finance terrorist groups is a vital part of the Administration’s foreign policy. I don’t think the president has a mandate for such an option.”

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Economy Is Better than Everyone Thinks

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

Presidential Press Secretary Jay Carney boasted to a skeptical media that “the economy is a lot better than everyone thinks it is. The focus on high unemployment, bankruptcies, and foreclosures misses the big picture.”

Carney declined to get down to specifics on what the so-called “big picture” entails. “It all boils down to the simple question Reagan posed in the 1980 election,” Carney contended. “All the American people need do is ask themselves whether they are better off now than they were before President Obama took office. Once they recall the hopelessness that prevailed under Bush and the Republicans the troubles they face today will fade into insignificance.”

The Press Secretary challenged people to “consult the data. There’s no doubt that today’s conditions irrefutably support the policies that President Obama has initiated. As just one example, there are more Americans on food stamps now than ever before. President Obama is feeding more people than any of his predecessors ever did. Voters need to decide whether they want to risk giving up gains like these in order to restore Republican control of the government in the 2012 election. I think we all know what their answer will be.”

Democrats Assail GOP Case for Balanced Budget

Representative Jim Moran (D-Va) insisted that GOP use of former president Thomas Jefferson’s opposition to government borrowing to bolster the case against raising the debt limit is “unfair” and “inappropriate.”

“First of all, Jefferson was one of the founders of the Democratic Party,” Moran contended. “If anyone is going to interpret what he stood for that right belongs to members of that same Party. The GOP’s attempt to enlist him for their cause is unfair.”

“Second, even if Jefferson may have expressed an aversion to borrowing as a policy position, his behavior was quite the contrary,” Moran continued. “Jefferson loved to buy things. In modern parlance he might be dubbed a ‘shopoholic.’ At the time of his death his debts exceeded his assets. So, if we believe actions speak louder than words, Jefferson was no devotee of thrift. For Republicans to use a few of his errant words to try to paint him so is inappropriate.”

An even stronger objection came from House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D.-Md). “For the Republicans to take one quote out of context is despicable,” Hoyer argued. “We need to look at the whole of Jefferson’s life. He was not a scrimper nor a saver. He loved fine things. He even indulged in interracial sex with one of his slaves. His was not a lifestyle of penny-pinching and budget minding. By deeds he was quite clearly a Democrat. Were he alive today he would surely repudiate his off-the-cuff and outmoded opposition to government debt.”

Hoyer characterized the GOP’s “cut, cap, and balance” legislation as “a crude attempt to limit the amount of taxes that future Congresses could levy. Congress must have a free hand to appropriate the resources it needs to implement its policies. There must be no arbitrary ‘line in the sand’ that says ‘this far and no farther.’ The argument that individuals have rights that Congress cannot modify is undemocratic.”

Debt Crisis Mostly Voters’ Fault President Says

The looming “catastrophic” cut in federal government spending that would occur if the debt ceiling isn’t raised won’t be his fault says President Obama. “I am the only person in the government who was elected to serve all the people,” Obama declared. “All of the others—representatives and senators, alike—serve narrower constituencies. It is their responsibility to accept my leadership. Yet, they persist in pushing views that conflict with the vision I’ve laid out for this country.”

A large part of the blame for what the President labeled “our schizophrenic policies” lies with the American voters. “On the one hand, voters want the government to take care of them,” Obama said. “So, they vote for Democrats. On the other hand, voters don’t want to pay what it costs for the government to take care of them. So, they vote for Republicans who oppose the taxes necessary to pay what it costs. When the result is a divided government like it is now, deadlock ensues.”

If policy deadlock prevents an increase in the debt limit, the President warned that “the long-term compromise of expanding government benefits without raising taxes that has been achieved by continually borrowing more money will be undone. It would be as if we had a balanced budget Amendment—not at some future date years away, but right now. The federal government would be forced to reduce expenditures to fit within its $200 billion per month income from taxes.”

The president acknowledged that the federal government could increase incoming revenues without raising taxes if it were to emulate what some state governments have done and sell off or lease-out government-owned properties. “The federal government owns trillions of dollars worth of land—nearly 30% of this country,” the President admitted. “A lot of this land contains valuable oil, minerals, and timber that could be extracted. Private businesses would pay us billions each year for the rights to exploit these resources. However, opening these lands to such uses would lower costs to consumers and undermine their incentive to conserve.”

“Opening up federal lands in an attempt to ‘grow’ our way out of the current economic slump is not something I can reconcile myself to,” Obama said. “Americans need to learn to live more frugally. These resources may be located in the United States, but can we justify appropriating them solely for the benefit of Americans when there are so many living elsewhere who are poorer and more deserving?”

If Republicans don’t come around to a position he can tolerate the President said he “will be forced to apportion the consequences in a manner that ensures an equitable shared suffering. If I can’t fund everything I will be the one who chooses what expenses will or won’t get paid. The buck really does stop here.”

Federal Election Commission May Be Asked to Bar Candidates from Displaying Flag

A research paper published in Psychological Science has spurred concern among leading Democrats that Republicans may gain an unfair advantage when the American flag is displayed at campaign events. The study—“A Single Exposure to the American Flag Shifts Support Toward Republicanism up to 8 Months Later”—confirmed a recent Harvard professor’s finding that children attending Fourth of July celebrations were more likely to favor Republicans later in life.

Democratic Nation Committee Chairperson, Representative Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fla) is reportedly weighing whether to ask the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to step in. “It is important that we have a ‘level playing field’ for all Parties,” she asserted. “Allowing one Party to benefit from voters’ visceral patriotism conveys an unfair advantage to Republican candidates.”

Wasserman-Schultz maintained that “the simplest solution would be to prohibit the display of the American flag at campaign events. I’m not talking about just the candidates’ rallies. The ban should include so-called independent gatherings of groups like the Tea Party or others that would be apt to want to show the flag. I mean, it’s not like using the flag is essential. Candidates can develop their own attractive logos like President Obama did for his 2008 campaign.”

Not wanting to be totally inflexible, the Congresswoman suggested that “other methods for offsetting this bias might also prove satisfactory. Every time a flag is displayed could be considered a ‘donation in-kind.’ This could be balanced by having the FEC mandate a transfer of cash resources from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party.”

Food Company Faces FDA Wrath

Diamond Foods was order to cease and desist marketing walnuts by the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The order followed the company’s claim that eating walnuts is good for you. The fact that there is a considerable amount of research verifying the contention that eating walnuts carries substantial health benefits was deemed “irrelevant” by the FDA.

“The relevant fact is that Diamond’s claims were not approved by the agency,” said Malcolm Cheek, FDA Administrator. “The nation’s health is our domain. We are responsible for determining what is and isn’t healthy for a person to consume. Products that hold forth a health benefit must obtain our approval before they can be marketed. Diamond Foods did not comply with this requirement. Hence, their sale of walnuts is forbidden.”

Since the FDA has not previously ruled on the health benefits of walnuts, Diamond was invited to submit its product for testing. “From our perspective, walnuts, as such, constitute a ‘new drug,’” Cheek argued. “Their safety and effectiveness have yet to be determined. Diamond Foods would be well-advised to comply with our established procedure. Failure to comply opens them to the possibility of having their property seized.”

As Cheek put it, “we’re not entirely merciless. If Diamond Foods restructures its message to remove any content alleging any health benefit we will withdraw our order. If they want to say that walnuts are tasty or that a lot of people like them we’d probably be okay with that. They just can’t say that walnuts might improve your health. Even if that’s true, we haven’t authorized them to make such a statement.”

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McConnell’s Proposal to Cede Debt Authority to President Gaining Traction

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

Fearful that a failure to raise the federal government’s debt ceiling “could lead to the end of government as we know it,” Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ken) has proposed legislation that would grant President Barack Obama unilateral authority to increase the nation’s debt load.

“In an ideal world decisions on how much the government ought to spend should be made by Congress,” McConnell said. “However, the current crisis requires that we think outside of the ‘Constitutional box.’ With the legislative power split between our two Parties there is no chance for an agreement on how to deal with this crisis. Our only option is to consolidate the decision-making authority in the Executive.”

President Obama hailed McConnell’s proposal as “innovative” and praised the Senator for “putting patriotism ahead of partisanship.” “As the one person with the vision and perspective to guide this nation through these perilous times it is fitting that I be granted the authority necessary to effect expeditious solutions,” the President declared. “The inability of the multi-member legislature to speak with one voice on this issue highlights the need for us to change the process. I commend Senator McConnell for initiating the means by which Congress will cede its fiscal responsibilities to me.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) was equally generous in praising McConnell. “It’s the President that gets the credit or the blame for the state of the economy,” Reid observed. “It’s only fair that he have an unfettered hand to direct the economy. Granting him the authority to raise the debt ceiling on his own responsibility is an important first step toward consolidating the powers necessary for a coherent control of the economic life of the nation. Senator McConnell should be recognized as a true patriot.”

Senator John McCain cautioned that opposition to McConnell’s proposal could constitute “treason.” “This country is fighting for its economic survival,” McCain argued. “The President is our Commander-in-Chief in this fight. It is everyone’s duty to get behind him, follow his orders, and carry out his plan. That’s what I would’ve expected if I had won the 2008 election. As a matter of principle I can’t impede giving President Obama my wholehearted support. That’s what every loyal American should do.”

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) expressed doubts that he could get McConnell’s plan through the House. “If the debt ceiling isn’t raised the government will be forced to cut spending,” Boehner observed. “Right now, that means that the debt ceiling acts like a defacto ‘balanced budget Amendment.’ This gives the anti-spending crowd tremendous leverage. Of course, actually cutting spending would be a shock to the system. It’s an open question as to whether fear of such a shock will create enough desperation to pass McConnell’s proposal.”

Efforts to incite fear got a boost from key Democrats who promised that “failure to grant the President sufficient authority to deal with the crisis will mean the end of this country.” “We’re talking about an Armageddon scenario,” warned Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY). “Republicans may think that there’s lots of fat that could be trimmed, but they need to remember that the Administration has the discretion over what does and doesn’t get cut. The President is already on record indicating that Social Security benefits and Medicare will be among the first casualties. The military, Border Patrol, and FBI are also prime targets. Is the GOP ready to take the heat when the media blames them for forcing the President to wreck the country?”

President Dismisses Poll Showing Voters Oppose Raising Debt Ceiling

President Obama dismissed the idea that a poll showing 69% of voters opposed to raising the debt ceiling ought to have any impact on policy.

“What does the average person know about government finance?” the President wondered. “I’d say practically nothing. An individual’s experience with debt is vastly different from what the government faces. An individual must pay his debts out of his own income. The government has other options.”

“For one, the government can tax other people’s income to pay its debts,” Obama continued. “The government can also print money to pay for stuff. Individuals can’t do that.”

“Finally, we can always refuse to pay,” Obama contended. “The United States Government is the most powerful entity on Earth. Who is going to force us to pay if we decide we don’t want to pay? No court would dare authorize a creditor to seize government property for any unpaid federal debt.”

“So, with all due respect, voters need to tend to their own affairs and leave the job of governing to those they elected to rule them,” the President advised.

In related news, President Obama asserted that 80% of the population wants taxes to be raised. To support this assertion the President cited a recent Gallup Poll in which 80% of the respondents indicated that they would prefer someone else’s taxes to be increased if the alternative was total economic collapse.

GE CEO Blames Business Colleagues for High Unemployment

General Electric (GE) Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Jeffrey Immelt castigated his business peers calling them “the prime suspects” behind the nation’s persistent high unemployment.

“They’d like to point the finger at high taxes, excessive regulation, economic uncertainty, or President Obama, but they can’t,” Immelt insisted. “Businesses are the ones that decide whether to hire people. The government isn’t stopping them from offering jobs.”

Immelt speculated that “some businesses may be holding back on hiring out of animosity toward the President,” but characterized this as “a bad strategy.” “Look, if you cooperate with the President there are definitely benefits,” Immelt maintained. “You could get government contracts, subsidies, or tax holidays like GE did. But if you’re going to but heads with the most powerful man in the world you’re not likely to come out ahead.”

“Partnering with the Government is an easier path to success than trying to win customers in the cutthroat competition that is forced on you by the marketplace,” Immelt added. “If you play your cards right the Government can guarantee your profits by mandating the purchase of your products or blocking the purchase of your competitors’ products. The smart course is to help those who can help you the most. There is no question in my mind that Government is the agency that can do the most for your business.”

Georgia Community Saved from Rogue Lemonade Stand

Quick action by police in the town of Midway, Georgia was able to thwart the depredations of an unauthorized kids’ lemonade stand before serious harm occurred.

The trouble began when three teenage girls attempted to prey upon passersby by selling lemonade without the appropriate license and permit. A routine police patrol spotted the rogue operation and shut it down on the day it opened for business in the girls’ residential neighborhood.

Midway Police Chief Kelly Morningstar explained that all vendors must buy a license ($180 per year) and pay a daily permit fee ($50) if they want to sell anything in Midway. “The town relies on these fees to fund services like police protection,” Morningstar said. “It is everyone’s obligation to pay them if they want to do business.”

Morningstar brushed aside the argument that selling lemonade on the sidewalk in front of one’s home is a traditional summer activity for kids. “I don’t care how many generations of kids have done this before,” Morningstar said. “It’s not safe. There is no documentation that these girls are qualified to prepare lemonade for public consumption. People shouldn’t be exposed to this kind of risk.

Besides, there are other, legitimate sources for the purchase of lemonade in town from licensed, fee-paying vendors.”

Put out of the lemonade business, the girls are reportedly now doing lawn trimming work to try to earn some money. As yet, they have not been caught in the act by local police.

Substitute of Sprite for 7Up Nets Man $12,000 Award

Michel Thibodeau’s attempt to order 7Up in French during a flight on Air Canada went awry and the flight attendant brought him a Sprite instead. Mr. Thibodeau sued and won an award of $12,000 for “pain and suffering.” The airline was also ordered to apologize.

“Even though the airline, as well as most consumers, might find these two lemon-based soft drinks equivalent, that cannot excuse the humiliation and degradation inflicted upon Mr. Thibodeau,” the Federal Court of Canada wrote in its ruling. “Air Canada’s effort to pass this off as a ‘simple mistake’ does not absolve them of responsibility. Neither was their offer of a case of 7Up after-the-fact adequate compensation.”

The fact that Thibodeau is bilingual and could easily have clarified his order by giving it in English was considered irrelevant. “As the customer, Mr. Thibodeau is under no obligation to accommodate the vendor,” the Court said. “On the contrary, it is Air Canada’s obligation to accommodate him.”

This is the second successful suit against Air Canada for Thibodeau. In 2000 he sued the airline for $500,000 over its failure to accommodate his demand to order a 7Up in French. In that case he was awarded $5,000 in damages for “mental anguish” by the Court.

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President Admits Mistakes on Economy

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

With the US economy mired in high unemployment and soaring government deficits, President Barack Obama admitted “I might have misunderestimated the impact of the recession,” but insisted “no one else had any better ideas for how to proceed to a recovery.”

Hailing the reconstituted General Motors as an example, Obama suggested that “we could’ve been more aggressive in inserting government direction into more sectors of the economy. Fortunately, it’s not too late to pick up the pace of government oversight of business investments and operations.”

The president then blamed himself for “excessive deference to Congress. I was hoping everyone would pull together for the good of the country. Boy, was I naïve. Rather than follow my lead, too many of those guys were intent on making their own interpretations of what was legal or necessary.”

Obama said he is giving Congress “one last chance to cooperate, to play as a team. But I’m not going to wait forever. I have been advised that under the 14th Amendment to the Constitution I can unilaterally bypass Congress on this debt ceiling issue. According to this advice, Congressional refusal to allow increases in the debt constitutes an ‘insurrection or rebellion’ against my authority to deal with the economic crisis, which as Commander-in-Chief, I am empowered to suppress using whatever means I deem appropriate.”

Hard Times Don’t Impact White House Staff

With the federal debt bumping up against the legal maximum, the federal deficit exceeding a trillion dollars each year, official unemployment at 9% and unofficial unemployment twice as high, one might expect some belt-tightening among the governing class. Such expectations have not borne out when it comes to Obama’s minions. More than 75% of the White House staff got raises this year. The average salary increase was 8%. These statistics would seem to contradict Administration claims that salaries have been “frozen.”

Presidential Press Secretary Jay Carney contended that “in the context of the nearly four trillion dollars being spent by the federal government this year, the salaries paid to the White House staff can be said to be relatively ‘frozen’ by comparison. I mean, federal spending went up by 10% versus only an 8% boost for salaries.”

“Then too, there is the issue of merit,” Carney added. “The White House staff is comprised of the nation’s best and brightest. They are already making a great sacrifice working for the public good. Whatever we pay them, it’s got to be far below their worth as human beings.”

By way of reference, salary hikes among profit-making private sector firms this year have averaged 3%.

California Test Results “Not a Model” Says Top Education Bureaucrat

US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan advised against drawing the wrong conclusion from recent academic test results in California. From 2008 to 2010, California students’ math proficiency rose from 57% to 62%, while reading proficiency rose from 53% to 59%. At the same time, school funding declined by 6%.

“A lot of people are going to look at these figures and think we can get by with spending less,” Duncan observed. “This would be the wrong conclusion. Improving test scores isn’t the only or even the most important measure of school success.”

As Duncan sees it, “building self esteem is the number one goal of the public school system. The effort to fill a child’s head with knowledge or teach him how to solve problems shouldn’t be allowed to divert us from this higher purpose. In our modern world we have computers that can do the math. Visual and oral modes of communication have largely replaced the written word. But there is no substitute for a good self image.”

In related news, the teachers’ union—the National Education Association—endorsed the reelection of President Obama. “The president shares our vision for a re-educated America,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. “We are confident that he will ensure that we are given the resources to implement this vision.”

Council of Economic Advisors Hails Success of Stimulus Program

The president’s Council of Economic Advisors announced that President Obama’s $800 billion stimulus program saved up to 3.6 million jobs at a cost of “only $278,000” apiece.

“It’s really a remarkable accomplishment given the dire state of the economy when he took office,” Austan Goolsbee, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors concluded. “A great catastrophe was surely averted by the president’s heroic action.”

A little math might lead to a different appraisal of the President’s program. The average household income in America is less than $50,000 per year. Mailing a check for that amount to each of the 3.6 million who got the saved jobs would’ve cost only $180 billion. Where did the other $620 billion of the President’s stimulus spending go?

According to Goolsbee, “the situation is more complicated than the typical American can comprehend. We couldn’t just write a check to every unemployed person. There had to be planning and oversight. That costs money. On top of this there are commissions, finders’ fees and overhead. That doesn’t come cheap. Finally, there’s also a certain amount of ‘shrinkage’ involved in any business transaction—money that just disappears and can’t be accounted for. In my opinion, a net of one $50,000 job for each $278,000 in federal outlays is not a bad rate of return for a government project of this magnitude.”

Meanwhile, the Canadian economy, which mirrored our recession until early 2009, is doing considerably better today. Canadian unemployment is down to 7.4%–all without a “stimulus” program of its own.

In related news, President Obama’s senior political adviser David Plouffe says he doubts that high unemployment will hurt the President’s reelection prospects. “Unemployment is just a statistic,” Plouffe contended. “Most voters can barely do the math to figure out how much change they ought to get back when they buy a ‘Happy Meal.’ The contention that they can understand anything about how the economy works in sufficient detail to hold it against the president is a fantasy.”

ATF’s Melson Defies Obama, Testifies on Own

Acting Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) Director Ken Melson defied orders from the Obama Administration and testified before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chaired by Representative Darrell Issa (R-Calif) over the July 4th weekend. The testimony concerned details on the growing “Fast and Furious” (also called “Gunwalker”) scandal in which the Administration facilitated the sale of weapons to Mexican gangs—weapons that have been linked with over 150 murders.

Attorney General Eric Holder denounced Melson’s testimony as “completely unauthorized. It is not his responsibility to decide what information will be disclosed to Congress.” Holder warned that this “breach of confidentiality” may require Mr. Melson’s “termination.”

Unofficial sources report that the US Navy’s “Seal Team Six” has declined the assignment to terminate Melson citing the “Posse Comitatus Act.” This Act limits the use of military forces within the United States borders. Only if Melson were to leave the country could he be legally terminated using such means.

The scandal is also having international repercussions. Mexican Senator Rene Arce Islas has demanded that US Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and US Attorney General Eric Holder be extradited for trial in Mexico for their roles in arming Mexican gangs. “At best, the sale of automatic weapons to these violent criminals is a demonstration of gross stupidity,” Arce asserted. “It has undermined both the law and safety of the people of my country. Those behind these sales belong behind bars. They are not fit to govern.”

In related news, the Obama Administration has announced a series of executive orders will be issued in order to ensure a measure of federal control over how guns are bought and sold within the US. “With Congress dragging its feet on gun safety issues, the President is acting on his authority as Commander-in-Chief to restrict access to firearms in this country,” said Press Secretary Jay Carney. “Events have shown that the notion people can be trusted to determine whether they need weapons is incorrect. Too many of the wrong people are obtaining unneeded guns. It’s time for government to take the lead in deciding who should have the right to bear arms.”

Homeowner Faces Jail for Front Yard Garden

Oak Park, Michigan resident Julie Bass faces a possible 90-day jail sentence for planting an “unsuitable” vegetable garden in the front yard of her home.

“We came up with the idea as both a way to cut back on our food bill and to teach our kids some useful skills,” Bass said. “Now, every kid in the neighborhood is over here playing ‘farmer.’ They’re also a lot more eager to eat their vegetables after growing them themselves.”

Oak Park City Planner Kevin Rulkowski has ruled that the garden violates city code. “Ms. Bass’s household budget, nutritional and educational objectives are not my concern,” Rulkowski declared. “A vegetable garden is not suitable for a front yard. It conflicts with our vision for how we want the community to look.”

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Democrats Advised to Skip July 4th Celebrations

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

A study out of HarvardUniversityhas advised Democratic Party officeholders and candidates to bypass participating in annual July 4th festivities.

“The typical July 4th event promotes patriotism,” said Harvard Kennedy School of Government Assistant Professor David Yanagizawa-Drott. “This is not a strong point for most Democratic Party activists and leaders. Reminders that government ought to be limited to protecting the inalienable rights to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness conflict with the basic message of the Democratic Party.”

Democrats were advised to appropriate a different holiday for political purposes. Either Labor Day or May Day would be viable options, according to Professor Yanagizawa-Drott. “Both of these holidays have historically been linked to the working class and its struggle against capitalist oppression,” the professor observed. “Both would be more amenable to the Democratic Party’s push for expropriation of capitalist wealth for redistribution to the lower classes. Making one or both of these holidays their own would enable Democrats to project a more coherent image to voters.”

President May Ignore Debt Ceiling Law

Frustrated with Republican demands that federal spending be cut in exchange for their support in raising the congressionally delineated $14 trillion debt ceiling, President Obama has spurned Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky) invitation to meet to discuss a potential compromise and is, instead, said to be mulling over the idea of unilaterally breaching that limit.

“If the Republicans are going to be such d**ks about it, the President may be forced to go it alone,” said Jay Carney, Presidential Press Secretary. “Every previous Congress has raised the debt ceiling when requested to do so by whoever was President at the time. So there’s plenty of precedent that it’s the right thing to do. Why should the intransigence of the current crowd be given more weight than all of those previous congresses?”

Historic precedent wasn’t the only rationale Carney offered for possible unilateral action by President Obama. “Everyone agrees that a default would do severe damage to the nation’s future ability to borrow money,” Carney contended. “Protecting the nation against this kind of damage is the sort of emergency for which the President might have to invoke his authority as Commander-in-Chief. He could simply order Secretary Geithner to continue to issue US Treasury Bonds to obtain the money needed to fund the government’s programs.”

Action by President Obama to breach the debt limit would be a complete u-turn from his 2006 stance of opposing an increase in the then $8 trillion debt ceiling because it would be “endorsing irresponsible spending.”

Court Blocks Restrictions on Abortion

A federal judge issued a decree barring the state of South Dakota from implementing new restrictions on abortions performed in the state. The restrictions would have imposed a three-day waiting period and mandated pregnancy counseling prior to any abortion procedure.

In her ruling, Judge Karen Schreier called the restrictions “unacceptably cruel and inhumane. Why should a woman be forced to delay undergoing a medical procedure that she already has decided she wants? Why should she be compelled to listen to counseling that can only foment doubt that she is taking the right course?”

“The Roe vs. Wade decision of 1973 established that it is a woman’s inalienable right to terminate a pregnancy at any time and for any reason,” Schreier declared. “No state has the authority to infringe upon this right at any time or for any reason. South Dakota’s attempt to require a woman to pause and reconsider before going ahead is an intolerable obstruction of what has been a settled federal policy for nearly four decades.”

Democrat Senators Oppose State Voter ID Laws

Sixteen Democratic senators have asked Attorney General Eric Holder to take action to suppress state-enacted voter ID laws. Currently, there are 13 states with laws requiring voters to show proof of identity before being given a ballot. In four more states legislation establishing ID requirements was vetoed by Democratic governors.

“We’re asking the AG to intervene because there isn’t time for us to pursue the matter through the courts,” said Senator Michael Bennet (D-Colo). “By the time a case would get to a final judgment the 2012 election will be over. If we let state laws block those without valid IDs from voting millions will be denied the opportunity to cast ballots for the Democratic Party. It’s imperative that the AG ensure that these votes are cast and counted.”

Bennet rejected contentions that IDs are needed to guard against fraud. “I’ve seen little evidence that voter fraud is a significant threat,” Bennet argued. “Besides, under federal law a voter’s word that he is eligible is all that is required. States shouldn’t be allowed to ask for more. Even if a so-called ineligible person casts a ballot is that really so bad? Shouldn’t every living person be entitled to vote for who will rule over him?”

Justice Department spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler acknowledged that “Attorney General Holder is monitoring the situation, but has not yet made a decision on whether to overrule these state voter ID laws.”

In related news, Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill) said it was important that illegal aliens have access to state-supported college tuition “so they will have the training they need to lead this country in the future. I wouldn’t be surprise if tomorrow’s doctors, lawyers, senators, or even presidents of the United States come from this growing cohort of the American population.”

Court Invalidates Michigan Law Against Racial and Gender Bias

In a two to one ruling, a federal appeals court struck down a voter-passed state constitutional amendment that banned racial and gender bias in college admissions.

“The majority has improperly used its power at the ballot box to dispossess a minority from enjoying an entitlement to which it has become accustomed,” wrote judges R. Guy Cole Jr. and Martha Craig Daughtrey in their decision. “Left undisturbed, the majority would have an unfettered authority to undo all of the social progress that has been achieved over the years. Minorities would be forced to compete against more able or accomplished peers without the advantage of set-asides and quotas established for their benefit.”

Dissenting judge, Julia Smith Gibbons, called the decision “a usurpation of the democratic process. In essence, my colleagues are saying that Michigan voters may not amend their state constitution by the procedures laid out in that document if the result is a change that these judges disapprove.”

“Voters are notoriously short-sighted,” Cole responded. “While it may appear fair to them that all applicants be measured with the same yardstick this perspective overlooks past injustices. They don’t appreciate that society may need to extend preferential treatment today to offset the degradation that was imposed at an earlier point in our nation’s history. Losing a seat in a college classroom to a less qualified candidate cannot sting as much as the slave driver’s whip did to some college candidates’ ancestors. Until the multi-generational scales of justice are balanced voters cannot be allowed to tamper with the affirmative action process.”

Senator Blames Voters for Current Mess in Government

Former presidential candidate Senator John Kerry (D-Mass) laid the blame for the nation’s current troubles at the feet of the American electorate.

“Look, if voters had elected me instead of Bush we wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in right now,” Kerry maintained. “The obvious benefit, of course, is that Bush would’ve been sent to early retirement. But let’s not overlook the likelihood that we’d now be in the midst of my second term instead of suffering under the incompetent ministrations of the current Administration. At worst, Barack Obama would now be a junior senator from Illinois. That’d have to be better than where we are now.”

To bolster his point, Senator Kerry referenced recent data on President Obama’s work schedule. “The guy’s working less than four hours a day,” Kerry pointed out. “That’s a lot of slacking off for the supposed most powerful man on the planet. I mean, he’s played more golf in two years than Bush did in eight, for crying out loud. The American people aren’t getting their money’s worth if you ask me.”
“I may have my faults,” Kerry admitted, “but I think I would’ve been a good president—great, in fact, if you consider the last two who’ve ended up with the job.”

Minnesota Government Shutdown Hurts Most Vulnerable, Says Gov

The impasse between the Republican legislature and Democratic Governor Mark Dayton that led to a shutdown of the state’s government is “hurting those most vulnerable” says Dayton.
“Take the case of Sonya Mills,” Dayton suggested. “This single mother of eight stands to lose the $40,000/ year subsidy we were providing. Now who’s going to take care of her children? Or is she supposed to do it herself?”

Termination of funding to Ms. Mills is a consequence of there being no budget. There is no budget because Governor Dayton refused to consider reductions in spending to match the decline in tax receipts—taking the possibility that people like Ms. Mills be asked to get by on a little less off the table.

A Satirical Look at Recent News

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