By John Semmens: Semi-News — A Satirical Look at Recent News
In an effort to quell rising opposition to its mandate for all employers to provide contraceptive coverage in healthcare benefits to workers, the White House issued a directive that it maintains “ends the discussion.” Under the directive insurers would be required to provide this coverage “free of charge” to employers.
“By putting the onus on the insurers we’ve given the Catholic Church ‘plausible deniability,’” said Press Secretary Jay Carney. “The Church itself will not be formally linked to the provision of services that it says violate its religious beliefs. No court can hold it culpable. The responsibility has been taken out of their hands.”
Carney further argued that “the insurers should be willing to comply because preventing births, by whatever means, reduces medical expenses. Birth control pills, condoms, abortifacients—all cost less than bearing, birthing, and raising a child. And that’s just the cost of medical expenses. When you add in the cost of food, clothing, education, and entertainment, it’s clear that every child brought into the world brings along a significant lifetime burden for both the parents and society. Reducing these costs is the president’s goal.”
Whether opponents of President Obama’s “compromise” will be mollified is questionable. Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ) called the so-called compromise “a ruse riddled with doublespeak and contradictions. Contrary to the president’s thinking, there are people in this country that take religious and moral obligations seriously. They cannot be bought off by a stratagem designed to give them ‘plausible deniability.’”
The President’s critics were “advised to accept the proffered compromise while it is still available,” Carney cautioned. “The president is not disposed to allow religious zealots to impede a women’s access to essential health services. He will protect this fundamental right by whatever methods are available to him.”
In related news, the American Civil Liberties Union sided with President Obama’s position on this issue. “The fundamental promise of religious liberty in this country doesn’t give one a right to refuse to pay for the health care needs of others,” ACLU spokeswoman Alicia Gay insisted. “So-called Freedom of thought is not the issue. People may continue to think whatever they want. But they must also obey the laws laid down by the president.”
Former House Speaker Flouts Ethics Rules
Despite strict rules prohibiting the solicitation of campaign donations from House office buildings, former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) very publicly asked for contributions “to elect more reformers to Congress.”
Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill contended that no rules were broken because “she asked for contributions, not donations. Besides, the whole tenor of her pitch was to encourage people to help the Democratic Party gain more seats so they can clamp down on illegitimate abuses of the campaign finance regulations.”
Craig Holman, an advocate for campaign finance reform at the left-leaning Public Citizen lobby group, concurred with Hammill. “We regard Speaker Pelosi’s remarks as more of a policy statement than a direct solicitation,” Holman said. “She gave no indication of where people were to send money to help elect more Democrats. She merely asked for contributions in a very generic way. It’s not like we’re dealing with Republicans here. I think we can take her word for it that there was no intent to violate the ethics rules.”
Obama Strives to Overcome “Checks-and-Balances” Impediments to Change
President Barack Obama tried to console frustrated supporters by placing blame for the slow pace of change on the nation’s “founding fathers.”
“You and I know what needs to be done to bring social justice to every American,” the President observed. “But our enemies in Congress and the states are exploiting loopholes left in the Constitution by our nation’s early leaders. The requirement that laws must be approved by both houses of Congress enables obstructionists to block the mandate I received from voters in 2008. The autonomy granted the states under the Tenth Amendment insulates them from total compliance with national priorities I have established.”
A ray of hope for the president’s supporters was provided by his unilateral extension and amendment of the “No Child Left Behind” legislation. The original goal was to have all students become proficient in math and reading by 2014. It is apparent that this will not happen. Since 2007 Congress has been unable to agree on what to do regarding funding, standards and deadlines.
The President says he has decided to exempt 10 states from meeting the proficiency requirements. “The notion that a person must become proficient in math or reading in order to function in the modern world is mistaken,” Obama declared. “Today information is conveyed more effectively in pictures and sounds. Reading and writing are archaic skills no more necessary than the ability to hunt game for food.”
“And who really needs to know math?” the president asked. “We have computers, calculators and cash registers to do that for us. Insisting that students must comprehend math in order to graduate inflicts pure drudgery upon our youth.”
Exempted states will be permitted to use other standards to determine whether students are progressing satisfactorily in school. Obama urged that “higher, more honest standards be adopted as measures. I think the development of social consciousness in our young would be a higher goal for us to aim at than the simplistic mastery of out-dated and obsolete skills originally laid out by the ‘No Child Left Behind’ law.”
In related news, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg advised the newly elected Egyptian government to shun the U.S. Constitution as a model. “The US Constitution has too many impediments to successful governance,” Ginsburg warned. “The majority’s will is too easily thwarted by a minority. For example, despite your country’s overwhelming selection of Islamists in the recent election, if you were to adopt a U.S.-style Constitution you might be unable to enact sharia laws even if the vast majority desires it.”
Appeals Court Blocks California Ban on Same-Sex “Marriage”
The 9th Circuit Federal Appeals Court upheld District Court Judge Vaughn Walker’s overturning of the voter-approved amendment (Proposition 8) banning the state’s recognition of same-sex “marriage.”
“Voters have no right to amend their state’s constitution in ways that contradict clearly established federal policies,” the Court wrote in its decision. “To allow such ‘willy-nilly’ revisions on a state-by-state basis would lead to a patchwork of divergent laws across the nation. Things that are permitted in some states might be disallowed in others. Uniformity and equality of rights throughout the 50 states would be sacrificed to a misguided notion of state and personal autonomy. This is impermissible.”
Obama Flip-Flops on Super PAC Issue
Up to now, President Obama has railed against so-called “super PACs” that bundle money to conduct “independent” campaigns on behalf of favored candidates. But as his efforts to raise funds for his own campaign have bogged down he is urging his supporters to donate to “Priorities USA,” a super PAC led by two former Obama aides that is dedicated to his reelection.
“I wouldn’t call it a ‘flip-flop’ so much as a demonstration of nimble flexibility,” said Obama campaign spokesman David Axelrod. “I think it was Emerson who said that ‘consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.’ The President shouldn’t be expected to adhere to a stance that has lost its advantage for him.”
Axelrod said observation of how GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney has taken advantage of a super PAC to malign his rivals “has opened up a whole new vista of possibilities. Look, the candidate can’t be held accountable for what the super PAC does. It’s a perfect vehicle for negative campaigning against an opponent. Any accusation can be leveled—substantiated or not—and Romney was able to deflect responsibility by saying he doesn’t control what the PAC does. It’s ingenious.”
The super PAC “Restore Our Future” unleashed a barrage of negative ads that may have played a crucial role in Romney’s victory in the Florida GOP presidential primary late last month.
Flip-flopping on campaign strategy is nothing new for Obama. In 2008 he pledged to limit his campaign to the amounts available from the public financing pool. Once he got his opponent, Senator John McCain, to make a similar pledge Obama reneged, believing, accurately as it turned out, that McCain would feel honor-bound to keep his pledge. As a result, Obama was able to out spend McCain by a three to one ratio in the 2008 election.
Homeland Security on Lookout for “Militia Extremists”
A recently issued lexicon from the Department of Homeland Security warns law enforcement personnel to be on the lookout for what it calls “militia extremists.”
Militia extremists were described as “persons who exhibit an undue suspicion of government as manifested in statements that evince an inordinate reverence for the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, especially provisions protecting the rights to freedom of speech, bearing arms, and bars to so-called unreasonable search.”
Law enforcement officers were advised to “keep such persons under close surveillance” and to “not hesitate to act if they perceive a threat. Let’s not forget that the worst threats to our government may come from within.”
A Satirical Look at Recent News