John Semmens: Semi-News — A Satirical Look at Recent News
President Says “Right of Conscience” Not Valid for Military Personnel
Even though he signed the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), President Obama says he will not abide by its provision protecting military chaplains from being compelled to perform services which violate their moral or religious beliefs.
“I am the commander-in-chief,” Obama explained. “It is every soldier’s duty to carry out my orders without hesitation or mental reservation. No religious dogma can be permitted to interfere with this duty.”
The genesis of the so-called “right of conscience” clause in the legislation was the desire to allow chaplains to be excused from performing same-sex “marriages” if their religious beliefs are opposed to the concept.
“The notion that those seeking same-sex marriage should just accept a minister from a denomination that accepts this practice is unacceptable,” the President declared. “For an army to function individual consciences must be suppressed. Isn’t there a commandment ‘thou shalt not kill’ in the Christian Bible? We don’t allow individual soldiers a ‘right of conscience’ privilege to refrain from obeying commands to kill enemies. How, then, can we allow individual chaplains a privilege to refrain from marrying soldiers of the same sex?”
Veep Suggests Platinum Solution to Gun Control
In what he called a “stroke of genius,” Vice-President Joe Biden suggested that President Obama could bypass both Congress and the Constitution by using an Executive Order to solve the gun violence crisis.
“It was when I heard people talking about minting trillion dollar platinum coins to solve the debt ceiling thing that I got the idea of using platinum to get around 2nd Amendment objections to gun control,” Biden boasted. “If the President were to simply require that platinum be the only metal permitted in bullets we could effectively eliminate privately held guns without actually banning them.”
The Vice-President argued that “as Commander-in-Chief, the president has the Constitutional authority to prescribe the types of weapons and ammunition that the 2nd Amendment says a ‘well regulated militia’ should have. The simplicity of my proposal is that we wouldn’t be infringing on the right to bear arms. People would still have this Constitutionally protected right, but very, very few could afford the cost of ammunition.”
Biden added that “there would also be significant gains from eliminating the accumulation of lead in our environment from spent rounds hitting trees and dirt when hunters miss their targets. So, in a way it’s kind of a bipolar inspiration I had.”
Senator Diane Feinstein (D-Calif) heralded Biden’s idea as “a breakthrough of enormous magnitude. The only thing I would add is a proviso that the platinum requirement would only apply to ammunition used by private gun owners. Government law enforcement would need to be exempt for budgetary reasons.”
Feinstein suggested that “existing stocks of lead bullets in private hands could be retrieved via some sort of mandatory ‘buy back’ program. This would effectively criminalize all possession of leaded ammunition as well as give the government an overwhelming advantage in firepower against any opposition.”
Attorney General Says Requiring DOJ to Comply with Law “Too Risky”
Attorney General Eric Holder is asking a federal court to absolve the Department of Justice (DOJ) from complying with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) because “not to do so would inflict irreparable harm.” The DOJ action came in response to a suit filed by Judicial Watch. The suit is aimed at obtaining public information on DOJ’s “fast and furious” scheme to supply guns to Mexican gangsters.
“There is no need for the people at Judicial Watch or, for that matter, anyone to know the details of this now defunct federal undertaking,” Holder insisted. “My Department has taken the necessary corrective actions. This belated attempt to poke around into government business is both unnecessary and destructive.”
While acknowledging that the FOIA mandates the requested information be released, the attorney general asserted that “a higher law argues against blind obedience to a statute originally aimed at the misdeeds of a prior Administration. All we are asking is that the nation’s broader interests take precedence over a mere observance of formalistic rules.”
Holder further suggested that “something along the lines of the 75-year sealing of the records on the JFK assassination imposed by the Warren Commission might be the appropriate model for how we should handle this. The American people’s faith in their government must not be allowed to be undermined by what, at this point, can only be viewed as an effort to satisfy ‘academic curiosity.’”
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton described Holder’s stance as “beyond ironic. At the same time that the Obama Administration is demanding unprecedented access to all sorts of information about private citizens who are not charged with any crimes, we see the attorney general contending that information relevant to actual crimes committed during its ill-conceived gun-running ‘sting’ operation be swept under the rug. His position is stunning in its ethical, moral, and legal incoherence.”
Kerry Defends President Obama’s Unilateral War-Making in Libya
Forty years ago, John Kerry, currently a Democratic senator from Massachusetts and President Obama’s nominee to take over as Secretary of State, denounced US bombing of Cambodia. More recently, he has excused President Obama’s bombing of Libya.
“How are these two instances different?” Senator Rand Paul (R-Ken) asked at Kerry’s confirmation hearing. “Weren’t both acts of war taken without Congressional authority? Doesn’t the Constitution vest the war-making power in Congress?”
“The issue is a complex one with many nuances,” Kerry replied. “In an effort to simplify it for you, let me point out that the bombing of Cambodia took place in a war that I already opposed. It was ordered by then President Nixon, who as it turns out, was a criminal that would’ve gone to prison if it weren’t for President Ford’s pardon.”
“In contrast, the bombing in Libya was ordered by a Nobel Prize winning President Obama,” Kerry pointed out. “Since President Obama is a credentialed man of peace his actions carry a patina of legitimacy that goes beyond the strictures of one nation’s Constitution. He is clearly a ‘man for all seasons’ and justifiably, in my opinion, cannot be restrained from using his superior wisdom to resolve international disputes.”
That the intervention ordered by Obama may have contributed to strengthening al-Qaeda in Libya and leading to the later assassination of Ambassador Stevens was brushed aside as “an unforeseen series of unfortunate events” by Senator Kerry. “Who could have predicted such an outcome? When even the best minds at the Department of State are stumped who are we to second guess them?”
Outgoing Energy Secretary Defends Administration’s “Green Investments”
Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced his resignation from the Obama Administration this week. Chu had clashed frequently with critics of Obama’s so-called green investment approach. He took the occasion of his pending departure to fire off a final volley at these critics.
“Much as these people would like to portray the bankruptcies of a large number of recipients of government aid as a failure of the Administration’s green investment policy, they are wrong,” Chu maintained. “Take the Solyndra Company as a example. The contention is that the $500 million we invested in this now bankrupt company was a waste takes a too narrow view of the program.”
“First of all, the $500 million we put into Solyndra is $500 million that was not available for a more environmentally damaging form of energy production,” Chu argued. “Money that might have been used to expand output of oil or coal was diverted away from these polluting technologies.”
“Second, the fact that Solyndra failed is another overlooked plus for the environment,” Chu continued. “As long as the company remained open it meant employees commuting to work and spewing emissions into the air. It meant lighting, heating, and cooling the facilities in which these employees worked. Since green energy sources couldn’t have met these needs, an idled plant helps reduce the consumption polluting energy sources.”
Chu suggested that “we ought to emulate China. They are making more headway on green energy than we can here. They don’t have naysayers nitpicking every idea insisting that it must meet some kind of ‘reasonable return on investment concept.’ The Government sees what it wants done and just orders everyone to fall in line.”
Ironically, half of the world’s annual coal consumption occurs in China. China’s urban areas also have dangerous levels of air pollution with coal soot particles more than 20 times higher than is considered safe.
Obama’s Passiveness over Benghazi Defended
Recent testimony at the Senate Armed Services Committee by Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey disclosed that President Obama showed little interest in the September 11, 2012 attack on the US Consulate.
“Some 90 minutes into the seven hour siege I briefed the president with what I felt we knew at the time,” Panetta said. “He didn’t react. He asked no questions. He gave no instructions.”
How this sworn testimony should be interpreted in light of Obama’s unsworn assertion that he gave clear directives to “secure our personnel” posed a challenge for Press Secretary Jay Carney.
“The President is legendary for his coolness under pressure,” Carney bragged. “It is easy to see how Secretary Panetta might construe this as not reacting to the shocking news. The President’s incomparable brilliance obviously enabled him to grasp everything without having to ask any questions.”
“As for the Secretary’s impression that the president gave no instructions, let me point out that it is the Secretary’s job to anticipate what the president wants without having to be explicitly told,” Carney added. “This gives the president the flexibility to embrace or disavow whatever action may be taken or not taken as seems most advantageous as the situation develops. Seeing that the president won reelection two months later, it should be apparent that those who are now second guessing his artful handling of the crisis are off base.”
Pelosi Takes Aim at Sequester’s “Cruelest Cut”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) characterized the limitations on Congressional pay in the looming sequester as “the cruelest cut in the entire package.”
“Considering all the money we have appropriated for those making dubious or even negative contributions to our society it is unconscionable that we should be treated so shabbily,” Pelosi contended. “We are key players in ruling this country. We ought to have salaries commensurate with the significance of our role.”
“Corporate executives presiding over budgets a tiny fraction of what we dispose of in a year take down salaries and bonuses in the millions of dollars,” she pointed out. “Equity argues for us to to paid on a similar scale.”
Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) seconded Pelosi’s take asserting that “a boost in my pay is necessary to complete the emancipation initiated by President Lincoln during the Civil War. I can’t be truly free until the repression suffered by my ancestors in slavery is repaid to me in cash.”
The Minority Leader conceded that it is unlikely that her view would prevail because “the GOP is too busy tearing down the magnificence of government in a calculated bid to starve it of the resources to which it is entitled. Their portrayal of government as a burden that must be lightened and a power that must be restrained is the exact opposite of what the voters who reelected President Obama want.”
Pelosi expressed optimism that “voters will tire of seeing their elected representatives suffer under the hardships imposed by the sequester and elect solid Democratic majorities in the 2014 balloting. Then there will be no impediments to the President’s progressive agenda to transform America.”Amendment to the Constitution barred the government from interfering with an individual’s right of conscience.
Administration Lashes Out at Congressmen’s Failure to Consume Office Budget Allowance
Senator Rand Paul (R-Ken) held a press event to announce he is returning $600,000 in unused funds to the US Treasury. The Senator said he was “proud of the fiscal prudence shown by my staff in making sure we are as efficient as possible with the taxpayers’ money.” This is the second time Paul has refunded money. Last year he returned $500,000.
Representative Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) also announced his office was returning $160,000 in unspent funds. “At a time when Americans are tightening their budgets, I have made an effort to do the same with my Congressional office budget,” Mulvaney said.
Presidential Press Secretary Jay Carney denounced the refunds, calling them “political grandstanding” and “deliberate attempts to undermine the nation’s confidence in the President’s program. Given the perilous state of the economy the President has made it clear that maintaining a high level of government spending is essential to sparking economic recovery. The savings on computers, paper and ink that Senator Paul boasts he has achieved are the exact opposite of what the President wants.”
The Press Secretary promised that “these uncooperative actions will not succeed. The amounts diverted by these Congressional misers are small enough that a single additional trip to a golf course outside of the DC area by the President can expend sufficient funds to completely obliterate their negative impact.”
Carney speculated that “seeing their errant penny-pinching wiped out by a leisure expenditure benefiting the President could be a severe blow to the morale of these right-wing obstructionists.”
Regulations Stifling Business
Fred Deluca, founder of Subway Restaurants says that government regulations are hurting business so much that if he were attempting to start Subway today he’d be unlikely to succeed. Among the regulations he cited as most harmful were the mandatory minimum wage and Obamacare.
“The costs incurred to comply with regulations are particularly hard on small businesses,” Deluca complained. “A guy trying to run a sandwich shop can’t afford the added legal expense of trying to keep up with constantly changing rules. Government bureaucrats think we can easily pass higher costs on to customers, but customers have many choices and will not simply dig deeper to pay more.”
Press Secretary Jay Carney characterized Deluca as “a first-class ingrate. Subway is already a large business. To the extent that regulations are driving up costs for small businesses government is actually helping him fend off the competition of newcomers. He should be thanking us.”
Government regulations discouraging new start-ups was seen as a good thing. “Going into business for yourself is risky,” Carney pointed out. “The majority of new small businesses fail. Stopping them before they get started saves them from the financial and emotional setbacks of failure. It’s not as if there aren’t already enough sandwich shops out there. Besides, the president is a cheeseburger and ice cream kind of guy anyway.”
Democrats Argue for Fairer Allocation of Nation’s Collective Wealth
Both President Obama and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) labeled GOP demands that the federal deficit be reduced by focusing on cuts in government spending “narrow minded.”
“By insisting on looking only at federal spending they’re ignoring 75 percent of the economy,” the President complained. “America produces $15 trillion of output per year. The federal government only spends $3.5 trillion of that. What we’re saying is that the fairest way to cut the deficit is to take a slice out of the bigger piece of the pie that currently is allocated to the private sector.”
“Every dollar we let the private sector take out of the nation’s GDP is a dollar that could be used to reduce the federal deficit,” Obama explained. “By siding with those who are already hogging the bigger share of the collective wealth of America, the GOP is siding with selfishness over community.”
“The Republicans’ argument that the private sector is earning its wealth overlooks the fact that the government is letting them do this,” Pelosi maintained. “The amount of the nation’s wealth that is allowed to flow to the private sector is a discretionary decision. The GOP’s attempt to assert that a person who produces it has some sort of claim on the output elevates greed over need as a matter of policy.”
Obama and Pelosi expressed optimism that “once the American people realize that the entire wealth of the nation can be redistributed by government action they will either press the Republicans to cooperate in the process or sweep them aside into the dustbin of history.”
The idea that government can make better use of the nation’s resources is cast into doubt by a recent Inspector General’s report showing that most of the $63 billion in taxpayer money spent to reconstruct Iraq has been wasted. Part of the money went to overpay for supplies like the $900 paid for a switch that retails for $7 and the $80 paid for pipe that retails for less than $2. Other funds went for construction projects never completed that now lie in ruins. Nearly a third of the $63 billion seems to have simply disappeared without a trace.
President Denies Debt Poses a Problem
In an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on “Good Morning America,” President Obama asserted that “there is no debt crisis in this country” and says he sees “no reason to bargain with Republicans over the budget.”
“The amusing little analogies Republicans are making about households having to make cuts when times are tough simply don’t apply to the federal government,” Obama declared. “I’ll grant that debt can be a problem for households having to cope with limited resources. But how is this relevant to the government?”
“Let’s assume we were going to pay back what we borrowed,” the President said. “In what sense are the government’s resources limited? The GDP is over $15 trillion per year. So one year’s output alone would be almost enough to pay back the whole outstanding debt. All Congress would have to do is enact the appropriate taxes to channel resources into paying debt.”
“Now let’s ask a more radical question—why should we pay back the debt?” Obama continued. “The people who lent the money did so of their own free will. The money was used for the benefit of the American people. A default on the debt would simply be a transfer from the bond buyers—most of whom are wealthy—to everyone else—most of whom are not wealthy. Would that really be so bad?”
Obama was quick to add that he wasn’t necessarily advocating default. “We don’t want to end up in court with creditors suing the government,” he said. “Even though the government is within its sovereign rights to default, litigation would be a pain. Having the Fed create enough additional money to cover all debts is probably the least troublesome way to get out from under any perceived obligation to repay.”
Dem Says Aides Face Starvation Because of Sequester
A tearful Representative Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fla) blamed “heartless Republicans” for the “severe hardships” the sequester is imposing on members of her staff.
“Nearly half of my office staff has been forced to forgo lunch on a daily basis because of the cruel budget cuts that have been forced down our throats by the GOP,” the Congresswoman claimed.
The “toll of suffering” has been less than half because “some have been able to make do with sack lunches of leftovers or peanut butter sandwiches they bring from home,” she explained. “This is not a solution that can be applied across-the-board, though. Some simply lack the skill required to assemble their own lunches. Others feel that going out for lunch is an essential part of being a person of stature.”
Wasserman-Schultz suggested that those wanting to help preserve the dignity and health of those serving in government could make a cash donation to the “Congressional Aide Feeding Fund” and should call her office (202- 225-7931) to arrange for automatic monthly transfers from their checking accounts.
Government Has Obligation to Infringe on Freedom
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended his “nanny state” inclinations saying that “there are certain times we should infringe on your freedom.”
“Freedom should not be taken for granted,” Bloomberg asserted. “I know that in America it has been built up into some sort of iconic vision for society, but government needs to ensure that it isn’t abused. Too many people are frivolously using their freedom to engage in socially destructive behaviors. They may think that whether they smoke, eat poorly, or act in an undisciplined manner is their own affair. At the same time they expect society to come to their rescue with health insurance, disability benefits, and welfare payments.”
“If we’re going to have a fiscally viable social safety net government must intervene to reduce the risk to society of the consequences of ill-thought-out actions,” Bloomberg insisted. “We have the means to do this. We have comprehensive databases, surveillance, and a wide range of public agencies to accomplish our objectives.”
Bloomberg acknowledged that his approach entails a massive invasion of privacy, but argued that “there is no way we can both preserve privacy and maximize collective well-being. People could be left to do as they please or they can be protected from the effects of their folly. Looking at the election results over the generations, I think it’s pretty clear that more and more voters prefer security over freedom.”
The mayor said he envisioned “a day when the proper lifestyle choices would be so ingrained that coercive measures are no longer necessary. In the meantime, though, we should not shy away from stern enforcement of rules that move us closer to this ideal.”
City Defends Hiring Non-Swimming Minorities as Lifeguards
While taking some flak for doing so, City of Phoenix officials are standing by their decision to accept non-swimming minorities as pool lifeguards.
“The problem with requiring swimming proficiency as a condition of employment is that minorities would be under-represented among those we hire,” City Parks and Recreation Administrator Alfredo Zote. “The mayor has asked us to strive for a workforce that mirrors the composition of the City’s population. We can’t do that if we impose qualifications that have a disproportionate impact on any racial or ethnic groups.”
As to whether the ability to swim might not be a crucial skill in the performance of the job, Zote demurred. “Few of the annual drownings that occur in our state are at public pools,” he pointed out. “And we can team the non-swimming minority hire with a strong-swimming white hiree. That way the non-swimmer can help spot a potential drowning victim and direct the swimmer to rescue him.”
While Zote acknowledged that he had no idea on whether the new policy would have any negative consequences for the safety of visitors to any of the City’s 23 public pools he did ask that “critics balance any undesired outcomes at the pools with the social gains of our minority hiring policy. Providing employment for disfavored groups is not without its benefits. Whether their gains in self-esteem outweigh losses in terms of injury or fatalities at our sites is, in my opinion, a judgment call.”
Obama Calls for Federally-Funded Pre-School for Four Year Olds
Saying that too many of our children are ill-prepared for the world of the future, President Obama urged Congress to enact federal funding for pre-schools.
“We need to replace the idiosyncratic influences of our ‘do-it-yourself’ methods of child rearing with a more cohesive approach,” the President said. “Leaving so much of the responsibility on each individual family is a formula for chaos. Different parents seek to instill different value systems. The result is that clashes of these value systems impede coordinated progress toward the collective well-being of all.”
“In addition to providing an environment for the inculcation of better values, a federally-funded pre-school program would alleviate a significant amount of parental suffering,” Obama added. “Having a place to ship your four-year-old off to each day for a few hours gives the parents extra free time they can spend on more satisfying pursuits while their child is under the capable care and instruction of trained education professionals.”
Future Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) endorsed the President’s proposal pointing out that “as Melissa Harris-Perry said on TV the other day, we’ve got to get past the notion that children belong to their parents. Children belong to the community. China understands this and has been pursuing an even more aggressive intervention with its children in order to ensure that a more uniform system of rearing the young contributes to a stronger and more unified nation. We need to get moving if we are to keep pace.”
Administration Pressures Washington DOT
A series of signs critical of President Obama may cost the State of Washington its share of federal aid for highway construction. The signs are on private property but can be seen by travelers on I-5 about 90 miles south of Seattle near the town of Chehalis.
“Interstate highways are 90 percent funded by the federal government,” said USDOT Secretary Ray LaHood. “It is improper that they be exploited for the communication of messages opposing the government.”
The secretary added “we’d regret having to resort to withholding funds, but when people don’t show the appropriate respect for all the President is trying to do for the country we can’t just sit back and take it. State officials aren’t going to be allowed to hide behind a ‘freedom-of-speech’ argument in order to evade taking action. We think the prospect of losing hundreds of millions of dollars in federal aid will inspire them to find a way to eliminate these affronts.”
WSDOT CEO Lynn Peterson acknowledged “feeling frustrated by the difficult position we’re in. We can’t afford to lose this money. Our contention that there is no proof the signs are having any impact was rejected by the USDOT. They say that waiting for proof would set a bad precedent.”
“We can’t just tear down the signs,” Peterson complained. “We don’t own the property they’re on. Trying to screen them from view is impractical. Any obstruction we might erect on our right-of-way could simply be avoided by moving the offending signs a few dozen yards. Our best bet might be to try to induce the locals to take action.”
The “inducement” reportedly under consideration is a threat by WSDOT to close the Chehalis on-ramp to I-5. The idea is that if drivers from the local area lose their access to the highway they may prevail upon the town council to zone these signs out. It’s also felt that fear of possible retaliation from angry neighbors might cause the owners of these signs to take them down themselves.
Administration Brochure Touts Food Stamp Benefits for Foreigners
It was recently discovered that the Obama Administration has been working jointly with the Mexican government to inform that country’s illegal migrants to the United States of their “rights to government food assistance.”
The product of this cooperative undertaking is a Spanish-language flyer supplied to the Mexican Embassy by the US Department of Agriculture. The flyer asserts that “even those who enter America illegally are still entitled to certain benefits” and explains how these “undocumented persons” may secure these benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala) called the revelation “evidence of a dangerously misguided policy. We are $16 trillion in debt. Adding foreign nationals to our welfare rolls is fiscally irresponsible.”
US Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack defended the outreach program saying “it clearly falls within the nation’s proud tradition of welcoming newcomers to our shores. Doesn’t our Statue of Liberty ask the world to give us their poor and hungry masses yearning to live free? How can we not feed them once they get here? Wouldn’t that be breach of promise?”
Vilsack hastened to point out that “our efforts aren’t confined to Mexicans. We’re very ecumenical in our outlook. One of the guys who bombed the Boston Marathon was a beneficiary of the SNAP food subsidies. We didn’t pry into his private life. We didn’t question his beliefs. To us he was a human being in need of help. That he may have been ungrateful for that help is something we can’t control. Should we let this unfortunate turn of events change who we are? Isn’t this when we’re supposed to turn the other cheek?”
Obamacare “Train Wreck” GOP’s Fault, Reid Says
Indications that President Obama’s Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), his signature legislative accomplishment, is turning into a fiasco of major proportions has Democrats uneasy.
A man instrumental in its enactment, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont), labeled it a “train wreck. The implementation is a total shambles. It’s as if Secretary Sebelius has no idea of what she’s doing. She’s been quick to ensure that everyone is entitled to abortion coverage, but how the average person is supposed to cope with unforeseen medical contingencies is up in the air. On top of this, employers across the nation are cutting employees hours in order to evade their responsibility to pay for health insurance.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) laid the blame squarely on the GOP. “We did our part to create this new entitlement, it’s the Republicans’ turn to step up and vote for the funding needed to finance it,” Reid said.
That funding is needed contradicts the original script of the Democrats’ case for the legislation. It was supposed to be self-financing. It was supposed to save money. Neither of which now seems to be true. In fact, projections now show that the cost of health insurance is set to increase by 25% to 50% under the law.
While the rising cost of Obamacare is now the consensus view, the contention that it will improve health care also received some disconcerting contrary news. A study of the federal Medicaid program in Oregon revealed that while spending rose by 35 percent for eligible recipients, health outcomes did not improve. In the 18-month period studied, participants fared no better than non-participants.
Based on this study’s results, Avik Roy, Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute called it “unethical to take money from taxpayers to fund a program that doesn’t improve health outcomes.”
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius disagreed. “Health outcomes aren’t the only metric with which we are concerned,” Sebelius asserted. “Taking money from those who have more than they need and spending it on those who have less is, in itself, a worthy goal. Just because a person is poor is no good reason for him to be denied the opportunity to have money spent on his behalf regardless of whether it does any good.”
President Tells Grads that Fear of Tyranny a “Mental Illness”
In a commencement address to graduates of Ohio State University, President Obama urged them to eschew “the deranged rantings of those who see growth of government as antithetical to human liberty.”
The President warned that “this particular form of mental illness can be traced back to the Founders of this country who portrayed the modest efforts of the British Government to instill some much-needed discipline into an unruly population as a so-called tyranny against Americans’ supposed natural rights.”
Obama alleged that “while the people of 1776 could be excused for their ignorance—after all, universal public education would not be implemented for another century or more—graduates of today’s top-of-the-line universities ought to break free of these delusions.”
The President concluded his remarks by encouraging new grads to “join my crusade to transform the ways we think about freedom in this country. It’s not enough to just have the liberty to live one’s own life if you don’t have the means to enjoy it. This is where an enlarged role for government comes into play. By wresting away the undeserved wealth from those who have more than they need, government can acquire the resources to ensure a richer and fuller life for all. By voting eagerly and often you can help make this happen.”
An indication that fear of tyranny might not be as “deranged” as President Obama would have us believe emerged when the IRS was forced to apologize for harassing Tea Party opponents of Obama’s policies. Top IRS official Lois Lerner admitted that “this invasion of privacy for purely political reasons was, of course, wrong. However, to put this into proper perspective, no one died as a result of this abuse of the agency’s authority. And in our defense the harassment was carried out at the request of high ranking members of the US Senate.”
The Senators reported to have demanded that the IRS audit or otherwise harry Tea Party members included Robert Bennett (D-Utah), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Al Franken (D-Minn), Tom Udall (D-NM), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Conn), and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore).
An unrepentant Senator Franken defiantly defended his request saying “we are at war for the conscience of America. Why shouldn’t we use every weapon at our disposal. These tea-baggers are relentless in their quest to resist their own government. We, who are the government, have every right to fight back as we see fit.”
Planned Parenthood Ad Campaign Breaks New Ground
Planned Parenthood’s new advertisement asserting that aborted babies will thank their would-be mothers evidences a shift to macabre honesty in the organization’s messaging.
“There’s nothing worse for a child than being unwanted,” claimed PP spokeswoman Adora Slaughter. “Add to this the burdensome tedium of motherhood and you have a formula that maximizes unhappiness. Abortion rescues all the participants from this fate.”
“Previously, we have invested almost all our energy on advising women to carefully consider the responsibilities they could avoid by aborting a potential child they don’t want,” Slaughter said. “I mean, having a baby you don’t want is like an 18-year sentence to hard labor. There’s the pain of childbirth, then the feeding, diapering, and constant supervision that tells a woman ‘your life is not your own.’ But anti-abortion agitators have been making inroads advancing a ‘benefit to the child’ line of argument. Our new campaign is taking that argument on and refuting its false logic.”
“Studies show that unwanted children are more likely to be victims of parental neglect and abuse,” Slaughter observed. “Worse yet, many of these neglected and abused children go on to lives of crime and degradation. Our new ad urges expectant mothers to weigh these negatives before being emotionally seduced into a misguided notion that going to term with an unwanted pregnancy is somehow more humane than a quick abortion. The gratitude of both a child spared an unworthy life and a society relieved of its consequences merit consideration.”
Slaughter dismissed the possible suffering of the aborted baby as “gruesome, but mercifully brief. Being dismembered in the womb is over in a matter of minutes. Even if the fetus can feel pain it is momentary compared to the full lifetime of pain that the unwanted child must face. No, abortion is the kinder choice.”
In related news, the conviction of Kermit Gosnell for murdering three babies who survived his attempt to legally abort them inspired Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) to call for more federal aid to fund abortions. “As it stands, the most remunerative fields for doctors are neurosurgery and cardiology, so that’s where the best talent goes,” Reid said. “If there were a bigger payoff for performing abortions we’d get doctors with the skills to legally kill the fetuses before they emerge from their mothers’ bodies. Then they wouldn’t have to be stabbed to death by clumsy incompetents like Gosnell.”
Criticizing Obama “Offensive” Says Aide
Daniel Pfeiffer, Senior Advisor to the President for Strategy and Communications, denounced criticism of President Obama in strident terms this past week, calling critics “uppity.”
“Here we have the leader of the free world, a Nobel Prize winner, being accosted by people unfit to lick his boots,” Pfeiffer complained. “How low has our civilization sunk that such effrontery is tolerated?”
Pfeiffer labeled inquiries about Benghazi, the IRS and phone taps of reporters “fishing expeditions. They think they’re going to find some ‘smoking gun’ linking the President to one or more of these incidents in some substantive way. Well, I’m telling you it’s not going to happen. The President has insulated himself from culpability for whatever may occur. There are strict rules about who may tell the President what that ensure he will honestly be able to disavow all knowledge of what is going on.”
“On top of this he has an enormously wide array of options for eliminating disloyal and uncooperative elements both inside and outside his Administration,” Pfeiffer pointed out. “Those chafing over getting hassled by the IRS ought to consider themselves lucky that sterner measures weren’t used against them.”
“It all comes down to whether people are going to show proper respect for the President,” Pfeiffer concluded. “We cannot sit by and allow the office and the great man who occupies it to undergo the type of heedless questioning of its authority that we have seen over the last few weeks. Rest assured that the President will do whatever it takes to assert and wield that authority. The alternative is too scary to contemplate.”
Mass Gov Says Welfare Irregularities Overblown
The release of an audit showing that over $2 million in welfare benefits were paid out to deceased recipients originally sent Governor Deval Patrick into seclusion. Now it has him fighting mad.
“First, let’s not blow things out of proportion,” Patrick pleaded. “In the context of the State’s $30 billion budget, the $2.4 million erroneously paid out to dead people is mere pocket change.”
“Second, it could be argued that being dead is the worst off a person can be,” Patrick added. “Since welfare is supposed to go to the least well off is it really such a travesty that money went to such persons? Granted, the deceased can’t spend the money himself, but surely his bereaved family has some needs that may have been intensified by his demise.”
The Governor’s adroit handling of this scandal is believed to have upped his stock as a potential successor for embattled Obama Administration Attorney General Eric Holder in the event the President feels compelled to dismiss him for his part in several scandals and his perjured testimony in Congress.
In related news, illegal alien and mother of seven, Marita Nelson recently celebrated her 20th anniversary of receiving government welfare. Nelson currently is in the midst of a personal crusade to convince as many other illegals as she can to sign up for welfare benefits. An ally in this crusade is the Obama Administration, which has hired recruiters to sign up as many welfare recipients as possible.
President Says Gov’t Spying on Citizens “a Modest Encroachment on 4th Amendment Rights”
Reports this last week that the federal government is compiling records of every phone call made in America and securing copies of every email and Internet posting stunned those who took then 2008 presidential candidate Barack Obama’s promise to “end spying on citizens who are not suspected of a crime and to stop tracking those who do nothing more than protest a government policy they disagree with” seriously.
A leak from a career intelligence officer to the Washington Post broke the news on the PRISM project—a covert program to collect and mine data from a slew of Internet service providers. The source justified leaking the information “because of its gross invasion of privacy. Without a court order or ‘probable cause’ federal agents are literally reading people’s words as they type.”
President Obama insists that “the consternation over this revelation is overwrought. We’re not listening to everyone’s phone calls. We’re not reading everyone’s mail. We’re only trying to hone in on those elements that pose a danger to our government. What we’re doing is trading off a modest encroachment on Fourth Amendment rights against the goal of keeping us safe.”
“People need to take a deep breath and calm down,” Obama continued. “The notion that their government might use any of the information gathered to intimidate dissidents is too farfetched. Only those designated as potential terrorists need be concerned that we are watching. And that’s a good thing.”
Not everyone is likely to agree with the president on this. For one thing, the Department of Homeland Security has included gun owners, ex-military, anti-abortionists, and tax protesters as “potential terrorists” worthy of extra scrutiny. For another, the IRS discriminatory harassment of groups with the words “patriot” and “TEA Party” in their names may be cause for concern.
Aiming to bolster the president’s position on this issue, Senator Diane Feinstein (D-Calif) urged that “people shouldn’t get bent out of shape over this. The spying has been going on for years and as far as we know no one has been harmed by this invasion of privacy.” Feinstein credited the program with “gathering information that helped fend off an attempt to bring down the Obama Administration last November.”
A measure of bipartisan support came from Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) who said he is “glad that the government is listening in on my calls and reading my emails. Sometimes I wonder whether anyone cares what I say. It is reassuring that someone in the government cares enough to spy on me. It makes me feel important.”
In related news, the FBI is demanding that all communications software build in a “backdoor” so that it may “surreptitiously intercept transmissions of interest to the Bureau.” FBI general counsel Andrew Weissman called the “backdoor” option “essential, otherwise there could be conversations we’d have no way of obtaining. All kinds of plots and schemes against the government could be hatched without us being any the wiser.”
President’s Africa Trip Has Hefty Price Tag
The First Family’s excursion to Africa is shaping up as the most expensive trip ever taken by an American president. As of now, the estimated cost is expected to range from $60 to $100 million. A big item of expense is the around-the-clock security. Not only will there be hundreds of Secret Service agents accompanying the First Family, there will also be a constant presence of military jets flying overhead. The bill easily dwarfs what it would’ve cost to provide extra security for the Libyan Ambassador who was killed by Islamic jihadis in Benghazi last September.
Press Secretary Jay Carney brushed aside criticism that the outlay is extravagant saying that “the extra precautions are the absolute minimum we feel are necessary. The President and his family are the most important people on the planet. It is our sacred obligation to make every effort deemed necessary to ensure their safety.”
Carney contended that “comparisons with the amounts not spent to protect Ambassador Stephens aren’t relevant. The ambassador’s death, tragic as it was, barely caused a ripple in the context of global affairs. Events since last September have proved that—the president was reelected, his government still rules. The same certainly wouldn’t be the case if even the slightest harm were to befall President Obama or his family. The consequences would be catastrophic beyond measure.”
“On top of this, who would disagree that the malice directed toward the president has to be far greater than that which brought Ambassador Stephens down,” Carney continued. “Terrorists have had dozens of their friends and co-conspirators killed by order of President Obama. Is there any doubt that they would go to great lengths to get back at him in whatever way they could? We are confident that the American people are willing to pay whatever it costs to keep their president safe.”
Congressman Demands “More Balanced” Campaign against Terrorism
Representative Jim McDermott (D-Wash) directed pointed criticism at the FBI’s focus on Islamic terrorists. His criticism was sparked by a bus ad that featured photos of 16 suspected terrorists that the agency is trying to apprehend. McDermott’s beef is that all 16 of the suspects featured in the ad are Islamic.
“I find it highly offensive that the FBI is concentrating on Muslims to the exclusion of other racial and religious groups,” McDermott said. “Our anti-terror campaign needs to be more balanced.”
Whether an anti-terror campaign could be more balanced is problematic. All but two of the FBI’s top 32 most wanted terrorism suspects are Muslims. An FBI spokesman explained that “the bus ad isn’t intended to be a comprehensive capsule of the Agency total efforts. It is just a snapshot aimed at informing citizens.”
McDermott wasn’t mollified by the FBI’s explanation, insisting that “they aren’t trying hard enough. Going after the guys who are setting bombs and hijacking airlines is obvious and easy. What about the more subtle threats posed by groups like the TEA Party that the IRS has ferreted out?”
The Congressman pledged “to work with my colleagues in the House to draft legislation that will end the discriminatory bias that has characterized our policy thus far. At the very least, there ought to be target quotas to produce a wider array of ethnic, racial, and religious terrorist suspects.”
More Government Spying Uncovered
The massive invasion of Americans’ privacy by the federal government isn’t the exclusive turf of the National Security Agency (NSA). Information released in response to a Freedom of Information Act filing indicates that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has been conducting warrant-less surveillance of the financial transactions of five million consumers.
CFPB Director Richard Cordray defended what he insisted was “mere data mining of an anonymous nature. There is no intent at this time to single out any individual. We’re only gathering statistics to help us craft the appropriate regulations to control how credit is used in our economy.”
“The accumulation of excessive debt for unnecessary consumption is a growing problem,” Cordray said. “It is the Bureau’s responsibility to devise rules that will act to prevent consumers from taking on such debt. Every dollar we can divert from the frivolous accumulation of unneeded stuff can be conserved for deployment toward more essential uses.”
One of the “more essential uses” cited by Cordray will be “the payment for coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Most consumers are unaware of the additional amount they will have to pay for health care insurance starting in January of 2014. By secretly observing the wasteful and imprudent abuses of credit exhibited by consumers we can better construct regulations to avert this behavior and ensure a more uniform compliance.”
A report published in the Journal of Economic Growth cast doubt on the benefits of government regulations. The report’s authors, John Dawson and John Seater say that over the last 60 years excessive regulation has significantly reduced Americans’ standard of living. They estimate that had regulations stayed at the level they were in 1949, average household income would now be $330,000 per year instead of the $53,000 it is currently.
Cordray was unimpressed by these findings. “If household income were six times as high that would just mean six times as much would be spent on selfish, materialistic impulses,” Cordray argued. “I don’t find it hard to believe that the benefits of the regulations added since 1949 are easily worth more than a quarter of a million dollars a year to each family in America.”
Obama Urges Africans to Accept Poverty to Save Planet
President Obama urged Africans to “step up and make the sacrifices needed to spare the world from the ravages of global warming.”
The President blamed global warming on “America’s insatiable lust for comfort and convenience. In America the people have grown soft. If they are hot they want to turn down a thermostat to cool an entire building. Instead of going to sleep when it gets dark they demand electricity to banish the night. Rather than confine their travel to destinations reachable on foot they drive everywhere.”
The “self-indulgent” behavior of Americans was contrasted with the “stoic heroism of average Africans who endure lives of squalor that place minimal burdens on the planet’s ecosystem. Your homes are built of mud and straw. Your food is natural and unprocessed. Manual labor and walking for hours each day keep you fit. It is a lifestyle to which all should aspire.”
Obama allowed that “it will take generations of effort and enlightened policies to bring Americans in line with the planet-saving modes of living that are the norm in Africa. I ask that you patiently wait for us to catch up with you rather than rushing to embark on the same destructive path we have taken.”
President to Defy Congressional Cut to Syrian Arms Aid
Concerned over evidence that some of the weapons the US has been supplying to enemies of the Syrian government have fallen into the hands of jihadists inimical to US interests, the House and Senate Intelligence Committee members of both Parties voted to restrict funding.
While Congress would appear to be acting within its powers according to the Constitution, the Obama Administration denounced the move as “unwarranted interference.” National Security Advisor Susan Rice declared that “the President’s latitude in conducting foreign policy cannot be infringed by fetters concocted in the halls of Congress. As long as he holds the office he will continue to arm those he deems deserving of our aid regardless of what anyone else thinks.”
The President’s usurpation of Congressional authority ruffled feathers in the legislative branch, but is not expected to result in any significant action against the president. House Intelligence Committee Chair, Representative Mike Rogers (R-Mich) appeared resigned to impotence. “Is it an impeachable offense?” he asked. “Yes, but the President could grab a child out of a crowd and strangle it on TV and the Democrats in the Senate would still vote against convicting him. He’s their guy and they will back him no matter what he does. The Framers’ notion that the legislature would jealously guard against executive tyranny has been proven false.”
Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Diane Feinstein (D-Calif) effectively concurred in Rogers’ assessment of the situation. “As the revelations of Edward Snowden have shown, the President has access to information that could humiliate anyone who opposes him in any serious way,” Feinstein admitted. “With that sword hanging over your head, why destroy your career if it’s clear that resistance is futile?”
In related news, the Obama Administration warned the Egyptian government to cease arresting members of the Muslim Brotherhood or face a curtailment of US foreign aid. “The contention that the Brotherhood is undermining the peace does not trump the fact that this organization is the legitimate government of Egypt and has the full confidence of President Obama,” said Secretary of State John Kerry.
AG Assails Zimmerman Verdict
The acquittal of George Zimmerman for the shooting death of Trayvon Martin spurred an incensed Attorney General Eric Holder to vow to rein-in “the senseless concept of self-defense.” A Florida jury decided that Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, used deadly force in self-defense after the bigger Martin attacked him, knocked him to the ground, and proceeded to beat him—breaking his nose, blackening his eyes, and bashing his head against the pavement.
“We don’t live in some primitive state-of-nature where everyone must defend himself,” Holder asserted. “We are a civilized society. It is the Government’s Constitutional responsibility to provide for the common defense. Granted, Government agents can’t be everywhere all the time, but to use this as an excuse to allow individuals to decide how much force they can use to protect themselves is a formula for anarchy.”
The attorney general claimed that “in an ideal world only government officers would have weapons. We are assiduously working toward that ideal, but aren’t there yet. Until we get there we ought to insist that self-defense be limited to a response in-kind. If someone punches you you’d be entitled to punch back, but not to escalate by retaliating with a weapon. If this concept of self-defense had been in place, Trayvon Martin would be alive today. Zimmerman might have taken a severe beating, but he’d probably have survived. The social cost of the run-in between these two would’ve been lower than it turned out to be under our antiquated concept.”
While admitting that he cannot seize all the privately owned guns, Holder took some small satisfaction in his authority to seize Zimmerman’s gun as “evidence” in a prospective trial for violating Martin’s civil rights. “The scope of the benefit is narrow and probably temporary—though, who can say how long our investigation might take,” Holder observed. “At the very least, we have disarmed an admitted killer for a while.”
In related news, Press Secretary Jay Carney disavowed the government’s responsibility to protect Zimmerman from widespread death threats. “To imply that the president has an obligation to protect this guy is ridiculous,” Carney maintained. “Besides, isn’t Zimmerman an advocate for self-defense? Wasn’t that his claim at his trial? I suppose he felt strong facing one unarmed teenager, but maybe isn’t so brave with hundreds after his scalp. He should’ve thought of that before he pulled the trigger on a boy who could’ve been the President’s son.”
US Ups Pressure for Russia to Allow Snowden Extradition
US Attorney General Eric Holder issued a written demand that the Russian government apprehend NSA whistle blower Edward Snowden and send him back to the United States to face charges of leaking national secrets. In an effort to soothe concerns that Snowden might be ill-treated, Holder promised that “we will not be seeking the death penalty, nor will Mr. Snowden be subjected to torture.”
To bolster his credibility, Holder cited the case of Private Bradley Manning, the U.S. soldier on trial for providing documents to WikiLeaks. “Private Manning wasn’t tortured,” Holder pointed out. “He has been provided with full accommodations of food and lodging while enjoying a fair trial.”
Upon his arrest, Manning was held in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day. The government is seeking a sentence of imprisonment for life for actions it says “aided and abetted the enemy.”
In the event that Holder’s “sweet talk” fails to persuade the Russians to surrender Snowden, the US Senate is taking up a bill introduced by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC). The bill would impose “sanctions” against any country that “harbors” Snowden.
“Snowden’s revelation of the surveillance performed by the NSA has done incalculable harm to the image of the United States,” Graham asserted. “Now that everyone knows the government is spying on them their vision of America as a free country has been irreparably damaged. Snowden’s fleeing to Russia has allowed this notorious trampler of human rights to pose as a defender of this traitor’s freedom of speech and travel.”
Graham said “ideally, Snowden ought to realize what he’s done is wrong and take his punishment like a man—as my good friend Senator McCain did when he was tormented for seven years as a prisoner-of-war in Vietnam. Failing this, it is important that Congress go on record condemning Snowden’s treachery and not let President Obama hog all the credit by taking him out with a drone strike while we look like a bunch of gutless wonders.”
Government Secrecy Becoming Pathological?
Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Carl Levin (D-Mich) rejected a request from ProPublica for a copy of a Defense Department document listing the countries the United States is currently at war with. “Who we are at war with is a matter for the government, not the general public,” Levin maintained. “Under the Constitution, war-making powers are vested in Congress and the president. We will decide what role others will play if and when it becomes necessary to do so.”
Concealing this information from the general public isn’t the only measure undertaken by the US Government. The US Army Brass has ordered all personnel to not read newspapers, access web sites, or view TV broadcasts that may reveal “secret” information.
“A crucial component of morale for US troops is the belief that America is the land of the free,” said Army Secretary John McHugh. “Certain reports in the media, like the ones indicating that the NSA is spying on ordinary citizens, tend to undermine morale. We can’t prevent civilians from obtaining this information, but we can surely make every effort to dissuade our soldiers from getting it.”
McHugh acknowledged that “there isn’t much we can do for military personnel posted outside of war zones. The opportunity to go off base when not on duty puts these individuals beyond our control. Thankfully, soldiers in the combat areas can be blocked from news that could breed doubts and disloyalty.”
Administration to Step Up Neighborhood Diversity Initiative
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced a new fair housing regulation aimed at increasing the diversity of America’s neighborhoods.
“Too many of our minorities are trapped in blighted, high-crime neighborhoods solely because they can’t afford to live where conditions are better,” HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan declared. “We are launching a two-pronged approach to remedy this social injustice.”
“Prong number one,” Donovan says, “will be an intensive data collection and analysis of the racial composition of every neighborhood in the country. Prong number two will be aiding the integration of an appropriate racial and ethnic mix of inhabitants.”
Aids to integration are reported to entail “government subsidies for persons who otherwise couldn’t afford to live in better neighborhoods” and “a relocation permit process to interdict movements that would tend to undermine the intent of the program.”
“Ideally, we’ll erase the distinctions between so-called good and bad neighborhoods,” Donovan promised. “Not only would we achieve a more equitable distribution of the population, we’d also eliminate the significant cost of people needlessly moving around in search of a better neighborhood. Every place would be the same.”
EEOC Vows to Appeal Judge’s Ruling
This past week, U.S. District Court Judge Roger Titus dismissed the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s contention that the use of criminal background checks for prospective employees unfairly discriminates against minorities. Titus labeled the EEOC’s arguments “laughable.”
EEOC Chairwoman Jacqueline Berrien called the Judge’s ruling “clearly erroneous. Statistics show that minorities represent a disproportionate share of those convicted of crimes. A hiring policy that screens out persons with a criminal history will inevitably screen out more minorities. This is illegal.”
Berrien conceded that “businesses may feel uncomfortable with the idea of hiring those with criminal records, but this must be balanced with the rights of minorities to obtain good-paying jobs.”
“The belief that a criminal record indicates a person is just dishonest is what we question,” Berrien argued. “Dishonesty is only one reason why a person might have a criminal record. Equally important is the fact that persons with lower intelligence are more likely to make errors that lead to their arrest and conviction. Numerous studies have indicated that minorities are also over represented amongst the ranks of those with low IQs.”
Berrien expressed confidence that “we’ll win on appeal. Titus is only one judge. He was appointed by Bush and obviously doesn’t understand the important transformations President Obama is trying to make to this country. As we go further up the line in the Courts there’ll be more opportunity for the President’s views to prevail like they did when Supreme Court Justice Roberts ‘surprisingly’ upheld Obamacare.”
President Justifies Usurpations
The rising tide of extralegal Presidential edicts bypassing Congress was justified by Obama himself in remarks during a CNN interview with Chris Cuomo.
According to the president, “most Republicans tell me privately that they’d like to support me, but are afraid of retaliation from Tea Party primary challenges or being lambasted by right-wing talk shows. They’re grateful that I’m taking the ‘hot potatoes’ out of their hands with these Executive Orders.”
In illustration of his case, Obama pointed to his Executive Order authorizing subsidies for members of Congress and their staffs to offset the higher health insurance costs of the Affordable Care Act. “Their inadvertent neglect to exempt themselves from the mandates of the Act put them in the same boat as private individuals vis a vis the requirement to purchase compliant coverage,” Obama said. “It was their own fault. I could’ve just sat by and let them take their lumps. That’s what a strict observance of the law would’ve required. My willingness to go outside the narrow confines of the law saved them from the pain of having to pay more without them having to face the embarrassment of explicitly amending the Act to save themselves.”
“Congress has two core responsibilities,” the president maintained. “One is to pass the legislation needed to promote the general welfare. The other is to provide the money the Government needs. When Congress fails to carry out these responsibilities it is up to me to bridge the gap.”
“There is a solid majority on both sides of the aisle for getting things done,” the president continued. “We could let ourselves be stymied by archaic limitations or we can adapt modern methods for meeting the needs of governing in a changing world. Thankfully, the consensus favors a dynamic and flexible approach.”
In related news, Obama deflected criticism of NSA spying on citizens. “Let me assure everyone that the government is not listening to your emails or reading your phone conversations,” Obama asserted. “The claim that we would or even could do such a thing is an absurdity that raises questions about the mental health of those who make the accusations.”
Meanwhile, the NSA’s campaign of intimidation against Dan McCall continues. McCall’s website LibertyManiacs.com lampooned the NSA as “the only part of government that actually listens to the people.” NSA Director, General Keith Alexander, defended the intimidation saying that “the important work we do deserves the respect and support of every American. Mockery merits repercussions.”
Facebook Post Leads to Interrogation
An Arizona man who expressed a fear that America was becoming a police state in a post to his Facebook page was called in for interrogation by FBI agents within hours of making the statement. Faced with the threat of having a SWAT team kick down his door, Blaine Cooper voluntarily complied with a request to report to his local police station for an interview with federal agents.
Cooper described the situation as “unnerving. It turned my vague sense of uneasiness over the country’s drift into tyranny into a palpable reality. They had every Facebook post I had ever made in a huge file, along with all my wife’s information, and parent’s information. They let me go for now, but reminded me that they will still be watching me.”
The FBI’s rapid response to Cooper’s Internet post was credited to the federal government’s XKeyscore program. “Thanks to technology we can be more vigilant that ever,” boasted FBI spokesman John Boot. “Implying that the United States might be a police state is dangerously defamatory. Dissemination of this idea undermines people’s faith in and loyalty to their government. We need to nip it in the bud.”
Boot expressed the hope that “Cooper was significantly impressed by our diligence in this matter and will refrain from future slanders against the reputation and policies of his government.”
In related news, scientists at the University of Washington demonstrated the ability to control another person’s movements via a direct brain-to-brain link. It is hoped that this new breakthrough can overcome the friction of free will that impedes the pathway between issuing a command and achieving obedience on the part of the targeted individual. Up until now, orders could be misunderstood or disobeyed. If this technique can be perfected government can eliminate the intervening consciousness and allow a designated official to directly control the actions of another person.
Reid Rejects Idea of Hearing Evidence from Russian Envoys
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) rejected Russia’s offer to send a pair of members of its parliament to testify to Congress on intelligence information it has gathered on the Syrian situation, saying that “the interjection of contradictory information would only muddy the waters.”
“We’ve already heard from the president and Secretary of State Kerry.” Reid said. “Our job is to support them. Bringing in outsiders who dispute the case they have presented will only make that harder to achieve.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin found Reid’s position to be “disappointing and incomprehensible. We have a 100-page intelligence report documenting that the rebels the US is seeking to aid have engaged in despicable atrocities—including the use of chemical weapons. Perhaps the Americans would doubt the validity of such a report, but shouldn’t they at least hear the evidence before discounting it?”
As bad as the Assad Regime is, the brutality of rebel fighters has sparked growing support for his government. Massacres of unbelievers, horrific filmed executions, and cannibalism perpetrated by opponents of Assad have persuaded many that he is the lesser of evils. One of the rebel faction’s vow to “slaughter all the Christians after Syria is liberated” suggests that a US role in helping to bring this about might not be a good idea.
Despite substantial evidence of the murderous nature of the main forces opposing Assad, Senator John McCain (R-Ariz) insists that “helping them is our only option. They may not live up to our ideals of freedom and humane human interactions, but who does in this part of the world. Oppression, persecution, and mass murder are the time-honored ways of governing in the Middle East. If we refuse to assist these rebels because they have innocent blood on their hands we won’t have any horse in this race.”
Secretary of State John Kerry sought to bolster the case for US intervention by citing the fact that one of the rebel leaders recited a poem before executing a group of captured Syrian troops as “proof that they are not simply barbarians, but also have the capacity for appreciating literature and possibly other fine arts. Should we just stand by while this spark of culture is crushed by a loathsome regime?”
Reid is expected to schedule a Senate vote on whether the US should or shouldn’t bomb Syria in support of the al-Qaeda rebels on September 11. The date is considered ironic since it would be the twelfth anniversary of al-Qaeda’s attack on the NY World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
“When you think about it, doesn’t it make more sense for us to align ourselves with an organization that has a broader reach than the Assad government?” Reid asked. “Assad has shown no capability to harm us. Al-Qaeda, obviously, has. Do we really want to risk disappointing them? Wouldn’t taking sides with the stronger party make the most sense?”
Reid Gloats over Budget Brinksmanship Strategy
Despite opining that “a government shutdown would be the worst possible outcome in our negotiations over the budget,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) vowed he will “make no compromises to avoid it.”
“We’ve got control of the narrative,” Reid boasted. “Why should we give Republicans a break? Almost half of Americans depend on the government to put money in their pockets. The other half are afraid of riots in the streets if the flow of subsidies to client populations is halted. The media are ‘all in’ for blaming the GOP if anything bad happens. When you have the winning hand you don’t need to be nice.”
The Senate Majority Leader’s perspective was echoed by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). “We’re past the point of no return in this country,” Boehner argued. “Too many people are on the government teat. The slide into the abyss can’t be avoided. All we can do is try to get our fair share of the loot before it all goes to Hell.”
Reid acknowledged that he wasn’t entirely unsympathetic to Boehner’s plight. “We’ve offered to help him fend off the Tea Partiers in his Party,” Reid said. “If he can bring enough Republicans over to our side on the budget we’ll see to it that those who cooperate get a bigger piece of the pie when it’s carved up.”
President Calls House Vote on Budget “Personal Attack on Me”
The House of Representatives’ Friday vote to fund everything in government except Obamacare was labeled a “personal attack on me” by President Obama. “I think this is the first time in the nation’s 200-year plus history that a House of Congress has singled out one program for budget cuts just to diss a President.”
Obama dismissed out-of-hand the possibility that House Republicans might be genuinely responding to the public’s aversion to Obamacare (polls show a majority of Americans favor defunding the program). “People who oppose this crucial health care reform are just plain wrong,” the President insisted. “My staff and I have made a heroic effort to educate everyone on its benefits. Only willful ignorance or racism can explain the continued resistance to this gift we are trying to bestow.”
While President Obama may construe the Affordable Care Act as a “gift,” it is not free to the intended recipients. Indications are that it will add thousands of dollars a year to the cost of obtaining health insurance coverage—amounts that the backers of the law had hoped would be borne by employers. Employers, however, have made use of provisions in the law that allow them to escape this burden by converting more employees to part time status (i.e., under 30 hours per week on the job). The Obama Administration has also generously (and illegally) deferred statutory deadlines to give businesses more time to accomplish this conversion.
Meanwhile, holders of “catastrophic coverage” policies are being told their plans do not comply with the new law. As Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius has explained, “People may think they only need coverage for major emergencies, but our experts have determined that more extensive coverage is the socially responsible way to go. On the one hand, broader coverage of preventive care can help reduce the risk of major health problems going undetected. On the other hand, the provision of coverage for elective services like abortions and sex changes helps spread these costs over a wider base—making them more affordable to those who choose to access these services.”
ACLU Charges Obamacare Violates Patients’ Rights to Sexual Privacy
After New York cardiologist Adam Budzikowski complained about new rules requiring him to query his heart patients about their sex lives, the New York chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union lodged a protest.
“Why must a cardiologist be force to compile a dossier on his patient’s sex history,” Budzikowski wanted to know. “I don’t need this information in order to treat my patients. I feel like they are turning me into a sort of Gestapo interrogator. If I don’t ask these invasive questions I’ll get fined by the IRS.”
US Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius defended the questions saying that “the struggle for a healthier America requires the full participation of everyone in the healthcare community. Every doctor must extract vital information. Every patient must cooperate by answering truthfully.”
“Under the Affordable Care Act the government is taking on the primary responsibility for maintaining the heath of every American,” Sebelius explained. “In order for us to be able to plan for the health needs of everyone—both in terms of laying out the appropriate therapies individuals will have to submit to and in terms of controlling the overall costs—we must know what risks people are taking. As a significant vector for several serious medical conditions, a person’s sexual behavior is pertinent information. No one can lawfully refuse to supply it.”
Sebelius tried to reassure the ACLU that “all of this information will be safely stored in a secure government site and will only be accessed on an ‘as-needed basis’ by those duly authorized to do so.”
In related news, the thousands of Obamacare “navigators” being hired to implement the program’s heath insurance exchanges will not be required to pass a background check. “There simply isn’t enough time,” Sebelius said. “We weighed the possibility that persons with a criminal history might be hired and misuse confidential information as relatively minor and worth the risk.” Thus far, an estimated $67 million has apparently been stolen from the Obamacare implementation fund.
Feds Spare No Expense to Close Popular Tourist Sites
Determined to put a real “sting” into the shutdown of the federal government in the absence of Congressional passage of a continuing resolution, the federal government incurred the added expense of shuttering popular open-air tourist sites.
“Money isn’t the issue,” National Parks Director Jonathan Jarvis insisted. “These parks are owned by the federal government. We say when they are open and when they are closed.”
As it turns out, the NPS exercised more authority than it has. The blockades included privately funded sites that the NPS “mistakenly believed” they had the right to close. The most prominent of these was Mount Vernon—the former home of George Washington that is now run by a privately funded foundation. For that matter, though it sits on federally owned land, the WWII memorial was also built with privately raised donations.
Not all of the blockades were successful. Washington, DC’s World War II memorial was successfully invaded by a contingent of 80 and 90-year-old veterans. “We had White House authorization to use deadly force if necessary,” said Park Ranger Bob Weaver. “But without comprehensive gun control laws we couldn’t be sure we wouldn’t be outgunned. Let’s not forget that some of these old guys stormed the beaches of Normandy facing down Nazi artillery and machine guns—firepower that, thus far, has been denied to us.”
Weaver didn’t sound optimistic that the NPS’s most recent ploy of wiring the barricades together would keep out the invading vets. “It’s not barbed wire and we can’t lay down a pattern of automatic weapons fire to deter the vets from penetrating the perimeter. Fortunately, this generation is dying off and future efforts to prevent unauthorized intrusions onto government property should go more smoothly.”
Out west, tourists are utilizing helicopter tours to bypass the government’s closure of Grand Canyon National Park’s roadway entrances. NPS Director Jarvis is pressing the president to declare a “no fly zone” over the Park. “The government owns the airspace over the Canyon just as much as the ground on which the park sits,” Jarvis contended. “If we say the Park is closed no one has the right to view any part of it by any means. Flying over our barricades to sneak a peek is like stealing. It’s just plain wrong.”
Meanwhile, the October 1st implementation of the Obamacare exchanges has been largely a bust. Computer glitches impeded those few who tried to access the program. Others were stunned to discover that they must first provide an array of personal data before being allowed to see details on the insurance packages offered. Those overcoming qualms learned that the plans offered were significantly more expensive than they had been led to believe—more costly than coverages available prior to the Affordable Care Act.
Shutdown Furloughs Indicate that 40% of Federal Workforce Is Non-Essential
Other than the high-profile barricading of selected tourist destinations there is little sign that the federal government shutdown is sparking the desired degree of panic in the population. Part of the problem may be that the 800,000 furloughed employees (about 40% of the total federal workforce) are non-essential.
Naturally, the question in many people’s minds is “why does the government keep so many non-essential employees on the payroll?” President Obama explained the rationale by pointing out that “the federal government is the nation’s largest employer. As such, it is our responsibility to sop up otherwise unemployable persons and give them seemingly meaningful jobs.”
The alternative, the president said, “would be to have hundreds of thousands of individuals with non-marketable skills cast into the pool of the unemployed. The functions carried out by these workers are not the kind of tasks that customers would freely pay for if they had an option. By giving these people a desk, a computer, and paperwork to do we are allowing them a dignity and sense of worth that they might not get if they had to slave over a minimum wage job.”
In related news, an unfortunate side effect of the shutdown has been an improvement in the federal government’s cash flow. While revenues coming in have been mostly unaffected, expenditures going out have significantly dropped. As a result, the deficit has temporarily turned into a surplus. If this were permitted to continue there would be no need to raise the debt ceiling.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) described this development as “a disaster” and pleaded with Wall Street “to use your financial muscle to bring the GOP back into line. Your government contracts, your subsidies, your tax breaks—all depend upon a robustly growing federal government. If you don’t step up now your gravy train will go off the tracks we have worked together so diligently to build over the years.”
Pelosi Rejects Any Responsibility for Obamacare Disaster
October 1st’s disastrous launch of the Affordable Care Act’s automated web site “is not any of my fault,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif), architect of the law, insisted.
The former Speaker rebuffed questions asking whether she has read the law since its 2010 enactment when she famously asserted that “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what’s in it.”
“If you look carefully at what I said you’ll see that I said we had to pass the law so you can find out what’s in it,” Pelosi said. “This law isn’t for me. I have the personal resources to cover any conceivable medical treatment I might need. The law is for little people. They and the ‘navigators’ must bear the burden of finding out what’s in it, not me.”
Thus far, the vast majority of individuals trying to use the heath care website have been unable to enroll in any heath insurance plan. Glitches in the $600 million dollar software program are frustrating even the most patient users.
Whether the “navigators” will be of much assistance remains to be seen. Some are misinformed about the requirements and insist that users must input credit scores to obtain coverage. Others are connected with organizations suspected of fraud. Background checks for all navigators were waived due to “lack of time.” The Attorneys General of 13 states have warned that the navigator program presents serious risks for identity theft.
John McAfee, creator of anti-virus software, predicts that thieves will hack into the Obamacare website, steal the personal information entered by those trying to enroll in the program, and use it to empty their bank accounts. “The official Obamacare website has no reliable safeguards at all,” McAfee observed. “The massive fleecing of vast numbers of those who enroll is just a matter of time.”
NPS Director Defends Aggressive Action to Shut Parks
Called to testify before the House Natural Resources, and Oversight and Government Reform committees, National Parks Service Director Jonathan Jarvis stood by his actions during the shutdown.
The most serious challenge to Jarvis’ actions came from Representative Rob Bishop (R-Utah) who accused him of violating the Anti-deficiency Act. This Act prohibits agencies from undertaking additional work during a lapse in funding such as occurred during the recent shutdown.
Jarvis didn’t deny that sending Park Rangers to barricade open air monuments and harass tourists violated this statute. “I will grant that the text of the statute would appear to prohibit the actions I authorized,” Jarvis admitted. “However, I discussed this matter with officials at the White House and Secretary Jewell. I was assured that the President’s authority superseded a rigid adherence to the statutory text.”
“I was told that if we left the Mall or the World War II Memorial open they wouldn’t really be shutdown,” Jarvis continued. “I mean, without the barricades how would the general public even know they were closed? Likewise, if we had allowed tourists to drive through our national parks and take photos it would have diluted the message that these places were closed. It’s not enough to just passively lock the doors of the visitors’ centers and think we’ve closed the parks if we let people take a peek from their vehicles while driving.”
An overlooked rationale for aggressively shutting down NPS sites according to Jarvis was the threat of terrorism. “If we left these sites open and unbarricaded they could’ve easily fallen into the hands of terrorists,” Jarvis contended. “As we saw, octogenarians were able to penetrate the perimeters we tried to establish. Imagine how much worse it could’ve been if, instead, al-Qaeda had chosen this occasion to seize these sites.”
In related news, President Obama created and awarded a Presidential Medal of Honor to Jarvis “for his heroic actions during the just concluded shutdown crisis. Without Director Jarvis’ steadfast leadership in this time of peril unauthorized viewing of some of America’s most treasured resources and sacred historic sites might have gone unopposed. In the full knowledge that he might face grievous criticism for actions many would classify as spiteful and vindictive, he did not waver from carrying out my orders.”
GOP Healthcare Bill Denounced
Senator Ron Johnson’s (R-Wisc) proposed legislation, the “If You Like Your Health Plan, You Can Keep It Act,” was immediately denounced by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) as “out of line.”
“This bill would completely undermine the Affordable Care Act,” Reid charged. “It trades on the simplistic notion that individuals should be permitted to decide what kind of health insurance they need. This is flawed logic. First of all, individuals aren’t qualified to assess the complex issues of health care coverage. Second, allowing people to keep plans they like would cater to the kind of selfishness that is wrecking this country.”
In defense of his bill, Senator Johnson argued that “it merely implements President Obama’s promise that those who like their existing insurance would be allowed to keep it. As we’re seeing millions of customers are being notified by their insurers that the Affordable Care Act requires the cancellation of ‘non-conforming plans.’”
“The president’s promise was never intended as a ‘blank check’ on behalf of personal greed,” Reid countered. “Those who like their existing insurance because it gives them coverage they want at a price they can afford are overlooking the broader social obligations they must bear as a member of society. All the President is asking is that we all share the burden of subsidizing the coverage of those worse off than themselves.”
The contingent of “worse off” includes those with pre-existing conditions, those with chronic health problems brought on by obesity, substance abuse, and serving in government. As Representative Charles Rangel (D-NY) explains, “the stress we face in our jobs is severe. On the one hand, lobbyists continually pressure us with temptations—free meals, free trips, campaign donations—that take a toll on our health. On the other hand, there is the constant fear that someone will perceive that we have done something wrong—taken a payoff to push legislation, cheated on our taxes—that disturbs our repose. We need and deserve a subsidy.”
While members of Congress’ salary of $174,000 per year plus assorted perks puts them well above the income level below which people must fall to qualify for Obamacare subsidies, Rangel and his colleagues, by executive order, will receive annual subsidies of nearly $11,000 to help fund their health insurance.
In related news, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius confirmed that she would not be signing up for Obamacare, saying that “I have a better plan that I’m satisfied with and I’m going to keep it.”
Press Secretary Insists President Didn’t Break Promise
As the first wave of Americans are discovering that they can’t keep heath insurance plans they like, the impression that President Obama lied to them is seeping into public awareness. Analysts predict that as many as 90 million will ultimately be forced off their current plans.
A desperate Presidential Press Secretary Jay Carney strove to deflect the impression that Obama lied about the impact the Affordable Care Act would have on policyholders. “The President didn’t lie to anyone in any meaningful sense,” Carney insisted. “While it’s true that a few who were satisfied with inferior plans will now be required to select new conforming plans, they need to realize that this is for their own good.”
Carney likened President Obama’s assurances to those that a parent gives a child. “There are times when a father or mother will offer to let a child choose a toy,” Carney said. “However, the parent reserves the right to veto the child’s choice if it would result in the purchase of a defective or dangerous product. All the Affordable Care Act is doing is vetoing the selection of defective and dangerous insurance policies.”
One of the “defects” of the policies that many would like to keep is the failure to provide mandated coverages like maternity benefits. As Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius explained to an incredulous Representative Renee Ellmers (R-NC), “just because a man is single doesn’t mean he can’t father a child, in which case he’ll be glad he has maternity coverage.”
After an off-microphone whispered conversation with a member of her staff, Sebelius revised her statement. “I am told that the example I just gave is incorrect, that the pregnant woman’s insurance would cover maternity costs,” Sebelius admitted. “But, since the Affordable Care Act covers sex-change surgery a person that starts out as a single man could become a woman and then benefit from maternity coverage.”
A second whispered consultation produced yet another revised statement. “My staff tells me it is not possible for a male undergoing a sex-change operation to become a mother,” Sebelius said. “Well, we are going to look into that and see if the Act can be amended to overcome this limitation. The President is committed to making this law work and we will do whatever it takes to make that happen.”
In related news, new research by scientists at the Medical Research Council Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit (MRC CBSU) and the University of Cambridge has shown that some patients declared to be in an irreversible vegetative state are actually more aware of their surroundings than thought. Whether this would change the currently approve protocol of removing life support from such patients “would be a matter for the Independent Payment Advisory Board to make,” said Sebelius. “We don’t have an unlimited amount of money to work with. If keeping these patients alive means we’d have to cut back on the number of abortions we can fund, well, that would be a decision for the Board to make. The needs of the few shouldn’t be allowed to trample the needs of the many.”
Health Secretary’s Big Announcement
After titillating the media for the past few days with hints of a “big announcement,” Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius told an audience in Atlanta that her office was taking a “historic step to aggressively deal with mental health issues under the Affordable Care Act.”
Undaunted by a spattering of audible groans from the audience, Sebelius plowed ahead explaining that “studies show that nearly 50 percent of Americans have serious mental health issues that have gone untreated. People who should be on medication are not currently receiving this benefit. People who should be institutionalized are not receiving this benefit. We are going to fix that.”
The secretary promised that “as soon as we get the bugs worked out of the computerized sign-up process we will be able to begin meting out these benefits to those who need them.” She brushed aside suggestions that some of the intended beneficiaries might not want the services she is vowing to impose on them. “People with untreated illnesses pose a risk to society that we cannot afford to ignore. Protecting the 50 percent of the population that is not afflicted with mental health problems is just as important as treating those who are.”
One measure reported to be under consideration would be to add anti-psychotic medications to the water supply. “One of the biggest difficulties in medicine is getting the patient to consistently and reliably take the drugs that are prescribed for him,” Sebelius pointed out. “If we add medications to the water supply people forgetting to take their meds will be a thing of the past. We already add fluoride to the water. The success of that program shows that removing the human element from the medicating procedure is the way to go.”
In related news, Sebelius labeled fears that increased government control over health care would lead to “passive extermination” of the seriously ill elderly as “exaggerated.” The fears were reignited by a report on how the UK’s National Health Service held 80-year-old patient Ron Jee without food or water for four days waiting for him to die.
“People are making a big deal about how this patient was crying and pleading for help during his treatment,” Sebelius said. “That is the narrow view. The broader perspective is that our resources are finite. Food and water expended on those who’s lives have little value to society subtracts from what we then have available for higher value individuals. Surely, the good of the whole outweighs the brief suffering of the few.”
President “Fixes” Obamacare
Stirred into action by the threat his signature legislation poses to Democrats’ hopes for the November 2014 elections, President Obama agreed to stand behind his false promise that those who liked their health insurance could keep it. The “fix” the president offers is that he will forgo enforcing the Affordable Care Act for one year.
Ironically, the year’s delay in enforcement is what the GOP proposed over two months ago. At that time delay was so unacceptable that Obama had the government shutdown rather than accede to the GOP proposal.
Whether the president’s fix is legal was questioned by former Governor Howard Dean (D-Vermont). “This would seem to violate the president’s oath of office,” Dean said. “As chief executive, the President is supposed to ensure that the laws of this country are faithfully enforced. Amending the clear language of the statute as President Obama has done usurps powers the Constitution delegates to Congress.”
A GOP attempt to codify the “fix” via enabling legislation was introduced by House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich). Upton’s bill—the “Keep Your Health Plan Act”–passed the House by a 261-157 vote. Nevertheless, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md) declared the vote “a waste of time and an infringement of the president’s flexibility. If we pass a statutory change to the Affordable Care Act it would tie the President’s hands. I mean, what if he determines that the delay needs to be rescinded?”
The White House has already vowed to veto the House measure should it make it through the Senate and reach the president’s desk. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) assured that “this will never happen. The president has shown the courage to rise above the petty constraints others would impose on his latitude. You don’t hog tie the person you’re counting on to save the day with fetters forged by those long dead. He needs a free hand to rule in the best interests of the American people.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) concurred in Reid’s assessment. “The notion that there are a lot of people who like their old policies is completely bogus,” Pelosi contended. “I have yet to meet a single person who isn’t glad that the government is forcing everyone to buy a new and improved insurance plan.”
Pelosi dismissed reports of cancer patients being thrown off their old insurance plans and widespread “sticker shock” at the higher prices of ACA compliant policies as “minor bumps in the road. Every major undertaking is bound to rack up a few casualties along the way. No insurance system can save everyone. The important thing is to get everyone on-board a plan that Health and Human Services has determined best serves the nation.”
FEC Rules against Tea Party
The Federal Election Commission ruled that “fear of harassment” is an insufficient reason for Tea Party affiliated groups to conceal the names, addresses, and places of employment of those who donate to their cause.
FEC Chair Ellen Weintraub rejected Tea Party arguments citing protections against disclosure granted to organizations like the NAACP and Socialist Workers Party. “The Socialist Workers Party has never been an effective organization,” Weintraub pointed out. “None of their candidates have ever been elected. The same cannot be said for the Tea Party.”
“The NAACP is working for the advancement of a racial minority,” Weintraub continued. “They need protection from harassment by a racist majority. The Tea Party arose, in part, to oppose the policies of a minority President. For them to try to claim the same protections would be a travesty.”
Weintraub dismissed revelations of Government spying by the NSA and harassment by the IRS of Tea Party groups as evidence of a real threat to freedom of speech. “There is no question that the values, views, and actions of Tea Party groups are out-of-sync with those of the federal government,” she declared. “It would seem that the Government has good reason to want to keep close tabs on them. Exposing the identities of the shadowy figures who are bankrolling these anti-government activists is our first line of defense against them.”
AG May File Suit against Abortion Drug Manufacturer
A recent warning by the manufacturer of Norlevo, a morning-after abortifacient, that the drug won’t prevent pregnancy in women weighing over 176 pounds and may be unreliable for women over 165 pounds inspired US Attorney General Eric Holder to threaten to sue the manufacturers of this and similar drugs.
“It is important that all be treated equally,” Holder declared. “To market a medicine that works for some, but not for others is, ipso facto, discriminatory, and thus, illegal.”
Holder said he isn’t buying the argument that inherent differences between individuals inevitably means that the responses to medications are not uniform from person to person. “We are a country dedicated to the concept of equal rights,” Holder maintained. “The equal right to medical care is undermined if therapies are devised that have unequal results for different people.”
The fact that the average weight of women in the United States is 166 pounds seemed to add fuel to Holder’s anger. “What this manufacturer is saying is that the average woman in America cannot rely upon their product,” Holder observed. “This means, that in essence, their remedy is only fit for a thin elite of this country’s female population. This is so wrong that it cannot go uncorrected.”
The attorney general acknowledged that he was “loath to issue a cease-and-desist order, since continued access to abortion for thinner women is a vital component of the president’s vision for the future. However, holding the company liable for every unwanted birth by the users of its product may be the only equitable solution.”
Under the “consent agreement” Holder’s agency is drafting, manufacturers of morning-after abortifacients would be required to reimburse every woman who uses their product the estimated $250,000 lifetime cost of raising a child in America if they later became pregnant.
Pundit in Awe of Obama
MSNBC’s Chris Matthews compared his interview with President Obama to Jesus Christ’s return from the dead. “He came among us,” Matthews breathlessly exclaimed. “He shook my hand. He sat right next to me. He answered my questions. He restored my faith.”
Matthews said he imagined that “this must be how the Apostles felt when they saw Jesus after the crucifixion and burial. I felt so privileged, so blessed to be so close to this awesomely great entity.”
In order to set up Matthews’ meeting with the awesome Barack Obama, American University bumped Ballet Petite’s final two dress rehearsals for “The Nutcracker.”
Melissa Carney, the ballet company’s artistic director, called the decision “heartbreaking and unnecessary. We made the reservation last January. These young performers have been rehearsing since August. To cut them off just prior to their opening night performance was thoughtless and cruel. Surely there were other stages available for a sit-down interview. Mr Matthews has a TV program. Why couldn’t they have used that venue?”
Matthews sought to minimize Carney’s concerns by pointing out that “performances of The Nutcracker have been going on for hundreds of years and will undoubtedly go on for hundreds more. This interview was a once-in-a-lifetime thing for me. Besides, I think my efforts to rescue the President from the media lynching he’s taken over the disastrous health care roll out are a far better use of the facility than gratifying the egos of a few juvenile prancers.”
Young People’s Objections to Obamacare Called Selfish
Polls indicating that Obamacare may be costing Democrats the youth vote sparked outrage from several sources. Representative Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (Fla), Chair of the Democratic National Committee, characterized concerns over the price as “selfish and misguided.”
“Those reacting negatively to insurance plans that double or triple their out-of-pocket costs for medical care are placing their own welfare ahead of society’s,” she declared. “Maybe they think they’re strong and healthy and don’t need medication or therapy, but what about those who do?”
The Congresswoman urged young people to “not try to substitute their thinking for that of the government’s experts. These experts have thoroughly reviewed the issue and determined that the collective well-being of the whole will be better served if the healthy young subsidize the sicker old.”
Over at the Department of Health and Human Services, Secretary Kathleen Sebelius sought to tackle what she called “youth obstinacy on this issue” by naming a video titled “Forget About the Price Tag” the grand prize winner in her agency’s contest to encourage young people to sign up for Obamacare.
“Now is not the time for young people to be shopping for a better value for what they pay,” Sebelius advised. “Now is the time for them to willingly shoulder the burdens that government has assigned to them. You know, the so-called ‘Greatest Generation’ didn’t question the role assigned to them by FDR. They accepted their task to defeat the Nazis, many of them at the cost of their own lives. We’re not asking nearly as much. All we want is these young people’s money. Why can’t they simply do as we ask?”
Administration’s Clueless Afghanistan Experts Testify
The Obama Administration’s cadre of experts in charge of the Afghan War testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee this week and revealed a profound ignorance of what is going on. None of the witnesses had any idea on what the war cost last year or how many Americans have been killed in the last 12 months.
James Dobbins, The State Department’s special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, complained that the questions were unfair, “No one told us there might be a quiz. Anyway, isn’t there some website where people can get these statistics? Why should we be expected to know them?”
Michael Dumont, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia, characterized the questioning as “intrusive. It seems to me that Congress is overstepping its bounds. The President is the Commander-in-Chief, not Congress. I have to question their need to know.”
Representative Gerald Connolly (D-Va) professed himself “stunned” by the testimony. “Knowing what a war costs in terms of lives and money is pretty basic stuff,” Connolly observed. “It’s not like we dragged some random people off the street to testify. These guys are paid by the taxpayers to carry out the business of the government. For them to appear before Congress and not know these things raises serious questions about the competence of those the President has entrusted with such grave responsibilities.”
Obamacare: Administration Grants More “Hardship” Exemptions
This week the Obama Administration granted yet another exemption from compliance with the Affordable Care Act. Using the “hardship clause” of the Act, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius ruled that “those whose previous insurance was canceled and who are unable to buy qualifying policies may buy substandard policies for the next year.”
Sebelius admitted that “it’s a bit ironic that our effort to push everyone into quality insurance plans has actually resulted in fewer people having health insurance than before the Affordable Care Act took effect. Among the more obedient segment of the population, the failures of the website have blocked many from acquiring policies that conform to the mandated standards. Among the more disagreeable segment, unwillingness to pay the higher premiums for coverage they deem inappropriate to their needs has led to many declining to participate.”
“Fortunately, the Act gives me virtually unconstrained authority to exempt whoever I feel warrants exemption,” the Secretary continued. “I’m using that authority to declare that the Act itself has created a hardship for people whose plans that they liked were canceled. I mean, if the President didn’t see this coming how can we have expected lesser common and ordinary people to have foreseen it?”
Robert Zirkelbach, spokesman for America’s Health Insurance Plans criticized the move as “disruptive and confusing. The whole premise of the Affordable Care Act was that it would enable us to insure the previously uninsurable by compelling the healthy to pay more for coverage they don’t need. Without this compulsory element the system won’t be financially feasible.”
Sebelius characterized Zirkelbach’s remarks as “unhelpful. We need solidarity and cooperation, not criticism. Everyone needs to pull together to get the ship of state righted. We need everyone to trust that we will get all the problems solved and give the American people the world’s best healthcare system if given enough time.”
How much time might be required is in dispute amongst the program’s supporters. Democratic National Committee Chairwoman, Representative Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (Fla) is convince the system will be working great in time to boost Democratic candidates’ chances in the November 2014 election. David Plouffe, former top adviser to President Obama, says we need to “wait until at least 2017 to know one way or the other.”
In related news, Teresa Fryer, the chief information security officer for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, told House Oversight Committee officials that the healthcare website is unsuitable for public use because of severe security risks. Fryer testified that she explicitly recommended denial of the website’s Authority to Operate, but was overruled by her superiors. “Sadly, the need to portray the President’s image as a man who keeps his promises prevailed over the reality of undue risk of identity theft to the website’s users,” Fryer said.
Detroit Ruins Draw Tourists to City
Detroit’s decline into bankruptcy and decay seems to have boosted its desirability as a sight for tourists to visit. Howard Carter, a recent visitor to the City’s ruins, was quite enthusiastic, “It’s like seeing the pyramids without having to wait thousands of years for them to turn into ruins.”
Carter congratulated himself on his good fortune. “Instead of having to pay thousands of dollars to take the family to Egypt we were all able to hop in the car and drive over from Canton,” Carter boasted. “At most we’re out a few hundred bucks instead of the thousands an overseas trip would’ve cost us. And every dollar we spent stayed in the US helping to boost our own economy.”
Locals are even giving guided tours. “We paid a guy $50 bucks for a three-hour tour,” Carter said. “In addition to describing the decay from prior greatness he was able to direct us past dangerous areas where roving gangs of violent youths battle each other for turf and prey upon unwary intruders.”
Retiring Mayor Dave Bing (D) declared himself “pleased with the city’s ability to transition to a new way of life. From the media coverage you’d think that the City is just a big wasteland. But even wastelands have a part to play in the evolution of a culture.”
Bing modestly refused to take all the credit, “I’ve done as much as I could in the last five years, but the momentum was established by policies set in place a long time ago. My role was more like a basketball player dribbling out the clock to preserve the team’s win.”
In related news, Wisconsin is spending millions of dollars to maintain vacant public school buildings rather than rent or sell the space to charter schools. Milwaukee Public Schools spokesman Anthony Tagliavia explains that “letting charter schools use these buildings and grounds would remove the one remaining competitive advantage public schools have over these rivals. Forcing charter schools to rent vacant commercial space denies them the opportunity to offer suitable playgrounds the children might use for recess or PE.”
Obamacare “Sticker-Shock” Hits More Americans
The Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) may seem to be anything but affordable to many average Americans. Take a middle class, middle aged couple earning a combined income of $65,000 a year. Under Obamacare, this couple would have to pay $19,400 before receiving a single dollar of benefits from their “bronze plan.” This is a total comprised of a $9,400 annual premium and a $10,000 deductible.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius disputed the contention that “merely because some people are paying more than they previously paid doesn’t make the overall program unaffordable. Many of those signing up are qualifying for subsidies. When we consider both those receiving subsidies and those paying higher premiums to help cover the cost of those subsidies the average outcome is in line with what the President is trying to achieve.”
Confronted with the above example couple, Sebelius pointed out that “even a cost of $19,400 per year is still less than 30 percent of their annual income. And that’s only if either one of them gets seriously ill. If neither one of them has to see a doctor they’re only out the $9,400 insurance premium. That’s less than 15 percent of their income. So, people can cut their own medical expenses in half if they stay healthy and keep away from doctors. That sounds pretty affordable to me.”
Ironically, prior to the passage of the ACA people could cut their own medical expenses to zero by staying healthy and keeping away from doctors. Consequently, it may be difficult for many people to fully appreciate Sebelius’ contention that the law is a benefit to them.
A Satirical Look at Recent News
John Semmens is a retired economist who has written a weekly political satire column for The Arizona Conservative since 2005. He says working on his satires is one of the ways he tries to honor the liberties that our nation’s Founding Fathers tried to protect.
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