By John Semmens – Semi-News — A Satirical Look at Recent News
Seeking to build on the momentum of last week’s Supreme Court decision upholding the Obama Administration’s executive “tweaking” of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), presidential candidate Hillary Clinton sought to reassure voters that they could count on her to preserve this law.
Clinton warned that “if the country elects a Republican as president this important advance toward universal health care could well be reversed.” She further urged voters to “ignore the siren song of individual choice that so many in the GOP are singing. Individual choice allows the ill-informed to neglect to obtain the type of coverage that experts all agree is necessary.”
The candidate contrasted the GOP’s vision of “each person doing whatever he thinks best for himself and his family” with Democrats’ “more socially responsible approach of everyone doing what society has determined is best for the collective whole. What’s good for the health of one individual may not be good for the health of the people. Stark as it may seem, sometimes the interest of the individual must be sacrificed for society’s benefit. That’s why we have to trust experts to perform the triage necessary to ensure that society’s interest is placed ahead of individual selfishness.”
As currently structured, the ACA shifts the burden toward making the young and healthy subsidize the older and less healthy. These subsidies will encourage the recipients to increase their demand for services and put further financial pressure on the system. Clinton promised to address this problem by incorporating a “value of remaining life” metric into the expert-guided triage process. “If an individual’s ‘value of remaining life’ is less than the amount required to preserve that life, the best interest of society will be allowed to prevail,” she said. “The health care system will ensure that dignified and painless exit options are provided for those whose continued presence is an unsustainable cost to society.”
In related news, the IRS has warned small employers that they will be fined up to $36,500 per employee, per year if they give these employees any aid in paying the high premiums or deductibles of their individual Obamacare policies. “Under the rules we have established, these employers must pay all or none of their employees’ health insurance costs,” said Secretary Sylvia Burwell. “We can’t let each individual or business make up some hybrid plan of their own.”
Oregon Cancels Free Speech Rights of Christian Bakers
Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian finalized his order requiring Aaron and Melissa Klein, bakers who refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding, to pay $135,000 in emotional damages to the couple they denied service. When the Kleins attempted to defend their religious objections in a radio interview, Avakian issued a “gag order” forbidding them from speaking publicly on the topic.
Avakian dismissed the “freedom of speech” claim, insisting that “Oregon’s statute outlaws refusals to serve customers based on their sexual orientation. For them to try to continue the argument after I have already ruled against them shows contempt for the process. On top of that, their assertion that same-sex marriage violates God’s laws is hate speech. No one can prove there is a God, much less know what such an entity’s ‘laws’ might be.”
Neither did Avakian accept the contention that $135,000 might be an excessive penalty given that the couple’s desired cake could have easily been baked by any number of other willing bakeries. “Under Oregon’s law, any consumer has an absolute right to be served by the vendor of his or her choice,” he pointed out. “No customer should have to endure even the slightest inconvenience. It does not matter that there were dozens, maybe hundreds of competing bakers who could have fulfilled that order. Sure, $135,000 is far in excess of any actual damages, but by making an example of the Kleins we are warning others to not make the same mistake.”
To the Kleins’ complaint that the fine and gag order shows that “in Oregon we neither have freedom of religion or freedom of speech,” Avakian replied that “loss of civil rights is a penalty lawbreakers must expect to suffer.”
Obama Rebuffs Objections to Cuba Policy
Senator Ted Cruz’s objections that the Administration’s recent moves to recognize the communist regime in Cuba violate US law were rebuffed by President Obama. According to Title 22 of the US Code, the President must determine that Cuba has a democratically elected government in order to consider the restoration of diplomatic relations between our two countries.
According to the President, “times have changed and our laws need to change with them. The effort to try to isolate Cuba is a relic of the Cold War that is, in my judgment, no longer pertinent or necessary. Rather than go through the complicated and time-consuming charade of asking Congress to amend the statute, I am exercising my authority as Commander-in-Chief to revise this obsolete provision of our laws.”
Obama similarly brushed aside the law’s requirement that Cuba settle outstanding claims for compensation for the assets confiscated by the Castro government saying simply that “there’s no way they are going to pay. If we want to normalize relations with them we’re going to have to let this go.”
Whether riding roughshod over existing statutes will be enough to achieve the President’s objective of diplomatic recognition remains to be seen. The Government of Cuba is also demanding that the US cede the Guantánamo Bay territory and censor all US radio and television broadcasts that can be received on the island. Too many of these broadcasts contain material that the Cuban Government classifies as “counterrevolutionary.”
“The fact that Cuba has not met the requirements laid out in our laws combined with their government’s demand that we aid and abet their tyranny by censoring broadcasters’ freedom of speech should give pause to the President’s rush to illegally grant concessions,” Cruz urged.
While allowing that “Cruz deserves some credit for perseverance,” President Obama expressed his confidence that “after last week’s Supreme Court decisions can there be any doubt that my adjustments to our laws will be upheld? What will it take for Cruz and his ilk to realize that it’s ‘game over.’ I’ve won. They need to live with that.”
EPA Mulling Rules against Fireworks, BBQs
The American tradition of celebrating Independence Day with fireworks and barbeques may be living on borrowed time. The Environmental Protection Agency is working on new regulations that could put a serious dent in the festivities. Strict new standards for ozone could bar most fireworks displays and some backyard BBQs.
EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy derided the idea that traditional modes of celebrating July 4th merited any special consideration. “Clean air is too important to play second-fiddle to abuses that result in needless pollution,” McCarthy contended. “Given our modern technology there are surely more environmentally-friendly ways of celebrating this annual event.”
The Administrator suggested that “electronic light shows are less polluting and, in my opinion, a more forward looking way of achieving the same end. Likewise, who really needs to barbeque on the Fourth, or any other day, for that matter? Grilling is an unhealthy way to cook for reasons beyond the air pollution it causes. Besides, people should be eating more steamed vegetables and less meat for their own health.”
Universities Strive to Stamp out Politically Incorrect Speech
The academic luminaries of the University of California and the University of Wisconsin are in the forefront of efforts to eradicate hurtful speech. Professors have been alerted to be on the lookout for phrases that the school’s have characterized as “microaggressions” that demean a person’s sense of self worth. Students or fellow faculty members using such phrases are to be reported to the school administration for disciplinary action.
Sane persons might be surprised to learn what some of these forbidden phrases are. In California, use of the phrase “America is the land of opportunity” or “everyone in this society can succeed, if they work hard enough” will get you into trouble. In Wisconsin, outlawed phrases include “I believe the most qualified person should get the job” and “there is only one race, the human race.”
Wisconsin Chancellor Bernie Patterson explained that “these seemingly innocuous words can be very hurtful. Saying that the most qualified person should get the job is anti-democratic. It implies that the one best should prevail over the larger number of less qualified persons. This is elitism.”
“Likewise, lumping everyone into a single ‘human race’ would completely destroy the basis for affirmative action,” he added. “In fact, elevating the less qualified on the basis of race is the very foundation of affirmative action. But our objections go even deeper than this. Is it proper to use qualifications and performance to make any decisions? The whole idea of excellence and merit puts values derived from western societies ahead of values indigenous to other cultures. Can we justify a standard that mindlessly condemns mediocrity and idleness as inferior when the ratio of effort to reward in our society reveals these strategies to be very efficient for less capable individuals?”
Patterson went on to argue that “distributing grades and university honors to all impartially, without regard to performance, effort, or ability would be more egalitarian. If we really believe in social justice this is the ideal toward which we should be working.”
In related news, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has banned employers from prying into a job applicant’s criminal history prior to hiring him. “It’s hard to get a job if your past mistakes can be used against you,” de Blasio said. “We need to level the playing field so former felons have a chance to go straight.” The risk that a former criminal might be a liability to the business or a danger to customers was declared “acceptable” by the Mayor. “You have to weigh the occasional theft or rape against the benefit to the thousands of ex-cons who need a way to rebuild their lives.”
Judge Blocks 24-Hour Waiting Period for Abortions
Circuit Judge Charles Dodson blocked the State of Florida’s new 24-hour waiting period for obtaining an abortion calling it “an intolerable inconvenience” that causes “irreparable harm.” The action came in response to a suit filed on behalf of 14 women who were unable to obtain abortions at the Gainesville clinic on the first day.
“Forcing a woman to wait 24 hours in order to get an abortion disrespects the value of her time,” Dodson ruled. “Once a person loses a day of her life it can never be gotten back. The state has no mandate to impose this kind of irretrievable loss on its citizens in contravention of the inalienable right to an abortion granted by the US Supreme Court in 1973’s Roe vs. Wade decision.”
A Satirical Look at Recent News
John Semmens is a retired economist who has written a weekly political satire for The Arizona Conservative since 2005. He says working on his satires is one of the ways he tries to honor the liberties our Founding Fathers tried to protect.
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