John Semmens

SEMI-NEWS: A Satire of Recent News

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SEMI-NEWS: A Satire of Recent News, March 9, 2014 Edition

Seriously Ill Hurt by Obamacare a “Tiny Minority”

As the number of seriously ill patients whose access to treatment has been impeded by the Affordable Care Act continues to increase, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius insists that “the actual number affected represents only a tiny minority of the population.”

No plan can comfortably accommodate every single person,” Sebelius pointed out. “Trade-offs are inevitable. We can't let ourselves be distracted by the pitiful stories of a handful of unfortunate victims of rare diseases. The vast majority are receiving the coverage we deem essential.”

Providing the “vast majority” with contraceptives, mammograms, and sex change surgery while short-changing the desperately sick would appear to contradict the main purpose of insurance. According to Sebelius, though, “serving the majority's needs is more democratic. Why should the healthy majority be denied the convenience of having basic services covered at the cost of investing society's scarce resources in a futile effort to treat those likely to die from their ailments?”

The Secretary argued that “from a broader perspective, culling the weakest from the herd is the sounder investment. The money saved by diverting funds from being spent on hopeless cases can be better used to serve the much larger number of persons who can benefit from basic preventive care.”

The IRS has estimated that the “basic care” provided by the Affordable Care Act will cost the average American family $20,000 a year—a statistic that Sebelius insisted “bolsters the case for prioritizing outlays to ensure as wide a distribution of benefits as possible. The notion that we should concentrate these outlays for the benefit of a sick minority flies in the face of political reality.”

Putin Cites Historic Precedent for Crimea Vote

In rebuttal to President Obama's assertion that having voters in the Crimea decide whether to be immediately absorbed into Russia or to first declare independence from Ukraine before being absorbed is illegal and “on the wrong side of history,” Russian President Vladimir Putin cited a 20th century precedent in justification.

A plebiscite in which the people of a region decide their own fate is the most democrat way of resolving sovereignty issues,” Putin said. “We are not inventing this method. In 1938 it was used to allow the people of Austria to unite with their fellow ethnic Germans. Why should we not use it to permit the majority of ethnic Russians in the Crimea to reunite with their mother country?”

The presence of Russian troops in the Crimea, according to Putin, “will ensure that the fascist Ukrainian minority does not intimidate the Russian majority from freely expressing its wishes.” The Russian President intimated that he has similar concerns that ethnic Russians are being mistreated in other nations bordering his country and “would not rule out forceful intervention to secure their liberty from their oppressors.”

Perhaps the most tragic consequence of the Crimean crisis is that it may force President Obama to cut short his Florida vacation. The trip, his third vacation since January 1st of this year, is considered “vital to the nation,” according to First Lady Michelle. “How can Barack be expected to retain his image as the world's most important and powerful man if a minor skirmish in a far off part of the world is permitted to disrupt his plans? Rather than allowing himself to be diminished by events he should rise above them by doing as he pleases.”

Carney Explains President's “God's Will” Comment

Speaking to a group of “pro-choice” advocates for government-funded abortions, President Obama praised them as “doing God's work.” In a bid to stem criticism from “pro life” opponents of abortion, Press Secretary Jay Carney suggested that “since God is supposed to be all-powerful, how can the President's assertion be wrong?”

When a person dies the devoutly religious often say God has called him back to heaven,” Carney recalled. “So, if a doctor sends a fetus back to heaven who's to say he isn't doing God's work? Look at all the suffering that is averted. An unwanted child is spared a lifetime of pain. A hard-pressed would-be mother is spared the encumbrance of two decades of imprisonment as an unwilling caregiver. Aren't these objectives worthy of God's appreciation? I think those taking the President to task on this are skating on thin ice.”

In related news, at the University of Georgia, the Women’s Studies Student Organization and Sexual Health Advocacy Group screened off an anti-abortion demonstration so it could not be seen by passersby. Danielle Duncan, one of the pro-choice activists, defended what she characterized as “guerrilla censorship,” contending that “the pro-life display is hate speech, pure and simple. Showing the dismembered bodies of aborted fetuses could trigger negative emotions. So-called freedom of speech shouldn't be used to offend people in this way.”

Taking the 5th Is Only Option for Lerner, Lawyer Says

There is little doubt that former IRS official Lois Lerner possesses key information on illegal activities conducted by the Agency. Emails from her account verify that. Yet, on two occasions, Lerner has invoked the Fifth Amendment's guarantee against self-incrimination and refused to testify before Congress.

Lerner’s attorney Bill Taylor argues that “it is her only chance if she hopes to come out of this alive. This point was made clear to me when we talked to representatives at the Department of Justice. The Administration has many potent options for taking extreme action against my client. Convincing the DOJ that she is unshakably loyal is the only safe course she has. Should there be a smidgen of doubt about this she's a goner.”

Taylor portrayed a looming contempt of Congress citation as “an inconsequential threat. Even if they levy this against her it will be up to the DOJ to pursue the case. We have assurances from AG Holder that she has nothing to fear along these lines. No one with any sense can blame Ms. Lerner for preferring to risk the animosity of an impotent Congress to that of a deadly earnest President Obama.”

In related news, Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz's call for the IRS to be abolished was labeled “totally irresponsible” by Commissioner John Koskinen. “Cruz's proposal for a simple flat tax would eviscerate the Agency's flexibility. All income would be treated alike. We'd have no latitude to guide the economy by granting exemptions for favored activities or groups. The Agency's utility as a tool of the Administration for rewarding those who are contributing to the success of its policies would be severely curtailed.”

Democrats Denounce Continued GOP Interference with Obamacare

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) denounced the latest GOP efforts to intervene in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. The former Speaker's remarks followed a House vote to delay the individual mandate to purchase health insurance or pay a penalty.

When will these people recognize that this is the President's law?” Pelosi asked. “They're the ones that insist it be called Obamacare, for heavens sake. Shouldn't it be clear that if any changes are needed that the President be the one to enact them?”

That changes might be needed seems readily evident. Problems with the website, complaints from key Democratic constituencies, and potential political setbacks for the Party come November have already led the President to make nearly two dozen illegal modifications to the statute.

The assertion that it takes an Act of Congress to amend an Act of Congress is a non-starter for this pivotal legislation,” Special Assistant to the President Josh Earnest said. “There can be little doubt that the GOP's objectives are to undermine this law. The President, in contrast, is trying to protect it. Who should we trust?”

The Republicans in the House are wasting their time,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid boasted. “I control the Senate. I will ensure that no revisions to this law originating outside the Oval Office will ever be heard, much less voted on, in this chamber. No matter how many tales of suffering or hardship may be concocted, I will not be swayed from my determination to protect the President's prerogative to shape the law as he sees fit.”

Union Defends Publishing Names of “Opt-Outs”

Lawrence Roehrig, international vice president of AFSCME and secretary treasurer of Michigan AFSCME Council 25, defended the union's decision to publish the names of hospital workers who opted out of the union.

Social pressure is one of the time-honored ways the union has used to encourage people to accept their responsibility to join,” Roehrig said. “If a non-joiner can keep his apostasy secret he will be able to shirk his responsibility without consequence. If he knows he will be unmasked he will be more inclined to do the right thing.”

Roehrig maintained that “the people opting out are doing so for selfish reasons. They allege that they don't get enough value out of the dues they have to pay. The purpose of the union, though, is to promote the collective benefit of the whole workforce. People shouldn't be allowed to leave just because they personally would be better off. They have a duty to sacrifice for the good of the whole.”

With their names posted for all to see, these miscreants will know that they have only themselves to blame if coworkers exact a bit of informal justice on them,” Roehrig pointed out. “If this brings them to their senses we'll welcome them back with no hard feelings.”


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