John Semmens

SEMI-NEWS: A Satire of Recent News

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SEMI-NEWS: A Satire of Recent News, April 13, 2014 Edition

State Department Priorities Debated

Prior to 2012's attack on Libyan Ambassador Chris Stevens there were numerous rejected requests from the Ambassador for more security. Then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton blamed the repeated rejection of these requests on budget constraints. At the same time, the State Department was laying out funds for some dubious undertakings—including funding the sending of comedians to India.

Senator Rand Paul (R-Ken) questioned whether funding comedians might have been a frivolous use of money that might have been better used to provide more security in Libya.

In testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, current Secretary of State John Kerry advised that “we not jump to hasty conclusions. I recognize that there is a huge emotional reaction to our Ambassador being murdered by Muslim extremists, but it is not at all clear to me that diverting the money spent on comedians would've been better used to fund more security in Libya.”

Think about it,” Kerry urged, “Given the size of the mob that attacked the Consulate it seems to me that a larger security force would've merely bumped up the casualty count from four to whatever. And adding more 'Rambos' would not have jibed with the President's decision against resisting the attack.”

Let me also point out that there were no casualties suffered in India,” Kerry continued. “Does this not imply that the comedians we financed had a salutary effect? It is said that a smile turneth away wrath. Comedians induce people to smile. The extent to which the calm that has prevailed in India may have been due to this timely intervention can never be adequately measured or appreciated.”

Well, what about the $700,000 spent on shrubs for our embassy in Brussels or the $5 million for new crystal ware for the State Department?” Paul asked. “Couldn't those funds have been better used for security in Libya?”

We shouldn't be second guessing decisions that can't be unmade at this late date,” Kerry replied. “I'm sure that my predecessor had sound reasons for the budget choices she made. To her credit, Brussels has remained one of the calmer spots in the world. Perhaps the new shrubbery played a role in that. And entertaining foreign dignitaries is a fundamental responsibility of the State Department. If we give them drinks in shabby glasses it would reflect poorly on our nation.”

An Inspector General's report found that nearly $6 billion was misplaced by the State Department during Clinton's tenure there. Whether any of this money could have made a difference in Libya is unknown.

Health Secretary Resigns

This week it was announced that Kathleen Sebelius will be leaving her post as Secretary of Health and Human Services. President Obama thanked her for “her courageous and tireless efforts to ensure that every American has health insurance.” Afterward, those in attendance gave her a standing ovation.

Secretary Sebelius has had to face hostility every step of the way toward this monumental achievement,” the President declared. “Critics in Congress said the Affordable Care Act wouldn't be affordable. Consumers complained that the policies offered under the ACA cover less than their old plans and cost more. Others were too inept to navigate the simple steps to get covered. But the Secretary withstood this barrage of misfortunes and emerged triumphant. She has made her mark on American history.”

Meanwhile, many of those successful in acquiring policies under the ACA are finding it hard to locate a doctor willing to treat them. One searcher received 96 consecutive rejections.

Dr. Howard Koh, Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services, sympathized with the plight of individuals having trouble getting doctors to treat them, but urged patience. “Getting everyone insured is enough of a task for phase one of this dramatic reconstruction of our health care system,” Koh said. “Even though we're quite proud of the 7 million we've signed up so far, realistically, it will take us a few years to get everyone enrolled. Once that's accomplished we can begin to wrestle with the issue of whether there are doctors available.”

Let me also remind everyone that not being able to see a doctor is not as dire as some might think,” Koh pointed out. “The vast majority of these people will self-heal without any medical intervention. So, not being able to see a doctor could be a blessing. After all, medical treatment itself is one of the nation's leading causes of death. To the extent that lack of doctors helps people avoid this fate it's a definite plus for the ACA.”

Republican Incensed by DOJ Stonewalling

Representative Louie Gohmert (R-Tex) described himself as “frustrated and mystified” by his inability to obtain copies of Department of Justice communications that have been provided to the attorneys defending men facing charges for terrorist acts in Illinois. “Why can't the Attorney General have the common courtesy to give a member of Congress equal access?” Gohmert wondered.

AG Eric Holder insisted that the distinctly different treatment was warranted. “These men are on trial and need this information to defend themselves,” Holder argued. “They face serious consequences if they don't have the best possible defense.”

In contrast, I have determined that Congress has no legitimate need for this information,” Holder asserted. “The only conceivable purpose would be to try to use the information to assail or embarrass the Administration and my Department. Obviously, the men on trial in Illinois pose no threat to us. The same cannot be said for Mr. Gohmert and his cohorts. I see no reason why I should cooperate with them in their racist campaign against us.”

Mr. Holder's perception that Congress is a greater danger than terrorists is disturbing,” Gohmert said. “That a person with this sort of mindset is in charge of enforcing the nation's laws is frightening.”

Perhaps equally frightening, Holder dismissed GOP complaints that his office has been inadequately diligent in enforcing the law. “The law is a living thing,” Holder contended. “The words on paper mean nothing until a human being gives them life. As the nation's top legal officer I will decide which laws deserve life and which do not. It's called a prosecutor's discretion. As long as I hold this office I will use my discretion as I see fit.”

Is this 'contempt of Congress?'” Holder mused. “Let me ask this, is there any decent person who isn't contemptuous of Congress? The House has already passed one resolution holding me in contempt. So what? It's an empty gesture. I am not deterred one iota from my mission. Their inability to impose any meaningful sanction on me demonstrates their incompetence. Who wouldn't be contemptuous of such a body?”

In related news, Holder downplayed an Office of Special Counsel finding that IRS employees engaged in illegal partisan campaigning during the 2012 election—urging taxpayers calling for help with IRS forms to vote for Obama. “These technical violations of the Hatch Act have to be weighed against the substantive issue at hand,” Holder said. “Technically, federal employees are not supposed to make partisan statements. Substantively, all of the alleged statements supported the Government against a GOP effort to topple it. From that perspective these employees' actions were exemplary. Under these circumstances a harsh penalty would be unwarranted.”

Congressional Candidate Says Pro-Lifers “Mentally Disabled”

Mike Dickinson, the Democratic challenger for the Virginia Congressional seat currently held by Republican Eric Cantor went on a rant against opponents of abortion this week.

The people who say that abortion is against God's plan are mentally disabled,” Dickinson maintained. “Look, they say they pray that abortions be stopped, but abortions continue. Since, in their view, God is all-powerful, the failure of their prayers must either mean that there is no God or that God is okay with abortions.”

Not content with belittling pro-lifers, Dickinson also took a swat at the Tea Party, calling them “the true terrorists. The Muslim jihadis may blow up a few buildings, but these Tea Party types want to totally dismantle everything that President Obama has done for this country. We should applaud what the IRS and NSA have been doing to try to suppress these enemies of the State.”

Former Presidents Comment on Obama Administration's Achievements

Former President Bill Clinton told an admiring audience that “if I were forced to evaluate the Obama Administration I'd have to give it some bad marks, especially when it comes to the economy. It's been particularly hard on the middle class. Incomes are lower now than when Obama took office. And that's before accounting for inflation. The people we Democrats profess to want to help have been hammered by the policies the President and Congress have implemented. The 'stimulus' and the 'green jobs' initiatives had good intentions, but we've spent a whole lot of money with no appreciable positive impact on employment.”

Former President Jimmy Carter assailed the Administration's foreign policy, singling out “the unimpressive record of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Despite all the hoopla over a purported 'reset button,' there is little sign that she made any serious effort on behalf of world peace. US troops are still in harm's way. An Ambassador was killed on her watch and all she can say is 'what difference does it make?' The question I have is what difference did she make in the four years she trotted around the globe?”

Hillary Clinton characterized Carter's remarks as “evidence that the double standard is alive and well. Women are always judged more harshly. At least there were no embassy hostages taken during my term.”


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