John Semmens

SEMI-NEWS: A Satire of Recent News

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SEMI-NEWS: A Satire of Recent News, July 27, 2014 Edition

"Despicable" Anti-Clinton Books Should Be Banned

Outraged by the surging popularity of anti-Clinton books overtaking sales of Hillary Clinton's State Department memoir, Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill offered his opinion that "in a just world such despicable nonsense would neither be allowed nor enabled."

The "despicable nonsense" books Merrill is saying ought to be censored include The First Family Detail by Ronald Kessler, Clinton, Inc. by Daniel Halper and Blood Feud by Ed Klein.

"It is a travesty that books like these are outselling a historically important work by a major player in contemporary American history," Merrill complained. "Their authors are comparative nobodies trying to get rich by feeding off the greatness of someone toward whom they ought to be showing greater respect. To suggest that the Clintons may have been motivated by anything other than an extraordinary commitment to public service is a libel that should not be tolerated."

In addition to banning such books Merrill suggested that "all profits be confiscated and donated to the Clinton Foundation where they can be more meritoriously deployed for the good of the country."

Halper said that "the virulence of the Clinton camp's reaction to the modest success of my book serves to vindicate my thesis that the Clintons run a ruthless political machine." Klein called "the demand for censorship a very telling confirmation that the facts I presented cannot be refuted."

Court Ruling on Obamacare Exchanges Assailed

This past week's D.C. Court of Appeals panel ruling that customers in the 36 states that didn't establish their own exchange and use HealthCare.gov instead cannot be given premium tax credits was assailed by the program's backers as "flagrant judicial activism."

Presidential Press Secretary Josh Earnest promised that "this insupportable ruling will be ignored. For the Court to insist upon a literal reading of the statute at this late date would unduly hamper the President's scope of action. He cannot and will not abide having his hands tied by this judicial interference."

At issue is explicit statutory language in the Affordable Care Act that permits federal subsidies to only those states that set up state healthcare exchanges. Thus far only a third of the states have set up such exchanges. The Obama Administration, though, has been awarding subsidies to all states.

"Millions of people have come to depend on these subsidies," Earnest pointed out. "To cut them off now on the pretext that there is no statutory authority for the subsidies to two-thirds of the nation places legalistic formalism ahead of human rights. That's not a legacy the President intends to leave behind."

"The original intent of legislative language limiting subsidy eligibility was to proffer an incentive for states to set up exchanges," explained Jonathan Gruber, one of the architects of the legislation. "By dangling a 'carrot' of millions of dollars in federal aid in front of the states it was hoped that they'd be induced to take on the task of establishing healthcare exchanges and relieve the federal government of this burden."

Gruber characterized the original intent as "no longer operative. Obviously, the lure failed to elicit the response desired. Since the fundamental purpose of Obamacare is to establish a comprehensive and uniform health care system a reinterpretation of the statutory history is required. The interpretation that is currently most in line with the President's objective is that the exclusionary language was a typographical error. In light of the fact that key participants in the process openly acknowledged that they hadn't read the bill before voting on it I think there is reasonable grounds for a conclusion that it was a typo. And we can't let a typo impede social justice."

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling this week seemed to bolster Gruber's reinterpretation. While agreeing with the DC Court that "the plain language of the statute makes a clear distinction on eligibility for federal subsidies" it refused to believe that "such an ill-conceived and stupid ploy aimed at bribing states to set up exchanges should be allowed to wreak negative impacts on the beneficiaries of government's handouts."

Hamas Defends Investment in Tunnels

Recent criticism from Israel that the $1.25 billion Hamas has spent constructing tunnels from Gaza into Israel has cheated Palestinians out of investments in schools or hospitals was rejected by Hamas's political leader, Khaled Meshal.

"The notion that schools or medical care should be a higher priority is a Jewish conceit," Meshal asserted. "It presumes that Western values should supersede Islamic values. We do not contest that schools or health are important matters, but they pale in contrast to the overwhelmingly more important goal of exterminating the Jewish presence in Palestine."

"The tunnels," Meshal argued "are a major weapon in our fight to oust the Zionist occupiers. They give us the opportunity to covertly penetrate underneath Israel's defenses and place our fighters in the midst of vulnerable Jewish populations where they can take a deadly toll."

An integral component of the tunnel building effort included generous aid from the United States. "The hundreds of millions of dollars the United States has given us freed up funds for the tunnel construction," Meshal bragged. "So while the United States is nominally pro-Israel on the surface we feel confident that President Obama's vow to stand with the Muslims is our insurance of a favorable outcome."

A possible clue to Meshal's confidence was revealed by the UN Human Rights Council's 29-1 vote to investigate Israeli war crimes. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called the vote "a democratically arrived at truth and the only plausible option for assigning responsibility for the carnage currently wracking the region. Even if the question of Hamas war crimes were to be raised, given the composition of the Council it would be easily voted down. If by some quirk it wasn't voted down it would simply be ignored by Hamas. Rather than descend into total irrelevance the Council did this. For that I applaud them."

President Says We're Better off "on Practically Every Economic Measure"

In an interview on CNBC this past week President Barack Obama boasted that his programs "have made America better off on practically every economic measure." He contended that "the seemingly negative outcomes cited by my critics stem from false consciousness."

"From a broad perspective let's consider the declining participation in the workforce that many in the GOP harp on," Obama suggested. "Work, as any economist will tell you, is a disutility. People don't work because they want to. They work because they have to. The fact that a growing number of Americans can live their lives without having to work is a positive development."

"From a narrower perspective let's consider the rising costs of fuel and food—two items excluded from most measures of inflation," Obama continued. "Has anyone wondered why these items are excluded? It's because consumption of them contributes to a worsening standard of living. Burning more fuel leads to higher levels of pollution. Rising costs for gasoline helps deter unnecessary travel and reduce pollution. This is good for everyone's health."

"The same goes for food," the President added. "Look around you. It couldn't be more obvious that too many Americans overeat. Rising costs for food can help discourage overeating. The result will be a thinner, trimmer population—which is healthier all around."

"Confirmation that things are a lot better than some want you to think can be found in the Stock Market where share values have reached an all-time highs during my term in office," Obama said. "The smartest and wisest when it comes to money management are giving a big 'thumbs up' to my policies."

"The whining of a small minority who would place their own personal troubles ahead of these more significant collective gains shouldn't be allowed to distort our perception," the President concluded. "I'd really like the media to keep this in mind as they report economic news in the run up to the November elections."

Woman in Labor Blocked by Obama Motorcade

A woman on the verge of giving birth was blocked from crossing the street to get to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center because the road was blocked in anticipation of President Obama's motorcade passing by. The woman was told to wait on a bus stop bench while staff from the Medical Center crossed the street to her aid.

Los Angeles Police Department spokesman Hector Morales defended the seemingly unnecessary impediment to the woman's access to health care as "routine protocol. Look, the President of the United States is the world's most important person. Whatever he is doing must take precedence over anything being done by any person of lesser importance."

In this particular instance it seems clear that the pregnant woman could have easily crossed the street prior to the arrival of the motorcade taking President Obama to a local fundraiser. Nonetheless, Morales was adamant that "the possible delay of the President even by a few seconds could have major detriment to this country. Suppose a potential donor to the Democratic Party gets ticked off having to wait and declines to write a check? Surely that would hurt the country more than a mother giving birth on a public bench?"

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