John Semmens

SEMI-NEWS: A Satire of Recent News

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SEMI-NEWS/SEMI-SATIRE: April 1, 2018 Edition

Clinton Offers Proof that Trump Is Hurting Economy

As proof that Trump's policies are bad for the dynamic sectors of the economy that prospered under Obama, former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton cited her drastically reduced speaking fees. In a speech at Rutgers University in New Jersey this week her honorarium was only $25,000--$7,000 less than reality TV star Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi from the show Jersey Shore received from Rutgers for a 2011 appearance and $175,000 less than Clinton's typical asking price before the 2016 election.

"The few thousand dollars in crumbs being awarded to middle class workers as a result of the tax cut legislation are dwarfed by the severe hardships inflicted on those of us who have to rely on speaking fees just to keep putting food on the table," Clinton complained. "My 'wage' has been cut by nearly 90%. An economy that treats its best and brightest so shabbily is a discredit to the nation."

The pay cut coming after what Clinton described as "my traumatic loss to the least qualified person to ever win a presidential race adds injury to insult. I'm hoping that voters will remember what I've had to suffer through and punish the Republicans at the ballot box. If we all work hard we can turn back from the unbridled selfish individualism that the GOP wants to force down our throats and renew the commitment to the progressive values of collectivism that President Obama tried to establish during his all-too-brief reign."

Congresswoman Blames Lack of Training for Harassment

Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn) apologized for failing to protect female staff members from harassment by her former chief of staff Tony Baker and blamed "lack of proper training" for the abuses, which included allegations of "punching" and "death threats."

"Much to my dismay, I discovered that punching and threatening staff members is not explicitly addressed in any legislation," Esty said. "I will attempt to correct this, but can't promise anything since Republicans control both houses of congress. Meanwhile, of my own accord I will be requiring all my employees to complete training in harassment. Hopefully, this will move punching and threatening out of its current 'gray area' status and substantially reduce its frequency in my office. I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to be as aggressive as I am in combating this problem."

An unmentioned element of Esty's "aggressive" handling of the problem was to recommend Baker for a job at Sandy Hook Promise, a nonprofit organization that was started after the deadly 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Esty's current chief of staff Timothy Daly explained that "the job recommendation and nondisclosure agreement were aimed at getting Baker out as quickly as possible with a minimum of negative publicity. If the Congresswoman had merely fired him who knows what kind of impact that would've had on her credibility and reelection chances."

Retired Judge Calls for Repeal of 2nd Amendment

Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens penned an op ed for the New York Times in which he argued that the Constitutional Amendment protecting a citizen's right to bear firearms should be repealed.

"When we examine the circumstances under which the 2nd Amendment was adopted it seems clear to me that it was unnecessary on the day it was adopted," Stevens wrote. "At the time, the United States was less than a decade removed from a desperate battle for independence from a government that oppressed those living in what were then British colonies. One of the tactics the British government used was to strictly control and sometimes confiscate firearms. In fact, the battles at Concord and Lexington in 1975 were sparked by fears that British troops were about to confiscate the colonists' guns."

"By 1789, the British overlords had been defeated and expelled," Stevens continued. "It was replaced by a government by, of, and for the people. Those running this new government were elected by the people. Consequently, there were no longer any grounds for fearing a tyrannical foreign power would oppress them. The need for every man to be armed was no longer present. It seems likely that even in the absence of the 2nd Amendment that people's government would have permitted those who needed firearms to hunt or fend off hostile Indians to possess them."

"Today, the vast majority of Americans live urban lives," Stevens went on. "The need to hunt to obtain food is nonexistent and the Indians no longer pose a mortal threat. Meanwhile, the widespread ownership of personal firearms complicates the government's ability to police society. If the 2nd Amendment were repealed the government would be liberated from this archaic infringement on its authority. Under our democracy, the government is the people. There is no risk of oppression and every need for the government to set sensible limits on who has access to guns."

President Trump branded Stevens' op ed as "foolish and poorly conceived. Individuals' bearing arms serves as a check on the power of government to do them ill. In countries where the citizens don't have this right the government can ride roughshod over them, like Hitler did. You'd think that the Democrats who frequently compare me to Hitler would be wary of removing citizens' ability to deter government tyranny. Luckily, the people of America are too smart to surrender this right. The 2nd Amendment will never be repealed."

In related news, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn) and Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fla) have introduced legislation to restrict access to ammunition. "Our bill will require that firearms users file a form requesting permission each time they want to reload their weapons," Wasserman-Schultz said. "While this wouldn't totally prevent victims from getting shot it will reduce the number of people that could be shot by each gun. If our bill had been in effect prior to Nikolas Cruz's rampage it would have been limited the number of bullets he could've fired to a single clip. He wouldn't have been able to kill 17 people."

DNC Deputy Touts Minimum Income Idea

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn), deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee, endorsed the concept of government paying a minimum income to all citizens regardless of whether they work or not.

"A lot of things that people do don't have a market value," Ellison argued. "For example, as a Muslim, I am obligated to pray five times a day, go on a pilgrimage to Mecca, and wage jihad to spread the faith. As a member of Congress I have a generous salary and a small commitment of time I have to put in to earn this salary. Others aren't so fortunate."

"What we need to ask ourselves is whether we, as a society, should force a person to try to support himself by taking a low skilled job if it would interfere with his other higher priority obligations," the Congressman posited. "Wouldn't our lives be more meaningful if more of us were freed of the drudgery of wage slavery so we would be able to pursue these higher priorities?"

"A guaranteed minimum income might also assuage the justifiable anger many feel at the inequitable distribution of wealth in our country," Ellison added. "Ideally, everything ought to be put into a common pot and divvied out based on need. But we're not there yet intellectually or politically. The minimum income idea is a baby step toward that ideal."

Dershowitz Criticizes Mueller Probe

Liberal Democrat lawyer Alan Dershowitz likened the Mueller probe into the Trump presidency to the type of legal tactics of the Soviet Union. "First off, 'collusion' is not a crime defined in statute," he observed. "On top of this, the mandate given to Robert Mueller by Rod Rosenstein is unconstrained. Essentially, Mueller has been granted an unlimited budget and an unlimited amount of time to harass Trump in search of something to charge him with. This isn't the way we want our justice system to work. It's the way Stalin's 'justice' system worked."

Dershowitz maintains that "after a year on the job without finding evidence of any criminal activity by Trump the prosecution ought to drop the case. Signs that Mueller is now seeking to investigate Trump's finances and sexual liaisons from long before the 2016 election are clearly what judges would label a 'fishing expedition.' Not only are the statutes of limitations long expired on any alleged infractions, we're now into the 'manufactured crimes' of obstructing investigations for which there is no warrant for being undertaken."

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif) disagreed with Dershowitz, contending that "sometimes existing law doesn't adequately anticipate the crimes persons may commit. If we know a person is a bad actor we shouldn't automatically preclude even the methods that may have been used by a regime that has been repeatedly sullied as a dictatorship. Remember, that 'dictatorship' was instrumental in defeating Hitler. So, clearly, that dictatorship was capable of doing the right thing even if its methods didn't match America's normal standards of justice."

Chicago Mayor Rejects Poll

A recent poll indicating widespread disappointment with Mayor Rahm Emanuel's performance was rebuffed by the Mayor who vowed to "fight to the bitter end to transform this city and make it worthy of the vision of a great and progressive society espoused by former President Obama."

Among the polls findings was that only 18% of respondents said they would vote to reelect him vs. 34% saying they would vote to replace him and 36% saying they would consider voting for someone else. Sixty-nine percent said lack of "an honest or trustworthy city government" was a major problem with the Emanuel Administration. Eighty percent said they felt less safe than they did two years ago.

Emanuel's campaign spokesman Peter Giangreco dismissed the poll. "It's from the same pollster the Mayor sent a dead fish to a few years ago," he reminded. "The people of this city know that the Mayor will do whatever it takes to stay on top. He is a master at exploiting crises for political advantage. Those who challenge him do so at their own risk."

Madison Councilwoman Objects to Armed Bank Guards

After one of her constituents was killed while attempting to rob a bank, Madison, Wisconsin city councilwoman Amanda Hall called the shooting "unnecessary" and demanded "an alternate approach. What this looks like to me is we have a young man, who didn't have the community support and the community opportunity to make a different choice with what he was going to do with his Thursday. And now he's dead."

"Allowing banks to deploy armed guards is a desperation measure that comes too late to achieve the best results," Hall contended. "It foments an arms race between those who have money and those who need it. We could go into the question of whether any business has a moral right to use deadly force to impede the redistribution of wealth this country so urgently needs. For now, though, I'm saying that as a practical matter it would be better to ban this practice and replace it with a more humane approach."

This "more humane" approach, according to Hall, "would entail educating and politically activating both the general public and young people to use their efforts to redistribute wealth via the political process. The fact that the bank involved in this shooting has been repeatedly robbed shouldn't be used as an excuse to arm itself. It should be taken as a sign that there are inequities in the way that those who have can callously withhold from those who have not."

The Councilwoman says she hopes that "we can use this tragedy to enlist voters to opt for social justice at the polls. If the have-nots of our society can have confidence that the government will seize the assets being hoarded by the haves and redistribute them more fairly they won't have to take the individual initiative to rob banks themselves. With the law on their side the whole process would be more peaceful and just."

An indication that Hall's message is in tune with wider social trends is the Millennial generation's lack of saving for retirement. Only a third have expressed any interest or intent to provide for their post-work years. As one young man explained, "capitalism will be gone by the time I'm old enough to retire. The government will control all the money. They will decide who lives and who dies. I'm just trying to have a good time while I can." Surveys show that half of Millenials spend more on nights out than they do on rent and devote the majority of their income on impulse purchases based on social media fads. And why not? In New York City, the deBlasio administration has budgeted more than a billion dollars to house the homeless in hotels.

Census Plan Assailed by Democrats

The US Census Bureau's plan to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census spurred an outpouring of deranged rhetoric from assorted Democrats and their allies.

Tom Perez, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, incorrectly portrayed the plan as an attempt to "only count citizens" and contended it is a "voter suppression" strategy. "Combined with the Republican insistence that voters show IDs before they can cast a ballot, the citizenship question strikes at the very heart of the democratic ideal that every person—citizen or not—have a say in who rules over him."

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman vowed to lead a multi-state lawsuit aimed at stopping the added question. "Why does the federal government need to know who is or isn't a citizen?" he asked. "Since a person doesn't have to be a citizen to get a driver's license, to get medical care, to go to school, or receive welfare benefits the answer to such a question serves no legitimate public purpose."

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra called the question "an attack on our state's right to grant sanctuary to those in the country without permission. Once word gets around that citizenship will be questioned the undocumented immigrants will avoid census takers and not be counted. The state and the urban areas where most of the immigrants live will get fewer congressional districts and Democrats will lose votes in the House of Representatives. This both illegal and unconstitutional."

In related news, Utah senatorial candidate Mitt Romney kicked off his campaign with the assertion that he is tougher on immigration than President Trump. "Trump is totally focused on keeping illegal immigrants out," Romney observed. "Well, we can't win if we only play defense. If elected I will push for legislation to award grants for Americans to illegally enter Mexico and create the same kind of mayhem there that many of those who've illegally crossed into the US have caused here."

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