IPFS John Semmens

SEMI-NEWS: A Satire of Recent News

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SEMI-NEWS/SEMI-SATIRE: August 9, 2020 Edition

Chicago Using Social Media to Spy on Tourists

Desperate to replace the tax revenues lost due to the City's oppressive response to the COVID pandemic, Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady has authorized a widespread surveillance of social media posts.

"There are 22 states whose residents must report for a mandatory 14-day quarantine if they travel to Chicago," Arwady said. "Very few are voluntarily submitting to this requirement. This forces us to monitor their social media activity. If we spot selfies or other posts sent from known tourist hot spots we check to see whether other posts from the same account were made from one of the 22 mandatory quarantine states. If they were we use this as evidence to make an arrest, levy a fine, and lock the offenders up for the required 14-day quarantine."

The Commissioner denied that this police-state tactic violates the legal right to privacy, saying that "that there is no right to privacy when public health is at stake. Besides, posting a selfie while dodging our quarantine requirement flouts the law. If we don't crack down on such willful disobedience respect for authority will be undermined and chaos will ensue."

COVID Vaccine Effectiveness "Iffy"

White House coronavirus adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci warns that "the chance of creating an effective vaccine for COVID is not great. Respiratory viruses are notoriously difficult to combat. They mutate at a high rate and their transmission through the air cannot be effectively countered. As we have seen from work on flu vaccines, the typical odds of getting the flu after being vaccinated is about 50%. Ironically, the odds of getting the flu without being vaccinated are also about 50%."

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn confirmed Fauci's assessment, saying that "a vaccine with a 50-50 chance of being effective is no worse of an outcome than the 50-50 odds faced by a person who has not been vaccinated. Remember, even a vaccine that matches the odds of the control group has the psychological advantage of reassuring patients that medical authorities are doing something for them."

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus cautioned that "we cannot put our faith in the idea that any vaccine we develop will be a 'silver bullet' that will kill COVID. What we can do is continue to invest money in medical research. Even if the chances of success are slim, at least we will have provided jobs for some of the best and brightest among us, myself included."

Mayor Complains "Rioters Are Helping Trump"

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler (D) condemned the actions of a mob that set fire to the Police Bureau's East Precinct and blocked the exits, calling it "attempted murder. Luckily the officers inside were able to get out, but the use of accelerants and fire bombs discredits the meme that these are peaceful protests. And that plays right into the hands of President Trump's campaign to restore law and order."

While Portland police chief Chuck Lovell called the violence "incomprehensible and senseless," Wheeler preferred the phrase "poorly timed" and pleaded with the leaders of Antifa and Black Lives Matter to "restrain your people. There will be opportunities to legally redistribute wealth and punish the capitalist exploiters after Trump loses in November. All I'm asking for is a little patience. The Democratic Party and the media are with you, but we won't be able to fully implement our program until we have a president in tune with our agenda."

Meanwhile in Seattle, the City Council majority rejected contentions from Mayor Jenny Durkan (D) and Police Chief Carmen Best that "their plan to totally disband the police force is irresponsible and reckless." Council Member Lorena Gonzalez (D) countered, contending that "it is the presence of police on our streets which fuels the nightly battles for control of the City. If we remove the police there will be no opposition to the protesters and, consequently, no more need for the levels of violence we have seen when two armed combatants struggle to control the area. There may still be some scattered mostly peaceful rioting, but there won't be pitched battles."

Ironically, while Democratic politicians imagine that their anti-police stances will earn them black votes, a Gallop poll released this week shows that 81% of black respondents want more police in their neighborhoods. This view is also held by 83% of Hispanic and 88% of white poll respondents.

Schumer: "We'll Sue"

President Trump's effort to break the Congressional deadlock on the next iteration of coronavirus relief by threatening to issue an Executive Order has Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) incensed. "His insistence that the coronavirus relief bill be focused on stimulating the economy after it was shut down to slow the spread of the contagion is too narrow," he said. "We want to include bailouts for states that have crippled their economies with reckless spending and high taxes. There are hundreds of thousands of government employees in my state who could face layoffs, pay cuts, or deferred pensions if federal taxpayers don't pick up the tab."

"We also want to get a head start on the Green New Deal by appropriating funds that the next Democratic president will need to transform the nation from the fossil-fueled prosperity foisted on the American people by Trump," Schumer added. "This will put us back on the trajectory of decline that former President Obama set in motion. It's time that Americans reduce their expectations and adjust to lower standards of living. Rather than aspiring to join the ranks of the rich and powerful, it would be better for Americans to take their place among the masses of the world who live more modest lifestyles."

"Not only does Trump reject our aims, his main objective—granting a payroll tax cut—unduly rewards those who work for a living," the Senator complained. "It's long past the time when we should get over the notion that work is a virtue that entitles a person to a better standard of living than his non-working neighbor. This is rank discrimination and we will sue to overturn any Executive Order that seeks such an outcome."

Pro-Trump PAC Banned from Facebook

Facebook announced that the Committee to Defend the President will not be allowed to advertise on its platform. Facebook Policy communications director Andy Stone explained that "we have a duty to prevent misinformation from using our platform to promulgate falsehoods. Inasmuch as our fact checkers have determined that Trump is indefensible, the PAC's name alone justifies the ban."

"It is also likely that the PAC's ads would say negative things about Joe Biden and the Democratic Party," Stone said. "No one at Facebook believes these things could be true. So, to prevent voters who rely on our platform from being misled we must block advertisements from sources we view as untrustworthy. To do less would put us on the wrong side of history."

Mail-in Ballot Mishaps Abound

In Las Vegas, Nevada election officials sent 223,000 mail-in ballots (17% of the total) to the wrong addresses. Persons residing at these addresses could wrongfully cast the ballots. The intended recipients never received the mailed ballot. The remedy for this according to Governor Steve Sisolak (D) is "to allow campaign workers to harvest such ballots, fill them out, and mail them in so we can ensure that there is no shortfall of votes cast and counted."

In Roanoke, Virginia absentee ballot request forms were mailed to every registered voter. The printed address on all the return envelopes was wrong. Voters using these envelopes would never receive an actual ballot.

In New York City more than 84,000 of the mail-in ballots (21% of the total) for the Democratic primary were disqualified for a variety of reasons including arriving late, lacking a postmark or failing to include a voter's signature. The primary was held June 23, but six weeks later they're still searching for votes in several of the races.

In Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) issued an executive order "amending" state law to allow ballots received after election day to be counted. He cited civil unrest and a mysterious "surge in the anticipated number of late-arriving ballots" for his unconstitutional action.

Most countries in Europe ban mail-in voting in order to reduce the vote fraud and vote buying that mail-in ballots foster. They consider mail-in ballots a threat the integrity of their elections. In the countries that allow mail-in ballots a photo ID is required to get one.

In Chappaqua, New York defeated 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton warned that "Trump could sabotage the 2020 election by ordering the Postal Service to delay or trash ballots mailed from Democratic precincts. Ordering the Postal Service to delay or trash ballots mailed from Republican precincts is what I would do if it was necessary to prevent an unqualified person from becoming president."

COVID Crisis Shows Way to Redistribute Wealth

Former First Lady Michelle Obama used her podcast to thank the pandemic "for opening our eyes to a new way of distributing the nation's wealth. Barack always thought it would require an act of Congress to implement the kind of redistribution needed to achieve social justice. But the unilateral power wielded by almost every governor during the COVID crisis showed that it could be accomplished much more easily than he thought."

"In state-after-state we saw governors decreeing which businesses were essential and which were not," she observed. "Declaring a business nonessential effectively confiscated an owner's right to earn an income for however long the decree stayed in-place. As polls have shown, a majority of Americans support these executive actions by the governors. Some even went so far as to spy on those trying to evade or resist these autocratic decrees. Legislative bodies were either frozen out of the process or meekly endorsed it."

"Well, if a governor could do these kinds of things he certainly could take the much more modest step of ordering a business or wealthy person to pay higher taxes that the state could then use to make payments to the deserving poor," she pointed out. "Or he could order banks to transfer money out of some accounts and into others. Either way, we could more rapidly transform America from an individualistic Hell into a collective paradise without the muss and fuss of adhering to a republican form of government."

Poll Results Slam Media for Bias

A poll conducted by Gallup and the Knight Foundation found widespread distrust of media reporting among Americans. 73% of respondents found too much bias in so-called news reporting. 84% blamed the media for fomenting divisiveness. 75% of Republicans and 52% of independents have an unfavorable view of the media. 70% of Democrats feel the media is treated unfairly.

Chelsea Aardvark, one of the so-called fact checkers at the Washington Post gave the poll results "four pinocchios." "The average person is unqualified to judge the accuracy or bias of any news source," she said. "Much of what is reported today comes from undisclosed confidential sources. There is no way that the consumer of these reports can objectively verify the accuracy of these reports without access to some unbiased authority. The viewer's or reader's doubts are not backed by facts. Consequently, their judgments are based on ignorance. When we compare this ignorance to the credentials of those employed in the media we must conclude that the respondents' opinions are erroneous."

CNN's Chris Cuomo called the "four pinocchios" finding "a vindication of all the hard work we do here to get things right. Our viewers should be ashamed of their negative attitudes. It is not we who are heightening the divisiveness in America. It is those who disagree with us and mistrust our reporting."

Former MSNBC producer Ariana Pekary disagreed with Cuomo, saying that "the media today are a cancer that threatens diversity of thought and the free flow of ideas. Nonconforming ideas are considered too cumbersome for the audience and are routinely suppressed, while the Democrat 'Party line' is repeatedly pushed even when directly contradicted by the known facts."

L.A. Mayor Punishes Disobedience

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that he has ordered the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to cut off the water and electricity to any homes, venues, or businesses that defy the COVID-19 safety measures he has imposed on the City.

"Quite frankly, I must admit that I am fed up with people trying to exercise freedoms that I have put off limits during this pandemic," the Mayor said. "I have given the people in this City the opportunity to voluntarily obey me. Most have complied, but others insist that their freedom to earn a living, go to church, or visit friends is being illegally infringed. Well, let's see how they like it when I ratchet up the infringement another notch."

Garcetti justified his dictatorial rule as "necessary to secure the public health and safety. In times like this reasonable people recognize their obligation to sacrifice freedoms they have taken for granted in order to serve the public good. They should be confident that these freedoms will be restored if and when I deem it proper to do so."

Local Antifa bully Clyde Burns dismissed Garcetti's infringements as "wishy-washy. If he had any balls he'd blow up the power plant and water distribution system. The Revolution has sterner measures in mind for those who resist our authority. If Garcetti can't get on board with us he'd better get out of town himself."

Biden Contrasts His China Policy with Trump's

In a bid to show his foreign policy expertise and prove he is not cognitively impaired, former Vice-President Joe Biden contrasted his planned approach to dealing with China with Trump's.

"Basically, I'm saying that Trump's efforts to bully China are un-American," Biden asserted. "He's always blaming China for what's wrong with America. He says the coronavirus came from China, but China says it came from us. I ask myself, who's telling the truth. My gut tells me it ain't Trump."

"Trump also accuses China of stealing our technology," Biden continued. "He calls this theft of intellectual property. I'm not sure of what that means, but what if they're just copying our secrets because they didn't do their homework. I can't remember the number of times I had to copy someone else's work just to get a passing grade. Tell me, who did I hurt? Was I a bad person for doing that? Or was I a needy person? I'm thinking that China is stealing our secrets because they're needy too."

"When I'm president we'll have an entirely different attitude toward needy countries like China," the Candidate promised. "If we give them what they want they won't have to steal it. This will save them from committing crimes and save us from being niggardly. China will have no need to be confrontational or warlike. A new era of brotherhood will unfold for our two countries and the world."

In an unsurprising simultaneous development, the Revolutionary Communist Party has endorsed Biden for president. Bob Avakian, self-proclaimed head of the Party called Biden and the Democratic Party "the best hope for socialism that this country has ever seen. If the people of this country want to see peace on the streets they are advised to surrender to the Revolution and elect Democrats to all the offices lest we be forced to sweep them into the dust bin of history by other means."

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