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SEMI-NEWS: A Satire of Recent News

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SEMI-NEWS/SEMI-SATIRE: February 18, 2024 Edition

"Christians Have No Business Being in Politics"

This week, actor and Bible expert Rob Reiner claimed that "Christians have no business being in politics. It goes against the teachings of Jesus. First of all, Jesus commanded his followers to render unto Caesar what is Caesar's. This command came in answer to whether his followers should pay taxes. He pointed out that it was Caesar's image on the coins needed to pay taxes. Money in America has pictures of dead former presidents. Clearly it belongs to the government that generously allows people to temporarily use it. Christians who agitate or vote for tax cuts are simply out of step with their God."

"Secondly, Jesus urged his followers to love their enemies and turn the other cheek if they are assaulted," Reiner asserted. "Yet, politically active Christians resist the policies and directives their government has decreed they must obey. Though President Biden has declared that it is every woman's right to get an abortion we see Christians vocally contradicting their president, voting for the enemies of democracy who seek to limit this basic right, and protesting these essential medical procedures outside the doors of reproductive clinics."

"Worst of all, on January 6, 2021 we saw Christians assault the US Capitol in an attempt to overthrow the government the voters chose to rule over them," Reiner added. "Thankfully, many of these insurrectionists are now behind bars, but there are still millions more roaming free and planning to vote for Donald Trump. Don't they realize they are risking their own salvation by going against the commands that their lord and savior gave them? Jesus said 'the meek shall inherit the Earth.' I urge all true Christians to heed this advice."

$50/hour Minimum Wage Proposed

In a debate among four candidates running for California's open US Senate seat Rep. Barbara Lee (D) proposed raising the minimum wage to $50 per hour. "Just do the math!" Lee urged. "It would mean that a 40 hours per week worker would make $104,000 per year. I call that a living wage. If I'm elected to the US Senate I will make passing a law to implement this nationwide my top priority."

Rival contenders Reps. Adam Schiff (D) and Katie Porter (D) support a more modest increase of $25 per hour. Schiff pointed out that "a large contingent of minimum wage workers are young people trying to earn money for college by working part time. If they could get $100,000 a year flipping burgers they won't need to go to college. College enrollments would fall and our population would be more ignorant as a result."

Lee rebutted Schiff's argument by reminding him that "President Biden has worked things out so students can get college loans they won't have to pay back. So, with my bill young people could still enjoy the fun of college without the pressure of needing the education to get a high-paying job."

The lone Republican contender, former baseball player Steve Garvey, opposed any increase in the minimum wage, saying "California's current $20 minimum is already taking a toll on businesses that hire the low-skill workers getting minimum wages. Customers don't want to pay the higher prices that would be necessary to fund higher wages. Many human workers will be replaced by robots. Some small businesses will be driven out of business. Right now, the average annual income for a full-time employee is $63,000 per year. Boosting the minimum wage to $100,000 will cause major disruptions to our economy."

Lee countered Garvey's case by suggesting that "workers who lose their jobs could get money from the government. Look, we're giving migrants free money, free housing, free health care, and free education. If we can afford that we certainly can afford to take care of everyone who loses a job as a result of higher minimum wages. Remember, the government prints the money. It could easily just print more. It is Republican objections to this simple remedy that is hurting our economy."

White House & DOJ Wrangle Over Hur Report

Special investigator Robert Hur's determination that President Biden should not be charged for the crime of mishandling classified documents because "he is an elderly man with a poor memory" has rankled the nation's chief executive. "How could he say that?" Biden wondered. "It seems gratuitous to me. I have a great memory. I can remember stuff that no one else remembers. Why didn't Garland redact that statement from Hur's report?"

At the Department of Justice (DOJ), Associate Deputy Attorney General Bradley Weinsheimer--a top career official, not a political appointee--defended the Hur report, saying that "the identified language is neither gratuitous nor unduly prejudicial because it is not offered to criticize or demean the President. It is offered to explain Special Counsel Hur's decision not to prosecute."

White House counsel Edward Siskel objected that "Weinsheimer overlooked the 'Comey precedent' established in 2016 when he said 'no reasonable prosecutor would charge former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for mishandling classified documents.' By disregarding this precedent Hur's report openly, obviously, and blatantly violated DOJ policy and practice."

Weinsheimer pointed out that "there is no 'Comey precedent.' Former FBI Director James Comey was not authorized to announce a decline to prosecute decision. It was a rogue 'contribution-in-kind' to the Clinton for president campaign for which Comey himself could have been prosecuted if then Attorney General Loretta Lynch had chosen to do so."

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif) rallied to Biden's defense, saying "Hur is a hack. There's nothing in the Constitution that says a person with a poor memory can't serve as President of the United States. In fact, as we just saw, a poor memory saved Biden from a possible prison sentence. Trump won't be able to get off as easily."

Biden campaign co-chair Mitch Landrieu went on NBC's "Meet the Press" to assure everyone that "questions about the President's mental fitness will not cause him to quit the race. Look, the president's accomplishments have really been second to none. He got us out of Afghanistan. He won the battle against COVID. He's forgiven the debt of millions of college students. He mandated electric vehicles. He's done more to help transgenders change their sex than any other president. I mean, the list goes on and on. Who knows how many more triumphs are in store when voters reelect him to a second term?"

In related news, Biden has rejected suggestions that he take a cognitive test in order to reassure Americans that their president is mentally up to the job. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said "the President doesn't have to. Every day he shows he's fully capable to do the job voters elected him to do by dealing with world leaders and making difficult decisions on behalf of the American people. When we have meetings with him and his staff, he is constantly trying to get more information. 'Tell me again' is a phrase he repeats often because he's determined to get things right. That has been my experience with this president."

Mayorkas Has No Regrets

Though the House of Representatives narrowly approved his impeachment, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas told Kristin Welker of NBC's "Meet The Press" that "I have no regrets for anything that's happened on my watch. I have maintained all along that this country needs the millions of refugees that we have helped come into the country since President Biden took office."

"Let's look at what we've gained," he suggested. "Hotel vacancy rates in some of our largest cities have plummeted. Many of these businesses were hit hard by the COVID lockdowns and were facing bankruptcy. Now with the government paying them $500 a day for every room occupied by a refugee they're thriving. With the money we're giving the refugees they're buying food that they cook over open fires in they're rooms or dining out. This is saving a lot of grocery stores and restaurants and the jobs of those who work in them."

"Then there's the impact on the health care industry," the Secretary added. "After the President cured COVID with his vaccine mandate domestic demand for medical services hit the skids. By bringing in millions of additional potential patients, most of whom have not been vaccinated, and giving them free health care we are saving the jobs of doctors, nurses, maintenance staff, administrators, and all of the vendors who supply the medical industry."

Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council and executive editor of The Washington Stand, pointed out that "the flow into our nation due to the Biden Administration's open border policy has included millions of military age males, many of them from countries hostile to the United States and hundreds of them on the terrorist watch list. Isn't this a security risk?"

"What Mr. Perkins overlooks is the fact that our own military is having trouble meeting its recruitment goals," Mayorkas said. "What he sees as a risk, I see as an opportunity for us to fill the ranks with military age immigrants, train and arm them so they can fight for us rather than against us. A big plus would be that foreigners are less likely to be tainted with sympathy for the MAGA terrorists that pose the biggest threat to our democracy. Their loyalty will be to the regime that allowed them into the country and will be more likely to follow orders to fire on the Americans trying to oust us from office. Eventually they will gain full citizenship where they can exercise their right to vote against the enemies of democracy and prevent them from ever regaining power."

President Biden predicted that "history will not look kindly on House Republicans for their blatant act of unconstitutional partisanship that has targeted an honorable public servant in order to play petty political games. Voters will reject Republicans by ever increasing margins until they cease to exist and Democrats will write the history of how their evil influence on this country was thwarted by me and my mandates."

Dems Want RFK Jr Kept Off Ballot

Trump isn't the only person Democrats would like to see kept off the November election ballots. Third Way, a Democratic think tank says "third party candidates muddle the clear choice between President Biden and MAGA enemy of democracy Donald Trump. This unfairly spoils Biden's chances for a much deserved second term. We must explore every option for preventing such a disaster."

Third Way has already pointed out that a super PAC called American Values 2024 wants to work on getting Robert F. Kennedy's name on the ballots of all 50 states. Attorneys from the powerhouse Democratic election law firm Elias Law Group says "federal campaign finance law requires American Values 2024 to undertake this effort independently of Mr. Kennedy. However, in many states the candidate himself must gather the signatures. We will sue to disallow any signatures not gathered by Kennedy himself."

Kennedy Campaign manager Amaryllis Fox Kennedy said "we have a nationwide operation underway and will get on the ballot in all 50 states with our own volunteers and small-dollar donations. Americans are tired of the establishment resorting to legal threats against their political opponents and deserve a leader who is asking for their vote based on the issues that affect their lives."

Tony Lyons, the super PAC's president, pointed out that "the Supreme Court has already ruled that the act of collecting signatures and submitting them on behalf of a candidate is not just a civic duty, but an exercise of our First Amendment rights."

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre observed that "Mr. Kennedy is an admitted vaccine denier and promoter of medical misinformation. It is inconceivable that voters should be permitted to cast their ballots for him. The President has scheduled a meeting with Attorney General Garland to discuss methods for persuading him to drop his foolhardy quest to become president. Considering that his uncle was killed when he was president and his father was killed while running for the office he might want to think about the risk of challenging a sitting president for the job."

Trump Threatens NATO

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is complaining that "former President Donald Trump's statement that he wouldn't help defend members of NATO who refuse to pay their fair share for their own defense undermines our security. This is a complete reversal of what the US did when Franklin Roosevelt was president in the 1940s. He told the American people that he was lending us money and equipment to fight the Nazis, but the US never made us pay them back. On top of this the US did send troops after Hitler declared war on them."

"Currently, President Biden has already given $100 billion for the defense of Ukraine and is about to send $60 billion more without even pretending that it will have to be paid back," Stoltenberg said. "He is putting Europe's military security ahead of the bean counting approach that Trump selfishly says he will take if he returns to power. It is shocking that polls indicate that American voters may very well elect Trump over Biden in November. After all, collective security has been the bulwark of NATO's defense since the late 1940s. We depend on it and have a right to expect the US to do whatever it takes to achieve it regardless of what any individual NATO member countries do."

Trump called Stoltenberg's complaints "an example of the kind of parasitic relationship that has evolved over the years since we saved them from the Nazis. I'm willing to help, but they've got to put in a reasonable effort to defend themselves. In 2014 NATO member countries all agreed that each member should spend 2% of its gross domestic product on defense. Only 18 of the 31 member nations currently meet this requirement. I say that if self defense isn't worth 2% of your budget you can't expect another country to make up the difference. As president I would owe it to the American people to not waste their money defending countries that don't pay their fair share of the cost. Obviously, there is no chance that NATO could come to our aid if we were attacked. So, I wonder if NATO has any value for America."

CNN anchor Christiane Amanpour called Trump's position "literally insane. It's like announcing what cards you hold while playing poker." Thus far Trump's announced views on NATO have inspired some member states to consider meeting their agreed upon commitments. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said "we will ramp up our military spending to meet the 2%." Others may follow, but the one thing that is clear is that the only place the European countries can envision defending is Europe. The idea that they would willingly spend anything to defend the United States as is their reciprocal obligation under the treaty is farfetched.

In related news, the Ukraine funding package approved by the US Senate contains a clause calling for the impeachment of any president who attempts to terminate aid for Ukraine's war with Russia. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) justified the clause saying "as President Biden has said many times, the defense of Ukraine is our highest priority. It must not be undermined by those opposed to spending whatever it takes for as long as it takes to succeed."

AzureStandard