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SEMI-NEWS: A Satire of Recent News

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SEMI-NEWS/SEMI-SATIRE: April 28, 2024 Edition

DOJ Withholds Audio of Biden Interview

This week, the Department of Justice (DOJ) refused to comply with a Congressional subpoena for the audio of Special Counsel Robert Hur's interview of President Biden. It was this interview that prompted Hur to decline to prosecute Biden even though he had mishandled classified documents because "he would present himself as an elderly man with a poor memory and be acquitted."

Assistant Attorney General Carlos Uriarte defended defying the subpoena, saying "the written transcript alone should be enough for them. After all, we could have refused to give them anything. Their threat to hold me in contempt of Congress is a toothless gesture."

House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) argued that "written transcripts are not the equivalent of hearing the actual words. Mere writing does not convey the same impact as a mumbling, stumbling mishmash of incoherent fantasies when the issue at hand is the President's competence to exercise the awesome powers and authority of the office he holds."

Uriarte pointed out that "Secretary of Homeland Security Mayorkas totally refuses to enforce the laws against illegal immigration and Congress was impotent in its efforts to impeach and remove him. The DOJ is a much harder target. As the Republicans should realize from what we've done to Trump, we can launch prosecutions against our enemies that will cost them millions to defend, hamper their ability to campaign, and fuel media attacks that will destroy them. Mr. Jordan and his co-conspirators ought to reconsider whether they really want to go to war with us on this or any other issue."

White House OK with Slow GDP Growth

White House Council of Economic Advisers Chair Jared Bernstein dismissed concerns that the economy is under-performing, saying "I can't get myself worked up over mere statistics in the GDP or CPI. Folks don't eat the GDP. The CPI includes volatile components like food, energy, and housing. If we exclude the price spikes in these areas inflation doesn't look so bad."

"A key strength that our Republican critics overlook is that government spending remains robust," Bernstein added. "Under Bidenomics we're not at the mercy of private sector investments for economic growth. Their anti-social quest for increased profits is supplanted by a greater appreciation of the collective welfare of the masses. We are investing funds without worrying about whether there will be a net gain on the bottom line. We are motivated by need, not greed."

Republican presidential candidate former President Trump called Bidenomics "sheer idiocy. GDP stands for Gross Domestic Product--what we actually produce. This includes the food that people eat, the structures they live and work in, and the energy to heat and cool their homes and fuel their transportation. CPI stands for Consumer Price Index. When prices soar people's cost of living also soars. The Democrats' disdain for profits is also a disdain for growth and prosperity. Government spending on unprofitable green energy schemes and massive subsidies for illegal immigrants siphons funds away from the investments and work that are essential to the real well-being of productive Americans. We must replace Bidenomics with sound economic policies before our country is driven into bankruptcy."

In related news, President Biden's budget for 2025 calls for raising the capital gains tax to 44.6%--the highest its been since the 1920s. E.J. Antoni, an economist at The Heritage Foundation, said "whenever you tax something you get less of it. Investment is what gives you productivity gains. Investment is where you get factories and machines — it's where businesses are able to provide their workers with tools and equipment that allow them to increase their productivity, to increase wages and standards of living."

Scope of Presidential Immunity Discussed

This week, the US Supreme Court heard arguments over the scope of presidential immunity. The issue arose as a result of special counsel Jack Smith's prosecution of former President Donald Trump for questioning the outcome of the 2020 election. During the discussion, Justice Brett Kavanaugh asked about former President Obama's drone strikes on American citizens.

Department of Justice (DOJ) attorney Michael Dreeben said "we looked at this very carefully and determined that the federal murder statute does apply to the executive branch. So, if the president orders that someone be killed it is considered a lawful act. President Obama ordered more than 500 drone strikes resulting in between 300 and 800 civilian deaths, which the DOJ has determined were completely legal."

Trump's lawyer, D. John Sauer observed that "it seems peculiar to me that a president ordering hits on people is covered by immunity, while a president questioning and challenging election irregularities can be prosecuted and imprisoned. Pardon me, but hasn't questioning and challenging reported election results been a fairly common practice in closely contested races? Didn't former Vice-President Al Gore go to court to challenge the 2000 election? Former President Trump went to court to challenge the 2020 election. Both challenges failed, but no one suggested that Gore should be prosecuted. What's the difference in these cases?"

Dreeben said "the person who was president during Gore's challenge--George Bush--missed his opportunity. But I doubt he would've succeeded because Gore is a Democrat and as such, cannot be an enemy of democracy. President Biden has learned from that mistake and has ordered the prosecution of Trump as a necessary and much needed action to defend democracy from its most dangerous enemy in our nation's history."

AZ Gov Defends Squatting

A trend sweeping America is for people to break into unoccupied homes and resist eviction by claiming "squatter's rights." Some states, notably New York, explicitly facilitate this crime by declaring that a trespasser who can rebuff the owner's efforts to remove him for 30 days qualifies for "tenants rights."

In an effort to ensure that intruders don't inflict these same crimes on Arizona home owners, the legislature passed a bipartisan bill (SB 1129) that would have permitted a homeowner to request law enforcement to immediately remove a squatter from his or her property. This bill was vetoed by Gov. Katie Hobbs (D).

In her veto message, Hobbs said "this bill fails to leverage existing legal mechanisms, respect the due process rights of lawful tenants, and minimize unintended consequences such as for victims of domestic violence."

Sponsor of the bill State Sen. Wendy Rogers (R-Tempe) complained "this bill has absolutely nothing to do with landlord-tenant law and has exemptions for family members and anyone with an agreement to cohabitate. Tenants are people who pay rent. This bill's focus is on ousting persons who break into homes, do not pay rent, and try to claim rights to which they are not entitled."

Hobbs countered, saying "how is a person who moves into an unoccupied house supposed to know it's not theirs for the taking? It is the responsibility of the person who claims to own the property to prove their ownership. Until that is done, why should law enforcement assume that those physically present in the structure have no right to be there? Since the squatters are otherwise homeless why shouldn't they avail themselves of an apparently abandoned dwelling? People wealthy enough to own vacant properties can afford to incur the burden of going through the time and effort to have the court determine who owes what to who?"

Sen. Justine Wadsack (R-Tucson), who is also a realtor encountered a squatter in a property she was showing to a potential buyer, said "when I called the police, I was told there was not much they could do. It's a shame Gov. Hobbs has vetoed yet another piece of commonsense bipartisan legislation."

New Law Allows Pro-Lifers to Enter Abortion Clinics

Italy's Senate passed a law which allows regions to permit groups "with a qualified experience supporting motherhood" to have access to women considering abortions at public clinics. Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said "allowing those with a pro-life message into abortion clinics is intended to fully inform women. I believe that we must guarantee a free choice and I believe that to make a free choice you need to have all the necessary information."

Silvana Agatone, president of the pro-choice association LAIGA, objected to the law saying "these pro-life advocates don't have the medical training or the credentials to give accurate information. All they will accomplish is to confuse women who have already made the decision to terminate their pregnancies. This is cruel and inhumane. Under the law, a woman is guaranteed the right to an abortion on her own request in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, or later if her health or life is endangered. But the law also allows health care personnel to register as conscientious objectors and refuse to perform abortions."

"Why shouldn't a doctor also have the option to decline to kill an unborn child?" Merloni asked. "Women are free to find a doctor who is willing to do the deed. The notion that women will be greatly inconvenienced is absurd. I'm certain that LAIGA will be able to assist women in finding a doctor willing to perform the procedure."

Meanwhile in the US, after all the hand-wringing and teeth-gnashing about how the Dobbs decision relegating control over whether abortions are legal to each individual state, "would rob women of the constitutional right to an abortion that was granted by the 1973's Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade," Planned Parenthood was able to perform a record 392,715 abortions in the year since Dobbs went into effect. Now US birth rates per woman are the lowest since the government started keeping track in 1930.

The Biden campaign assured female voters that "neither the uncertainties of different rules in different states nor the tyranny of places like Italy will be permitted in this country. After Democrats sweep the November elections every woman who wants an abortion at any time, for any reason will have unfettered access free-of-charge courtesy of a new federal law or executive order, whichever is most feasible. The flood of unwanted intruders into our communities and homes will be ended once and for all."

Special Privileges for Some

In the sanctuary city of Denver, Colorado, Mayor Mike Johnson (D) announced that "we will provide a long-term, sustainable response to address the migrant crisis. This program will offer six months of free housing, food assistance, workforce training and more to the migrants currently in the city's shelter system as they wait for federal authorization to work."

Housing advocacy group Housekeys Action Network Denver (HAND) slammed Johnston, calling the City's efforts "inadequate." Willy Bastidas, a migrant, said "I think that it's insufficient. The mayor doesn't adequately represent immigrants' interests. He needs to listen to us and work with us toward a better solution."

In Santa Monica, California, Mayor Phil Brock is planning an apartment building for the homeless. The building is expected to cost $123 million to complete and will be able to house 122 families. Brock boasted that "bringing affordable and permanent supportive housing to city-owned land is a key step in our strategy to improve the City. I look forward to the next steps and ultimately seeing families move into these new homes and thrive." The move-in date is scheduled for 2030, providing the project can come in under budget and there are no environmental lawsuits or other potential roadblocks.

Santa Monica resident Albie Sheared wondered "whether million dollar apartments might be a bit pricey for housing the homeless? I mean, most working stiffs can't afford to live in homes that cost a million dollars apiece. Why should taxpayers have to finance such fancy digs for the drug addicts and crazies that comprise the majority of the homeless population?"

Mayor Brock tried to reassure his constituents that "while these new domiciles may cost a million dollars each, they will not be luxurious. Most of the cost will go toward funding the cost overruns typical of public projects--poor planning, over-priced materials, waste, fraud and abuse. The actual living spaces will be shabby."

In New York City, over 1,000 migrants, most from African countries, attended a City Council meeting, where they aired their grievances about the food and accommodations they've been provided since arriving in the city, and demanded the money, green cards and work visas they say they've been promised, and expressed anger that no city officials speak their native African languages. When one Council member asked "what motivated you to come here thinking the streets are paved in gold?" Several attendees responded "President Biden invited us to come to America." Another responded "I came on a plane President Biden sent to bring people from my country to America to vote in the elections. We were told we would be given money."

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