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SEMI-NEWS: A Satire of Recent News

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SEMI-NEWS: A Satire of Recent News March 11, 2012 Edition

SEMI-NEWS: A Satire of Recent News
March 11, 2012
by John Semmens
Film Biographer in Awe of Obama
Davis Guggenheim's recently completed film biography presents an unstintingly glowing portrayal of President Barack Obama. There is, to quote Guggenheim, “no downside to this man save the enmity of his enemies.”
“Only one other person in the history of the world has led a comparably exemplary life,” Guggenheim asserted. “Jesus healed the sick. Obama gave us healthcare. Jesus fed the multitudes. Obama has put more people on food stamps than any other president. The parallels between the two men's great works are uncanny.”
Guggenheim expressed some anxiety that “like Jesus, Obama may be crucified for his efforts. Every day, right-wing fanatics stir up hatred of the President. Just as Jesus was denied mercy by mobs outside of Pilate's palace, talk radio agitators like Rush Limbaugh urge voters to deny Obama a second term. The very idea that we could be repeating mistakes made 2000 years ago sends shivers up my spine.”
Women's Rights May Be Sacrificed for Peace in Afghanistan
Afghan President Hamid Karzai says that “it may be necessary for us to roll back the freedoms and privileges we extended to women if we want to persuade the Taliban to come to terms with us.”
Karzai characterized the freedoms granted to women over the last decade as “an experiment that is not working. Allowing women to go out in public uncovered and unaccompanied is a Western imposition that is out of step with our fundamental traditions. We will never have peace if we attempt to persist with such offensive alien ideas. Bringing women back under the discipline of sharia law is a small price to pay to end the war.”
The country's women were recently instructed by the Afghan Ulema Council to “renounce the false gods of literacy and independence that have lured your Western sisters away from the path of righteousness. Allah bids you obey your husband, pleasure him, and bear him sons. Do as Allah wills and tranquility will prevail in your household. Pain, suffering, death and Hellfire await those who rebel against Allah's will.”
Congressional Approval of Military Measures Not Required
US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told a Senate Armed Services Committee that the Obama Administration's decision on whether to engage in military action against Syria is not contingent on Congressional approval.
“The United States is just one of many nations,” Panetta explained. “Even if our Constitution places the power to declare war with Congress this doesn't override decisions made on a multinational basis. An agreement reached with other nations takes precedence over anything Congress may wish to do.”
The Secretary cited the precedent established by the Administration's actions in Libya. “President Obama acted with the consent of key allies in NATO,” Panetta pointed out. “Everyone agreed that intervention to depose Qaddafi was justified. That intervention was accomplished despite the lack of full Congressional authorization.”
Panetta argued that Congressional failure to impeach President Obama for bypassing its supposed authority “established the precedent that the President may deploy our military forces at his sole discretion on his own authority. Whether he uses his discretion and authority to intervene in Syria is his decision.”
Senator Demands Limbaugh Be Dropped from Armed Forces Network
Senator Carl Levin (D-Mich) demanded that the Armed Forces Network stop carrying Rush Limbaugh's show. “Our troops shouldn't be exposed to the barrage of criticism of their Commander-in-Chief that is spewed out by Limbaugh on a daily basis,” Levin said. “It foments disobedience and disloyalty.”
As evidence, Levin cited Marine Sergeant Gary Stein's Facebook page called Armed Forces Tea Party Patriots. “The Tea Party is a threat to our government,” Levin maintained. “Men like Sergeant Stein may be called upon to suppress this threat. Yet, this Facebook page raises serious questions about where his loyalties may be.”
The Senator specifically took issue with Stein's call for fellow armed service members to refuse to follow unlawful orders. “How is some grunt or jarhead supposed to know which orders are unlawful?” Levin asked. “We can't have individual soldiers making up their own minds. They just need to obey their superiors.”
Levin was unmoved by the argument that Nazi troops who committed atrocities in World War II professed to be “just following orders.” “In war both sides engage in questionable deeds,” Levin observed. “Winners get to write the post-war rules and history. Losers can be made to pay for their crimes. The only thing our troops should be thinking about is how to make sure they are on the winning side when it's all over.”
President Calls Oil “Fuel of the Past”
President Obama begged voters to back his vision of an oil-free future for America.
“There will come a day when we will wean ourselves from this fuel of the past,” Obama proclaimed. “Reliance on oil-based fuels has lulled us into lives of gluttony and waste. We have gotten soft because we drive when we should walk. We have gotten lazy because it's easier to turn up the thermostat than to put on a sweater.”
“There are environmentally-friendly ways for us to live,” the President continued. “I see a future when mighty vessels powered by the wind carry goods and people to distant destinations. I see a harmonious communal lifestyle where body heat is more effectively deployed to warm our homes and work places. I see a people content to live more naturally, more humbly without the unnecessary frills we have been brainwashed to want.”
Of course, creating this utopia won't be easy. The President acknowledged that sacrifices would have to be made. “Right now, too many of us are hooked on oil,” Obama said. “Breaking this addiction will be costly and painful. My Republican opponents are seeking to exploit your addiction by offering policies that will make oil cheaper and more plentiful. But I'm asking you to reject their siren song. Be strong. Help me build an oil-free future for our country.”
Dems Say They Have Better Offer for Women
Bolstered by polls showing women are more likely to vote Democrat than men, President Obama boasted “we have a better story to tell them.”
“The GOP is telling women to be responsible—get a job, get married—to take the so-called respectable path,” Obama asserted. “We've got a better offer.”
“Our healthcare plan mandates free contraception and free abortion,” Obama pointed out. “This frees women from the fear of unwanted pregnancy without impairing their sex lives.”
“Our welfare program ensures that should a woman choose to have a baby the government will provide for her and the child,” Obama added. “This frees women from being forced to marry the child's father just to survive.”
“In short, we offer women freedom,” Obama concluded. “We hope they will remember this come election day.”
Secretary Unsure of Fiscal Impact of Obamacare
Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius says she has no idea on what the fiscal impacts of Obamacare might be.
“I haven't really approached the issue from that perspective,” Sebelius told Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wisc) at a recent hearing. “We're just trying to make sure everyone and everything is covered. Maybe we'll take a look at costs later when we have more time.”
Senator Johnson's suggestion that all the requests for waivers that HHS has granted indicate a problem with cost was brushed aside by the Secretary. “First of all, I don't know which waivers you are talking about,” she complained. “Each one is done on a case-by-case basis. Each has its own set of circumstances.”
“Second, your assumption that we grant waivers when applicants' costs are too high is incorrect,” Sebelius said. “We use a variety of factors to determine who we deem qualifies for a waiver.”
Seeing that a disproportionate share of the waivers have gone to businesses and unions that are political supporters of the Obama Administration, the “variety of factors” would appear to include a political component. What they do not include is an accommodation for matters of conscience “because that would allow individuals to put their own beliefs ahead of what has been decided to be socially beneficial,” Sebelius said.
Ayatollah Confident in Obama
While his Iran policy may have come under criticism from his GOP rivals, President Obama received a vote of confidence from Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
“We are encouraged by Mr. Obama's forbearance,” Khamenei said. “We are confident that he will resist pressures from the unbelievers and that he will do the right thing.”
Khamenei favorably compared Obama to former President Jimmy Carter, who he said “had good instincts, but lacked the strength to impose his will on his enemies in Congress.”