John Semmens

SEMI-NEWS: A Satire of Recent News

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SEMI-NEWS/SEMI-SATIRE: May 28, 2017 Edition

Democrat Enraged Over Revived Interest in Rich Murder

Long-time Democratic Party operative John Podesta proclaimed former House Speaker Newt Ginrich's speculation that DNC staffer Seth Rich may have been assassinated "disgusting."

"After so much time has passed I think it's likely that we'll never know why this young man died," Podesta asserted. "The DC police forgot to ask for surveillance tapes from all the CCTVs in the vicinity of the shooting. They forgot to seek witnesses at the bar Seth visited just before he died. They have his laptop, but since he didn't have it with him when he was shot I don't see how it could shed any light on the crime. There just aren't any more clues to be found."

Gingrich contended that "the absence of any evidence that Rich was robbed casts doubt over the hastily offered theory that the murder was part of a robbery gone wrong. Since that theory hasn't solved the case perhaps other theories of the crime should be considered. The emergence of a claim by Kim Dotcom that he worked with Rich to forward DNC emails to Wikileaks and that Rich might have been murdered in retaliation is a plausible alternative theory that, in my opinion, merits examination."

An alternate theory that might explain Podesta's rage at the renewed interest in the fate of Seth Rich might be the revelation in one of his emails published by Wikileaks, where he wrote that he was "definitely for making an example of a suspected leaker whether or not we have any real basis for it." If, as Dotcom claims, Rich was the Wikileaks source, his murder could be "an example" aimed at discouraging other potentially disloyal Democrats.

European Leaders Say Islamic Attacks "Not a Major Threat"

Murderous attacks by Islamic fanatics in the United Kingdom, Egypt, Indonesia, and the Philippines this week moved US President Donald Trump to make an impassioned plea for the civilized world to unite to fight against this terrorism. As obvious as such a call to action would appear to rational individuals, it inspired push back from several European leaders.

French President Emmanuel Macron challenged Trump's priorities saying that "the murder of concert goers or nightclub patrons by 'lone wolf' terrorists does not pose the same existential threat that global climate change does. As heart breaking as the mass slaying of Ariana Grande's fans may have been, it doesn't rise to the level of a significant threat to our way of life. No important leader of any nation was endangered. Every important leader agrees that resources must not be diverted away from the more serious environmental issue of fighting global warming."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel seconded Macron's views and added her own objections to Trump's suggestion that her country honor its NATO obligations. "Mr. Trump's single-minded focus on military strength as the proper response to terror not only detracts from the unity necessary to combat climate change, it also overlooks the spending we have incurred in bringing Middle Easter refugees to Germany," she said. "In the short-run some of these refugees have 'bitten the hand that feeds them,' but over the longer term the fecundity of these immigrants will ensure a more harmonious future for our country and the world."

UK Prime Minister Theresa May observed that "the irony of Mr. Trump's position is that it is the United States that poses the biggest threat to the rest of the world. Under his leadership, it is the United States that is out-of-step with the rest of us. His call for terrorists to be 'driven out of this earth' is culturally insensitive and burns the bridges we have been trying to build through our refugee rescue efforts. Trump's notion that we should fight to preserve 'Western values' is a false hope. Islam's march to world domination cannot be prevented. Their belief in their vision is so strong they are willing to die to make it happen. We cannot match their fervor. An accommodation is our only sensible option and Mr. Trump is the biggest single barrier to achieving it."

Former US President Barack Obama traveled to Europe to express his solidarity with "their more sophisticated understanding of reality. Europe isn't trying to wall itself off from immigration like Trump wants the United States to do. Walls send a hostile message telling others to 'stay out of my yard.' Good neighbors aren't so obsessively possessive. They don't fuss if the kids next door play in their yard. They cooperate to promote a safe and healthy environment like that sought by the Paris Accord on climate change. They cooperate to provide refuge for those fleeing war or poverty as Germany has so heroically done the last few years."

Despite his denigration of Trump's pledge to protect America from unsavory outsiders, the ex-president's DC residence just completed construction of its own impressive wall around the property. Obama confidante Valerie Jarrett denied that there was any hypocrisy, saying that "the wall is needed to protect against the violent society that Trump's election has brought to this country."

In related news, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) rebuked President Trump's foreign trip, alleging that "visiting these places out of alphabetical order is a sign of mental disorder. Going to Saudi Arabia before going to Israel and France is, to me, unfathomable. No one in their right mind would do that. Clearly, our nation is being run by a person unfit for the office."

Trump Wants Work Requirement for Food Stamps

A feature of Trump's proposed federal budget that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton labeled "unimaginably cruel" is a requirement that able-bodied persons receiving food stamps do a small amount of work in exchange for the benefit.

"Making people work in order to eat is slavery, pure and simple," Clinton declared. "People shouldn't be punished for being poor and hungry. The choice of whether to work or not is one that should freely made without economic duress."

Let's face it," she said, "for most of those on food stamps the work alternatives available are dead-end drudgery. No one dreams of jobs like these and no one should be forced to give up their dreams just to put food on the table. America is rich enough to put food on everyone's table. It is the moral obligation of those who have more than they need to care for those who have less. It is the government's obligation to compel those who do not voluntarily fulfill this obligation."

CBS Exposes Deadly Impact of "Trump Economy"

The upsurge in economic activity that has followed from Donald Trump's elevation to the presidency has an unpublicized "dark side" according to a recent newscast from CBS.

Network correspondent Norah O'Donnell explained that "what the Trump Administration failed to consider was that getting people off unemployment and welfare and into the workforce means more will be on the roads driving to their jobs. This exposes them to higher risk of death and injury in traffic crashes."

"Worse, the risk isn't confined to the work commute," O'Donnell breathlessly told viewers. "When people are more prosperous they also travel more for recreation. In fact, the National Safety Council predicts more than 400 people could be killed in crashes this Memorial Day Weekend. The concealment of this information by President Trump is a crime against humanity."

"The safety gains the nation enjoyed under the Obama Administration as millions exited the work-a-day rat race are being cast aside by a mindless fixation on the notion that working is a good thing," O'Donnell observed. "Facebook founder and acknowledged genius, Mark Zuckerberg pointed the way to a happier and safer future with his recommendation that the government ought to provide an income for everyone so they won't have to take on the risky task of working just to support themselves."

Ironically, Zuckerberg disavowed such a strategy for his own employees "because I'm trying to run a business. If I paid people regardless of whether they did any work, output would decline. Work is a disutility. That's why people have to be paid to do it. If we don't pay them they won't work or won't work as hard or as long. My business would fail."

Zuckerberg insisted that "the same rules don't apply to the government. For one, the government has the power to print money. It will never go out of business due to declining output. Second, the government doesn't have to sell its output in order to earn money. It can just take it through taxation. Finally, outside of transferring money from those who don't need it to those who do, it is not apparent that the government has any actual essential product or service to offer customers, per se. All the agitation for government programs is basically comprised of calls for someone else to foot the bill for the benefits being demanded."

UN Says Trump Budget Inadequate

The Trump Administration's budget aims to reduce the United States' annual contribution toward funding the United Nations. Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, complained that "the amounts laid out in the budget aren't sufficient for us to continue the vital work of the organization."

Currently, there are 193 member nations in the UN. The US has been paying 22% of the UN's $5.4 billion "core" budget and 28% of the UN's $7.9 billion "peacekeeping" budget. Trump's budget proposal would cut the US contribution by one-third and cap the US share of "peacekeeping" at 25%.

Dujarric declared that "the notion that the United States can unilaterally decide how much it will pay is offensive to me. For one, it's undemocratic. The US represents only 5% of the world population. Allowing a minority to overrule the 95% that wishes the US to pay more is tyranny. The US already has an unfair proportion of the world's total wealth. It has a moral obligation to share this with those less fortunate. Paying a larger portion of the UN's expenses would be a convenient start on a more equitable distribution of wealth."

Obama Admin Spying "Pervasive" and "Illegal"

Recently declassified documents reveal that the Obama Administration's spying on American citizens went far beyond what the law allowed. Under a pretext of surveilling foreigners, intelligence agencies under Obama gathered data on political opponents and illegally shared this information with outside parties.

Former FBI Director James Comey falsely assured Congress that "this information was lawfully collected, carefully overseen and checked." In contrast, an Inspector General's report found "disregard for rules, inadequate training and deficient oversight." The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) found "hundreds of violations of the FBI's rules" that occurred during Comey's tenure as FBI Director.

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that "this is very troubling now that Trump is president. The absence of the calming guidance of former President Obama heightens the risk that snooping will be used for evil purposes. Violations that occurred in pursuit of a more socially just world under Obama could easily be turned toward maleficent ends under Trump."

Blitzer concurred, opining that "no one I know and trust had the least bit of concern when President Obama was in charge. Now, though, anxiety levels are the highest I have ever seen. Will Trump abuse this power to try to spy on progressives? Will he use illegally obtained information to try to intimidate his opposition? I think this may add a new sense of urgency to the movement to remove him from office before this can happen."

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