Omnibus Bill: Dems Declare Victory
This week, Congress appropriated $1.3 trillion in spending to fund the federal government for the next six months. Despite threatening to veto the measure, President Trump signed it "for national security reasons." Minority Leaders Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) claimed victory.
"We got more out of this bill than we did when we had the majority and Obama was president," Pelosi boasted. "The GOP's inability to unite on a program they could all support meant that Republican leaders had to buy Democrats to get enough votes to pass the thing. And those votes didn't come cheap. That the bill has explicit language restricting border fence construction to the same see-through fencing that was already authorized under current law is the 'cherry on top' of our takedown of Trump's agenda. Next up is impeachment after we regain the majority in November's elections."
Schumer said "McConnell's devotion to the Senate's filibuster rules were a key. If he weren't such a flaccid leader he might've corralled a slim majority on a straight Party line vote to pass a budget more in line with Republican campaign promises. But by setting a minimum 60-vote threshold for clearing a filibuster he handed us the whip hand once again."
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ken) expressed his gratitude for "the seminal support from my esteemed colleagues on the other side of the aisle. Without them behind us there would've been no bill. The government would've run out of money and the people of America would've been left adrift without the essential guidance and regulation from the federal that is needed for them to live satisfying and fulfilling lives."
While he did sign the spending legislation, President Trump was noticeably more muted in his enthusiasm. "There was a lot of crap in the bill that I didn't want and some important things like the border wall and DACA relief were left out. But we did get a very important $700 billion for our military which, I am told, should give us sufficient firepower to neutralize any future violent threats from former Vice-President Joe Biden."
In related news, Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa) pointed out "Ryan and McConnell adopted the same appalling tactics thje Democrats used to ram Obamacare through Congress. In both instances the Leadership forced us to vote on massive 2,000 page bills without allowing sufficient time to read them. Pelosi's 2010 quip that 'we have to pass the bill to find out what's in it' seems to have become standard practice now. It's a disgrace."
Progressives Stunned by Firearms Poll Answer
In a poll conducted for NBC and the Wall Street Journal, 58% of respondents agreed that "gun ownership does more to increase safety by allowing law-abiding citizens to protect themselves." On the other side, 38% agreed that "gun ownership reduces safety by giving too many people access to firearms." These results are a significant reversal of responses from 19 years ago when 52% felt that increased gun ownership reduced safety.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel called this shift in favor of gun ownership "dismaying. Considering the carnage taking place on our city streets on a daily basis, I think it's clear that the gun controls we have put in place are insufficient. We need sterner measures to ensure that those with bad intent cannot get their hands on firearms."
The Mayor suggested that "we should approach the issue logically. Let's assume that the police are the good guys. Each officer has cleared ethical scrutiny and received extensive training in the use of firearms. While we can't expect everyone to undergo such scrutiny and training we could place our trust in those who have. I say let the police decide whose guns should be confiscated on a real-time basis without having to go through the red tape of court orders or probable cause. If a cop thinks a person is dangerous just take his guns away."
"I know some gun nuts will say I'm calling for a police-state," Emanuel added. "But think about it. We didn't see the kind of gun fights we now have in Chicago during Stalin's rule in Russia. Sure, a few people were oppressed and sent to the Gulag, but innocent people weren't being massacred in the streets like they are here in America with our loose gun control policies. Perhaps we should consider giving up a little of our out-dated 'right to bear arms' in exchange for the right not to get shot by our neighbors."
The revelation that a firm working for the 2016 Trump presidential campaign used FaceBook data to aid his election sparked a heavy dose of remorse from founder Mark Zuckerberg. He apologized profusely "for betraying the values and efforts of President Obama to create a just and noble society for everyone."
A particularly aggravating aspect of the Trump campaign's use of data mining techniques via FaceBook was its similarity to what the Obama presidential campaign of 2012 did. "When Obama's people approached me on the topic of extracting personal data for political purposes, I thought, we're for the same things, and I was glad to help out," Zuckerburg said. "I never considered the possibility that someone else with contradictory political beliefs could replicate Obama's genius. I'm so sorry."
Zuckerburg admitted that "my naive assumption that freedom of speech would be enough for good ideas to win out was a big mistake. My people have the skills to subtly impose censorship. We're doing that now through a variety of algorithms. Results over the past few months have been encouraging. The spread of conservative messages has been diminished while to spread of progressive and corporate content has increased. I just hope it isn't too late to undo the damage already done."
The social network mogul also suggested that "my firm's efforts be formalized via government regulations that establish my algorithms as THE STANDARD for determining what can and can't be posted on any site on the web. FaceBook has two billion users, but there are five billion people using other methods of communicating. If the government were to mandate that everyone use FaceBook, like they mandated that everyone have Obamacare, I'm confident that I could guarantee that everyone is properly informed on all the critical issues."
Group Wants to Ban Gas-Powered Cars
In California, the Center for Climate Protection is pushing legislation that would ban gasoline-powered vehicles after Jan 1, 2040. A bill drafted by Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) would require that only vehicles relying on "clean" technologies could be registered in the state. Even hybrids that sometimes use gasoline would be barred from being registered.
"I envision a future where the roads are traveled by nonpolluting vehicles using batteries, fuel cells, or wind as their source of energy," Ting imagined. "My favorite, of course, is the wind-powered car. For centuries humans traveled the seas with only wind to push them to their destinations. The ships were elegant, beautiful, and non-polluting. Why couldn't the shorter distances traveled by daily commuters be traversed by wind-driven cars?"
Ting's bill is not without its problems. Batteries and fuel cells are only pollution-free while being driven. The manufacture of new and disposal of old batteries and fuel cells does contribute to pollution. And wind-powered cars could become becalmed on still days.
"Well, even if these technologies don't work out our increasingly Mexican population could make do with a more traditional mode of transportation," Ting postulated. "Burros are a very familiar way of getting around and transporting freight in Mexico. And they are also non-polluting. So, I think California will come out okay either way. Those who can't shake their dependence on polluting vehicles are free to leave the state and make more room for immigrants who will lead more natural lives."
Hogg Calls for Students to Seize Power
School shooting survivor and anti-gun crusader David Hogg went on a rant denouncing "the feeble old drones who are ruining our future" to be deposed by a "student uprising to seize control of the government and exterminate our oppressors."
"Our parents failed to protect us," Hogg charged. "They have lost their right to rule and maybe even their right to live. They don't know how to use a f*cking democracy. We do! The half million of us who are going to march on Washington shouldn't settle for 'atta boys' and a pats on the head from the generation that has screwed us over. We have the numbers to overwhelm the White House and the capitol, drag the politicians into the streets and beat them to death."
Hogg blamed the NRA for making his coup necessary, claiming that "they're the ones who led our weak-willed parents astray. Instead of acknowledging the justice of our cause and urging everyone to lay down their arms, the NRA has bribed Congress to block any sensible limits on guns."
"I tried to be nice," Hogg maintained. "I was willing to consider the possibility that many gun owners might not be bad people. I invited them to join our cause. But almost all of them have rejected my overtures. I reached out to the NRA leadership and begged them to stop manufacturing guns and distributing them to the mentally ill. But the few dollars of profit they got from selling a fully semi-automatic assault rifle to Nikolas Cruz so he could kill my classmates was more important to them than the billions of lives that could be saved if they ceased their malevolent scheme."
"I expect that oldsters will scoff at the possibility that we could succeed in our aims," Hogg predicted. "Let them. Lenin had even fewer on his side when he seized power. Still, he established a new government that served as a shining beacon to all who hoped for a better future."