IPFS John Semmens

SEMI-NEWS: A Satire of Recent News

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SEMI-NEWS/SEMI-SATIRE: May 30, 2021 Edition

Students Protest Vaccine Tyranny

Students enrolled at the University of Maryland and at Rutgers in New Jersey demonstrated against their schools' requirement that they must take the experimental COVID vaccination to attend classes in the Fall semester. One UM student called the requirement an "abuse of rights and abuse of power" and demanded it be "reeled back." Another student asserted that "forced consent isn't real consent."

Maryland House Delegate Lauren Arikan (R-Baltimore County) supported the protest, saying that "coercing students to take an experimental drug is not appropriate" and urged the University Administrators to rescind the mandate because "these vaccines are not like those that have been thoroughly tested and approved by the FDA. They are only approved for emergency use. Those who are in high-risk categories are free to take or not take the vaccination. Low-risk young adults should have that same option."

UM President Darryll Pines defended the mandate, insisting "it is our duty to protect all students from infection. It is every student's duty to obey the safety measure we are imposing. Their choice is simple—you want to attend classes, you must be vaccinated. It's just common sense. I mean, it's not as if we are calling for fines and prison terms for those who resist being vaccinated like Bloomberg's Clara Ferreira Marques has. Our mandate is a moderate infringement of individualism, not a full-fledged dictatorship."

Rutgers President Jonathan Holloway took a similar stance saying that "it is our responsibility to safeguard the health and safety for all members of our community. Students themselves may be at low risk from COVID, but some of the older faculty and staff are in higher risk categories." Holloway rebuffed critics who point out that since the vaccines are purported to be 95% effective they are not endangered by unvaccinated people, by insisting that "you can never be too safe. If everyone is vaccinated the effectiveness of the vaccine jumps up to 95.2%."

New Jersey Assemblyman Gerry Scharfenberger (R-Middletown) defended the students, saying that "it's not as if being injected with this experimental drug is totally risk free. Forcing students to bear the risk of being vaccinated for the tiny gain that might achieve for those already vaccinated is fundamentally unfair. As one student said 'my body, my choice.' I think that's a pretty persuasive argument against the mandate."

Holloway dismissed Scharfenberger's point, calling it "a big stretch. The 'my body, my choice' argument pertains to a woman's right to an abortion. Refusal to give birth to a child harms no one. Refusing to be inoculated against a deadly disease threatens the lives of everyone you come into contact with. Trying to smuggle the 'my body, my choice' principle into the COVID issue is a reprehensible apology for murder."

In related news, MIT and Wellesley College data scientists found that "skeptics of government COVID-19 policies reveal themselves to be more sophisticated in their understanding of how scientific knowledge is socially constructed than their ideological adversaries." Despite this, the study's authors expressed some concern that "their unwillingness to defer to a paternalistic, condescending elite could undermine the government's struggle to achieve universal obedience to its directives."

Arizona Rejects ID for Mail-in Ballots

Two Republicans—Reps. Michelle Udall of Mesa and Joel John of Buckeye—provided the margin for the Democrat minority to defeat a bill requiring a voter ID for mail-in ballots. Udall explained that "since experts have declared that the 2020 elections were the most secure ever, it doesn't make sense to me to mess with how our elections are conducted." John pointed out that "by killing this bill we are saving a lot of paperwork for county election officials."

Democrat Rep. Jasmine Blackwater-Nygren argued that "the bill is a violation of the secret ballot principle. In a democracy the voter has a right to be anonymous. Any effort to determine the identity of any person casting a ballot is also an attempt to discourage or suppress a vote."

Blackwater-Nygren rejected the Republicans' argument that IDs are easy to get and are required for so many commercial transactions like boarding an airplane, cashing a check, buying alcohol or tobacco that virtually everyone has an ID. "Virtually everyone is not everyone," she pointed out. "If only one person is denied the right to vote due to a lack of ID our democracy is not complete. The fear that the absence of an ID requirement will result in ineligible votes being cast is overwrought. Voting is a human right. There are no ineligible votes being cast unless animals are filling out ballots. Even then I doubt there would be a decisive number of votes coming from animals. In an ideal world ballots would be ubiquitously available on every street corner. This would maximize turnout and ensure that no one's voice goes unheard when we choose who will rule us."

Biden Flip-Flops on COVID Origin Investigation

One of the first things President Biden did upon taking office was to cancel the Trump Administration's investigation of the origins of the coronavirus. Press Secretary Jen Psaki explained that "the reason was simple. Trump was the one insisting that the virus escaped from a Chinese weapons lab in Wuhan. Since we knew that Trump lies about everything this was an easy decision to make."

"It's not as if the President had no other source of information," Psaki added. "His son Hunter has had close business connections with top Chinese firms and officials for several years. He assured his dad that Xi was 'cool' and that 'a new era of fruitful commercial interactions between our two countries could be initiated if we backed away from the adversarial attitudes expressed by Trump."

However, recent developments have forced the Biden Administration to reopen the investigation of COVID's origins. One of these developments was a story in the Wall Street Journal that the first victims of the virus were employees of the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Another is CDC Director Rochelle Walensky's admission that the virus could have been developed in a lab. Another is a House GOP report indicating that "there is significant circumstantial evidence that the virus originated in a lab." In contrast, a State Department probe found almost no evidence of a natural origin for the virus.

Dr. Anthony Fauci's long-term advocacy of "gain of function" research using deadly viruses combined with evidence that the National Institutes of Health funded the Wuhan lab with $600 million of taxpayer dollars inspired some questions from the media. Fauci ultimately acknowledged that the NIH did send money to the Chinese lab and that the research conducted at the lab to increase the virus' lethality could have been the source of the pandemic.

Fauci defended the risky research, saying that "creating deadly strains in a lab is a way to improve our knowledge of how to fight a naturally occurring mutation of a virus to a more virulent form. It would have been a dereliction of duty for us not to have assisted in this research. Yes, there is a risk of an accident that could lead to an outbreak in which millions die, but this risk is a price worth paying to obtain valuable knowledge. And, as we saw during the current pandemic we learned how to deal with COVID. The lockdowns, masks, and rapid development of vaccines we used to defeat COVID are measures we can deploy in future pandemics that may be even more deadly."

Dems Threaten to Pack Court

The US Supreme Court's acceptance of the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization inspired Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) to warn "if Roe v. Wade is overturned we will have no choice but to add additional justices until a solid and secure majority in favor of upholding a woman's right to an abortion is ensured for the foreseeable future."

A bill to add four more justices to the Supreme Court has already been drafted. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) says "I'm not scheduling a vote on this bill for now, but we want the current justices to know that a misstep in their handling of the Dobbs case will not be ignored."

Justice Clarence Thomas observed that "there is nothing in the Constitution establishing a right to an abortion. If legislators want to establish such a right they have the power to enact a statute establishing this right. This is the proper way for dealing with an issue not prescribed nor forbidden by the Constitution. If the Court were to rule that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided, that the Court, per se, does not have the authority to decree a right not found in the Constitution nor enacted by the legislature, the appropriate response for proponents of a right to an abortion is to use the legislative power granted by the Constitution or existing in each individual state under state constitutions to create it."

Blumenthal said "Thomas' views are not binding on what we do in Congress. He knows very well that with polls showing a majority of Americans opposed to an unlimited right to abortion that it would be suicidal for us to try to codify the broad grant represented in Roe v. Wade. The seeming administrative improvement of the Court by adding more justices is a much easier sale for us to make."

Whether packing the Court will be as easy as Blumenthal imagines is doubtful. Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy, Inc. found that 65% of respondents opposed the bill to add four justices to the Court. Recently diseased Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg expressed opposition to expanding the court calling it "excessively partisan." Justice Stephen Breyer also expressed the view that "it is crucial that the court be guided by legal principles, not politics. Adding more justices because of disagreement with a ruling undermines this."

Pelosi's Donation Scam

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) claims she will match campaign donations "dollar-for-dollar." Since she is wealthy enough to fund her own campaign without donations this seems a way of demonstrating her own financial commitment to her reelection. The problem is, her promise is false. Campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) show no matching contributions from her.

Pelosi insists that her promise is not false, that her contribution "is an in-kind donation consisting my day-to-day work in Congress. Yes, I do receive as salary as a member of Congress, but this salary is far below the value of my time. Considering the importance and impact of my work in government I'd say my time has to be worth at least $10,000 per hour. That makes my 'match' at least $20 million per year."

"My fund-raising letters are very popular with small donors," the Speaker boasted. Reading that I'm matching their paltry contributions makes them feel better about parting with scarce funds. It gives them a sense that they are making a difference and really aiding me in transforming America into caring, collectivist utopia."

Whitmer Pardons Self

Caught in yet another violation of the restrictions she has imposed on the people of Michigan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) has utilized her execute authority to issue a pardon to herself. "As the highest ruling authority in the state I should be immune from prosecution for violating my own directives, I am issuing myself a pardon so we can quell unwarranted criticism from my political enemies." The pardon means that she, unlike so many other residents of the state, will not have to pay a fine or serve time in jail for her offense.

Marlena Pavlos-Hackney, a restaurant owner who was jailed and fined for violating one of Whitmer's COVID restrictions was not impressed by her cleverness. "Whatever happened to 'we are all equal under the law?'" he asked. "I had to spend four nights in jail and pay a $15,000 fine. Why should the Governor skate? She made the rules. Shouldn't they apply equally to everyone?"

Stung by criticism, Whitmer also pardoned the Landshark Bar & Grill—the place that violated her regulations to serve her and eleven other guests. "It would be unfair to punish an establishment that went the extra mile to accommodate the state's chief executive," Whitmer explained. "They didn't obstinately defy the rules like Marlena did. They did me a favor. For that they deserves a break."

Rep. Steve Johnson (R-Wayland) was not impressed. "This is not rule by law," he charged. "This is self-serving favoritism. The Governor has ruthlessly abused her office during the pandemic. The mercy she selectively grants to herself and her friends is unacceptable." Johnson joined 74 other House members in passing a bill to refund all the fines levied for COVID restrictions during Whitmer's "reign of error." This amounts to more than $600,000 extorted from the state's small businesses.

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