SEMI-NEWS: A Satire of Recent News
|SEMI-NEWS: A Satire of Recent News, December 7, 2014 Edition
Obama Takes the Fifth
The Obama Administration defied a court order to turn over documents the IRS illegally shared with the White House in its political vendetta against 2500 conservative organizations.
Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew, Obama's former White House Chief of Staff, maintains that "for us to be compelled to testify against ourselves would violate the the Constitution's Fifth Amendment. And if there's one thing that this Administration will defend to the last it is the inviolability of the Constitution."
The specific clause the Secretary is referring to is the one barring the government from compelling an individual in a criminal case to be a witness against himself. The use of this clause in order to protect the government from inquiries on behalf of the citizens would appear to invert the intent of the Amendment.
Nonetheless, Lew was adamant in his insistence that "I am an individual. The President is an individual. The sharing of the IRS records with the White House is a crime. So, I think we're within our rights to refuse the court's unconstitutional ruling mandating that we, in effect, be forced to verify our illegal activities."
Lew rebuffed the plaintiff's contention that the privacy of the affected taxpayers could be protected by redacting confidential information. "The privacy of these taxpayers is just one small part of the issue," he argued. "None of these taxpayers face jail in this dispute. At worst, their ability to actively oppose the Administration's policies may have been impeded a bit and there may have been some harassment and intimidation by the IRS, but these are the normal tactics administrations have traditionally used against opponents since FDR. None of these previous administrations were forced to disclose their illegal tactics. Enforcing the law against the administration of America's first Black president would be racist. We will not be a party to that."
Consumers to Blame for Obamacare's Failures
Former Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius attempted to defend the Affordable Care Act health insurance scheme she helped establish by blaming consumers for its shortcomings.
"A lot of Americans have no idea what insurance is about," Sebelius said. "It's a complicated product that few are competent to purchase. In hindsight, our biggest mistake was probably trying to incorporate a modicum of individual choice into the system."
"If we had just set up a single-payer government-run health insurance regime a lot of the complaints that riled the general public could have been avoided," she continued. "All of the caterwauling over the bronze, silver, and platinum plans would never had arisen. Health experts would have determined precisely what services each person should receive using a collective national benefit metric—kind of like what what we do for active and retired military personnel."
Sebelius blamed Republicans. "Their intransigent opposition to socialized medicine derailed us from the course we wanted to take," she claimed. "Only by having the government take care of the necessities of life can people truly be free. What person doesn't fondly remember the carefree days of their childhood when their parents took care of them? Until we institute a comprehensive in loco parentis state we will never be able to replicate that."
Opponents of Amnesty Oppose Human Rights
Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson characterized congressional opponents of amnesty for illegal immigrants as "enemies of human rights."
"The constant questions about how the President's deferred deportation program helps Americans exposes the selfishness and inhumanity of his critics," Johnson asserted. "Since when is everything we do supposed to benefit Americans? After all, Americans are a tiny portion of humanity. Why should their interests be permitted to override the well-being of the other 96%?"
"A case could be made that 4% of the world population consuming 20% of world output is unfair," Johnson observed. "Since it is clear that the vast majority of those President Obama's immigration policy is benefiting are impoverished refugees I'd have to say he is moving toward a more equitable redistribution of the wealth. For the GOP to insinuate that this is somehow wrong is indecency personified."
In related news, Johnson announced that two members of a terrorist group from Turkey were released under a court order. "As I understand it, the judge said that the mere aspiration to carry out an attack is insufficient cause for punitive action against them," Johnson said. "Neither was the fact that they entered the country illegally. The judge cited President Obama's new law allowing illegal immigrants to stay in this country and be provided with identification documents and voter registrations as the authority for his decision."
Scrutiny of Planned Parenthood's Billings to Medicaid Decried
Fear is building that Wisconsin's Department of Health Office of Inspector General (OIG) investigation of Planned Parenthood's over billing of the state's Medicaid program for services rendered may endanger the financial health of the organization. For example, Planned Parenthood has been billing the state twice the allowable amount for the abortifacient contraceptive Yaz.
Beth Hartung, president of the Wisconsin Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, called the financial reimbursement rules "unreasonable. The mark-ups we attach to these drugs is what helps subsidize services that the state program doesn't cover." One of those uncovered programs is surgical abortions.
"Squeezing the profit out of one part of our operation threatens the success of the entire operation," Hartung complained. "Governor Walker's rigid interpretation of the law goes against the 'live and let live' understanding we had with previous administrations. If he doesn't relent our very survival will be put at risk."
Jeb Bush Outlines Bizarre Strategy for Prospective 2016 Presidential Race
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush (R) is reputed to be weighing his options for a possible bid for the presidency in the 2016 election. His statements, thus far, however raise serious questions regarding his grasp of the process. At issue is his avowed plan to win the general election by losing the primaries.
In Bush's view, the GOP primaries have been co-opted by the Party's conservative base. The problem with this is that "the conservative base preaches a message of individual liberty that is at odds with the communitarian future I envision for America and the world," Bush said. "The era of each person looking out for himself is over. GOP resistance to this reality is what will keep it from ever winning the presidency again."
The former Governor says that "by consistently and repeatedly losing in the GOP primaries I will establish solid credentials as a 'new kind of Republican'--one that Democrats and Independents won't be afraid to vote for in the general election."
A possible stumbling block to Jeb's strategy, though, is the likelihood that the winner of the GOP primaries will be the Party's nominee in the general election. Not to worry, Jeb expressed confidence that this handicap would be overcome. "My father was president. My brother was president. It just seems that becoming president is my destiny. Someway, somehow, it will happen. Strings will be pulled. Favors will be paid off. As long as I think positively about it I feel everything will be okay."
Missouri Guv Explains Absence of National Guard at Ferguson Riots
Governor Jay Nixon (D) explained why, despite pleas from Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder and Ferguson Mayor James Knowles, the state's National Guard troops weren't immediately dispatched to quell the riots.
"I couldn't risk National Guard troops shooting people like they did at Kent State in 1970," Nixon offered. "Then the blood would be on my hands and Neil Young would write a song about me...me. It's bad enough that I already share an unfortunate surname with former President Nixon. I didn't want to replicate his actions."
The Governor characterized the contention that troops might have lessened the damage as "pure speculation. Even if we had suppressed the violence on one particular occasion that wouldn't have assuaged the pent up anger. Rather than stifle it now only to have it break out later I felt we had to let it go."
The "saving grace" of his nonintervention approach according to Nixon is that "the state government would play no role in the mayhem. All of the burning and looting would be the responsibility of the private citizens committing these crimes and the local police who failed to stop it. My hands would be clean."
As for the victims of the looting and burning, Nixon reminded everyone that "opening a business entails a certain amount of risk. No one forced these people to invest in commercial enterprises. Just because their personal quest for profit may have suffered a setback is not my responsibility. Anyway, for what its worth, it looked to me like the rioters outnumbered the victims. From a democratic perspective, how could I have justified siding with the minority by denying the majority the opportunity to express their opinions concerning the decision of the grand jury not to indict Wilson? Shouldn't freedom of expression trump mere protection of property?"