SEMI-NEWS: A Satire of Recent News
|SEMI-NEWS: A Satire of Recent News, December 14, 2014 Edition
Cromnibus Puts Taxpayers on Hook for Bank Losses
The House-passed $1.1 trillion Continuing Resolution contains a clause that exposes taxpayers to a potential $300 trillion liability for bank losses in derivatives trading. The rider to the CR was the "brain child" of Citigroup. The rider is opposed by both tea party Republicans and left wing Democrats, but is strongly supported by House GOP leadership and President Obama.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif), charged that "this maneuver puts the lie to the contention that the GOP is the Party of small government. This is a big government pay off to Wall Street financiers. I'm enormously disappointed that the White House has gone along with this."
President Obama, though, reminded Pelosi that "Wall Street has been a good friend to the Democratic Party. They've donated more to us than to the Republicans. Besides, the risk to taxpayers is only theoretical. As long as the covered bank investments are profitable the taxpayers won't have to pay a cent in bailout money."
House Speaker John Boehner hailed "the cooperation between us and the President as a sign that a new era of mutually beneficial attitudes and actions is upon us" and derided "those who would place ideological purity ahead of successful governance. The banking industry is crucial to the US economy. We cannot afford to let it fail because of a misplaced devotion to free market theories that investors ought to bear all their own risks."
In related news, Boehner single-handedly killed the Freedom of Information Improvement Act. The Act, which would have eased citizen access to government files, was unanimously passed by the Senate. Boehner refused to allow the House to vote on it. "The task of governing this country is difficult enough without us having to have everything we do subject to minute scrutiny," Boehner explained. "People will be happier if they just relax and let us do our jobs."
NY Governor Orders Insurers to Cover Sex Reassignment Surgery
New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) decreed that insurers operating in his state must cover sex reassignment surgery. Up to now insurance has typically not covered this on the grounds that it is elective rather than the result of an unforeseen illness or injury.
"The whole idea behind insurance is that it allows the buyer to protect himself against events that he cannot control," said industry spokesman Barbara Arian. "No one opts to come down with a life-threatening disease or to be maimed in an accident. We can insure against these events because we and the insured both aim to avoid them. But sex-changes aren't inflicted on unwilling victims. They are chosen."
"The effect of the Governor's edict is to compel the pool of insured to subsidize the choices of the tiny minority who elect to have this expensive alteration to their bodies," Arian continued. "The Governor's mandate isn't an expansion of insurance coverage. It's robbing Peter to pay for Paul's new genitals."
Cuomo disagreed with the contention that sex change surgery is elective. "If a person is born with a congenital defect like a cleft palate, insurance covers it," Cuomo pointed out. "Why shouldn't insurance cover the more drastic defect of being born into the wrong gender?"
The Governor also rebuffed critics' contentions that he lacks the authority to create this new state law. "What I may lack in constitutionally granted authority is overridden by the inherent moral authority possessed by every ruler," he asserted. "As President Obama has recently demonstrated with his amnesty decree, those of us who govern must look to a higher authority than some piece of paper concocted by deceased politicians."
Illegal Immigrant Sues Border Patrol
Illegal immigrant Jose Manuel Marino-Najera has filed suit against the US Border Patrol for dog bite injuries he sustained during his arrest. Marino-Najera was among a group of immigrants smuggling marijuana across the border. He is alleging that his human rights were violated.
"Those border guards disobeyed their own President Obama," Marino-Najera declared. "He says I have a right to go where I want. They should have given me food and water, not sicced their dogs on me."
Marino-Najera's lawyer Susan Horschidt claims that "the trauma my client experienced has given him nightmares that have ruined his life. No amount of money damages can adequately restore him to the status of a fully functioning member of society. The punitive damages we are seeking are needed to send a message that this sort of inhumane atrocity must not be repeated."
Congressman Demands Investigation of FDIC "Choke Point" Policy
Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo) is demanding an investigation of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation's "Operation Choke Point" practices. Under these practices, the FDIC pressured banks to freeze or close accounts of businesses that the US Department of Justice designated as "anti-social enterprises." Among the businesses targeted by DOJ are firearms sellers, coin dealers, and pharmaceutical sales.
Martin Gruenberg, chairman of the FDIC, admitted that "while these businesses are not illegal, per se, the President has made it very clear that they are outside the boundary of the type of businesses he thinks we ought to have in our society. There is no valid need for them. Yet, hiding behind a so-called right to free enterprise, the firms engaged in these businesses undermine our collective well-being."
In contrast, Luetkemeyer denounced the Operation Choke Point program as "an illegal suppression of the Constitutional and natural right of people to engage in voluntary exchanges. The President has every right to urge people not to buy the products of any business. He and his minions do not have the right to conduct a covert campaign of harassment and abuse aimed at driving these businesses out of the marketplace."
In an attempt to curb this FDIC abuse, Luetkemeyer has drafted a bill—the Financial Institution Customer Protection Act. Gruenberg, however, remained confident that it poses no threat. "First of all, for this bill to become law it needs the President's signature," Gruenberg observed. "That will never happen. But even if were to override his veto, the President could simply refuse to enforce it. We will continue to do what the President wants. There is nothing Congress can do to stop that."
Ferguson Rioters Object to Time Magazine Decision
Time magazine's editors' selection of the Ebola fighters as the recipients of the publication's annual "person of the year" designation greatly riled some of the leaders of the Ferguson, Missouri riots.
"It's just another case demonstrating that Black lives don't matter," complained arsonist Monte Burns. "An innocent Black man was shot down on our streets. Now a white magazine is trying to sweep that under the rug by pushing a story about some germs."
"The Ebola fighters haven't done anything to help right the social injustices that plague America," insisted Ferguson looter Robbie Moore. "We're taking direct action to redistribute the wealth. Most of the people the Ebola fighters are treating end up dying—leaving this injustice untouched."
Moore remained unmoved by the fact that most of the lives saved by the Ebola fighters are Blacks. "That's in Africa," Moore retorted. "In Africa Blacks are the majority. They're not fighting for minority rights against white oppression like Michael Brown was, and we are continuing in his memory. President Obama said we triggered the nation's conscience. That's got to be a bigger accomplishment than curing a few Africans of an African disease in a far away land."
Venezuelan President Calls American Oil Fracking "Act of Aggression"
With his country's economy on the ropes due to declining oil prices, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro blamed the United States oil fracking industry.
"It is an act of aggression against my country and a crime against humanity," Maduro maintained. "Venezuela needs high oil prices to support our programs to feed our people. These frackers are destroying our ability to feed ourselves."
While most economists see falling fuel prices as beneficial for the vast majority of consumers, Maduro complained that "most of the beneficiaries are rich, white Americans. Saving them money at our cost is a direct attack on my government's ability to pacify our population."
Maduro characterized the economic impact as "worse than if US troops had invaded. I could have rallied my people against that. But the decline in subsistence payments forced on me by falling oil prices is something the voters will blame on me."
US President Obama expressed his sympathy for Maduro's plight. "I don't like low fuel prices anymore than he does. Boosting the cost of gasoline and heating oil has been a key plank of my program to promote environmentally friendly solar and wind power. This whole fracking thing has gotten out of hand. Reining it in is on my 'to do' list before I leave office."
Obama Boasts that Successor Won't Be Able to Undo Amnesty
President Obama taunted opponents of his executive action on illegal immigrants, boasting that "it's permanent. No one will be able to unravel it. I'm not just granting them immunity from prosecution for illegally residing in the United States. I'm giving them ID documents, work permits, and Social Security numbers. They'll have the paperwork making them indistinguishable from American citizens. They'll be working and living in our neighborhoods. Their kids will be going to your kids' schools. They'll be voting in our elections. Any efforts to reverse the rights I've bestowed will be punished at the polls."
"Rather than embark on a futile quest to evict these immigrants, Republicans might want to learn Spanish," the President advised. "That way they'll be able to understand the new multicultural regime that will grow out of my innovative action on this issue."
In related news, Obama urged undocumented immigrants to apply for public welfare. "A lot of these migrants don't realize that they are as entitled to benefits as legal residents are," the President observed. "Their 'piece of the pie' share of America's wealth is theirs for the taking. It would be foolish to let it go unclaimed."