OPINION

SEMI-NEWS: A Satire of Recent News
12-30-2014 

John Semmens
SEMI-NEWS/SEMI-SATIRE: Best of 2014, Part 2  
 

June 8

President Calls Return of Bergdahl a "Mission of Mercy"

President Obama continued to insist that Sgt Bergdahl's health was a major factor in his decision to negotiate the exchange with the Taliban.

"On the videos I saw he looked sick," the President said. "And based on what I've been reading in the newspapers the waiting time for medical treatment for veterans is dangerously long. As it is, veterans already in this country have to wait months, possibly years, to receive critically needed care. I felt it was crucial for me to get Bergdahl back as soon as possible so he could take his place in this lengthy queue."

The President denied that the price paid for Bergdahl's release might've been too high. "There's an old Chinese saying that it is better that a hundred guilty men go free than that one innocent man suffer," Obama recalled. "I only let five guilty men go free, so we really got quite a bargain."

Obama discounted the possibility that the five Gitmo prisoners he released would soon rejoin their jihad against the United States. "While it is, of course, possible that they may resume their terrorist attacks, I for one, wouldn't bet on it," the President declared. "Under the terms of the agreement for their release we are paying for all their expenses for an indefinite period at a five-star hotel in Qatar. If it were me there'd be no way I'd give up those kinds of perks to go into the desert or mountains to fight well-armed US troops. I mean, unlimited golf, satellite TV, fine dining vs. dodging bullets and drones. Come on, it's a no brainer."

Whether the President's assessment of the odds is something to count on is dubious, though. According to a study by the RAND Corporation there has been more than a 50% increase in the number of jihadi groups and the number of jihadi fighters has tripled since Obama became President.

June 15

President Advises High School Grads

Speaking at a commencement ceremony at Worcester Technical High School in Worcester, Massachusetts, President Obama urged graduates to "vote Republicans out of office before they chain you to a life of sweat, toil, and unwanted personal responsibility."

"Our country is at a crossroad," Obama declared. "Will we continue to go forward toward a future of government-funded leisure for all? Or will the reactionaries of the GOP be permitted to drag us backward toward a lifestyle where everyone is dependent upon his or her own efforts?"

"Rugged individualism may have served our country well in the past when there was a wilderness to conquer," the President observed. "But we are far beyond that now. We are at the dawn of the era of collective freedom. There is no longer a need for back-breaking labor to put food on the table. We have EBT cards. There is no longer a need to spend hours spinning, weaving and sewing. Inexpensive clothing can be imported from China and India. Today, putting a roof over your head is as simple as taking out a loan that can be forgiven when you stop making payments."

"And it's not only the bare necessities that I'm talking about," Obama continued. "I see an America where everyone is entitled to the extras—all the good things in life. And, to paraphrase the Miranda warning, if you cannot afford them, the government will provide them for you."

The President did task the students with "a responsibility to do the one little and easy job of electing your benefactors to office. The enemies of the new freedom won't go away quietly. They prey upon outmoded ways of thinking to trick voters into buying their siren song. But you, as the new generation, can thwart their scheme by ensuring that Democrats hold all the levers of power at every level of government."

Graduating senior Jamil Johnson hailed the speech as "a freeafying experience. I can't say I understood everything he said, but it's clear that white dudes are the ones we've got to bring down if we want to be free."

June 22

DOJ Wants to Boost Domestic Surveillance

Vowing not to allow himself to be distracted by recent events in Iraq, Attorney General Eric Holder called for increased efforts to monitor and interdict home grown threats.

"I know the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria is garnering a lot of attention beheading captured foes and pledging to use the cache of poison gas it has stumbled upon while rampaging through Iraq," Holder said. "But this must not divert our focus from the bigger threat from those in this country who have an anti-government animus."

"ISIS is thousands of miles away," Holder pointed out. "Bloody as their aims may be they don't pose a significant threat to our Government. In contrast, domestic anti-government enemies of the President are legion and much more dangerous. There are an estimated 300 million guns in private hands in this country. That's a lot of firepower in the hands of a population that polls show to be increasingly hostile toward the President."

"While ISIS has no known sympathizers in Congress, those with anti-government animus do," Holder added. "Senators and Representatives think nothing of openly criticizing the President's programs and initiatives. Worse, they engage in active stratagems intended to block them. Unlike the ISIS, the anti-government crowd in America could bring down the Administration if we don't take more active measures to prevent it."

One element of the active measures the Attorney General is relying upon is the Domestic Terrorism Executive Committee. Holder urged this secretive committee "to raise our surveillance of potentially disloyal citizens another notch. We must penetrate their organizations, intercept their communications, and acquire every bit of intelligence on them that we can get our hands on so we will know who they are, where they are, and when to initiate the appropriate countermeasures."

June 29

Raid Characterized as "Routine Training Exercise"

A pre-dawn raid of a Florida home was characterized as "a routine training exercise" by Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.

The raid took place on June 10 when a dozen heavily armed Department of Homeland Security troops broke into Kari Edwards home and held her and her live-in boyfriend at gunpoint while they searched the premises. The invading DHS officers disabled the home's security cameras as they thoroughly trashed the premises.

"I realize that from Ms. Edwards' perspective the incident may have been harrowing," Johnson acknowledged. "But we mustn't lose sight of the big picture. Inflicting momentary fear and indignities on a few individuals is a small price for the nation to pay in our quest to combat potential threats to the government."

"The notion that we need evidence that someone has done something wrong before we can take the steps necessary to protect against possible threats confuses judicial processes with those required to ensure security," Johnson continued. "The goal is not to punish the guilty, but to neutralize our enemies in the most efficient way we can. Besides, even if we want to consider the judicial angle, it seems to me that a surprise raid might be the most effective way to obtain evidence of wrongdoing."

July 6

Feds Say Businesses Can't Require Employees to Speak or Understand English

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is suing Wisconsin Plastics, Inc. of Green Bay, Wisconsin for discriminating against non-native persons by insisting that employees must be conversant in English in order to hold jobs with the company.

Jacqueline Berrien, EEOC Chairperson dismissed the possibility that some minimal competence in the English language might be a legitimate skill required of an employee. "Whether an employee understands English is a matter of convenience for the business,":Berrien explained. "Granted, conducting business in a single language might be more efficient. But the individual's right to speak whatever language he chooses is a human right. And human rights take precedence over economic efficiency."

"The employer has the option of hiring translators to act as intermediaries between workers and managers who speak different languages," Berrien pointed out. "They can also purchase insurance to cover any damages that might occur due to mishaps springing from miscommunication rooted in language barriers."

Berrien conceded that barring firms from requiring English comprehension among employees would raise the cost of doing business, but insisted that "this is a small price to pay for preserving individual human rights. Besides, the extra costs imposed on Wisconsin Plastics would be offset by the added employment of translators, insurance vendors, and tort lawyers."

July 13

Mexico and Guatemala Reach Accord to Expedite Transit of More Illegals to the US

This week Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina held a joint press conference to announce they have reached an accord to cooperate in the shipment of more illegal migrants from Central America to the United States.

"This agreement is a win-win for both of our countries," Peña boasted. "Guatemala rids itself of people they cannot adequately care for. By assuring that these migrants have guaranteed transportation through Mexico we avoid becoming the repository of these undesirables."

Perez insisted that "we are only responding to America's invitation to send our tired, poor, huddled masses yearning to live free. We do not have the means to enable these people to live for free in our country. America, though, is wealthy. It is long past time for them to share their wealth with our less fortunate children."

Peña speculated that "given enough time we may inject a sufficient number of Latinos into the United States to peacefully and democratically reverse the conquest of our ancient lands by the United States in the 19th century. Many Americans are ignorant of the fact that their great President Lincoln condemned this conquest as unjust. Righting this wrong by whatever means we can is long overdue."

July 20

Cost to House Influx of Illegals Stuns Senators

In testimony before the Senate Budget Committee, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson shocked senators of both parties when he disclosed that it costs between $250 and $1,000 per day, per person to house the illegal immigrants that have been surging across our border with Mexico.

"There was an audible gasp, a bipartisan gasp," Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla) recounted. "I could take a luxurious Caribbean cruise every day of the year for a lower total cost. I cannot fathom why the spartan accommodations we are providing for these people should cost so much."

Senate Budget Committee chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash) questioned the applicability of Rubio's luxury cruise comparison. "While the amount may appear excessive to the untrained observer I'm sure there are unseen factors that we just don't realize," Murray presumed. "If Senator Rubio takes a cruise he makes all his own arrangements and may exert some judgment over whether the expenses are worth it. No such latitude is available for these refugees. Housing them is official government business entailing multiple layers of authority and decision making. Who are we to second guess what they do?"

Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) was one of the few that weren't shocked by the expense. "We pay upwards of $50,000 per year for each prison inmate," he pointed out. "Let's face it, government housing is expensive."

Housing prisoners at $50,000 per inmate per year comes to around $140 per day—far lower than DHS's estimate for housing the immigrants. "You've got to remember that the budgets for prisons aren't arrived at in a panic situation," Johnson said. "There's time to reflect on what might be the most cost-effective methods. The urgency of the immigration crisis eliminates the opportunity to pursue issues of efficiency. It's Congress's duty to appropriate whatever amount the President has requested to handle this emergency."

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi suggested that "the high cost of housing these immigrants could be averted if we make use of the vast inventory of unused housing that exists in this country. How many American families have more room than they need? Can't some of this space be made available on an emergency basis?"

Pelosi said she was unsure of how to make unused housing available but speculated that "President Obama could issue an Executive Order compelling home owners to provide access to their excess capacity. We could look at a home's square footage and number of rooms, compare that to census data on who currently lives there and make a determination of which homes can take in some of the refugees."

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees concurred in Pelosi's assessment noting that "the typical American family has far more living room than the refugees that need to be accommodated. Simple equity demands that this excess be shared among these less fortunate people."

In related news, the New York City Council announced it is prepared to grant citizenship to up to 500,000 illegal immigrants. Mayor Bill de Blasio called the passage of this ordinance "a proud day for our City. While Congress may be too indifferent to act in this time of emergency I'm pleased to see that New Yorkers have stepped in to fill the void. And with the documents we will be giving these immigrants there will be nothing to stop them from enjoying the full fruits of living in America no matter where they choose to go."

July 27

Court Ruling on Obamacare Exchanges Assailed

This past week's D.C. Court of Appeals panel ruling that customers in the 36 states that didn't establish their own exchange and use HealthCare.gov instead cannot be given premium tax credits was assailed by the program's backers as "flagrant judicial activism."

Presidential Press Secretary Josh Earnest promised that "this insupportable ruling will be ignored. For the Court to insist upon a literal reading of the statute at this late date would unduly hamper the President's scope of action. He cannot and will not abide having his hands tied by this judicial interference."

At issue is explicit statutory language in the Affordable Care Act that permits federal subsidies to only those states that set up state healthcare exchanges. Thus far only a third of the states have set up such exchanges. The Obama Administration, though, has been awarding subsidies to all states.

"Millions of people have come to depend on these subsidies," Earnest pointed out. "To cut them off now on the pretext that there is no statutory authority for the subsidies to two-thirds of the nation places legalistic formalism ahead of human rights. That's not a legacy the President intends to leave behind."

"The original intent of legislative language limiting subsidy eligibility was to proffer an incentive for states to set up exchanges," explained Jonathan Gruber, one of the architects of the legislation. "By dangling a 'carrot' of millions of dollars in federal aid in front of the states it was hoped that they'd be induced to take on the task of establishing healthcare exchanges and relieve the federal government of this burden."

Gruber characterized the original intent as "no longer operative. Obviously, the lure failed to elicit the response desired. Since the fundamental purpose of Obamacare is to establish a comprehensive and uniform health care system a reinterpretation of the statutory history is required. The interpretation that is currently most in line with the President's objective is that the exclusionary language was a typographical error. In light of the fact that key participants in the process openly acknowledged that they hadn't read the bill before voting on it I think there is reasonable grounds for a conclusion that it was a typo. And we can't let a typo impede social justice."

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling this week seemed to bolster Gruber's reinterpretation. While agreeing with the DC Court that "the plain language of the statute makes a clear distinction on eligibility for federal subsidies" it refused to believe that "such an ill-conceived and stupid ploy aimed at bribing states to set up exchanges should be allowed to wreak negative impacts on the beneficiaries of government's handouts."

August 10

Obama Eyes Emancipation Proclamation as Model for Amnesty Executive Order

Insiders say that President Obama will use President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation as the model for his anticipated Executive Order granting amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants. In 1862 Lincoln declared that all slaves in territory held by the Rebels were "forever free." He justified it as a wartime necessity.

Those close to Obama say he views the parallels as "striking." "As he sees it," says an off-the-record source, "the vast majority of the illegal immigrants reside in states that are hostile to the Administration—at war with his efforts to transform the nation. Thus, as Commander-in-Chief, he believes it is his right to act alone to both serve a broader justice and to weaken the strength of his political enemies."

"The beauty of it is that there's nothing anyone can do to stop him should he decide to go ahead," the source chortled. "He may not have the law or Constitution on his side, but he has strong support from national opinion makers. And if the GOP dares to impeach him for exceeding his authority a wave of Hispanic votes will sweep them aside in November."

To his credit, Lincoln aware of the absence of explicit authority for his proclamation successfully lobbied for a Constitutional Amendment (the 13th) freeing the slaves. President Obama is reported to see no need for a similar move on his part to try to fix what he considers "a fatality flawed and essentially useless document."

Judge Denies Plaintiff Access to IRS Emails

The quest of those victimized by the IRS's discriminatory treatment of conservative groups hit a brick wall when U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton ruled that the plaintiffs failed to prove that denial of access to the emails would result in "irreparable" harm.

"True the Vote," a conservative organization dedicated to combating vote fraud, had requested that a forensic expert of the court's choosing attempt to recover the "lost" emails of IRS official Lois Lerner. Lerner has refused to testify to Congress on the grounds that such testimony would be "self incriminating."

Nonetheless, Judge Walton characterized the plaintiff's suspicions as "excessively mistrustful of the government. The IRS has said that the emails in question are irretrievably lost. True the Vote has failed to produce any evidence that this is not the case."

A spokesman for True the Vote called the ruling a "catch 22. We are denied the opportunity to probe for evidence because we don't already have that evidence. This is despite the fact that a pattern of 'lost emails' amongst various government agencies is emerging. I don't think we're excessively mistrustful."

Walton also ruled that "the fact that the plaintiffs are free to file lawsuits and are not languishing in some secret prison strikes me as pretty persuasive evidence that they have not suffered irreparable harm. Whether they may suffer such harm in the future is, at this point, speculative."

In related news, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif) reports that more than 20 Administration officials have "irretrievably lost" emails his committee has subpoenaed. Press Secretary Josh Earnest attributed this phenomenon to "extraordinary bad luck. We spend top dollar for the best computer equipment, yet this keeps happening over and over. The President is just livid about it."

August 17

Ferguson Looting Said to Be Fitting Tribute to Michael Brown

The emergence of a convenience store security video tape of Michael Brown roughing up the shopkeeper and stealing boxes of cigars was said to vindicate the looting rampage that followed his being shot by police.

"All those stuffed shirts saying that our robbing stores was an inappropriate expression of our anger and grief were dead wrong," asserted a self-identified looter who says her name is Jihadena. "One of the last things Michael did before he was gunned down was rob a store. We're just doing the work he no longer can do. What could be a more fitting tribute to his memory?"

Jihadena challenged the characterization of Brown as a common thug, insisting that "he was a guerrilla for social justice. President Obama promised transformation, but where are our reparations for slavery? Where is the equal distribution of wealth? That convenience store had plenty of cigars. What's wrong with Michael taking the initiative to redistribute a few of them?"

The image of Michael Brown as the liberator of cigars from the clutches of an Asian profiteer clashes with Al Sharpton's allegation of "a massive conspiracy to assassinate this young man's character. That video could've been photo-shopped. The witnesses to the robbery could've been coached. Michael's criminal history could be fabricated. Besides, even if he did rob that store since when do we have the death penalty for stealing cigars?"

In related news, U.S. District Judge Catherine Blake ruled that Maryland may ban assault rifles. "These weapons are inappropriate for hunting and they are too cumbersome for personal self defense," Blake asserted. "Their chief selling point seems to be that they would enable a citizen to resist government authority. As such, these weapons do not qualify for protection under the 'right to bear arms' clause of the Constitution."

Kerry Makes Case for Global Warming as Mankind's Greatest Threat

US Secretary of State John Kerry continues to baffle observers by insisting that "global warming is, by far, the greatest threat mankind faces in the 21st century."

"The reason should be obvious from the term 'global' warming," Kerry said. "This means that it affects everyone. This has to put it ahead of dangers that afflict necessarily narrower categories of victims. The beheading of innocent children by ISIS in Iraq, for example, only affects thousands of people."

"The threat to wipe Israel off the map and exterminate the Jews, at worst, would entail the deaths of only a few million," Kerry continued. "Juxtaposed to this limited atrocity, the ecological damage from global warming is vaster by an order of magnitude. Billions will be faced with excruciatingly relentless rises in temperature. Trying to stay cool will be an endless task. The cost and discomfort of attempting to cope will easily outweigh the momentary pain of being blown apart by a suicide bomber or having your throat slit by a jihadi."

"In a way it could be said that massacres serve to ameliorate the impact of global warming," Kerry pointed out. "The fewer humans there are, the less pressure they will put on the ecosystem's carrying power. So, while it is not their intent to fight global warming, groups like ISIS and Hamas are inadvertently contributing toward a brighter future for the planet. We should not overlook this mitigating factor."

While Kerry appears to imagine himself a great thinker able to see past the "minor skirmishes" that most see as the main concern of the nation's chief diplomat, a recent editorial in Investors Business Daily characterized his contention that global warming is the more serious threat as "dangerously moronic."

Kerry does appear to be at some risk of getting out of step with his boss, though. Just this week President Obama declared "conservative maximalists" to be the biggest threat. "The essence of a successful community is universal cooperation for the collective benefit of all," the President said. "This requires compromise. Yet, there is a contingent within that continues to take the extreme position that certain so-called fundamental rights are immutable. This contingent of conservative maximalists is more dangerous than any other enemy we face."

August 24

Congressman Wants to Ban Body Armor

Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA) has introduced legislation that would prohibit the sale, use, or possession of body armor by unauthorized persons. "Authorized persons" in Honda's view include government law-enforcement personnel, troops, and others the government may deem worthy of such protection.

"Those duly empowered to use deadly force should not have to fear that their efforts might be thwarted by the widespread availability of bullet-resistant vests or helmets," Honda said. "The government's capacity to suppress dangerous elements must not be diluted."

Honda dismissed the idea that law-abiding civilians could have a legitimate need for this type of personal protection—Bullet Blocker's bullet-proof backpacks for students, for instance. "Allowing students to acquire these items could instill a false sense of security. Worse, these backpacks could easily fall into the wrong hands and be used by those with malicious intent."

"To be most effective, the firepower of government authorities must be overwhelming and irresistible," Honda argued. "Not only should the government's agents have a monopoly on the ownership and use of guns, they must also be able to operate freely without worrying about potential opposition."

Existing laws that make it illegal for convicted felons to own firearms and body armor "are inadequate," according to Honda. "There's a big loop hole that permits those without a criminal record to obtain the means to commit crimes using firearms and body armor. Access to the means for self-defense enables people to take an antisocial path rather than cooperate with the collectively arrived at decisions of their government. People need to trust and support the authorities and not try to go it alone."

September 7

Biden Says Hoarders Are Retarding Economy

Citing a paper released this week by the St. Louis Federal Reserve, Vice-President Joe Biden blamed American consumers for the sluggish economy.

"The government is doing everything it can to try to stimulate the economy," Biden contended. "The federal government is spending every dollar it can get its hands on. The Federal Reserve is manufacturing new dollars at an unprecedented pace. But consumers are just sitting on their cash."

"Hoarding cash makes no sense," the Veep argued. "The dollar's purchasing power is being diluted on a daily basis by government policies. Spending your dollars before they lose even more value is what you should do."

Biden dismissed concerns that people might be saving out of fear of losing their jobs, saying that "there's no need for anyone to provide their own safety net. In fact, depleting all your assets and means of subsistence makes you eligible for the maximum amount of public assistance."

"If private hoarding continues the government may have to implement a more vigorous escheatment process in order to put these idle funds to better use," Biden suggested. "I mean, if people are just sitting on inactive balances in savings accounts the government has the need and the right to seize these funds and inject them into the flow of commerce."

September 14

Holder Says Arming Mexican Drug Cartels "Our Ace in the Hole" vs. ISIL Infiltrators

With a key part of President Obama's strategy to combat ISIL involving arming supposed enemies of that organization, a program that has previously been roundly criticized is now being bandied about as "prescient" and "visionary" by Attorney General Eric Holder. The program: "Fast and Furious."

"What the President's critics have lambasted as wrongheaded and improvident is starting to look pretty good now that ISIL has vowed to infiltrate the United States via our southern border," Holder bragged. "The Mexican drug cartels are very territorial about what crosses over this border. They won't be too friendly toward ISIL actions that may threaten their smuggling profits."

Holder hailed "the toughness of these people. As we have seen they are every bit as vicious as the thugs running ISIL. They have murdered hundreds—many by beheading. And with the huge volume of firearms we have helped them acquire they are well-prepared to defend their perceived turf against these ISIL interlopers."

Jennifer Lasley, a senior official in the Department of Homeland Security's intelligence and analysis office concurred in Holder's take on the issue. "These Mexican gangs are scary. Setting them up to be our first line of defense against potential ISIL infiltration was a stroke of genius that the Administration won't get enough credit for."

It's possible, though, that ISIL might use a portion of its profits from sale of oil from the wells it seized in Iraq to bribe the cartels for a truce and passage through their border fiefdoms. Should this occur, Holder vowed that "we will put our heads together to try to come up with a 'plan B.'"

In related news, Rep. Eddie Johnson (D-Tex) argues that "the beheading of those journalists doesn't warrant the war President Obama now seems eager to initiate. That was only two guys. As many or more are murdered every week in the President's home town. So, is he going to launch air strikes against the gangs that are terrorizing the streets of Chicago? Aren't they more dangerous to more Americans than ISIS?"

September 28

People Shouldn't Want to Live Past Age 75

Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, one of the chief architects of the Affordable Care Act, says people should want to die at age 75.

"Let's face it, the vast majority of those over age 75 have nothing positive to contribute to society," Emanuel wrote in an essay for Atlantic. "In both physical and mental terms they're pretty accurately described as 'decrepit.' Their bodies and minds are just rotting in their shells."

"It would be best if they could be persuaded to exit peacefully at their own hand—perhaps with the aid of a physician-prescribed suicide drug," Emanuel suggested. "Heaven knows this would be more humane and cost-effective than stringing out their years with expensive medical treatments that exact a heavy toll on society's scarce resources."

"The lingering presence of humanity's dead weight threatens to bankrupt our health care system," the essay added. "It may be necessary to limit these oldsters' claims on that system. Fortunately, the mechanisms in place under the Affordable Care Act already authorize the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to carry out a triage process that will allocate access to medical treatments. No longer will we remain helpless slaves to an ideology that permits individual selfishness to trump the collective good of society."

October 5

GOP Refusal to Extend Unemployment Benefits Leads to Job Growth

A study published by the New York Federal Reserve found that the number of job openings rose by an estimated 20% in the six months following the lapse of the federal government's extended unemployment benefits. The lapse occurred because the Republican controlled House refused to vote to extend the benefits.

Fatih Karahan, one of the authors of the study, cited the "mutually reinforcing effects of decreasing the burden on businesses to fund the benefits and decreasing the incentives of recipients to shun employment. If your tax burden of supporting benefits declines you can afford to hire more workers. Similarly, if the reward for idleness is taken away your need to seek and accept employment rises."

Jason Furman, Chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisers didn't dispute the economic logic of the study's findings, but suggested that "certain intangible factors may have escaped the authors' attention. The lapse of the extended benefits may have sent more people back to work, but the study failed to calculate the loss in leisure time experienced by those compelled to take jobs in order to feed themselves and their families."

"A person receiving unemployment benefits is relieved of some of the stress of making a living," Furman pointed out. "Being forced into the work-a-day rat race will have long term negative health consequences. So too will the loss of extra time to spend with one's family—both for the employed individual and his children."

The fact that four out of five new jobs added this past month were in the low wage sector bolstered Furman's concern that "more may have been lost than gained. When all factors are considered is a low wage job really better than unemployment payments from an individual's perspective?"

October 12

Former Obama Press Secretary Says GOP Unfairly Exploiting Administration's Failures

The incoherence of President Obama's foreign policy and the cascade of domestic policy scandals are being unfairly exploited for political gain according to former Obama Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.

"Hitting a man when he is down is just plain dirty," Gibbs maintained. "It's disloyal and unpatriotic. Rather than criticize the President, Republicans should be looking for ways to help him recover from the battering he is taking in the media. That would be the decent thing to do."

Gibbs was especially outraged that "the GOP hasn't given the President enough credit for what he has accomplished. President Obama came into office with less executive experience than any other president in American history, with the possible exception of Lincoln. Yet, despite this handicap he was able to pass landmark health care reform and win reelection by a sound margin."

The former Press Secretary expressed "hope that voters will look past the scurrilous attacks narrowly focused on so-called performance and remember why they voted for the President in the first place. There can be no question that his efforts to make government 'cool' have changed the way Americans think about how they want to be governed. Voting for the Democrats on their ballots in November will help him stay the course."

October 19

President Dispatches Seasoned Political Operatives to Stem Ebola Crisis

President Obama took decisive action on the growing Ebola crisis this week by appointing two well-traveled political operatives to key roles. On the national front, he named Ron Klain his special Ebola Czar. At the same time, he tabbed Adrian Saenz to manage events on the ground in Dallas—site of America's "patient zero."

The fact that neither man has any expertise in any medical field, much less in infectious diseases, took many observers by surprise. Republican Senator Jerry Moran of Kansas called the appointments "puzzling. When I called for the naming of an Ebola czar I thought the fact that a person selected should have the appropriate medical background would go without saying. Boy was I wrong. The President has chosen to address this grave health situation by deploying a pair of Democrat political hacks. I fail to see how this will help."

Klain has most recently been Chief-of-Staff for Vice-President Biden. He also has experience as a lobbyist and was instrumental in securing a half-billion dollar government subsidy for the failed Solyndra solar panel company. Saenz has most recently served as Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of Intergovernmental Affairs and has also worked for numerous Democratic Congressional candidates.

Presidential Press Secretary Josh Earnest attempted to bridge the credibility gap by emphasizing that "the medical issues are a minor technical aspect of the larger picture. What the President and the country needs even more desperately is someone who can work to restore the people's faith in their government. These men are skilled in crafting messages that resonate with average Americans, as is amply demonstrated in their previous success in helping elect Democrats to office."

In related news, Earnest tried to explain Center for Disease Control Director Tom Frieden's seemingly incoherent assertion that a person can't get Ebola from riding on a bus, but could give it to someone else on a bus. "Getting people to use public transit is critical to our policy of diverting people from driving their own cars." Earnest said. "Reassuring bus riders is a crucial part of stemming a stampede out of public transit. The odds of an uninfected person encountering an Ebola carrier on a bus are small. So a person shouldn't shun using a bus out of an irrational fear. On the other hand, a person who is infected shouldn't want to expose others. So, yeah, if you suspect you may have Ebola, don't use public transit. It makes perfect sense to me."

October 26

Amnesty Needed for "Shared Prosperity"

Labor Secretary Thomas Perez reassured the National Press Club that amnesty for illegal immigrants will be forthcoming after the mid-term elections.

"Right now, it would be too risky for the President to declare the kind of big and bold legalization of the millions of undocumented persons in this country that everyone agrees is desperately needed," Perez said. "The Republicans would use such an action to hammer Democrats running in Congressional races. Once the elections are past, though, there will be nothing anyone can do to impede this reform."

Granting legal status to the millions of immigrants in this country illegally is, according to Perez, "a crucial piece of the puzzle for the President's vision of shared prosperity. It's long since past the time that the wealth being hoarded by Americans is more equitably shared with those less well off around the globe. The streams of people entering through our southern border are a small vanguard for the comprehensive redistribution that is long overdue."

Perez cited Department of Homeland Security orders for an additional 34 million green cards as solid evidence of Obama's intentions. "After November 4th we will be able to hit the ground running," he boasted. "By 2016, not only those currently in the country, but millions more will have all the documentation they need to fully participate in American life, including driver's licenses, public housing, food stamps and voting."

November 2

Republicans Manipulating Statistics for Political Gain

In remarks this week, former President Bill Clinton denounced GOP attempts to "cash-in" on people's "misery" under Democratic policies and programs for "political gain."

"Republicans want voters to focus on the lack of economic growth and the huge number of people who can't get jobs since Democrats took control of the federal government," Clinton complained. "They want voters to overlook the flip side of this coin. Expansion of benefit programs have made work unnecessary for a growing segment of the population. The increased amount of leisure time our policies have made possible doesn't show up in the statistics Republicans like to cite."

Clinton expressed a hope that "the outmoded 'work ethic' of previous generations will be seen for what it really is—a sentence to 'hard labor' for minimal profit. Once voters realize that there is no shame in living a life free from drudgery, that their needs can be easily met through the generosity of government, they'll come to their senses and vote Democrat. Ideally, this will happen sooner rather than later."

While the former president exuded a barely concealed pessimism about this year's elections, he was far more optimistic about 2016 "when the albatross of the 'Obama brand' is removed from around the neck of the Democratic Party. The same policies under a more competent Democratic leadership will, I think, be just the ticket for success at the polls two years from now."

In related news, the New Mexico Center for Law and Poverty has filed suit to block a state law that would require childless adults to work, search for a job, or participate in community service or job training in order to qualify for government food stamps. Center Director Kim Posich insists that "the work requirement is the very same 'involuntary servitude' that was outlawed by the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution. If people don't want to work that is their unalienable right. For the government to threaten to withhold subsistence as a method of coercing them to work is extortion, pure and simple."

November 9

Congresswoman Proposes Barack Obama Sperm Bank

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Tex) says she will introduce legislation that would establish a federally funded Barack Obama sperm bank in the upcoming "lame duck" session of Congress. She says she got the idea from a similar proposal to establish a Vladimir Putin sperm bank in Russia.

"We can't afford to fall behind in what could turn out to be a critical competition to propagate the seed of the nation's best and brightest," Lee argued. "Granted, it would be decades before the offspring of President Obama's banked sperm could be expected to make a strategic difference, but if we fail to act now we will come up short at a possibly crucial time in the future."

According to Lee, a socially beneficial byproduct of this strategically oriented measure is that "it would give women a better option than shacking up with some lowlife who beats her and steals her welfare money. The President would, of course, still be an absentee father, so the child would still qualify for benefits. And if genetics plays true, the child will most likely have a better life than peers sired by criminals and deadbeats."

In related news, Harvard University announced a new course titled "What What in the Butt: Anal Sex 101." A spokesperson for the University explained that "the purpose of this course is to help students learn the facts about this exciting, yet often misunderstood form of pleasure. We take pride in staying ahead of the curve by offering to teach skills that less enlightened institutions shy away from out of fear of criticism."

November 16

Gruber Apologizes for "Indelicate Phrasing"

MIT professor Jonathan Gruber, a boastful co-architect of Obamacare, apologized for what he termed "my indelicate phrasing in defense of the Affordable Care Act. I should never have publicly called American voters 'stupid.' I sincerely regret that I have been caught on tape using this kind of language."

"However, this does not mean that the underlying concept behind this legislation was incorrect," Gruber insisted. "The fact of the matter is that the average American isn't fit to decide whether he needs health insurance or to choose a plan that is adequate for the collective well-being of society. Individuals left to themselves will selfishly choose what's best for themselves alone. Overcoming this individualism is the responsibility of the government. The misrepresentation in the way the ACA was portrayed to voters was for their own good. For that, I make no apology."

Gruber's efforts to deceive did not go unrewarded. Between payments for his services made by the federal government and several state governments, Gruber has netted over a million dollars for his skillful obfuscation.

"Do you think concocting such an elaborate ruse was easy?" Gruber asked. "I see nothing wrong with those who have the vision, the talent, and the courage being adequately paid for the difficult task of overriding mass prejudices in order to enact unpopular, but necessary reforms in the way our society works."

The negative fallout from the publicity surrounding Gruber's contemptuous view of his fellow citizens sparked defensive maneuvers from the Administration. "The fact that Gruber received payments from the federal government doesn't prove the we had any knowledge of what he was doing," said Press Secretary Josh Earnest. "People should understand that their government spends billions of dollars everyday. A percentage of this huge outlay is going to be pure waste. I think it's unreasonable to try to hold the President accountable for that."

Earnest also wondered if "hypothetically speaking, is achieving a good outcome through dishonest means really such a bad thing? If it's not morally wrong for parents to mislead their children about Santa Claus, why would it be wrong to trick the American people into accepting a new health care system for their own good?"

In related news, Drew Hammill, spokesperson for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif), attempted to excuse her false denial of knowing Gruber by citing "her advanced age. When people get old they start to forget stuff. It's been five years since then Speaker Pelosi used Gruber's research and strategies to get the ACA passed in the House. And, if I may point out, at that time she candidly admitted to being ignorant of the contents of the bill. So I don't think its fair to blame her now, for his public indiscretions."

November 23

President's Usurpation of Legislative Authority Hailed by Democrats

President Obama's decision to enact immigration reform legislation that Congress has refused to enact inspired some lavish praise from fellow Democrats.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) called it "a courageous first step. President Obama's determination to take a politically unpopular position so soon after voters elected a Republican dominated Congress stakes out new ground in the battle for control over the government and policy."

"It's important that we build upon the President's innovation and transform our nation from the archaic plan of trying to extract policy from a fragmented legislative body, where no one has a mandate for governing, to a more modern structure where the will of the one man elected to represent all of the people prevails," Pelosi said. "At this turning point in our history I am hoping that Congress will get behind the President's leadership and give it an ex post facto endorsement by passing a bill codifying his decision."

Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz) praised "this bold step in the right direction," but also called upon Republicans "to pick up their half of the burden by enacting the President's policies into law. To leave the President alone on a limb exposes him to criticism that he has acted outside his authority. Well, President Lincoln acted outside his authority when he suspended the right of habeas corpus, but Congress later legalized what he had done. Instead of focusing on President Obama's so-called 'lawlessness,' I'm hoping the current GOP leadership can be as patriotic as their Party's leaders were in 1861."

Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (Ill) lamented that "the President's actions do not go far enough. His vow to legalize 4 to 5 million illegal immigrants still leaves tens of millions of current illegal residents at risk, not to mention the tens of millions more we cam expect to stream across our southern border in response to this current iteration of amnesty."

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) insisted that "inaction by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives forced President Obama to take the law into his own hands. If they had simply enacted the legislation he wanted he wouldn't have had to enact it by himself. They're the ones responsible for him stepping over the line."

White House communications director Jennifer Palmieri dismissed fears that Obama's action on immigration shreds the Constitution. "The President has been modifying the Constitution for nearly six years now," she pointed out. "For the GOP to go nuts over this latest modification makes no sense."

In related news, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson predicts that a resumed surge of illegal immigration can be expected. "When we compare the poverty of Latin America with the wealth of the United States, the attraction should be obvious," Johnson observed. "As word of the success of the earlier waves of immigrants—they're not being deported, they're getting access to a wide array of public services and benefits unavailable where they came from—filters back, more can be expected to make the one-way journey."

November 30

Ferguson Riots Dwarfed by 1965's Watts Riots

Jealous of all the media attention being given to the riots in Ferguson, Missouri, Los Angeles City Councilman Bernard Parks has introduced a resolution calling for a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Watts Riots.

"From all the hoopla attached to the recent events in Ferguson you'd think that this riot is the most significant Black uprising against white oppression in recent memory, but you'd be wrong," Parks said. "Back in 1965 the Black Community devastated Watts causing 34 deaths, 1,032 injuries, and over $40 million in property damage. Over 3,000 people were arrested. What went down in Ferguson fell far short of this accomplishment."

Regardless of the differences in magnitude of the destruction in Watts and Ferguson, the majority of the businesses burned and looted in both instances were minority owned. According to Ferguson protester Buster Scully, though, "that's okay. Genuine Blacks don't own businesses. That's acting white. Weeding out the 'oreos' among us is one of the key steps in the revolution against capitalist oppression."

In related news, Members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) denounced the grand jury that refused to indict Officer Darren Wilson. "The rioting and destruction that has resulted has demonstrated the cost of placing the rights of one white individual ahead of the collective rights of the Black Community," complained CBC Chair Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio). "Whether, in a technical sense, Wilson's actions were necessary to preserve his life is less important than the social cost of his doing so. The greater good of the greater number sometimes requires the sacrifice of the one for the sake of the many."

December 7

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."

December 14

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 say 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."

December 21

Judge Says President's Executive Action on Immigration Unconstitutional

Judge Arthur Schwab of the Western District of Pennsylvania ruled that portions of President Obama's unilateral action on illegal immigrants violate the US Constitution's separation of powers.

"The alleged grounds of prosecutorial discretion are inadequate to support the totality of what he has tried to do," Schwab said. "He can decline to prosecute these lawbreakers. That is the limit of his discretion. He does not have the authority to issue them identity papers that would make them eligible for employment or government benefits that existing law prohibits."

Democratic U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (Ill) and Richard Blumenthal (Conn) contend that Schwab is wrong. "The issue is one of human rights," Durbin argued. "It is because existing laws have neglected to fulfill these rights that the President has been forced to take the law into his own hands."

"The President could have, through a refusal to act, become complicit in Congress' failure to do the right thing," Blumenthal declared. "But he rose above obedience to the lesser authority of heeding the Constitution in order to meet his greater responsibility as a human being."

Both senators urged the President to "ignore this small-minded judge. He has no means of compelling the President to do anything. He only has power if we, ourselves, yield to his decision."

Joyce Branda, acting Assistant Attorney General, concurred in the senators' assessment saying that "the President has absolute discretion to interpret and enforce, or not enforce, or to modify the law as he deems fit."

Determined not to sit by idly while President Obama runs roughshod over the Constitution, Congress passed legislation (HR4681) that empowers the government to collect, retain, and disseminate all electronic communications including voice calls on all US citizens. "There are a lot of dangerous people with dangerous ideas out there," House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) explained. "We cannot let these people hide behind the freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution as a means of concealing their antipathy toward what those of us in government are doing for this country. The ability to collect information on what they are doing and saying is vital to defending the government's interests."

In related news, the Obama Administration demanded that a lawsuit contesting the President's executive action on immigration be dismissed by the court. The suit was filed by Arizona sheriff, Joe Arpaio. According to Attorney General Eric Holder, "as a minor local official, Arpaio lacks standing to challenge an action taken by a president who embodies the supreme authority of the nation."

December 28

GOP to Become Party of "Yes"

Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) brushed off complaints from his Party's conservative wing that his recent actions on the Cromnibus Bill served mainly to enable President Obama's illegal amnesty and fund all of his ill-conceived initiatives—including Obamacare—that Republicans had pledged to oppose if they won the November elections.

"Rather than get bogged down in fighting over every specific policy or program, we are going to rebrand the GOP as the Party of 'yes,'" McConnell said. "People don't like to hear the word 'no.' They prefer to get what they want. If we can communicate the message that Republicans are the ones who say 'yes' to what the people want we can solidify our Party's grip on the majority."

According to the new Majority Leader, "continuing to try to stave off amnesty or socialized medicine are lost causes. It is clear that regardless of what the law says, President Obama is going to allow immigrants to enter the country illegally. He is going to give them documents that will enable them to get jobs if they want them or to collect welfare if they don't. He is going to get them registered to vote and to the polls on election day. There is nothing we can do to stop this."

"But if we can persuade all these newcomers that the GOP can do a better job of giving them everything they want we will woo them over to our side and thwart the Democrats' plans for dominance," McConnell explained. "By saying yes to the trillion dollar continuing resolution even when we didn't have to, I think we earned crucial street cred with Latino voters. As we demonstrate to this cohort that we can give them everything that the President has promised we will eradicate any need for them to vote Democrat."