SEMI-NEWS: A Satire of Recent News
|SEMI-NEWS/SEMI-SATIRE: April 5, 2015 Edition
Rising Sales of US Constitution Put Department of Homeland Security on Alert
A surge of book sales that pushed the US Constitution into the top ten best seller list of the Conservative Book Club has caused federal officials to put the Department of Homeland Security on "full alert."
"This is just the type of abnormal behavior that should trigger a high state of vigilance," Secretary Jeh Johnson declared. "We expect a few loud-mouthed right-wing politicians to repeatedly harp on whether some action taken by the government is constitutional. But we can't afford to overlook tens of thousands of ordinary citizens reading such seditious literature."
"Outside of some historical interest, we can see no reason for people to cozy up to this document," Johnson explained. "Our Courts are the mechanism for determining whether the Constitution has any bearing on modern life. Increased meddling by persons who aren't properly trained for interpreting the document is cause for concern. Consequently, I'm ordering all our personnel to be on the lookout for any anti-government agitation inspired by uneducated interpretations of this historic relic."
In related news, Ohio Judge Catherine Barber barred a defendant from bringing up the Constitution or the constitutionality of the law under which he is charged with a crime because "it would only serve to confuse jurors. They need to follow my instructions, not wander off into their own egocentric comprehension of this extraneous historical document."
Kerry Disputes Comparisons Between Iran Deal and 1938 Munich Agreement
US Secretary of State John Kerry bristled under comparisons of the recently announced deal with Iran to 1938's agreement between Britain's Neville Chamberlain and Germany's Adolf Hitler over the Sudetenland. Though Chamberlain proclaimed the agreement as assuring "peace for our time," World War II erupted only a year later.
"There are just too many differences to make the comparison apt," Kerry claimed. "Hitler threatened to invade Czechoslovakia if his demands weren't met. Iran isn't threatening to invade anyone. Hitler had already invaded Austria. Iran hasn't invaded anyone. Iranian troops in Iraq are there by invitation to fight against ISIL."
"There's also the credibility issue between the two situations," Kerry went on. "Hitler promised that the Sudetenland would be his last territorial acquisition—an implausible assertion. Iran, in contrast, has been very upfront that its intent to annihilate Israel is non-negotiable. We have to appreciate their honesty. Nevertheless, we have gotten them to agree to a ten year delay for achieving this objective. If they keep this promise that'll be ten years of peace for Israel to enjoy before Iran moves in earnest on its designs."
"In the meantime, by lifting the sanctions on Iran there is a chance that a surge of economic prosperity may divert them from their vow to erase Israel from the map," Kerry said. "None of the prosperous nations with nuclear weapons is a threat to Israel. Is it unreasonable for us to hope that ten years from now a nuclear-armed Iran would exhibit a similarly pacific behavior?"
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who represented France in the talks with Iran, called Kerry's view of the agreement "a fantastical delusion." And Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu insisted that "any deal that does not recognize my country's right to exist is unacceptable" and refused to rule out a military option for preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear power—a sentiment that Kerry brushed off as "just as unrealistic as if the Czechs had decided to face Hitler's Nazi war machine alone in 1938."
In related news, the US Department of Justice filed a criminal indictment against Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ). A key consideration may have been the Senator's criticism of the Administration's Iranian nuclear policy. "Under ordinary circumstances, the offenses with which Sen. Menendez is charged might have been overlooked," Attorney General Eric Holder admitted. "The bribes he received were relatively small—well within the norms for someone in his position. However, letting a prominent Democrat publicly assail the President's policy on Iran could open the floodgates of opposition if an example isn't made of him."
IRS Chief Scoffs at Idea Agency Could Be Abolished
IRS commissioner John Koskinen laughed at the idea that Congress could abolish the IRS.
"The Tea Party types may have wet dreams over the prospect of eliminating the IRS, but it's not going to happen," Koskinen gibed. "Too many congressmen on both sides of the aisle want the funds our agency extracts from taxpayers. One of the big attractions to holding office is the ability to dole out money to favored constituents. Hampering the IRS in any way would put a kink in that pipeline."
"The main gripe average people have with our agency is the complexity of the tax code," the Commissioner contended. "Complexity is needed, though, to disguise the purposes for which the money is spent. Congress will never give that up. If they want to make things simpler for the taxpayers they could relieve them of the task of calculating and filing their 1040s and authorize the IRS to determine whether each taxpayer deserves a refund or must pay additional amounts. All the aggravation of trying to decipher the instructions, obtain the proper forms, fill them out and send them in would be eliminated."
Koskinen touted the potential efficiency gains that could be achieved from his proposed reform. "Instead of investing a lot of time in inexpertly wrestling with incoherent forms and instructions, taxpayers could focus on working harder at their jobs. Their struggle to minimize tax liability would be converted to a more manageable one of maximizing their taxable earnings. It would be a win-win for both the government and the taxpayers."
"Anyway, if push comes to shove, President Obama will veto any changes he doesn't like and enact any that he does via executive action," Koskinen told legislators. "That kind of makes anything Congress might attempt to do a superfluous exercise in futility."
In related news, the US Department of Justice announced that it is granting itself the authority to seize "suspicious bank accounts." Attorney General Eric Holder explained that "it can take forever to secure these funds through the cumbersome judicial process where a person must be convicted of a crime before monetary penalties. Seizing bank accounts through administrative procedures speeds up our access to resources the government cam more effectively utilize than the previous owner could have."
Actor Says Clinton Vouches for Accuracy of TV Show
Kevin Spacey, star of the critically acclaimed Netflix series "House of Cards," told reporters that former President Bill Clinton confirmed that "99% of what you've shown in the series is essentially true."
In the show, Spacey plays Frank Underwood, an ambitious sociopath who manipulates and murders his way to higher office. In the first season he started out as the Democratic Whip in the House of Representatives. By the end of season three he is the President of the United States with a body-count of three on his covert resume.
Spacey said that "my good friend Bill boasted that he'd cracked a few more heads on his way up than I do on the program, but still complimented me on my accurate grasp of what it takes to truly succeed in politics."
For his own part, the actor bragged that "Bill Clinton isn't the only president who likes the show. President Obama is also a big fan and says he wishes he could be as ruthlessly efficient as Frank Underwood. Which I take as quite a compliment since Underwood is roughly modeled on Shakespeare's Richard III and Macbeth, but without a conscience."
In related news, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) announced his retirement saying he wanted to work on developing a better relationship with his exercise regimen. "As many of you know, I was recently beaten severely about the face in a December mishap," Reid reminded. "My health requires that I devote more of my energy to solving this problem before it kills me."
Judge Orders State to Cut Inmate's Balls Off
US District Judge Jon Tigar ordered California's Corrections Department to surgically remove a prisoner's testicles. The $100,000 surgery would be performed on convicted murderer Jeffrey Bryan Norsworthy—enabling Michelle-Lael Norsworthy to emerge from 51 years of incarceration within the wrong body. The surgery is expected to be the first step in Norsworthy's eventual release from Mule Creek State Prison in Ione.
"For too long this unfortunate woman has been trapped within the body of a monster," Tigar said. "She was forced to watch helplessly while Jeffrey murdered a person whose name no one can remember. Making Michelle endure the life sentence imposed on Jeffrey for this crime is cruel and unusual punishment. Constitutionally, it cannot be allowed to stand."
"Inasmuch as Michelle has already been imprisoned for 51 years inside an alien shell I am advising the parole board to consider commuting her sentence to 'time served' after the surgery is performed," Tigar added. "We have a moral obligation to restore her to the life she would have had if not for a mistake of nature."
The US Department of Justice hailed Tigar's ruling as "a triumph of compassion over the narrow conception that all of the personalities residing within a single person ought to bear the consequences of the actions of any of the other personalities" and "a vindication of the Obama Administration's commitment to protecting the interests of transgender people in this country."