SEMI-NEWS: A Satire of Recent News
|SEMI-NEWS/SEMI-SATIRE: April 26, 2015 Edition
House Speaker Pleads for Hillary to Turn Over Computer Server
A new slew of allegations has emerged implying that the Clinton Foundation may have accepted bribes in exchange for Hillary to use her Secretary of State status to influence government policy. An example of possible influence peddling was her support for Russia's acquisition of a major stake in American uranium mining.
"It looks like she violated the law, and the idea that she was going to use her own server and do official business on it goes against every transparency issue that the President likes to tout," House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) observed. "She should turn that server and all those documents over to the Inspector General, at the State Department."
Boehner said he is undecided on whether he will ask the House to subpoena the server. "On the one hand, I think the American people have a right to know the facts," Boehner said. "On the other hand, compelling the handover of this equipment might create the impression that the Clintons are criminals. They're good people and I am reluctant to repay their long years of public service by using tactics that would be applied to ordinary suspects in a criminal case."
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest acknowledged that "the former Secretary appears not to have honored her agreement with the President to keep everything above board. I mean, she explicitly forswore accepting donations from foreign governments while she served as Secretary of State. Nevertheless, I can't see any point in subpoenaing her server. She's already assured us that it has been wiped clean. Since any potential evidence is now gone it would be pointless to continue to pursue a fruitless inquiry."
Clinton campaign spokesman, Brian Fallon, while carefully avoiding any explicit acknowledgment of guilt, attempted to make lemonade out of the latest allegations by asserting that "the supposed incompatibility of what's good for the Clintons and what's good for America could be resolved by reinstalling the former First Family in the White House. If the Clintons were in charge of all of America they'd have an incentive to try to carry out policies that would enrich all of America. It is their exile from power that necessitates their aggressive pursuit of self interest. Faced with the insecurities of living as private citizens they are subject to the same temptations of greed that have dragged down so many others."
Kerry Blasts Government's Critics for Undermining Prosperity
Speaking Tuesday at the 45th Annual Washington Conference of the Council of the Americas, Secretary of State John Kerry blamed the Obama Administration's critics for undermining the country's economy.
"Countries are far more likely to advance economically and socially when citizens have faith in their governments and are able to rely on them for justice and equal treatment under the law," Kerry maintained. "Yet, day-after-day President Obama faces a raft of criticism of his policies from the likes of Senator Cruz, Governor Walker, and others. These criticisms are destroying people's faith in the government."
Kerry cited a recent Pew Research Center study finding that only 23% of Americans trust the federal government to do the right thing at least most of the time as "evidence of the pernicious impacts these chronic critics of progressive policies are having. If trust in government is low, people will be deterred from investing, working, and earning. If people aren't investing, working, and earning there will be less activity that can be taxed and government will lack the resources to guarantee everyone's prosperity."
The Secretary expressed doubt that "there is any legal way we can prevent this costly criticism," but held out hope that "President Obama might come up with some sort of ameliorating executive action that could at least mute the worst of some of these damaging aspersions on the wisdom, ethics, and character of the President."
IRS Admits Taxpayer Help Was Skimpy this Year
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen acknowledged that the number of employees assigned to assist taxpayers understand and file tax returns for 2014 was "less than it could've been." Statistics bear out his assessment. It is estimated than less than half of those who phoned the IRS to ask for help actually got through. And of those who did many waited on hold for more than 30 minutes before speaking to an IRS agent.
Koskinen defended the shortage of taxpayer help, saying that "we had higher priorities. For one, we had to implement the penalty enforcement phase of the Affordable Care Act. This new responsibility consumed resources that previously were allocated to the taxpayer help line."
The reallocation of resources away from taxpayer help to enforcing Obamacare aggravated problems caused by previous years' reallocation of resources to the investigation and prevention of conservative organizations from obtaining tax exemptions in the run up to the 2012 elections.
"We can't do everything on the limited budget we have," Koskinen complained. "We have to decide what's important and what isn't. Babysitting taxpayers while they grapple with tax forms wasn't important compared to the other needs we faced. If taxpayers find our forms too difficult—well, that's what commercially available tax preparation services like H&R Block are for."
GM Pushes to Make "Unauthorized" Auto Repair Illegal
Contending that modern automobiles contain computer programs that entail trade secrets and are too complex to be touched by do-it-yourself car buffs, the General Motors Corporation is urging the government to make unauthorized auto repair illegal. It won't take an Act of Congress to accomplish this objective. A mere reinterpretation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) would do the trick.
GM spokesman Lee Hunsacker asserted that "letting just anyone look under the hood is archaic in our day and age. What if they mess something up? The victims of any subsequent crashes will sue us. We are the deep-pocket manufacturers of these vehicles. We ought to have the right to protect ourselves by vetting who works on our cars."
Not wanting to be left out, the John Deere Corporation demanded that the ban on unauthorized service and repair also be extended to farm tractors. "If we don't clamp down on who is allowed to work on our vehicles people might tamper with the computer system and use it to pirate music without paying royalties," claimed Henry Morgan, VP for customer relations.
Newly named Attorney General Loretta Lynch is reportedly drafting an executive action memo that would apply the DMCA to motor vehicles for President Obama to sign. This would empower manufacturers to issue cease-and-desist orders to anyone suspected of attempting to repair one of their vehicles without the express permission of the manufacturer.
ACLU Says Catholic Organizations Must Be Compelled to Fund Abortions
The American Civil Liberties Union has filed suit demanding that religious organizations be compelled to provide abortions and contraception to illegal immigrants.
"Whether to bear a child or not is a woman's right under our laws," said ACLU staff attorney Brigitte Amiri. "No religious organization has the authority to infringe on this right. For Catholic aid organizations to refuse to pay for birth control and abortions is an infringement. Forcing a woman to bear an unwanted child is, as President Obama has said, cruel and unusual punishment. It is unconstitutional and cannot be allowed."
"Rules derived from a mythical being cannot supersede rules emanating from our nation's legal processes," Amiri continued. "For government to sit by idly while divergent religious views lead to divergent behaviors and outcomes would be intolerable. It is government's duty to ensure that uniform rules are applied and obeyed."
"The only way the Catholic Church can avoid its duty to provide birth control services to its clients is to cease serving them entirely," Amiri argued. "If they want to be in the business of rescuing refugees they must abide by the rules the government has laid out for them."
In related news, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton promised that "if I'm elected, eradicating deep seated religious and cultural beliefs that stand in the way of transforming social norms will be among my highest of priorities. Women must be freed from the bondage of unwanted motherhood and from the economic burden of having to support their children if they choose to become mothers."
Cleveland City Council: Gun Control Needed Whether It Works or Not
Cleveland City Council President Kevin Kelley (D) urged fellow council members to pass a sweeping gun-control ordinance despite doubts that it would be effective or enforceable. "Will this measure stop gun violence?" Kelley asked. "Probably not, but it is important that we pass it as a reflection of our values."
A key provision of the new ordinance is that it prohibits carrying a concealed deadly weapon or handgun, unless the person is a police officer or a bonafide criminal. Kelley conceded that "this provision might seem paradoxical, but we feel it greatly simplifies and clarifies the situation. If you are not a police officer, yet you still have a gun you are, ipso facto, a bonafide criminal and the police may use deadly force against you at their discretion. It would effectively abolish the concept of armed persons ever being the victims of excessive use of force by members of the Police Department. The savings on lawsuits avoided will be huge."