SEMI-NEWS: A Satire of Recent News
|SEMI-NEWS/SEMI-SATIRE: June 28, 2015 Edition
Supreme Court Rewrites Obamacare
Acknowledging that the original Affordable Care Act "was so poorly written as to be utterly infeasible in its implementation," Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts took "the liberty of rewriting it to correct its deficiencies."
"If we were to confine ourselves to the plain language of the statute, subsidies would be available to only those states that established their own health care exchanges," Roberts wrote. "In hindsight, relying upon the statutory text would doom the plan because only a minority of states established the required exchanges. Rather than allow Congress' inability to accurately forecast state behavior to undermine this signature accomplishment of President Obama's transformative agenda for America I am, herewith, reinterpreting the statutory language."
Roberts brushed aside substantial evidence that the language restricting subsidies to states setting up their own exchanges was intentional, saying that "obviously, this traditional reliance on the 'carrot' of federal money failed to elicit the expected response. Since 'plan A' didn't work we need to institute a 'plan B.' This Court's reinterpretation takes its place along side of the dozens of reinterpretations that the Obama Administration has previously made to correct flaws in the original law."
Neither did the apparent discrepancy between his majority opinion in favor of upholding Obamacare and his dissent against the Court's decision declaring a nationwide right to same-sex marriage cause the Justice any difficulty. "There was no federal statute needing repair in the same-sex marriage case," Roberts pointed out. "There are 50 different state laws. The Court has no Constitutional authority to rewrite 50 state laws. Its powers are limited to rewriting the laws crafted by Congress at the national level."
President Obama praised the Court's decision "for putting the good of the people ahead of a rigid reliance upon the so-called 'separation of powers' that right-wing enemies of social justice would use to hamstring progress. So Congress made a few mistakes in how it wrote the law. Why should we let that prevent us from making improvements? Isn't everyone working together for the common good better than each branch of government jealously guarding the 'turf' laid out for it in the Constitution?"
Following the announcement of the decision, stock prices for the nation's largest health insurance corporations saw a $3 billion boost in a single day. "This decision ensures that the flow of federal subsidies to these firms will be uninterrupted," Press Secretary Josh Earnest boasted. "Republicans masquerade as the Party of big business, but it is Democrat-backed legislation that delivers the cash that feeds their bottom line."
In related health news, the Obama Administration is pressuring doctors to discuss global warming with their patients. U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy reminded that "President Obama has declared global warming to be the greatest danger to health that humanity faces. Doctors are not merely private citizens. They are licensed by government. They have an obligation to convey the government's views to their patients. Failure to do so should have consequences."
Crazed Gunman Sparks Anti-Confederate Groundswell
While Dylan Roof may have wanted to see his murder of nine members of a South Carolina church Bible studies session inspire a race war, the aftermath has taken a different turn. Photos of Roof holding a Confederate flag have led to calls for the removal of this "odious symbol of oppression" from American life.
All over the South, Confederate flags are being taken down from State Houses, public parks, and memorials. At the Gettysburg National Historic Park all Confederate symbols have been taken down. Park Director Thomas Jackson asserted that "for too long we've accorded the treasonous rabble that opposed our government too much credit. They may have worn uniforms and carried flags, but they were outlaws. It's about time we treated them as such."
Jackson, who assured members of the media that he is "no relation to Civil War General Stonewall Jackson, explained that "henceforth, the opposing sides of the Battle of Gettysburg will be described as the 'US Army' vs. the 'rebels.'" The Director attributed a lot of the blame for the elevated status of these rebels to "the unwarranted magnanimity of President Lincoln. His 'malice toward none,' was, in my opinion, a mistake."
Meanwhile, in Baltimore, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is pushing to rename a park honoring Confederate General Robert E. Lee. "We should not be honoring the memory of a slave-owning traitor," she argued. "Instead, we should be creating a memorial to Freddy Gray—a modern day victim of the same racism that moved Mr. Lee and his henchmen to take up arms against the government."
IRS Destroys More Evidence
In what IRS officials are calling a one-in-a-million fluke, the precise emails subpoenaed by Congress in its investigation of IRS discrimination against the President's political opponents were exactly the ones inadvertently erased by IRS employees. Lost are over 400 back-up tapes containing 24,000 emails to and from Lois Lerner—the IRS employee believed to have orchestrated the discriminatory treatment.
Commissioner John Koskinen speculated that "our rather lengthy chain-of-command provided multiple opportunities for miscommunication somewhere along the line. It is not inconceivable that an instruction to 'not erase' may have been forwarded as 'erase.' The rest is, as we say, history. Nothing can be done about it now."
Not everyone is persuaded that nothing can be done, though. Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) observed that "Any civil officer is liable to be impeached. If the Inspector General reports that evidence has been destroyed deliberately, that would be clearly a misdemeanor."
In testimony before a Congressional committee, Inspector General J. Russell George told committee members that IRS officials literally put Lerner's computer hard drive through a shredder after determining that efforts to recover the content "wouldn't be worth the expense."
Meadows said that "while I'm personally convinced that the IRS is obstructing justice I have been unable to make much headway with the House leadership on how we go forward from here. All the Speaker will tell me is 'you don't want to tangle with the IRS, they'll make our lives miserable if we go after them.'"
In related news, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy told an audience at a White House meeting that "climate deniers are not normal people. They remind me of the kooks pushing shopping carts full of trash and ranting about who knows what. They ought to be medicated or institutionalized, not given access to the media."
Court Rules that Disparate Outcomes Equal Discrimination
In a 5-4 decision, the US Supreme Court ruled that "victims of discrimination need not prove intent, disparate outcomes alone are evidence of illegal discrimination."
In a case where lending practices of banks were being contested, Justice Anthony Kennedy swept aside any need to show conscious intent to discriminate. "A bank may assert that ability to repay a loan is an objective criterion for making a loan, and so it would seem on the surface. But what if the ability to repay is unequally distributed along racial lines? That would mean that more whites than Blacks would receive loans. That's discrimination."
Kennedy acknowledged that "forcing banks to make loans that are unlikely to be repaid means that other customers will need to be charged more to cover the losses," but concluded that this would be acceptable "because the beneficiaries of 'white privilege' must bear the burden of carrying along those less privileged."
The Justice invited further litigation against "the entire market system whose emphasis on merit and effort unfairly discriminates against persons with less energy and ambition. The principle that initiative, hard work and good luck ought to determine one's rewards in life is out-of-step with social justice. Government must not stand aside when by the mere act of redistributing the surplus of output generated by society's more productive elements a greater overall equality could be achieved."
Judge Blocks Ban on Dismemberment Abortions
In Kansas, Shawnee County District Court Judge Larry Hendricks issued an order blocking that state's ban on abortions carried out by tearing the baby limb-from-limb while still in the womb. The Judge's order came in response to a lawsuit filed by the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights on behalf of Dr. Herbert Hodes and Dr. Traci Nauser—a father-daughter team of abortionists.
"To allow this law to go into effect while the matter is being litigated would deprive the plaintiffs of their livelihood," Hendricks said. "It would inflict irreparable harm and injury to their recognized right to ply their trade." Hendricks contrasted this "recognized right" with "the speculative contention that the fetuses subjected to this procedure might endure excruciating pain or other significant losses."
"In 1973, the highest authority in the land decreed that women have a right to obtain an abortion," Hendricks observed. "It is bad enough that subordinate jurisdictions have repeatedly tried to legislate restrictions to this right, but to permit any limits during litigation would elevate the lesser authority over the supreme authority."
Hendricks dismissed arguments that women in dire need of this procedure could, in the interim, travel to less restrictive states as "cruel and unduly burdensome on the patients and economically devastating to the plaintiffs. Why should a woman be inconvenienced in any way in the exercise of this fundamental right? Why should two doctors have to lose a single dollar of income while awaiting a court's decision to void this law?"
Dr. Hodes called Hendricks' ruling "a victory for women against the insidious invasion of their bodies by unwanted tissue."
In related news, a group of Satan worshippers are suing the State of Missouri over its abortion restrictions. Specifically, they are contesting the state requirement that women be informed of the fetus' ability to feel pain at 22 weeks. "We do not recognize the fetus as a separate living entity," declared Sybil Hagman, attorney for the "Jane Doe" plaintiff. "A state law asserting that the fetus might suffer pain directly contradicts our plaintiff's religious beliefs. It violates her freedom of religion." Hagman offered to drop the lawsuit if Satan worshippers were exempted from this provision of the law.