SEMI-NEWS: A Satire of Recent News
|SEMI-NEWS/SEMI-SATIRE: Best of 2015, part I
Obama Gives Himself an A+ for Performance
Despite characterizing himself as a "hard grader," President Obama rated his performance for the recently concluded 2014 an "A+." "My critics want to harp on their pet issues to claim my Administration was a failure, but let's look at what I was able to accomplish," he asserted.
"Republicans are slapping each other on the back for taking more seats in Congress than their Party has had since 1928, but it was my agenda that Congress enacted with the Cromnibus bill in November," the President boasted.
"I broke new ground in how the country is governed by stepping in to enact the policies Congress refused to legislate," Obama bragged. "For all the talk about this being outside my legitimate authority, Congress has done nothing and will do nothing to overturn what I've done."
"Largely through the efforts of my Attorney General, the issue of racial justice has been brought to society's attention," Obama declared. "Cops shooting Black men has given rise to street action aimed at evening the score. Millions of dollars in merchandise have been liberated and redistributed, bringing us another step closer to material equality. Commercial profiteers have been chastised for exploiting minorities."
"On the foreign policy front, I ended Bush's war of aggression in Afghanistan and have released many innocent jihadis from imprisonment in Gitmo," the President crowed. "Terrorist atrocities have been mostly limited to a few beheadings and massacres that have been confined to foreigners living in far away places. The world is safer than it has ever been."
"All-in-all, it's been a great year for me," Obama concluded. "Historians are going to look back on 2014 as the key turning point for the transformation of this country. I'm going to be rated the best among all those who have held the office of president."
Missing from the President's list of triumphs was Obamacare, which the latest Jonathan Gruber tape revealed, was forecast to be unaffordable and bound to deny coverage. In the tape, Gruber says he advised the President that "mandating universal coverage for all the items on his 'must have' list makes the program unaffordable. However, this can be offset by denying coverage for procedures that are expensive and of low social value."
Gruber contended that "the tradeoff of mandating government funding of abortions for every woman who wants one, while denying costly therapies for the elderly has synergistic effects. The money saved by restricting the care available to the old and decrepit can be used to finance aborting potential future criminals."
"Culling the human herd of these low value cohorts will be a heroic achievement that should rank the Obama Administration as the greatest in American history," Gruber concluded in his advice to the President.
Muslim Terrorism Excused
Armed Muslim terrorists slew a dozen unarmed members of the editorial staff of the satirical paper Charlie Hebdo in a raid on the paper's Paris office this week. Though the gunman proclaimed these murders as retribution for the paper's mockery of Islamic extremism, leading liberal luminaries have reassured everyone that the attack had nothing to do with "real" Islam.
The New York Times dismissed a female survivor's recounting of being spared and advised to convert and obey the Quran as "unreliable testimony. Given the traumatic circumstances these witnesses couldn't be expected to clearly remember events." The NYT's editors contrasted "the hysterical recall of this woman with the calm reassurances from our last two presidents that Islam is a religion of peace."
Jimmy Carter's former national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski blamed the victims for what he termed "their extraordinarily provocative satires. They were unnecessarily nasty and could easily goad even the most peaceful of Muslims into a murderous rage." Brzezinski also warned against anyone using the phrase "jihadist terrorist" as these words "could incite even more violence from normally peaceful Muslims."
Meanwhile, President Obama dispatched Attorney General Eric Holder to France as "an emergency measure to head off an anticipated Islamophobic response. We cannot allow our emotions to get the better of us in this time of tragedy. Sad as what happened in Paris might be, we must keep things in perspective. Ten times as many Muslims lost their lives in a stampede in Mecca. We shouldn't forget their suffering by a single minded focus on the lesser loss at Charlie Hebdo." The stampede to which Obama was referring occurred at the annual ritualistic stoning of the devil in Mecca, where 244 Muslims were trampled to death and hundreds more were hurt.
Shortly after conferring with Holder, French President Francois Hollande tried to ease public fears by affirming that the killings "had nothing to do with the Muslim religion. For us to insinuate that Islam played any role would only invite further acts of violence. It will be safer to think of this as a random act."
In a bid to insulate itself from potential reprisals, the newspaper USA Today published a screed by Imam Anjem Choudary justifying the massacre. "Islam does not mean peace but rather means submission to the commands of Allah alone," he wrote. "The authors of these insults cannot say they haven't been warned. They cannot hope that a misguided faith in freedom of speech will protect them from righteous punishment. Muslims do not believe in freedom of expression. True believers are obligated to silence all blasphemy. If anyone is to be blamed it is the French Government for not shutting down Charlie Hebdo. This left Muslims with no other option than to mete out justice by their own hands."
The Washington Post's Eugene Robinson praised France's strict gun control laws for moderating the carnage: "The fact that the victims were unarmed prevented a shoot out that could've claimed even more lives. As it was, the gunmen were able to calmly execute the offending editors and cartoonists without any collateral damage."
In related news, Egypt's Abdel Fattah el-Sisi called upon Muslim leaders "to turn away from interpretations of the Quran that justify violence as a means of propagating our beliefs. Embracing violence inspires acts of unspeakable brutality and puts us at odds with civilized behavior. If we are to win others over to our faith it must be by setting an example of humane treatment of one another regardless of religious differences." ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi called Sisi's view "misbegotten blasphemy" and alleged that "it is now every Muslim's solemn obligation to slay this heretic."
Hebdo Attackers "Smeared" by Child Porn Revelations
Radical imam Anjem Choudary characterized investigators' disclosure that Cherif Kouachi and Amedy Coulibaly—murderers of the Hebdo cartoonists—were frequent visitors to websites featuring child pornography as "a smear of their reputations."
French detectives found five child porn photos on Coulibaly's laptop and 37 on Kouachi's PC. Kouachi's "favorites" folder included lurid pictures of young boys and girls involved in sexual acts with adults.
"Just because Western culture declares relationships between adult men and pre-teens to be illicit doesn't make it so," Choudary complained. "The Prophet's (may peace be upon him) favorite wife married him when she was only six years old and consummated the marriage when she was nine. To hold that young Muslim men seeking to emulate the perfect man are deviant is an insult."
In related news, celebrations hailing the Hebdo gunmen as "heroes" have taken place in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkey and the Islamic State. Pir Muhammad Chishti, a Muslim cleric in Pakistan, insisted that "they weren't terrorists—they did this for all Muslims, killing the criminals responsible for insulting the Messenger of Allah."
President Issues Statement Commemorating 42nd Anniversary of Roe vs Wade
President Obama hailed the 42nd anniversary of 1973's Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion at any time for any reason throughout a woman's pregnancy.
"Since 1973 over 50 million unwanted births have been prevented," Obama pointed out. "That's 50 million mothers spared the toils and troubles of rearing children they did not want. That's 50 million individuals spared the indignity of being an unwanted child."
The President also took this anniversary as an opportunity to call for "continued vigilance against those who would have us backtrack on this vital human right." Two instances of "backtracking" as the President sees it are HR36 (the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act) and HR7 (No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act).
As Obama sees it "the evil of HR36 is that it would elevate an undue concern for the momentary pain suffered by a late term aborted fetus to a level that could neutralize the right given to all women by the 1973 Supreme Court decision."
"The equally pernicious HR7 would relieve taxpayers from bearing their fair share of the burden of financing abortions," the President added. "Once a right has been decreed it is everyone's responsibility to support its full implementation. No woman should have to pay an out-of-pocket expense in order to exercise her right to an abortion. No person should be allowed to cite discredited moral objections in an effort to avoid paying for it."
In related news, Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis) have introduced a bill aimed at "preventing states from getting out of step with national policy on abortion." "Abortion is too crucial an issue for us to allow individual states to deviate from the path set by our President," Blumenthal argued. "If the Supreme Court has ruled that any woman is entitled to an abortion for any reason how can we sit back and allow states to chip away at that right? Contentions that restrictions are intended to spare the fetus pain have no standing. The Court didn't provide for an exception in the case of pain to the fetus. We must not allow states to try to sneak restrictions on abortion into their laws via an illegitimate concern for fetuses' so-called rights."
AG Nominee Makes Case for Summary Executions on President's Order
In Senate hearings designed to vet Loretta Lynch, President Obama's nominee for Attorney General, the question of whether it is constitutional for the government to use extrajudicial lethal force on an American citizen on American soil failed to elicit the obvious "NO" that should be expected from someone aiming to become the nation's top law enforcer.
As Lynch sees it, "it all depends on who gives the order. If it's someone trustworthy like President Obama, I think we give him the benefit of the doubt. We can't allow ourselves to get tied in knots over 'due process' concepts originating more than 200 years ago. It is essential that our nation's ruler have the flexibility to carry out whatever actions are needed to protect the government elected by voters."
Lynch's answer provoked startling divergent responses from key Republicans. Senator Ted Cruz (Texas) called her answer "absolutely disqualifying. Every attorney is an officer of the court and bound by ethics to pursue justice. Lynch seems more suited to the role of consigliere to a mob boss than chief legal adviser to a president."
Senator Orrin Hatch (Utah), though, expressed admiration for Lynch's "intellectual dexterity. The ability to create new legal standards on the fly is an invaluable talent. The only prudent course for us is to approve her elevation to the post, lest we ourselves be perceived as threats and get added to the President's list of targets."
AG Nominee Calls Civil Forfeiture "Wonderful Tool"
President Obama's nominee for Attorney General Loretta Lynch followed up her stunning defense a president's "right to summarily execute enemies of the state" with fulsome praise for government's controversial practice of seizing the property and money of people before they are found guilty of a crime, calling it "a wonderful tool."
"It is difficult to prove someone guilty of a crime under our laws," Lynch pointed out. "The evidence required is substantial. The 'beyond reasonable doubt' standard is daunting. Under Civil Forfeiture, though, there is more leeway. Under this statute, the property or money is accused of illegal actions. Since property and money have no civil rights the government's chances of success are higher. The burden of proof is on the person trying to reclaim the assets. He must prove to the court's satisfaction that no crime was committed."
"The fact that the majority of cash circulating in America has traces of cocaine on it makes proving that this money was not obtained illegally nearly impossible," Lynch bragged. "The best thing about Civil Forfeiture is that it gives government access to sorely needed resources without having to get an appropriation through the legislature. This increases the amount of funds available for socially beneficial uses by transferring them out of the hands of selfish individuals and into the hands of those dedicated to the collective welfare of all. It's a win-win situation all around."
Amnesty "Loophole" May Allow Illegals to Vote
Secretaries of state from Ohio and Kansas say that the documents—driver's licenses and Social Security numbers—being provided to the illegal immigrants granted amnesty by President Obama open a "loophole" that will make it easy for these non-citizens to vote in our elections.
Presidential Press Secretary Josh Earnest questioned the characterization of potential voting by these persons as a "loophole. I would say it would be more accurately described as a 'feature' of the President's executive action regarding the 'dreamers' he is trying to aid."
Earnest also took issue with the premise that the "dreamers" being granted these privileges are "non-citizens. The President's intent is to bring these people out of the shadows and into the light by normalizing their status. An important part of the normalization process is having the right to exercise all the privileges extended to other Americans—including voting."
"Excluding these folks from voting would shut them out from enjoying the very basic human right of participating in the selection of those who rule them," Earnest declared. "That would be tyranny. This country is indeed fortunate that a person able to break free of the prejudices and out-dated constraints that have hampered previous presidents has taken the bold step of decreeing a new reality."
The Press Secretary expressed the hope that "these secretaries of state won't take the same futile obstructionist road that the Alabama Supreme Court attempted to take on gay marriage. Voluntary cooperation in the issuance of key state documents like driver's licenses and voter registration is preferred, but the President will not hesitate to enforce compliance if that cooperation is resisted or delayed."
In related news, the Obama Administration has ordered U.S. Border Patrol agents to release illegals driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The directive signed by outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder warned agents "not to impose American standards of sobriety on persons raised in a different culture. Yankee imperialism must not spread its tentacles into places where it doesn't belong."
UN Official: Capitalism Must Be Destroyed for Sake of Planet
In remarks to an inner cadre of the U.N.'s Framework Convention on Climate Change, Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres, maintained that "economic progress since the Industrial Revolution has gone too far. The Earth is in danger of being overrun by unconstrained prosperity."
"Capitalists like to contend that the increased life expectancies and material well-being of billions of people is some sort of proof that the system is a good thing," Figueres said. "But they are wrong. Billions more humans living longer lives in greater luxury is a problem, not a benefit."
"There is no objective evidence proving that people living longer is better in a collective sense for all the biota of the planet," Figueres continued. "What about all of the other animals and plants whose lives may have been made worse off by the success of this one species?"
"Nether is there any objective proof that the freedom and opportunity the market system imposes on people is a source of happiness," Figueres argued. "Freedom and opportunity force people to make choices. If these choices don't turn out well, people may experience guilt or regret. Failures would then be largely an individual's own fault. If we transition to a system where the important decisions are made for people by ruling authorities we will relieve them of their feelings of guilt and regret. Their suffering wouldn't be their own fault."
Figueres hailed the anti-global warming movement as "an ingenious innovation in social thought. World leaders and the media have done a masterful job of elevating normal climate fluctuations into a crisis justifying stern government measures to rein-in the excesses of human achievement. This will make the necessary culling of the human herd in order to save the planet an attainable goal within the next decade or two."
Beheadings in Libya Said to Vindicate Obama's Warning
The Islamic State's claim that the beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians was justified as vengeance for the Crusades was cited by US Presidential Press Secretary Josh Earnest "as a total vindication of the President's speech at the National Prayer Breakfast two weeks ago."
"That a cycle of violence initiated by Christians centuries ago would come back to haunt practitioners of that faith today should not have been unexpected," Earnest maintained. "The Crusaders killed hundreds of thousands of Muslims. The ISIL reprisals in Libya were modest and restrained in comparison. Once again, the President's wisdom and insight have clarified what others have either failed to see or have attempted to distort."
Earnest also chided those who have lampooned deputy spokesperson for the US Department of State, Marie Harf's suggestion that the long run remedy for dealing with Islamic terrorism is to give them jobs. "Even if we ignore the possibility that a job might remove the incentive for violence, it should be obvious that the hours a person is working for a wage are hours that are unavailable for engaging in jihad," Earnest argued.
Whether the Obama Administration's plan to offer would-be jihadis jobs has any chance of success was thrown into doubt by reports from Uruguay that Gitmo detainees released to that country are refusing to accept employment. Abu Wa'el, one of the former detainees, went on TV to reject the idea that he and his comrades should join the workforce. "We are fighters for Allah," he boasted. "We cannot waste our time laboring like kafirs. In a just world they would be serving us as our price for letting them live."
Wa'el demands that "the Uruguayan government should bear the cost of our upkeep so that we can remain free to work toward the ultimate victory of Islam." President of Uruguay Pepe Mujica is said to be ruing what he thought would be a humanitarian gesture of gaining these men their release from an American prison. "Their evil intent is moderated only by their sloth," Mujica lamented. "I now fear we will never dislodge this wretched refuse from our shores."
In related news, CNN host Carol Costello asserted that "right wing extremists are more dangerous than ISIS. As bad as ISIS might be perceived, there is no risk that they will topple our government. Despite their rhetoric, even they must understand that anyone who would succeed President Obama would be much less sympathetic to their cause. Right wingers, on the other hand, wouldn't think twice about bringing down the Obama Administration. Clearly, they are the greater threat to our government."
President Takes Defiant Stand on Amnesty
President Obama announced that "we have expanded my authorities," and bragged that "my enemies are powerless to stop me from going forward with what is right for America."
One of the "enemies" the President cited with scorn "is that Texas judge who thinks a court order can prevail against me. If President Jackson could defy the Supreme Court why should I have to heed a mere district judge? I am Commander-in-Chief of the world's most powerful army. The nation's largest police force—the FBI—works for me. What resources does Judge Hanen control?"
Obama warned that "those who contradict my directives must know that they will face consequences for their disobedience. The excuse that my directives do not comply with existing statutes will not get anyone off the hook. Those who work for the federal government put their jobs at risk. Those who don't can still be harassed by the swarms of officers I can send to eat out their substance."
The President also dared Congress to "pass a law aimed at reining in my expanded authorities and I will veto it. My veto will not be overridden because a sufficient number of congressmen agree with the revisions I am making to existing laws. We are in concert that adherence to out-dated processes should not stand in the way of doing what is morally right. History will show that the bold leadership of one man is a simpler and more efficient way to run the country."
In related news, the Administration cited the President's newly expanded authorities in the disbursement of $3 billion to health insurers to help cover losses under the Obamacare program. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew explained that "an adjustment to the Affordable Care Act was necessitated by Congress' failure to fully indemnify insurers against losses under the program." Lew dismissed the objection that only Congress is empowered to appropriate federal money as "overly formalistic. Slavish devotion to arcane procedures shouldn't outweigh the responsibility to do the right thing. Fortunately, we have a president who understands this."
Dems Label Inquiry into Hillary's Emails "Witch Hunt"
The revelation that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's use of an insecure private email account for top secret communications has even liberal commentators concerned.
On MSNBC's TV news show Morning Joe, Lawrence O'Donnell, a self-described "practical European socialist," observed that "e-mail system was set up obviously to defy the Freedom of Information Act." Co-Host, Mika Brzezinski agreed saying "this wasn't honest."
On the other hand, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf attempted to rebuff criticism by repeating Clinton's infamous "what difference does it make at this point?" remark the then Secretary of State made in her appearance before a Congressional committee investigating the murder of US Ambassador Chris Stevens in Libya in 2012. "Even if she did have classified information on this computer there is nothing we can do now to undo any damage that theoretically might have been done," Harf declared. "So we might as well drop the issue."
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md) echoed Harf's view calling House Committee on Benghazi Chairman Rep. Trey Gowdy's (R-SC) efforts to subpoena Clinton's emails "a witch hunt and an invasion of privacy. As I understand it, Secretary Clinton used this email for everything—including planning the wedding of her daughter. Exposing such private and intimate details of this great family's personal lives repeats the wrongs done by Kenneth Starr's prurient interest in former President Clinton's sex life. Isn't it time we ended the persecution?"
Cummings also warned that "prying into these emails could have a chilling effect on the Clinton Foundation's fund-raising. A lot of those making million dollar donations would prefer that their identities remain concealed. They don't want some nosy Republicans sniffing out their names. Fear that this could happen acts as a disincentive to other prospective donors and stunts the rewards the Clintons can reap from their public service."
Complicating the issue is Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's 2011 directive forbidding Department employees from using their personal email systems for government business because "personal email is more vulnerable to being hacked by foreign adversaries." US Ambassador to Kenya Scott Gration was removed from office by Ms. Clinton for violating this directive.
IRS Insists Giving Tax Refunds to Illegal Aliens Is "the Least We Can Do"
The IRS has announced plans to follow up President Obama's illegal grant of amnesty to persons in this country illegally with a program that will permit illegal aliens to receive tax refunds for taxes they never paid.
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen defended the move as "a necessary component of the President's vision for America's future. The vast majority of these immigrants are poor. They will need substantial help if the President's dream of transforming our culture is to become a reality. Diverting some of America's excess wealth to these people via tax refunds is one way of making this happen."
Koskinen's view was bolstered by President Obama's speech celebrating the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's Selma march. In the speech Obama said "giving amnestied illegal immigrants the same rights as citizens is a way of honoring Dr. King's message of brotherhood and equality. President Lincoln freed the slaves from bondage, but a century of Jim Crow laws, discrimination and poverty continued to oppress African-Americans."
"Let's not make the same mistake today," Obama said. "I have opened the door to freedom for Latin American people oppressed by corrupt governments south of our border. Let's not make these liberated millions live in the shadows of second-class status for a hundred years. Let's accelerate their integration into our society by giving them the sustenance they need and the full rights of citizenship so they can be active participants in selecting the rulers who will govern us all."
"In light of the President's recent remarks, I think everyone can agree that our plan to give them tax refunds is the least we can do," Koskinen concluded.
In related news, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported that the federal government made nearly $125 billion in improper payments during fiscal year 2014. These are payments made for services not rendered, merchandise not received, and to recipients not eligible to receive the money. Nearly $18 billion in improper payments were made through the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)--the very mechanism by which the IRS proposes to pay tax refunds to amnestied illegal aliens.
Feds Fund "Diet Choker" Technology
With the aid of a $148,000 federal grant, engineers at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) have developed what they call a "diet choker." The device is a necklace that detects what and when a person is eating. This information is then communicated by phone.
Lead researcher Majid Sarrafzadeh called the device "a breakthrough for healthy eating. If it detects excessive quantities are consumed or poor food choices are made it can be programmed to call the person's cell phone to remind them that their choice is an unhealthy one."
"If individuals prove insufficiently motivated to alter their behavior with this reminder, the device can also be programmed to alert a dietary enforcement authority," Sarrafzadeh said. "That way, if the individual's will power is weak, external intervention can be introduced to control what is eaten. The end result will be a happier and healthier America."
First Lady Michelle Obama lauded the invention as "ingenious. We've been trying to educate people on the proper way to eat, but this choker offers a much more robust interface between dietary experts and individual consumers. If the device could be programmed to give real time feedback—say a mild electric shock when inappropriate foods or gluttonous quantities are ingested—we'll have a powerful new weapon against obesity."
Obama Exempts White House from Freedom of Information Act
Contending that "constant prying by the enemies of this Administration are impeding my ability to smoothly rule this country," President Obama issued a decree exempting the White House Office of Administration from further compliance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) spokesperson Anne Weismann characterized the move as "completely out of step with the President's supposed commitment to transparency."
Office of Administration Director Beth Jones defended the move as "a necessary precaution against information falling into the wrong hands. This country is at war with reactionary elements who wouldn't hesitate to abuse the freedom the law allows to embarrass and discredit the Administration. Well, President Obama isn't about to let these rogue elements have free rein to scrutinize the inner workings of the government."
Jones denied that the cancellation of access for persons to hostile to the President contradicts his pledge of transparency. "The windows on a home are transparent, but the owners are well-advised to draw the blinds to prevent peeping Toms from invading their privacy," Jones asserted. "All we are doing here is drawing the blinds. The President's friends will still be able to enjoy whatever access he deems necessary to their roles in defense of his policies."
The Obama Administration has been the most aggressive in US history in its efforts to clamp down on information about what's going on behind closed doors. It has prosecuted more whistle blowers and sentenced them to longer prison terms than all other presidents combined. This latest move is merely another example of its determination to conduct its business outside the view of the voters.
In related news, the Department of Justice rebuffed a subpoena for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's emails on the grounds that "mere suspicion that the Secretary may have used her private server as a means of concealing what she was doing is not proof. Until we see proof that she actually concealed something via this stratagem we see no need to pry into her affairs."
ICE Releases Another 30,000 Illegal Alien Criminals
US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that during 2014 it released another 30,000 illegal aliens with criminal records. This follows the 36,000 it released in 2013. The crimes for which these persons were responsible include homicide, sexual assault, kidnapping, aggravated assault and more than 16,000 incidents of drunk or drugged driving. The released individuals are now free to move about the country.
In testimony before Congress, ICE Director Sarah Saldana characterized this action as "the best option we had available to us given the parameters established by President Obama. Is putting criminals back on the street bad? Yes, but what else could we do? If we deported them they'd just be roaming the streets of Mexico or some other Latin American nation."
"The people of Latin America have already suffered enough," Saldana argued. "Their lives are marked by profound poverty leading to malnutrition, illness, and shortened lives. Rather than further intensify this suffering, it is the President's view that our more prosperous society can more easily bear the burden of coping with these criminal elements. We have many government programs providing sustenance for those residing in the United States. We have free medical care for those unable to afford it. And most Americans have better means to protect themselves against crime. They can insure their valuables, install burglar alarms, and can carry concealed weapons—something no Latin American government permits."
"It should be obvious that global welfare will, on balance, be greater if the United States absorbs more of the depredations inflicted by the criminals in the population than if we selfishly try to isolate ourselves from the migration of underprivileged peoples seeking a fairer allocation of humanity's collective wealth," she concluded.
In related news, Democrats on the Senate Budget Committee blocked legislation that would prevent illegal immigrants from collecting billion of dollars in refundable tax credits to which they are not legally entitled. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich) contested the idea that these illegal payments might be wrong. "A more important question than whether these payments are or aren't illegal is whether they are needed," Stabenow declared. "Illegal immigrants are among the poorest of our citizens. Their moral claim on this money should override any persnickety concerns about legality."
Mayor Suggests that Chicago Airports Be Renamed
In an unexpectedly difficult reelection campaign, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel sought to rally support by promising to rename the City's two airports in honor of President and Michelle Obama. The two airports are currently named in honor of World War II Navy pilot Edward "Butch" O'Hare and the 1942 Battle of Midway—an upset US victory over Japan that many historians view as the turning point of the war in the Pacific.
"I don't mean to denigrate these earlier historic events, but they pale in significance to the impact that President Obama has had on this country," Emanuel explained. "O'Hare was just one of thousands of pilots who served in the war and Midway was just one battle among dozens. President Obama is America's first minority president. His innovative approach to governing by executive action has transformed the way we do business without having to go through the cumbersome process of amending our Constitution."
"And let's not forget what we all owe to the First Lady," Emanuel added. "From her soapbox she has broadcast a message of healthier eating that reverberates across the nation. People's lives are being saved on a daily basis. Surely, this merits greater accolades than whatever Butch O'Hare did—if in fact, he did anything worthy of note. I, for one, am unaware of what that might have been."
In related news, Emanuel pulled out of a previously scheduled joint appearance with challenger Jesus "Chuy" Garcia saying "I'm the one with name recognition. I'm the one with the huge funding advantage. Why should I help boost my opposition by appearing on the same stage with him?"
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."
Dems Assail Work Requirements for Able-bodied Welfare Recipients
Enforcement of a work requirement by Republican Governor Paul LePage's administration has led to 9,000 former recipients being declared ineligible to receive food stamps. Under the work requirement, able-bodied food stamp recipients were asked to put in 20 hours of work per week or 24 hours of volunteer services per month.
State Rep. Scott Hamann (D-South Portland) called the work requirement "inhumane" and compared it to "indentured servitude." "The Governor is taking the state out of the mainstream," Hamann argued. "Other states have sought an exemption from the work requirement, but LePage is charting a course that sends a message telling people they must work in order to eat. In my view, this is a step backward."
Maine Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew defended the Governor's approach. "Entrenching people in a life of dependency is not a way to get them out of poverty," Mayhew said. "It's one thing for a person to be physically unable to support themselves. It is quite another for a person to refuse to contribute effort to sustaining himself."
Hamann belittled "the contention that self-reliance is an appropriate ethos for a modern society. Not everyone is equally endowed with a strong work ethic or the ambition to succeed. Some inherit laziness and stupidity through no fault of their own. We shouldn't be holding the losers in the genetic lottery to the same standards as the winners. Those who are lucky enough to be born energetic and ambitious have an obligation to society to help carry the weight of those less fortunate than themselves."
In Kansas, a bill to ban welfare benefits from being spent on body piercings, massages, spas, tobacco, nail salons, lingerie, arcades, cruise ships or visits to psychics was denounced by state Rep. Carolyn Bridges (D-Wichta) as "an unacceptable infringement on people's freedom to spend their own money as they see fit. As a society we have determined that these people are entitled to public support. By endeavoring to limit the uses to which they can apply thus support we are degrading their perception of self-worth and making them second class citizens. This is appalling. Freedom belongs to everyone. Poverty shouldn't be used to limit a person's choices."
In stark contrast to what's going on in Maine and Kansas, the nearly bankrupt State of California is looking to make illegal aliens fully eligible for state welfare benefits. "This nation was built by immigrants, how can we not cut them a piece of the pie?" asked state Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens). Lara dismissed the state's budgetary deficit as "an excuse, not a reason for excluding newcomers from enjoying the fruits of citizenship."
Iranian Ayatollah Calls Obama "Lying Devil"
Ayatollah Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, characterized US President Barack Obama's statements about the agreement negotiated between the two countries as "deceptive" and evidence of "devilish" intentions.
"Obama's assertion that Iran has agreed to ramp down its pursuit of nuclear weapons in exchange for a phasing out of economic sanctions is a lie," Khamenei said. "What we have agreed to is this. First, all sanctions must be immediately ended. Once this happens we agree to refrain from engaging in any nuclear attacks until, in our judgment, circumstances for a favorable outcome warrant it. Most likely, circumstances won't be favorable for at least a few years."
US Secretary of State John Kerry sought to minimize any perceived discrepancy between the two sides, saying that "Khamenei's statement is within the bounds of the framework we've been constructing. We could quibble over which comes first—the end of sanctions or Iran's self-constraint as a nuclear power—or we could make the first concession as a step toward building good will."
"Right now, Iran is conceding that there will be at least a few years before they launch any nuclear strikes," Kerry pointed out. "This should ensure that nothing drastic happens during President Obama's remaining term. After that it will be up to his successor to devise a strategy for dealing with Iran."
In related news, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf dismissed warnings from former secretaries of state Henry Kissinger and George Schultz about the nuclear agreement the Obama Administration negotiated with Iran as "lots of big words that few people will understand."
Kissinger and Schultz noted that the so-called agreement lacks any provisions for enforcement. Neither does it address Iran's sponsorship of terrorism—a behavior that will become a bigger problem once sanctions are lifted and Iran has more funds at hand to aid these groups.
Harf insisted that "these concerns are irrelevant since Iran will not agree to inspections and reserves the sovereign right to use its resources as it deems best. For us to raise these issues would complicate the negotiations and make any agreement unlikely. We feel that it is better to have half a loaf than none."
Hillary Blames Rich for Ruining America
In her bid to portray herself as the champion of the average American, millionaire presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is lambasting the wealthiest 1% for the impoverishment of the other 99%. It is, she says, "outrageous that the CEO of a major corporation makes 300 times the annual salary of its lowest paid employee."
Clinton's argument is ironic since her hourly rate for public speaking is 16,000 times the $15 hourly rate that she says ought to be the legal minimum wage. If CEOs are overpaid, former Secretary of State Clinton would appear to be obscenely overpaid.
According to Mrs. Clinton, though, the comparison isn't fair because "unlike corporate CEOs I haven't spent my career grubbing for money. I've been engaged in governing—the highest service one human being of superior capabilities can contribute to humanity. My $250,000 speaking fees are the deferred reward of a life of public service. I earned them. They are rightfully mine."
"In any case, I want every voter to know that when I am president the inequities of capitalism will be rectified," Clinton promised. "We will take things away from those who have too much. Selfish self-indulgence will be replaced by socially determined collective investment for the good of the whole. We can't make everyone rich, but we can make everyone equal and finally realize the dream laid out in the Declaration of Independence."
In related news, reports that the so-called typical Americans that Clinton is meeting on the campaign trail have been "pre-screened" before they are allowed to approach her were pooh-poohed by former Vermont Governor Howard Dean (D): "If her staff lets just anybody talk to her there is no guarantee that it will be a representative sample of typical Americans. People with atypical views could disrupt the process and take the campaign off message. By weeding out the unsuited this can be prevented."
Dean also defended the confiscation of cameras and cell phones from those visiting with the candidate. "A person has the right to control the use of her image," Dean said. "Anyone wanting a picture of Hillary can pay the standard $1,000 fee and the campaign will give him or her an autographed photo."
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."