OPINION

SEMI-NEWS: A Satire of Recent News
12-30-2015 

John Semmens
SEMI-NEWS/SEMI-SATIRE: Best of 2015, part II  
 

May 3

Baltimore Mayor Apologizes for Calling Rioters "Thugs"

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, whose infamous order to police to "give protesters space to destroy," sheepishly apologized to residents who participated in looting stores, burning buildings, and assaulting passersby for using the term "thugs" to describe their behavior.

"My use of the word 'thugs' implied that these people were engaged in criminal acts," she said. "I have since been informed that stealing toilet paper, trashing the businesses of owners who had nothing to do with the death of Mr. Gray, and beating up white people foolish enough to venture into the streets were acts of righteous rage."

The Mayor maintained that "my first instinct to allow people to vent their anger as they saw fit was the correct one. While it may be true that none of the individual victims of the rioting were directly responsible for the crowd's rage, by being white alone, they were collectively guilty for centuries of Black oppression. I should not have besmirched those who showed the initiative to go outside the customary constraints concocted by white civilization by using racially derogatory terms like 'thug' or 'criminal.' That I did shows that even those of us most advanced members of the government can be brainwashed by social norms we ought to reject."

In related news, President Obama justified his refusal to visit riot-torn Baltimore because "to do so would endorse the idea that the City is in crisis when all we're really seeing is a rough implementation of a redistribution of wealth that has been long overdue."

Hillary Calls for Restoring Faith in Government

Former Secretary of State and current candidate for president Hillary Clinton bemoaned "the erosion of people's faith in government" and alleged that "it undermines the ability of those of us who are trying to lead."

Clinton brushed aside widely perceived impressions that government has done a bad job by pointing out the early history of Christianity's failures. "Jesus' performance compares quite unfavorably with what modern government has been able to deliver," she said. "His people—the Christians—faced centuries of persecution. They were crucified. They were torn apart and devoured by wild animals for the amusement of spectators in the arenas of Rome and elsewhere."

"Contrast that with what modern government has done for its people," Clinton advised. "We've given people the means to survive—subsidized housing, subsidized food. Why, today a single mother with two children qualifies for $35,000 in government benefits. No one is crucified. No one is thrown to the lions. Government has delivered the goods. It should have more than earned the faith of the people."

"The fact that all these government benefits can be had without the burdens of toil demonstrates who the true miracle worker is," Clinton concluded. "I only hope that voters realize this when they go to the polls."

May 10

Educational Standards Demanding Hard Work Called Discriminatory

California's Pacific Educational Group (PEG) denounced educational standards that require students to study and work hard in order to graduate as "discrimination against Black students."

PEG co-chair Kenneth K. Knowlton asserted that "Blacks are less likely to respond to fundamental ideas like working hard to achieve success, or being on time for school or work. The notion that such attitudes ought to be instilled in every student is a racist endeavor that seeks to submerge this vital subculture."

"What's more, the contention that hard work is a key to success is belied by reality," Knowlton maintained. "A significant segment of the Black subculture has learned to survive on government benefit programs that do not require hard work. Adapting to these programs is a viable low-energy route to reasonably comfortable subsistence in our society. In terms of return on investment or effort it is very efficient. A school's attempt to divert students from this efficient path does them a disservice."

A statistic bolstering Knowlton's claims was obtained from a Department of Agriculture study indicating that 40% of the people on Food Stamps are obese—a finding that Knowlton contended "debunks the old-fashioned thinking that warns of the privation awaiting those who don't put forth the effort to support themselves."

In related news, British academic Adam Swift charged that "parents who read to their children are giving them an unfair advantage over children whose parents are unable or unwilling to read to their children. Evidence shows that the difference between those who get bedtime stories and those who don't – the difference in their life chances – is bigger than the difference between those who get elite private schooling and those that don't. For the sake of equality of opportunity we ought to figure out a way to interdict this type of selfish behavior."

Swift lamented the improbability for success "as long as children are entrusted to the care of their own parents. If all children could be separated from their parents at an early age and raised by childcare professionals, a more uniform experience would be more easily ensured. All or none could be read to as seems most conducive to the collective well-being of society."

May 17

Feds Warn Lenders Not to Deny Loans to Welfare Recipients

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) warned financial institutions that they could be prosecuted if they deny home loans to persons subsisting on welfare benefits.

CFPB Director Richard Cordray asserted that "placing ability to repay ahead of need is contrary to federal regulations. Just because a person cannot support himself or herself doesn't mean he or she should be excluded from the benefits of home ownership. Every person has an inalienable right to own a home. Lenders have a moral obligation to help people achieve this right."

"For banks to argue that the risks of default and foreclosure should preclude certain persons from obtaining loans places profit over social justice," Cordray said. "Those who attempt to implement such injustice will face consequences. Fines or even imprisonment await anyone who would defy us in this matter."

Cordray went on to question "whether requiring loans to be repaid even makes sense. Housing costs would be lower across-the-board if the burden of repayment could be lifted from those unable to afford it. Banks have billions of dollars and could easily absorb the losses from non-performing loans. If they should become insolvent the Federal Reserve would, as it has in the past, just create more money to bail them out."

May 24

Hillary Defends Benghazi Lies

Evidence that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was informed that the assault on the Benghazi Consulate and murder of Ambassador Stevens was a planned terrorist attack before she went public with the misleading cover story of a video protest gone bad failed to dislodge her from defending it.

"Sure, we knew within hours of the Ambassador's death that the attack had been planned at least 10 days in advance, but for us to have publicly acknowledged this would have put the country into even greater danger," Clinton maintained. "Remember, this attack occurred just two months ahead of a presidential election. Our first priority was to counteract the domestic insurgency being led by Mitt Romney. Staving off this attempt to overthrow our government was more important than adhering to some quaint notions of honesty."

Clinton characterized the bogus video-inspired-uprising story as akin to President Roosevelt's feigning surprise at Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor. "Imagine the damage that would have been done to his government if he hadn't seized control of the narrative," she hypothesized. "By diverting attention away from our lack of preparedness and onto Japan's treachery he was able to rally the American people and save his government. Why shouldn't we have emulated a man most historians agree was one of our greatest presidents?"

Candidate Says "Everything Will Be Free When I'm President"

Self-described socialist and candidate for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders promised voters that "everything will be free when I'm president."

"In a country as rich as ours it is shameful that mere lack of money should block anyone from having all the good things of life," Sanders said. "No one should be stigmatized by having to grovel to qualify for food stamps or be denied entry into college because they can't afford it or don't have good high school grades. Anyone who wants to eat should simply be permitted to take food from a grocery store or restaurant. Anyone who wants to go to college should be allowed in, no questions asked."

Payment for all these freebies will come from a confiscatory tax on excess assets and income. "Only pure arrogance drives the notion that people who are smarter and harder-working should get more than those less well-endowed by nature or nurture," the Senator contended. "Just because you are lucky enough to inherit intelligence or learn to be enterprising from the good example of your parents doesn't mean you earned it. A person born to stupid and shiftless parents isn't at fault for his lack of effort. Why then should his rewards be contingent on the exertions he doesn't make?"

"Every human being is entitled to an equal share of the Earth's bounty," Sanders declared. "Ensuring an equitable distribution is government's responsibility. Voters can count on me to fulfill this responsibility."

May 31

More than 20% of Americans Receive Welfare

According to the latest Census Bureau data, 21.3% of those living in America are receiving welfare benefits. This includes more than 41% of Blacks, more than 36% of Hispanics, more than 17% of Asians and more than 13% of whites.

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell called it "a good start on the President's transformative agenda. Ideally, all output would be put into a common pot and doled out to individuals and families based on need. The notion that a person should be self-supporting is archaic. In another generation it will be completely replaced by an appreciation for the collective good of the whole."

Burwell expressed faith that "robots will eventually do all the menial work that has enslaved humankind for thousands of years. The non-menial work will be performed by a dedicated minority that has placed selfishness aside in order to work for the benefit of those less able. Need will supplant greed as the primary principle by which the Earth's bounty is distributed among the people. All will live as one big family with the President serving as the virtual 'parent' to each and everyone of us—allotting each an allowance appropriate to his needs, meting out extra rewards for good behavior, and punishments for willful disobedience."

In related news, socialist candidate for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination Sen. Bernie Sanders called for the government "to seize the resources wasted on manufacturing 23 different kinds of deodorant and 18 brands of sneakers and divert them to the production of food for starving children. The American consumer's addiction to free choice must not be permitted to divert us from this greater purpose."

Sanders also came out in favor of a flat tax of 90% on all income saying that "the average person has far more than he needs. Most private spending is frittered away on non-essentials like fancy cell phones, private automobiles, and entertainment. Shifting this spending over to the government will ensure a more useful deployment of society's resources." As for low wage earners hit with the 90% tax, the Senator said he was "confident that a package of carefully selected social welfare benefits would offset most of the pain."

Documents Reveal State Dept Aided Rise of ISIS

The latest batch of declassified emails from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's private server indicate that weapons used by ISIS to conquer half of Syria and Iraq were covertly supplied by the US. It appears that Ambassador Christopher Stevens was intimately involved in smuggling armaments from captured Libyan stockpiles to anti-Assad forces in Syria.

Current Secretary of State John Kerry defended the arms transfers as "based on the best intelligence we had at the time. We knew Assad was a brutal dictator who needed to be deposed. We thought relying on anti-government elements in Syria could do the job without having to risk direct US intervention. Who could've known that these anti-Assad rebels would turn into ISIL and misuse the weapons we gave them?"

In support of his argument, Kerry pointed out that "Sen. McCain (R-Ariz) had met with these anti-Assad rebels and pronounced them trustworthy. McCain, like me, served in Vietnam. He was even tortured by the North Vietnamese. So, I think Secretary Clinton may have given a lot of weight to his pronouncement. It only looks stupid in hindsight."

The Secretary said "the really baffling part of all this is why Ambassador Stevens was murdered by jihadis. He was trying to help them get weapons. Killing him made no sense. I don't think we'll ever figure that out."

In related news, key Senate Democrats urged President Obama to take executive action to admit more Syrian refugees into the United States. "Since it seems that our poorly conceived attempt to arm anti-Assad forces has turned their country into a total war zone, it is morally incumbent upon us to admit 65,000 displaced Syrians into our country," wrote Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill).

Durbin discounted the risk that terrorists might hide among the refugees saying that "it's more logical that jihadis will want to stay in the Islamic State than come here. Even if terrorists do come here, though, the damage they might do is likely to be small. We are a big country with over 300 million inhabitants. The few that might be killed by a lone wolf bombing or shooting attack would be only a pin-prick. More Americans are apt to be victims of global climate change than jihadi terrorists."

June 7

New AG Seeks to Federalize All Elections

Contending that "it is shameful that we allow each state to determine its own qualifications for voters," Attorney General Loretta Lynch has proposed new rules that would concentrate all authority over elections under the jurisdiction of her US Department of Justice.

"I know that the Constitution gave states the right to run their own elections, but it also gave Congress the right to alter state regulations if it so chooses," Lynch pointed out. Lynch said she is "especially aggrieved that states get to determine who is and isn't mentally competent to cast a ballot. By what right does any state presume to deny the right to vote based on a contention that a person is too demented? Does a person lose his civil right to participate in selecting who will govern him just because he can't understand the issues or his choices? This seems to be a clear violation of the American with Disabilities Act."

Lynch asserted that "anyone who wants to vote should be allowed to vote. If that person needs help filling out a ballot, well, that's what we pay social workers for. The legislation I am proposing would permit these trained professionals to assist and, if necessary act as a proxy for those in their care, to cast ballots in any election."

Whether Lynch's bill will gain much traction in the Republican-controlled Congress seems dubious. Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) expressed skepticism that "ensuring the mentally incompetents' access to the ballot box would improve election outcomes. I think the idea of self-government presumes that voters can act rationally. I don't think it means that we trust social workers to cast ballots on behalf of those unable to comprehend the process."

The AG says she doesn't view Congressional opposition as an insuperable obstacle. "Drafting a bill is merely a courtesy," Lynch declared. "We're giving them an opportunity to be part of the process. If they fail to grasp this opportunity the President is prepared to proceed on his own authority as the nation's Commander-in-Chief."

In related news, candidate for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination Hillary Clinton called for "the end of all restrictions on voting. A person should be able to vote whenever and wherever they want. Rules requiring registration, or short time frames when ballots may be cast, or limited locations where ballots may be cast lead to lower participation rates. There ought to be a free voter 'app' on every cell phone the government hands out."

Senator Wants RICO Prosecution of "Climate Change Deniers"

Arguing that "the threat of global climate change is the greatest crisis we have ever faced," Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) has called for the Department of Justice (DOJ) to employ the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act against those who dispute the threat.

"Can we really afford to engage in debate when the world is literally melting right before our eyes?" Whitehouse wanted to know. "Those who try to insert feigned skepticism as a barrier to action are worse than jihadi terrorists. They are shills for the corrupt industries that profiteer off Americans' selfish addictions to comfort and mobility. They must not be allowed to hide their evil designs behind the First Amendment."

"Aggressive action by the DOJ to freeze and seize assets will ensure that funds that could've been used to finance deniers' propaganda can be redeployed for the collective benefit of the global community," the Senator argued. "It will also give pause to anyone contemplating opposition to the steps necessary to combat climate change. Having one's life ruined by government agents and prosecutors is a great deterrent."

Whitehouse brushed aside concerns that crushing political opponents was outside the original intent of the RICO statute. "Arguing 'original intent' is a sterile exercise," he maintained. "Repurposing a statute to meet a new threat shows creativity in evolving new ways of ruling the country. If we want vigorous government we must be flexible in how we interpret old laws."

June 14

Police Shut Down Kids' Lemonade Stand

Police in Overton, Texas ordered two sisters, Zoey (aged 7) and Andria Green (aged 8) to "cease and desist" selling lemonade in their efforts to raise money to buy a Father's Day gift for their dad.

"Selling anything in Texas without a permit is illegal," explained rousting officer Doug Stamper. "It doesn't matter that neighborhood lemonade stands have been a time-honored way for kids to make a buck. Under the law, they need to buy a permit if they want to sell lemonade."

The cost of the required permit is $150. Few kids would have the funds to afford it. Few kid-run lemonade stands could net enough to cover the cost of purchasing a permit.

"Every dollar these kids make is stolen from legitimate businesses that pay for permits and collect sales taxes that they remit to the government," Stamper added. "If the loss of this legitimate revenue weren't substantial the businesses wouldn't have bothered to lobby for the law we're enforcing here today."

Stamper went on to contrast "the fundamentally selfish motive of these two girls" with "the loftier purposes to which the local government puts the revenues garnered from permit fees and taxes. A couple of kids operating a rogue business may look cute, but it's a 'knife between the ribs' of legitimate businesses and the government elected to protect their interests."

June 22

Release of Illegal Alien Criminals Called "Humanitarian"

The Obama Administration's release of illegal immigrants who went on to commit more than 100 murders was defended on "humanitarian" grounds by ICE Director Sarah Saldana.

"These individuals all faced prison in their home countries," Saldana said. "These foreign prisons are not like our prisons. There's no exercise equipment and no satellite TV. Sanitation and hygiene are of the lowest sort imaginable. Sending these people to those Hellholes would have been inhumane."

The inhumanity of the murders subsequently committed against Americans by the release of these foreign criminals was labeled "a tolerable risk" by the ICE Director. "Compared to the countries they came from, the United States has a lower crime rate," she pointed out. "On top of that, police in the US have a better chance of apprehending suspects. The very fact that we know of the 120 murders they've perpetrated since their release proves that. So, from a global perspective, the burden of criminal predation has been more equitably distributed than it otherwise would've been if we had simply bused these foreign felons across the border."

Saldana rejected criticisms that she characterized as "selfish and parochial. The contention that our first duty is to protect Americans is mistaken. As President Obama has made clear, we are citizens of the world first. We cannot shrug off our obligation to promote the greater good of the whole. The damage these miscreants would have done in their Third World home countries would have been far greater."

Study Shows Belgian Patients Euthanized without their Consent

Belgium passed its Euthanasia Act in 2002. A study published in this month's Journal of Medical Ethics by Raphael Cohen-Almagor revealed that despite the law's requirement that patients voluntarily give their consent to the procedure, many are euthanized without giving consent. The decision to euthanize was not discussed with the patient in nearly 80% of the cases of patients over 80 years old.

Dr. Pierre Tueur estimated that "I have probably performed more than 300 of these procedures on patients incapable of giving informed consent. In cases where the patient is unconscious, demented, or unreasonably frightened of death, I feel it would be against the patient's best interest for him to be burdened by such a decision."

Tueur maintained that the "voluntary" requirement of the law was met "when the person checks himself into the hospital. He comes to us seeking our professional expertise. When it becomes clear to us that further life would be too painful or unworthy it is our professional obligation to mercifully end it."

"Individuals who have become more of a burden than a benefit to the collective well-being of society have a moral duty to exit," Tueur argued. "Moral obtuseness of the individual does not negate this duty. Those of us who have been trained in the science of medicine must step forward to ensure this duty is fulfilled."

June 28

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."

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.

July 5

A Vote for Hillary Is a Vote to Preserve Obamacare

Seeking to build on the momentum of last week's Supreme Court decision upholding the Obama Administration's executive "tweaking" of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), presidential candidate Hillary Clinton sought to reassure voters that they could count on her to preserve this law.

Clinton warned that "if the country elects a Republican as president this important advance toward universal health care could well be reversed." She further urged voters to "ignore the siren song of individual choice that so many in the GOP are singing. Individual choice allows the ill-informed to neglect to obtain the type of coverage that experts all agree is necessary."

The candidate contrasted the GOP's vision of "each person doing whatever he thinks best for himself and his family" with Democrats' "more socially responsible approach of everyone doing what society has determined is best for the collective whole. What's good for the health of one individual may not be good for the health of the people. Stark as it may seem, sometimes the interest of the individual must be sacrificed for society's benefit. That's why we have to trust experts to perform the triage necessary to ensure that society's interest is placed ahead of individual selfishness."

As currently structured, the ACA shifts the burden toward making the young and healthy subsidize the older and less healthy. These subsidies will encourage the recipients to increase their demand for services and put further financial pressure on the system. Clinton promised to address this problem by incorporating a "value of remaining life" metric into the expert-guided triage process. "If an individual's 'value of remaining life' is less than the amount required to preserve that life, the best interest of society will be allowed to prevail," she said. "The health care system will ensure that dignified and painless exit options are provided for those whose continued presence is an unsustainable cost to society."

In related news, the IRS has warned small employers that they will be fined up to $36,500 per employee, per year if they give these employees any aid in paying the high premiums or deductibles of their individual Obamacare policies. "Under the rules we have established, these employers must pay all or none of their employees' health insurance costs," said Secretary Sylvia Burwell. "We can't let each individual or business make up some hybrid plan of their own."

Universities Strive to Stamp out Politically Incorrect Speech

The academic luminaries of the University of California and the University of Wisconsin are in the forefront of efforts to eradicate hurtful speech. Professors have been alerted to be on the lookout for phrases that the school's have characterized as "microaggressions" that demean a person's sense of self worth. Students or fellow faculty members using such phrases are to be reported to the school administration for disciplinary action.

Sane persons might be surprised to learn what some of these forbidden phrases are. In California, use of the phrase "America is the land of opportunity" or "everyone in this society can succeed, if they work hard enough" will get you into trouble. In Wisconsin, outlawed phrases include "I believe the most qualified person should get the job" and "there is only one race, the human race."

Wisconsin Chancellor Bernie Patterson explained that "these seemingly innocuous words can be very hurtful. Saying that the most qualified person should get the job is anti-democratic. It implies that the one best should prevail over the larger number of less qualified persons. This is elitism."

"Likewise, lumping everyone into a single 'human race' would completely destroy the basis for affirmative action," he added. "In fact, elevating the less qualified on the basis of race is the very foundation of affirmative action. But our objections go even deeper than this. Is it proper to use qualifications and performance to make any decisions? The whole idea of excellence and merit puts values derived from western societies ahead of values indigenous to other cultures. Can we justify a standard that mindlessly condemns mediocrity and idleness as inferior when the ratio of effort to reward in our society reveals these strategies to be very efficient for less capable individuals?"

Patterson went on to argue that "distributing grades and university honors to all impartially, without regard to performance, effort, or ability would be more egalitarian. If we really believe in social justice this is the ideal toward which we should be working."

July 26

Left Rallies to Defense of Planned Parenthood

Video evidence that Planned Parenthood traffics in organs taken from the babies it kills has sparked a wave of revulsion across the country. This gory profiteering clashes with the organization's attempts to portray itself as a champion of women's health.

While Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and ten other Republican senators have requested that the DOJ investigate Planned Parenthood's body snatching business, leading Democrats want an investigation of the organization that released the videos to the media.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) called the videos "a reprehensible invasion of privacy" and demanded that the Center for Medical Progress (the organization that made and released the videos) be investigated. "The right-wing assault on Planned Parenthood has gone on too long," Pelosi contended. "The perpetrators of this latest atrocity need to be brought to justice."

Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill), Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif), Jerry Nadler (D-NY), and Yvette Clarke (D-NY) have written to US Attorney General Loretta Lynch asking her to open investigations into the Center for Medical Progress. "It appears that persons working for CMP misrepresented themselves to Planned Parenthood's leadership," their letter read. "Instead of being legitimate purchasers of human body parts, these CMP employees cruelly duped Doctor Mary Gatter and Doctor Deborah Nucatola into trusting them with the organization's private information."

Presidential Press Secretary Josh Earnest characterized the GOP's request for an investigation of Planned Parenthood as "a witch hunt" and scoffed at the idea the Administration would even consider questioning the government's financial support of Planned Parenthood (over $500 million in fiscal 2014). "The President has made it quite clear that, in his view, Planned Parenthood is doing God's work," Earnest said. "We shouldn't permit bleeding heart emotionalism over how the tissues of terminated fetuses are disposed of knock this great organization off course. Would the GOP really be happier if the body parts were simply thrown in the trash? After all, doesn't salvaging some revenue from selling fetal tissue reduce the amount that the government has to pay to sustain Planned Parenthood?. Shouldn't the GOP's fiscal 'hawks' be with us on this issue?"

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton warned that "we must not let squeamishness over the details of how Planned Parenthood goes about its business detract from the heroic history of this great organization and the essential services they have performed for so many years." Clinton went on to decry the covertly obtained videos as "a massive invasion of privacy—the very right which 1973's Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision sought to establish. And why shouldn't Dr. Gatter have a Lamborghini. She's worked very hard to build up the business end of the organization."

August 2

Kerry Insists that "Death to America" Is Just Rhetoric

In his continuing quest to sell Congress on what House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) labeled a "diplomatic masterpiece," Secretary of State John Kerry tried to reassure the House Foreign Affairs Committee that Iran's vow to take down the United States is "mere rhetoric for domestic consumption."

"Surely, members of Congress are aware that from time to time it is necessary to espouse policies that we have no real intention of implementing," Kerry said. "I've lost count of the number of times that various spokesmen for the GOP have pledged to repeal Obamacare or to build a border fence. Yet, neither of these promises have gone beyond mere rhetoric. Obviously, the purpose of such rhetoric is to placate their domestic supporters. I suggest we view the infamous 'death to America' slogan shouted by mobs in Iran in a similar light."

Ali Hosseini Khamenei, Supreme Leader of Iran, took issue with Kerry's "ignorant and misguided assertion. Unlike Americans, we are not impotent mouthers of vacuous platitudes. Our battle with America will not end until the evil that it represents is exterminated. The lifting of sanctions recently approved by the United Nations is an important step toward our ultimate victory."

In addition, Iran's General Hossein Salami expressed confidence that "we will strike a blow that will be more shocking and more devastating than the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. Unlike the Japanese, we will not confine ourselves to strictly military targets. Our slaughter of the most vulnerable women and children will land a crushing and demoralizing blow from which the United States cannot recover."

August 9

Obama Denounces Murder and Organ Harvesting

In the midst of a series of covertly obtained and publicly released videos of Planned Parenthood's murder of human babies and sale of their organs, President Obama has come out strongly against the practice of killing albinos and selling their organs in Africa, telling a group of African leaders "this cruel tradition has got to stop."

Meanwhile, the "cruel tradition" practiced by Planned Parenthood still escapes notice at the White House. Press Secretary Josh Earnest has explained that "the President refuses to watch the defamatory videos being peddled by the Center for Medical Progress" and "saw no contradiction between his stance on what is going on in Africa compared to what is going on in this country."

"In Africa, the tissues being harvested from albino cadavers are used in superstitious rituals," Earnest explained. "The tissues being harvested from infant cadavers at Planned Parenthood are being used for scientific research. Perhaps if we were less squeamish about this more parts could have been extracted and more research undertaken. Maybe Christopher Reeve could've been saved or Michael J. Fox's Parkinsons' symptoms eased if more fetal cadavers at more advanced stages had been available for organ harvesting."

"Unfortunately, restrictions on third-trimester and partial-birth abortions have reduced the quantity of viable organs that have been available for post mortem extraction," Earnest lamented. "Suppressing the supply of fetal tissue, as so many state legislatures have done by restricting the window of opportunity during which fetuses may be aborted, thwarts science's efforts to convert the wretched refuse of unwanted lives into medical therapies that could be used to save the lives of more worthy persons."

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) rallied to President Obama's side on this issue contending that "efforts to punish Planned Parenthood by cutting federal funding show that the GOP has lost its moral compass. They're putting the interests of unwanted potential people ahead of the interests of real people—our wives, our sisters, our daughters, our granddaughters—people who will vote to determine who will and won't retain their seats in government. The only saving grace is that these Republicans will be the instrument of their own political demise."

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif) also waded into the controversy and called efforts to defund Planned Parenthood "a vicious attack on women's health. The GOP would like to pose as a champion of the defenseless fetuses. At best, only half of these fetuses could have become women. But all of those getting abortions are women. Cutting funding to Planned Parenthood would force their customers to seek other places to perform their abortions—places whose commitment to progressive values may not be as clear and firm as Planned Parenthood's."

In related news, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) vowed that he would not allow efforts to revoke or reduce Planned Parenthood's federal subsidies to imperil the operation of the government. "Tragic as the loss of hundreds of thousands of innocent lives at the hands of this depraved organization may be, we must not permit our emotions to overrule our heads," he declared. "Tens of millions depend on government for their subsistence—both welfare recipients and federal employees. And a long list of corporations depend on government contracts to meet their payrolls and pay their investors. The greater good of this greater number has to take priority over the interests of the smaller number of potential persons terminated and dissected by Planned Parenthood."

August 16

Carson, BLM Clash on Issues

GOP presidential hopeful Dr. Ben Carson and leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement clashed following Carson's assertion that BLM is "creating strife." As Carson sees it, "Blacks have been led down a dead-end road to dependency and murder via abortion by Democrat policies."

"The message that Democrats are sending by their support for the welfare state is that Blacks can't make it on their own efforts," Carson argued. "This is ridiculous. Blacks are as capable as whites if they apply their God-given talents to the world around them."

The candidate was even more critical of Democrats' unwavering support for taxpayer financed abortions, which he called "the leading cause of death in the Black community. More Black children are killed by abortion than by gang wars or cops."

BLM co-founder Alicia Garza rejected Carson's view. "The issue isn't whether Blacks are capable of making their own way, but whether they should have to," Garza said. "For centuries white plantation owners who were capable of supporting themselves depended on the labors of Black slaves. The government benefits Blacks are now receiving are a small down payment on the reparations owed for that debt."

"And Carson's characterization of abortion as the leading cause of death for Blacks completely misses the point," Garza continued. "All the Black babies terminated by abortion free Black women from the oppression of unwanted motherhood. These are women taking charge of their reproductive processes. These are women liberating themselves from burdens they choose not to bear. For Carson to compare these acts of self-liberation to cops shooting Blacks is shameful."

Obama Vetoes Planned Parenthood Defunding

Efforts by the legislatures of Louisiana and Alabama to reduce public funds allocated to Planned Parenthood this week were vetoed by President Obama. The President dismissed arguments that videos revealing PP's participation in illegal trafficking in used baby parts warranted the states' actions.

"I learned in law school that the rule in our country is 'innocent until proven guilty,'" Obama recalled. "Attorney General Lynch hasn't deemed there is enough evidence to justify an investigation, much less a prosecution, trial, and verdict. These states' attempts to inflict punishment before the judicial process has been given a fair chance to work does not live up to our standards."

The President also ventured an opinion that "there may be nothing to this whole so-called scandal. I watch TV news every night and I don't recall seeing any of these alleged incriminating videos. Surely, these ratings-hungry media outlets would be all over this story if it were legitimate."

Obama appeared to be undaunted by the unprecedented action of a president vetoing a state law, citing his own authority as a constitutional scholar. "There is a clause in the US Constitution authorizing the federal government to do whatever is 'necessary and proper.' What could be more necessary and proper than to prevent a state legislature from penalizing an organization before it is convicted of a crime?"

David Daleiden, head of The Center for Medical Progress—the organization that released the videos, characterized the President's stance as "willful blindness dedicated to preserving a cruel and criminal enterprise" and wondered "whether the $25 million the principal officers of Planned Parenthood have donated to the Democratic Party may have played a role in shaping his response to this organization's continuing atrocities."

August 23

Planned Parenthood Threatens to Sue

Planned Parenthood's executive vice president Dawn Laguens said the organization is weighing whether to sue the Center for Medical Progress, the group behind the release of videos showing that Planned Parenthood is engaged in murdering, dismembering, and selling aborted babies.

"Since these videos were made secretly without Planned Parenthood's explicit consent they constitute an egregious invasion of privacy," Laguens maintained. "Invasion of privacy is a crime. That makes the videos the 'fruit from the poisoned tree' and inadmissible as evidence against Planned Parenthood for any alleged crimes depicted in the videos."

Laguens also contested the idea that there are any grounds for prosecuting Planned Parenthood for the acts shown in the videos. She cited a letter to Congress from Jim Esquea, Assistant Secretary for Legislation for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, asserting that "dismembering fetal tissue and selling it with or without the permission of the mother is completely legal."

Though the videos might not be admissible in any future prosecution of Planned Parenthood, Laguens contended that "they could be used as evidence in a civil suit against the Center for Medical Progress. Not only have the reputations of the well-regarded leaders of this great American institution been besmirched, but the privacy of the specimens has also been breached. Faces and naked bodies that were meant to be kept strictly private have been blandished all over the Internet. This amounts to the promulgation of child pornography—the very crime for which former Subway spokesman Jared Fogle has been convicted."

While Laguens acknowledged that "there probably isn't much money to be had in the form of court-awarded damages from the Center for Medical Progress, but making an example of them could be crucial to the financial success of Planned Parenthood going forward. On the one hand, crushing this small organization may dissuade others from pursuing similar stunts aimed at derailing Planned Parenthood's historic mission. On the other, our friends in government will be better armed to fend off attempts to cut Planned Parenthood's access to public funds if the instigators of this scandal are being sued."

In related news, Planned Parenthood has launched a series of political attack ads targeting members of Congress who voted to cut its federal funding. "Those seeking to parlay these scurrilous videos into a mechanism for advancing their anti-abortion agenda will pay a price for their sins," Laguens bragged. "We're urging voters to terminate the political careers of those pushing this war on women's reproductive rights."

August 30

Clinton Likens Planned Parenthood Critics to Terrorists

Seeking to divert attention from her admittedly unwise and likely illegal handling of classified material through her unsecured private email account, Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton sought to draw a parallel between advocates of defunding Planned Parenthood and Islamic terrorists.

"Both groups relegate women to second class status," Clinton claimed. "Both deny women the right to control their reproductive heath. Both would force women to be vessels for carrying unwanted children into the world. Both espouse out-of-date ideas about how the world should work."

GOP presidential contender Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla) characterized Clinton's claims "as twisted and malevolent an inversion of morality as we are likely to see from a purportedly sane person. Islamic terrorists are cutting off the heads of those who oppose their barbarism. Planned Parenthood is cutting off the heads of children and selling them as raw material for medical research. Lumping those who want to stop taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood's diabolical profiteering from the murder and dismemberment of innocent babies with Islamic murderers is as evil a slander as any ever perpetrated by the Nazis."

Unfazed by Rubio's counter, Clinton pointed out that "all of the babies aborted are unwanted. Planned Parenthood is merely aiding both the women who don't want them and the babies themselves to avoid a life of burdens and suffering. Defraying some of the costs of this noble endeavor by recovering and selling parts that otherwise would simply be trashed helps reduce the amount of public funds we must appropriate for the organization to carry on this vital work."

In related news, Planned Parenthood announced that a study it commissioned exonerated the organization from all charges of wrongdoing related to the videos revealing some of its chief officials discussing the sale of baby parts. "In none of these videos do we see any money changing hands," Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said. "What we see is the Center for Medical Progress getting Planned Parenthood personnel drunk and eliciting giggling boasts about some of the humorous aspects of the business. While some might find such behavior distasteful, both our attorneys and representatives from the US Attorney General's office have assured me that it is not criminal."