SEMI-NEWS: A Satire of Recent News
|SEMI-NEWS/SEMI-SATIRE: November 10, 2019 Edition
Biden Says State Dept Emails Prove Son's Value to Burisma
Democratic presidential contender former Vice-President Joe Biden glommed onto recently revealed email correspondence within the US State Department during 2016 as "proof my son's work on the Board of Directors for the Burisma company was not without value."
"A lot of critics have been making a big deal about Hunter's lack of experience in the energy business to assert that his presence on that company's Board was unwarranted," Biden recalled. "Now we see that after he got on the Board the US State Department was ready to discuss ways to assist Burisma in its efforts to rebuff the Ukrainian government's probe of its business practices. Clearly his connection to that company helped open some doors in DC. It even got so far that a deal for the State Department to co-sponsor an energy project with Burisma Holdings was hammered out. I say that makes Hunter's monthly $50,000 stipend a wise investment by Burisma."
Senators Ron Johnson (R-Wis) a Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) had a different take on this recent revelation, calling it "a textbook demonstration of influence peddling. That Burisma wanted the Obama State Department to pressure the Ukrainian government into ignoring corruption allegations against the company is perfectly understandable. For this purpose, the 'skill' of being the US Vice-President's son was highly valued and why his father was so forceful in his 2014 demand that the Ukrainian prosecutor investigating Burisma be fired."
The former Vice-President characterized the Senators' complaints as "typical Republican elitism against working class people like Hunter and myself. We weren't born into wealth like these representatives of the upper class were. We have to scratch and claw our way to the top. There was nothing wrong with my efforts to give my son a helping hand and nothing wrong with him earning a buck helping to improve the fortunes of the Burisma company in its troubles with the Ukrainian government."
In related news, Joe Biden demanded that the priest who refused him communion at a Sunday Mass last week be fired. "Who does this guy think he is?" Biden asked. "I've had discussions with the Holy Father in Rome. He agrees with me that my support for tax-funded abortions shouldn't bar me from receiving this sacrament. Any priest who's out of step with the Pope has no business calling himself a Catholic or conducting services in a church."
Schiff Defends Total Control Over Impeachment Hearings
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif) defended procedural rules that grant him absolute control over which witnesses will be called and heard, saying "the fate of the nation is in my hands. I will not jeopardize its future by allowing Republicans to derail my hearings by attempting to inject irrelevant issues, witnesses, or questions into the mix."
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif), the ranking Republican member of the committee, called Schiff's stance "a blatant violation of due process. Speaker Pelosi's contention that this procedure is fair because we are allowed to request that certain witnesses be permitted to testify is ludicrous if Schiff may reject these witnesses or the questions we might like to ask of any witnesses at his sole discretion. It is tantamount to granting a prosecutor total control to bar any defense witness or any cross-examination questions of his own witnesses. This is contrary to the fundamental principles of fairness in ascertaining the truth or lack thereof of any charges lodged against a person."
Schiff dismissed Nunes' objections as "improperly focused on the constitutional rights of the accused. The impeachment power is not bound by the normal procedures of jurisprudence. The 5th and 6th Amendments do not apply when the person charged is the President of the United States. The Constitution grants the House sole authority to determine whether the president is impeachable. All that is required is that a majority vote for impeachment. That majority has voted to give me unconstrained latitude in how I conduct the process. I will not be deterred by the whining of the minority."
"Whistleblower" Lawyer Claims Coup Is Constitutional Right
It turns out that Mark Zaid, the attorney representing the purported "whistleblower" that launched this latest round of allegations against President Trump for his phone call to the Ukrainian president in July, sent out a Tweet in January of 2017 proclaiming "the coup has started" and "impeachment hearings next up."
The most reasonable interpretation of this statement leads to a conclusion that Zaid and others were part of an effort to oust President Trump from office before Trump even had an opportunity to commit a high crime or misdemeanor and that, consequently, the impeachment currently underway is not based on any evidence of wrongdoing. Nevertheless, Zaid strongly asserted that "the right of the governed to engage in a coup to depose a sitting president is a constitutionally protected right. I call your attention to the 9th and 10th Amendments where it states that rights not expressly mentioned in the Constitution are retained by the people. Those of us trying to save the country from the depredations of Donald Trump are people using this retained right."
"We are freedom fighters and must not be constrained by stodgy notions of due process," Zaid argued. "We can't have our hands tied by legalistic ideals while a tyrant's rampage goes unresisted. Trump's unfitness to rule was recognized by every true patriot long before he won the 2016 election. Heroes like Comey, Brennan, myself, and others deserve the support of the masses as we struggle against the usurper who was able to fool enough voters so he could steal the presidency from its rightful heir—Secretary Hillary Clinton."
Judge Rules Against Conscientious Objectors to Abortion
President Trump's restoration of an Executive Order from the Bush Administration that allowed individuals to refuse to participate in performing abortions was voided by Manhattan U.S. District Judge Paul Engelmayer this week. In his 147-page decision, the Judge found that "there is no legal foundation for a person to refuse to obey a state law mandating participation in an abortion procedure. If a state requires a licensed medical practitioner to perform an abortion or to assist in its performance there is no 'right of conscience' escape clause."
Engelmayer rejected assertions that a patient in the 26 states that have laws barring any conscientious objections to abortion have access to thousands of licensed medical practitioners who willingly perform the procedure as "contrary to the law's demand that every patient has the right to require any qualified practitioner to perform the procedure. Why should a patient be inconvenienced in any way in her pursuit of the inalienable right to abort her unwanted child? Saying she should have to make the effort to find a willing doctor is the sort of 'cruel and unusual punishment' prohibited by the 8th Amendment."
The Judge's decision was extended to apply to all states, not just the 26 states party to the case. "While these states have differing laws that permit 'conscience rights' these rights stand in opposition to the kind of universal standard sought by the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision and codified by President Obama's 2009 Executive Order requiring all licensed medical personnel everywhere to use their skills to assist any woman seeking an abortion anywhere in the United States."
University Terrorized by Hateful Flyers
Students and faculty at Western Connecticut State University were sent into a state of shock and terror when anonymous flyers saying "it's okay to be white" were found posted in various locations around the campus. University President John Clark has called for an investigation by the Danbury police, CT State Police, and the FBI, saying "this attack on our university community is the type of terrorist instigation that requires eternal vigilance."
Clark rejected suggestions that he might be exaggerating the perceived threat, contending that "Hitler also started out small. He and a handful of fellow Nazis were initially scoffed at, but later built a tyranny that plunged the world into a war that took 50 million lives. We must make every effort to ensure that those responsible for this hateful message are caught and properly punished. I am fully committed to the absolutely necessary goal this does not happen again."
Meanwhile, the campus chapter of Black Lives Matter is planning to counter the threat by posting flyers saying "it's not OK to be white"--an effort that Clark hailed as "an admirable demonstration of constructive independent action against bigotry."
Va Gov Vows Gun Controls
Buoyed by Democrats winning majorities in both houses of the state legislature, Gov. Ralph Northam promised to "immediately get to work on serious gun control legislation now that Republican obstructionists have been ousted by the voters."
A top priority target is removing so-called assault rifles from private hands. "If you listen carefully to the 2nd Amendment lobbyists' arguments about these weapons it's clear that their intent is to arm citizens who might object to government policies," Northam observed. "They're not arguing for the rights of hunters or sportsmen. They're saying that the people ought to be armed as a guard against an oppressive government. Well, the election of a fully Democratic government disposes of this argument. Democrats are the guardians of the people's rights. They have no need for weapons that might be used to interfere with our governance."
In related news, in the People's Republic of Venezuela, government "death squads" have killed over 800 opponents of the ruling regime. An example of a typical operation earlier this year saw Luis Ariza be pulled from his home and summarily executed in the street. In 2017, Ariza was arrested at an anti-Maduro protest. There is no right for private citizens to bear arms in Venezuela.
Clinton Critiques Warren Health Plan
Former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton took aim at current presidential candidate Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren's proposed method of financing free health care for all.
"The goal is the right goal, but I don't think taxing the hell out of the rich is the way to go," Clinton said. "We've already seen Bill Gates threaten to vote for Donald Trump if we try to tax him too much. I don't think he's an outlier. The rich are major donors to the Democratic Party. We need to find other sources of the funds needed."
"From my own experience, it seems to me that extracting money from foreign sources would provide a more politically viable option," she continued. "When I was Secretary of State the Clinton Foundation was able to secure tens of millions in donations after I approved the sale of 25% of a major US supplier of uranium to a Russian owned company. I think we can look for similar opportunities during the next Democratic Administration. Bill also received humongous fees for giving speeches in foreign countries. I think we can revive this source of income given the right circumstances."
Bloomberg Makes Offer to Dem Candidates
Citing what he termed "an absence of viable candidates" in the field of Democrats running for president, former New York City Mayor, billionaire Michael Bloomberg, has announced plans to become the nation's next president.
"I have $52 billion dollars," Bloomberg pointed out. "I could easily crush any of those currently running for the office. Rather than futilely waste efforts trying to beat me, I advise my fellow Democrats to unite with me in a unified anti-Trump front. I can guarantee every one of them a key position in my administration. Whether their passion is taxing the rich, controlling what people eat, how rapidly they breathe, where they live, who they marry—whatever—there will be plenty of power to share. All prior limitations will be swept aside. The archaic freedoms bestowed by the Founding Fathers are no longer practical in today's world. All of my cabinet members will have their own mini-fiefdoms to rule."
"So, what do you say?" he asked. "Rule with me or get run over by me—the choice is yours."