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SEMI-NEWS: A Satire of Recent News

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SEMI-NEWS: A Satire of Recent News, January 19, 2014 Edition

DOJ Refuses to Press Charges for IRS Abuses

After investigating the IRS's discriminatory treatment of the President's political opponents, Barbara Bosserman, a lawyer in the Department of Justice’s civil rights division, has determined that “no charges will be filed.”

It is clear that the individuals involved were working under a 'good faith' assumption that their actions were in concert with the President's wishes,” Bosserman said. “No civil servant should have to face criminal charges for faithfully carrying out government policy. To do otherwise would unleash a cascade of hesitancy and second-guessing throughout the ranks of the bureaucracy. Discipline would be undermined if each employee had to wonder whether what he was doing is legal instead of just following orders.”

Bosserman characterized the complaints lodged against the IRS as “a political dispute. If the critics of the policy of greater scrutiny toward so-called Tea Party and patriotic political organizations have a beef it is with the President, not his minions. The remedy for a Presidential abuse of power under our Constitution is impeachment. Rather than harassing the President's underlings they should be following the steps prescribed in this document they say they venerate.”

House oversight committee chairman Representative Darrell Issa (R-Calif) professed “profound disappointment in Ms. Bosserman's sham investigation. The Administration is basically stonewalling any inquiry. They are confident that even if the House took action on this impeachable abuse of power the Democrats in the Senate would ensure that the President suffers no consequences. The Constitution's mechanisms against tyranny are ineffective when a sufficient number of those entrusted with them acquiesce in the abuses.”

In related news, the just passed “omnibus bill” contains language that explicitly authorizes the IRS to deny tax-exempt status to “political” groups like the Tea Party under 501(c)(4) rules while simultaneously exempting “non-political” groups like unions under 501(c)(5) rules. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) justified the distinction contending that “the Tea Party's sole purpose is to question the policies of the government. This is clearly prohibited political advocacy. Unions, on the other hand, work to support the policies of the government. This is clearly protected educational and patriotic activity.”

Missouri Governor Vetoes Income Tax Cut in Favor of Tax Break for Corporation

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon (D) vetoed a personal income tax cut that would have returned $700 million to small taxpayers over a 10 year period. Subsequently, he engineered a special legislative session that enacted $1.7 billion in tax breaks over a 23 year period for the Boeing Corporation.

Nixon defended the seemingly contradictory moves by maintaining that “not all tax breaks are created equal. The income tax cut that I vetoed would've dispersed small amounts to millions of taxpayers. There was every probability that these taxpayers would've frivolously spent the few dollars they got back. There would've been no measurable impact that we could've taken credit for.”

In contrast, the Boeing deal had the advantage of concentrating the benefits all in one place,” Nixon went on. “There will be jobs at a Boeing plant that wouldn't have existed without this tax break. Voters will see this plant and remember who made it possible. Likewise, there is every probability that executives at Boeing will plow some of their profits back into reelecting the people who helped make them possible. It's a win-win deal.”

Pennsylvania Judge Invalidates State's Voter ID Law

Commonwealth Court Judge Bernard McGinley voided Pennsylvania's statute requiring that voters show a photo ID at the polls before they can obtain a ballot. As the judge sees it “forcing a person to show ID places an unreasonable burden on the right to vote.

McGinley dismissed comparisons with the ID requirements people must meet to buy liquor or cash a check, as “misapplied and confused. Transactions in the commercial sector are privileges extended by private parties. Voting is a fundamental human right that may not be limited in any way.”

The Judge pooh-poohed contentions that IDs may be needed to prevent fraudulent voting. “The attempt to segregate voters into valid vs. fraudulent categories strikes at the very heart of our democratic values,” McGinley asserted. “Every human being is entitled to vote for those who rule over him. To exclude some on grounds that they fail to meet some geographic criterion or bureaucratic regulation is undemocratic.”

The rule for voting should be simple: everyone who requests a ballot must be given one,” McGinley argued. “The fear that some individuals mat vote multiple times is exaggerated. Even if it were true, all it signifies is an above average concern for the outcome of an election. Aren't such committed voters more in tune with the spirit of democracy? Shouldn't we want such commitment to carry greater weight than the lesser exertions of others who limit themselves to voting only once?”

Mcginley pointed out that “major league sports and American Idol have demonstrated successful adaptation of the 'no-questions-asked' distribution of ballots to all who request them. They accept votes from all over the world without quibbling over citizenship or place of residence. Since the scope of government is even broader than these entertainment enterprises shouldn't its election processes be at least as inclusive?”

Communism Best for Fighting Global Warming

United Nations climate chief Christiana Figueres opined that communist governments would be better suited to combat global warming than governments trying to operate under democratic principles.

The problem with democracy is that the ignorant masses have too much say in government policies,” Figueres complained. “Take the last 15 years in which there has been no increase in global temperature or the recent arctic type weather in the United States. This has caused many voters to discount the risk of global warming. Under communism, the will of the masses can easily be bypassed so policy can be determined by experts.”

The fact that China suffers from horrendous air pollution only bolstered Figueres enthusiasm for the communist system. “The particulate smog that chokes many of China's urban areas serves to deflect sunlight that otherwise would warm the planet,” she pointed out. “This trade-off of greater respiratory distress for cooler temperatures would likely not be attainable in a democratic political environment. The difficulty breathing is a palpable phenomenon that distorts the average person's judgment. Only a government that is independent of this distorted judgment can keep its focus on the longer term problem of global warming.”

Another positive cited by Figueres was the huge death toll attributed to communist regimes. “Just consider the added contribution the 90 million people killed by communist massacres, purges, and slave labor camps would have made to global warming had they lived,” Figueres observed. “Only communist governments can be counted on to make these kinds of sacrifices for the greater good of the planet.”

Poll Indicates that Government Is Top Problem

A recent Gallup poll revealed that the number one problem facing America, according to those polled, is “the government.” Twenty-one percent listed this as the worst problem facing the nation. Rounding out the top five problems were the economy (18%), unemployment (16%), healthcare (16%), and government debt (8%).

These poll results were dramatically out-of-sync with President Obama's declaration that “income inequality” is this nation's chief problem. Only 4% of the poll respondents agreed with his assessment.

As one poll respondent explained, “my work hours have been cut and my health insurance canceled. My wife has been unemployed for three years. We voted for Obama hoping he'd get us out of the Bush recession. As he promised, the government is doing more than ever, but things have just gotten worse.”

President Obama, though, denied government is to blame. “The vast majority of economic activity—manufacturing, distribution, jobs—is the responsibility of the private sector,” Obama said. “People pretty much get to do what they want. If they expect government to solve problems they've got to be willing to go where the government tells them and do as they're told. Without this type of cooperation it isn't fair that we are held accountable for people's dissatisfaction with their lives.”

In related news, for the first time since the index of economic freedom has been kept by Heritage Foundation, the United States dropped out of the top ten. The US now ranks 12th, behind an array of countries that includes Chile, Mauritius, and the formerly Soviet Socialist Republic of Estonia.

Federal Government Wastes $100 Billion per Year on Erroneous Payments

The Office of Management and Budget reported that in fiscal 2012 the federal government improperly spent over $100 billion. Without delving into the issue of whether given programs are wise or warranted, the fact remains that the government is cutting checks to individuals and organizations that are not entitled to the money even under the dubious provisions of poorly crafted legislation and idiotic regulations.

Spending by the Department of Health and Human Services accounted for nearly $60 billion of the improper payments. This included welfare payments to those not entitled to receive them and disbursements for medical treatments not performed.

Secretary Kathleen Sebelius insisted that “the attention being paid to this issue is disproportionate to its actual importance. In the context of a $3.5 trillion budget, the $60 billion we lost is less than 2%. On top of this, who is to say that a person not legally entitled to welfare benefits doesn't really deserve these payments? Maybe our criteria are too strict. Maybe these 'improper payments' are saving people from destitution.”

When you're running an operation as big as the federal government you've got to expect some money to fall through the cracks,” Sebelius said. “I take encouragement from the fact that 98% of the money is going to where it is legally intended.”