Bush Endorses Universal Surveillance
In a bid to position himself as the "Big Brother" candidate in juxtaposition to what he characterized as the "Angry Uncle" candidacy of Donald Trump, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush called for an end to "private encryption of any and every kind."
"When private individuals encrypt their communications it makes it difficult, if not impossible, for government authorities to carry out their jobs," Bush complained. The source of the problem, according to Bush, is the resistance of communications companies to the idea of providing a covert "back door" by which government officials can discretely access an individual's phone and email without having to go through the cumbersome process of obtaining a warrant.
The former governor dismissed fears that the government itself might misuse such access as "fanciful. The government's only interest is to protect the people from evildoers. The idea that government might use access to everyone's data to oppress its own people is ludicrous. We live in a democracy. Democracies don't oppress people."
Bush went on to claim that "people who aren't doing anything wrong have nothing to fear from government eavesdropping. Only those engaged in communications aimed at subverting legitimate government authority, slandering public officials, uttering hate speech toward protected groups, or other questionable activities would be targeted for enforcement actions."
While admitting that the "back door" he is demanding be open for government access might also be used by hackers to pilfer an individual's identity, Bush insisted that "it's worth the risk. It's time that we draw a 'line-in-the-sand' between the good guys and the bad guys. It will be every person's responsibility to decide which side of that line they want to be on—either they're with the government or against it. Selfishly trying to protect yourself from criminals at the expense of denying the government full access puts you on the wrong side of that line."
Iranian President Lashes out at Those Who Slander Islam
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani denounced "those who would use the murders committed by ISIS, Hamas, and kindred terrorist organizations to contradict the truth that Islam is a religion of peace" and called upon all true Muslims "to rise up and slay the defamers."
Rouhani rejected the contention that his own endorsement of the "death to America" slogan might fuel the perception that Islam might not be a religion of peace. "America is the prime opponent of world peace," Rouhani argued. "Crushing the infidel enemy of peace is the only sure path to the universal peace that will prevail when all the world is united under the one true faith."
"The bombings, the beheadings, and the rapes will stop once the advocates of erroneous doctrines are permanently silenced," Rouhani promised. "Peaceful submission to the will of Allah is a path open to every person of every race. Violence is only meted out to those who resist this peaceful path."
In related news, Secretary of State John Kerry tried to downplay the disclosure that under a secret side agreement of the deal he negotiated with Iran, Iran will have the right to choose who will and won't be allowed to inspect suspected nuclear weapons development sites by pointing out "its cost-saving impact. By using local Iranians as the inspectors we save travel expenses that would be incurred by outsiders who would have to fly in from some other country."
In a related cost-saving measure, it has been revealed that the Veterans' Administration has been shredding rather than reading letters from vets. Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson cited "the substantial reduction in hours of work and the associated costs avoided are key factors in staying within the budgetary limits imposed on the agency by Congress."
Planned Parenthood Threats 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."
Islamic State Charges US with War Crime
The Islamic State announced it is filing war crime charges against the United States with the International Court of Justice at The Hague in the Netherlands. The complaint alleges that the growing number of IS fighters coming down with AIDS are "victims of germ warfare originating from the nefarious labs of the American Government." IS doesn't deny that the infections resulted from their troops' rape of captured women, but alleges that "the taint of AIDS is the responsibility of the United States. Raping captured women has been a right exercised by Muslim warriors for over a thousand years. The introduction of this new and deadly pathogen exploits Muslim tradition and constitutes a criminal violation of the rules of war."
The potential impact on the Islamic State's ability to survive is deemed substantial. "Participation in this 'spoil of war' is nearly universal," said IS lawyer Weir Sqru'ud. "It's likely only a matter of time before the infection reaches pandemic levels. Our ability to defend the Caliphate is severely compromised."
On behalf of the Islamic State, Squ'ud is asking for the Court "to order an end to US bombing of IS targets" and for "an award of damages in amounts sufficient for the recruitment of replacement troops from among Muslim populations around the world."
Without accepting blame, the Obama Administration agreed to send Secretary of State John Kerry to meet with IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi or his designee to try to negotiate a settlement. "It's a question of trying to come to some sort of reasonable compromise," Kerry said. "Winning just because the enemy gets sick strikes me as a particularly dishonorable way to conclude our country's interaction with ISIL. Finding a mutually agreeable means of leveling the playing field is, in my view, an attainable goal for our negotiations."
Clinton Camp Deflects Email Scandal
The Hillary Clinton for President campaign is seeking to deflect criticism of the candidate's handling of her email account while Secretary of State by casting her as "a passive and unwitting naif" rather than a deliberate liar and lawbreaker.
"As anyone who has had to deal with government regulations knows, the rules are opaque and difficult to understand," said Brian Fallon, a spokesman for Mrs. Clinton's campaign. "Who hasn't had nightmares trying to cope with IRS forms? What business hasn't run afoul of incoherent EPA guidelines? It shouldn't take much imagination for voters to comprehend the problems that confronted Hillary when she was appointed Secretary of State. How was she expected to know what was and wasn't classified? We're confident that the vast majority of voters will see her mishandling of secret material as an innocent mistake."
Fallon further contended that "using a private server may have actually improved security. Can there be any doubt that foreign spies are constantly attempting to break into government communications? Just last week, current Secretary of State John Kerry conceded that China and Russia are probably reading the emails he sends and receives on his government provided server. By breaking the rules and conducting her communications through a server housed in a bathroom closet in Colorado, Secretary Clinton may have done a better job of keeping her emails confidential than her successor has by following the rules."
In support of Mrs. Clinton's innocence, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif) suggested that "the confidential material found in Secretary Clinton's emails may have been planted there by her political enemies. To-date, no one has conclusively proved that she was even aware of these emails. I suggest that we quiz her on the content to find out if she has even read them. If she doesn't know what's in these emails I think that would be pretty persuasive evidence that she neither wrote nor read any of them."
In contrast, Representative John Yarmuth (D-Ken) was unimpressed by the effort to portray Clinton as an ignorant victim of complicated and confusing regulations, saying "if she was too naive to cope with State Department rules maybe she is too naive to be president. I mean, I have sympathy for the struggles of a person out of her depth, but can we really afford to put an innocent dupe in charge of our government?"