John Semmens

SEMI-NEWS: A Satire of Recent News

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SEMI-NEWS/SEMI-SATIRE: May 26, 2019 Edition

Dems Rail Against Barr Investigation

President Trump's decision to give Attorney General William Barr a free hand in determining which documents related to the intelligence community's covert operation to take down the Trump Administration can be opened to public inspection has led to major consternation among Democratic Party luminaries.

Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif) called the move to inform the general public "a cover-up and un-American. Secrecy is essential if our guardians are to keep us safe from the type of threat the election of Trump posed for our country. Granted, mistakes may have been made, but they were all in the pursuit of patriotic motives. That Trump would rip the masks off of these patriots is just one more piece of evidence demanding his impeachment."

"I know that Trump apologists will argue that the federal intelligence community has no business trying to rig an election or to desperately try to reverse a horrific error made at the ballot box," Schiff said. "But the fate of the country is more important than whether any one candidate is treated fairly or not. Sen. Sanders realized that and yielded to wiser heads who had determined that Sec. Clinton should be the Democratic Party's presidential nominee in 2016. For that he deserves the respect and thanks of every right-thinking American. That Trump veered from this sterling example proves his unfitness for holding public office."

As an example of the type of covert action that must be kept secret, Schiff lamented the revelation that "the attempt to entrap Papadopoulos by getting him to accept a $10,000 bribe that he refused to take is something that must never be exposed to scrutiny. This is the sort of standard method that has to be protected from prying eyes if it is to retain its utility going forward. Trump's willingness to compromise our covert operations capacity in order to save himself and his cronies from what he has characterized as a 'hoax' and 'witch hunt' is treason."

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), the chairman of the House intelligence committee, expressed his outrage over the idea that "anybody in the intelligence community did anything wrong. If we have learned anything from recent history it is that the government's intelligence officers are the heroes that protect us all. To be effective they must be permitted to work behind the scenes. Drawing attention to them subverts their ability to do their job. I fear that Barr's inquiry will drive them to have to use more extreme measures to carry out their duties."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) tried to adopt a more sympathetic sounding objection to this investigation of the investigators when she suggested that "Trump is suffering from a mental breakdown" and urged "his family and Administration staff to stage an intervention to relieve him of the pressures that have driven him mad. When I was at the White House the other day a member of his staff tried to talk to me. This display of disrespect—you know, I'm third in line to be president, I don't talk to lesser beings—shows that his mind cannot grasp the narrative that the rest of us perceive. He is a clear threat to everything we all hold dear. I pray he gets help before he harms himself or someone else."

In related news, Ann Ravel, former Federal Election Commission chair and current Democratic candidate for a seat in the California Senate, contends that "the First Amendment is responsible for more violent hate crime than terrorism" and demanded that "government authorities step up efforts to mute the dissemination of dangerous ideas. When people abuse freedom of speech to assail the government's actions to control the population and ensure obedient behavior they've gone too far. Speech needs to stay within reasonable boundaries and government must adopt whatever measures are necessary to see that it does."

Bureaucrats Object to Move & Downsizing

The Trump Administration's plan to move two sections of the Department of Agriculture out of DC met with strenuous objections from the American Federation of Government Employees. Union spokesman Peter Winch complained that "they've already reduced full-time employees from the peak of 300 under the Obama Administration to 209. Forcing these lucky survivors to move to offices closer to the agricultural communities they serve adds insult to injury."

"In this day of rapid electronic communication there's no need for government employees to be located near the people they're regulating," Winch said. "Directives can be sent from Washington to any spot on the planet in seconds. Second, we question whether it is wise to convey a message implying that regulators should be on site before they issue orders. This implies a greater importance for listening than is warranted. The Department makes the rules. It is the obligation of farmers to comply. The traditional placement of employees in DC where they have more access to congress and can enjoy the morale boost that comes with being perceived as part of the governing class is a valuable psychological benefit that should not be denied to our members."

Secretary Sonny Perdue called the union's position "the exact opposite of what it should be. They posture as 'public servants' and laud their status as superior to people working in the for-profit sector of the economy. Well, in the for-profit sector meeting the customers' needs is crucial to the survival and success of a business. By sending employees of the Economic Research Service (ERS) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to live and work closer to those the Department serves we will be moving a little bit closer to the private sector model that has, frankly, enriched the lives of billions of people around the world."

Judge Denies Trump's Right to Privacy

In Manhattan federal court, District Judge Edgardo Ramos dismissed Trump's lawyers' objection to breaching his privacy and ordered Douche Bank and Capital One to turn over his records to two House of Representatives committees.

Douglas Letter, general counsel for the House of Representatives, praised the decision, calling it "integral to proving that Trump colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 election. Admittedly, the Mueller investigation failed to find any evidence that Trump colluded with Russia, but that effort was rushed, under-manned and under-funded. That's why we must take over and ensure that no stone is left unturned in pursuit of our objective."

Judge Ramos used a "greater good" argument to justify "exceeding the 'probable cause' requirement that normally would have precluded this invasion of privacy. If we were talking about an ordinary criminal defendant there would not have been sufficient predicate for the action we are ordering. However, we are talking about the most powerful individual on Earth with access to the full resources of the federal government. The privacy of such a person must be secondary to the public good. Whether Congress once in possession of Trump's banking records uses this information for the public good cannot be guaranteed, but trampling the constitutional rights of one man is a small price to pay if there is any chance that Congress will do the right thing. It is the collective benefit that takes precedence over any private benefit."

In related news, the New York State Legislature has passed and Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has signed a bill of attainder against President Trump. The new law retains the restriction on releasing confidential tax records of every other taxpayer except Trump. Cuomo says he is confident that this move is legal "because the US Constitution only bars Congress from passing a bill of attainder. Passing such a bill is a right reserved to the states under the Tenth Amendment."

Hint of Possible Democrat "Dream Ticket"

A convergence of policy ideas between two of the 23 Democratic presidential candidates has progressives giddy over what some are calling a "dream ticket" pairing that could revive the flagging fortunes of two contenders mired in low single digits in the polls.

One of these candidates is Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (NY) who unveiled a proposal that would require insurance companies to provide fertility treatments. She explained her idea would "usher in full reproductive freedom rights for everyone. As it now stands, persons who cannot conceive are blocked from enjoying the right to abortion. It is fundamentally unfair that those who aren't fertile should be denied access to this right. If I am elected I will immediately order those who can afford to purchase health insurance to include fertility treatments in the package of benefits. For those who can't afford to buy their own coverage I will extend medicaid to cover this benefit."

Meanwhile, Sen. Cory Booker (NJ) promises voters that if he's elected he will establish "a special White House office to promote abortion on 'day one' of my Administration. When it comes to public policy, I always ask myself: 'what would Spartacus have done.' Clearly, he would have wanted to free every woman from the slavery of child birth and child rearing. Today, many women are denied their right to abortion. Conflicting messages in the media create uncertainty as to whether she should or shouldn't get an abortion. My White House office will alleviate uncertainty by using a president's access to the media to broadcast an unmixed message of a woman's unalienable right to terminate her pregnancy at any time before she takes the baby home from the hospital."

Planned Parenthood spokesperson Adora Slaughter called for a merging of these two candidates' highly compatible policy platforms into a 'dream ticket' that will bring this issue to the forefront of the 2020 campaign. Their ideas break new ground and fills a gap in conventional views on the issue. They unshackle our thinking from the old 'safe and rare' trope that more aged candidates like Clinton and Biden have used in the past. With Booker at around 3% and Gillibrand at less than 1% in the polls maybe a Booker/Gillibrand ticket can help elevate both of them and increase the odds of abortion remaining an unconstrained right for the foreseeable future."

Candidate Denounces "Gilded Age"

Presidential contender Sen. Amy Klobuchar D-Minn) gave a dire prediction that "Trump's economic policies are pushing this country into a new gilded age where citizens' lust for prosperity and wealth undermines their willingness to support progressive values. Left unchecked, it won't be long before everyone has a good job, a nice home, plenty to eat, and the cash for the extras that make life more fun. There will be no more oppressed classes, no need to organize for social justice, the end of welfare as we know it, and no reason to ever vote for Democrats."

Klobuchar's pessimism was bolstered by the disappointingly sparse audience attending her speech. "I would've thought there were more than 125 people at Dartmouth who should hear my message," the Senator complained. "It's as if almost everyone has forgotten the inspiring leadership of President Obama's call to sacrifice for the common good. We need to pull away from the materialistic propaganda pushed by Trump and the Republicans. Comfort is overrated. Toiling shoulder-to-shoulder without hope of personal reward is what brings people together into one collective whole. The 2020 election may be our last chance to preserve this dream for how humanity can save itself from selfishness by electing me."

Meanwhile, in her own bid to stymie the evil effects of prosperity, rival Democratic presidential contender Sen. Kamala Harris (Calif) promised to make union membership mandatory for holding a job. She is particularly peeved that "some states have allowed their inhabitants to decline joining a union, yet still be able to keep their jobs. They say everyone should have a right to associate or not at their own choosing. I say this is selfish. Society has the right to require that people be organized for the common good regardless of whether they like it or not."

"Stupid Nationalists" Lambasted

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker took to the airwaves ahead of scheduled parliamentary elections to lay into "stupid nationalists" who object to the European Union's open borders policies and centralization of power.

"These populist, nationalists, stupid nationalists, they are in love with their own countries when they should be showing a greater appreciation of what we're doing for them," he said. "This is a revolting repeat of the same attitudes that resisted the unification of Europe achieved by the Germans in the early 1940s. Why must every little pipsqueak country insist on going its own way? It's not as if their peculiar national cultures have any real lasting virtues worthy of perpetuating."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel seconded Juncker's remarks. "If we had been able to sustain the accomplishments of our earlier effort just imagine how much better things would be on this continent," she mused. "The petty bickering of untermenschen like Orban would never have arisen. There would be order and discipline that would have been the envy of the world. Well, we weren't able to sustain that progress, but we're at another juncture where we face a similar decision on whether to build a bigger and better state or to lapse back into the primitive forms of organization that our political opponents demand. I am hopeful that voters will make the right choice."

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