SEMI-NEWS: A Satire of Recent News
John SemmensMore About: Humor
SEMI-NEWS/SEMI-SATIRE: March 19, 2023 Edition
Youth Accountability and Safety Act
Maryland Delegate Charlotte Crutchfield (D-Montgomery) has introduced the Youth Accountability and Safety Act (HB1180). This bill would lessen the penalty for murders committed by persons below the age of 26 as long as the killing takes place during the commission of a rape or carjacking.
Crutchfield explained that "persons under the age of 26 aren't mentally mature enough to know the difference between right and wrong. Consequently, a distressing number of them commit murders that ruin their lives. I want these youngsters to have a chance to rehabilitate themselves. They can't do that if they're executed or sent to prison for life."
Asked why only rapists or carjackers should get reduced punishment, she said "it was necessary to compromise to try to get more votes for my bill. True progressives would simply declare 26 the new age for being treated as an adult in criminal cases. Rapes and carjackings are instances in which the victims might be accidentally killed if threats aren't sufficient to gain their cooperation. This lack of cooperation makes the victims partially responsible for their own demise."
Reparations Unanimously Approved
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a measure granting every black resident $5 million in reparations for the slavery and discrimination suffered by blacks living within the current boundaries of the United States since 1619.
Eric McDonnell, chair of San Francisco's African American Reparations Advisory Committee, admitted that "we made no effort to estimate the actual damages to any specific persons or their descendants at the hands of any specific white racists who caused the harm. That task is too daunting. A simpler formula that will be used. To be eligible for the $5 million a person must be at least 18 years old, have identified as Black or African American on public documents for at least 10 years, been born in San Francisco, have proof of residency for at least 13 years, or be a direct descendant of someone incarcerated for drug-related crimes. Liable for paying the $5 million to each beneficiary will be everyone who is not eligible for receiving the benefit."
Stanford University's Hoover Institution estimated the proposal would require families in the city to pay at least $600,000 to cover the cost of reparations awarded. Many may find it difficult to find the funds needed to pay their fair share of the estimated $250 billion needed. Supervisor Rafael Mandelman suggested that "those who own homes could take out a second mortgage or sell their homes to some of the 50,000 new multi-millionaires created by the reparations we just approved. Others without substantial assets could sign multi-generation-family indentured services contracts with individual beneficiaries to work off their share of what is owed."
Irresponsible Bank Policy
Banking is an inherently risky business. It's assets are mostly long term--loans, mortgages, and bonds. It's liabilities are mostly short term--checking and savings deposits. This timing imbalance relies on the faith of its depositors that the bank is sound. This faith can be shaken by the unwise or unlucky decisions made in how the bank invests the money entrusted to it.
This past week, the Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) suffered a loss of faith. Instead of investing $73 million of its deposits in income earning assets, it gave this money away to Black Lives Matter-related social justice groups. It made a major investment in the interest rate spread between short-term deposits paying fractions of a percent and long-term bonds paying 3%. When the Federal Reserve began raising interest rates the value of these long-term bonds decreased. More sophisticated depositors started withdrawing their money. The bank ran out of liquid funds to honor any more withdrawals and filed for bankruptcy.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) only insures deposits of up to $250,000 per person. Accounts with larger balances faced significant losses. However, one of the more insightful uses of the bank's funds was to donate to politicians in a position to grant them potentially unlimited funds. These politicians included: President Joe Biden, Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Rep. Josh Harder (D-CA), and Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY). These donations paid off when Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen announced that "all SVB depositors will be made whole regardless of the FDIC insurance limit."
Yellen went on to declare that "other banks should not count on a similar bailout. SVG is a key player in the green economy that the President has made the central focus of his economic policy. As an embodiment of the environmental, social and governance (ESG) orientation this country is moving toward, SVB cannot be allowed to fail."
She went on to further justify this discriminatory treatment by citing "the precedent established during the pandemic when small nonessential businesses had to be sacrificed to fight the spread of the virus. Luckily, the big firms were able to meet all the consumers' needs. Our economy was able to survive without the 'mom and pop' firms then. It will be able to survive without the small fry local banks now. Eventually, there will probably be only one government owned and operated bank for all depositors."
In related news, Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Az), Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del), and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn) all called for government to censor comments related to SVB and other banks with shaky financial stability, saying "the government has the responsibility and right to avert panic. One of the steps it might have to take is seizing bank deposits to ensure that essential government programs will continue to be funded in the event that Congress refuses to appropriate the needed money. We must not allow an excessive respect for freedom of speech or private property to impede whatever actions may become necessary to protect our national security."
Opposition to Ukraine War Denounced
This week, both Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla) andformer President Trump challenged the wisdom of President Biden's determination to give money and weapons to Ukraine "for as long as it takes" to win the war against Russia. DeSantis questioned whether continuing the war served important US interests. Trump called for an immediate ceasefire and a negotiated settlement.
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn) wondered "whether DeSantis' and Trump's support for Putin and opposition to Ukraine is part of a broader lack of enthusiasm for democracy and self-governance. The claim that because President Zelensky is ruling in an autocratic fashion his is not a democratic government doesn't persuade me. President Biden has been forced to undertake many autocratic actions in order to defend our democracy against usurpation by Republicans like Trump and DeSantis. Does this mean he is not a democrat?"
Senator Chris Coons (D-Del) asserted that "in a time of war I find it very disconcerting that we've got some significant voices in the Republican Party suggesting that this isn't a national security interest when tens of thousands of Russians have violated Ukraine's borders in disrespect of that nation's sovereignty. If we don't help Ukraine now it won't be long before we'll be invaded by foreigners."
Vice President Kamala Harris argued "if Trump and DeSantis really understood the issues, they probably would not make statements like that. As vice-president to the most effective president in our lifetime, I have a front row seat to observe his mendacious competence on an almost daily basis. If he says we must continue this war I don't see how it can be patriotic to oppose it."
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla) called DeSantis "out-of-bounds. He's only a governor. Governors don't have any experience with foreign policy like we senators have. Foreign policy is about nuance. The Senate is where nuance can be endlessly debated without being forced to resolve anything. Governors are expected to produce results. DeSantis should do that rather than meddle where he lacks the necessary expertise."
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) contended that "it's long past the time we should've sent troops, ships, and aircraft to finish off the inept Russian Army. We have only to kick in the door and the whole rotten structure will come crashing down. That's what President Reagan would be doing if he were in office now."
CDC & FDA Reject Idea that Covid Vaccines Are Unsafe
In a letter to Dr. Rochelle Walensky of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Dr. Robert Califf of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Florida's Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo presented evidence from the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) showing that the covid vaccines appear to have led to a 1700% surge in harm following a 400% increase in the number of vaccinations. "We have never seen this type of response following previous mass vaccination efforts pushed by the federal government," Ladapo wrote. "These findings are unlikely to be related to changes in reporting given their magnitude. They more likely reflect a pattern of increased risk from mRNA COVID-19 vaccines. We need unbiased research to better understand these vaccines' short- and long-term effects."
In their response to Dr. Ladapo, Walensky and Califf insisted that "reports of life-threatening conditions reported from Florida and elsewhere are misleading. We stand by our recommendation that all people aged 6 months and older receive a primary series of the COVID-19 vaccine and boosters at a frequency no less than annually." They went on to chastise Ladapo for Florida's "severe under vaccinated status with only 29% of seniors being up-to-date compared to the national average of 41%."
Meanwhile in Germany, Federal Minister of Health, Karl Lauterbach, also issued a warning regarding the harm caused by covid vaccines, pointing out that "the evidence indicates that these shots induced injuries that were severe, life-altering, and permanent. Since the manufacturers of these vaccines have been granted full immunity for the damage they have done, those injured by their products have no legal recourse. Perhaps the companies that made billions selling their products to the government will take pity on their victims and help pay for some of the medical bills of their victims."
In related news, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-Mich) admitted "some of the pandemic restrictions we imposed didn't make a lot of sense. In hindsight, forbidding people to buy garden supplies for growing their own fruits and vegetables seems silly. But at the time we thought growing your own food was not necessary to sustain or protect life when food could still be bought at a big box store. Still, given the choice between letting people decide for themselves and having us decide for everyone. I think we ensured an equality and unity that could not have been achieved if too much individual freedom had been allowed."
Contrasting Views on Transgender Surgeries
This week, President Biden and Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla) sparred over the issue of transgender surgery for children. Claiming the moral high ground, the President asserted that "it is sinful to deny a child the right to switch genders. Parents who object are child-abusers. It is the government's moral obligation to step in and protect these children by providing public funding for the drugs and surgery needed to liberate these children from the horrors of being trapped in the wrong type of body."
DeSantis countered by asserting that "it is not 'sinful' to prohibit the mutilation of minors. It is not acceptable for the federal government to be able to mandate that procedures like sex change operations be performed on children without their parents consent. The American College of Pediatricians has identified the side effects of puberty blockers as osteoporosis, mood disorders, seizures, cognitive impairment, and sterility. Potential long-term impacts of cross-sex hormones include an increased risk of heart attacks, stroke, diabetes, blood clots and cancers. It is the notion that individuals too young to fully evaluate the risks will receive superior guidance from LGBTQ activists and government bureaucrats than from their own loving parents that is sinful."
He went on to bolster his case by providing images of mutilated bodies after skin and tissue are removed from girls' forearms to create a fake, flaccid penis that doesn't function and the lifelong scars left after removing girls' healthy breast tissue.
Presidential Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said "the President considers the pictures of mutilated bodies to be child pornography and has asked Attorney General Merrick Garland to open a criminal investigation of Mr. DeSantis."
Dr. Susan Bradley, a gender clinic founder and former professor at the University of Toronto, now says that she regrets "helping kids transition to a different gender. Puberty blockers are not reversible and have long term negative effects on kids' growth and development, including making them sterile. Likewise, surgeries usually result in grotesque imitations of the intended new gender. Most gender-confused kids will grow out of their gender dysphoria by the time they are adults. If they don't, that would be the proper time for them to decide whether the extreme measures required are worth it."