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Politics

Bill That Would Result in Death of Majority of Americans Falls Three Votes Short in Senate

Washington – The Senate today effectively killed the so-called “Breathing is a Privilege” bill, originally put forward by House Republicans and passed by the House of Representatives earlier this week. The bill was defeated in a 52-48 vote, with Democrat Ben Nelson of Nebraska bucking his party to vote in its favor.

The bill would have disallowed every American except the top two percent of earners from seeking access to oxygen. National Guard troops would have been tasked with seizing all available oxygen from around the country and storing it in locked, sealed containers. Armed guards would stand watch at each supply center.

Any American declared ineligible, and not in possession of an Oxygen Access card, would have been denied oxygen, beginning on February 8, 2012.

Experts said that if the bill had managed to pass, the country’s borders would have needed to be sealed off, so that a mass exodus did not occur once people realized they would run out of oxygen, and attempted to go elsewhere to get some.

President Obama faced criticism in the run-up to the Senate vote for not saying conclusively whether or not he would veto the bill, were it to come across his desk. He is no longer faced with such a dilemma.

In remarks on the Senate floor, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said, in supporting passage of the bill, “This bill is admittedly strong and unyielding, but it is necessary. No longer can we live in the welfare state of America, where anyone can receive oxygen, just because they wish to breathe. There have to be limits.”

But some Senate Democrats saw the bill differently. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he could not support the bill, though part of him agreed with its necessity.

“Although I see the logic behind this bill, and the thinking that went into its drafting,” Reid said, “I must draw the line at letting the majority of Americans die, due to lack of available oxygen. I urge my fellow Senators to vote no on this motion, if no other reason than most people in their constituencies will die if it passes.”

Following the vote, Reid admitted the vote was “closer than he would have liked,” but refused to discuss Sen. Nelson’s possible reasons for crossing the aisle. “I respect Senator Nelson very much, but of course, I’m very concerned with the current climate, yes,” Reid said. “Very concerned. Especially with things like the ‘Extermination of the Poverty-Stricken’ bill, which is coming up for a vote next month. I think that has a real shot at passage.”

Republicans, for their part, were celebrating.

“Look, three votes is awfully close, ” said Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC), a supporter of the bill. “And it’s one more than we thought we could count on. So, obviously we’re doing something right, and we have to keep doing it. We almost got this one through, and this kills almost everyone. So I’m optimistic about our chances in the future.”

Categories
National

Hackers Break into Congressional Computer System, Balance Budget

Washington – An unidentified group of hackers broke into computers used by members of the United States Congress and their staffs, and while in the system managed to balance the federal budget, according to several FBI agents and other law enforcement officials.

No one has yet taken responsibility for the attack, which resulted in what many economists are hailing as a “sensible, balanced budget,” with no other apparent damage to government computers or data.

If adopted, the budget could put an end to a bitter fight over whether or not the United States should raise the so-called “debt ceiling,” in addition to solving several other thorny budgetary and fiscal issues.

“This is a strange hack, because it looks like all they wanted to do was get in there and balance the budget,” said an FBI agent, who agreed to speak on condition of anonymity because the case is still under investigation. “There was no malicious software put on any of the computers, no information was apparently stolen — just a balanced budget left on the screens of all the congressional computers for everyone to see when they got into work today.”

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Politics

Democrats Promise Not to Make Noise While Republicans Are Working

Washington – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said today that Democrats in the Senate will do their best from now on not to “make any noise or otherwise disturb hardworking Senate Republicans.” The pledge comes after several Senate Republicans complained about Democrats voicing opinions and otherwise making noise on the Senate floor.

“Today we, as a group of Democrats in the Senate, but also as a party in general, vow to learn that there’s a time and a place to make noise,” Reid said to reporters at the Capitol. He read from a prepared statement, and was surrounded by Charles E. Schumer of New York, and other prominent Senate Democrats. “And the Senate floor is not one of those places, and a Senate session is not one of those times. I know I myself have spoken in an audible voice on the Senate floor, sometimes even in opposition to a bill Senate Republicans were proposing. I can see the folly of my ways now, and I promise to never again obstruct the hard work of these patriotic American senators.”

Republicans responded favorably to the news of Reid’s promise. “I’m pleased with Senator Reid’s announcement,” said Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Senate minority leader. “I think it shows that these Democrats have finally come to their senses and finally learned that the Senate floor is not a place where they can go running around willy-nilly, stomping and throwing little tantrums and making all kinds of noise. There’s work being done. Adult work. And they need to let that work happen in an orderly, civilized, and most importantly, quiet fashion. And then when we’re done working, we’ll let them know how things were decided so they can go vote for or against whatever it is we’ve determined they should vote for or against.”

However, it appears not all Democrats have gotten Reid’s message. Senators Chris Dodd of Connecticut and Russ Feingold of Wisconsin have both vowed to do whatever they can to oppose the passage of the upcoming FISA bill.

Asked about these renegade Democrats, McConnell said, “Well, sometimes you just have to give them a timeout. You don’t like to do it, but sometimes it’s the only way. They may cry a little, they may say they hate you, but the next time, they don’t make the same mistake again. Next time they’re nice and quiet.”

Categories
National

New FISA Bill Grants Cheney Unlimited Use of Your Cell Phone

Washington – Senate lawmakers today passed a bill to update the FISA law, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978. The bill contains an unusual amendment which grants Vice President Cheney unlimited use of every U.S. citizen’s cell phone. It also grants retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies, and allows the National Security Agency to listen in on Americans’ phone calls whenever there is a human being on either end of the call. The bill was sponsored by Sens. Kit Bond (R-MO) and Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), and passed by a vote of 68-29.

Asked about the bill’s odd amendment relating to Cheney, Rockefeller said, “Well, we needed to come up with a bill that the president would actually sign. And he’s given every indication, and so has the White House, that the only way he would sign it is if it contained the amendment that Cheney is granted access to every person’s cell phone. So we put it in. What can we do? I mean, look, he’s already listening anyway, you may as well just hand the guy the phone. What’s the big deal?”

Before the bill gets to President Bush, however, it will likely face opposition in the House of Representatives. Several Democrats have said they will do everything they can to block its passage, and some have threatened to filibuster. But Senate Majority leader Harry Reid says he hopes it doesn’t come to that. “I certainly hope they don’t filibuster,” Reid said. “I mean, the Republicans, they don’t like it when we make trouble. If we just go quietly along with what they say, they’re so much nicer to us. I love it when they’re like that. They joke around with me, treat me like a buddy. Slap my back and say hello. It’s so nice.”

President Bush said the bill’s passage is urgently needed to protect the nation from another terrorist attack. Speaking to reporters at the White House, Mr. Bush said, “This bill is vital for the protection of the people of this country. It contains provisions that allow us to do the things necessary to keep this country safe. And that includes the Vice President having access to your cell phone, if necessary. He will use that access to make sure you’re not calling an Al Qaeda member or some other radical terrorist or extremist. He may call some of the numbers, to make sure the person listed in your ‘contacts’ is actually the person they’re supposed to be, and not some impostor – some terrorist impostor intending to harm our great nation. And then, once he’s through, which shouldn’t be longer than a few days to a week at most, he’ll give the phone back. And don’t be surprised if all your information is erased, for example. Just know that whatever was done, it was done in the interest of our national security. Consider yourself a patriot. You’re a patriot, and your phone is a patriot, too. It gave of itself for our country. It gave that data. And that is the essence of patriotism. So, be proud of that phone. That little guy may have just saved your life. Tell it how thankful you are. Buy it a new case. Something soft and furry, that will keep it warm. You owe it that much.”

Categories
World

New DOJ Memo Gives Bush Authority to Torture Harry Reid

Washington – A legal memo written by Steven Bradbury, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice, appears to grant President Bush authority to torture Senate majority leader Harry Reid in several ways. The methods of torture can include, but are not limited to, “waterboarding, hitting with metal chairs, smacking, and hanging the naked subject upside down by his toes while insulting the size of his genitalia.”