FROM THE ARTICLE:
"Imran Awan was arrested at Dulles International Airport July 24, while attempting to board a flight to Pakistan. For more than a decade the congressional staffer had worked under top House Democrats, and he had just been accused by the FBI of bank fraud.
It was a dramatic moment in a saga that started in February, when Capitol Police confirmed an investigation into Mr. Awan and his family on separate accusations of government theft. The details are tantalizing: The family all worked for top Democrats, were paid huge sums, and had access to sensitive congressional data, even while having ties to Pakistan.
The media largely has ignored the affair, the ho-hum coverage summed up by a New York Times piece suggesting it may be nothing more than an “overblown Washington story, typical of midsummer.” But even without evidence of espionage or blackmail, this ought to be an enormous scandal.
Because based on what we already know, the Awan story is—at the very least—a tale of massive government incompetence that seemingly allowed a family of accused swindlers to bilk federal taxpayers out of millions and even put national secrets at risk. In a more accountable world, House Democrats would be forced to step down.
Mr. Awan, 37, began working for House Democrats as an IT staffer in 2004. By the next year, he was working for future Democratic National Committee head Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Over time he would add his wife, two brothers, a brother’s wife and a friend to the payroll—and at handsome sums. One brother, Jamal, hired in 2014 reportedly at age 20, was paid $160,000. That’s in line with what a chief of staff makes—about four times the average Capitol Hill staffer. No Democrat appears to have investigated these huge numbers or been asked to account for them.
According to an analysis by the Daily Caller’s Luke Rosiak, who has owned this story, the family has collected $5 million since 2003 and “appeared at one time or another on an estimated 80 House Democrats’ payrolls.” Yet Mr. Rosiak interviewed House staffers who claim most of the family were “ghost” employees and didn’t come to work. Only in government does nobody notice when staffers fail to show up.
The family was plenty busy elsewhere. A litany of court documents accuse them of bankruptcy fraud, life-insurance fraud, tax fraud and extortion. Abid Awan, a brother, ran up more than $1 million in debts on a failed car dealership he somehow operated while supposedly working full time on the Hill. One document ties the family to a loan from a man stripped of his Maryland medical license after false billing. Capitol Police are investigating allegations of procurement fraud and theft. The brothers filed false financial-disclosure forms, with Imran Awan claiming his wife had no income, even as she worked as a fellow House IT staffer.
"Yes, it is weird that Ms. Wasserman Schultz continued to shield Imran Awan to the end. Yes, the amounts of money, and the ties to Pakistan, are strange. Yes, it is alarming that emails show Imran Awan knew Ms. Wasserman Schultz’s iPad password, and that the family might have had wider access to the accounts of lawmakers on the House Intelligence and Foreign Affairs committees."
- READ MORE:
if we in the U.S. were sincere about our claim that we want "democracy for all"... we WOULD ENGAGE IN DIPLOMACY ... not only with NK, but with all the countries in the region... We would seek to find out the reasons for the extreme hunger I've read about in NK...and even though the current NK regime seems very unreasonable, perhaps SOME common ground could be found... BUT our national priority is always threats of war, secret war and simply WAR.
FROM THE ARTICLE:
"News from the Christian Broadcasting Network that members of President Trump’s Cabinet are attending Bible study sessions together didn’t come as such a shock in Washington.
The shock was who is teaching them.
That teacher, Pastor Ralph Drollinger, is well known to some members in the California congressional delegation. He is the evangelical spiritual leader who once counseled a group of Sacramento lawmakers that female politicians with young children have no business serving in the Legislature. In fact, he called them sinners.
Drollinger also declared that Roman Catholicism “is one of the primary false religions in the world” — precipitating his Bible study group’s move out of a suite of offices controlled by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Catholic."
THIS IS WHO IS INFLUENCING TRUMP'S CABINET:
FROM THE ARTICLE:
"Donald Trump and Mike Pence have hand-picked a group of hardcore evangelicals to participate in a Trump Cabinet Bible Study group.
While it doesn’t appear that Trump himself attends the meetings, several other cabinet members do, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, and Agriculture Secretary Sunny Perdue.
The Trump Cabinet Bible Study is run by Ralph Drollinger, head of Capitol Ministries, which sets up conservative bible studies like this at all levels of government. Drollinger openly boasts about his influence on Jeff Sessions:
He’ll go out the same day I teach him something and I’ll see him do it on camera and I just think, ‘Wow, these guys are faithful, available and teachable and they’re at Bible study every week they’re in town.’
If Sessions feels an affinity for Drollinger’s views, it’s not difficult to see why. Drollinger believes that God wants us to have rigidly enforced borders while scaremongering about the threat of what he calls “illegals,” a position that nicely dovetails with Sessions’ vicious anti-immigrant stance. Indeed, Drollinger has bragged about influencing Sessions on that very issue.
The remainder of Drollinger’s religious views are also unorthodox: He thinks the Bible is very much in favor of private property rights and is sure that Christ hates social safety net programs — because only God should create a safety net. He doesn’t believe that women with young children should hold elected office. It surprises no one that he doesn’t believe in global warming, in large part because he believes that God has promised to control the weather and sustain the world’s ecosystem.
And, as far as Bible study groups go, Drollinger condemns anyone who participates in a Bible study that is inclusive of many faiths.
It’s also no real stretch to assume that Drollinger’s entirely predictable anti-LGBTQ views are shared by much of Trump’s cabinet, particularly as we watch Trump himself ban transgender people from serving in the military and the DOJ file a court brief opposing protection for gay and lesbian workers.
Dollinger is not elected. He’s not even appointed. He’s just a man with with a very narrow view of the way the world should be, but with the ear of the people closest to the president — which makes him very dangerous indeed." READ MORE:
HERE IT IS. IF YOU CAN'T FIGURE OUT WHY THE U.S. IS UNDERGOING A "NAZIFICATION," TRY TO FIND OUT *W*H*O* IS BEHIND IT *H*O*W* IT WORKS:
FROM THE ARTICLE:
"At two town halls late last month, New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand promised to reconsider her co-sponsorship of Senate Bill 720, the Anti-Israel Boycott Act, after a number of her constituents raised free speech concerns, to rousing applause, seemingly without dissent.
At the time, Gillibrand was one of 45 co-sponsors in the Senate and 234 in the House. Since the bill was sponsored by the Israel lobby group AIPAC, it was not surprising that, despite its attack on First Amendment rights, it would receive huge support before it was widely publicized, based solely on its AIPAC pedigree. Gillibrand herself agreed with my characterization that AIPAC was a lobby with a “stranglehold” on Congress (when I approached her after a town hall).
So despite her explicit commitment to take another look at the bill, and her expressed concerns about the government of Israel and its Prime Minister’s failure to have a vision for peace, it was reasonable to question whether the junior senator from New York would ultimately find the wherewithal to resist that stranglehold.
Well, lo and behold, this past Monday, Gillibrand withdrew her co-sponsorship of the bill. According to the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, this is the first time since its founding in 2001 that a Member of Congress has taken his or her name off an AIPAC-sponsored bill.
It did not take long for AIPAC, recognizing the historic nature of Gillibrand’s challenge, to begin to mobilize its troops against her. Here is yesterday’s email from one Brian Tregerman, AIPAC’s Director for Westchester and Riverdale, New York:
From: Brian Tregerman [REDACTED]
Date: Wed, Aug 2, 2017 at 3:56 PM
Subject: URGENT: We need your help with Senator Gillibrand
We need your help. New York’s junior Senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, has withdrawn her co-sponsorship of the Israel Anti-Boycott Act (S.720), sending a powerful message to her constituents that she no longer supports the fight to combat the international delegitimization of Israel. Please call Senator Gillibrand’s office today at (202) 224-4451, and remind her how crucial this bill is in combating the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement and reaffirming Congressional support for Israel.
Script: “I am calling to urge Senator Gillibrand to add her name back as a cosponsor for the Israel Anti-Boycott Act, and reaffirm her commitment to fighting the international delegitimization of our ally, Israel.”
Below are talking points (see attached for more extensive points):
The Israel Anti-Boycott Act (S.720) would expand existing U.S. anti-boycott laws to international governmental organizations like the United Nations and the European Union.
Congress and the Executive branch have long combatted such attacks on our ally, Israel, including legislation enacted in the 1970s which prohibits U.S. companies from complying with unsanctioned foreign boycotts imposed by foreign governments. The new bill would also prohibit compliance with boycotts imposed by international government organizations.
Nothing in this bill restricts constitutionally-protected free speech or limits in any way criticism of Israel or its policies, and U.S. courts have repeatedly upheld the constitutionality of this law.
This bill is designed only to combat foreign boycotts and other harmful actions against our ally, Israel. It purposely does not seek to specify “outcomes” of a negotiated peace agreement, including the disposition of Israeli settlements.
Senator Gillibrand needs to know that her constituents are disappointed in her withdrawal of support, and are deeply committed to reminding her how important this bill is in reaffirming Congressional support for Israel. Every call truly matters.
Thank you, as always, for your activism.
Director, Westchester and Riverdale
AIPAC • American Israel Public Affairs Committee"
FROM THE ARTICLE:
"The treatment meted out to Omar Khadr by the Americans, with Canada’s complicity, is nothing short of disgraceful. And while the settlement is applauded by right-minded persons, Canada is in no position to boast about “doing the right thing” and claiming the moral high ground vis-a-vis America.
Governments under Liberal and Conservative prime ministers were enthusiastic supporters of the invasion of Afghanistan, never once questioning its legitimacy while aiding in the ongoing abuse of Omar Khadr, a born Canadian and child soldier. The corporate media were in lockstep with official Canada while the opposition New [socialist] Democrats fiddled, croaked about putting Canadian soldiers in harm’s way, and worried about the quality of their arms and equipment.
But for the Canadian courts, which consistently ruled without bias and with clear thinking, a segment of Canadians who called a spade by its right name, and Denis Edney, the Scotland-born, Canadian lawyer who defended Omar Khadr with a passion and decency seen mostly in the world of fiction, our country’s main institutions failed Omar Khadr and couldn’t muster a moral argument.
Even Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in defense of his decision to issue an apology to Khadr said in a nutshell that he had no choice; the court forced his hand."- READ MORE:
FROM THE ARTICLE:
"Amid reports that he is being considered by President Donald Trump to replace Gen. H.R. McMaster as national security adviser, John Bolton wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday outlining "military options for North Korea," which were immediately characterized as "dangerous" and "utter lunacy."
"John Bolton has been writing about bombing other countries for at least two decades."
—Arash Karami, Al-Monitor
Bolton begins by arguing that recent ballistic missile tests by North Korea indicate that sanctions and diplomatic initiatives are destined to fail. In their place, Bolton puts forth several options, which include a preemptive strike on "Pyongyang's known nuclear facilities" and a series of airstrikes followed by ground troops. The U.S. could also "wait until a missile is poised for launch toward America, and then destroy it," an approach Bolton concedes comes "at the cost of increased risk."
Bolton also takes aim at Iran, a nation he says poses a threat "nearly as imminent" as North Korea."- READ MORE: