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Today's Commentary: Democrat IT scandal -- Still repeal -- Tax reform please -- Sam Shepard RIP -- Sheriff Joe goes to jail -- News Bits
The tale of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the Congressional Democrats’ runaway IT guy just keeps getting weirder. Pakistani-born Imran Awan was arrested by the FBI last week as he was allegedly trying to flee the US, where he’s under investigation for bank fraud. He had reportedly wired over $280,000 to Pakistan, and his wife had $12,000 cash hidden in her suitcase. He and his family had been on the Congressional payroll, taking care of multiple House Democrats’ computers, and had been paid over $4 million since 2009, a staggering sum compared to what Republicans pay for such part time contract work.
The Awans had access to Democratic Congress members’ devices and could have also accessed classified and private files, creating opportunities for espionage and extortion. Several House IT workers told the Daily Caller that they were baffled by the Democrats’ inexplicable loyalty to the Awans and suspected they were being blackmailed. Most did drop them after the criminal investigation was announced in February, but strangely enough, Rep. Wasserman Schultz not only refused to fire Awan and his wife, she seemed prepared to keep paying him even after he went to Pakistan and couldn’t possibly be performing any IT services for her. She only cut him off after he was arrested. And then there was that angry outburst at the Capitol Police, where she threatened “consequences” if her laptop wasn’t returned, presumably without anyone looking at what was on it.
House Republicans are demanding an explanation and a watchdog group called the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT) has filed an ethics complaint against Wasserman Schultz. Raising suspicions even higher, the mainstream media are desperately trying to avoid covering the story and a lawyer for the DNC accused anyone who asks questions of Islamophobia for attacking a hardworking Muslim immigrant family. They must have been awfully hardworking: Awan managed to get himself, his wife, his brother, his brother’s wife and his youngest brother all on staff at fat salaries, with the youngest, 20-year-old brother Jamal, pulling down $160,000 a year of your tax money. That’s four times the typical Congressional staff salary.
It’s not yet clear what’s going on here, but if it’s true that “where there’s smokescreen, there’s fire,” then something's burning in the House of Representatives.
By Mike Huckabee
A surprising new poll from Reuters/Ipsos found that about two-thirds of Americans want Congress to move on from Obamacare and deal with other issues, such as tax reform. But Republicans who broke their promise on that issue shouldn’t feel too safe: broken down by party, 75 of Republican voters still want them to repeal and replace Obamacare, they’re just willing to wait a little longer until they come up with a plan that will work (although not having a plan that would work didn’t stop the Democrats from passing Obamacare). But if I were them, I wouldn’t try to put it off past the next election. Otherwise, Republican voters might take the savings they get from tax reform and donate it to your primary challengers.
Tax reform please
By Mike Huckabee
After the Senate’s collapse on its promise to repeal and replace Obamacare, President Trump is pivoting to another major campaign promise: tax reform. It’s desperately-needed and long overdue. Our current corporate tax rate of 39% is the highest in the industrialized world, a whopping 17 points higher than the international average. It would also be nice to simplify the tax code, which is more confusing than watching “Game of Thrones” dubbed into Swahili. Not even the people in charge of enforcing it understand it, but they’ll send you to prison for getting it wrong. But as Newt Gingrich argues, the most important thing is cutting taxes, because that’s the key to igniting the economy, creating jobs and boosting tax revenue to reduce the debt.
Sam Shepard RIP
By Mike Huckabee
The theater community feels a deep loss today, but we who remember Sam Shepard best for his role as test pilot Chuck Yeager in the 1983 film THE RIGHT STUFF do, too.
Yeager was an almost mythical character in that film --- the first real hero of the race for space who, ironically, didn’t get to space at all. Shepard’s interpretation combined a down-to-earth, clear-eyed realism with a powerful, dreamlike aura of astounding bravery that won him a Best Supporting Actor nomination. We who wear our deep respect for the astronauts and test pilots on our sleeves remember Shepard’s portrayal fondly.
He appeared in other films but most of his work was for the Broadway and off-Broadway stage. He wrote 44 plays and won a Pulitzer Prize for one of them.
Apparently, he had been ill with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) for some time. He died at his Kentucky home at the age of 73. Over the years, we’ve seen the actual participants in the race for space pass into history as well. Sen. John Glenn was the last surviving Mercury astronaut when he died in 2016.
This would be a great time to break out THE RIGHT STUFF, celebrate the bravery of those pilots, and watch Sam Shepard in an iconic role.
Sheriff Joe goes to jail
By Mike Huckabee
Former Maricopa County, Arizona, Sheriff Joe Arpaio was found guilty of contempt of court for defying a judge’s order to stop his force’s illegal immigrant patrols. Arpaio’s lawyers claimed the directive was unclear, but he made his defense tougher by saying on camera that he didn’t have to answer to federal authorities, who under Obama refused to enforce immigration laws themselves. It created a bizarre situation where federal authorities ignored criminals while prosecuting a sheriff for enforcing laws they wouldn’t enforce. Arpaio could face six months in jail, but his lawyers filed an appeal and are demanding a jury trial. At 85, there’s a good chance he could live out the rest of his life before this case ever gets through all the levels of appeals.
In the meantime, liberals who are gleefully celebrating Arpaio’s guilty verdict might want to consider that he’s being threatened with jail for refusing to comply with federal authorities on the enforcement of immigration laws. Sound familiar? Is that really a principle that they want the government to take a hard line on? Because if Sheriff Joe ever does go to jail, he could have the mayor of some sanctuary city for a cellmate.
Al Gore may be smarter than we thought. I refer, of course, to his investment in a seaside mansion.
Kudos to President Trump for knowing exactly how to push his critics’ buttons for maximum annoyance.
During this long, hot summer, here’s a timely reminder not to leave kids or pets in a locked car. It’s not only potentially lethal for them, but one police department has made it clear that they will smash your windows first and arrest you later.
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