John Semmens

SEMI-NEWS: A Satire of Recent News

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SEMI-NEWS/SEMI-SATIRE: September 3, 2017 Edition

Wasserman-Schultz Henchman Asks for More Travel Latitude

Former House of Representatives IT aide Imran Awan petitioned a federal court asking that the GPS ankle bracelet he was ordered to wear as part of his non-incarceration confinement while awaiting trial on a series of charges against him be removed. His attorney Chris Gowen, a former close aide to Hillary and Bill Clinton, told the court that the bracelet's 50-mile radius from Awan's home restriction "unfairly blocks him from performing necessary parenting duties." Awan's children are currently in Pakistan with their mother, who is also wanted on criminal charges related to her participation in her husband's activities.

Gowen also cited the 50-mile radius restriction as "a major impediment to Mr. Awan's ability to provide for his children. While he has been awaiting trial he has been forced to drive for Uber to earn money to send to Pakistan for the care of his children. The 50-mile limit hampers his job-performance and income from this employment."

Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fla) called the non-incarceration conditions imposed on Awan "cruel and unusual. Keeping a father from his children's side violates his human rights. Tethering him to DC is totally unnecessary. Mr. Awan had the foresight to wire hundreds of thousands of dollars to Pakistan. This would be more than sufficient to care for his children if he could only go to Pakistan to get his hands on it. And we've kept his email access to classified documents intact. He could continue his important work for the Democratic members of congress while he is over there."

Prosecutor Michael Mirando opposed the petition on the grounds that "he is already freer than he should be considering he was arrested attempting to flee arrest for the charges against him, one of which is bank fraud. His attorney's argument that Mr. Awan bought a round-trip ticket when he was caught fleeing the country is not an adequate assurance that he will return to face the charges against him if he is released from GPS monitoring."

Susan Hendricks, a spokesperson for Uber, cast doubt on Awan's contention that he has been driving for the company. "There is no record of an Imran Awan or either of the two other aliases he is purported to have used as one of our drivers," she said.

Gowen dismissed Hendricks' claim, calling it "irrelevant. A man in Mr. Awan's profession has need of many aliases in order to conceal his activities. Obviously, Uber is unaware of his current preferred fabricated identity. He should not be penalized for their ignorance."

Evidence of Comey Perjury & Obstruction Emerges

Evidence that former FBI Director James Comey's testimony to a congressional committee may have been false and that his role in the investigation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's improper handling of classified emails might be better described as obstruction of justice emerged this week.

Based on testimony from one of Comey's former staff members to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Subcommittee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) wrote a letter to the FBI requesting more information. "When Director Comey was before our committee he portrayed his decision to not pursue charges against Secretary Clinton as a difficult one following an implied serious investigation," Grassley recalled. "Now, we have testimony indicating that the Director had actually decided to let her off months before his July announcement, before interviewing more than a dozen key witnesses, and before interviewing Mrs. Clinton herself. Putting the verdict ahead of the acquisition of key evidence is not the way to pursue justice. These earlier actions and Mr. Comey's lying about it before our committee look like obstruction of justice."

Charlton Cozener, a spokesman for Comey, characterized the Senators' objections as "largely petty and technical in nature. If we adhere to the letter of the law a case could be made that Director Comey deviated from standard procedures. However, there is still a 'bigger picture' that needs to be considered. A standard investigation could have unduly influenced the 2016 presidential election. Rather than pursue the smaller issue of whether Secretary Clinton may have violated some obscure and complex laws, the Director chose to focus on the bigger issue of allowing voters to select the next president without the confounding and distracting attention caused by seeing one of the candidates as the subject of a criminal probe."

Cozener also depicted the Grassley/Graham letter as "an underhanded attempt to preemptively air details that may or may not be revealed in the Director's forthcoming blockbuster 'tell all' book. Trying to force these details out now via a congressional inquiry robs Mr. Comey of the royalties he would otherwise reap from the sales of his book. I mean, if people are made aware of this information prior to the book's publication why would they buy the book? Such vindictive behavior is unbecoming of these senators."

Meanwhile, the FBI has declined to turnover data related to the Agency's investigation of Clinton's emails in response to a Freedom of Information request, "because of our concern for public safety." Agency spokesman Phillip Buster explained that "investigations of the Clintons invariably take a toll on the witnesses. For reasons no one can adequately grasp, a distressing number of these people die before they can give their testimony. So, for their sake, we feel it would be better if we didn't pursue the issue any further."

"Besides," he added, "at the FBI we feel Mrs. Clinton has already suffered enough for any infractions she may have committed. Now is the time that the country should be healing. Stirring up animosity against Mrs. Clinton is the wrong thing to do if we want this healing to take place."

In related news, the long-suffering former Secretary of State is now on a book tour where she is pulling down as much as $3,000 a pop for a front row seat at her appearances, a signed copy of her book "What Happened"--a fact-free retelling of the 2016 campaign history, and a photo with the former presidential candidate.

Palestinian Leader Vows to Continue Paying Terrorists

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas rebuffed requests from Trump Administration envoy Jared Kushner that his government stop using the foreign aid money the US has been sending him to pay bounties to terrorists for killing Jews.

"The agreement we negotiated with President Obama attached no conditions on how we can use this money," Abbas said. "It is an insult that Mr. Trump would send his Jew son-in-law to try to renege on this prior arrangement. As Muslims, it is our religious obligation to kill the Jews and retake the land they stole from Allah. The demand that we cease fulfilling this obligation seeks to obstruct our religious freedom in contravention to the United States' own constitutional guarantee of this freedom."

The US Congress has repeatedly threatened to discontinue foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority if the bounties paid for killing Jews aren't stopped, but hasn't been able to clear the 60-vote threshold in the Senate. "We wish the Democrats would stop filibustering our efforts to end the flow of US taxpayer dollars being used to finance attacks on Israelis, but we must respect the long-standing procedural rules of this great deliberative body," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ken) lamented.

AntiFa Movement Provokes Diverse Responses

The horde of black-clad and masked thugs that calls itself AntiFa has created a dilemma for the Democratic Party. On the one hand, the group's professed opposition to fascism is in line with typical Democratic Party rhetoric. On the other hand, their violent methods ironically mirror the methods used by Nazi Party goons in the streets of Germany in the years preceding Hitler's appointment as Chancellor in 1933.

After a number of violent incidents in his city, Berkeley mayor Jesse Arreguin has argued that AntiFa be classified as a criminal gang and be prosecuted under the statutes applicable to the classification. "I think we should classify them as a gang," said Arreguin. "They come dressed in uniforms. They have weapons, almost like a militia and I think we need to think about that in terms of our law enforcement approach."

Arreguin aired his frustration with the group's tactics saying "it's so unnecessary. We can, and have, achieved the shared goal of silencing anti-progressive voices in our city. There is no need to resort to the kind of violence that discredits our fight for social justice."

True to his word, Arreguin has called for the University of California Berkeley to cancel "Free Speech Week," an event planned for late September in which a small conservative campus group called Berkeley Patriot is inviting controversial speakers that the Mayor contends "is an overt incitement to violence."

So-called civil rights lawyer Dan Siegel defended AntiFa violence, contending that "the Trump supporters wanted to get beat up," and praised the inaction of the Berkeley Police Department that "allowed the social justice warriors to jump the barricades and crack the heads of these bigoted neanderthals."

Fellow Democrat Rep. Nancy Pelosi (Calif), who had previously harshly criticized President Trump for asserting that violence from any side in a public dispute is unwarranted, expressed her disapproval of the AntiFa violence in Berkeley, calling it "a violation of the constitutional right to peaceful dissent and free speech."

The House Minority Leader's condemnation of AntiFa violence put her to the right of former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney who saw "a moral distinction between the KKK beating people up for racist reasons and AntiFa beating people up for anti-racist reasons. I know from the innocent victim's standpoint that getting hit with a baseball bat hurts no matter who is wielding it, but if the intentions are honorable it's acceptable collateral damage in the battle against fascism."

Virginia's Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe refused to single out any one source of violence, insisting that "violence from any side is unacceptable." Apprised of the observation that his statement essentially duplicated the stance taken by President Trump the week before, the Governor lamely asserted that "the situation is very fluid. Words that may have been offensive at a point in time or because of who said them can be very appropriate at a different point in time coming from a different person's mouth."

In related news, actress Jessica Chastain was forced to publicly apologize to her progressive friends and fans for her tweet suggesting that non-violent protest should be preferred over street violence as a means of making one's opinions on political issues known.

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