The United States is not taking actions in the Persian Gulf to prepare for military operations, but to “deter Iran from making a grave miscalculation and to retaliate should (Iran ) miscalculate in a dramatic fashion,” Sen. Tom Cotton argued Tuesday.
“There can be no doubt that we’ve seen serious, credible and increased reporting of Iran across the Middle East,” the Arkansas senator and veteran of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, told Fox News’ “Outnumbered Overtime.” The actions include Iran’s own forces such as the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or proxy action Iran supports in places like Iran or Iraq, he added.
“The steps the military has taken on the recommendation of the Department of Defense, moving aircraft carriers to the Persian Gulf or B-52 bombers into the region are steps not to take action against Iran, but to deter military action by Iran,” said Cotton.
There are many historical precedents to include against Iran, Cotton continued, as the Middle East nation has been waging a “low-level war” against the United States for 40 years.
“In 1987 and 1988 during the Iran-Iraq war President (Ronald) Reagan reflagged tankers,” said Cotton. “The United States Navy destroyed the Iranian vessels and systems Iran was using to attack the tankers.”
Now, Iran has an outlaw regime and a hijacked nation-state over the last 10 years, and have gained in power and strength, said Cotton, particularly with the 2015 nuclear deal that returned billions of dollars in cash to the nation, along with economic sanctions relief that “allows them to run wild across the Middle East.”
Rep. Mark Green, before an afternoon meeting to detail intelligence the White House has on Iran, said he agrees that Iran is and has continued to be, a serious threat and he hopes “level heads” will also see it that way.
“I am appalled that our former president cut a deal with these guys after a U.S. court found that they were guilty of killing Americans with IEDs in the Iraq War,” the Tennessee Republican told Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom.” “These guys have been probably one of the clearest enemies America has had in a long time. Even their constitution, the document that found the Islamic state there, says the purpose of Iran is to force Islam on the rest of the world. They are an enemy and I doubt that the president would put out there is credible evidence if it wasn’t credible.”
He further commented that he agrees with former CIA station chief Daniel Hoffman, who noted that the Trump administration was clear from the start about what was wrong with the Iran nuclear deal reached under President Barack Obama. This included that the deal had sunset clauses and no consideration of Iran’s intercontinental ballistic missiles and Iranian aggression, and Hoffman said those items must be addressed to bring Iran to the negotiating table.
“I’m in agreement and add inspections,” said Green. “The original deal, basically we could warn them that we were coming and they had 30 days to prepare for inspections. I agree with everything he said and add inspections.”
Green added that Trump and his administration must clearly show Congress what the threats are with Iran, including those against American forces in the region, but still, he predicted Democrats will not agree there is a threat.
The Senate on Tuesday unanimously voted to pass a bill that reverses a tax increase in the 2017 GOP tax law involving military survivor benefits that go to children, The Hill reports.
The tax law included a so-called “kiddie tax” on unearned income by children, intended to keep wealthy parents from avoiding tax on their wealth by passing it onto their children. Prior to the law, children’s unearned income was taxed at the same rate as their parents’, but now it’s taxed at the same rate that trusts are taxed.
This also had the effect of raising taxes on benefits that go to the children of deceased members of the military. The bill passed on Tuesday changes this, so that military survivor benefits are treated as earned income when it comes to the “kiddie tax.”
“This bipartisan legislation is one step closer to helping those who lost a father or mother serving in the military to protect our freedom,” said Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., who sponsored the bill.
Virginia Democratic Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner added that they’re “glad” the matter has been dealt with by the Senate, and that hopefully the House “will take action swiftly to ensure that Gold Star families aren’t hit with a tax hike.”
In an ironic twist, President Donald Trump’s lawyers appealed a lower court decision ordering that his financial records be released to the House Oversight Committee to the Washington, D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, headed by Merrick Garland, the New York Post reported Tuesday.
Garland was nominated in 2016 by President Barack Obama to replace deceased Justice Antonin Scalia, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell outraged Democrats by refusing to even schedule a meeting of the Judiciary Committee to consider his nomination.
Following his election victory, Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch to replace Scalia, and the Republican-controlled Senate confirmed him.
People had a field day on Twitter pointing out the irony and speculating about the revenge Garland could dish out.
However, Democratic speechwriter Zev Karlin-Neumann said in a tweet Garland is above such pettiness, writing “I wish I could say revenge is a dish best served cold, but Merrick Garland is a consummate legal professional who I’m sure will do everything possible to avoid the appearance of any bias. Which, you know, would have been a great reason to have him on the Supreme Court.”
In any case, Garland might not even be a judge to rule on the case.
He is just one of 17 judges who sit on the appellate court, and cases are assigned to a three-judge panel, according to the Post.
Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., who chairs the House Financial Services Committee, blasted Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson and claimed his “department is actively causing harm,” Politico is reporting.
Her comments came Tuesday during Carson’s appearance before Waters’ panel.
Waters cited her concerns over Carson’s plan to reduce rental assistance, his department’s delays in disaster aid to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico, and a proposal to block undocumented immigrants from subsidized housing.
Carson, asked about the proposal to ban undocumented immigrants from subsidized housing, replied: “We are following the law.”
Waters called it a “cruel proposal.”
But, according to The Washington Post, he defended the plan and he said: “It’s not that we’re cruel, mean-hearted. It’s that we are logical. This is common sense. You take care of your own first.”
Politico noted Carson had released his rent proposal last year. It would have increased the rent paid by some aid recipients from $50 to $150.
“The rent proposal is to start a discussion . . . because we have so many perverse incentives in place,” he told her.
But Waters charged it was an “outrageous plan.”
Rachel Prager, 34, poses with a sign against new restrictions on abortion passed by legislatures in eight states including Alabama and Georgia, in New York, U.S., May 21, 2019. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
May 21, 2019
By Amanda Becker
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Hundreds of abortion-rights campaigners, including Democrats seeking their party’s 2020 presidential nomination, rallied in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday to protest new restrictions on abortion passed by Republican-dominated legislatures in eight states.
Many of the restrictions are intended to draw legal challenges, which religious conservatives hope will lead the nation’s top court to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that established a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy.
“We are not going to allow them to move our country backward,” U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, one of the two dozen Democrats running for president, told the crowd through a megaphone.
The rally is one of scores scheduled for Tuesday around the country by the American Civil Liberties Union, NARAL Pro-Choice America, Planned Parenthood Action Fund and other abortion rights group. The protests are a response to laws passed recently by Republican state legislatures that amount to the tightest restrictions on abortion seen in the United States in decades.
Alabama passed an outright ban last week, including for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest, unless the woman’s life is in danger, while other states, including Ohio and Georgia, have banned abortions absent a medical emergency after six weeks of pregnancy or after the fetus’s heartbeat can be detected, which can occur before a woman even realizes she is pregnant.
Protesters outside the Supreme Court waved signs saying “We won’t be punished” and “Protect Safe, Legal Abortion” and were joined by Pete Buttigieg, the South Bend, Indiana, mayor who also is vying for the 2020 nomination.
“My entire campaign is about freedom,” he said in a brief interview.
U.S. Representative Ayanna Pressley also was a featured speaker, telling the crowd: “This nation was built on the backs and grown in the wombs of women, and our rights are not up for debate.”
U.S. President Donald Trump, a Republican who opposes abortion, has seized on the issue as one likely to fire up his core supporters.
The restrictive new laws are contrary to the Roe v. Wade ruling, which affords a woman the right to an abortion up to the moment the fetus would be viable outside the womb, which is usually placed at about seven months, or 28 weeks, but may occur earlier.
The bans have been championed by conservatives, many of them Christian, who say fetuses should have rights comparable to those of infants and view abortion as tantamount to murder. The Supreme Court now has a 5-4 conservative majority following two judicial appointments by Trump.
A federal judge in Mississippi on Tuesday heard arguments in a lawsuit challenging the state’s new fetal-heartbeart abortion law. District Judge Carlton Reeves asked questions suggesting he thought the new law to be even more unconstitutional than the state’s 15-week abortion ban he struck down last year, USA Today reported.
(Reporting by Amanda Becker in Washington; Additional reporting by Jonathan Allen in New York; Writing by Jonathan Allen; Editing by Scott Malone and Bill Trott)
Results of a Eastern Virginia Medical School investigation into the blackface photo on Gov. Ralph Northam’s, D-Va., yearbook page will be revealed Wednesday, according to the Richmond-Times Dispatch.
A team of lawyers conducted an investigation into the controversial photo on the 1984 yearbook page that got Northam into some political difficulty. The results of the probe are going to be announced Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. ET news conference, according to the report.
The photos showed one man in blackface and another in a Klu Klux Klan robe, and Northam first apologized for the photos before denying knowing whether he was either man in the photos or how the photos found their way onto his page.
Northam did admit to using face paint for a Michael Jackson costume before, however.
The controversy put Gov. Northam on the hotseat, amid myriad calls for his resignation, but he has retained his governorship. Wednesday’s investigation revelations stand to impugn or exonerate one of the U.S.’s most controversial governors.
Fox News’ Sean Hannity said Monday that allegations that President Donald Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia will be proven false once new information is released.
“At this hour, your federal government is in possession of transcripts from 2016 featuring secretly recorded conversations between FBI informants and one-time trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos,” Hannity said during his Monday night show.
Papadopoulos reportedly told the House Judiciary Committee that the FBI had asked him to wear a wire while attending a meeting with a foreign professor who said they had compromising information on Trump’s 2016 rival Hillary Clinton.
“According to those who have seen these transcripts, its contents are chock-full of clear irrefutable, incontrovertible, exculpatory evidence proving Trump-Russia collusion was always a hoax from the get-go. This includes former congressman Trey Gowdy who is now calling these documents ‘game changing.'”
Gowdy previously told Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo that “some of us have been fortunate enough to know whether or not those transcripts exist. But they haven’t been made public, and I think one, in particular … has the potential to actually persuade people. Very little in this Russia probe I’m afraid is going to persuade people who hate Trump or love Trump. But there is some information in these transcripts that has the potential to be a game-changer if it’s ever made public.”
NASA’S official plans to build a permanent base on the Moon have leaked online, revealing how and when astronauts will return to the rocky world for the first time in 50 years.
Internal documents show Nasa wants to launch 37 rockets to the Moon within the next decade, with at least five of these carrying astronauts.
Starting with an unmanned rover in 2023, the space agency will land people on the Moon in 2024.
Nasa will then fire manned missions to Earth’s neighbour every year between 2024 and 2028, according to the documents, which were obtained by Arstechnica.
The decade-long program culminates with a permanent lunar base, which Nasa wants to start building in 2028.
The plans began circulating among Nasa staff last week, according to Arstechnica’s Eric Berger.
They are in part a response to recent calls from US Vice President Mike Pence to take astronauts back to the Moon.
“In the nearly two months since Pence directed Nasa to return to the Moon by 2024, space agency engineers have been working to put together a plan that leverages existing technology, large projects nearing completion, and commercial rockets to bring this about,” Berger wrote.
“Last week, an updated plan that demonstrated a human landing in 2024, annual sorties to the lunar surface thereafter, and the beginning of a Moon base by 2028, began circulating within the agency.”
Berger did not say how he obtained the plans, which have not yet been made public.
They do appear to line up with previous statements from Nasa about its lunar program, codenamed Artemis.
As with any space exploration project, the main obstacle is cash.
Nasa reckons it will need £4.5billion to £6.5billion per year on top of Nasa’s existing budget of about £16billion.
Boss Jim Bridenstine recently asked for an extra £1.3billion in fiscal year 2020 to start developing a lunar lander.
The plan also relies heavily on contractors delivering ambitious hardware on time, which has hindered Nasa in the past.
Boeing has been developing the core stage of the agency’s next-gen rocket, the Space Launch System, for eight years – but has yet to come up with the goods.
Boeing’s handling of the multi-billion-pound contract, which is now twice over budget, has been blasted by Nasa’s Inspector General.
Nasa was not immediately available for comment.
Mars colonists ‘will be super-mutants’ that DIE ‘if they mate with Earthlings’
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In other space news, Nasa released a video last week teasing its Moon mission goals.
Amazon boss Jeff Bezos recently pledged to land a man on the moon by 2024 with a rocket built by his private space firm Blue Origin.
He also showed off sci-fi renders of his plans for giant rotating space habitats that could house a trillion people.
What do you think of Nasa’s plans? Let us know in the comments!
The Democrats’ Medicare for All plan would mandate taxpayer funded abortions, according to Reps. Steve Scalise, R-La., and Greg Walden, R-Ore.
The two congressmen made their comments in a column they co-authored for the Fox News website.
They wrote: “Single-payer. Government-run. Government takeover. One-size-fits-all. Socialist. Each is an accurate description of Democrats’ preferred healthcare scheme, proposed in the mislabeled Medicare for All Act.
“The more Americans learn, the further support sinks for their centralized government healthcare system. It will bring delays in access to needed healthcare. The $32 trillion price tag is so massive it is hard to wrap your head around.
“There is another deeply disturbing truth Americans need to know about their plan: it would mandate taxpayer funded abortions on demand and force health professionals to perform these abortions.”
Scalise and Walden called it “radical and unprecedented.”
“Democrats are actively trying to reverse a 40-year, bipartisan protection against federal taxpayer funded abortions,” the two said. “They’d also force doctors and nurses to terminate a baby’s life.”
Scalise and Walden said the authors of the bill have confirmed abortion is covered.
“The benefits are specifically listed: ‘comprehensive reproductive, maternity, and newborn care,'” they said. “Comprehensive reproductive care is included, meaning this plan — which is free — covers abortions. This means abortion-on-demand, funded by taxpayers.”
And the congressmen added: “Life is precious and we are committed to defending it.”