Review Category : Poltics

Former US Officials Warn Obama on Iran Nuke Deal

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — An open letter crafted by former members of President Obama’s inner circle of Iran advisers warns that an emerging deal on Iran’s nuclear program “may fall short of meeting the administration’s own standard of a ‘good’ agreement.”

The officials from the Bush and Obama administrations — present its broad consensus of a series of minimum requirements that Iran must agree to for them to support a final deal. There are some well-known names too — David Petraeus, James Cartwright, Stephen Hadley and Joe Lieberman jump out in particular.

“The agreement will not prevent Iran from having a nuclear weapons capability. It will not require the dismantling of Iran’s nuclear enrichment infrastructure,” the officials write.

The letter was prompted by concern that Obama’s negotiators are heading toward concessions that would weaken international inspection of Iran’s facilities and fold on forcing Tehran to reveal its suspected past atomic weapons programs.

“[W]e fear that the current negotiations, unless concluded along the lines outlined in this paper and buttressed by a resolute regional strategy, may fall short of meeting the administration’s own standard of a ‘good’ agreement,” the letter states.

The officials note that in order to “maximize” the deal’s “potential for deterring and dissuading Iran from building a nuclear weapon,” the emerging nuclear agreement must provide monitoring and verification, allow for the free investigation of Iran’s past and any ongoing nuclear weaponization activities, limit advanced centrifuges, provide sanctions relief “based on Iran’s performance of its obligations” and include consequences of violations.

“The agreement must include a timely and effective mechanism to re-impose sanctions automatically if Iran is found to be in violation of the agreement, including by denying or delaying IAEA access. In addition, the United States must itself articulate the serious consequences Iran will face in that event,” the letter says.

The deadline for a deal is next Tuesday, June 30.

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Here’s Who Members of Congress Want to See on the New $10 Bill

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — After the Treasury Department announced it would start printing new $10 bills with a woman on it, many members of Congress weighed in with recommendations.

Here’s a list of who they’ve suggested so far:

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA): Frances Perkins

During a briefing with reporters, Pelosi said she would add Perkins, who served as President Franklin Roosevelt’s Labor Secretary and who, as the chairwoman of the 1934 President’s Committee on Economic Security, was instrumental in authoring the Social Security Act of 1935. “She certainly has affected many lives,” Pelosi said, although she added, “I’m a big fan of so many of the women who are being suggested and any one of them would be absolutely great.”

Sen. Shelley Moore-Capito (R-WV): Amelia Earhart

Spokeswoman Ashley Berrang said Moore-Capito’s support of Earhart, the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean: “She sought to do the impossible. Her courage, keen sense of adventure and compassion should be a source of inspiration to us all, especially young women. She proved that the sky really is the limit.”

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD): Harriet Tubman

Cardin was the lead sponsor of legislation to establish the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park, the first national park dedicated to a single woman.

Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT): Jeannette Rankin

Daines introduced legislation to require that former Montana Rep. Rankin, the first woman elected to Congress, be represented on the new $10 bill. “She is a true example of America’s rich legacy of service and I urge the Treasury to make her the first woman to serve as the face of our paper currency,” Daines said in a statement.

Sen. Masie Hirono (D-HI): Patsy Mink

Mink was one of the principal authors of the Education Amendments of 1972, which became later known as “Title IX,” which prohibits sex discrimination in any federally funded education program or activity. It was later renamed the Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act. The first woman of color elected to Congress, Mink served twelve terms in the House of Representatives. “Patsy, like the other women who should be considered for the new $10 bill, had relentless determination and took risks to better our nation. It is long overdue for women and girls to be represented on something as fundamental to American life as our paper currency,” Hirono said in a statement, in which she also called Mink a “friend and inspiration.”

Sen. John Hoeven (D-ND): Sakakawea

Hoeven supports the addition of Sakakawea, who served as a guide and impromptu diplomat during the expedition headed by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, for which Sakakawea’s husband, French-Canadian Pierre Charbonneau, served as an interpreter. She was born in an area that is now North Dakota.

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ): Alice Paul

A New Jersey-born suffragist, Paul formed the National Women’s Party in 1916 and lead “Silent Sentinels,” protests outside the White House. In 1923 she authored the Equal Rights Amendment which required equality which “shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.” The amendment has yet to pass although it has come before every session of Congress, including the current one, since its introduction.

Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD): Harriet Tubman

“I’m so proud to count Harriet Tubman among Maryland’s many, many inspirational women,” Mikulski, a co-sponsor of the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park legislation, said in a statement. “She showed courage, ingenuity, unselfishness, and incredible persistence in leading hundreds of men, women and children out of the bondage of slavery and into freedom. Seeing her face on the $10 bill will lend us all courage to face the challenges of today and hope for the future.”

Rep. Stacey Plaskett (D-U.S. Virgin Islands): Wants Hamilton kept on $10 bill

In a letter to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, Plaskett argued, “Alexander Hamilton is an American deserving of being memorialized on our currency given his outsized influence on the founding of our nation and its monetary system.”

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE): Wants to replace Andrew Jackson with Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill

Sasse’s office says he is preparing legislation to replace Jackson. “Harriet Tubman is an American hero and deserves recognition on our currency… A broad movement of Americans have expressed their desire to replace Andrew Jackson with Harriott Tubman on the $20 bill. That is the right idea, not removing Hamilton from the $10 bill. Andrew Jackson was a vehement opponent of paper currency and a controversial president. Hamilton was the first Treasury Secretary and instrumental to the founding of our country,” Sasse said in a statement.

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA): Possibly one of 10 of these “Fascinating Pennsylvania Women”

A spokesman demurred when asked whether he had one favorite, but Toomey did write this Buzzfeed listicle last year, which includes reporter Nellie Bly, singer Marian Anderson, and impressionist painter Mary Cassatt.

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Chris Christie to Announce 2016 Presidential Campaign on Tuesday

Andrew Burton/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, once the front-runner in pre-campaign jockeying for the GOP presidential nomination, is planning to formally kick off his campaign on Tuesday in Livingston, New Jersey, a source familiar with Christie’s plans said on Thursday.

The announcement is not much of a surprise in light of Christie’s recent political moves and visits that have all but telegraphed his intentions.

The governor said he was going to wait to make any formal announcement until after the state budget is enacted and that could be done as early as Thursday.

Officials with the campaign and governor’s office were not offering any comment Thursday.

Christie is scheduled to take caller questions during a monthly radio appearance Thursday night.

Christie comes to the presidential race in a far more challenging position than he and his allies thought he would when they were making their calculations in 2013 and 2014. A series of political and financial problems in New Jersey coupled with a massive lane-closure scandal at the George Washington Bridge have transformed the front-running, tough-talking governor into a candidate that many analysts view as little more than an also-ran.

Christie also faces a daunting challenge in a crowded field. He is widely viewed as too moderate for Republican voters in Iowa and South Carolina — two key early battlegrounds of primary and caucus season. And it remains to be seen whether he can make enough headway in New Hampshire, Nevada and Florida to be a factor.

The announcement is expected to be held at Governor Livingston High School, Christie’s alma mater. In recent days, though, his team has examined a number of options for the kickoff, trying to avoid imagery that could remind people of scars and battles of his more than five years as the Garden State’s chief executive.

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First Lady Ready to Welcome Bruno Mars to the White House July 4th

Lawrence Jackson/The White House(WASHINGTON) — Bruno Mars has headlined some huge concerts and festivals, had a mini Vegas residency and performed on prestigious awards shows, but next week, he’s landed an even more exclusive gig: He’s performing a Fourth of July USO show for military families at the White House.

He announced the news Wednesday during a Twitter exchange with first lady Michelle Obama.

“Hey, @FLOTUS you ready for the 4th of July? @the_USO and I are coming to perform in your backyard!” he wrote.

To which Mrs. Obama replied, “We’re ready for you, @BrunoMars! @The_USO, @JoiningForces, and I are thrilled you’re coming to celebrate #MilitaryFamilies on July 4th!”

This is the seventh year in a row that the White House has teamed with the USO to host its “Salute to the Military” concert. Among the acts who’ve played the South Lawn on Independence Day in the past: fun., Train, Foo Fighters, Michelle Branch, Pitbull and country star Brad Paisley.

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Supreme Court Upholds Obama Health Care Subsidies

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The U.S. Supreme Court sided Thursday with the Obama administration over its major healthcare overhaul, upholding federal subsidies across the country.

The decision will have a major impact on the millions of Americans who are receiving financial assistance from the federal government to buy health insurance.

Obamacare — technically titled The Affordable Care Act — gave states the option to build their own healthcare marketplaces or simply use one operated by the federal government.

In all, 34 states decided to rely on the federal “exchange.” And more than six million low- to moderate-income Americans are now receiving subsidies of on average $260 a month through the federal exchange, according to Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell.

But in a lawsuit challenging the law, critics insisted the federal government is not allowed to subsidize insurance in states that rejected their own exchange for the federal system. Those critics based their argument on a single phrase in Obamacare that refers only to participants enrolled “through an Exchange established by the State.”

“If subsidies are authorized for all Exchanges, why does [the law] specify an Exchange ‘established by the State’?” petitioner David King and others wrote in their brief to the Supreme Court.

The White House has maintained, though, that in drafting and passing Obamacare, Congress clearly intended to offer insurance subsidies to those participating in both the federal and state exchanges.

Last week, Burwell said the administration was “in a very strong position in the case,” based on the wording of the law and “the intention of the law.”

She warned an adverse ruling would likely mean millions of Americans would lose subsidies and be unable to afford health insurance coverage.

With only the sickest people in the insurance marketplace then, costs for coverage “drive up,” she added.

In all, at least 10.2 million Americans have signed up for health coverage through Obamacare, according to Burwell’s department.

She indicated an adverse ruling would mean governors in states without exchanges would have to decide whether to create them, and Congress would face a decision over whether to intervene through legislation.

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TPA Bill Passes Senate

Image Source Pink/Image Source/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The U.S. Senate gave President Obama his hard fought trade authority in a vote on Wednesday.

The Trade Promotional Authority bill now heads to President Obama’s desk after passing with 60 votes.

“The trade is good for the American farmers for manufacturers and small businesses,” said House Speaker John Boehner, R-OH, while praising the bill that many Democrats say will send American jobs overseas.

President Obama however promised he won’t make any trade deal that does that.

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Army Looking at Futuristic Hover Bike Technology

Niyazz/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — From Star Wars to Back to the Future Part II, hovercrafts have long been part of movie magic. But with a new military deal, the Hoverbike may be more than a Hollywood dream.

In fact, ABC News has learned in an exclusive interview with Army Research Lab representatives that a full scale prototype is already in the works, with expected completion in three to five years.

The U.S. Army has contracted Malloy Aeronautics and SURVICE Engineering to develop this futuristic technology.

The new frontier involves “three-dimensional capability … for soldiers,” according to Timothy Vong, the Army Research Laboratory, or ARL, project coordinator representing the U.S. Army’s Research, Development and Engineering Command.

In an interview with ABC News Vong called the Hoverbike a “Tactical Reconnaissance Vehicle” and said the project is currently in the “proof of concept mode,” testing the feasibility of this technology.

ARL spokesperson Joyce Brayboy made it clear that the Hoverbike, which looks like a motorcycle whose wheels are parallel to the ground, is not intended to replace helicopters as some reports have suggested.

For now, the lab is focused on assessing the capabilities a Hoverbike might provide for the Army down the road. Although Vong would not disclose the contract’s size, which he said began roughly nine months ago, he did say the Army’s investment will increase “incrementally” as milestones are met.

The British firm Malloy Aeronautics, which designed the hovercraft, launched a Kickstarter campaign last August to fund production of a working scale model.

Even before then, SURVICE was talking with Malloy, according to SURVICE Manager of the Applied Technology Operation, Mark Butkiewicz.

He explained the ARL contract is intended to build on the current prototype and “take it to the next level.” Butkiewicz said his firm has provided engineering and Department of Defense support to Malloy, helping to make the contract happen.

Malloy Aeronautics originally developed a prototype of the bi-rotor Hoverbike in 2009, according to Grant Stapleton, director of marketing and sales at Malloy. Vong said that under the contract, Malloy can still pursue commercial uses for the Hoverbike.

Additionally, ARL’s Open Campus Initiative will give the company access to ARL resources. “Open Campus makes it less cumbersome to partner, collaborate and allow outside organizations to use ARL resources, especially in these early stages of the research,” explained ARL spokesperson Joyce Brayboy.

You can’t have Marty McFly’s souped-up DeLorean quite yet, but his hoverboard getaway may be here before long.

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Pentagon, Army Not Considering Renaming Army Bases Named After Confederate Generals

Phototreat/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The Pentagon is not considering renaming U.S. Army bases in the south that are named after Confederate generals.

It’s a question that came up given the current debate about Confederate symbols.

Some major Army bases in the south are named after famous Confederate Army generals. They included Fort Hood in Texas, Fort Benning in Georgia, Fort AP Hill in Virginia and Fort Bragg in North Carolina.

“As of now, there’s no discussion of adjusting our current naming policies,” said Army Col. Steve Warren, the Pentagon spokesman.

Warren said the decision to name military installations is handled by the services themselves, “and as of now, there are no current plans to change policies regarding how installations are named.”

The Army’s response to the possibility of reviewing base names came from Brig. Gen. Malcolm B. Frost, the chief of Army Public Affairs.

“Every Army installation is named for a soldier who holds a place in our military history. Accordingly, these historic names represent individuals, not causes or ideologies. It should be noted that the naming occurred in the spirit of reconciliation, not division,” he said.

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Obama Tosses Heckler From LGBT Event: ‘You’re In My House’

The White House(WASHINGTON) — President Obama had a heckler tossed from a White House reception in celebration of LGBT pride month after the woman refused to stop interrupting the president.

“Listen, you’re in my house,” Obama said, to the applause of the crowd, within the first couple of minutes of the event.

The heckler, Jennicet Gutiérrez, who is transgender and undocumented, had been shouting claims about bad detention conditions for LGBTQ immigrants in the United States.

“No, no, it’s not respectful when you get invited to somebody’s,” Obama said, again being interrupted by the heckler before he could finish his sentence. “You’re not going to get a good response by interrupting me like this.”

Persisting still to heckle the president, Obama then said “shame on you” and gestured to a security official, asking “can we escort this person out?”

“You can either stay and be quiet or we’ll have to take you out,” Obama then said, apparently giving the heckler one more chance.

Gutiérrez, 29, from Los Angeles, who is a founding member of the LGBTQ Latina advocacy group Familia TQLM did not cease and was removed from the East Room.

According to advocates, she was escorted from the room and released.

“The White House gets to make the decision whether it keeps us safe,” Gutiérrez said in a statement released by a group of advocacy organizations after her removal. “There is no pride in how LGBTQ and transgender immigrants are treated in this country. If the President wants to celebrate with us, he should release the LGBTQ immigrants locked up in detention centers immediately.”

The White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

ABC US News | World News

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Bobby Jindal Announces He’s Running for President

Cheryl Gerber/Getty Images(KENNER, La.) — It’s official: Bobby Jindal is running for president.

The Louisiana governor announced his 2016 presidential campaign in a tweet Wednesday afternoon, roughly five hours before he was scheduled to speak in Louisiana. He becomes the 13th Republican seeking the White House in 2016.

Jindal’s tweet links to a page of videos of Jindal and his wife discussing his looming campaign with their children. A camera, apparently hidden out of sight, captures the family as they sit and discuss the campaign on a patio.

Jindal’s campaign message, according to aides, will be that Jindal is the youngest candidate with the longest resume. He will argue that Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton is trying to divide America by ethnicity, gender and economic status and that Clinton and Obama are leading America to socialism. He will also emphasize the fact that there are a lot of top talkers in the race, but very few doers, his staff said.

At political events this year, Jindal has argued for religious freedom and has alleged Christian values and faith have been threatened by the political left.

Jindal is the first Indian-American to enter a presidential race as a contender for a major party’s nomination.

He enters the race as a significant longshot: He hasn’t surpassed 1 percent in a major national poll since April, and he faces a crowded field of conservatives.

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