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Published: Friday, October 13, 2017 @ 2:41 PM
— The White House on Friday released a transcript of President Trump’s speech on the Iran uclear deal.
Here are his remarks:
“Thank you very much. My fellow Americans: As President of the United States, my highest obligation is to ensure the safety and security of the American people.
History has shown that the longer we ignore a threat, the more dangerous that threat becomes. For this reason, upon taking office, I've ordered a complete strategic review of our policy toward the rogue regime in Iran. That review is now complete.
Today, I am announcing our strategy, along with several major steps we are taking to confront the Iranian regime’s hostile actions and to ensure that Iran never, and I mean never, acquires a nuclear weapon.
Our policy is based on a clear-eyed assessment of the Iranian dictatorship, its sponsorship of terrorism, and its continuing aggression in the Middle East and all around the world.
Iran is under the control of a fanatical regime that seized power in 1979 and forced a proud people to submit to its extremist rule. This radical regime has raided the wealth of one of the world’s oldest and most vibrant nations, and spread death, destruction, and chaos all around the globe.
Beginning in 1979, agents of the Iranian regime illegally seized the U.S. embassy in Tehran and held more than 60 Americans hostage during the 444 days of the crisis. The Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah twice bombed our embassy in Lebanon -- once in 1983 and again in 1984. Another Iranian-supported bombing killed 241 Americans -- service members they were, in their barracks in Beirut in 1983.
In 1996, the regime directed another bombing of American military housing in Saudi Arabia, murdering 19 Americans in cold blood.
Iranian proxies provided training to operatives who were later involved in al Qaeda’s bombing of the American embassies in Kenya, Tanzania, and two years later, killing 224 people, and wounding more than 4,000 others.
The regime harbored high-level terrorists in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, including Osama bin Laden’s son. In Iraq and Afghanistan, groups supported by Iran have killed hundreds of American military personnel.
The Iranian dictatorship’s aggression continues to this day. The regime remains the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, and provides assistance to al Qaeda, the Taliban, Hezbollah, Hamas, and other terrorist networks. It develops, deploys, and proliferates missiles that threaten American troops and our allies. It harasses American ships and threatens freedom of navigation in the Arabian Gulf and in the Red Sea. It imprisons Americans on false charges. And it launches cyberattacks against our critical infrastructure, financial system, and military.
The United States is far from the only target of the Iranian dictatorship’s long campaign of bloodshed. The regime violently suppresses its own citizens; it shot unarmed student protestors in the street during the Green Revolution.
This regime has fueled sectarian violence in Iraq, and vicious civil wars in Yemen and Syria. In Syria, the Iranian regime has supported the atrocities of Bashar al-Assad’s regime and condoned Assad’s use of chemical weapons against helpless civilians, including many, many children.
Given the regime’s murderous past and present, we should not take lightly its sinister vision for the future. The regime’s two favorite chants are “Death to America” and “Death to Israel.”
Realizing the gravity of the situation, the United States and the United Nations Security Council sought, over many years, to stop Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons with a wide array of strong economic sanctions.
But the previous administration lifted these sanctions, just before what would have been the total collapse of the Iranian regime, through the deeply controversial 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. This deal is known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA.
As I have said many times, the Iran Deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into. The same mindset that produced this deal is responsible for years of terrible trade deals that have sacrificed so many millions of jobs in our country to the benefit of other countries. We need negotiators who will much more strongly represent America’s interest.
The nuclear deal threw Iran’s dictatorship a political and economic lifeline, providing urgently needed relief from the intense domestic pressure the sanctions had created. It also gave the regime an immediate financial boost and over $100 billion dollars its government could use to fund terrorism.
The regime also received a massive cash settlement of $1.7 billion from the United States, a large portion of which was physically loaded onto an airplane and flown into Iran. Just imagine the sight of those huge piles of money being hauled off by the Iranians waiting at the airport for the cash. I wonder where all that money went.
Worst of all, the deal allows Iran to continue developing certain elements of its nuclear program. And importantly, in just a few years, as key restrictions disappear, Iran can sprint towards a rapid nuclear weapons breakout. In other words, we got weak inspections in exchange for no more than a purely short-term and temporary delay in Iran’s path to nuclear weapons.
What is the purpose of a deal that, at best, only delays Iran’s nuclear capability for a short period of time? This, as President of the United States, is unacceptable. In other countries, they think in terms of 100-year intervals, not just a few years at a time.
The saddest part of the deal for the United States is that all of the money was paid up front, which is unheard of, rather than at the end of the deal when they have shown they’ve played by the rules. But what’s done is done, and that's why we are where we are.
The Iranian regime has committed multiple violations of the agreement. For example, on two separate occasions, they have exceeded the limit of 130 metric tons of heavy water. Until recently, the Iranian regime has also failed to meet our expectations in its operation of advanced centrifuges.
The Iranian regime has also intimidated international inspectors into not using the full inspection authorities that the agreement calls for.
Iranian officials and military leaders have repeatedly claimed they will not allow inspectors onto military sites, even though the international community suspects some of those sites were part of Iran’s clandestine nuclear weapons program.
There are also many people who believe that Iran is dealing with North Korea. I am going to instruct our intelligence agencies to do a thorough analysis and report back their findings beyond what they have already reviewed.
By its own terms, the Iran Deal was supposed to contribute to “regional and international peace and security.” And yet, while the United States adheres to our commitment under the deal, the Iranian regime continues to fuel conflict, terror, and turmoil throughout the Middle East and beyond. Importantly, Iran is not living up to the spirit of the deal.
So today, in recognition of the increasing menace posed by Iran, and after extensive consultations with our allies, I am announcing a new strategy to address the full range of Iran’s destructive actions.
First, we will work with our allies to counter the regime’s destabilizing activity and support for terrorist proxies in the region.
Second, we will place additional sanctions on the regime to block their financing of terror.
Third, we will address the regime’s proliferation of missiles and weapons that threaten its neighbors, global trade, and freedom of navigation.
And finally, we will deny the regime all paths to a nuclear weapon.
Today, I am also announcing several major steps my administration is taking in pursuit of this strategy.
The execution of our strategy begins with the long-overdue step of imposing tough sanctions on Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The Revolutionary Guard is the Iranian Supreme Leader’s corrupt personal terror force and militia. It has hijacked large portions of Iran’s economy and seized massive religious endowments to fund war and terror abroad. This includes arming the Syrian dictator, supplying proxies and partners with missiles and weapons to attack civilians in the region, and even plotting to bomb a popular restaurant right here in Washington, D.C.
I am authorizing the Treasury Department to further sanction the entire Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps for its support for terrorism and to apply sanctions to its officials, agents, and affiliates. I urge our allies to join us in taking strong actions to curb Iran's continued dangerous and destabilizing behavior, including thorough sanctions outside the Iran Deal that target the regime's ballistic missile program, in support for terrorism, and all of its destructive activities, of which there are many.
Finally, on the grave matter of Iran’s nuclear program: Since the signing of the nuclear agreement, the regime's dangerous aggression has only escalated. At the same time, it has received massive sanctions relief while continuing to develop its missiles program. Iran has also entered into lucrative business contracts with other parties to the agreement.
When the agreement was finalized in 2015, Congress passed the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act to ensure that Congress’s voice would be heard on the deal. Among other conditions, this law requires the President, or his designee, to certify that the suspension of sanctions under the deal is “appropriate and proportionate” to measure -- and other measures taken by Iran to terminate its illicit nuclear program. Based on the factual record I have put forward, I am announcing today that we cannot and will not make this certification.
We will not continue down a path whose predictable conclusion is more violence, more terror, and the very real threat of Iran’s nuclear breakout.
That is why I am directing my administration to work closely with Congress and our allies to address the deal’s many serious flaws so that the Iranian regime can never threaten the world with nuclear weapons. These include the deal’s sunset clauses that, in just a few years, will eliminate key restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program.
The flaws in the deal also include insufficient enforcement and near total silence on Iran’s missile programs. Congress has already begun the work to address these problems. Key House and Senate leaders are drafting legislation that would amend the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act to strengthen enforcement, prevent Iran from developing an inter- -- this is so totally important -- an intercontinental ballistic missile, and make all restrictions on Iran’s nuclear activity permanent under U.S. law. So important. I support these initiatives.
However, in the event we are not able to reach a solution working with Congress and our allies, then the agreement will be terminated. It is under continuous review, and our participation can be cancelled by me, as President, at any time.
As we have seen in North Korea, the longer we ignore a threat, the worse that threat becomes. It is why we are determined that the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism will never obtain nuclear weapons.
In this effort, we stand in total solidarity with the Iranian regime’s longest-suffering victims: its own people. The citizens of Iran have paid a heavy price for the violence and extremism of their leaders. The Iranian people long to -- and they just are longing, to reclaim their country’s proud history, its culture, its civilization, its cooperation with its neighbors.
We hope that these new measures directed at the Iranian dictatorship will compel the government to reevaluate its pursuit of terror at the expense of its people.
We hope that our actions today will help bring about a future of peace, stability, and prosperity in the Middle East –- a future where sovereign nations respect each other and their own citizens.
We pray for a future where young children -- American and Iranian, Muslim, Christian, and Jewish -- can grow up in a world free from violence, hatred, and terror.
And, until that blessed day comes, we will do what we must to keep America safe.
Published: Sunday, January 21, 2018 @ 9:07 AM
— A new ad released by President Donald Trump's campaign is claiming that Democrats are “complicit” in killings by undocumented immigrants. The ad was released after Senate Democrats opposed a short-term spending bill to keep the government from shutting down.
“President Trump is right — build the wall, deport criminals, stop illegal immigration now,” the ad said, showing clips of top Democrats. “Democrats who stand in our way will be complicit in every murder committed by illegal immigrants.”
“President Trump will fix our border and keep our families safe,” the ad concluded. The ad was released on the one-year anniversary of Trump’s inauguration.
On Friday, Senate Democrats opposed a short-term spending bill to fund the government and keep it from shutting down after Republicans refused to include a provision to protect thousands of immigrants brought here as children.
President Trump bashed Democrats after the failed vote, saying that they wanted “unchecked illegal immigration.”
“Democrats are holding our Military hostage over their desire to have unchecked illegal immigration. Can’t let that happen!” he tweeted Saturday morning.
Democrats are holding our Military hostage over their desire to have unchecked illegal immigration. Can’t let that happen!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 20, 2018
Democrats are far more concerned with Illegal Immigrants than they are with our great Military or Safety at our dangerous Southern Border. They could have easily made a deal but decided to play Shutdown politics instead. #WeNeedMoreRepublicansIn18 in order to power through mess!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 20, 2018
(H/t: The Hill)
Published: Sunday, January 21, 2018 @ 8:42 AM
BOSTON — As a result of lawmakers failing to resolve a standoff over immigration and spending, the United States government has been shut down indefinitely – meaning everyone has been affected, including troops overseas.
There is a lot of fallout from the shutdown. From government employees who aren't being paid, including the Defense Department, to the Armed Forces Network being taken off the air, the effects of a standstill government can be felt across the board.
Since the AFN has been taken off the air, that means many of our troops overseas won't be able to watch the NFL playoffs Sunday.
Surely it's not the biggest issue surrounding a government shutdown, but it's a big morale issue.
Watching the Patriots on the Armed Forces Network has been a comforting piece of home for army Sgt. Matt Connolly, who's serving in South Korea.
"It's kind of the only thing we can do for fun over here," Connolly told WFXT.
For the first time since he's been stationed in Korea, his family came to visit him for the AFC Championship game.
"I'm actually on leave right now. My family from Boston is here right now and we were looking forward to watching the game," Connolly said.
With no one to run it, AFN is off the air.
The NFL says it is providing free access to Sunday's Championships via the NFL Game Pass to all USO centers.
"No matter what, I'm going to watch them," Connolly said.
Sen. Ed Markey says he's in a holding pattern right now as he says he and most of his colleagues are preparing to negotiate through the night – but it's still unclear if that will be an option.
Immigration issues are at the center of the shutdown. Many Republicans don't want to negotiate on those issues until a spending bill is passed and the government re-opens.
However, those immigration issues – including the DREAMERS Act – are a priority for many Democrats.
Markey told WFXT that he believes everyone needs to continue working to find some sort of compromise, and he wants President Donald Trump to take the lead.
"Bill Belichick is telling the New England Patriots for tomorrow, 'Do your job,' and we are saying to President Trump for tomorrow, 'Do your job, Mr. President. Make sure that the funding is there for our troops. Make sure that our defense is taken care of, but make sure that we also protect child health and the Dreamers,' but thus far he's been unwilling to do his job," Markey said.
Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 3:58 PM
— David and Louise Turpin, the California couple who were charged with torture and child abuse after authorities accused them of holding their 13 children captive in dire conditions, previously lived in Texas, several news outlets have reported.
ABC News reported Thursday that it had acquired pictures from inside the family’s former Texas home, near Fort Worth. The pictures were submitted by the home’s current owner, who took the pictures after he bought the foreclosed property about 18 years ago.
The pictures, which can be seen here, show stained carpets and walls. The current owner told ABC it required an “extensive cleanup” and that he and his wife “believed that the previous occupants destroyed the house because it was being foreclosed on.”
The anonymous owner also told ABC that feces were smeared all over the walls of every room at the time that he bought the home.
Published: Saturday, January 20, 2018 @ 11:34 PM
— A 12-year-old boy from Michigan who vomited during dinner one night, went to an urgent care facility the next night and had a flu test come back negative tragically died the very next morning.
Michael Messenger’s family can’t believe how quickly their world was turned upside-down, losing a son and a brother who had been so full of life in just a matter of days.
The timeline of Messenger’s symptoms, evaluation and death has his mother Jessica Decent-Doll urging other parents not to wait if they see signs of flu.
“Don’t wait, it’s all I can say. This flu or whatever is going around this year is unbelievably dangerous,” she told the Times Herald.
12-year-old Michael Messenger died last week after having flu-like symptoms for a few days. https://t.co/ILoR9h5vva— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) January 17, 2018
Messenger vomited during dinner Jan. 9, was taken to an urgent care the next evening where he was cleared for flu and administered anti-nausea medication and was found unresponsive at home in bed the morning of Jan. 11.
An hour and a half later, he was declared dead at a hospital.
Decent-Doll said her son’s vital signs were deemed normal at the urgent care center and that the family was advised to give him fluids.
DEADLY FLU WARNINGS: The death of 12-year-old Michael Messenger of Clay Township, Michigan, of flu-like symptoms after a rapid flu test at an urgent care came back negative is raising new questions about the epidemic. @GioBenitez reports. pic.twitter.com/tpJdY2Qpbg— World News Tonight (@ABCWorldNews) January 19, 2018
By 9:15 a.m. Thursday, it was clear Messenger’s life was in grave danger.
“I ran upstairs, and I sat with him, and I tried to get him to respond to me, but there was no response, nothing,” Decent-Doll said. “It’s indescribable, it really is.”
The grieving mother said that her son had just gotten a flu shot in December and that he “never stopped, ever. He loved science. He loved his family.”
Kristen Ervinck started a GoFundMe to help the grieving family:
"Mikey was so full of life and so energetic he lit up the room with his smile," it read.
Michael Messenger's funeral was Thursday. His family is still waiting for the results of his autopsy.