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Pavlich blasts Kamala Harris' proposed executive action on gun control: 'Attack on Second Amendment rights'

Fox News (Politics) - Wed, 05/15/2019 - 07:49
Katie Pavlich said Sen. Kamala Harris’ proposed executive action on gun control if she’s elected president would be “an attack on Second Amendment rights.”

TSA deploying hundreds of officials to southern border to combat immigration crisis

Fox News (Politics) - Wed, 05/15/2019 - 07:48
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is planning to send hundreds of officials to the southern border to help the Department of Homeland Security with the escalating immigration crisis, Fox News confirmed Wednesday.

How Donald Trump May Push America into a War with Iran

Cato Recent Op Eds - Wed, 05/15/2019 - 07:47

John Glaser

Is the Trump administration readying war plans against Iran? Somebody certainly wants us to think so. The question is who, and for what purpose?

A bombshell New York Times article details an updated military plan that was presented by Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan last week. The plan calls for up to 120,000 U.S. troops to be deployed to the Persian Gulf region “should Iran attack American forces or accelerate work on nuclear weapons.” This is cause for alarm. But the plan apparently does not call for a full ground invasion of Iran, which would require a much higher number of troops. And President Trump, who recently asked Iran’s leaders to call him on the phone, seems unlikely to authorize such a war, which would dismay a significant portion of his base as the 2020 campaign picks up.

The Trump administration’s frenzied provocations could lead America to the brink of a conflict with Iran-one that almost no one actually wants.

So, why are we reading about this in the newspaper? One possibility is that the war hawks in Trump’s White House want to publicly signal to Iran and the international community that the administration is prepared to use force in response to Iranian misbehavior. Another possibility is that the anonymous national-security officials who leaked this have grown uneasy about National Security Advisor John Bolton’s determination to attack Iran and change its regime. They might see his recent bureaucratic maneuvers, including a highly unusual visit to CIA headquarters and a recent incident in which he deliberately exaggerated raw intelligence in order to depict a long-scheduled carrier deployment to the Gulf as a deterrent threat to Iran, as dangerously provocative posturing that could unintentionally start a war. A third possibility is that both of these are happening simultaneously.

The ongoing internal drama over Iran policy demonstrates how ill-equipped Trump is for the job of president. Three years into his first term, Trump is on his third national security advisor, his second Secretary of State, and the position of Defense Secretary has been vacant for four months following Mattis’s resignation in December. The president appears unable to unite his own cabinet around a clear strategy.

He has filled his national security team with war hawks and, with Iran tensions rising, the policy results reflect this quite well. The White House recently took the unprecedented measure of designating the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization, which officials have warned could put U.S. forces in the region at risk. The United States has also embarked on a concerted campaign of economic warfare against Iran, increasing sanctions and bullying the international community into zeroing out imports of Iranian oil. The resultant economic slump has caused tangible pain and suffering among the Iranian people (an intended consequence of the policy) and has bolstered the hardliners in Iran.

There is a lot of sound and fury, but it signifies quite a bit. If you were trying to design a policy that had a high probability of inciting some tit-for-tat escalation leading to war, the Trump administration’s approach to Iran is what you would end up with. The question is, why? Iran has complied with the strict limitations on its nuclear program under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, a deal Trump may want to improve upon but, thanks to his withdrawal from it, can’t. The other parties to the agreement won’t play ball with the one violator of it and Iran certainly won’t capitulate in the face of “maximum pressure.”

So why risk a war with Iran that would be orders of magnitude costlier than the war in Iraq, and would fail just as miserably? The answer is that Trump’s war hawks, and most of the political establishment in Washington, perceive the threat from Iran to be serious when in fact it hardly exists at all.

Americans must begin to appreciate how peculiar it is for a country like ours to be so maniacally obsessed with, and terrified by, a country like Iran. The United States is a global military juggernaut whose core national-security concerns are rendered rather trivial due to its outsize capabilities and its uniquely protective geography, reinforced even further by a reliable nuclear deterrent. Iran is a third-rate military power in a tough neighborhood half a world away. It poses no direct threat to us. Iran’s main regional rivals possess conventional and nuclear capabilities that can deter Iran quite sufficiently. Washington’s phobia of the supposed threat of an Iranian attempt to close the Strait of Hormuz, through which about 30 percent of the world’s crude oil flows, is mostly overheated babble. A sincere attempt would be damaging to Iran’s own economic self-interest, not to mention its security, as retaliation would surely be swift. Additionally, Iran’s much ballyhooed support for non-state actors, mostly Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Houthis in Yemen, does not present a real threat to America. Those groups have local concerns. Hezbollah and Hamas are almost exclusively focused on Israel, and the Houthis in Yemen are a nationalist movement. These are not transnational terrorist groups spending time trying to hatch 9/11 style plots against America.

How is it that the United States of America can get whipped up into such a hysteria over such a weak, distant, and hemmed in Iran? Much of Washington seems unable to properly assess risk. Threat perceptions on Iran are fueled by an outdated enemy image where Iran plays the role of the villain, but presents no objective direct threat to this country.

The president’s political calculations, along with a national-security bureaucracy that mostly appears resistant to another disastrous U.S. war in the Middle East, make a deliberate attack against Iran unlikely. But the Trump administration’s frenzied provocations could lead us to the brink of a conflict that almost no one actually wants. The fact that the threat justifying this posture is largely in the imaginations of a few ideologues in Washington only sharpens the sense of irony-and tragedy.

John Glaser is director of foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute..

Dispute erupts over whether Brennan, Comey pushed Steele dossier, as DOJ probe into misconduct begins

Fox News (Politics) - Wed, 05/15/2019 - 07:39
A high-level dispute over which senior government officials pushed the unverified Steele dossier amid efforts to surveil the Trump campaign has broken out into the open again, after it emerged that Attorney General William Barr appointed a U.S. attorney to examine the origins of the Russia investigation and determine if the FBI and DOJ's actions were "lawful and appropriate."

AOC and Bernie Jump the Shark with Loan Shark Prevention Act

TownHall Latest columns - Wed, 05/15/2019 - 06:48
AOC and Bernies beloved Loan Shark Act aims to address a problem that largely doesnt exist, and it would cause significant harm to those Ocasio-Cortez and Sanders say they care about the most.

When Elephants Fight

TownHall Latest columns - Wed, 05/15/2019 - 06:38
According to an African proverb, when elephants fight, it is the grass that loses. This metaphor seems to always apply to battles over health-care policy.

Mark Cuban says 'nobody' can beat Trump in 2020 'right now': report

Fox News (Politics) - Wed, 05/15/2019 - 06:26
Billionaire businessman Mark Cuban said in an interview Tuesday that he doesn’t think any of the Democratic candidates for president right now can beat President Trump.

3 Florida radio stations plan to air Trump speeches every hour, every day until 2020 election

Fox News (Politics) - Wed, 05/15/2019 - 05:17
All Trump, all the time? Not quite, but three radio stations in Florida have vowed to air President Trump’s speeches every hour of every day until the 2020 election.

A Republic, If You Can Keep It

TownHall Latest columns - Wed, 05/15/2019 - 05:06
Some of our most esteemed institutions have embraced the idea of mob rule.

House Democrats plan marathon public reading of 448-page Mueller report; 'It's not a ploy,' lawmaker insists

Fox News (Politics) - Wed, 05/15/2019 - 04:46
More than 20 House Democrats are planning a grueling 12-hour-long public reading of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the Russia investigation in its entirety, except for the redacted parts, on Thursday.

'Genuine' AOC would be Dems' best bet against Trump; O'Rourke reset was 'dumbest' move: pollster

Fox News (Politics) - Wed, 05/15/2019 - 04:22
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., would be her party's best bet against President Trump in 2020 -- if only she were eligible to run for president.

As Trump takes heat on China, Pelosi plans talk with US trade rep

Fox News (Politics) - Wed, 05/15/2019 - 03:34
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is reportedly scheduled to meet with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Wednesday, a day after President Trump received harsh criticism from fellow Republicans who claim a trade war with China would drastically hurt farmers in Middle America.

New probe of the FBI: Long overdue or Trump's payback?

Fox News (Politics) - Wed, 05/15/2019 - 02:48
It's not hard to conjure an image of a general surviving a military coup and then ordering the plotters jailed.

Jim Jordan says AG Barr ‘serious’ about uncovering origins of Russia probe

Fox News (Politics) - Wed, 05/15/2019 - 01:39
Attorney General William Barr fully intends to go forward with his probe into the origins of the Russia investigation and why federal authorities conducted surveillance on the Trump campaign, House Judiciary Committee Republican Jim Jordan told Fox News Tuesday evening.

Treatment of Sarah Sanders still sparks hate mail, Red Hen co-owner admits year after Va. restaurant incident

Fox News (Politics) - Wed, 05/15/2019 - 00:29
Nearly a year after kicking White House press secretary Sarah Sanders out of a Virginia restaurant, the co-owner of the business says she has endured months of criticism and harassment as a result.

Devin Nunes says Strzok-Page ‘insurance policy’ referred to obtaining FISA warrant for Trump campaign's emails

Fox News (Politics) - Tue, 05/14/2019 - 23:26
U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., claimed that an “insurance policy” mentioned in an August 2016 text between disgraced former FBI employees Peter Strzok and Lisa Page referred to their ability to obtain a FISA warrant.

Laura Ingraham: Dems 'self-sabotaging' ahead of 2020, 'obsessed with Trump'

Fox News (Politics) - Tue, 05/14/2019 - 22:14
In her "Ingraham Angle" commentary, Laura Ingraham said that Democrats are committing "self-sabotage" ahead of the 2020 elections by being "obsessed with" President Trump instead of "pushing policies that actually appeal to working-class Americans."

Giuliani weighs in on Hunter Biden's dealings in Ukraine emerging as 2020 issue for Joe Biden

Fox News (Politics) - Tue, 05/14/2019 - 21:47
Rudy Giuliani, President Trump's personal attorney, said on “Hannity” Tuesday that former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter’s dealings in Ukraine represent “a case that is crying out to be investigated,” adding, “If it doesn't get investigated, we just don't have equal justice in this country.” 

Sean Hannity: Anti-Trump 'mob' can't let go of 'dead and buried' Russia 'conspiracy theories'

Fox News (Politics) - Tue, 05/14/2019 - 21:36
Sean Hannity said Tuesday night in his Opening Monologue that members of the "anti-Trump mob" cannot let go of their "conspiracy theories" about Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, even though allegations of President Trump colluding with Russia have been "dead and buried."

Ilhan Omar defends Rashida Tlaib, says criticism 'designed' to 'silence' Muslim voices

Fox News (Politics) - Tue, 05/14/2019 - 21:26
Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn, defended her colleague, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich, from criticism over controversial remarks about the Holocaust, insisting that the backlash is "designed" to "silence" Muslim voices.

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