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January 1, US, Iran Step Back from the Brink



This Day in History | 2001

Apple opens the iTunes music store, changing the music industry forever. 

Good Morning Middle Americans, 

Could this be it? Iran says it has ‘slapped’ the US, referencing its missile attack on Al-Assad Air Base in Iraq, which houses hundreds of American troops.  But not one American died. Today, Iran is promising more, but their options are limited. 

Meanwhile in Washington DC, democrats are focused on limiting the president’s war powers. This is something that should have happened long ago, and it’s not specific to this president or this congress. Unfortunately, Congress has failed to exert its Constitutional powers for decades when it comes to war powers. Power is not inert.  

Also, you know we don’t normally cover stories about the UK’s Royal Family, but this is too juicy to ignore.  Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are “stepping back” from their Royal family duties. It apparently caught the Queen off guard. 

And finally, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg says she is cancer free. 

Read all about it. 

– Fraser Dixon 

US, Iran Step Back from the Brink; Region Still on Edge

(AP) — The U.S. and Iran stepped back from the brink of possible war on Wednesday as President Donald Trump signaled he would not retaliate militarily for Iran’s missile strikes on Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops. No one was harmed in the strikes, but U.S. forces in the region remained on high alert.

Speaking from the White House, Trump seemed intent on deescalating the crisis, which spiraled after he authorized the targeted killing last week of Iran’s top general, Qassem Soleimani. Iran responded overnight with its most direct assault on America since the 1979 seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, firing more than a dozen missiles at two installations in Iraq. The Pentagon said Wednesday that it believed Iran fired with the intent to kill.

Find out more here

Frustrated Dems plan war powers vote over Iran

(Politico) -House Democrats emerged from a classified briefing Wednesday deeply skeptical of President Donald Trump’s decision to order the killing of a top Iranian leader and unconvinced that he posed an “imminent” threat to United States forces.

Shortly afterward, Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the House would vote on Thursday to limit Trump’s war-making powers — likely presenting a united Democratic front against the administration’s recent moves against Iran.

Lawmakers from across the House Democratic caucus left a closed-door meeting with top Trump administration officials in a secure room in the Capitol on Wednesday frustrated — if not outright angry — at what they described as a vague justification for last week’s deadly drone strike that killed Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani shortly after he arrived in Baghdad. Iran retaliated by launching a missile attack on two bases inside Iraq that housed U.S. troops on Tuesday night, but there were no American casualties.

Learn more here

Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan to ‘Step Back’ from Royal Family’

(NBC News) – Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, on Wednesday announced their own Brexit from the royal family.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex stunned their subjects with the announcement that they intend to “step back” from Buckingham Palace, divide their time between the United Kingdom and North America — and even start paying their own bills.

“After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution,” they said in a statement.

Learn more about the decision, and the Queen’s response here

Ruth Bader Ginsburg Reveals She is “Cancer Free”

(CNN) – Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is in the liberal minority on the Supreme Court but has a way of steering the debate on a case.

Ginsburg spoke to CNN in a rare interview in her chambers this week. The 86-year-old four-time cancer survivor has resumed an active role in oral arguments and is often the first of the nine justices to pose a question. She regularly asks whether the Supreme Court should even decide the legal issue before it.

By framing the debate in this way, Ginsburg could limit the five conservative justices from setting new precedent over the dissent of the court’s four liberals.

Ginsburg’s approach goes back to her time in law school — but her expertise and emphasis offers liberals a path forward when the balance of power on the court is now solidly conservative. Ginsburg has taken up the cause in multiple recent disputes regarding the 2nd Amendment, criminal sentencing and tax law.

Read more here

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