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Dick Cheney blasts Iran deal ‘madness’

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Former US vice president Dick Cheney on Tuesday blasted the Iran nuclear deal as “madness” and said it marked a “capitulation” by world powers.

Speaking at the American Enterprise Institute conservative think tank in Washington, Cheney said the deal will see the “arming and funding (of) Iran while simultaneously providing them a pathway to a nuclear arsenal.”

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It “is not an act of peace, is not — as the president claims — the only alternative to war. It’s madness,” Cheney added.

Struck in July after after years of negotiations to address Western concerns that Tehran was developing a bomb, the deal goes up for debate this month in the US Congress, where President Barack Obama has secured enough support to stop it being blocked.

Cheney, 74, was vice president at the time of the September 11, 2001 attacks, and was seen as one of the biggest hawks in the George W. Bush administration.

He said the Iran deal gives Tehran the means to launch a nuclear attack on the US homeland, and threatens the security of “our Arab allies across the Middle East” and the security of Europe.

The “deal has vast implications for the future security of the Jewish people,” he said, noting that it would take a nuclear-armed Iran only “one day” to kill six million Jews — the number that were killed in World War II.

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Members of Congress, who return Tuesday from their summer recess, have until September 17 to debate the deal which will ease Western sanctions in return for Tehran curtailing its nuclear program.

Republicans are unified in their opposition, warning the deal leaves a civilian nuclear program intact, and that sanctions will provide Iran with a huge windfall they say could be funnelled toward terrorist operations.

Obama on Tuesday reached the magic number of 41 senators in support of the Iran deal, enough to block any resolution disapproving of the accord.

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Cheney said the agreement represented an “intricately crafted capitulation.”

“Every member of Congress swears to defend the Constitution from enemies outside our shores,” Cheney said.

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“A vote to reject that agreement will do that, approving it will not.”


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Fox News hosts lob conspiracies and personal attacks at Democrats as they argue against impeachment

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The three prime time hosts at Fox News hosts invoked conspiracy theories and lobbed personal attacks about the appearances of Democrats lawmakers participating in the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump in lieu of attacking the substance of the testimony given on the first day of public hearings.

This article was first published in Salon.

After describing the hearing as a “complete and utter disaster” for Democrats in her opening monologue Wednesday night, host Laura Ingraham invited Raymond Arroyo, the conservative author and lead anchor for the news division of the Eternal Word Television Network, to discuss the public hearings with her.

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St Mark’s closed as Venice faces more floods

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Flood-hit Venice braced for another exceptional high tide Friday, with the mayor ordering St Mark's square closed after Italy declared a state of emergency for the UNESCO city.

Luigi Brugnaro ordered the iconic square closed ahead of the latest sea surge of around 1.6 metres (over five feet) mid-morning as strong storms and winds batter the region -- lower than Tuesday's peak but still dangerous.

"I'm forced to close the square to avoid health risks for citizens... a disaster," Brugnaro said.

Churches, shops and homes in the city of canals have been inundated by unusually intense "acqua alta", or high waters, which on Tuesday hit their highest level in half a century.

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Impeachment: Two quotes that defined the first day of public hearings

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Editor’s note: Wednesday was the first day of public hearings in the House impeachment inquiry. Two career diplomats – William B. Taylor Jr., acting ambassador to Ukraine, and George Kent, deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs – gave testimony to the House Intelligence Committee. Two scholars listened, and each picked one quote to analyze.

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