Democrats have found another narrative to cling to

Zero HedgeFEBRUARY 20, 2017

After questioning President Trump’s sanity earlier in the week, it appears Democrats have found another narrative to cling to – invoke the 25th Amendment unless Trump “gets a grip.”

With a growing number of Democrats openly questioning President Trump’s mental health.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) in a floor speech this week called for a review of the Constitution’s procedures for removing a president. He warned the 25th Amendment of the Constitution falls short when it comes to mental or emotional fitness for office.

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) during a weekend interview with CNN’s “State of the Union” said that “a few” Republican colleagues have expressed concern to him about Trump’s mental health.

And Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) plans to introduce legislation that would require the presence of a psychiatrist or psychologist in the White House.

Justifying their questions by pointing to Trump’s habit of making demonstrably false claims.

“It’s not normal behavior. I don’t know anybody in a position of responsibility that doesn’t know if they’re being rained on. And nobody I work with serially offers up verifiably false statements on an ongoing basis,”

And now that narrative has grown louder as CNN’s State of The Union just discussed invoking the 25th Amendment unless President Trump “gets a grip”

In fact, The Atlantic’s David Frum joked after the election, “Twenty-Fifth Amendment to the Constitution. Article 4. We’re all going to be talking a lot more about it in the months ahead.”

So, what’s Article 4 to the 25th Amendment? In the abstract, the amendment itself is about presidential succession, and includes language about the power of the office when a president is incapacitated. But Digby recently highlighted the specific text of growing relevance:

“Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.”

What does that mean exactly?

Well, it means Congress isn’t the only institution that can remove a president from office between elections. Under the 25th Amendment, a sitting vice president and a majority of the executive branch’s cabinet could, on their own, agree to transfer power out of the hands of a sitting president. At that point, those officials would notify Congress, and the vice president would assume the office as the acting president.

And what if the challenged president wasn’t on board with the plan to remove him/her from the office? According to a recent explainer, “If the president wants to dispute this move, he can, but then it would be up to Congress to settle the matter with a vote. A two-thirds majority in both houses would be necessary to keep the vice president in charge. If that threshold isn’t reached, the president would regain his powers.” All of this comes up in fiction from time to time, and in all likelihood, Americans will probably never see this political crisis play out in real life. And that’s probably a good thing: by all appearances, the intended purpose of the constitutional provision was to address a president with a serious ailment – say, a stroke, for example – in which he or she is alive, but unable to fulfill the duties of the office.

In other words, for the first time, the concept of a soft palace coup” has been officially brought up on public media; we expect such speculation will only get louder.

The ball is now in Trump’s court.

bill bixby

FACT: CNN is being beat by Nickelodeon.

Flynn brought down by Obama’s “partisan” Russian sanctions

Published on Feb 15, 2017

Ezra Levant of analyzes what happened to General Michael Flynn: His resignation and the media’s celebration. MORE:

Darcy B

Ezra, Russia did not invade and annex Crimea. the Crimeans voted overwhelmingly to rejoin Russia.
teresa elliott

& didnt killery sell russia 20% of our uranium last year?? Trump is being targeted from all sides. God be with him..
Jarrell Stevens

Macs M.

Yes, “crazy” is the middle name of lefties.
Nathan Holstrom

“illegal invading”…??? that is what we are calling Crimea voting overwhelmingly to join Russia and get away from the US Pentagon funded Neo-Nazis that had plunged Ukraine into a civil war.

Why are we focusing on Russia…We should be focusing our attention on the filth that is entering our country….Ban Islam….
John Anderson

Trump should have kept Flynn. He committed no crime other than lying about it. But maybe Trump can’t stand that.

‘Death to America’: Thousands rally in Iran celebrating Islamic Revolution (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

Hundreds of thousands of Iranians have taken to the streets of Tehran to celebrate the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution and denounce US President Donald Trump’s recent statements regarding the Muslim state.


On the anniversary of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, which saw the ousting of the former US-backed House of Pahlavi, a flood of protesters headed towards Tehran’s Azadi (Freedom) Square with Iranian flags, celebrating the rule of the current clerical establishment.

Some also carried effigies of Trump, as well as banners reading Death to America,” the footage showed, to the sound of traditional Iranian revolutionary songs played by police military ensemble.


The crowd included hundreds of military personnel and police officers, Reuters reported citing local TV.

Footage showed people trampling on pictures of Trump in a central Tehran street, where marchers carried banners reading: “Thanks Mr. Trump for showing the real face of America.” The crowd was also seen burning US and Israeli flags. Israel is Washington’s main ally in the region, while Iran has been supporting Palestinians in their dispute with Israel. Chanting out provocative slogans and burning flags are common practices at mass demonstrations in Iran. 

However, some Iranians held banners that said “Down with the US regime, Long live US people” and Americans are welcome to visit Iran, showing gratitude to the demonstrators who took to the streets of America to protest Trump’s executive order barring entry to the citizens of seven Muslim countries, including Iran. Yesterday, a US Court of Appeals upheld an injunction blocking enforcement of the ban, but the case will likely continue to be appealed all the way up to the Supreme Court.

The protest comes after Iran’s most powerful authority, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, called on Iranians earlier this week to demonstrate against the US to show Iran was not frightened of their threats.”

“[Trump] says ‘You should be afraid of me.’ No! The Iranian people will respond to his words on February 10 and will show their stance against such threats,” Khamenei said on Tuesday.

Last week Fox News published an interview with Donald Trump, in which he said they [Iran] have total disregard for our country, they’re the number one terrorist state, they’re sending money all over the place and weapons,” referring to accusations frequently coming from the West that Tehran is supporting various Shiite rebel groups in the Middle East, including the Lebanese Hezbollah, the Palestinian group Hamas and the Houthis in Yemen.

Earlier in February, the US also imposed new sanctions on Iran in response to a ballistic missile test, which Trump’s National Security Advisor Mike Flynn described as provocative and destabilizes the situation across the Middle East.

The US claimed the test violated UN Security Council Resolution 2231 which called on Iran “not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles.” Flynn said that the Trump administration “condemns such actions by Iran,” and has officially put Iran on notice.” 

Addressing the crowds on Friday, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani also called on Iranians to show their unbreakable ties with the Supreme Leader and the Islamic Republic.”

“Some inexperienced figures in the region and America are threatening Iran […] They should know that the language of threats has never worked with Iran […] They should learn to respect Iran and Iranians […] We will strongly confront any warmongering policies, Rouhani told the crowd at the Azadi Square, as cited by Reuters, which reported that millions had shown up to commemorate the occasion across the country.

*(THANK YOU PRESIDENT OBAMA)* – ‘It’s NATO – not Russia – that has deployed tanks to Poland & Baltic States’ – George Galloway


British Defense Secretary speech on “Russian threat” is a desperate attempt to “save jobs and budgets” for the Cold War crowd, which is worried the new US leader will not consider Russia an enemy, broadcaster and former British MP George Galloway told RT. Addressing a group of university students, the UK’s defense secretary Michael Fallon warned of a resurgent Russia and said that it is becoming aggressive. 

RT: What did you make of Michael Fallon’s speech?

George Galloway: Well, Michael Fallon puts the ‘squeak’ in the word ‘pipsqueak.’ He is of course the defense minister of a small and semi-detached European power with not much military prowess and which wants to feel big about itself. And these people, and he’s not alone – the military industrial complex in the United States is up to the same game – they are desperately thrashing around to save their jobs, to save their budgets, to save their roles as muscle-men in the world.


And Fallon got used to, as did other European powers, going around the world, threatening people with America’s army. Now America’s army is not quite so reliable, because America has a President who might not want to use the army in the way that these people want him to, at least one hopes not. And so they desperately seek to continually exacerbate the existing tensions with Russia to defend their own relevance.

The people are asking, “What’s NATO for?” The people are asking, “Why are we spending £160bn on renewing Trident when we now know its missiles are more likely to hit Australia if they were aimed at Russia? And in any case Russia has thousands of nuclear weapons, and we only a handful.”

So it’s all pretty pitiful, actually. Right down to the audience of university students, hoping that none of them would challenge him. I’d like him to debate these matters with me, he knows me well, he comes from the same town in Scotland as me. I’d really love to get my metaphorical hands on him to have some of these matters out.

The truth is that the European Union is having to come to terms with the fact that the US now has a President that doesn’t want war with Russia and they – who have built their entire 50-60 years of history on the possibility of war with Russia – are all at sea, except we don’t have that many battleships left either.


RT: Let’s assume he telling completely the truth about everything he says. Big if, but let’s assume it’s all true. What are his argument about NATO build-up on Russian borders?


GG: Russia has no tanks in Poland, but Britain does. Russia has no tanks in the Baltic States but the NATO countries do. It’s the NATO countries that carried out the coup in Ukraine, and moved their political, strategic and military force into Ukraine on Russia’s border. The Ukrainian coup government is the one that’s bombarding Donbass right now, as we speak, and shedding civilian blood, and rivers of blood are running down the streets. So it’s quite Orwellian, actually, it’s the complete reversal of the truth.

And of course he threatened cyber warfare against Russia. Most unwise, I would have thought, because it seems to me fairly clear that there are a lot of people in Russia quite good with the Internet, and a British Defense Secretary saying “Bring it on!” is probably unwise for Britain’s industry, Britain’s whole cyber infrastructure.

And he mentioned this place I’m sitting in now. The attack on so-called “Russian fake news” is an attack on RT. And why has he done that? Because RT is powering further and further forward, more and more people switching on to it. Because they don’t like the fake news in the British state broadcaster, the BBC, because they don’t like the fake news, the Cold War fake news that we’ve been treated to for decades. So in a way it’s a badge of honor for those of us who present programs on RT, we’re definitely getting under their skin.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Iran vows to fire ‘roaring missiles’ if threatened, conducts drills

Iran has conducted missile and radar tests, with the military vowing to fire “roaring missiles” if the country is threatened. It comes as the US hits Iran with more sanctions and the Pentagon brands Tehran the biggest state sponsor of terrorism.


The latest exercise took place in Semnan Province on Saturday, covering 35,000 square kilometers, and the Revolutionary Guards website said the drills took place to “showcase the power of Iran’s revolution and to dismiss the sanctions.”

The drills are aimed at testing home-made missile systems, radars, command and control centers, and cyber-warfare systems, Iranian state news agencies reported, as cited by Reuters.


If Iran’s security is threatened, Tehran will not hesitate to retaliate, the military added in separate remarks.

“We are working day and night to protect Iran’s security. If we see [the] smallest misstep from the enemies, our roaring missiles will fall on their heads,” the head of the Revolutionary Guards’ aerospace unit, Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, was quoted as saying by Tasnim news agency.

On Friday, the US imposed fresh sanctions related to Iran’s missile program, blacklisting 13 individuals and 12 businesses.

Earlier the same day, the world witnessed a full-out Twitter war: US President Donald Trump tweeted that “Iran is playing with fire,” and that he would not be as kind as Obama.

In response, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif tweeted that Iran is “unmoved” by the warnings, and added: “We’ll never initiate war, but we can only rely on our own means of defense.” In another tweet, Zarif said Iran “will never use weapons against anyone, except in self-defense. Let us see if any of those who complain can make the same statement.”

US Defense Secretary James Mattis then branded Iran as “the single biggest state sponsor of terrorism in the world.”

“It does no good to ignore it. It does no good to dismiss it and at the same time I don’t see any need to increase the number of forces we have in the Middle East at this time,” the Pentagon chief said at a press conference in Tokyo on Saturday.

“We always have the capability to do so but right now I don’t think it’s necessary,” he added.

On Monday, Fox News quoted US officials as saying that Iran had carried out medium-range ballistic missile tests, and Iran confirmed it.


A historic agreement between the US and Iran stated that Tehran would curb its nuclear potential significantly, but not entirely, reducing the number of its centrifuges by two-thirds.

The deal also obliged Iran to cut its uranium enrichment program below the level necessary for bomb-grade material, with the country’s authorities agreeing to reduce its enriched uranium stockpile from around 10,000kg to 300kg for 15 years.

In exchange, the US lifted long-standing sanctions against Tehran.

Iran tested nuclear-capable cruise missile: German newspaper


Iran has tested a cruise missile called “Sumar” that is capable of carrying nuclear weapons in addition to test-firing a medium-range ballistic missile on Sunday, German newspaper Die Welt reported Thursday, citing unspecified intelligence sources.

No comment was immediately available from Germany’s BND foreign intelligence agency or from Iranian authorities.

The newspaper said the Sumar cruise missile was built in Iran and traveled around 600 km in its first known successful test. The missile is believed to be capable of carrying nuclear weapons and may have a range of 2,000 to 3,000 km, the paper said, citing intelligence sources.

Cruise missiles are harder to counter than ballistic missiles since they fly at lower altitudes and can evade enemy radar, confounding missile defense missiles and hitting targets deep inside an opponent’s territory.

But the biggest advantage from Iran’s point of view, a security expert told Die Welt, was that cruise missiles are not mentioned in any United Nations resolutions that ban work on ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons.

International sanctions on Tehran were lifted in January last year under a nuclear deal brokered in 2015 by Britain, France, Germany, China, Russia and the United States.

Under the nuclear deal Iran agreed to curb its nuclear program in exchange for lifting of most sanctions. According to a 2015 U.N. resolution endorsing the deal, Iran is still called upon to refrain from work on ballistic missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons for up to eight years.

News of Iran’s reported cruise missile test came hours after Washington said it was putting Iran “on notice” for its ballistic missile test and signaled that it could impose new sanctions.

Iran confirmed on Wednesday that it had test-fired a new ballistic missile, but said the test did not breach the Islamic Republic’s nuclear agreement with world powers or a U.N. Security Council resolution endorsing the pact.

(Writing by Andrea Shalal, Addirional reporting by Parisa Hafezi in Ankara; editing by Ralph Boulton)

Iran confirms missile test, denies breach of nuclear deal…

Tehran (AFP) – Iran confirmed on Wednesday that it had tested a ballistic missile, but denied that was a breach of its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

The comments from Defence Minister Hossein Dehghan came after the UN Security Council met Tuesday to discuss the weekend test, which Washington described as “absolutely unacceptable”.

“The action was in line with boosting Iran’s defence power and is not in contradiction with the JCPOA (the nuclear deal) or Resolution 2231,” Dehghan said.

He was referring to a UN Security Council resolution that bans Iran from developing missiles that can carry nuclear warheads.

“This test was in line with our ongoing programmes,” Iranian media quoted him as saying.

“We have previously announced that we will execute the programmes we have planned in production of defence equipment meant for our national interests and objectives. Nobody can influence our decision.

“We will not allow foreigners to interfere in our defence affairs.”

Iran’s ballistic missile programme has been a bone of contention with the West since the nuclear deal took effect in January last year, triggering the lifting of international sanctions.

Iran says its missiles do not breach United Nations resolutions because they are for defence purposes only and are not designed to carry nuclear warheads.

It has missiles with a range of up to 2,000 kilometres (1,250 miles), sufficient to reach Israel as well as US bases in the region.

– ‘Not naive’ –

US ambassador Nikki Haley told Tuesday’s Security Council meeting that Washington would not stand idly by while Tehran pursued its missile programme.

“The United States is not naive. We are not going to stand by. You will see us call them out,” she said.

Tehran warned Washington against using the issue to fuel tensions.

“We hope that Iran’s defence programme is not used by the new US administration… as a pretext to create new tensions,” Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said ahead of the meeting.

The row comes against a backdrop of already strained relations between Washington and Tehran over US President Donald Trump‘s travel ban on citizens from Iran and six other Muslim-majority countries.

Some 220 Iranian lawmakers signed a motion on Wednesday endorsing the boosting of Iran’s defence capabilities, the Fars news agency reported.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran’s only way to deter the enemy’s aggression is its missile power,” the motion said, calling the programme “an unavoidable necessity” for protecting national security.

The European Union, which helped broker the nuclear deal, had appealed to Tehran to refrain from activities such as the missile tests, “which deepen mistrust.”

Visiting French top diplomat Jean-Marc Ayrault said Tuesday he had made clear to Zarif his disquiet over the missile tests, calling them “contrary to the spirit” of the Security Council resolution.

Britain also said the test was “inconsistent” with UN resolutions, but stopped short of calling it a violation.

But Moscow, which is fighting alongside Tehran’s forces in Syria, leapt to its ally’s defence.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Iran’s missile test did not breach Resolution 2231 and accused Washington of “heating up the situation.”