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Senate Sanctions Bill Could Draw U.S. Into Iran War: The Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act essentially empowers Israel to decide whether the United States will go to war against Tehran. n their own, the tough new sanctions imposed automatically if a final deal isn’t completed in six months pose a daunting enough challenge for President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry. But it is the legislation’s commitment to support an Israeli preventive strike against Iranian nuclear facilities that almost ensures the U.S. and Iran will come to blows.

In other news

Issa’s latest ‘partial transcript’ stunt: To be sure, that sounds alarming, but we’ve seen plenty of reports based on leaked partial transcripts, “obtained” by news organizations from Darrell Issa’s office, most of which turn out to be misleading – or completely false. So I checked in with Democrats on the House Oversight Committee, who said “key details” from Teresa Fryer’s transcript “were omitted” before it was leaked to ABC. It’s true that security testing uncovered a recent vulnerability, but Issa’s leak left out relevant facts: there have been no security breaches, the vulnerability was identified and fixed, and Fryer sees the security measures in place as “best practices above and beyond what is usually recommended.” In a statement, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), ranking member of the Oversight Committee, said, “Chairman Issa’s reckless pattern of leaking partial and misleading information is now legendary for omitting key information that directly contradicts his political narrative….This effort to leak cherry-picked information is part of a deliberate campaign to scare the American people and deny them the quality affordable health insurance to which they are entitled under the law.” Much of this, incidentally, was left out of ABC’s original report, though it’s since been updated.

NC warns court about ‘womanless’ marriages to defend Gov. McCrory’s ban on NAACP protests: A Superior Court judge in Raleigh on Monday gave the NAACP permission to rally at the State Capital building to protest the Republican-controlled legislature after Gov. Pat McCrory’s (R) administration refused to approve a permit for the group. NAACP attorney Scott Holmes told Judge Allen Baddour that the state’s action’s were unconstitutional because the state had claimed that the permit had been denied because the event would have more than 100 people. But hundreds of people attended a Christmas tree lighting ceremony with Gov. McCrory in the same area earlier this month. “What’s really going on here is that the state has preferred speech and non-preferred speech,” Holmes explained. “They prefer government speech over the people’s speech. And that’s unconstitutional.”

The Right-Wing Is Filled with Biblical Illiterates: The answer is simple: Conservatives have not read the Bible. The Right has successfully rebranded the brown-skinned liberal Jew, who gave away free healthcare and was pro-redistributing wealth, into a white-skinned, trickledown, union-busting conservative, for the very fact that an overwhelming number of Americans are astonishingly illiterate when it comes to understanding the Bible. On hot-button social issues, from same-sex marriage to abortion, biblical passages are invoked without any real understanding of the context or true meaning. It’s surprising how little Christians know of what is still the most popular book to ever grace the American continent.

Minnesota guardsman accused of stealing military IDs to run militia: A Minnesota national guardsman faces federal fraud charges in connection with the theft of names, social security numbers and security clearance levels of roughly 400 members of his former army unit in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The Iraq war veteran intended to use the confidential material to create fake IDs for his militia, court documents say. Obtained Wednesday by the Associated Press, the federal complaint and affidavit says Keith Michael Novak, 25, threatened to use violence if authorities came to arrest him. He also told an undercover FBI employee that he would barricade himself in his apartment and had “5,000 rounds, a thousand of it is in magazines, ready to go,” according to the affidavit.

Americans Evacuated From South Sudan: American citizens were evacuated from a contested area of South Sudan on Sunday after a local rebel commander provided assurances that there would be no interference, Western officials said. It came one day after American Special Operations forces tried to evacuate the Americans there, only to turn back after the three Osprey aircraft being used for the mission ran into heavy small-arms fire. Four American service members were wounded in that episode.

Egypt government declares Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group: Egypt’s military-backed interim government has declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group, a dramatic escalation that gives authorities more power in cracking down on them. Hossam Eissa, the Minister of Higher Education, read out the Cabinet statement after long meeting on Wednesday. Eissa said: “The Cabinet has declared the Muslim Brotherhood group and its organization as a terrorist organization.” Eissa added that the implications of the declaration punish those who belong to the group, financing it and those promoting the group’s activities.

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