Military option against Iran will remain on table for years: Obama

US President Barack Obama has told the Republican-dominated Congress that the military option against Iran will remain on the table for several years, despite the Vienna nuclear agreement.

“Should Iran seek to dash toward a nuclear weapon, all of the options available to the United States — including the military option — will remain available through the life of the deal and beyond,” Obama wrote to Congress on August 19, the New York Times reported on Thursday.

“We have a wide range of unilateral and multilateral responses that we can employ should Iran fail to meet its commitments,” read the letter.

The letter obtained by the Times, addressed Representative Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York. It was also aimed at other Democrats with concerns about the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), reached between the US, Iran and five other world powers in Vienna in mid-July.

Under the agreement, restrictions will be put on Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for, among other things, the removal of all economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

The US Congress is reviewing the Iran nuclear agreement and is likely to vote on it in September.

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In conference call, Rand Paul seeks Kentucky GOP support on presidential caucus

rand_paul_is_pro_choice_for_toilets-900x960By Sam Youngman, Lexington Herald-Leader

Aug. 21–In March, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul put his odds of winning the Republican presidential nomination at “one in five, one in six.”

But on a Thursday night conference call with Republicans who will vote this Saturday on whether to have a presidential caucus next year, Paul adjusted those odds to “one in 10.”

Paul, who told callers he was under the weather, called in with nearly 350 members of the Republican Party of Kentucky’s state central committee in an effort to persuade them to go ahead with a proposal that would allow him an end-around a state law that prohibits a candidate from appearing on the same ballot twice.

The cost of switching to a caucus, which would allow Paul to run for president and the U.S. Senate at the same time, was a major topic as Republicans wanted to know why Paul had not transferred an initial payment of $250,000 to an RPK account as he said he had in a letter this week.

Republicans wanted to know why Paul was waiting until the proposal passed at the state central committee meeting this Saturday, and Paul responded that there was no need to transfer the money unless Kentucky’s Republicans don’t trust their junior senator.

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Clinton facing fresh worries in Congress over emails

preview_dd5d60615b5e40fa9332a59d6eb6de60-a43d60575ee84256bc9e64e799c46e17-0By KEN THOMAS and JULIE BYKOWICZ, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Hillary Rodham Clinton is facing fresh worries among congressional Democrats about her use of a private email account while serving as secretary of state, as new polls signal that the inquiry is taking a toll on her presidential campaign.

The Democratic front-runner’s campaign has taken steps to defend her against allegations she may have put classified information at risk by using a private email account and server, arguing she never sent or received material considered classified at the time.

But Democratic lawmakers said Clinton’s campaign has not adequately explained the complicated nature of the email review and panned some of her attempts to use humor to talk about the probe. Clinton joked at a Democratic dinner in Iowa last week that she liked the social media platform Snapchat because the messages disappear by themselves. And she shrugged off questions about her server being wiped clean, asking facetiously in Nevada, “Like a cloth or something?”

“I don’t think the campaign has handled it very well,” Florida Sen. Bill Nelson told The Associated Press on Thursday. “I think the advice to her of making a joke out of it — I think that was not good advice.”

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The Real Value of $100 in Each State

The Tax Foundation, a non-partisan research organization, recently unveiled a study indicating the value of $100 in all 50 states.

The value of $100 is worth the most in Mississippi ($115.21), Arkansas ($114.29), South Dakota ($114.16), Alabama ($114.03) and West Virginia ($113.12). Areas including the District of Columbia ($84.96), Hawaii ($86.06), New York ($86.73), New Jersey ($87.34) and California ($89.05) have the lowest value.

Alan Cole and Scott Drenkard, who organized the study, said typically states with the higher nominal incomes $100 Map-1maintain higher price levels as a result.

“This is because there is a relationship between the two: In places with higher incomes, the prices of finite resources like land get bid up,” Cole and Drenkard wrote in the report. “But the causation also runs in the opposite direction. Places with high costs of living pay higher salaries for the same jobs. This is what labor economists call a compensating differential; the higher pay is offered in order to make up for the low purchasing power.”

Consequently, Cole and Drenkard say that adjusting incomes for price level adds perspective concerning regional prosperity.

The ramifications of these statistics relate to public policy and its implementation because policies are often created based off of the dollar’s value.

“Many policies—like minimum wage, public benefits, and tax brackets—are denominated in dollars,” Cole and Drenkard wrote in the report. “But with different price levels in each state, the amounts aren’t equivalent in purchasing power.”

Because of this, those living in more expensive states typically pay more in federal taxes without benefitting from higher standards of living.

The Tax Foundation generated these statistics based off of the the Bureau of Economic Analysis’ recent publication measuring real personal income for states in 2013.

Cheating website subscribers included WH, Congress workers

ashley-madisonLONDON (AP) — Husbands and wives across the world are being confronted with their partners’ extramarital affairs after a catastrophic leak at adultery website Ashley Madison spewed electronic evidence of infidelity across the Internet.

Online forums were buzzing Thursday with users claiming to have found evidence that their significant others were on the dating site. In the United States, a religious ex-reality television star made a groveling apology after a media outlet found his financial data in the dump. In Britain and Israel, parliamentarians were put on the spot after their email addresses were located in the trove. And in Australia, one woman appeared to learn — live on air — that her husband’s details were registered with the site.

Family law experts are divided on the likely offline impact of the leak, but Los Angeles-based divorce lawyer Steve Mindel predicted an uptick in business for him and his colleagues.

“We’re all saying: ‘It’s going to be Christmas in September,'” Mindel said. “Pretty soon all of this stuff is going to surface and there’s going to be a lot of filings for divorce directly as a result of this.”

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