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Archive for November 30th, 2009

Iran Plans to Build 10 More Enrichment Plants

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 30th, 2009 5:45 am by HL

Iran Plans to Build 10 More Enrichment Plants
Iran seems to enjoy its nuclear swagger. Tehran has now approved construction of 10 uranium enrichment plants, a remarkable development given that a U.N. watchdog agency demanded last week that Iran cease construction of a previously secret enrichment facility.  —JCL The Guardian: The Iranian government has approved the construction of 10 new uranium enrichment plants, according to state TV, in a further escalation in the diplomatic battle over the country’s nuclear capability. The Iranian nuclear agency has been told by the government to begin work on five new sites, with locations for a further five to be found in the next two months, the report said. The decision was reportedly made during a cabinet meeting headed by the president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, this evening. It comes shortly after Iran warned it may cut back already limited co-operation with the International Atomic Energy Agency after being censured by the UN watchdog for concealing the existence of a nuclear enrichment plant. Read more READ THE WHOLE ITEM

Iran nuclear program

Iran seems to enjoy its nuclear swagger. Tehran has now approved construction of 10 uranium enrichment plants, a remarkable development given that a U.N. watchdog agency demanded last week that Iran cease construction of a previously secret enrichment facility.? —JCL

The Guardian:

The Iranian government has approved the construction of 10 new uranium enrichment plants, according to state TV, in a further escalation in the diplomatic battle over the country’s nuclear capability.

The Iranian nuclear agency has been told by the government to begin work on five new sites, with locations for a further five to be found in the next two months, the report said. The decision was reportedly made during a cabinet meeting headed by the president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, this evening.

It comes shortly after Iran warned it may cut back already limited co-operation with the International Atomic Energy Agency after being censured by the UN watchdog for concealing the existence of a nuclear enrichment plant.

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Spam ‘Godfather’ Sentenced
Encompassing an estimated 78 percent of e-mail, spam remains the bane of many Internet users. The man who has declared himself spam’s godfather, Alan Ralsky, has been sentenced to 51 months in prison for his role in an e-mail stock scam.  —JCL CNN: A man who claims to be the “Godfather of Spam” has been sentenced to 51 months in prison by a federal judge in Detroit for his lead role in an e-mail stock scam scheme, according to court documents. Alan Ralsky, 64, also faces five years probation and will have to forfeit $250,000 that was seized by the government in 2007. U.S. District Judge Marianne Battani also sentenced three others Monday for their involvement in the scheme, including Ralsky’s son-in-law Scott Bradley, 48, who received 40 months in prison and five years probation. Ralsky and Bradley were charged for conspiring to commit wire and mail fraud and violating the CAN-SPAM Act, which criminalizes large, commercial e-mail messages sent using an unauthorized computer or with the intent to hide the e-mail’s original source, according to the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan. They were also charged with committing wire fraud and engaging in money laundering. Read more READ THE WHOLE ITEM

Encompassing an estimated 78 percent of e-mail, spam remains the bane of many Internet users. The man who has declared himself spam’s godfather, Alan Ralsky, has been sentenced to 51 months in prison for his role in an e-mail stock scam.? —JCL

CNN:

A man who claims to be the “Godfather of Spam” has been sentenced to 51 months in prison by a federal judge in Detroit for his lead role in an e-mail stock scam scheme, according to court documents.

Alan Ralsky, 64, also faces five years probation and will have to forfeit $250,000 that was seized by the government in 2007.

U.S. District Judge Marianne Battani also sentenced three others Monday for their involvement in the scheme, including Ralsky’s son-in-law Scott Bradley, 48, who received 40 months in prison and five years probation.

Ralsky and Bradley were charged for conspiring to commit wire and mail fraud and violating the CAN-SPAM Act, which criminalizes large, commercial e-mail messages sent using an unauthorized computer or with the intent to hide the e-mail’s original source, according to the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan. They were also charged with committing wire fraud and engaging in money laundering.

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Poll: GOP Divided Over Party’s Direction, Leaders

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 30th, 2009 5:44 am by HL

Poll: GOP Divided Over Party’s Direction, Leaders
The Republican rank and file is largely in sync with GOP lawmakers in their staunch opposition to efforts by President Obama and Democrats to enact…

Huckabee Granted Clemency To Maurice Clemmons, Person Of Interest, In Ambush That Killed 4 Cops
PARKLAND, Wash. – A man with an extensive criminal past — whose 95-year prison sentence was commuted in Arkansas nearly a decade ago by then…

James Adler: Jobs 1.0: Creating Jobs without Busting the Budget
It is now clear that left alone the current economic recovery will not create substantial additional jobs any time soon. The scheduling a December White…

Norm Stamper: Death In A Coffee Shop
This spate of ambush killings — a single incident in a year is relatively rare — raises fundamental questions about what it means to be a police officer today. Including: Would you apply?

Will Bunch: Decades Are Only “From Hell” If We Make Them
The decade that we’re in now (more on THAT awkward phrasing in a second) is still with us for another 32 days, but the race…


GOP Group Undermining Robo-Call Laws Has Ties To DCI

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 30th, 2009 5:43 am by HL

GOP Group Undermining Robo-Call Laws Has Ties To DCI
The shadowy conservative advocacy group that’s working to undermine state laws against robo-calling has ties to DCI Group, a Republican lobbying firm with a reputation for dirty tricks and shady clients.

White House Releases More Names From Visitor Logs — Help Us Search
The White House just posted nearly 2,000 records of visitors who came through the gates at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue this year, as part of its new transparency policy. The release includes the names of people who visited President Obama and other top officials.


Thank You, Rush!

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 30th, 2009 5:39 am by HL

Thank You, Rush!


Republicans United, To A Point

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 30th, 2009 5:38 am by HL

Republicans United, To A Point
A new Washington Post poll finds Republicans and GOP-leaning independents are “overwhelmingly negative” about President Obama and the Democratic Party more broadly, “with nearly all dissatisfied with the administration’s policies and almost half saying they are ‘angry’ about them. About three-quarters have a more basic complaint, saying Obama does not stand for ‘traditional American values.’ More than eight in 10 say there is no chance they would support his reelection.”

However, the survey “also reveals deep dissatisfaction among GOP voters with the party’s leadership as well as ideological and generational differences that may prove big obstacles to the party’s plans for reclaiming power.”


10 Signs Vegetarianism Is Catching On

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 30th, 2009 5:37 am by HL

10 Signs Vegetarianism Is Catching On
Martha Stewart promotes a vegetarian Thanksgiving? Recently, much attention has been lavished on the horrors of factory farming and the advantages of a meatless diet.

Why Is the Media So Obsessed With Horrifying Images of African-American Mothers?
With Michelle Obama in the White House, I expected a resurgence of the Claire Huxtable stereotype. Instead, hideous depictions of abusive, irresponsible black moms are everywhere.

A Smart Way to Battle Drug Addiction and Save Lives: Harm Reduction
Harm reduction is a public health approach that stresses pragmatic solutions to social ills like substance abuse.


J Street And The Jewish Tradition

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 30th, 2009 5:36 am by HL

J Street And The Jewish Tradition
The Jerusalem chapter of Search for Common Ground, along with the Washington Post’s “On Faith” section, asked me to contribute 800 words on how Jewish values animated participants in J Street’s October conference in Washington. So–not without hubris–I did: During…


Washington PostJ StreetReligion and SpiritualityJewEthnicity

Maureen Dowd on Obama, Loyalty, and Greg Craig
This is definitely worth reading. But this piece by Steve Clemons of New America Foundation is even better. I have been in Washington since I volunteered for the McGovern campaign. Gregory Craig — who was essentially dumped for trying to…


Greg CraigMaureen Dowd

Settlement Freeze Scam: Hillary Thinks, “Fool Me Once….”
Prime Minister Netanyahu today announced a partial 10-month settlement freeze. And, understanding that Netanyahu’s freeze is meaningless, the far right is backing him 100%. According to the New York Times, “A statement from Mr. Netanyahu’s office said the moratorium would…


IsraelWest BankMiddle EastJudea and Samaria AreaPrime minister


UK Iraq War Inquiry: Blair Was Told Iraq War Was Illegal, Decided On War In 2002

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 30th, 2009 5:35 am by HL

UK Iraq War Inquiry: Blair Was Told Iraq War Was Illegal, Decided On War In 2002
Last Tuesday, the United Kingdom began “the most thorough investigation yet into the decisions that led up to the war and governed Britain’s involvement” through a series of Iraq war hearings in which numerous high-level British officials — including key war supporter and Bush ally ex-Prime Minister Tony Blair — are expected to testify […]

blairbush Last Tuesday, the United Kingdom began “the most thorough investigation yet into the decisions that led up to the war and governed Britain’s involvement” through a series of Iraq war hearings in which numerous high-level British officials — including key war supporter and Bush ally ex-Prime Minister Tony Blair — are expected to testify about their role in bringing their country to war.

The hearings, chaired by privy council member John Chilcot, have brought to light a number of explosive facts which unveil the level of chicanery practiced by the Blair government in taking the country to war over the opposition of the vast majority of British citizens:

Blair was told prior to the war by his intelligence services that Iraq did not have access to weapons of mass destruction. Sir William Ehrman, the director-general of defense and intelligence at the Foreign Office at the time, told the inquiry that British intelligence services had concluded ten days prior to the beginning of the war that Saddam Hussein did not have access to weapons of mass destruction and that he also likely lacked warheads capable of delivering such weapons. The Blair government ignored the advice of their intelligence services and supported the war anyway. [11/25/09]

The Blair government had decided to support the US-led war up to a year before the invasion. Sir Christopher Meyer, the ambassador to Washington at the time, told the inquiry that the Blair government had decided that it was “a complete waste of time” to resist Bush’s efforts to go to war and had instead opted to offer advice about how to invade. Meyer also told the inquiry that former US national security adviser Condoleeza Rice had called the Meyer on the day of the 9/11 attacks and told him, “We are just looking to see whether there could possibly be a connection with Saddam Hussein.” Meyer also reiterated that both the American and British government were constantly looking for a “smoking gun” to justify the upcoming war. [11/26/09, 11/26/09]

Blair was told the Iraq War would be illegal under international law by his attorney general. In a July 2002 letter, former British attorney general Lord Goldsmith warned Blair that the UN charter only permits military intervention “on the basis of self-defence” or for “humanitarian intervention” and that neither case applied to Iraq. Blair responded by banning Goldsmith from future cabinet meetings and ignoring his verdict on the legality of the war. [11/29/09]

The Iraq war Inquiry will continue through 2010 and is expected to release its conclusions in a formal report at the end of that year. Although few expect there to ever be prosecutions as a result of the deception or illegality of the invasion of Iraq — despite the fact, as one of the last surviving judges of the Nuremburg Tribunal has said, the leaders who launched the invasion should be held accountable — there are other important reasons to investigate the drive to war. As Chilcot said at the opening of the hearings Tuesday, the inquiry was set up not only to “identify the lessons that should be learned from the UK’s involvement in Iraq,” but also to “help future governments who may face future situations.”


Obama offers new role for Pakistan

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 30th, 2009 5:34 am by HL

Obama offers new role for Pakistan
President Obama has offered Pakistan an expanded strategic partnership, including additional military and economic cooperation, while warning with unusual bluntness that its use of insurgent groups to pursue policy goals “cannot continue.”

White House security under review before state dinner was crashed
The bizarre breach at the White House state dinner last week lends new urgency to a review of Secret Service procedures that was begun after President Obama’s inauguration, and threatens to revive questions about how much security is enough for the country’s elected leader.


Today’s GOP is both united and divided
The Republican rank and file is largely in sync with GOP lawmakers in their staunch opposition to efforts by President Obama and Democrats to enact major health-care legislation, but a new Washington Post poll also reveals deep dissatisfaction among GOP voters with the party’s leadership as well …


Climate Change: A Heated Debate

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 30th, 2009 5:31 am by HL

Climate Change: A Heated Debate

Will Obama Commit Fully to Success in Afghanistan?

No More Troops to Afghanistan
Senator Paul Kirk, Boston Globe
PRESIDENT OBAMA is expected to announce this week his plan for Afghanistan and Pakistan, a mess he inherited from his predecessor. With the security of our homeland foremost in his thinking, he was wise to have taken the time to listen to experts and reassess US strategy. Indeed, time and events have helped to clarify the situation. I hope the president will be equally wise and take them into account and urge a more narrow and focused strategy with no further troop buildup.Pakistan continues to harbor Al Qaeda terrorists who would pose an imminent threat to US national security if they were…