Will Iran’s Nuclear Deception Stand?

There was an article in a paper the other day that said while so many Americans were focusing their ire at Libya’s Moammar Qaddafi, their real concern ought to be Iran.

Looks like that article got it right. The Iranians now admit they have a second uranium enrichment facility. This one looks to be fully capable of producing bomb making material. So much for Ahmadinejad’s statement the other day at the UN that Iran has fully cooperated with weapons inspectors. He certainly made no mention of this second facility in his remarks to the General Assembly.

Ahmadinejad

So now what to do? Even those who might think the Iranians have a right to develop nuclear power for the nation’s energy needs are at a loss. This appears to be out and out deception.

Presidents Obama and Sarkozy, as well as British Prime Minister Gordon Brown were quick to respond to Iran’s admission. President Obama said the new facility “is inconsistent with a peaceful program.”  He demanded Iran present detailed information to the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) as to the scope and intention of the new plant.

However, CNN is quoting sources who say Western powers have known about the existence of this so-called secret plant for several months. It was that knowledge that led Iran to send a letter to the IAEA admitting the new plant existed.

So the question must be asked again. What to do now? President Obama and France’s Sarkozy talk about new and “serious” sanctions. Can they work, and to what end? Demanding the Iranians close the new plant is like trying to put toothpaste back in the tube.

And while the West may see Iran’s nuclear ambition as war-like, what about the rest of the world. The Chinese have a longstanding problem with ratcheting up sanctions against Iran. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, it has the power to veto any such action, rendering the tough talk of Obama, Sarkozy, and Brown effectively moot.

So it seems the road to getting Iran to scale back its nuclear program runs right through Beijing. Which leads to the question, what will the West have to concede to get the Chinese to pressure Iran despite their strong economic ties? It’s obvious any progress here will come in increments, and perhaps despite the tough words we heard Friday morning. Unlike the previous administration, no  one is talking about a military option.

So what would you do? How would you respond to Iran’s new nuclear plant? Do you think they want to make a bomb? You tell me.

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Do Lobbyists Need Three Days to Read Health Reform Bill?

Republican Senator Pat Roberts thinks so. After saying publicly he wouldn’t vote for the bill now before the Senate Finance Committee, Roberts pleads for more time not so he can read the bill, but so lobbyists can. Here’s a direct quote. “The thing I’m trying to point out is that we would have at least 72 hours for the people that the providers have hired to keep up with all the legislation that we pass around here, and the regulations we pass around here, to say “Hey, wait a minute. Have you considered this?” That’s all I’m asking for.”

Now granted, the bill now before the Finance Committee contains some 564 amendments. That may be a lot of reading, but what makes Roberts or anyone else think those amendments weren’t written at the behest of the same people he’s shilling for? Talk about being in someone’s pocket!

Fact is, Republicans on the committee and throughout the Senate want healthcare reform to die a slow death. Sad to say, some Democrats are helping them out in this endeavor. It’s been said before, and it needs to be said again. Any bill that doesn’t contain a public option is no healthcare reform at all. President Obama should stand up right now and say he won’t sign such a bill.

We’ve written before about the cold fear conservatives have about government competing with those big insurance companies which fund their lawmakers and many organizations that oppose reform. They frame it in “government can’t do anything right” language, but they fear government may do its job too well. They know Medicare and Medicaid, while not perfect, keep administrative costs at about half the level of private insurance companies.

And what does Pat Roberts really believe about healthcare reform? Well, here’s another quote.

“I hear from Kansans all of the time who wonder why it is necessary to completely and radically change our system of health care in order to gain insurance coverage for a relatively small number of uninsured Americans.

“They’re not heartless- they just don’t think that we need to sacrifice a system that works well for some three-quarters of this country, and spend trillions of dollars that we don’t have, when there are other, more targeted options to reduce costs and increase insurance coverage.”

So that one quarter of the country, those tens of millions of people for whom the current system doesn’t work are just out of luck, eh, Senator? Maybe you should talk to some of those who had insurance, only to be arbitrarily dropped when they got sick. Or people who had to declare bankruptcy as the only alternative to the spiraling cost of care for a chronic illness.

Maybe the question posed at the top of this blog is the wrong one. Maybe it should be “Do our lawmakers have any clue about how America really lives?” Well, do they? You tell me.

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Should Qaddafi and Ahmadinejad Speak at UN?

By the look and feel of US media coverage, the bosses of Libya and Iran ought to be the world’s most wanted. “Libyan Loon”, “Evil Ahmadinejad”, the tabloid headlines scream. As if calling these people names will somehow hasten their departure from the world stage. It’s ironic that Qaddafi (there are still at least a dozen ways to spell his name) will be following President Barack Obama to the podium at the UN General Assembly Wednesday. It’s been his embrace of the released Lockerbie bomber and his quest to pitch his tent somewhere in the New York area that’s refocused attention on him.

There are local officials in the New York hamlet of Bedford that are as we speak descending on an estate reportedly owned by Donald Trump. They’ll be inspecting the tent Qadaffi has pitched there, with an eye toward making him take it down because he didn’t get a permit. Nothing to do with politics, you understand. They’re just upholding the law.

gaddafi_tent.bedford

As for Ahmadinejad, his constant denials of the Holocaust are reason enough for most people to find his presence here distasteful at best. And believe me, that is good reason. To top it off, he’s got significant problems at home, where there are still significant numbers of people who think he stole the last election. He’ll be center stage Wednesday afternoon, and several nations have promised to walk out of his speech if he starts ranting.

Ahmadinejad

That leaves a larger question. Why are these guys even here addressing the world body? Their statements and actions d

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