Archive for December, 2010

The assassination of two Iranian nuclear scientists last week throws a global spotlight on the possibility of nuclear arms production in Iran. Though Iranian officials deny their nuclear program is targeted to make an atomic bomb, the country is now completely sufficient in its internal building of components that could create an atomic bomb. The International Atomic Energy Agency of the United Nations is currently watching over Iran’s nuclear production to thwart any threat, and a Houston Jones Act attorney monitors the situation anxiously.

The United States and other global communities, as well as many a Jones Act lawyer Houston, have kept watchful eyes on Iran for some time. The threat of nuclear war with Iran isn’t something anyone wants to think about. A Houston Jones Act lawyer will note that Iran recently began internally manufacturing yellowcake, a processed uranium substance that, once heated, can be an important part of a nuclear bomb.

A Houston Jones Act attorney may know that fuel rods for Iran’s nuclear reactors are being imported from Russia – however, it is not 100% clear whether or not Iran has fully developed the technology it needs to create and deploy a nuclear bomb.

For some time, Iran has denied both the ability and desire to create an atomic bomb. The head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization has been transparent about the internal manufacture and use of yellowcake – however, further news about the production of the bomb is hush-hush, and the Iranian government completely denies it. As pointed out by a Jones Act attorney Houston, production of yellowcake allows Iran to be able to complete the nuclear fuel cycle that would allow them to build the atomic bomb.

Manufacturing the fuel and pushing it through a nuclear reactor is a technology that may not yet be available to the Iranians. This process is a complicated one that few countries have access to.

The announcement that yellowcake is manufactured in Iran comes one day before nuclear talks that have been stalled between Iran, Germany, the UK and US, China, France and Russia. There is no word of how these talks may be affected by the announcement of Iran completing the fuel cycle, and what effect this may have on a maritime lawyer Houston.

Wary of a world war with nuclear arms, the world cautiously watches Iran and any other nation developing a nuclear fuel cycle of any kind. Any Houston Jones Act lawyer will stay focused on the news in anticipation of a peaceful resolution to any future threat of nuclear war. More news will follow in the days to come as nuclear talks continue, and we receive more information on the nuclear situation with Iran.

Today, the Senate held a session to move George W. Bush’s tax cuts to US families who make under $250,000 a year. This is one of the Democrats’ first moves to extend Bush’s tax cuts to US families who are not super wealthy. The moves ultimately failed in the Senate. 53 senators supported the bill, but as noted by a Jones Act lawyer Houston, the 60 Senate votes needed were not reached.

US President Barack Obama expressed disappointment at the failure of the vote, citing that high income tax cuts cost over $700 billion for the US economy. Many Americans are outraged about the failure of the vote, wondering with the US Senate is not taking measures to increase cuts for all Americans that are clearly in place for the rich and privileged. Maritime lawyers Houston watch anxiously to determine how the vote will affect clients and other US citizens.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell expressed disapproval at the idea of raising taxes during a recession, whether a rich or middle class American is on the paying end.

Many Democrats, some including a Jones Act lawyer Houston, still feel that, though the vote did not in their favor, they are now on record with the public as attempting to lower taxes for less wealthy Americans, thus fighting for the middle class that make up most of America’s population of workers and earners.

Senator Dianne Feinstein of California pointed out that millionaires are not the people who are struggling in the current US economy – middle class and less economically fortunate Americans are suffering while the rich are saving money. Feinstein says it’s important for a Senator to “stand up for what you believe.” Many a Houston Jones Act lawyer will agree.

The news comes at a time of strong feelings when it comes to the economy. Many Americans, including a Houston Jones Act lawyer, are divided about whether or not the tax cuts set forth by the last Bush administration should continue. While over 10% of America’s citizens live in poverty, the 3-4% tax cut given to the wealthy in our country is incredibly offensive to some. On the heels of a financial bailout that benefited both public corporations and banks, Americans are feeling restless in dealing with a bad economy, a recession, unemployment (sometimes long-term) and other financial problems. Hopefully, the bi-partisan Senate will work together to ensure that anything that crosses the table is something that will benefit all Americans. Any maritime lawyer Houston is always watching news stories like this one carefully.

Whether rich or poor, employed or not, we can all agree that the Senate should be considering what’s best for all Americans.

And so it begins – The Senate Armed Services committee met on Friday to discuss the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” that has been a common, and much-argued topic for our nation’s military over decades.

A Houston Jones Act lawyer watched the news to note that progress was made when all leaders of the different US military branches resoundingly stated that a repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell should be handled by the US congress, and not military leaders.

General James Amos, Commandant of the US Marine Corps, gave strong warnings and foretold of repercussions that could stem from abolishing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Amos believes that repealing the policy would shift the concentration of preparing for battle to significant disruptions in the operations of individual battalions. A Jones Act lawyer Houston may agree, while another Houston Jones act attorney has a differing opinion.

Vice Chairman General James Cartwright argued that any risk to the morale or any overall risks of a repeal would be “manageable.”  Arizona senator John McCain, a former presidential hopeful, said that Americans are much more concerned about issues closer to home – the economy, unemployment, and our current financial crises, as well as maritime attorney issues that affect a Houston Jones Act lawyer – as opposed to repealing a policy that’s been around for decades. Many US military officials feel that 2010 and 2011 are not appropriate times to bring up repealing the policy – that members of the military are not quite ready to deal with the policy being repealed, and that the military itself has much more to worry about than repealing the policy. Specifically, many officials believe the US should be worrying about affairs and military involvement with other nations.

For proponents of the repeal, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is an archaic policy that takes away individual rights. Most proponents believe there will be no marked difference in the effectiveness of the US military if the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy is repealed. A Jones Act lawyer Houston noted that similar actions in the UK and other countries have shown no marked difference in the effectiveness of other countries’ militaries, which members of the US military argue is a good sign of what would happen here. Even so, military and government officials are looking for the “right time” to repeal the policy, and to do so in a way that benefits everyone in the military.

Any maritime attorney or Houston Jones Act lawyer knows that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is one of the most controversial policies in the US today. The motion to repeal has already passed the House, and may soon pass the Senate as well. If that happens, it’ll be the first time this policy has been repealed in national history. Hopefully the repercussions will be minimal.

Republicans in the US Senate are standing firm on their take to bar or slow any legislation not having to do with tax cuts or the US budget. Many are comparing their actions in Congress to a serious temper tantrum – of course depending on what side of the issue you are on. A Jones Act lawyer knows that the less money an average-earning American sees, the more discouraged they can get.

The entire body of US Republican senators took part in writing and signing a letter to the Senate majority Leader, promising that all legislation would be slowed down significantly until tax cut or budget issues were addressed. Though a Houston maritime lawyer may not be surprised, this came as a bit of a surprise to bipartisan leaders and President Obama, who met with leaders from all parties the day before the letter went out. During that meeting, party leaders agreed to cooperate in eliminating economic issues most Americans are facing or struggling with.

Many are calling the letter “obstructionist” activity – some blaming Democrats for passing the health care bill in a similar fashion. Maritime lawyers Houston are on both sides of the issue.

Earlier tax cuts held up by President Bush will expire at the end of the year if Democrats and Republicans can not come to a mutual agreement. A Jones Act lawyer Houston will anxiously monitor the situation for the next 30 days. Republicans and Democrats are on both sides of the issue, with Republicans contending that tax increases will further damage an already poor economy. Democrats claim the tax cuts will only continue to cause problems for employment, public programs, and other important areas tax money is used for.

Many accuse the tax cuts of only “working for multi-millionaires” and leaving average-earning American people out of the equation, possibly including a Jones Act lawyer Houston. Democrats tend to agree. With only a month left before the tax cuts expire, Senators who are on both sides of the issue must make some important decisions. Public programs and every day Americans are at stake.

Some Americans argue that during the stalemate, politicians taking part should not be paid, and this money should be put back into the Federal Treasury. This is a sentiment many Americans share. One or two may even be a Houston maritime lawyer. With continued pressure from public works to get more money into public funding, with extended pressures from struggling families to increase jobs, and with hostility due to the major banks bail out, the US economy is a mess. Hopefully the parties can work together to come to a resolution that will not just benefit the politicians, or center around hurt feelings regarding party election losses or wins –but will benefit all Americans, particularly those who are struggling just to get ahead of lower salary brackets.

A controversial document obtained and leaked by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange accuses Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of ordering US diplomats to spy on UN reps.

The papers that were leaked specify that American diplomats visiting the UN should gather intelligence for the US government. Jones Act lawyers are watching developments from the situation, as US intelligence issues could affect maritime relations in the US.

Assange, recently accused of sexual assault charges and currently under pursuit by global internationals headed up by the Swedish Interpol, is calling for Clinton’s resignation.

Maritime lawyers Houston note that officials for the United States say the papers are preposterous, and show nothing but Secretary of State Clinton’s dedication to uniting a global front between US diplomats and UN leaders.

State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley contends that it is the job of a diplomat to gather and transmit information around the world between US diplomats and representatives of the countries they visit. Crowley says there is nothing out of the ordinary about Clinton’s request, and that it can hardly be considered “spying” or “intelligence gathering” – rather, a Jones Act attorney will note it is part of the day to day job activities of a diplomat in any country.

The White House also says that diplomats frequently receive this kind of memo, and more than often “ignore it”. Diplomats are never actively told to gather information and report it back to the White House. Any urge to gather information is more encouraged in a “if you happen upon the information” method, rather than an active gathering of intelligence for the United States. It is said that diplomats often do not respond to these memos or gather any type of intelligence at all – which some maritime attorneys Houston may feel is adequate.

A former US intelligence official says that information gathered by diplomats is not necessarily considered “in the trenches” intelligence information, but many leads are followed up on by actual intelligence officials, not a Houston Jones Act lawyer – making the diplomats’ information foundational for US intelligence leads.

The US and other countries seem to regularly come under scrutiny for how intelligence is handled. Unfortunately, intelligence gathering is a part of global relations with other countries, and diplomats may be involved – not just in the US, but globally. Maritime lawyers can keep tabs on intelligence situations worldwide that will give clues on how maritime relations with other countries might be affected.