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Hillary announced her health care proposal today. She calls for universal health care that is privately run, not government run.

Edwards and Richardson say their health care plans are better, and that they offered theirs sooner….

But the most fun will be had with Mitts remark. Today, Republican Mitt Romney, in New York City for a fundraising stop, criticized Clinton’s proposal, saying, “‘Hillary care’ continues to be bad medicine … in her plan, we have Washington-managed health care. Fundamentally, she takes her inspiration from European bureaucracies.”

However…………you know he slipped up, ……..he is Mitt after all.

The centerpiece of Clinton’s latest effort is the so-called “individual mandate,” requiring everyone to have health insurance just as most states require drivers to purchase auto insurance. The plan that Romney helped institute while governor of Massachusetts requires the same individual insurance mandate as Clinton’s and uses state subsidies to help reduce the cost of private coverage.

Since then, Romney has said he would leave it up to the states to decide whether they supported such a mandate.

So if one uses pure logic, assuming that Hillary’s plan is bad medicine, and Romney implemented the same type of plan in Massachusetts, then it must also follow that Romney’s plan is bad medicine……..

So Mitt Romney, tell us if her plan is so bad, why did you do it when you were governor? Or are you implying that only ideas that come from you are good, from all others suspect?

If that is so, then no thanks Mitt……We have already suffered from 7 years of someone who makes his decisions “because I/m right” and it doesn’t work…………

He may survive because his slip was over shadowed by Giuliani’s comment. While campaigning in Florida, Republican Rudy Giuliani said Clinton’s plans was a “pretty clear march to socialized medicine.”

Which means (as was previously pointed out with Giuliani’s Iraq policy), that he has no idea of what he is talking about, because of course,…..his time is spent being far too engaged with the ladies.

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Watching the Petraeus report, I was dismayed by the insolence of the leading republican on the committee from California.

He brought up every negative he could find to lay out in front of Petraeus’s  on national TV.  Hat’s off to Petraeus.  Only his eyes showed his outrage at being dis’d by this representative of the  republican party.

Such top shelf Republicans have no morals.

There is a time an place for everything.  But going to extreme efforts, to dig up someone’s septic tank, transport his shit, and dump it at his feet in the sanctity of the halls of Congress, oversteps the line.

Republicans are a disease upon America’s values.  Of course shit happens.  But good taste decries that one does not play with it in public.

The Ugly, of the Good, Bad, and the Ugly photo courtesy of College Humor.

The Petraeus Report is coming! The Petraeus Report is coming! Today it is hard to miss the calls echoing Paul Revere’s famous ride. For indeed we will soon have the White House report all have been waiting for since the surge began……. only a click away…….Of course we originally thought it would be written by Petraeus himself……(we were so naive.)

Since objectivity is out, I decided to search around and catalog the opinions of those who support the continued surge, and those who want us to withdraw.

First the Good. These will see the Petraeus report as representing what is actually going on in Iraq…….and recommend that we stay.

Bush/Cheney, Israeli lobby,Mitch McConnell, Mitt Romney, John McCain, Rudy Giuliani and other high level republicans. Mike Castle, the lobbyists being paid to support the war, Lieberman (I-CT). 12% of Americans, corporate mainstream media, defense contractors, and trolls.

I am sure there may be some more, but Google couldn’t find them. (It did include Delawareonline: how funny?_)

On to the bad. Ever since Milton’s Paradise Lost in the seventeenth century, studying bad has been much more fun. This group believes the opposite of the White House report. They see Iraq a imploding and think we should get out……sometime….eventually.

The British, Democrats, all Democratic presidential candidates, 85% of Americans, 99.9% of other nations, all of Delaware’s bloggers, Keith Olberman, Hollywood, the GAO, Association of Catholic Nuns, Vietnam Vets, US Labor, poets, environmentalists, the city of Austin, Texas, historians, military families, the NIE report, the General Jones report, artists, women, 1 million New Yorkers, West Point Graduates, lawyers, the City of Rochester, NY, librarians, and a (shock) surprising number of Republicans on the Armed Services committee listening to David Walker testifying in defense of his GAO report.

Thus we can judge by the support, that this war seems to be supported solely by one political party; and no one else. It is quite an odd situation to be in, the country which once was the standard the whole world looked to, now intently venturing down a path supported by only a handful of people. We will be paying for our mistake a long time.

As for the ugly? We touched on that with the picture at the top of this post…..Enough is enough. We have seen enough ugliness for a day…….

Republicans have a really odd vision of history. This just in from a Far Right Evangelical website which I will not name out of respect for those here who wish not be linked to the more extreme elements of their sect……(But with a little research, I am sure anyone can locate the source….)..

Disclaimers aside, this sect, out in the Midwest was praising Bush/Cheney and the nuclear weapons on their way to Iran… Here is their amazing logic…….

In the 30’s the dust bowls ripped all the topsoil away. Extreme drought and extreme temperatures preceded the dust storms. This summer extreme temperatures and extreme drought dominate the Midwest. It was only World War II that pulled us out of the Great Depression some 10 years later.

Their claim was that if Bush held strongly to his beliefs, and did not waiver and back down from nuking Iran, WWIII would begin and the rains would come.

Of course…..anything is allowable on the internet………

Mike Castle is good at talking out both sides of his mouth. He gives one point of view, then switches and says “on the other hand…..” and proceeds to give the point of view exactly opposite of what he just said.

He is very good at it. When speaking before a large group, each person hears the point of view he agrees with, shakes his head affirmatively, and later, remembering that he once agreed with him, he pushes Mike’s button on the voting machine.

As Nancy Willing puts it: Mike Castle very awkwardly suggests that because all of Delaware peace protesters have one goal in mind, (that they want to get out now), he almost finds himself resisting what they want because he disagrees with them even though he agrees with them on a withdrawal.

Obviously Mike still tries to do it. But today’s audience is no longer neutral. Perhaps considering that Castle has backed (ie. voted for) all of Bush’s Iraq proposals, one could say that 86% of the audience, is downright hostile. They want to hear plans and results, …. not platitudes. Mike’s words fall upon starving ears, like bones devoid of meat before the hungry…..

Actions speak louder than words. We are told so from birth. It is nice that Mike finally decided to speak up about his view of the war. However, his actions already taken, have spoken for him already. Talk is cheap.

So my recommendation is for all to dismiss the talk and remember it is just a diversion. Better to look at the Congressional Record, and see how he voted……….

It should anger you to find out how……..

The Sunday Times of London says the Pentagon may soon bomb 1200 targets in Iran.

Obviously this administration appears to want their Democratic successor to be too busy cleaning up their messes, to have time to poke around the skeletons hiding within the White House closets…………….

Someone,…………..  has lost it……

WTF?photo by SUCHAT PEDERSON, News Journal

Thanks to fellow live bloggers: Ryan Singel and David Kravets for their words and images.
threat level rising

Based on the judges question, an apparent victory may be at hand……..

The hearing involves two cases: one aimed at AT&T for allegedly helping the government with a widespread data-mining program allegedly involving domestic and international phone calls and internet use; the other a direct challenge to the government’s admitted warrant-less wiretapping of overseas phone calls.

In questioning of the governmental witness, this exchange occurred.

Judge Harry Pregerson suggests the government is asking the courts to “rubber stamp” the government’s claim that state secrets are at risk “Who decides whether something is a state secret or not? … We have to take the word of the members of the executive branch that something is a state secret?”

Garre counters that the courts should give “utmost deference” to the Bush administration.

Judge Pregerson: “What does utmost deference mean? Bow to it?”

Fifteen minutes later, this exchange occurs.

Judge McKeown asks whether the government stands by President Bush’s statements that purely-domestic communications, where both parties are in the United States, are not being monitored without warrants.

“Does the government stand behind that statement,” McKeown asks.

Garre: “Yes, your honor.”

But Garre says the government would not be willing to sign a sworn affidavit to that effect for the court record.

Blogger’s opinion: Pregerson, by his record, is the most liberal judge on the panel, and he clearly thinks the government is just looking for a blank check for their secret program. But the other two judges aren’t thrilled either. They seem perplexed that the government attorney can’t swear under oath that the Bush Administration isn’t warrant-lessly spying on domestic phone calls.

Proceed to the second case:

Whether the foundation’s lawyers were spied upon, which is the subject of the case, “Is itself a state secret,” Bondy argues. Expanding on that theme, the government argues that the Al-Haramain case needs to be thrown out because the secret document that the government accidentally gave the foundation is so secret that it is outside of the case.

The government claims that the plaintiff’s memories of the document can’t be allowed into the case because the only way to test them is against the “totally classified” document.

This leads to this exchange :

Judge McKeown on the TOP SECRET/TOTALLY document: “I feel like I’m in Alice and Wonderland.”

Eisenberg: “I feel like I’m in Alice in Wonderland, too.”

Al-Haramain lawyer Eisenberg argues that the government’s rationale for dismissing the cases on state secrets grounds doesn’t apply to his clients, since they already know they were surveilled from seeing the secret document.

Judge Margaret McKeown and Judge Hawkins seem unconvinced that the Al-Haramain case can continue without relying on a top-secret document that can’t be used in court.

Eisenberg also offered that the government could have the case dismissed simply by proving the court that they got a warrant.

But the panel seemed unpersuaded that the document can be used at all and generally seemed to be sympathetic to the government’s position.

Bondy, the government’s attorney, finished by reiterating that giving out any information on the alleged surveillance would help the enemy: “We just cannot confirm or deny whether they were surveilled.”

Bondy, for the government, gets the last word and neatly sums up the case for the three judges. Al-Haramain Foundation attorneys, he points out, “think or believe or claim they were surveilled.”

“It’s entirely possible that everything they think they know is entirely false,” he says.

The Federal Governments Position in Defense of Secret Surveillance

Possibility of another terrorist attack?

Unconfirmed talk is that international terrorist chatter is as high as it was in August of 01, just before the planes came………Definitely expect an attack within 90 days we are told. Code Red.

Wasn’t it a former Pennsylvanian senator named Santorum who said last week that what ultraconservatives needed to push their agenda forward is another terrorist attack like 9/11? What?

Isn’t that what Mitch McConnell is currently peddling around Congress, this heightened level of chatter? But who is the source? Silence…..Is there any independent confirmation? Silence…… The only answer the public hears is a rumble from the gut of Chertoff. ……..Feed me……

The fear every American has, is not from the random violence of a terrorist, who supposedly will fight the sharks and swim across the ocean to get here, but of our own self-appointed president, declaring martial law, stripping us of our rights, in order to stay in power forever. What better method than to use a massive terrorist attack to push ones agenda…… It worked the last time, right?

This time I am not so sure it would work. If one has an employee who makes the same mistake twice, big time, one fires his ass. A terrorist attack is definitely big time. And whose ass did we entrust the last time to make us safe? And now miraculously those same people are telling us that Al Qaeda is as stronger than it was in the summer of 01?

That doesn’t make me scared. It really pisses me off!  How on earth can the greatest country in the world, be completely powerless to contain Robin Hood and his band of merry men, climbing over moon rocks while carrying a kidney machine? Bottom line is that they can’t…. unless not finding him is being done on purpose.

“What is most troubling is that no one in a position of authority is trying to get to the bottom of this.

If GOP leaders like Dennis Milligan (R-Ark) and former Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa) possess information that could protect the American people from another terrorist attack, the CIA should interrogate them using the techniques our Vice President has approved,” Fetzer observed. “Let’s water-board them and subject them to sexual humiliation. After all, that’s what we are doing to prevent attacks abroad. Why aren’t they being used here? Chertoff appears to be making no effort to get to the bottom of this. Bush can’t claim to be ‘the security president’ if he won’t keep us secure.”How much money have we sunk into Iraq, where according to every nation’s intelligence agencies, there were NO terrorists before we started. How many bridges could we have inspected and repaired in this country if we had used that money less foolishly?……..

If we have an administration that allows us another terrorist attack, this time killing between 30,000 and 300,000, we need to impeach that administration; not give them more power. What the hell have we been spending our children’s money on? and they are telling me that terror is worse now?…. than it was before 9/11?

And they want us to trust who? Should another attack occur, an attack more viscous than 9/11, the ugly truth is that such an attack could only occur because one man fell asleep at the wheel: George W Bush. America will be furious. They will not reward him with powers of tyranny, they will impeach!

Cheney’s diversion in Iraq provided a lull in the war on terrorism. Had we finished Afghanistan first, maybe made a couple or secret raids across the border into Pakistan, there would be no Al Qaeda. But no, we are now being warned of an eminent attack………..

If the unthinkable occurs and we are attacked, America must get it’s own house in order first before striking back. America must replace its 2 leaders with ones who are competent,… so that when our time comes to return the favor to Al Qaeda………we won’t make the same mistake twice………..

Bush can’t claim to be ‘the security president’ if he won’t keep us secure

Beauty in the Beast
While our focus has been on impeachment, the US is gearing up for what may be the beginning of the final war of Armageddon. Despite sounding like a generous dish of hyperbole, there are some reported points of view that this administration is hell bent on maintaining control over its Evangelical base by orchestrating a WWIII that originates in the Middle East. Not only will it originate in the Middle East, mind you, but in the very location of the Garden of Eden itself. That should provide a convenient full circle…………

We should be concerned because no one talks about it, for just in its concept, it is way too bizarre of a belief to be taken seriously. Historically it can be compared to the outlandish inner sanctum whispers in and around the Third Reich during the late 30’s, “psst…..there are rumors that he plans to exterminate every one of them that is alive today in Europe.”

For if the above ridiculous assertion were to be proven true, then perhaps we could then have at least some motive as to why the middle administration officials are stymied and blocked from making real progress, while the captains of the Titanic, retire to their quarters after ordering a “full steam ahead.”

The Titanic actually provides a very good metaphor for this administration. Everyone on deck can see a collision is eminent. Meanwhile those unconcerned drink and dance in the staterooms below. Those in charge, the senior officials under the sway of the republican mantra, prance around completely unworried about real events even as their administration unravels around them?

So how does the end of the world pan out? It starts with our support for Turkey’s elimination of the PKK, the Kurdish terrorist organization that has been responsible for 35,000 Turkish deaths since its beginning in 1984.

Common knowledge says that Green Berets, CIA, or both have already been inserted into the Kurdistan region and are now actively pursuing “intel” on the 3500 of the estimated PKK guerrillas living near the Turkish-Iranian border region.

The first question to pop up is this: why would we invest more time and money to suppress the Kurds who were the most supportive of our Iraqi adventure, and who controlled the most stable of those three regions of Iraq? Why?

First, for the Cheney opponents, the regional Kurdish government has NOT been supportive of the Bush/Cheney Oil grab. They have independently made two oil deals themselves(with Norway and Turkey even) that have NOT been sanctioned by the US provisional government’s Iraqi parliament. Kurdistan will stand to make a much larger percentage off of the profits from each well, then would any of other provinces if the Iraqi HydroCarbons Act, the Oil bill, ever gets passed.

By bringing hostilities into an area previously tame by comparison to say, the Sunni province, we are effectively using the military to put a hold on any oil deal previously made, even if we were ineffective in stopping it politically. As long as there are hostilities occurring in that region, no oil company can capitalize on its contract,and rush in and invest, no matter how lucrative the oil revenues might be………

Armageddon in the Garden of Eden

Another difficulty for the US position, is that the Kurds tend to provide the most reliable units in the reformed Iraqi national army. The Kurdish section of the local police bureau has taken part in recent counter-terrorism operations in Baghdad and other parts of the country that are dominated by Sunni or Shiite political factions. To have the US either sponsor or carry out attacks on Kurds within the Kurd’s homeland, could alienate our staunchest domestic ally, right there in Iraq.

Another interesting development is the new alignment occurring as we speak within the Middle East that is occurring as a direct result of US military involvement in Iraq. Turkey as alway been considered as one of our staunchest allies ever since the advent of the cold war……Iran has been considered one of our most vilified enemies ever since the fall of the Shah. But currently Turkey and Iran are working together to eliminate the PKK in the US controlled northern Iraq.

What? Screech. Halt. Bang. Crash………

Turkey and Iran have quietly worked out a reciprocal security arrangement, whereby Iran’s military will engage Kurdish separatists whenever encountered, in exchange for Turkey’s cooperation against the Iranian Mujahideen-e-Khalq movement (MEK), a well-armed and cult-like opposition group that previously found refuge in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.

Both Iranian officials and Turkey’s prime minister have alluded to “mechanisms” (likely to involve intelligence-sharing) already in place to deal with security issues of mutual interest. Neither Turkey nor Iran has any desire to see an independent Kurdish state established in northern Iraq. For the moment, Turkey’s cooperation with Iran is achieving better results than its frustrating inability to persuade the United States to help eliminate a designated terrorist group in northern Iraq.

Stock footage of a future war zone?

In a recent interview, Erdogan vowed that Turkey would not allow attacks on its neighbors from its territory, adding, in an obvious allusion to Iran, that all countries had a right to pursue the development of a peaceful nuclear energy program (Milliyet, March 12).

One can remember the reports that Israel and the U.S. Department of Defense were providing clandestine support to Kurdish PJAK “terrorists,” operating in the northwestern Iranian border region, questioning the usefulness of such a policy in countering Iran’s nuclear ambitions or destabilizing the country in advance of a military strike. Since then, there have been further allegations that the CIA is using its classified budget to support terrorist operations by disaffected members of Iran’s ethnic minorities, including Azeris, Baloch, Kurds and Arabs (Sunday Telegraph, February 25).

Iran may be expected to continue aggressive military operations against Kurdish militants to keep its border region secure in a politically volatile period, while continuing to demonstrate to Turkey its usefulness as a security partner in contrast to U.S. reluctance to undertake anti-Kurdish military activities. U.S. intervention in northern Iraq’s Kurdistan region could create a new wave of destabilization in Iraq, as well as diverting U.S. resources from a confrontation with Iran (a result no doubt desired by Tehran).

A Turkish incursion will likely have limited scope and objectives, although it will likely include at least two divisions (20,000 men each) with support units. The last major cross-border operation 10 years ago involved 40,000 Turkish troops. With the greater distance to PKK bases at Mount Qandil from the Turkish border, a first wave of helicopter-borne assault troops might follow strikes by the Turkish Air Force. An assault on Mount Qandil will prove difficult even without opposition from Iraqi Kurdish forces. More ambitious plans are likely to have been drawn up by Turkish staff planners for a major multi-division offensive as far south as Kirkuk if such an operation is deemed necessary.

A Turkish newspaper has reported that General Ralston has already negotiated a deal with the KRG to permit a Turkish attack on Mount Qandil in April (Zaman, March 25).

Conclusion

While tensions peak on the border, the time has in many ways never been better for a resolution to the Turkish-Kurdish conflict. From captivity, Abdullah Ocalan appears ready to concede Turkey’s territorial unity in exchange for stronger local governments. He recently stated, “The problems of Turkey’s Kurds can only be solved under a unitary structure. This is why Turkey’s Kurds should look to Ankara and nowhere else for a solution” (Zaman, March 26). Turkish investment in northern Iraq is far preferable to having Turkish tanks and artillery massed menacingly along the border. If the KRG was intending to keep the PKK as a card to use in coercing Turkish support for Kurdish autonomy, it may be time to play it. PKK morale is low and prolonged inactivity under the aging leadership will ultimately send many fighters back to their villages. The movement is hardly in a position to mount an effective offensive. Without state sponsorship, the PKK is poorly armed and supplied. The KRG’s limited hospitality is hardly a replacement for Syrian patronage. Massoud Barzani has urged face-to-face talks on the PKK problem with Turkish leaders, who have also recently indicated openness to discussion (NTV, February 26). Turkey’s continuing conflict with the Kurds in turn,jeopardizes its candidacy for European Union membership. With the possibility of full-scale Turkish military operations beginning in northern Iraq in the coming weeks, both U.S. and Turkish strategists must realize that any clash between the Turkish military and U.S.-supported Iraqi Kurds who back their PKK brethren, is a political disaster in waiting.

Whereas common sense says to stand down, and wait for possible provocation, the Cheney arm of the Bush administration has pushed for a full steam ahead affront on the Kurdish guerrillas. The Turkish troops are there, at least in Cheney’s eyes, to intimidate the Kurds to support the Hydrocarbon Oil deal.

“Look you Kurds. If you don’t stand behind my oil bill you won’t have an semiautonomous region to call your home. You will be under Turkish control! Got it?”

Why the flames are being fanned, and why the administration stands by with cans of gasoline, they are not saying. However to most rational people, this oil piece of the puzzle offers some sincere motive behind the otherwise insane mechanizations of this administration.

To others; those whose defections most worry this administration, these actions double as proving that the Armageddon’s scenario is taking shape.