Sunday, October 4, 2009

Last Call

Whatever the GOP is paying Rasmussen to scare the hell out of Americans, they need to give them a raise.

Sixty-three percent (63%) of voters nationwide say guaranteeing that no one is forced to change their health insurance coverage is a higher priority than giving consumers the choice of a "public option" health insurance company.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 29% take the opposite view. They say it’s more important to give people a government-sponsored non-profit health insurance option.

Most liberal voters say giving people the choice of a public option is more important. But most moderates put guaranteeing that no one is forced to change their health insurance first, and conservatives overwhelmingly agree with them.

Currently, 53% of insured voters say it’s likely they would have to change their health insurance coverage if the health care reform plan proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats becomes law. That helps explain why 54% of voters believe that the health care system needs major changes, but just 41% support the comprehensive reform proposed by the president.

Talk about begging the question. Given the choice between losing health care and a public option, of course most Americans would rather not lose their health care. But it's a false choice, it's like saying which is better, a cure for cancer or killing all children under 18 on Earth? I dare say a number of Americans would be against a cure for cancer under those circumstances.

Then again, so far the Republicans have the President's health care reform as killing the elderly, paying for health care for illegal aliens, paying federal money for abortions and the next step towards total control of your lives by a President who is not even an American citizen, all of which are ludicrously false.

But it's not stopping them from saying 63% of Americans are against the public option now, isn't it? When has the truth ever mattered?

In Which Zandar Answers Your Burning Questions

Slate's Jacob Weisberg asks:
Irving Kristol saved the right from intellectual bankruptcy in the '60s. Who will save it now?
Well, that's a good question. Because right now Conservatism is dead, it's being led by people who revel in ignorance, racism, stupidity and hatred, and nobody has a reason why people should embrace true conservatism other than WE HAVE A BLACK PRESIDENT, THE HORROR. Weisberg continues:

How did this prudent outlook devolve into the spectacle of ostensibly intelligent people cheering on Sarah Palin? Through the 1980s, the neoconservatives became more focused on political power and less interested in policy. They developed their own corrupting welfare state, doling out sinecures and patronage subsidized by the Olin, Scaife, and Bradley foundations. Alliances with the religious right skewed their perspective on a range of topics. They went a little crazy hating on liberals.

Over time, the two best qualities of the early neocons—their skepticism about government's ability to transform societies and their rigorous empiricism—fell by the wayside. In later years, you might say Kristol and the neoconservatives got mugged by ideology. Actually, they were the muggers. "It becomes clear that, in our time, a non-ideological politics cannot survive the relentless onslaught of ideological politics," Kristol wrote in 1980. "For better or for worse, ideology is now the vital element of organized political action."

There was no clearer sign of that shift than the effort by Kristol's son, William, to prevent any health care reform legislation from passing in 1993—on the theory that the political benefit would accrue to the Democrats. Today, that sort of Carthaginian politics has infected the entire congressional wing of the GOP, which equates problem-solving with treasonous collaboration. Though the president has tried to compromise with them in crafting the last missing piece of the social insurance puzzle, even allegedly moderate Republicans are not interested in making legislation more effective, less expensive, or in other ways more conservative. They are interested only in handing Obama a political defeat.

They stared into the abyss. The abyss not only stared back, it decided it was perfect to run the Republican Party for the last two decades, climbed out, and took over.

And yes, all conservatism has now can be summed up in three sentences:

  1. War, power, and money is good.
  2. Anything else the government does besides pursuing those three aims is pure evil.
  3. Also we hate Obama and we hate him a lot, like Madeline Kahn hated Yvette in Clue.
And that's it. That's all they've got. Government by lowest common denominator.

Pushing For That Third War

Not content with Iraq and Afghanistan draining our coffers and killing thousands of our soldiers and millions of civilians, the GOP has taken the gloves off this week on the Sunday shows and wants total war against Iran.
"I think an Israeli attack on Iran is a nightmare for the world, because it will rally the Arab world around Iran and they're not aligned now. It's too much pressure to put on Israel," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told Fox News' Chris Wallace.

He continued: "Military action should be the last resort anyone looks at, and I would rather our allies and us take military action if it's necessary."

But Graham doesn't think an attack should be limited to airstrikes on Iran's nuclear facilities. "If we use military action against Iran, we should not only go after their nuclear facilities. We should destroy their ability to make conventional war. They should have no planes that can fly and no ships that can float," said Graham.

Sen. Saxby Chambliss, Republican of Georgia, agrees.

"The problem with military action also is that you're probably not going to be able to stop the production of uranium by just a simple airstrike," Chambliss said on Fox News Sunday. "Lindsey's right. It's an all or nothing deal. And is it worth that at this point in time, when we know they have the capability? We can slow them down, but a full-out military strike is what it would take," said Chambliss.

Are you kidding? We have to protect Israel by carpet bombing the hell out of Iran? Are Republicans insane? Honestly?

With what troops, what public support, and what actual reason do we have to launch an all out military war against Iran? With what ground forces will we secure Tehran and depose the regime? Have these bloodthirsty morons learned nothing from the last seven years?

My God, they can never be allowed in power again. Ever. Chambliss's own logic, that a "surgical" strike would be worthless, is exactly the reason why we can't attack Iran. It would in fact take an all out war to do so...a war we can't afford and cannot conduct in any feasible way.

Calling Out Your Neighbors

The Times of London is claiming Israeli PM Netanyahu has called out Russian nuclear experts as the ones helping Iran build a nuclear weapon.

Israel's prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, has handed the Kremlin a list of Russian scientists believed by the Israelis to be helping Iran to develop a nuclear warhead. He is said to have delivered the list during a mysterious visit to Moscow.

Netanyahu flew to the Russian capital with Uzi Arad, his national security adviser, last month in a private jet.

His office claimed he was in Israel, visiting a secret military establishment at the time. It later emerged that he was holding talks with Vladimir Putin, the Russian prime minister, and President Dmitry Medvedev.

“We have heard that Netanyahu came with a list and concrete evidence showing that Russians are helping the Iranians to develop a bomb,” said a source close to the Russian defence minister last week.

“That is why it was kept secret. The point is not to embarrass Moscow, rather to spur it into action.”

Israeli sources said it was a short, tense meeting at which Netanyahu named the Russian experts said to be assisting Iran in its nuclear programme.

Now the Russians are claiming they can't control every nuclear scientist they ever had (after all, they tried to do that and failed as the Soviet Union) but it's certainly not hard to imagine that freelance Russian scientists would seek a little more capitalistic application of their skills on the open market.

But the real claim here is not that the Russians are helping the Iranians, but that the Russians are helping the Iranians build a nuclear bomb, not a nuclear reactor for peaceful atomic power purposes and all.

And it's not the Israelis quoted in the article, but a Russian defense source who said "bomb". That's kind of an important distinction.

I think today's news and yesterday's news on Iran are somewhat related in the grand scheme of things.

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