Rand Paul wins Kentucky primary — Larger obstacles loom ahead

The government has run rampant.  Spending is out of control, wars are undeclared and being planned as we speak, and when a nation goes to war with other in the name of democracy, we are losing ours.  Corrupt politicians abound laying the groundwork for more corporatism.  With two pieces of legislation in the Congress to strip Americans of their rights, a $2 trillion dollar deficit, and needless endless wars, maybe the true threat to American survival is the government itself.

Maybe with a number of congressman and senators not seeking reelection, and men like Rand Paul having the chance to win the Kentucky Senate race, maybe, just maybe, things will change.

“The tea party message is not a radical message. It’s not an extreme message,” he said. “What is extreme is a $2 trillion deficit.”

Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex), Paul’s father, told supporters in Kentucky, “You think only the Republicans are disgruntled? Everybody is disgruntled, especially the independents.”

“If you look at all the polls, John McCain won Kentucky overwhelmingly in a not-so-good year for Republicans,” Paul told CBS. “And President Obama is less popular in our state than he’s ever been, and he never was very popular in Kentucky. So I think we have a very good chance in the fall.”

Good luck, Rand Paul.  You’ll need it.



Senate report: Bin Laden was ‘within our grasp’

By CALVIN WOODWARD, Associated Press Writer Calvin Woodward, Associated Press Writer Sun Nov 29, 9:00 am ET

WASHINGTON – Osama bin Laden was unquestionably within reach of U.S. troops in the mountains of Tora Bora when American military leaders made the crucial and costly decision not to pursue the terrorist leader with massive force, a Senate report says.

The report asserts that the failure to kill or capture bin Laden at his most vulnerable in December 2001 has had lasting consequences beyond the fate of one man. Bin Laden’s escape laid the foundation for today’s reinvigorated Afghan insurgency and inflamed the internal strife now endangering Pakistan, it says.

Staff members for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Democratic majority prepared the report at the request of the chairman, Sen. John Kerry, as President Barack Obama prepares to boost U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

The Massachusetts senator and 2004 Democratic presidential candidate has long argued the Bush administration missed a chance to get the al-Qaida leader and top deputies when they were holed up in the forbidding mountainous area of eastern Afghanistan only three months after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Although limited to a review of military operations eight years old, the report could also be read as a cautionary note for those resisting an increased troop presence there now.

More pointedly, it seeks to affix a measure of blame for the state of the war today on military leaders under former president George W. Bush, specifically Donald H. Rumsfeld as defense secretary and his top military commander, Tommy Franks.

“Removing the al-Qaida leader from the battlefield eight years ago would not have eliminated the worldwide extremist threat,” the report says. “But the decisions that opened the door for his escape to Pakistan allowed bin Laden to emerge as a potent symbolic figure who continues to attract a steady flow of money and inspire fanatics worldwide. The failure to finish the job represents a lost opportunity that forever altered the course of the conflict in Afghanistan and the future of international terrorism.”

The report states categorically that bin Laden was hiding in Tora Bora when the U.S. had the means to mount a rapid assault with several thousand troops at least. It says that a review of existing literature, unclassified government records and interviews with central participants “removes any lingering doubts and makes it clear that Osama bin Laden was within our grasp at Tora Bora.”

On or about Dec. 16, 2001, bin Laden and bodyguards “walked unmolested out of Tora Bora and disappeared into Pakistan’s unregulated tribal area,” where he is still believed to be based, the report says.

Instead of a massive attack, fewer than 100 U.S. commandos, working with Afghan militias, tried to capitalize on air strikes and track down their prey.

“The vast array of American military power, from sniper teams to the most mobile divisions of the Marine Corps and the Army, was kept on the sidelines,” the report said.

At the time, Rumsfeld expressed concern that a large U.S. troop presence might fuel a backlash and he and some others said the evidence was not conclusive about bin Laden’s location.

Lou Dobbs for Senate?

‘Mr. Independent may have his eyes set on a Senate race for 2012.  Sources have it that Dobbs is set to contest Democratic seat holder Robert Menendez, the Senates only Hispanic. 

While the Presidency is in speculation the Senate is more like it says his spokesman.  Dobbs is best known as being a crusader against illegal immigration but there are those who doubt whether he could pass the Republican National Committee “purity test”.  Politico is reporting that strategists are delighted in a possible third party canidate.

Healthcare Reform passes hurdle, but difficult road ahead

By Kevin Drawbaugh

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama‘s U.S. healthcare overhaul plan has cleared an important Senate hurdle but lawmakers warned on Sunday of challenges ahead in winning support for passage, even among Obama’s own Democrats.

On Saturday, Senate Democrats gathered the 60 votes needed to open floor debate on the plan, which would make the biggest changes in the $2.5 trillion healthcare system in 40 years. It is the Obama administration’s top domestic policy initiative.

No Republicans backed the procedural motion and a handful of conservative Democrats, whose votes were crucial, supported the floor debate but remained uncommitted to the bill itself.

One of those was Democratic Senator Ben Nelson, who said on Sunday that he could not support the plan without big changes.

“If there are a whole host of other items that are the same as they are right now, I wouldn’t vote to get it off the floor,” Nelson said on the ABC’s “This Week” news program.

Independent Senator Joseph Lieberman, usually an ally of the majority Democrats, said he could not support the bill either if the “public option” — for a government-run health insurance plan to compete with private firms — stays in the bill.

“I don’t think anybody feels this bill … will pass” as written, Lieberman said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” program.

Debate will begin on November 30 and is expected to last at least three weeks.

The “public option” component of the bill is negotiable, Senator Richard Durbin, the Senate’s No. 2 Democrat, said on NBC on Sunday, adding the Senate bill “must” get passed by the end of 2009.

If it goes into 2010, with other issues such as financial regulation reform and mid-term elections vying for attention, “it gets more complex,” he said. “We’re anxious to get it done.”

The House of Representatives has passed its own version. Differences between Senate and House versions would have to be reconciled in January before Obama could sign a final measure.

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid said it was wrong to link healthcare legislation and Monday’s controversial recommendation by an independent task force against routine mammograms for women in their 40s.

“Republicans who deliberately conflate or confuse the two only confirm just how desperate they are to distract the American people from the real debate — and from the fact that they have no vision for fixing our broken health care system.

“There will be nothing in our bill to discourage or prohibit preventive treatments — quite the opposite, in fact. And as a result, our historic reforms, like mammograms, will save lives,” he said.

The Senate bill would expand coverage to millions of the uninsured and it would bar insurers from denying coverage over preexisting conditions. It also would require virtually all Americans to buy insurance and set up exchanges to shop for healthcare coverage. 

While offering subsidies to help low-income workers afford coverage, the plan also would raise the payroll tax on high-income workers that finances the Medicare system that provides for the elderly. It also would impose a tax on high-cost “Cadillac” insurance plans.

Republicans have vowed to delay or block the bill, which they say is a costly government intrusion in the private sector that would raise premiums, reduce choices and increase taxes.

“The bill is fundamentally flawed … It puts big costs onto states,” said Republican Senator Lamar Alexander on the “Fox News Sunday” program. “If the American people know that, the bill will collapse of its own weight.”

Pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer Inc and Merck & Co Inc and insurers such as UnitedHealth Group Inc and WellPoint Inc> are spending hundreds of