Sunday, December 31, 2006

Edwards Chapel Hill Rally Draws Thousands

Photo from One America Committee

Photos by "saltman" at One America Committee blog

Bora was at the John Edwards Chapel Hill rally yesterday, as was Kirk and Exile on Jones Street. Kirk provides a clip. [mov version]

Live blogging toook place here.

At the One America Committee blog, Thread Opener writes about the dynamics of a central campaign theme that focuses on the People:

Joe Trippi: It's About Us
True transformational leadership can only come from a candidate who fundmentally gets that it isn't about him/her -- its about us.

Over the Christmas Weekend Matt Stoller started a conversation about John Edwards that got me thinking again about the difference between transactional politics and transformational politics.

I had an epiphany one day in the middle of the Dean campaign about what made us so different...

Its incredibly simple and defines what I now believe is the essential ingredient in any campaign or candidacy that hopes to be transformational.

All modern campaigns and transactional campaogns are built around a candidate who proclaims to the nation "Look at me -- aren't I amazing?".

The Dean campaign (and any transformational campaign successful or not) was built around a candidate who proclaimed "Look at you -- aren't you amazing?"

This strikes me as essential. More than ideology, or any other factor -- true transformational leadership can only come from a candidate who fundmentally gets that it isn't about him/her -- its about us.

So in terms of 2008 is Hillary capable or realizing that she is not the center of the universe -- that the political world and even her own campaign does not revolve around her? Obama? Edwards? Who? Anyone?

The Dean campaign was different not because of ideology or because of opposition to the war -- but because it revolved around its supporters and empowered them. It was the only campaign in a long time that realized that the people were more important than the candidate.

James MacGregor Burns wrote "A transformational leader stands on the shoulders of his followers, expressing coherently those ideas which lie inchoate in the hearts of the followers -- and in the process makes his followers into new leaders."

Al Gore is doing this right now around the issue of Global Warming. Dean did it in 2004 for President. Who in 2008?

As A Dean supporter in 2003/2004, I had similar feelings and comments.
December 21, 2003: How the name of Howard Dean has become synonymous with the investment of our very selves
Along came Howard Dean, promoting joyous citizen participation as avidly as Bush was oppressing it.....

When I hear people attacking Howard Dean (as I have heard so often lately), I am beginning to take each word in each attack in a deeply personal way. I am not saying this because I am partial to Howard Dean (although I admit to being so). I am telling you this because, most simply, it is true.

The name of Howard Dean has become synonymous with the investment of our very selves in the betterment of our nation, our love for healthy and strong American democracy,and our individual interests in preserving our American rights and performing our American duties. This man, Howard Dean, has caused us to believe in ourselves and all we can be for our vision of America. Most important is his reminder of the fact that America is ours...and we need to take her back. The Bush Administration is beginning to see the danger to Dean's candidacy and I don't think they ever really saw it coming. Every attack they will make on Howard Dean will be felt (quite deeply) as an attack on every American who feels they have the right to participate in American government. What a paradox! With every attack on Howard Dean, he is further empowered.
Governor Dean became our DNC chair because the people who came politically alive because of his inspiration wouldn't have it any other way.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Bloggers Appreciate Edwards' Appreciation of Net

In New Hamphire
Photo by Aldon Hynes

Note that the people asking the questions sound like “professional press.” But they are not. They are average citizens who got to come backstage before his townhall meeting.....

Robert Scoble


As I reported a couple days ago, Robert Scoble is 'touring' with Senator John Edwards as an embedded blogger. Talking about a town hall meeting last night in Iowa, he says,
...1,500 people packed a hall tonight to hear John Edwards speak with almost two years to go before the general election. The rest of us usually would just ignore this stuff cause there’s no way to engage or make your own impact.

Jake Ludington appreciates Senator John Edwards' new way of campaigning. Speaking about Edwards in Iowa last night, Jake posted:
Quotable John Edwards

On Iraq:

"enormous mistake to adopt McCain doctrine to escalate war in Iraq"

"tell the truth about what happened in the past and what's happening now in Iraq"

"we have an enormous responsibility to humanity"

On humanitarian issues and global warming:

"we need to be willing to sacrifice about something other than just war"

"be willing to conserve... be willing to not be an excessive consumer of energy"

"show what we're willing to do in the U.S. to be an example"

Jake's video of John Edwards in Iowa December 28 being interviewed by a handful of bloggers.

DECEMBER 29, 2006

New Hamphire this morning
Photo from

Photo by Aldon Hynes

The photo above is of Senator Edwards' appearance in New Hampshire this morning. After he spoke, there was a bloggers' Meet and Greet with Sen. Edwards. There was a good crowd and there are some posts going on at the local blogs. Check out Blue Mass group and At Blue Mass, commentator JC Sinclair makes rough notes on Edwards' Iraq position:
Totally opposed to the escalation. Men serving are heros, not in favor of cutting off funding that would put the men at risk. Need hearings, loud vocal opposition.
Region could become unstable no matter what we do. Believes only solution for Iraq is political

One Corps Members
Photo from


No More Liebermans: 21st Century Leadership Needed

These were comments that I made today regarding a WaPo op-ed by Senator Joseph Lieberman, elected in Connecticut last November by Republicans who wished to defeat Ned Lamont.


WaPo op-ed: The most pressing problem we face in Iraq is not an absence of Iraqi political will or American diplomatic initiative, both of which are increasing and improving; it is a lack of basic security.
Since over 70% of Lieberman’s electoral success in 2006 consisted of Republicans looking to ensure Ned Lamont’s loss, Joseph Lieberman is still in the Senate and not representing the Democrats’ interests OR the American people’s will when it comes to Iraq. Lieberman is a fool if he actually believes that “basic security” in Iraq is the panacea that will lead us to some imagined improvement in our own national security. For those who have forgotten, our own national security is what this war on terror is supposed to be about. I am afraid that, as long as he continues to refer to civil war as “gang murders “, Lieberman is no more than a ghastly dreamer and a sucker that will climb on board the escalation train bound for hell and embroil our sons and dughters in Iraq’s civil war, making them accomplices in taking the lives of hundreds of thousands more innocent Iraq civilians. For the love of God, will someone please tell Lieberman he’s about three years behind when he says “If Iraq descends into full-scale civil war, it will be a tremendous battlefield victory for al-Qaeda and Iran”? If?!?! I mean, hello???? What the hell is it NOW?

*Re: Improvements in "diplomative initiative", in order for there to be any marked "improvement", the Bush administration would actually have to act on the Iraq Study Group's warning that Bushites had best act as diplomats. To this day, they stubbornly refuse to talk to Iraq and Syria. Lieberman's dreaming again.

To turn around the crisis we need to send more American troops
To turn around this crisis, we need to turn our troops around due west and get them the hell out of there.
In Baghdad and Ramadi, I found that it was the American colonels, even more than the generals, who were asking for more troops.
The colonels don’t want their men and women to die while acting out their small part in the big picture. It doesn’t mean they don’t hope the generals will not act like responsible GENERALS and speak the truth about the stupidity of escalating the bloody violence in this immorally-begun disaster in Iraq instead of tap-dancing for Bush. The war was wrong from the get-go and no temporary surge from a broken army will ever stop the people of Iraq from finishing this civil war, which has been happening before “our lyin’ eyes’ for three years now.

Lieberman can’t face the truth and he doesn’t have the balls to come out and say that there are some victories that can only be won only by admitting that your nation must “lose” certain battles in the greater war for peace and global survival. While we've fiddled in Iraq, we've been losing the greater war. The world's grown poorer in both a physical and spiritual sense. Destabilization and extemism rules the day. If we think we're "safer" in America for what we've done in Iraq, we're out of our bloomin' minds.

I strongly suggest that Lieberman read Gregory Copley’s book “The Art of Victory.” In this ever-changing world, our global survival depends not only upon our own American society’s survival, but upon our ability to cooperate with all other nations and admit we all see through the glass darkly. This is no time for beating our chests and saying that war is equal to greatness or patriotism. We must look at the bigger picture, which is our society's place in the future of this world as it will look in 70 years. We can look back and recall the blood we shed in the Middle East or we can look back and thank God we turned it around. All it ever would have taken is a great leader to step forward and say, "This is the way we're going to do it." Where is that great leadership?

20th century minds like Lieberman’s are going to sow the seed of assured Western death. We desperately need 21st century thinking or before long, we will only be resigned to the annals of history, signs of our once-brilliant ideas about democracy and leadership buried in the sands alongside those of ancient Egypt and all other societies that have suffered the same fate.

While President Gerald Ford is screaming from the grave that we were wrong….while there are increasing vigils and anti-war protests out in the US heartland, Lieberman is showing us that he’s willing to have our fighting men and women kill in the name of Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, increasing the likelihood that we’ll be responsible for radically destabilizing Iraq, the Middle East… the whole oil-producing Gulf if we take Lieberman’s route.

Lieberman’s just one of the Republitards now. [Note - Republitards are the few who still believe the Iraq War was the right thing to do]. All of the dark obstacles in our way have been removed by Lieberman’s stunningly bold-in-the-face-of-truth attempt to re-connect the war in Iraq with 9/11. As Johnny Nash sang, “I can see clearly..”


NOTE: This is an important piece to read. Glenn Greenwald is calling this Joe Lieberman's declaration of war on Iran
...the tactic of those who want to conflate Israel's enemies with American enemies -- and thereby draw the U.S. into fighting those who are hostile to Israel -- is to ignore any such distinctions and to pretend that supporting anti-Israeli groups is evidence of support for the people who flew those planes into American buildings on 9/11.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

John Edwards: The Campaign to Change America

Preparing to officially announce his intention to run for President in 2008 from New Orleans, Louisiana this morning, [NOLA live blogging] Senator John Edwards spoke to about 20 online supporters last night on a teleconference call. He thanked them for their online participation, web coverage and support over the past year and appealed to them to help motivate others in what he promised to be a grassroots campaign. His message to them and to all concerned, motivated, and interested Americans is shown on the following YouTube video.

In an email sent this evening, Senator Edwards outlines his goals and hopes for his 2008 campaign:

I'm announcing here because no place better demonstrates the two Americas I've talked about for a long time. But even more important, no place better demonstrates the power people have when they -- not Washington -- take responsibility and take action to build the America we believe in.

I'm running to ask millions of Americans to take responsibility and take action to change our country and ensure America's greatness in the 21st century.

And I'm asking you to play a crucial role in this campaign.

Last week I asked if you were ready to take our effort to change America to the next level. Thousands of letters have come in, and the answer was an overwhelming yes -- we're in this together.

That's why I'm asking you to help spread the word in your area by holding your own local "Citizens' Launch" event tomorrow. It just takes a few minutes to set up, and anyone can do it.

Click here to download a step-by-step guide and everything you need to hold your own Citizens' Launch this week.

We know what we need to do. Changing our country means:
Providing moral leadership in the world -- starting with Iraq, where we should begin drawing down troops, not escalating the war
Strengthening our middle class and ending the shame of poverty
Guaranteeing health care for every single American Leading the fight against global warming
Getting America and the world to break our addiction to oil
That's not just my vision –- it's our vision. And we can't wait for the next president to take office to begin fundamentally changing our country.

And the truth is, we don't have to wait. Since I left Washington, I've seen firsthand the power that ordinary people have when we work together.

We worked with thousands of volunteers to raise the minimum wage in six states – and we got it done. We're making the first year of college free for young people in Greene County, North Carolina. And we've been working from the grassroots up to organize workers so they can stand up for their rights and earn a decent living.

And this week in New Orleans, I've been working with young people who gave up part of their Christmas vacation to work on rebuilding and helping those in need -- just like the hundreds of college students who came here to work with me during their Spring Break earlier this year.

This is the kind of commitment to solving our problems that I've seen time and time again over the last two years – and it reaffirms one of the great lessons of my whole life. The power of America doesn't lie in Washington; the true power of America is in the people of America.

That's why we're getting ready to launch a campaign that says to everyone who wants to take responsibility for our future: we can't wait until tomorrow. We must act now.

Tomorrow begins today.

The Next President Will Be A Podcaster
Podcasting News
December 27, 2006
Podtech’s Robert Scoble is on his way to New Orleans to cover John Edward’s Thursday announcement that he will be running for President. The Edwards event is significant, not only for Edward’s announcement, but for Edward’s understanding of the increasing importance of Internet media.

Edwards is arguably the most Net-savvy of likely candidates. He has been actively courting the interest of bloggers and podcasters. Earlier in this year, Edwards attended Gnomedex, a conference that focuses on technology and independent publishing, seeking attendees’ input on how politicians should use Internet media. Edwards was also one of the first politicians to have his own podcast.
Democrat jumps gun in announcing presidential ambition
Guardian Unlimited, UK - 58 minutes ago
John Edwards, the Democratic party's candidate for vice-president in the 2004 elections, will make a second run at the White House, his campaign said yesterday ...

The secret Scoble mission revealed
San Francisco Chronicle, USA - 20 hours ago
Tech Chronicles has confirmed with Robert Scoble that he's embarking on an out-of-state trip into the world of politics: He's been invited to help former ...

Edwards Announces and a Birthday Present
by WeDemocrats
Daily Kos
December 28, 2006
Well John, here is one Democrat who welcomes you with open arms, who thinks its time this country woke up to the fact that we need a regular guy in the Whitehouse.

While I won’t speak for the membership of the group, they will decide that at our Annual Meeting in June, I will as of this moment give you my personal endorsement for what its worth.

Thanks for the birthday present!

Ron McBride
Founder & Chairman

Bloggers enter the political sphere
San Francisco Chronicle, USA - 6 hours ago
Some of the blogosphere's movers and shakers are leading the charge to support the candidacy of John Edwards, who took the unusual step of pre-announcing his ...

Edwards Joins Presidential Race
ABC News - 6 hours ago
Former US Sen. John Edwards works in the yard of a home that was damaged by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2006. (AP Photo/Bill Haber). ...

John Edwards’ YouTube Candidacy
NewTeeVee, CA - 7 hours ago
As blogosphere watchers already knew, John Edwards is making no small plans to conduct a lot of his expected 2008 campaign for President online. ...

At a glance: Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards
Kansas City Star, MO - 1 hour ago
AP. FAMILY: Wife, Elizabeth Anania Edwards (married 1977); daughters Cate, 24, and Emma Claire, 8; son Jack, 6. Edwards' 16-year-old ...

Edwards to launch presidency bid
BBC News, UK - 3 hours ago
John Edwards, the vice-presidential running mate to Democrat candidate John Kerry in 2004, is to announce a new run for the White House on Thursday. ...

John Edwards Version 2.008
The Nation., NY - 7 hours ago
The John Edwards who today announces his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination is a very different contender from the fresh-faced young senator ...

Edwards plans to toss hat in ring
Los Angeles Daily News, CA - 10 hours ago
WASHINGTON - On Thursday, John Edwards is planning to announce what has been clear to much of the world since the end of the last presidential election: He is ...

Edwards launches new...
Boston Globe, United States - 5 hours ago
Senator John Edwards will indeed announce a second presidential bid in New Orleans, a spokeswoman confirmed to the Associated Press Wednesday afternoon. ...

Edwards' Web site jumps gun on presidential run
CNN - 5 hours ago
WASHINGTON (AP) -- His campaign says Democrat John Edwards plans to make another run for the White House. John Kerry's former running ...

Edwards campaign accidentally reveals '08 bid early
USA Today - 5 hours ago
WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Democratic vice presidential nominee John Edwards is running for US president for a second time, his campaign said Wednesday. ...

Democrat John Edwards to Announce 2008 US Presidential Bid
Bloomberg - 5 hours ago
By Nicholas Johnston. Dec. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Former Senator John Edwards of North Carolina, ...

John Edwards' campaign says he's running for president: AP
MarketWatch - 5 hours ago
By Gabriel Madway. SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- John Edwards is running for president for a second time, his campaign said Wednesday ...

Edwards Likely to Try for Democratic Presidential Nomination
New York Times, United States - 6 hours ago
By CQ Staff. By Marie Horrigan and Bob Benenson, CQ Staff. John Edwards is expected to announce his second try for a Democratic presidential ...

Edwards to try fresh run for president in 2008
The West Australian, Australia - 51 minutes ago
Former US senator and 2004 Democratic vice-presidential candidate John Edwards is expected to today announce a new bid for the White House in 2008, his ...

Edwards Throws Hat in 2008 Ring
Prensa Latina, Cuba - 3 hours ago
Washington, Dec 27 (Prensa Latina) Former Democratic Senator John Edwards (North Carolina) announced his intention to be the US Democratic presidential ...

Campaign: Democrat John Edwards Will Run For President Again
WCSH-TV, ME - 4 hours ago
His campaign says Democrat John Edwards plans to make another run for the White House. John Kerry's former running mate had planned ...

Edwards to run for president
Hattiesburg American, MS - 4 hours ago
AP. WASHINGTON – Former Democratic vice presidential nominee John Edwards is running for president for a second time, his campaign said Wednesday. ...

John Edwards' Website Lets The Campaign Out Of The Bag
All Headline News - 4 hours ago
Washington, DC (AHN) - Even though it's been a pretty poorly kept secret, former North Carolina Senator John Edwards' website has spilled the beans about his ...

John Edwards to Enter Presidential Race
TransWorldNews (press release), GA - 4 hours ago
Advisors from John Edwards’ campaign revealed that the former Senator from North Carolina would be entering the 2008 presidential race. ...

It's Official: John Edwards Is Definitely Running For President
TPMCafe, NY - 5 hours ago
By Greg Sargent | bio. You knew this was coming, but still, it's now official: John Edwards is definitely running for President. ...

It's official: Edwards to run for president
News 14 Carolina, NC - 5 hours ago
By: AP. WASHINGTON -- WASHINGTON -- Former Democratic vice presidential nominee John Edwards' campaign says he's running for president for a second time. ...

On eve of expected campaign launch, Edwards shovels in NO
KATC, LA - 5 hours ago
NEW ORLEANS -- John Edwards, the former North Carolina senator and 2004 vice presidential nominee, turned back questions about his expected run for the ...

BREAKING NEWS: John Edwards will Run for President
Christian Broadcasting Network, VA - 6 hours ago
AP. -- WASHINGTON -- Former Democratic vice presidential nominee John Edwards is running for president for a second time ...

On eve of expected campaign launch, Edwards shovels in Orleans
KATC, LA - 6 hours ago
NEW ORLEANS -- John Edwards, the former North Carolina senator and 2004 vice presidential nominee, helped student volunteers landscape a yard in Katrina ...

Edwards Expected To Formally Announce For President
All Headline News - 11 hours ago
Washington, DC (AHN) - Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards is expected Thursday to formally announce his plan to seek the Democratic ...

John Edwards Kick's Off His Campaign Tour, NC - Dec 26, 2006
(12/26/06 -- CHAPEL HILL) - John Edwards, the former North Carolina Senator, will make a White House run and the announcement will come in just two days. ...

Katrina victims look for a champion
Sauk Valley Newspapers, IL - Dec 26, 2006
Before the end of this year, former North Carolina senator and 2004 vice presidential nominee John Edwards is set to announce his plans for 2008, in my ...

John Edwards Joins Presidential Race
CBS News, NY - 1 hour ago
By NEDRA PICKLER AP Writer. (AP) Former Democratic vice presidential nominee John Edwards jumped into the presidential race Wednesday ...

Edwards joins Democratic presidential race
San Jose Mercury News, USA - 2 hours ago
AP. NEW ORLEANS - Former Democratic vice presidential nominee John Edwards jumped into the presidential race Wednesday a day earlier ...

Edwards Joins Presidential Race
Wall Street Journal (subscription), NY - 3 hours ago
AP. WASHINGTON -- Former Democratic vice presidential nominee John Edwards is running for president, his campaign said Wednesday. ...

RFK JR on MySpace Not At All Welcoming

I had the strangest "conversation" with a MySpace friend called "RFK Jr. 2008" today. Here's how it went.

I got a bulletin from RFK Jr 2008 saying

RFK Jr. ---

A potential CANDIDATE with INTERNATIONAL support.

The Volunteer Staff of RFK Jr. says Hello to Ireland today.

Other than Barack Obama, is there ANY OTHER POTENTIAL CANDIDATE who could TRAVEL ABROAD to any COUNTRY IN THE WORLD and be greeted with an outpouring of affection and goodwill like RFK Jr. could drum up, especially in Ireland, which is of course where Irish-Americans come from ? No, there isn't. So again, Hello to Ireland, even though you can't vote here.

Seeing what I thought was a question to which they'd expect an answer, I wrote back:

Dec 28 2006 1:29 PM

support.Hello Ireland.

"...Other than Barack Obama.."


I can think of others, but I agree the Kennedys will
also be great ambassadors for the U.S. when it comes
to Ireland.


I was actually thinking, the time I wrote the reply, of how Ireland would embrace Hillary Clinton, especially at the side of her husband Bill who had done so much to support Ireland's peace process. I wondered why only Barack Obama showed on the list of possibilities.

Look at the doozy of a reply I got:

Dec 28 2006 1:33 PM

support.Hello Ireland.

Perhaps Al Gore.
Nobody else.
Don't argue with us about it.
John Edwards campaign slogan is
stupid by the way.

"Today is Tomorrow"
"Tomorrow is Today"


The ad agency who came up with that should be fired
TODAY. No wait until tomorrow actually.

I got this kind of unwarranted attack simply because I had a photo of myself with Senator Edwards on my MySpace page. God forbid I'd had this one...

or this one.....

On top of that, whoever this MySpace caretaker is removed me from their "Friends" list so I could not even reply.

"Don't argue with us about it"?!?!

What a jerk! And I had just written about how John Edwards reminded me very much of Robert Kennedy Sr and how much I'd admired RFK Sr...and I got an unsolicited attack.

Needless to say, if the Draft RFK Jr 2008 movement continues with this kind of vicious attitude toward people showing the slightest bit of moral support, they aren't going to get very far. If anyone should be fired, it would be grassroots activist who represents their candidate by acting like a dictator, an aggressor, and a censor.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


"Better a day earlier than a day late," said Senator John Edwards' advisor Jen Palmieri.

The Challenge of Global Health

A very good article in the latest Foreign Affairs journal:
The Challenge of Global Health
Laurie Garrett
From Foreign Affairs, January/February 2007
Summary: Thanks to a recent extraordinary rise in public and private giving, today more money is being directed toward the world's poor and sick than ever before. But unless these efforts start tackling public health in general instead of narrow, disease-specific problems -- and unless the brain drain from the developing world can be stopped -- poor countries could be pushed even further into trouble, in yet another tale of well-intended foreign meddling gone awry.

John Edwards and "The Web"

In writing about Senator John Edwards getting ready to announce his intent to run for POTUS from New Orleans tomorrow morning, NYT political columnist Adam Nagourney recognizes the force he calls "the web" - an innocuous and impersonal description of which actually consists a lot of real people and the power of those incredibly spirited, committed, and hard-working people who support Senator Edwards but do not have the deep pockets of the establishment "in-crowd".
Mr. Edwards, who is arguably the most Web-savvy candidate in the ’08 race to date, is using Thursday’s event to try to gin up his supporters via the Internet. He sent out an e-mail message earlier this week, saying he was on the verge of making a decision that his aides say has, in fact, already been made.

The decision of how to time the announcements also reflects the particular needs of the candidates.

For Mr. Edwards, there is clearly interest in trying to win attention after two months in which Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama dominated the coverage of the Democratic contest.
Winning attention is what it's all about in politics, as we all know. It's certainly not a mark of character defect or a political sin, unless it appears to be totally inauthentic.

In my opinion, when it comes to potential campaigners and supporters, it's a lot more respectful and credible for a candidate to try to "win attention" by appealing directly and personally to potential voters than to have his or her message delivered solely through the old media.

Much of what Senator Edwards'supporters have been doing has been done 'under the radar'. If he finds success in 2008, it will change the face of future presidential campaigns. The One America Committee, largely directed by Senator Edwards' technology advisor Ryan Montoya, has been the soul of a new and empowering engine created by technology wizards and driven by the grassroots.

I'm not sure how Adam knows this for a fact:
Mr. Edwards has been preparing for this moment since the second in 2004 when he knew he and Mr. Kerry had been defeated.
I've been following and covering Senator Edwards' political moves for a long time and I have never heard him verbalize anything like this. Perhaps it's just Adam's opinion, although he doesn't make it clear.


John Edwards Announcement Tour: People Get Ready
Daily Kos


Benny wants us to know that two North Carolinan CJs are live blogging from NOLA and have a picture of Senator Edwards working with some middle school kids in shelving debris out of someone’s yard in the Lower Ninth Ward.


Robert Scoble quotes the same article and talks more about the progress of social media and how it's changing the face of political campaigns. And guess what? Robert says he'll be raising at least one glass in NOLA tomorrow!

Looking For Progressive Christian Voices

I want to thank William Fisher for pointing this out.
You might not be aware of it, but there is a robust community of progressive Christians in America, struggling to get its voice heard. That's a tough task when you don't have the deep pockets and the cynical White House connections to effectively drown out dissent. Or change the subject. It's a lot easier for this wedge constituency to get people worried that if same-sex unions become legal, they'll all be forced to marry a gay or a lesbian, than it is to speak out for the homeless, the poor, those who have no health care, and for religious tolerance to find common ground.
From: Where Are the Christians? Truthout

Zion's Herald, published by the Boston Wesleyan Society since 1833, put out its last edition in May. It has resurfaced, after a six-month hiatus, as The Progressive Christian this month. I just received a copy and am reading it. According to a recent article from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, "The Progressive Christian will serve up a forum where no voice purports to speak God's last word, even on such core progressive topics as social justice. Instead, the magazine stresses the importance of questioning and debating as faithful Christian exercises."

Former President Gerald Ford Dies

The folllowing is a statement by former President William J. Clinton and NY Senator Hillary Clinton on the death of President Gerald Ford:

"Gerald Ford brought Americans together during a difficult chapter in our history with strength, integrity, and humility. All Americans should be grateful for his life of service; he served our nation well. To his great credit, he was the same hard-working, down-to-earth person the day he left the White House as he was when he first entered Congress almost 30 years earlier."

"We were honored to know President Ford. We are saddened by his death, and our prayers are with Betty and the entire Ford family."
Former President Jimmy Carter called President Ford "an outstanding statesman" who "wisely chose the path of healing during a deeply divisive time" in America's history.

Senator John Edwards and his wife Elizabeth had this to say:
Elizabeth and I are deeply saddened by the news of President Ford's death.

Our thoughts and prayers are with President Ford's family during this difficult time. He helped heal a wounded nation and allowed the American people to move past a difficult period in our history.

President Ford was a true leader; he made decisions based on what he believed was right, not what was politically expedient. He called on us to never lose faith that we can change America. President Ford once said, "At times it feels as if American politics consists largely of candidates without ideas, hiring consultants without convictions, to stage campaigns without content. It doesn't have to be this way."

He was right. Today we honor his memory by following his example of leadership and lifting ourselves above partisan politics and acting with the courage and conviction of our ideals.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Anonymoses Is Back with Joe Blob the Skipper

Freshly ripped off the front page of American Street, I am happy to share with you the thoughts, in poetry form, of Anonymoses aka Nonny. He's back in the blogosphere after a bout with a nasty illness. I missed his sense of humor. It's great to see him back and in his usual fine form.

Joe Blob the Skipper

Joe Blob the Skipper
Impeach his warring mind
Shackle him in his own lies
And lose the key.
We’ve got life to live here.
You cannot take our lives any longer.

Bush: Isolated. McCain's His Only Pal

There's a point I wish to drive home about Bush and Iraq. President Bush, by ignoring the will of the People and tossing aside the wisdom of top commanders, diplomats, sages, and concerned countrymen, is bringing about a stark political isolation for himself. I guarantee you, it's an isolation for which he will long be remembered. How his isolation will be remembered is not clear right now. Except for a few staunch neoconservative cheerleaders, Bush's act of stubbornly clinging to what everyone else sees as a failed foreign policy is bound to make him the worst President in American history if his decisions bring about more blood, waste, failure, and death. Oh, to be able to time travel and read a good historical account of the effects of Bush foreign policy in the first decade of the 21st Century...

Last week I said:
Bush is in denial about the last election. He said he "couldn't believe people want us to get out of Iraq now." Man, is he out of touch if he believes what he's saying. He says he thinks the message from voters in the 2006 election was that they want "bipartisanship" in Congress. He refuses to see that the majority of his own people want our troops out of Iraq and we want to see the process started right now. Bush said, "We gotta help the Iraqis deal with it." No, we don't "gotta," President Bush. Not the way you're going about it, anyhow. We want our troops back home and we want the process started immediately.
Today, NYT writer Jim Rutenberg says,
"Mr. Bush has shrugged off suggestions by the bipartisan Iraq Study Group that he enlist the help of Iran and Syria in the effort to stabilize Iraq. Countering suggestions that he begin thinking of bringing troops home, he has engaged in deliberations over whether to send more. And he has adjusted the voters’ message away from Iraq, saying on Wednesday, 'I thought the election said they want to see more bipartisan cooperation.'"
It seems fairly clear to me that President Bush has been taking a lot of time to think seriously - - about the many ways to further ignore the strong will of the American people and many advisors and do what he's wanted to do all along. He's scheming up ways to make the "way forward" look different than the old "stay the course" while staying the course.

John McCain's not coming through as the American hero he's been pumped up to be. Most Americans I know are confused while watching Senator McCain suck up to "Bush-in-isolation." Mr. McCain is betting the farm on embracing this war while most of the Democratic hopefuls for 2008 are separating themselves from the failure in Iraq that we all can see. I can't see this working out well for McCain, especially if our troops start doing fourth, fifth, sixth tours of duty and rules are changed and tailored for military reservists who didn't sign up for the all-expense-paid trips to Iraq they'll be getting.

The following quote from Mr. Rutenberg's NYT piece should be seen as indicative, in my opinion, of John McCain's unraveling as a hopeful 2008 contender.
If the president does call for such an increase [in troops], he will have a potentially powerful Republican ally in Senator John McCain of Arizona, a leading contender for the 2008 presidential nomination.
Senator McCain has clearly decided to support this war, do or die. His son is likely going to be serving there. He's banking everything, even his own flesh and blood on the Iraq War. In the past, some Americans may have seen that as a mark of patriotic character. In the light of harsh reality today in Iraq, they see it more as irresponsibility, irrational thought - - perhaps even insanity.

How many of you readers would invest in such a risky and immorally-begun venture? Don't we all love our own children enough to want the best future for them and the world? How has the Iraq War taken us toward that goal? Why is John McCain refusing to isolate the insanity that has created conditions for assured failure in our foreign policy strategy? These are questions we need to ask ourselves when deciding who will lead our nation in the future. When we took our focus off of and our resources away from helping President Hamid Karzai to succeed with his fragile new government in Afghanistan, we made the worst foreign policy mistake ever.

Increased anger over Iraq has recruited a new wave of anti-Western extremism. It has caused President Musharraf of Pakistan to lose control of the western region of his country where a hornet's nest of extremism and hatred is burgeoning.
Contrary to the claims of the Bush administration, whose attention after the September 11 attacks quickly wandered off to Iraq and grand visions of transforming the Middle East, the main center of terrorism "of global reach" is in Pakistan. Al Qaeda has succeeded in reestablishing its base by skillfully exploiting the weakness of the state in the Pashtun tribal belt, along the Afghan-Pakistani frontier. In the words of one Western military commander in Afghanistan, "Until we transform the tribal belt, the U.S. is at risk." [..]

[..] U.S. policymakers have misjudged Afghanistan, misjudged Pakistan, and, most of all, misjudged their own capacity to carry out major strategic change on the cheap. The Bush administration has sown disorder and strengthened Iran while claiming to create a "new Middle East," but it has failed to transform the region where the global terrorist threat began -- and where the global terrorist threat persists. If the United States wants to succeed in the war on terrorism, it must focus its resources and its attention on securing and stabilizing Afghanistan.

- Barnett Rubin, Director of Studies and a Senior Fellow at New York University's Center on International Cooperation and the author of The Fragmentation of Afghanistan.

My Son Interviewing Tom Brokaw

This past September, my son had the honor of getting to ask retired NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw a question at a dinner at which Mr. Brokaw was keynote speaker.

My son, a Junior in high school, has participated with the People to People Student Ambassador program since he was 12 years old. It was founded by President Eisenhower. I'd recommend it for any parents wanting to help their child become a leader of any kind.

Congratulations to Mr. Brokaw, who was inducted last week into the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences' Hall of Fame in L.A. at the age of 66.

I liked his quote that promoted more activism and activity and less sitting at the computer:
"You're not going to solve Islamic rage by clicking 'help' on the toolbar."
He has also received honors at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University.

You can see Mr. Brokaw at work again on Tom Brokaw Reports: In the Shadow of the American Dream (an hour-long documentary about illegal immigration at 8 p.m. next Tuesday).

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas

I found this new poem by Father Daniel Berrigan at a feature written by Rev. John Dear at the National Catholic Reporter, who says that "Advent calls us to prepare anew for the coming of the God of peace and God's reign of peace on earth. We do that by working to end war and the causes of war, and making peace with everyone."

I took artistic (blogtistic) license and framed Father Berrigan's lovely poem about the Advent season the way I saw it in my heart and my mind. Two of the photos below are my own - both taken at the conference of teh Network of Spiritual Progressives in Washington, D.C. One of the photos features a fellow blogger and friend, David of Anonymoses, who is the fellow at the end of the line walking (last May) with the Network of Spritual Progressives to our White House to implore our officials to change their foreign policy in Iraq. I believe that thios activity is in keeping with the spirit of Advent and the tone of Father Berrigan's poetic message to us.

"It is not true that we have to wait for those who are specially gifted, who are the prophets of the Church, before we can be peacemakers..."

- For my Christian readers, I hope you have had a meaningful Advent season. To everyone, regardless of your faith traditions, I hope you have had a peaceful and happy Christmas.


By Daniel Berrigan

It is not true that creation and the human family are doomed to destruction and loss --
This is true: For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son,
that whoever believes in him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life.

It is not true that we must accept inhumanity and discrimination,
hunger and poverty, death and destruction --
This is true: I have come that they may have life, and that abundantly.

It is not true that violence and hatred should have the last word,
and that war and destruction rule forever --
This is true: For unto us a child is born, and unto us a Son is given,
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
And his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
the Everlasting, the Prince of Peace.

It is not true that we are simply victims of the powers of evil who seek to rule the world --
This is true: To me is given authority in heaven and on earth,
and lo, I am with you, even unto the end of the world.

It is not true that we have to wait for those who are specially gifted,
who are the prophets of the Church, before we can be peacemakers.
This is true: I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,
and your sons and daughters shall prophesy,
your young shall see visions,
and your old shall have dreams.

It is not true that our hopes for the liberation of humanity, for justice, human dignity, and
peace are not meant for this earth and for this history --
This is true: The hour comes, and it is now, that true worshippers
shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth.

So let us enter Advent in hope, even hope against hope.
Let us see visions of love and peace and justice.

Let us affirm with humility, with joy, with faith, with courage:
Jesus Christ -- the Life of the world.

O Little Town of Bethlehem
To get to the West Bank town [of Bethlehem], Michel Sabbah, the Roman Catholic Church's highest official in the Holy Land, rode in his motorcade through a huge steel gate in the Israeli barrier that separates Jerusalem from Bethlehem.

Israel says it built the barrier to prevent Palestinian suicide bombers from reaching Israeli population centers. Palestinians view the structure, which dips into parts of the West Bank, as a land grab.

The robed clergyman was led into Palestinian-controlled territory by a formal escort of five Israeli policemen on horseback. Two officers of the Israeli Border Police closed the gate behind him.

"God wants us all to be peacemakers. He wants every believer who has faith in God - Jewish, Muslim or Christian - to work to make peace," Sabbah said in his annual Christmas address at his Jerusalem office before going to Bethlehem.

"Our leaders so far have only made war, they haven't made peace," he added. [LINK]

President Johnson Sirleaf Celebrates Christmas

Liberia's President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is Africa's first elected female president. Things have not beenn easy for Liberia's incredibly smart and tough president, but she is part of the good news for 2006 that the Detroit Free Press has decided to showcase.
Liberia's first Christmas under a constitutionally elected government in more than a quarter of a century is being celebrated with pomp and pageantry throughout the formerly war-ravaged Liberia. [Raw Story]
It's encouraging, in today's world, to see a nation progressing away from senseless war, eyes wide open to the realities of just how hard it is - how much time it takes to get it right - to move toward a caring, peaceful, healthy, and democratic society. President Johnson Sirleaf is on my list of 'most respected contemporary leaders'.

Knowing all too personally that the justice system in Liberia has fallen short of fairness, the Liberian president is granting clemency to some prisoners in her nation, many of them female:
...the justice system in the country is not too active in carrying on speedy prosecution, therefore suspects are being detained for long without trial.

She frowned on correction officers and prison supervisor for allowing inmates to manhandled their colleagues in demand of fees, noting that it means that those in charge of the compound are not carefully catering to the prisoners.

The President emphasized that being in prison does not mean one should be treated as a slave, adding the prison is an area used to correct those who violates the rights of others.

According to President Johnson-Sirleaf, the release of inmates would be done in close consultation with the Solicitor General of Liberia. The Monrovia Central Prison currently hosts over 400 inmates 16 of whom are females.

Meanwhile, The President also visited the prison room that once hosted her during her imprisonment by the late Pres. Samuel Doe. She avowed to address to securing their releaseof female inmates before the Christmas to enable them join relatives and friends to celebrate Christmas.

Most of the females behind bars are pregnant. They've been charged for various crimes including common assaults, theft of properties, property damage, amongst others. She provided 25 bags of rice and several cartoons of fish for those inmates who may not get clemency to celebrate Christmas with sufficient food to eat.
The Chicago Tribune details the progress of two children in Liberia, helping us to understand where the country's coming from and where it's going. [See their series here]

Congratulations to Bono the Knight

Congratulations go out to Bono (aka Paul Hewson), who was knighted by Queen Elizabeth of Great Britain. Now I can say that I've actually met a knight. Bono lives his life for justice, believing that justice is a higher value. I'm so proud of him and I'm happy that he is valued so highly by so many people, from paupers to Queens. It makes this world seem like a sane place for a change.

It's time to remove Paul Wolfowitz from his position at the World Bank and to replace him with Paul Hewson.
Dublin - Bono, lead singer with the rock group U2, has been awarded an honorary knighthood by the British queen, the British embassy in Dublin said Saturday. The 46-year-old Irishman - whose real name is Paul Hewson - was granted the honour for "his services to the music industry and for his humanitarian work."
*See God Dwells in Cardboard Boxes

Kristol: "It will not be a short term surge"

Neonconservative William Kristol is convinced, confident, and satisfied that President George W. Bush's decision to escalate the violence in Iraq "will not be a short term surge."

Mr. Kristol believes America can "win" if we shed the blood of a lot more innocent people in the Middle East. As if it's "cool" to go stubbornly against the wisdom of every respected and experienced diplomat, judge, sage, and concerned countryman, Mr. Kristol sounded like a cheerleader for Bush as rebellious-hero-adolescent raging against the establishment when he said this on Fox News Sunday:
"How often does a president go against -- what Juan referred to -- the wider consensus in this town, 'the military solution isn't possible?' It's a very broad consensus of the establishment and, I think, that's why there's so much anger among the establishment-types. 'Gee. The Baker-Hamilton Commission pronounced its verdict. And how dare the president make up his own mind and decide that he's not just going to just gracefully accept defeat with this nice bi-partisan patina of the Baker-Hamilton Commission. How dare he decide that we might win in Iraq."
Wake up, America. This is not intended to be a short-term surge. Your President is a neonconservative who will soon be calling on your son or daughter to serve a radical and immoral cause. Speak now or give your children up for sacrifice to a cause you do not agree with or understand.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

WSJ Poll: Edwards Beats McCain in 2008

(ARGM) Democrat John Edwards holds a slight advantage in a United States presidential contest against Republican John McCain, according to a poll by Hart/McInturff released by the Wall Street Journal and NBC News. 43 per cent of respondents would vote for the former North Carolina senator, while 41 per cent would support the Arizona senator.

Angus Reid Global Monitor Polls
In another poll - this one of Iowa caucus voters - an Edwards-McCain matchup had Edwards winning by 42 percent to McCain's 39 percent.

Is Bush's "Way Forward" Insane?

On Decemeber 6, I seriously bgan to question the sanity of Bush's foreign policy. I've questioned the morality of the pre-emptive strike on Iraq from Day One. Earlier this week, I referred to this President as a maniac - specifically:
A reporter named Karen [at the end-of-year Press Conference] was treated like a criminal by Bush for asking Bush a certain question. Bush acted like the reporter was trying to play "gotcha" with him when, in reality, she was representing the millions of confused Americans who are looking to this maniac for leadership and who get only a defensive brush-off in return.
I wasn't being glib. I don't say these things lightly and I'm not alone. Senator John Kerry has reservations about the sanity of those making decisions about the Iraq war.
...Changing tactics in the face of changing conditions on the ground, developing new strategies because the old ones don't work, is a hell of a lot smarter than the insanity of doing the same thing over and over again with the same tragic results.
We aren't exactly sure what Bush's "way forward" is yet. He can't decide. We have to wait until after the holidays for him to come up with something. That "something" doesn't seem likely to have much of anything to do with the conclusions from all the hard work the Baker/Hamilton Iraq Study Group did to make a last ditch effort to try to save Bush's legacy. New Sectretary of Defense Robert Gates went to Iraq and took his dictation from the 'good soldiers' whose lips said "let's stay and fight" while their hearts screamed, "Please get us out of this disastrous quagmire."

Draft Would Help Society, Says VA Chief

Just as the President mulls over boosting troop levels in Iraq, his Veterans Affairs Secretary [Jim Nicholson] is quoted in an AP story saying that "society would benefit" if the US "were to bring back the draft and that it shouldn't have any loopholes for anyone who is called to serve." Jim Nicholson, the VA chief, "later issued a statement saying he does not support reinstituting a draft." Another AP dispatch notes "the administration has for years forcefully opposed bringing back the draft, and the White House said Thursday that its position had not changed."
Either VA chief Nicholson has a split personality or someone told him to back off on his happy talk about the draft - for now. Don't hide your heads in the sand. You know it's coming.

Pro-warbloggers Looking More Foolish

Glenn Greenwald has what I believe is an important point to make.

A person with the screen name MD says,
We spend billions to organize, maintain, and train a Marine Corps.
So what do we do with it?
We put it on occupation duty half way around the world, with no definable mission.
The Marines have been organized and trained to fight and win battles and wars, but Bush uses it to police Arab Muslim neighborhoods in Iraq.
The abuse of our military, its functions and purposes, creates an anger that only grows with time

Friday, December 22, 2006

Turkish Hezbollah Re-emerging

From the International Herald Tribune:
ISTANBUL, Turkey: A Kurdish Islamic militant group with reported ties to al-Qaida is re-emerging in Turkey after six years underground — and has started issuing vague but worrying threats, authorities say.

Turkish Hezbollah's rise parallels developments across the broader Muslim world, where the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon are believed to have served as powerful recruiting tools for radical Islamic groups.

[..] "I am most concerned about Turkish Hezbollah being used as an instrument to cause trouble to Turkey in this game of the Middle East, where the United States has messed up badly and Iran is developing very intelligent strategies," [news analyst Cuneyt Ulsever] said.

Islamophobe Goode: Republicans Remain Silent

It is my opinion that cowardly Republican lawmakers should be ashamed for remaining silent about their colleague Rep. Virgil Goode's totally ignorant, racist, and Islamophobic comment, made on Fox News about newly elected lawmaker Keith Ellison of Minnesota:
"I'm for restricting immigration so that we don't have a majority of Muslims elected to the United States House of Representatives."

[..] While a number of Democrats in Congress blasted Goode, his fellow Republicans have remained generally quiet.

Even the Virginia Republican Party had no immediate comment, referring calls to the congressman's office.

I believe there is no question that our Constitution makes room for freedom of worship, and why that would exclude a lawmaker swearing on his religion's sacred word is beyond me. I made a comment at another website recently that explained how I looked to my own [Catholic] religion for guidelines and I found that even my religious leaders would support Rep Ellison 100%.

Paul Begala has called Rep Goode "a bigot and an idiot." He asked why George W. Bush hasn't commented on this or hasn't denounced Goode as Bush 41 denounced David Duke. Rep Duncan Hunter has defended the bigotry and cloaked his bigotry in "American tradition."

Krugman: Dems, Go Further Than Pay-As-You-Go

Paul Krugman says that now is not the time for the new Democratic-led Congress to worry more about paying down the deficit than using reclaimed revenue and rolled back tax cuts to fix broken programs like Medicare.
Suppose the Democrats can free up some money by fixing the Medicare drug program, by ending the Iraq war and/or clamping down on war profiteering, or by rolling back some of the Bush tax cuts. Should they use the reclaimed revenue to reduce the deficit, or spend it on other things?

The answer, I now think, is to spend the money — while taking great care to ensure that it is spent well, not squandered — and let the deficit be. By spending money well, Democrats can both improve Americans’ lives and, more broadly, offer a demonstration of the benefits of good government. Deficit reduction, on the other hand, might just end up playing into the hands of the next irresponsible president

Rep Robin Hayes Speaks Like a Crusader

Raw Story is working hard to confirm the authenticity of a claim that Rep. Robin Hayes (R-NC), who won his November election by a razor-thin margin against Larry Kissell, insists that bringing Christianity to Iraq is the only way to end violence there.

From Raw Story:
"Stability in Iraq," Rep. Robin Hayes (R-NC) allegedly claimed, "ultimately depends on spreading the message of Jesus Christ, the message of peace on earth, good will towards men. Everything depends on everyone learning about the birth of the Savior."

The statement reportedly appeared in The Concord Standard and Mt. Pleasant Times, and has since appeared on a number of high-profile liberal websites.
There's more at BlueNC, where LiberalNC says:
So if we just turn our soldiers into missionaries everything will be okay, Mr. Hayes? First we sent our men over there to take out the WMD’s, then it was to “spread democracy”, now you want them there to “spread the message of Jesus Christ”? It so happens that people in Iraq already have a savior but unfortunately for Mr. Hayes it’s Muhammed, not Jesus. If we can’t keep Muslims from killing each other over there, I don’t think that trying to make them all Christian is going to be any easier.
Ed Cone has posted about it. Duncan, too, picking up on Ed's post.

John Edwards Webisode 2 - The Golden Rule

Webisode Two - The Golden Rule - has been uploaded onto YouTube and at the One America Committee. The Senator tells a story from home and talks about corporate responsibility as he travels to a rally in Pittsburgh, PA. Senator Edwards' "travelin' companion" Josh is now a video star. My favorite part is at the tail end - listen for the last comment Senator Edwards makes over his dinner tray on the plane.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

My Thoughts on Bush Press Conference

I took some notes while watching the President's end-of-year news conference yesterday.

- Bush called the Iraq War a "sustained commitment" and that we need a larger military capable of sustaining that commitment. The commitment is an endless one. Look at your son or daughter across the dinner table tonight. An endless war may eventually require their sacrifice - perhaps their lives. Will you be able to tell them you did all you could to avoid a situation where they be coerced - perhaps legally bound - to fight for an immoral and failing course?

- Bush encouraged Americans to "go shopping" because it contributes to a vibrant economy while, during the same press conference, he said we'll need a vibrant economy to fund this war. In essence, Bush wants you to shop so you can do your part to keep us on a war footing. Now he's got me thinking. I felt like I'd sealed the sad fate of some innocent civilian in Iraq this morning when I bought my panty hose.

- Because I have eyes, I couldn't help but observe Bush's facial expression as he said, "My heart breaks on a regular basis" (a weird way of putting it) for the troops who've lost their lives in this failed war. He looked like a blank slate. I couldn't detect emotion that would match the words he was saying. He had a steely stare as he spoke about heartbreak and regret. If I were to pick out what I thought looked like a sociopath, I would've picked him. He looked like a sociopath.

- Bush said, "I understand the consequences of failure." That's good. Whether he's able or willing to admit it, he's dealing with those consequences now because he has already failed. What does a President do after failure? Does it make sense that he escalates violence, heaping it upon the unfortunate consequences of his already-existing failure? That doesn't make a lick of sense to me. Does it make sense to you?

- A reporter asked Bush why he said we were winning In Iraq - as lately as last month - when we weren't winning, as Bush now freely admits. Bush replied that it was because he's convinced we're going to win. His fantasies are now an admitted part of his lying to the American people.

- Bush has set a mission that is almost wholly dependent upon the necessary actions of non-Americans who are not under our rule, control, or command. He said his plan for Iraq depends upon Iraqis to achieve our goal. He used the words, "We want to help" the Iraqis. America doesn't make preemptive unilateral attacks because we want to help someone. This was supposed to be about national security. Bush is making it sound like a social mission. Bush tried to generate caring and sympathy for "moms and dads across Iraq" as if he believes we were the Rescue Mission rather than a nation sacrificing our sons and daughters for a mission with no clearly delineated goals.

- Bush has bastardized and ruined the word "liberty." When he talks about "the advance of liberty", it calls to mind one word: Empire. Bush says it will "take a while for liberty to overcome the ideology of hate." I'd love to know what that has to do with the civil war that's going on in Iraq today. When Bush says the "process frees people, liberates people", he neglected to mention it creates anarchy, chaos, and that it kills people if you initiate the war half-assed, you aren't well prepared for the insurgency to come, and you refuse to change the course for over three failing years.

- A reporter named Karen was treated like a criminal for asking Bush a certain question. Bush acted like the reporter was trying to play "gotcha" with him when, in reality, she was representing the millions of confused Americans who are looking to this maniac for leadership and who get only a defensive brush-off in return.

- Bush is in denial about the last election. He said he "couldn't believe people want us to get out of Iraq now." Man, is he out of touch if he believes what he's saying. He says he thinks the message from voters in the 2006 election was that they want "bipartisanship" in Congress. He refuses to see that the majority of his own people want our troops out of Iraq and we want to see the process started right now. Bush said, "We gotta help the Iraqis deal with it." No, we don't "gotta," President Bush. Not the way you're going about it, anyhow. We want our troops back home and we want the process started innediately.

- Bush said that sectarian violence in Iraq is "a big thing that didn't go right." He acts as if no one ever could have anticipated it. We know better. All along, Bush has hugely underestimated the usefulness of the many forms of action that do not employ violence. Jonathan Schell warned us many years ago that "The United States must learn to lose this war-- a harder task, in many ways, than winning, for it requires admitting mistakes and relinquishing attractive fantasies. This is the true moral mission of our time.."

Hillary Would Have Voted No On Iraq

Senator Clinton has said it.
New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, who voted in 2002 to authorize a military intervention in Iraq, said she would not have supported a call for action against the country if she knew then what she knows now.

Kathleen Parker has an op-ed column about the Democratic Senators who'd voted for the IWR.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

UNESCO names 2007 ‘Year of Rumi’

ISLAMABAD: The mystic literature of Islam is a source of inspiration and following its universal values of love, peace, harmony and tolerance can bridge the gap between the East and West, said [Pakistan's] Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Mushahid Hussain Sayed on Monday.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has designated the year 2007 as the ‘Year of Rumi’ to develop inter-faith dialogue and spread his message of humanism throughout the world.

Speaking as chief guest at the launch ceremony of Rumi Forum, Hussain said that Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi was the greatest Turkish Sufi inspirer and had championed the cause of peaceful co-existence and mutual respect. He said that through the forum, Rumi’s teachings would be made widely known to the people of Pakistan and the bond of friendship between the two countries would be strengthened.

The senator said that during his visit to the US, he inquired, at a number of popular bookstores, about who the most widely read Turkish poet was, and he was surprised to learn that it was Rumi. “If there is any general idea underlying Rumi’s poetry, it is the absolute love of Allah and his influence on the thought, literature and forms of aesthetic expression in the world of Islam,” he added.

2007 marks the 800th anniversary of the great spiritual and literary Muslim figure, Rumi. Born in Balkh, Afghanistan, in 1207, Rumi was a conservative cleric in his youth but upon his meeting with wandering dervish Shams Tabriz in 1247, he metamorphosed into an entirely different personality and from then on preached the message of Islam. His six-volume Mathnavi and Diwan Shams Tabriz were best sellers in the US and Europe. He was also a major influence on some of the most popular names in the Islamic world, including Allama Muhammad Iqbal, who considered himself as Rumi’s Hindi Mureed (Indian Disciple).

staff report/Daily Times, Pakistan

WSJ Columnist Still in Denial About MSM Decline

Media dinosaurs like Joseph Rago continue to bemoan and demean the impact of the power of the Second Superpower. Sometimes change rolls right over the ones who protest it. In an ideological sense, the one lone man in Tiananmen Square was rolling right over those big old tanks and the big old tanks never even saw it coming. Some joke about Al Gore being the "father of the internet", but in spirit, the Founding Fathers themselves - and all who've ever believed in the unvarnished meaning of democracy - inspired the ghost in the machine that has materialized as the many once-silent voices of "We, the People."

Mr. Rago, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Tom Delay may have blogs, but they ain't got nothin' on us - the big "us" - and you know it.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

My YouTube Christmas Video

I made this video for all of you and wish you a peaceful and blessed holiday season. The song I used was Don Oiche Ud I Mbeithil by the Chieftains, narrated by the late Burgess Meredith. I created a contrast between Bethlehem at the time of Christ's birth and the Bethlehem that still longs for peace today. How little time has changed us. O, poor little town of Bethlehem. Please pray for peace and vow to work for peace in this season of which God intended to remind us of peace. Merry Christmas to all.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Senator Reid is Wrong to 'Go Along'

My intuition [which has been excellent up until now] tells me that Senator Harry Reid is very wrong to say "Sure, I'll go along with" what the Bush administration is calling a "short US troop surge" in Iraq.

Intuition isn't a persuasive tool, but facts certainly are.

See this graph showing the history of the power of this insurgency.

See Ed Cone's recent blogpost.
This "course" needs to end, rather than to be fed. Every effort needs to be made to internationalize the process of helping Iraq's government to reach a political solution - especially with the consensus of the leaders of all countries in the region. Our footprint needs to disappear rather than being further entrenched in the ground of Iraq. We must stop shedding blood in the Middle East. It was the worst political mistake our nation ever could have made.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

2008: Edwards Will Run & He's No 'Ken Doll'

John Edwards stands with citizens in New Orleans on a trip meant to assist residents whose homes were damaged by Hurricane Katrina. Edwards took the trip with a group of college students who gave up their Spring Break to assist others in March, 2006.

The buzz is that Senator John Edwards will announce that he's running for President in 2008. The announcement will allegedly be made by Senator Edwards from the city of New Orleans, and it will allegedly happen before the end of this year. As my headline indicates, John Edwards aims to continue to show citizens who he is on the campaign trail - the person behind the handsome exterior that people see.

In politics, it's all to easy for voters to get caught up on vanity issues and the media focus on "looks" doesn't help. [How many times in 2004 did you hear that John Kerry "looked French"?] Senator Edwards wishes to get away from sterotypes and remain authentic on the campaign trail. In his words, "I'd rather be successful or unsuccessful based on who I really am, not based on some plastic Ken doll." That sounds emotionally literate to me, and the way I see it, it will be an uphill battle since most of America really isn't all that emotionally literate. I think that, along with Edwards himself, his grassroots supporters will help to communicate that under that beautiful exterior lies a vision that is equally lovely for America.

I see greatness in this man, and I trust that the rest of the nation, if they don't already see it, will see it very soon.

I read a comment today at MyDD that sums up the contrast between Bush's agenda and Edwards' vision for America.

Imagine the contrast between Edwards and Bush in NOLA - Bush showed up in the middle of the night, had his people set up a lighted scene (in the middle of a city that had no power) and told a bunch of bald-faced lies about how he would help the people of New Orleans.

Contrast that with Edwards, in the middle of the day, with the still-devastated ruins of New Orleans behind him, speaking about those who have been forgotten, how the American people deserve better than this and how America, as a nation, will again prove itself to be better than this

When Bishop T.D. Jakes of the Potter's House in Dallas, Texas delivered an inspiring and healing sermon at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. on the 2005 National Day of Prayer for the victims of Hurricane Katrina, he said:
"Restoration is more than observation." We can no longer be a nation of people who can pass the ghetto on our way to Mardi Gras, to pass Harlem on our way to Manhattan, or to pass Compton on our way to Rodeo Drive while ignoring the poverty of our fellow Americans.

I have written features for the One America Committee blog for over a year now. I was asked to write my first guest feature the week before Katrina struck the Gulf Coast. I realized, once Katrina had shockingly come and gone and left a mass of misery behind her, that Senator John Edwards held the most important message and vision for not only the future of New Orleans, but all of America. In one of my first guest features, September, 2005, I wrote that I believed that the tragedy surrounding Katrina had morally required and empowered all of us to change America. It had driven John Edwards’ “Two Americas” message front and center – and straight into our hearts and minds. Everything that has happened since the winds of Katrina blew back the curtain and exposed the face of poverty in America has only sealed the thoughts I'd had in 2005 about John Edwards' message. Brownie didn't do a heck of a job. Bush virtually ignored his own promises made in post Katrina New Orleans to act on the poverty he admitted that he finally saw, and God knows why he never saw it before Katrina. He was our President. He had no excuse. His abdication of responsibility to fulfill his promises to do something about poverty is reprehensible. Americans are sick of empty promises and the divisive leadership they've witnessed for so long. They seek moral leadership. They seek honesty, truth, and realistic and ethical thinking from a President. They want to be proud once again to say they are Americans.

Katrina Tragedy Heightens Awareness of John Edwards’ Two Americas Message
Jude Nagurney Camwell
Written September, 2005

Hurricane Katrina has moved the issue of poverty into the forefront of America's consciousness. I think that George Lakoff has best explained how it happened: "The Katrina tragedy should become a watershed in American politics. This was when the usually invisible people suddenly appeared in all the anguish of their lives -- the impoverished, the old, the infirm, the kids and the low-wage workers with no cars, TVs or credit cards. They showed up on America's doorsteps, entered the living rooms and stayed. Katrina will not go away soon, and she has the power to change America."

As we here at the One America blog know very well, John Edwards has faced economic adversity in his own lifetime and has waged war on both material poverty and the poverty of spirit. If you read what is being said in the media today, you will understand that this tragedy has brought about a heightened awareness of John Edwards’ “Two Americas” message.

"We can't keep ignoring poverty," Teresa Rugg of Snohomish, WA says in a letter to the editor of her local newspaper, "In my book, a 'developed country' is one that places all of its people first."

Eric Foner says, "Let's hope the country finally awakens to the consequences of years of trickle-down economics, tax cuts for the rich, privatization of public responsibilities and the demonization of both government and the poor."

NY Times Columnist Nicholas Kristof recognizes that Hurricane Katrina has underscored a much larger problem: "the growing number of Americans trapped in a never-ending cyclone of poverty. He uses Japan as an example of a nation which has tried hard to stitch all Japanese together into the nation's social fabric. Kristof says, "In contrast, the U.S. - particularly under the Bush administration - has systematically cut people out of the social fabric by redistributing wealth from the most vulnerable Americans to the most affluent. It's not just that funds may have gone to Iraq rather than to the levees in New Orleans; it's also that money went to tax cuts for the wealthiest rather than vaccinations for children."

Eugene Kane of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel expects that many of those effected by Katrina will be children, who are victims because they belonged to poor families either unwilling or incapable of evacuating areas in the path of the storm. He says, "children were the purest victims of poverty, the ones not expected to have jobs and paychecks, cars or food stocks or emergency provisions. Their parents were supposed to look out for them, but in some cases, the parents didn't have any of that, either. That's what living in poverty means."

E.J. Dionne skillfully exposes the "disconnect" between those who are wealthy and faring well and those who live from paycheck-to-paycheck, if they're lucky enough to have a job. He says, "Those faring well simply can't understand polls showing a majority of Americans unhappy with the current economy and President Bush's handling of it. This [US Census Bureau] report should reassure them of the sanity and intelligence of the American people. This recovery has not produced the sort of job or income growth that the economy of the 1990s created. Far from being fools, the Americans answering those polls are reflecting their actual circumstances."

I believe the tragedy surrounding Katrina has morally required and empowered all of us to change America. It has driven John Edwards’ “Two Americas” message front and center – and straight into our hearts and minds. America hears the call. What will we do?

In today's Toldeo Blade: Katrina's victims face a second Christmas without hope

Ask yourself what Bush and his Congress have done since that time and I'll show you their recipe for failure and abdication of duty to the American people. John Edwards' message stands today as the longstanding and defining message of reality, truth, and hope.

Documentaries to be Featured at One America Committee website

Newsweek is reporting that there will be a series of documentaries featured at the One America Committee website:
...maybe something is really changing inside the son of a millworker. This week he will launch a series of short documentaries on his Web site,, offering behind-the-scenes glimpses of life on the campaign trail. The Webisodes, previewed exclusively by NEWSWEEK, show Edwards struggling with how to show more authenticity on the campaign trail. "I'd rather be successful or unsuccessful based on who I really am, not based on some plastic Ken doll," he says in one episode. "But ... we're so conditioned to say what's safe ... and it's hard to shed all that."

The documentaries—which show the former senator on trips to Iowa and Africa, and places in between—are a start

2008 President Edwards and First Lady Elizabeth?

Will John Edwards be the one who will make America proud again?