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?