Saturday, April 07, 2007

John Edwards Denies Fox News Opportunity to Be Unfair

John Edwards made the bold move of pulling out of the proposed Sept. 23 CBC/FOX Debate.

The Edwards campaign makes following statement:

"We just called the CBC to let them know that we're looking forward to their January debate with CNN but we're not going to participate in the proposed debate with Fox. The CBC champions critical issues that matter enormously to the future of our country, and we look forward to discussing them throughout this campaign and at their debate in January. But we believe there's just no reason for Democrats to give Fox a platform to advance the right-wing agenda while pretending they're objective. If there was any uncertainty as to Fox's objectivity, it was put to rest when they attacked Democratic candidates, Democratic constituency groups, and the Nevada Democratic party when their last proposed debate was cancelled for lack of support."

In November 2003, I recall General Wesley Clark ripping Fox News' David Asman apart - taking Fox to task for their shoddy journalism. I recall feeling vindicated in some way, although I knew it wouldn't change Fox News a damned bit.

That's why I'm so glad that John Edwards is telling Fox News to take a hike on these debates. The only thing that his involvement would lead to, from what we already know about Fox News, is more of the same tilted treatment.

I recently heard comedian Bill Maher say that he thinks it would be a lot more courageous to see Democrats "taking on" Fox News (as Bill Clinton and Wesley Clark have done). The problem is, everything President Clinton and General Clark have said - and have said so well - has had absolutely no effect on the right-wing news organization's programming or propaganda-style. After being taken to task, they've lead viewers to believe President Clinton is "angry"...and that anyone who confronts them is a wacko.

I don't care to see a debate that takes away from the real issues at hand and becomes a sporting event for people whose blood gets pumped up by seeing a Democrat wasting his or her time jumping through the "fight Fox" hoops and having to call them on their obvious bias again and again. We have somuch creativity and vision to offer. If you're a candidate, why purposely stifle and darken your vision by allowing it to be ridiculed with an unbalanced set of questions? Why offer Fox News yet another opportunity to be unfair?

It's high time to start writing Fox News off as a fair news organization - and as a worthy or credible player.

They're NEVER going to be.

O'Reilly-Rivera Explosion: They're Melting Down

Here's what I've been thinking, after watching Bill O'Reilly's display of quivering-lip anger and loudness this week when he argued with Geraldo Rivera about O'Reilly's absurd blurring of the issues regarding drunk driving and immigration.

It's so bizarre for me to see a man behave like this! I grew up in a home with a gentle and wise father who never needed to raise his voice with his wife, with his children, or with his friends. I went through school, then college without ever having to experience a teacher, clergyman, or professor who taught me that anger and loudness is acceptable in civil discourse. I worked in a fast-paced and rather high-pressure career for almost twenty years and never once raised my voice to the seven people who worked for me. I distinctly recall a line from Max Ehrmann's Desiderata. My mother used to remind me of it every time she'd see that an angry or difficult person would throw me off-kilter.

... avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

How does one retreat from that which is allowed to permeate the airwaves? When did it become acceptable and entertaining for so many people in our society to watch a buffoon of a man go ballistic while spouting out ugly racist logic about a problem that is not at all acquainted with race? When did it become interesting to see a loon talking over another person - louder - louder - louder - until the other person is drowned out in his maelstrom of spitting dissonance?

It doesn't take a cave man or an animal to intelligently lead a debate - or a nation. We've seen some talking cave men tear down our nation's strength, reputation, and good standing in the world over the past six years. The rhetoric they have chosen has had an effect on the cheap, loud commercial-filled entertainment that passes as political talk on television and radio shows today. It makes us all worse for having to see it.

We're all the worse for it.

If we are decent people and a moral society, how can this unmistakable brand of madness be acceptable to any one of us?

Passion borne of wisdom and experience is one thing. Sometimes we can come across more effectively than we ever thought possible when we allow that passion to ride along with our speech. Anger is another thing altogether. It invites violence.

The right wing has run out of ideas and have nothing left but their anger.

Edward Keating said that we'll never destroy an idea by killing others. You replace it with a better idea. We will never have to 'kill off' the anger we see today - those who are bankrupt of ideas are destroying themselves with their anger.

We need to believe in and reinforce the fact that we will not accept a language and behavior that is incompatible with our better ideas. Let's show our children that the world they'll inherit doesn't have to be remotely like the angry one they see today. Let's leave them with an understanding of the importance of gentle association and cooperation instead of bitter vexation.

NH Voters Call For Audacity of Action on Healthcare

Dr. Alfred Adler said:

"Trust only movement. Life happens at the level of events, not of words. Trust movement."

Big words from our Presidential candidates must accompany a map to certify, for the sake of our trust, the promise of creative action that is meant NOT to fix, but to destroy the current healthcare system that is so badly broken. No more filling pot holes that multiply and become deeper by the day.

nyceve at Daily Kos writes about New Hampshire voters. They're demanding 'audacity of action' on healthcare.

Note: The Photo above, translated, says: Actions Speak Louder Than Words.

NY25: Dan Maffei Announces 2008 Run

According to Cuse Dem at Daily Kos:

Dan Maffei, who last November came within 3,000 votes of upsetting 18-year incumbent James Walsh in NY-25, announced his candidacy for the Syracuse-area Congressional seat today in a letter to supporters and friends.

Dan did a great job with little DCCC support for most of the campaign, surprising all prognosticators who saw Walsh, who ran unopposed in '04, as unbeatable. Maffei is a great, energetic guy who is a strong progressive, and with our help can pick off another Northeast swing seat.

Check out his website at , read his blog and get involved with the campaign. He's got the experience (staffer for Senators Bill Bradley and Daniel Patrick Moynihan, House Appropriations Committee) and the fresh, new ideas that the people of Central New York are craving after over nine terms of Rep. Walsh.


I want to first thank you for all the support and well wishes you have offered me both before last year's election and over the last few months. Our collective efforts certainly changed the political landscape here in New York's 25th Congressional District! Upstate New York is ready for a new direction. That's why I have decided to finish our hard work and am seeking to be our next Congressman in 2008!

To begin the process, I have filed a statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission so that we can start to gather the support and resources necessary to run and win. While this filing is but the very first small step toward victory, it follows the huge leap that we made in 2006 thanks to your help. Thanks to generous contributions and efforts from so many of you, we were able to come out of political nowhere, and, with a message of change and new leadership, to nearly unseat an entrenched 18-year incumbent who had no major party opposition in 2004!

Together, we shook the political establishment by coming within 1½ percent of defeating Congressman Walsh. That's an impressive accomplishment, but there is still much to do. This area of Upstate New York is still exporting too many jobs and young people and not enough goods and services. Congressman Walsh wants to start his third decade in Congress without offering any new ideas or leadership to help change the direction of this area for the better. Furthermore, in an attempt to keep what was once an unchallenged stranglehold on what he sees as "his seat" in Congress, he has played both sides of many issues.

For example, he voted FOR and than AGAINST limits on U.S. military involvement in Iraq, AGAINST and than FOR new rights for workers, and FOR and then AGAINST raising the minimum wage. Flip-flopping is not the same thing as being more moderate. And changing one's image to match public opinion polls is not real leadership.

It's clear we still need change, and the opportunity for change couldn't be better in the presidential election year of 2008 in a district where the Democratic candidate for president won in both 2000 and 2004. After long discussions with Abby and my family and close advisors, I am committed to working hard to earn your support and the support of the voters for 2008.

I will need your help again. Please consider contributing early. I learned in the last campaign that every dollar contributed early (and the earlier the better) helps bring about many more dollars later on. Your generosity helped make my candidacy so competitive in 2006 and I thank you. I hope I can count on you once again.

Thank you very much!

Dan Maffei

Related Posts:

From Dan Maffei's Community Blog:

Questioning the Proposed Jamesville Coal Plant - March 5, 2007
Senator Clinton pointed this out last week in Volney where the old Miller Brewery is being turned into an ethanol facility starting by converting corn kernels but reportedly with the capacity to develop into the more energy efficient cellulosic ethanol manufacturing. In addition, we have Auburn Biofuels developing a biodiesel plant in Cayuga County, Siemens developing a willow gasification plan in Onondaga County, and we have windmill farms in Madison County and on the Tug Hill plateau with perhaps more on the way.

However, not every new high-tech energy project is necessarily a good thing for our environment or our economy. All of the above projects will be subject to public scrutiny and their developers need to be prepared to answer questions. But the most troubling questions involve a proposal by Empire Synfuel (not to be confused with Empire Biofuels) to build a “coal gasification” facility in Jamesville - literally a stone’s throw from the grounds of Jamesville Elementary School.

Time for a ‘Binding’ Debate on Iraq - Feb 9, 2007
In a world where the tragic death of a model gets more news coverage than a debate over war and America’s place in the world, we are in danger of allowing the debate on the troop surge to eclipse the real issue about when to bring home our 130,000 plus troops in Iraq. We citizens have to keep the pressure on. If we let our elected representatives claim they agree with us and then do not look at their actions, our representatives – Republican and Democrat – might try to avoid taking any true action to bring our brave soldiers home.

Closing Canandaigua VA is Disservice to Veterans - Feb 28, 2007 the new Congress started, my opponent, re-elected by just about a 1½ percent margin, chose to leave the VA subcommittee for a different subcommittee (and the change in congressional leadership means he is no longer chairman of anything). So much for his commitment to Upstate New York Vets or our VA facilities. And now, despite his indications during the 2006 campaign that his supposed clout would help, the Bush Administration is shutting down the acute psychiatric unit at the Canandaigua Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Veterans in Central and Western New York are upset and with good reason.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The Wrong U.S. Course Leads to British Hostage Crisis

The Independent is reporting that the surprise US-led raid on an Iranian post in Arbil, Iraq last January (stemming from underreported inter-Kurd territory tensions and the U.S. need to quell and control those tensions in fragile Northern Iraq) is ultimately responsible for the taking of those British hostages. It could have easily led to military hostilities in Iran. This whole story - honestly told - shows you how fine a line we are treading in order to keep this Iraq war from becoming a much wider regional conflict. Unless the course is finally changed, the brawn of escalation with no diplomatic brain engaged is going to take us to a regional conflict that never should have been allowed to fester and explode.

UPDATE: Envoy to Meet Detained Iranians, WaPo 4-4-07

From the pages of "Yeah, right!"...
Zebari insisted the case of the five detained Iranians had no connection to the 15 British sailors and marines detained by the Iranian navy in the Gulf last month.

"I'd like to make absolutely clear the two cases have no linkage or connection," he said, reacting to media reports that moves to release the one group of detainees could be reciprocated with the other
Even though it's obvious I don't believe there's no link, I do see that some back-channel diplomacy must be effective when I read this:
"The new American political and military appointments in Iraq have been effective in the breakthrough," the Iranian agency said, referring to the new U.S. ambassador to Baghdad, who took office this week, and the new overall U.S. military commander, who took over in February.
Patrick Cockburn has more on the Arbil link.

A Reuters article that, in my opinion, conveys an overly sunny tone becuae it covers the political rhetoric of outgoing U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, offers prime minister of the Kurdistan region Nechirvan Barzani's summary of what he says are the Kurds' concerns:
..four key concerns: a fair share of Iraq's revenues; resolving the status of disputed areas, particularly the city of Kirkuk which lies outside of Kurdistan; freedom to direct its own economic development; and a fair share of reconstruction funds from abroad.

The status of Kirkuk -- a mixed city where Kurds, Shi'ites, Turkmen and Sunni Arabs live together -- is a delicate subject, not least because it sits on some of Iraq's richest oil fields.
There are voices not represented in decidedly sunnier mainstream articles that are no less real. There is passion in the voice of one exiled Kurd who wants to return to a land far more just and fair to his ethnic sensibilities than what is being negotiated away by those he sees as "occupiers:"
To approach the issue of Kirkuk in such a feeble way weakens the energy and power of Kirkuk’s Kurdistanism. Will the enemies not ask: what is the point that the Kurds once made revolution and sacrifices for the sake of this city? Why today we accept any price and surrender? Kurds once used to fight thunderstorms. Now they feebly mention what is their own right. Is it that the secret of Kurdish courage faded away with the death of Barzani?

"While the Kurds refer to Kirkuk as the "Kurdish Jerusalem," control of the oil resources and the city's likely attachment to the Kurdish semiautonomous region just to the north was believed the driving motivation for the threat to bring down the government. - Bassem Mroue, AP

It is impossible to establish a strategic partnership between Turkey and the Kurds without basing the relations on mutual benefit and a common future, not on reciprocal nationalist slogans that poison relations. When considered from this angle, oil becomes a crucial ingredient." - Turkish Daily News

The dust-ups between Arbil and Baghdad over oil are just beginning.
If Turkey wants to utilize and exploit the oil resources of northern Iraq, it needs to approach Arbil, not Baghdad, says Kurdistan Regional Government Natural Resources (or oil) Minister Dr. Ashti Hawrami. He believes it would be in Turkey's interest to deal with the regional government, arguing that Baghdad can only be an intermediary but not an interlocutor concerning the exploration and exploitation of the oil in northern Iraq.
The oil relations between the new Iraqi government and Turkey may not be easy to establish while there are existing Kurdish tensions, regardless of the recent oil [profit-sharing] law that has been agreed upon. By U.S. unilateral involvement, America is now beholden to the corrupt politics of oil. The Bush administration has created a monster that has magnified their actual reason for misleading U.S. citizens and the world about WMD in 2002. No lofty goals, although we were fed so many lofty goals.
The regional oil minister said oil could either be a factor that causes problems between the two sides, or a link that binds the two together. The Kurdistan Regional Government controls three of the 18 provinces of the country, Dohuk, Arbil and Sulaimania. When asked how much oil was in the region, Hawrami said: “Between 20 to 25 billion barrels. We believe we can produce a million barrels a day.” He says they didn't need every drop of the oil extracted, noting, “You have a population of 70 million. This is an opportunity god provided for you right next door. Come here and exploit it.” When asked if this meant the argument that Kurds wanted Kirkuk for independence, he said: “I am not a politician. Let's leave Kirkuk to them. With or without Kirkuk, we have plenty of oil.” While two known oil reserves of Kirkuk is 12 billion barrels, Dr. Hawrawi believes there is an additional 10 billion there. Naturally, having plenty of oil reserves does not mean much alone. On the road to Arbil from Kirkuk, people were selling gasoline in barrels on the side of the road.

War of words over Kirkuk intensifies,

Sens Clinton & Dole Reintroduce 211 Bill

There is no '2-1-1' service available in New York State today. Non-profit community agencies have taken up a good part of the responsibility in providing a service and a telephone number that is crucial to fellow members of our society, but there is no one central number for people to easily remember and to call at a desperate time. Senators Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Dole have reintroduced legislation that would bring "2-1-1" service nationwide. I am in favor of such legislation because I volunteer for a non-profit that now provides such a service, providing individuals and families who need non-emergency assistance with a link to appropriate non-profit and government agencies to find and give help without disrupting emergency phone lines.

Key Iraq Advisor Leaving

In December of 2005, Daniel Drezner wrote about the poli-sci implications of the "National Strategy for Victory in Iraq."

With the 2005 "Victory" plan, was the Bush administration "more concerned with the domestic politics of the Iraq war than with actually winning on the ground in Baghdad," as Laura Rozen had suggested at the time?

Mr. Drezner had written about a NYT article that had indicated that many federal departments had contributed to the document and that a political scientist had joined the N.S.C. staff as a special adviser in June of 2005 and had closely studied public opinion on the war. Dr. Peter D. Feaver had been "recruited after he and Duke colleagues presented the administration with an analysis of polls about the Iraq war in 2003 and 2004. They concluded that Americans would support a war with mounting casualties on one condition: that they believed it would ultimately succeed."
The assumption underlying Feaver and Gelpi's hypothesis is so simple that it's never stated in the article -- if a sufficiently large majority opposes an ongoing military intervention, any administration will have to withdraw regardless of the strategic wisdom of such a move. This is why, I suspect, the administration reacts so badly whenever it deals with domestic criticism about the war -- it recognizes that flagging domestic support will translate into a strategic straitjacket.

Today we learn that the deputy national security adviser for Iraq Meghan L. O'Sullivan will be departing.
O'Sullivan, 37, known for her 100-hour work weeks and steady optimism over the eventual outcome in Iraq, said in an interview that with the completion of months-long reviews of policy in Iraq and Afghanistan - which she also oversees - she felt it was the right time for a change.

"There's never a good time to leave this kind of job. ... But (I decided) this would be as good a time as any," she said
O'Sullivan allegedly, per anonymous sources, had helped conceive and draft the "National Strategy for Victory in Iraq" that was designed to convince you and me that this war needed to be "won" - which, as I stated back then, was not addressing the realistic potential of the brand of victory, based on the cost in blood and treasure, for which the American public would stand.

Edwards: "Send It Back" If Bush Vetoes Iraq Bill

"If President Bush vetoes funding for the troops, he will be the one who is blocking funding for the troops. Nobody else. Now is not a time to back down; it is a time for strength and conviction. The President's veto threat should only strengthen our resolve to stand by our troops and end this conflict. The Congress should make absolutely clear that they are going to stand their ground, supporting the troops and reflecting the will of the American people to end this war. If the President vetoes a funding bill, Congress should send him another bill that funds the troops, brings them home, and ends the war. And if he vetoes that one, they should send him another that does the same thing."

- Senator John Edwards, 4-3-07

The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls..and tenement halls...and on the blogs. The grande escalation of this failed war in Iraq is over. It's only the members of George W. Bush's administration and the tilted media that love this war because it's embraced by "their side" - the ones who verbally flail about and threaten others with empty admonishments and accusations; the ones who ignore those who deliver the People's message - who stand to go down in history as the numbskulls who nearly destroyed America's reputation and good standing in the world.

Yesterday in New Hampshire, Senator John Edwards criticized President Bush's threat to veto a House-passed bill to set a timeline for withdrawing from Iraq.
"If the president chooses to veto it, it's the president of the United States who's decided 'I'm not going to provide the funding to the troops leaving Iraq," he said. "If he vetoes it they ought to send it back to him."

William Rivers Pitt cleverly tells a story about what appears to be the tipping point for Congress in the most recent political struggle against the White House on the Iraq war. For me, it turned what was ambivalence about the recent developments into hope that our representatives will hang strong and force Bush to end the mess that his administrration has created.

Larry C. Johnson, ex-CIA who now works with US military commands in scripting terrorism exercises and briefs foreign governments on a regular basis on terrorist trends, writes a diary with a catchy title: McCain, Crazy Bastard. For those who faint at the sight of strongly worded opinions, get out your smelling salts. Johnson thinks McCain's all wet on Iraq.
McCain's fantasy world is rich but has no grounding in reality. We already have one President barely in touch with reality. The last thing we need is another ideological nut job incapable of recognizing reality while it is kicking him in the balls.

Marshall Adame was a US Coalition Airport Director for Basrah International Airport, VP for Aviation Development with an American Int'l Corporation in Iraq, and Department of State US Advisor to the Iraqi Ministry of Interior and with the Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRT) where he was on the staff of the National Coordination Team (NCT) in Baghdad. He writes about some of his own experiences and the failure of leadership in Iraq.

The Most Touching YouTube Video

I want to see the same scene in every classroom of every little boy or girl who has a Mom or Dad serving in Iraq.