Saturday, March 29, 2008

John and Elizabeth Edwards Speak Publicly on Hillary, Obama

As far as credibility is concerned, if I have to choose between an anonymous Democratic strategist and getting my information straight from the horse's mouth, I'll pick the direct information every time. So the choice occurred today, with the first choice being a New York Magazine article boasting so-called 'insider' information from a strategist the writer can't even name regarding Elizabeth Edwards' opinions about the two remaining Democrats in the primary race ... and the second choice, regarding that which Mrs. Edwards said herself in public when she was asked a question about the two candidates' healthcare policies.

UPDATE APRIL 2: Elizabeth Edwards says the NY Mag info is FALSE.

John McCain supporter Lee Aase reports this bit of information after having heard Mrs. Edwards speak at the Health Journalism 2008 conference:
In response to a question, Mrs. Edwards said she supports Sen. Clinton's [healthcare] plan because it is closest to her husband's plan. She views it as significantly better than Sen. Obama's.
Elizabeth's husband John Edwards just gave a public speech at the Young Democrats of North Carolina convention. This was his first public speech since dropping his White House bid two months ago. He praised both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, but declined to endorse either candidate. The AP reports the following quote:
"I have a very high opinion of both of them. We would be blessed as a nation to have either one of them as president."
For all the impatience and complaints I've heard about his silence, it sounds like he's already endorsing either of them .. or both of them .. doesn't it?

Hillary: Nope, Not Going

Unquestioning Patriotism Comes in All Colors

Rice Hails Obama Race Speech as "Important" For U.S.

I think the very best, most inspirational, and most visionary leaders for this day and age should speak loudly about how we're all in this experiment together instead of beating on the many divisions that cause fear and raise old envy and create diversions from the pressing issues that we all have in common.

When we're talking about people who've trusted and "loved" their government, I'm really not sure that we're looking at our past or future in a healthy frame. Intelligent patriotism takes some healthy doubt and some very hard questioning. Most of us have learned, over time, that we cannot "love" a government... because law is not love. It's only we individual human beings who can love ourselves enough to respect and to care about our neighbors. We are a government of people, but the law by which we agree by consensus to abide is not now and had never been a compact of love. Love doesn't come in one color or one creed, and it surely isn't guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution. Love's our own individual responsibility.

Good faith in government can only be created when we stop dividing ourselves up by color and ethnicity.

Stop it!

For the love of God and the good of America, please, all political leaders, stop this!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Bill Clinton Campaigns In Kannapolis

I took all of these photos today at a Hillary Clinton rally with guest speaker Bill Clinton.

Former President Bill Clinton Greets Rally Attendees at A.L. Brown H.S. in Kannapolis, N.C. today

Bill Clinton Speaks to Hillary Clinton Supporters

Bill Clinton

The Hillary rally theme was "experience" and
"Change you can depend on."

Reporters Ask Questions

Former President Bill Clinton, during a nearly hour-long speech in Kannapolis today, had a message for people who think his wife should drop her presidential campaign:

"That's a bunch of bull."

[Charlotte Observer]

N.C. Blogger David K. Beckwith [Anonymoses]

A View From the Floor

Playing on the car number of a famous Kannapolis native, NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt, Clinton said there were “three” important things each president should do for a country - leave office with the country in better shape than when he or she enters; make a better future for the country’s youth; and improve the country’s relationship with the world.

[Independent Tribune]

President Clinton's Shadow on the U.S. Flag

Basra Heats Up, Threatens Surge Benefits for U.S.

"The collapse of the cease-fire could have disastrous consequences for Iraqi stability. The relative lull in assassinations, bombings, and kidnappings that accompanied it might end, wiping out some of the gains of the U.S. "surge" in Baghdad and its surrounding areas....

U.S. military officials have stressed repeatedly that one of the main reasons for the steep drop in violence during the U.S. troop surge is the cease-fire declared by al-Sadr in August. With the massive Iraqi military operation under way in Al-Basrah, that agreement clearly is in serious jeopardy."

- Radio Free Europe

Juan Cole explains that the setting of October, 2008, as the date for provincial elections in Iraq has provoked the most recent step-up on violence in Basra. He also believes that VP Dick Cheney is wrong (as he has been so many times) about this recent Iraq war strategy (with an apparent motive to destroy the Mahdi army). You can read Professor Cole's reasoning here. An AP report on the most recent bombing of Basra by the U.S. (with British support) underscores the fact that, while Shiite cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr is calling out for a political solution to the burgeoning crisis and an end to the 'shedding of Iraqi blood', the risk is increasing that the U.S. and its allies in Iraq "could be drawn into an internal Shiite conflict that has threatened to unravel al-Sadr's cease-fire and spark a new cycle of violence after months of relative calm" [see NYT link].

It seems that this turn of events is, in good part, a U.S. silent war with Iran as the U.S. remains in Iraq. reports that "the Basra operation will serve as a litmus test of just how far Washington can push Iran aside."

Iran needs the Shiite militia card to counter the Sunni threat wielded by the United States ...

It is in the short-term interests of PM Nouri al-Maliki and ISCI leader Abdel Aziz alal-Hakim to offer Washington a way to reduce U.S. reliance on Tehran for stability in Iraq.....

Basra is among the few regions in the Shiite south where the ISCI — Iran’s principal Iraqi Shiite ally, which dominates Iraqi security forces in the south — faces a significant challenge. The governor of Basra is from the Fadhila party, an ISCI rival...

Targeting the chief rivals of the ISCI, which seeks to establish an autonomous Shiite region in the south, gives al-Hakim’s group an opportunity to consolidate itself in what is perhaps the most important part of the Shiite south. This could prove quite useful ahead of provincial elections set for later this year.
[source: Stratfor]

This new violence, if it entrenches the U.S. deeper into Iraq's civil wars, stands to make the so-called success of 'the surge' in Iraq no more than a distant memory for the American public. Even the Sunni fundamentalist Iraqi Accord Front is opposed to the attack on the Mahdi Army, with its leader Adnan Dulaimi, saying that it does not work to the benefit of Iraq. In Baghdad, al-Hayat is reporting that thousands of protesters came out to rally against Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, demanding that he resign and threatening him with a trial worse than that of Saddam Hussein. It seems to me that any benefit to the U.S. image [in the American public's mind] from having created a fragile and temporary peace stands to be wiped away by the appearance of the U.S. decision to join the Shiite Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq [ISCI] in destroying the Mahdi army. The new violence will pervade the world media's coverage of the war and serve to reestablish the appearance of U.S. strategy as that of the occupier rather than the strategic diplomat and peacemaker.

If asked what the American public thinks about all of this, Dick Cheney would likely shrug his shoulders and, once again, show his pure disdain for the People with a "So?"

Monday, March 24, 2008

Richardson as Judas? Didn't I Tell You?

I don't think James Carville's to blame or that anyone should be shocked for hearing him talk out loud about what I'd imagine a lot of politically-aware Christian Democrats were thinking on Good Friday. The day I'd heard that Bill Richardson decided to endorse Obama, even I choked a bit on my fried fish and coleslaw and I'd said these very words:
"I just read that Bill Richardson decided to endorse Barack Obama after he heard Obama's major speech on race. [A bit of a betrayal and crucifixion for Richardson's former champion Hillary Clinton ..and done, most curiously, on Good Friday..I wonder if the name Judas is flying around the Clinton camp today? ]
Don't blame me, either. I'm not in either camp. I'm just a good Catholic girl who payed attention during her Religious Education classes. Substitute those 30 pieces for one sweet promise of a cherry position with Obama's administration (if Obama gets that far). Mmm-hmm. You know what I'm talkin' about, don't you? Bearded Bill threw his girl under the bus.

As for me, there's something oh-so-precious to be said about the value of loyalty when I examine the make-up of a man or woman's character.

James Carville expounds on the matter:

I believe that loyalty is a cardinal virtue. Nowhere in the world is loyalty so little revered and tittle-tattle so greatly venerated as in Washington. I was a little-known political consultant until Bill Clinton made me. When he came upon hard times, I felt it my duty -- whatever my personal misgivings -- to stick by him. At the very least, I would have stayed silent. And maybe that's my problem with what Bill Richardson did. Silence on his part would have spoken loudly enough.

Most of the stuff I've ever said is pretty insignificant and by in large has been said off the cuff and without much thought to the potential consequences. That was not the case in this instance. Bill Richardson's response was that the Clinton people felt they were entitled to the presidency. In my mind, that is a debatable hypothesis. But, even more than that, I know that a former president of the United States who appointed someone to two Senate-confirmed positions is entitled to have his phone calls returned.

If Richardson was going to turn on the Clintons the way he did, I see no problem in saying what I said. Because if loyalty is one virtue, another is straight talk. And if Democrats can't handle that, they're going to have a hard time handling a Republican nominee who is seeking the presidency with that as his slogan.

Disloyalty That Merits An Insult, WaPo op-ed

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Nubs and Major Dennis

"If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans" ~ James Herriot

I loved this story.