Observing from beyond the solar system, a cultural outsider looks in.

Friday, August 31, 2007

John Edwards Wins Two Key Union Endorsements

John Edwards has won two key union endorsements in his campaign for the presidency.

Yesterday, the Carpenters Union endorsed Edwards.

"Our endorsement is based on the Senator's outspoken support for all of organized labor and his focus on America's working families," said Carpenters President Douglas J. McCarron. "In addition to his support for labor, our leadership was particularly impressed with the Senator's strong stand on trade."

"We also believe that Senator Edwards will have a great appeal in a general election," McCarron continued. "He has the ability to reach out to moderate voters, including the members of our union, and to address their very real concerns about jobs, health care and the economy."

Their formal endorsement will come on September 8th, at a rally in New Hampshire.

On Labor Day, the Steelworkers Union will endorse Edwards at a rally in Pittsburgh.

Edwards has made support for unions a key feature not only of his campaign, but of his advocacy for many years before his campaign. I'm glad to see the unions are recognizing his work. These endorsements are well deserved.

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Thursday, August 30, 2007

John Edwards - Rebuilding New Orleans

"We don't need a surge in Baghdad. We need a surge in New Orleans."

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Rasmussen: Edwards ties Obama in new national poll

According to Rasmussen's new national daily tracking poll out today, John Edwards has now tied Barack Obama for second place in the race for the Democratic nomination. Obama's popularity seems to have fallen precipitously since earlier in the year when he was tied with Hillary Clinton.

Edwards has also been leading in the key state of Iowa in most polls for many months.

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Monday, August 27, 2007

John Edwards - A Survivor's Question

If your candidate's health care plan doesn't cover everyone, find yourself another candidate. We ALL deserve health care.

John Edwards at LiveStrong on Corporate Lobbyists

John Edwards explains why we don't have universal health care in America at Lance Armstrong's LiveStrong presidential forum.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

John Edwards: 'Just Say No' to lobbyists!

In a new YouTube video from the Edwards campaign, John Edwards, speaking in New Hampshire, borrows a famous phrase from Nancy Reagan: "Just Say No!" The only drug Edwards is talking about here is the drug that Washington, DC is on -- lobbyist money.

This won't be the first time that I've seen Edwards's rhetoric compared to Reagan's, but there is a major difference. John Edwards is not anti-government; he is anti-bad-government. Edwards is using the Reagan phrase to combat the corruption in Washington, for which the Republican Party has been largely, though not exclusively, responsible.

Will corporate greed be all that we value as we move forward into this global economy, or will we put workers and families first, so that all jobs paid fair wages, every American has health care, and corporate profits work for democracy, not the other way around?

Edwards says there is a clear choice ahead for the Democratic Party.

The choice for our party could not be any clearer. We cannot replace a group of corporate Republicans with a group of corporate Democrats. Just swapping the Washington insiders of one party for the Washington insiders of another is not what we need. The American people deserve to know that their presidency is not for sale, the Lincoln bedroom is not for rent, and lobbyist money can no longer influence policy in the House or the Senate.

Now, the Clinton campaign has tried to make this all about Clinton, but it's clear that that's not what it's about. The Lincoln bedroom phrase may be recognizable shorthand for undue favors being given to political friends, but Bush has also rented out the Lincoln bedroom. Furthermore, the reference to the House and the Senate shows that this is about corruption throughout the federal government.

Rather than being distracted by accusations that this is an attack on another Democrat, I think we should ask ourselves, what kind of Democratic Party do we want?

Personally, I think lobbyist influence has run rampant in Washington for way too long. I'm with Edwards on this, and I'm glad he's finally speaking out more publicly about other politicians taking the lobbyist money that he has refused for his entire 10 year political career.

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Friday, August 24, 2007

Tomorrow Begins Today

This is great! A guy named Brian Eldredge in California has written a song about John Edwards. It's pretty good, too! You can download the MP3 and read the lyrics here:


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Thursday, August 23, 2007

John Edwards: Time to End the Game

Great VLog from NCDem Amy of a portion of John's speech today.

To Build One America, End the Game

John Edwards made a magic, moving speech today to kick off his bus tour in New Hampshire. I'm going to have to just post it in its entirety, because I can't bear to cut it and I really have nothing to add. He says this so well. (Emphasis mine.)

This election is unlike any we have faced before. The stakes are higher. And the challenges we face as a nation are greater than at any time in memory.

We as a nation must choose whether to do what America has always done in times like these -- change direction and move boldly into the future for the sake of our children, if not for ourselves, or wander in the same stale direction we have traveled in our recent past.

The choice we must make is as important as it is clear.

It is a choice between looking back and looking forward.

A choice between the way we've always done it and the way we could do it if we dared.

A choice between corporate power and the power of democracy.

Between a corrupt and corroded system and a government that works for us again.

It is caution versus courage. Old versus new. Calculation versus principle.

It is the establishment elites versus the American people.

It is a choice between the failed compromises of the past and the bright possibilities of our future. Between resigning ourselves to Two Americas or fighting for the One America we all believe in.

As always, at these moments, the choice we make is not for us, but for our children and our great country. And this time, like no other time, the consequences for our children are truly profound.

Will we halt global warming, protect our environment and humanity from the cataclysmic consequences of inaction and leave our children a livable world rich in the resources that were left to us?

Will we prevail against terrorism by stopping those who would harm us and winning over the minds of those who have yet to take sides so that instead of an ever more dangerous and war-torn world, our children live in a nation that is safe, strong and once again viewed throughout the world as a truly moral leader?

Will corporate greed be all we value as we move further into the global economy, or will we put workers and families first, so that all jobs pay fair wages, every American has health care and corporate profits work for democracy and not the other way around?

Will we face our future as individuals, each of us asking, "What's in it for me?" Or will we return to the central value that makes our nation great? That we are all in this together and each of has a responsibility to the common good.

The choices we make will determine not just the quality of life our children will inherit, but the fate of the world we leave behind.

To succeed for our children where we have too often failed for ourselves, we must choose a new course. Those wedded to the policies of the 70s, 80s, or 90s are wedded to the past -- ideas and policies that are tired, shop worn and obsolete. We will find no answers there.

But small thinking and outdated answers aren't the only problems with a vision for the future that is rooted in nostalgia. The trouble with nostalgia is that you tend to remember what you liked and forget what you didn't. It's not just that the answers of the past aren't up to the job today, it's that the system that produced them was corrupt -- and still is. It's controlled by big corporations, the lobbyists they hire to protect their bottom line and the politicians who curry their favor and carry their water. And it's perpetuated by a media that too often fawns over the establishment, but fails to seriously cover the challenges we face or the solutions being proposed. This is the game of American politics and in this game, the interests of regular Americans don't stand a chance.

Real change starts with being honest -- the system in Washington is rigged and our government is broken. It's rigged by greedy corporate powers to protect corporate profits. It's rigged by the very wealthy to ensure they become even wealthier. At the end of the day, it's rigged by all those who benefit from the established order of things. For them, more of the same means more money and more power. They'll do anything they can to keep things just the way they are -- not for the country, but for themselves.

Politicians who care more about their careers than their constituents go along to get elected. They make easy promises to voters instead of challenging them to take responsibility for our country. And then they compromise even those promises to keep the lobbyists happy and the contributions coming.

Instead of serving the people and the nation, too many play the parlor game of Washington -- trading favors and campaign money, influencing votes and compromising legislation. It's a game that never ends, but every American knows -- it's time to end the game.

And it's time for the Democratic Party -- the party of the people -- to end it.

The choice for our party could not be more clear. We cannot replace a group of corporate Republicans with a group of corporate Democrats, just swapping the Washington insiders of one party for the Washington insiders of the other.

The American people deserve to know that their presidency is not for sale, the Lincoln Bedroom is not for rent, and lobbyist money can no longer influence policy in the House or the Senate.

It's time to end the game. It's time to tell the big corporations and the lobbyists who have been running things for too long that their time is over. It's time to challenge politicians to put the American people's interests ahead of their own calculated political interests, to look the lobbyists in the eye and just say no.

And it's time for the American people to take responsibility for our government -- for in our democracy it is truly ours. If we have come to mistrust and question it, it is because we were not vigilant against the forces that have taken it from us. That their game has played on for so long is the fault of each of us -- ending the game and returning government of the people to the people is the responsibility of all of us.

But cleaning up Washington isn't enough. If we are going to meet the challenges we face and prevail over them, two principles must guide us -- yes, we must end the Washington game, but we must also think as big as the challenges we face. Our ideas must be bold enough to succeed and our government must be free to enact them without compromising principle or sacrificing results.

One without the other isn't good enough. All the big ideas in the world won't make a difference if they have to go through this broken system that remains controlled by big business and their lobbyists. And if we fix the system, but aren't honest with the American people about the scope of our challenges and what's required of each of us to meet them, then we'll be left with the baby steps and incremental measures that are Washington's poor excuse for progress.

As Bobby Kennedy said, "If we fail to dare, if we do not try, the next generation will harvest the fruit of our indifference; a world we did not want, a world we did not choose, but a world we could have made better by caring more for the results of our labors."

But if we do both -- if we have the courage to offer real change and the determination to change Washington -- then we will be build the One America we dream of, where every man, woman and child is blessed with the same, great opportunity and held to the same, just rules.

For more than 20 years, Democrats have talked about universal health care. And for more than 20 years, we've gotten nowhere, because lobbyists for the big insurance companies, drug companies and HMOs spent millions to block real reform. Instead, they've grudgingly allowed incremental measures that do nothing but tinker around the edges -- or worse, they've hijacked reform to improve their own bottom line. So today, more Americans go without health care than ever before. Instead of prescription drug reform that brought down the cost of drugs, the lobbyists for the big drug companies got us a prescription drug bill that boosts drug company profits but doesn't cut patient costs.

I have a bold plan to finally guarantee true universal health care for every single American and cut health care costs for everyone. My plan will require everyone -- business, government and individuals -- to contribute something to reach universal coverage. And I am honest about the cost: $90 to $120 billion a year, and I'll pay for it by repealing the Bush tax cuts for families above $200,000. If we end the game in Washington, we can finally have a health care system that treats the health of all our people with equal worth.

Dependence on foreign oil is smothering our economy and choking our environment. Everybody knows it -- politicians from both parties have been calling for energy independence for 30 years. So what did the oilmen in the White House do? They handed the keys to the corridors of government over to the lobbyists for the big oil companies and let them literally write the energy bill. Now, gas prices are through the roof, carbon emissions are unchecked, and global warming is likely getting worse.

When I am president, we will cap greenhouse gas pollution and ratchet it down every year. We will avoid mistakes like nuclear power and liquid coal. We will invest in clean renewable energies generated in America and create a new era in efficient cars, made by union members here at home.

And look at our economic policies -- from top to bottom, they're a twisted reflection of American values. Instead of expanding opportunity for all and preventing special privileges for any, they hoard opportunity and protect special privileges for the very few at the very top.

Trade policy is all about corporate profits for big multinationals and not at all about lifting workers' wages or creating American jobs. The tax code provides breaks for hedge fund managers -- amazingly, even Democrats backed down from asking them to pay their fair share when Wall Street lobbyists put the pressure on. By the time a decade of corporate opposition to a minimal increase in the minimum wage is overcome, even its own supporters admit that the increase isn't enough -- so another decade of corporate opposition begins anew, and workers lose again.

It's time we put our economy back in line with our values. Let's restore fairness to our tax code by insisting on a simple principle -- nobody in the middle class should pay higher taxes on the money they make from hard work than the wealthiest pay on the money they make from their investments. Let's restore opportunity and responsibility to our trade policy by requiring that every new trade deal puts workers and wages first. Let's reward work by strengthening unions, raising the minimum wage, cutting taxes on working families and with a national commitment to end poverty within a generation.

And let's support our troops and end this war in Iraq. We should immediately withdraw 40-50,000 combat troops immediately and have the rest out in about a year. And when President Bush refuses to act, Congress should use its funding power to force him to act.

None of this will be easy, but all of it is possible.

I know. I've been doing it my entire life.

I am the son of Wallace and Bobbie Edwards. My father had to borrow $50 to bring me and my mother home from the hospital. I am here today because, like all the people my father worked with in the mill, my parents got up every day believing in the promise of America, and they worked hard -- no matter what obstacles were thrown against them -- to give me the chance for a better life.

That's the promise at the heart of the American Dream. What matters to our generation is of little consequence -- in America what has always mattered most is the consequences for our children and their children after them. And no amount of power or money gives anyone the right to break that promise with our future.

I have stood with ordinary Americans at the most difficult times in their lives, when all the power of corporate America was arrayed against them. I have walked into courtrooms alone to face an army of corporate lawyers with all the money in the world. I have walked off the Senate elevator and been besieged by an army of corporate lobbyists. And I have beaten them over and over again.

But let me tell you one thing I have learned from my experience -- you cannot deal with them on their terms. You cannot play by their rules, sit at their table, or give them a seat at yours. They will not give up their power -- you have to take it from them.

We cannot triangulate our way to real change. We cannot compromise our way to real change. But we can lead to real change. And we can start today.

Nearly ten years ago, I made the decision that I would never take a dime from a Washington lobbyist -- I wasn't going to work for them, and I didn't want their money.

Because in the courtroom, when you present your case to the jury, you can offer facts and evidence, you can argue your heart out -- and I have -- but the one thing you can't do, is pay the jury. We call that a bribe. But in Washington when an oil lobbyist gives money to office holders to influence our energy policy, they call it politics. That's exactly what's wrong with this system.

Money flies like lightning between corporations, lobbyists, and politicians. We need full public financing to reform the system once and for all. But we don't need to wait to reform our party. Two weeks ago, I called on all Democrats to reject contributions from federal lobbyists. To tell them -- we know that you give money to influence politicians on behalf of your corporate clients. Well, we're not going to take it anymore. Your money's no good here.

I repeat that challenge today. Let's show America exactly whose side we're on. We can reform our party and truly be the party of the people. And we can expose for all time who the Republicans in Washington are really working for.

There are 60 lobbyists in Washington for every member of Congress. The big corporations don't need another president that looks out for them -- they've got all the power they need. I want to be the people's president.

A few weeks, ago I met a man named James Lowe in Wise, Virginia. James spent the first fifty years of his life without a voice -- literally without a voice -- because he didn't have health care. All he needed was a simple operation to fix a cleft palate. That a man in the richest country in the world could go unable to speak for 50 years because he couldn't pay for a $3,000 operation is something that should outrage every American. We are better than that. America is better that that.

It's a stark reminder of our broken political system that leaves millions of Americans without a voice in their government -- a government that is supposed to work for them.

But it doesn't have to be that way. And we can change it together.

We must think big and end the game.

It's not about being ready to grab the reigns of establishment Washington and stand on the side of corporate elites. If it is, there are plenty who will do a better job than me at protecting the status quo, and preserving the policies and politics of the past.

It's about being ready to lift our country up, reform our party, and remake our government in line with the values of our people. It's about real change and a new vision that meets the challenges of the future and inspires the American people to work together for the common good.

We're all angry at what George Bush has done to our country. But with courage and conviction, with an unblinking eye on the future we believe in and an unbending knee on the road to get there, not only can we undo the damage, we can transform the world. No matter what life has thrown at us, Elizabeth and I have always chosen to be optimistic about the future -- and determined to make a difference as we strive toward it everyday.

I carry the promise of America in my heart, where my parents placed it. Because of them, I believe in people, hard work and the American Dream. I believe the future belongs to us if we only dare to seize it. And I believe to seize it, we must blaze a new path, firmly grounded in the values that first made America great. We must cast aside the established ways of Washington and replace them with the timeless values of the American people. We must end the game controlled by a privileged few and restore the promise that America owes to us all.

On that new path lies One America, where possibility is unbound and opportunity is the birthright of every American. Where the voices of the people are heard again in the halls of government, and government heeds their call. One America, where every individual takes responsibility for our common good, and the chance to reach one's God-given potential is every individual's common right.

I am the son of Wallace and Bobbie Edwards.

And I believe in the promise of America.

Now, if you believe John Edwards is right about lobbyists, please sign his petition.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Hillary Clinton - Fight a New War

I'm really scared by what Hillary said the other day, but I love this video!

Edwards: WaPo misunderstands lobbyist issue

If you think about it, it's hardly surprising that a mainstream media newspaper reporting in a town run by lobbyists misunderstands (perhaps willfully) the issue about lobbyists controlling Washington. Perhaps predictably, the Washington Post ran a column today that completely misses the point.

One thing I like about John Edwards is that he's not afraid to state what should be obvious to everyone, especially when it seems many others are afraid to (or won't) say it. Edwards is completely correct that lobbyists are running Washington and have rigged the system against you and me.

In a statement released just a little while ago, Edwards had this to say about the Washington Post's rather bizarre column:

"My campaign is about giving every American the same chances to succeed that I've had - but that can't happen while powerful interests and their lobbyists run Washington. They write our laws to give themselves every break imaginable, while regular families struggle to get by, let alone get ahead. If we are going to build One America, we need to end the money game in Washington.

"I've called on the Democratic Party and all candidates for federal office to stop taking money from Washington lobbyists. A column in today's Washington Post misunderstood the issue. Reforming our party isn't a substitute for changing our laws; it's a critical addition to changing our laws - a huge step we can take today to show the American people that we're the party of the people without waiting for Washington to catch up.

Edwards went on to re-iterate his call to Obama and Clinton to join him in this effort to pressure Democrats to stop accepting lobbyist dollars. Some have accused Edwards trying to force Obama to look like he's following Edwards by pressuring him to join Edwards's effort. I noticed that this time, Edwards is freely giving Obama a way out of this dilemma by mentioning his support for Obama's legislation. Edwards seems to be saying, in effect, nobody is following anybody, but let's just get the job done.

"There are two ways to reform our system. The first way is to pass legislation. I have publicly supported Senator Obama's plan for ethics and lobbying reform. I am also a strong supporter of public financing, and when I am the Democratic nominee for president, if the Republican nominee agrees, I will accept public financing of my campaign. But, as we have seen over and over again, every time we are actually able to pass a new law, all of the lobbyists find loopholes to keep the system rigged.

"The other legitimate path to reform is for our party, the Democratic Party, to reform itself by refusing to take money from Washington lobbyists. By doing this, we are telling Washington lobbyists that their money and their agenda are no good here anymore, and exposing for the American people who the Republican Party is working for - and it's not them. Refusing Washington lobbyist money is a huge step in the right direction - that we can take today - to return our country to a government of, by and for the American people.

"Both ways of reform are legitimate and important. But the real question is if Senator Obama and Senator Clinton really care about reform, which I believe they do, then why will neither of them join me and support both paths?"

Here's an excerpt of the letter that Edwards sent to Obama a few days ago:

Last week, I sent you a letter asking you to join me in taking a stand for millions of working and middle-class American families by calling on the Democratic Party to stop accepting campaign contributions from federal lobbyists and help put an end to the money game in Washington once and for all. Let me be clear, I am not calling on any campaign or candidate to return what has already been legally contributed. But I am proposing that we, as Democrats, stop accepting donations from federal lobbyists from this day forward. It's a bold challenge – and one that has drawn fire from more than a few Washington insiders. But that's why it's all the more important for us to make sure it happens.

I have never taken a dime from Washington lobbyists, and I am proud that you have stopped taking money in this campaign – in fact, it's why I asked you to join me in leading this important effort to help ensure that no DC lobbyist will stand in the way of real change.

I'm glad that John Edwards is staying with this issue. I hope other Democrats will join him.

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Thursday, August 02, 2007

Edwards Fights Media Consolidation

Today, John Edwards spoke out against the proposed Rupert Murdoch deal to buy the Wall Street Journal and the Dow Jones Company. Media consolidation limits the ability of diverse voices to be heard and threatens our democracy, and John Edwards knows it.

"News Corp's purchase of the Dow Jones Co. and The Wall Street Journal should be the last straw when it comes to media consolidation. The basis of a strong democracy begins and ends with a strong, unbiased and fair media — all qualities which are pretty hard to subscribe to Fox News and News Corp. The reality is that Americans deserve more news outlets — not fewer. It's time for all Democrats, including those running for president, to stand up and speak out against this merger and other forms of media consolidation.

"Moreover, given Fox News' consistent efforts to demean Democrats — they have attacked the character of Senator Obama, Vice President Gore, and many others — no Democrat running for president should accept campaign money from top News Corp executives. So, today, I'm challenging every Democratic presidential candidate to refuse contributions from News Corp executives and return any they've already taken, beginning with Rupert Murdoch. The time has come for Democrats to stop pretending to be friends with the very people who demonize the Democratic Party."

In case it's a little unclear exactly which Democratic candidates John Edwards is challenging, Hillary Clinton has taken over $20,000 from News Corp executives, Obama has taken more than $14,000, and Chris Dodd has taken $2,100. Edwards has taken less than $1,000 from NewsCorp executives, which he plans to return.

Edwards spoke out against media consolidation at least as early as March, when I recorded this video at Howard University:

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John Edwards - Take Them On!

"Washington DC is broken. It does not work. The entire system is rigged, and it's rigged against you." - John Edwards

Did I mention that John is awesome? Take them on, John! I'm with you.

Check out the Edwards Evening News on Daily Kos

I'm not sure if everyone who reads my blog knows about the Edwards Evening News on Daily Kos. Every night, there is a diary on Daily Kos covering what's new with John Edwards and his campaign. A team of blogger volunteers has been doing this for several months. It was the brainchild of blogger Tom P. I'm proud to say that I have recently joined the Edwards Evening News team. Some of you may have noticed the EENR logo on some of the posts in my sidebar.

The news is usually up between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. Eastern time. I know that's a pretty big window, but we are volunteers.

Tonight's news is not up yet, but check out my most recent contribution and last night's news, written by okamichan13.

Aside from finding out what's going on with the Edwards campaign, it's just a fun place to hang out in the evening, so check it out!

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