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

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

UPDATED: Edwards wins SEIU NH Endorsement!

Edwards has won the New Hampshire SEIU endorsement according to MSNBC First Read.

After weeks of intense lobbying by the top three Democratic presidential candidates, Edwards has come away with the endorsement of the New Hampshire SEIU.

The endorsement will help Edwards considerably, providing him with financial resources and volunteers in the Granite state. It will also prevent other state chapters from sending volunteers to New Hampshire to campaign for either Obama or Clinton.

This is the 12th state SEIU endorsement Edwards has won; the others include Iowa and California.

Wow! So that's several key endorsements in some very key states. He now has SEIU worker power locked up in both Iowa and New Hampshire, as well California and 9 other states. This should be very helpful going into the early caucuses and primaries.

Here's a video from October 15th, when he won the endorsement of the SEIU in 10 of those states.

And here was the news from that day:

Service Employees International Union (SEIU) state councils from Iowa, California, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Minnesota, Michigan, West Virginia, Ohio and Oregon announced they have endorsed Senator John Edwards for president, totaling close to one million SEIU members.
Representatives from several of the ten state councils joined Edwards for a press conference at the Eckstein Medical Research Building in Iowa City. The endorsements will allow these SEIU state councils, which collectively represent over 930,000 members, to organize efforts to turn out caucus goers on Edwards' behalf within Iowa, and in any other state where the SEIU state councils have also endorsed Edwards. SEIU state councils across the country will be determining their endorsement decisions in the coming weeks.

UPDATE: I was reminded, thanks to the comments at Daily Kos, that this means 90,000 SEIU members from neighboring Massachusetts, where SEIU has also endorsed Edwards, can come to New Hampshire to help out.

The news from Oct. 18th:

The Massachusetts council of the Service Employees International Union on Thursday joined 10 other state chapters endorsing Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards.

The council, which represents 90,000 workers in Massachusetts, cited Edwards' record on health care.

Also, I really should have included this video of John Edwards' closing remarks at the SEIU convention in Washington, DC in the original post.

UPDATED 2nd time:

I want to thank okamichan13 for pointing out the wise words of kos.

SEIU New Hampshire is obviously important (and is getting wooed to death), but also important will be SEIU Massachusetts, with 75,000 members a couple of hours (at most) from New Hampshire. If a candidate can get both the Mass and New Hampshire locals, he or she should get a real boost.

I posted this earlier on Daily Kos.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

John Edwards-MSNBC: Patriotic for Something Other Than War

We need to ask America to be patriotic about something other than war.

John Edwards-Turning over the mess to our children

Edwards stands up to Washington lobbyists again!

Hillary is the Status Quo candidate

And yet another awesome John Edwards clip from tonight's debate!

John Edwards: MSNBC Debate-Iraq, Ending Combat Missions

Clip #3! Isn't NCDem awesome for getting these up so fast? This one is on adding combat missions.

John Edwards: MSNBC Debate-Lieberman-Kyl and Iran (Q2)

Another clip from tonight's debate. Thanks to NCDem for getting these up so fast!

John Edwards: MSNBC Debate Question 1

Check out this clip from tonight's debate! Wow! Clinton is really full of doublespeak.

In Memory of Drew

Today I'd like to take a moment to remember a friend of mine who is currently making a transition to the next life. My voice recognition software misheard "today" as "to dance," which seems like a little message from Drew to remember to celebrate each day. Drew really enjoyed the Grateful Dead, so for him, I offer this (and please don't anyone take the last song as an endorsement of any particular religion):

Drew, you will be missed.

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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Edwards Evening News Roundup: Save the Planet Edition

Welcome to your Saturday night Edwards Evening News edition, where we're working to save the planet! I am delighted about tonight's news, which includes:

  • Dr. Helen Caldicott says vote for JRE!

  • Edwards Opposes Peru Free Trade Agreement

  • Edwards visits 99th Iowa County

  • Media Shocker: the Washington Post Has a Decent Story on Edwards!

Dr. Helen Caldicott says vote for JRE!

For over 35 years, Nobel Prize nominee Dr. Helen Caldicott has been a leader in the struggle to rid the world of nuclear weapons, nuclear energy, and to educate others about the dangers of radiation.

While living in the United States from 1977 to 1986, she co-founded the Physicians for Social Responsibility, an organization of 23,000 doctors committed to educating their colleagues about the dangers of nuclear power, nuclear weapons and nuclear war. On trips abroad she helped start similar medical organizations in many other countries. The international umbrella group (International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War) won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985. She also founded the Women's Action for Nuclear Disarmament (WAND) in the US in 1980.

This woman is a hero! I think I probably heard about her first at least 25 years ago, and she's been working on this issue all that time. She is really inspiring.

Dr Caldicott has received many prizes and awards for her work, most recently the Lannan Foundation's 2003 Prize for Cultural Freedom, 19 honorary doctoral degrees, and was personally nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Linus Pauling - himself a Nobel Laureate. The Smithsonian Institute has named Dr Caldicott as one of the most influential women of the 20th Century. She has written for numerous publications and has authored seven books, Nuclear Madness, Missile Envy, If You Love This Planet: A Plan to Heal the Earth (1992, W.W. Norton) and A Desperate Passion: An Autobiography (1996, W.W. Norton; published as A Passionate Life in Australia by Random House), The New Nuclear Danger: George Bush’s Military Industrial Complex (2001, The New Press in the US, UK and UK; Scribe Publishing in Australia and New Zealand; Lemniscaat Publishers in The Netherlands; and Hugendubel Verlag in Germany), and Nuclear Power is Not the Answer (2006, The New Press in the US, UK and UK; Melbourne University Press in Australia). Dr. Caldicott’s most recent book is War In Heaven (March 2007).

She also has been the subject of several films, including Eight Minutes to Midnight, nominated for an Academy Award in 1981, If You Love This Planet, which won the Academy Award for best documentary in 1982, and Helen’s War: portrait of a dissident, recipient of the Australian Film Institute Awards for Best Direction (Documentary) 2004, and the Sydney Film Festival Dendy Award for Best Documentary in 2004.

Dr Caldicott currently divides her time between Australia and the US where she lectures widely. She is also the Founder and President of the Nuclear Policy Research Institute (NPRI),headquartered in Washington DC. NPRI’s mission is to facilitate a far-reaching, effective, ongoing public education campaign in the mainstream media about the often-underestimated dangers of nuclear weapons and power programs and policies.

Today, annefrank told me about a wonderful letter to the editor in the Concord Monitor in support of JRE. The writer, who had flirted with several candidates, had finally decided on Edwards because of his environmental policies, but what really caught my eye was this:

I'm moved by his Friends of the Earth endorsement. We must tackle man-made global climate change.

I'm moved by Dr. Helen Caldicott of the group Beyond Nuclear, who told a recent gathering that Edwards is the right candidate. "Clinton and Obama are ignorant on radiation-release issues," she told us.

I'm not sure if this can be called an official endorsement, but Dr. Caldicott speaking out in favor of John Edwards is huge, in my opinion. Did I mention that she's brilliant?

I wanted to confirm that this was true, so I did a Google search and found this article. Dr. Caldicott spoke about problems with nuclear weapons and nuclear power and the need for a nuke free world in Boise, Idaho on Tuesday night. And...

Political action is the way to avert a radioactive disaster, Caldicott said. She is pushing for the removal of subsidies to nuclear power plants. She urged the audience to support presidential candidate John Edwards, who opposes nuclear weapons and nuclear power.

So there you have it. Another brilliant woman for JRE!

I was hoping to find a video of the event, so that we could hear her speaking about John Edwards directly, but I didn't find one. What I have instead, is a delightful interview with her that I did find on YouTube. I don't think she mentions Edwards in this, although I might have missed a brief reference, because I was doing other things while listening to it, but she does speak her mind about another presidential candidate. In the interview, she has also asked what she would do if she were president of the United States, and her response is fascinating. Here's a woman I would gladly support as president of the United States! Lucky for John Edwards, she's Australian. The interview is almost an hour long.

Of course, she's not the only person impressed with JRE's rejection of nuclear power. That was a factor in the endorsement by Friends of the Earth Action.

Here's a recent video of John Edwards speaking about energy and global warming in New Hampshire:

I think it's time to save the planet!

Edwards Opposes Peru Free Trade Agreement

Today in Iowa, John Edwards spoke out against the controversial Peru Free Trade Agreement, which at least one other presidential candidate supports.

Newton, Iowa – Today, as part of his seven-day "Stand Strong" campaign, Senator John Edwards will announce his opposition to the expansion of the NAFTA model with the Peru trade deal now before Congress.

Edwards will make this announcement in Newton, Iowa - the former headquarters of the Maytag Corporation and the location of a Maytag washer and dryer plant. The Maytag plant, which opened in 1893, officially closed its doors last Thursday. Maytag was acquired by Whirlpool in March of 2006 for $2.6 billion. Several weeks later, Whirlpool announced it would close the Newton factory and former headquarters, eliminating 1,800 jobs. Whirlpool is moving production to non-union factories in Ohio where workers earn significantly less than their union counterparts in Newton.

"I grew up in Carolina mill towns and so I've seen firsthand the devastating impact trade can have on workers and communities," said Edwards. "Presidents from both parties have entered into trade agreements like NAFTA and the WTO promising that they would create new jobs. Instead, in recent years we've lost millions of manufacturing jobs, seen wages stagnate, and run up larger and larger trade deficits.

"For too long, Washington has been looking at every trade deal and asking one, and only one, question - is it good for corporate profits? And they haven't looked at all at the harm it will do to workers, their wages, or to the U.S. economy. Like the failed free trade agreements before it, the Peru Agreement puts the interests of the big multinational corporations first, ahead of the interests of American workers and communities."

NCDem Amy had a great diary on this earlier, in case you missed it.

Here's Edwards speaking on trade in New Hampshire recently:

Edwards visits 99th Iowa County

As of today, John Edwards has visited all of the 99 counties in Iowa, and marked his visit to the 99th county with a community meeting in Coulter, Iowa.

“Democrats will never win in so-called ‘red areas’ if we don’t go to them,” said Edwards. “I believe Iowans from all walks of life deserve a voice in Washington, no matter where they live. I will continue to reach out to Iowans from the largest cities to the smallest towns, and as the nominee, I will never concede the ‘red states’ or the rural vote to Republicans. Our party should stand up and fight for regular, hard-working families everywhere.”

To mark this milestone, Iowans from every county are participating in the “99 County Day of Action.” Iowans from all 99 counties are taking action to help Edwards win the Iowa caucuses and build One America – from a phonebank in Mills County to a winter clothing drive in Cedar County to a letter writing party in Dubuque County. The Edwards campaign has built grassroots organizations in all 99 counties with County Chairs and Rural County Chairs in every county. The campaign is on track to be the first campaign to announce Steering Committees in all 99 counties. The campaign will also commemorate the milestone by handing out a special edition of its newspaper, The Edwards Extra.

Media Shocker: the Washington Post Has a Decent Story on Edwards!

This goes into the "will wonders never cease" category. The Washington Post actually has a decent article on John Edwards today! Aside from the media's obligatory nod to the Clinton "inevitability" theme, there's barely a negative in this article. What on earth are they thinking? If they keep this up, we might even begin to think of them as responsible journalists.

Pomerantz, who first caucused for Edwards in 2004, hasn't felt this way about a candidate since she volunteered for Kennedy's campaign when she was a teenager. Edwards has a combination of honesty and charisma, she says. She senses that when he talks about poverty, he means it, and that despite his success, he hasn't forgotten his roots as the son of a millworker. She likes the attention to detail he shows in his policies. She feels for his wife, Elizabeth, who is struggling with cancer, and to whom she gave a necklace with a Hebrew word that means "life."

She likes the fact that when his daughter Cate showed up once to speak at an event, "she came in flip-flops. . . . Her feet hurt. They're real people."

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Stop Hillary Clinton!

Here's a playlist I made showing some differences between Clinton and Edwards and why Clinton MUST be stopped.

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Friday, October 26, 2007

John Edwards to Hillary Clinton: Tell the Truth on Iran

I applaud John Edwards for continuing to point out that Hillary Clinton is going along with the Bush administration's push toward war with Iran. My gawd! Someone has to! Here's his statement from today:

"When Senator Clinton voted to declare Iran's Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization, she only aided and abetted George Bush and Dick Cheney's march to war.

"We now have clear confirmation that the administration is planning attacks on Iran. This morning, NBC reporter Andrea Mitchell reported that Defense Secretary Robert Gates told reporters on a flight back to the United States last night that there are 'contingency plans for an attack on Iran' and that 'the planning has been done.'

"Republican candidates are also beating the drums of war. In an interview yesterday, Rudy Giuliani also said the military stage is 'closer than some of the Democrats believe.'

"Even though she's cozying up to the Republican approach when she's inside the Beltway, when she's in Iowa, Senator Clinton tells a different story. But with a question so critical, the American people deserve the real truth, not more doubletalk. And they need members of Congress to stand strong and fight the president on his march to war with Iran - not quicken the pace."

In case you missed what all this fuss is about, Clinton voted yes, weeks ago now, on the Kyl-Lieberman bill which declares the Iranian National Guard (part of the Iranian government) a terrorist organization. This isn't the first time that John Edwards has called her out about this. Senator Jim Webb called Kyl-Lieberman Cheney's fondest pipe dream. Yes, Hillary Clinton voted yes on it! On the other hand, maybe it's not too surprising, considering how much money she's raised from the U.S. weapons industry. Check out this quote from The Independent

The US arms industry is backing Hillary Clinton for President and has all but abandoned its traditional allies in the Republican party. Mrs Clinton has also emerged as Wall Street's favourite. Investment bankers have opened their wallets in unprecedented numbers for the New York senator over the past three months and, in the process, dumped their earlier favourite, Barack Obama.

Mrs Clinton's wooing of the defence industry is all the more remarkable given the frosty relations between Bill Clinton and the military during his presidency. An analysis of campaign contributions shows senior defence industry employees are pouring money into her war chest in the belief that their generosity will be repaid many times over with future defence contracts.

Employees of the top five US arms manufacturers – Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop-Grumman, General Dynamics and Raytheon – gave Democratic presidential candidates $103,900, with only $86,800 going to the Republicans. "The contributions clearly suggest the arms industry has reached the conclusion that Democratic prospects for 2008 are very good indeed," said Thomas Edsall, an academic at Columbia University in New York.

Republican administrations are by tradition much stronger supporters of US armaments programmes and Pentagon spending plans than Democratic governments. Relations between the arms industry and Bill Clinton soured when he slimmed down the military after the end of the Cold War. His wife, however, has been careful not to make the same mistake.

After her election to the Senate, she became the first New York senator on the armed services committee, where she revealed her hawkish tendencies by supporting the invasion of Iraq. Although she now favours a withdrawal of US troops, her position on Iran is among the most warlike of all the candidates – Democrat or Republican.

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Friends of the Earth Action - John Edwards radio ad

This video uses the audio of a radio ad from Friends of the Earth Action endorsing John Edwards for President. The ad is playing in New Hampshire, and is the first ad by a national environmental group in the presidential race.

I put the ad together with nature photos by me and a friend of mine. Enjoy!

Monday, October 22, 2007

My Favorite YouTube Ever!

I just have to share something. This really made me feel good. For the past almost 10 months now, I've basically put my life on hold to get John Edwards elected president. The reason, of course, is because I'm utterly fed up with the total crappiness of our country's direction in the past several years, and I see someone who I think would actually be a truly great leader for us, and it's so nice to have a little hope again.

Knowing how much time I spend trying to get the word out, especially online, several people who know me have asked me whether the campaign even knows what I'm doing. Well, this short little video made me feel really good.

At a recent book signing event, Elizabeth Edwards thanked the Edwards Evening News team, of which I am a part, and said that it's how she finds out what's going on in the world when she doesn't have a chance to talk to her husband. The video was shot by a friend of mine in North Carolina, NCDem Amy, and the woman giving her a hug in the video is a friend of mine also.

For those who don't know, the Edwards Evening News is a nightly diary on Daily Kos and other websites, written by a great team of bloggers, including myself, who take turns making sure that we get the nightly Edwards Evening News out there. The team has been doing this for nearly 200 consecutive nights now. I usually write the diary on Saturday nights, although sometimes I fill in on other nights. My name on Daily Kos is be inspired. You can always find the latest edition of Edwards Evening News, as well as past editions, right here:


And here is the latest one, by Amy, in which this video appears, along with another video of Elizabeth reading some lovely parts of her book, Saving Graces.


I just had to share! Thanks so much to Elizabeth, our future first lady and official White House blogger! And thanks to our wonderful EENR team!

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Friday, October 19, 2007

JRE endorsed by half of Maine's congressional delegation!

I just got off of a press conference call with the New Hampshire Edwards campaign. Representative Mike Michaud from Maine's 2nd district is endorsing John Edwards! Maine only has two representatives in Congress, so he represents half their congressional delegation. As Maine is right next to New Hampshire, I would think that this is a pretty important endorsement.

Mike Michaud is a lifelong millworker. He made the point that John can win in red states, because of his message. He believes that the other Democrats will not be able to win in red states, so that if we want to elect Democrats down the ballot, we need John as our presidential nominee.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

John Edwards on Cleaning Up Government

It's pretty clear that corporate lobbyists have too much influence in Washington, DC, and that the corruption caused by big money interests giving legalized bribes to politicians is out of control.

John Edwards has never taken a dime from a Washington lobbyist, not only in this campaign, but in any political campaign he has ever run, since his first race for the Senate. In this, he is different from the other candidates, and way ahead of them, in my opinion, although Obama has, to his credit, also rejected lobbyist money for his first time in this presidential race.

At Yearly Kos, John Edwards challenged Hillary Clinton to stop taking campaign contributions from lobbyists, and she refused.

Hillary on Lobbyists at Yearly Kos

MODERATOR: Senator Edwards has a very straightforward question here, which is will you continue to take money from lobbyists?

CLINTON: Yes, I will. I will. Because you know, a lot of those lobbyists, whether you like it or not, represent real Americans. They actually do.

Later, in an interview with George Stephanopoulos, Clinton asserted that the solution to the corruption in Washington is public campaign financing. We already have a public campaign financing system in place for presidential elections. John Edwards then committed to take public campaign financing for the primary, and challenged the other candidates to do the same. Once again, Clinton has refused (as has Obama).

Hillary on Public Financing

In an interview with George Stephanopoulos, Clinton said the following when asked about her connection to disgraced donor Norman Hsu:

CLINTON: I think that we've done all that we can do at this point, including returning the money, but I believe that the only answer to this entire set of circumstances is public financing, something that I strongly support, that I'm going to try to do when I'm president, because there is no doubt that the cost of campaigns, particularly trying to get on television with our advertising, and all the things that people have to do in a modern campaign, are just out of control. It's not good for the country, and it's not good for the system.

Perhaps Hillary Clinton is actually in favor of some ideal form of public campaign financing that we don't have yet, however, we do already have a public campaign financing system in place for presidential elections. The existing public campaign financing system for presidential elections does not require mandatory participation, however, because the Supreme Court has ruled that mandatory participation in that system would be unconstitutional.

Many people, including John Edwards, have said that they would support an improved system of public campaign financing. Hillary Clinton appears to support that, too, although it's not clear what her proposal is.

A true commitment to public financing would involve both being willing to work within the existing public financing system and proposing serious reforms that would strengthen our existing public financing system, and obviously it would be easiest to actually accomplish this if it can be done in a way that could be upheld as constitutional. Although I'm no constitutional expert, it seems that John Edwards has done both.

Here's a little bit of history on our current public financing system for presidential campaigns, from Wikipedia:

All of these efforts were largely ineffective, easily circumvented and rarely enforced. In 1971, however, Congress passed the Federal Election Campaign Act, requiring broad disclosure of campaign finance. In 1974, fueled by public reaction to the Watergate Scandal, Congress passed amendments to the Act establishing a comprehensive system of regulation and enforcement, including public financing of presidential campaigns and creation of a central enforcement agency, the Federal Election Commission. Other provisions included strict limits on contributions to
campaigns and expenditures by campaigns, individuals, and other political groups.

The new law was immediately challenged on First Amendment grounds in Federal Court, resulting in a landmark Supreme Court decision, Buckley v. Valeo. The Buckley decision recognized that regulation burdened the rights of free speech and assembly, but held that the compelling government interest in preventing corruption or its appearance justified some restrictions on free speech. The resulting decision upheld contribution limits, so long as they were not so low as to prevent campaigns from amassing the resources necessary to communicate effectively with the public, disclosure requirements, and voluntary public financing. It found limits on expenditures to be unconstitutional infringements on free speech. It also restricted the reach of the law to speech by candidates and parties, that is, groups established for the purpose of electing candidates, and to communications that expressly advocated the election or defeat of a candidate, using phrases such as "vote for," "vote against," "support," or "defeat."

I understand this quote to be saying that the Supreme Court has said campaign finance law can limit the maximum amount of donations, in order to prevent corruption or even the appearance of corruption, but cannot require candidates to participate in a public financing system, and cannot limit their spending. On Friday, John Edwards proposed a new public financing system that would go much further toward preventing corruption, but would fall into these guidelines.

Reforming Campaign Finance to Strengthen Small Donors: John Edwards believes elections should be about ideas rather than money. Few Americans can afford to make $4,600 contributions to gain access to presidential candidates, and the integrity of our campaign financing system depends upon smaller donors continuing to play an important role in the political process. Edwards' campaign is built upon the support of small donors – in fact, 93 percent of the campaign's donations come from donors contributing less than $100. As president, Edwards will create a new Grassroots Presidential Financing System to match small donations under $100 by eight to one, making two $100 donations as valuable to a campaign as a single $1,000 donation. He will also reduce the maximum contribution from $2,300 to $1,000 per person, to better reflect the incomes of most Americans. Edwards will create a system of full public financing for Congressional candidates and require corporations to disclose their political activity and spending.

Eight to one matches for small donations would sure go a long way toward maximizing the power of small contributors, while a lower maximum donation of $1000 would limit the influence of wealthy people and corporations. Edwards would also prevent lobbyists from giving campaign contributions, again, to prevent corruption.

Ending the Unique Power of Lobbyists: Edwards will prohibit all candidates and federal office holders from accepting contributions from lobbyists and will prohibit federal lobbyists from acting as fundraisers or bundlers for federal candidates. He will limit the ability of lobbyists to secure lucrative earmarks by enacting a Constitutional version of the line-item veto, where the president can require an up or down vote on special-interest spending. Edwards will close the revolving door between Capitol Hill and K Street by reinstating the five-year ban on lobbying by former top government officials and by banning former lobbyists from taking executive branch positions related to their former clients. Finally, he will curb lobbyists' influence by increasing disclosure requirements for lobbyist activity and by prohibiting government executives from accepting gifts and travel from lobbyists and their employers.

JRE's government reform agenda includes several other much-needed reforms, including voter verifiable paper ballots.

Strengthening the Voice of Ordinary Citizens: To ensure everyone's vote is counted, Edwards will require that all voting machines, including electronic ones, use paper ballots that can be verified by voters. He will also give D.C. residents voting representation in Congress, allow Election Day Registration in federal elections, fight voter suppression and intimidation and end the disenfranchisement of former prisoners who have served their time. In order to increase citizen engagement, Edwards will ask one million citizens to participate in biennial Citizen Congresses – national town hall meetings where regular Americans tackle national issues together, without the filters of interest groups and the media. Similar projects have given citizens a voice in community solutions across the country, including in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Archon Fung praised Edwards' Citizen Congress idea in the Boston Globe:

Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards unveiled a "One Democracy" initiative last week to enlarge the role of ordinary Americans in politics. The "Citizen Congress" is the most original part of this policy. If elected, he would convene millions of Americans in town halls throughout the country every other year to deliberate and advise public leaders on difficult issues such as healthcare, poverty, and foreign affairs.

The idea that government should talk directly to citizens about political issues, and that citizens should talk to each other, has the potential to reinvigorate American democracy. Citizen participation through influential assemblies such as Citizen Congresses would address three critical failings of the political system.

Here's a citizen journalist video report of John Edwards proposing his One Democracy Initiative, recorded by YouTube user dteubner. These are parts 2 and 3 of the speech, which gets into the meat of his proposals. Part 1 can be found here.

If you're interested in hearing more from that day in Keene, NH, you can download an MP3 here that includes the speech, as well as a question and answer session that followed it. Also, here is part of a Q&A session with CSpan viewers that aired before the speech (I didn't tune in early enough to catch it all).

Edwards has been talking up public financing and government reform and deriding the corrupting influence of lobbyists for quite some time now. Here he discusses these issues on a recent edition of Meet the Press:

Edwards will answer questions during a live online discussion tomorrow at 2 PM Eastern.

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Go Johnny Go! (Johnny B. Goode)

A fun rock and roll tribute to John Edwards and supporters that I created with music from the Dead. The Dead did this song, Chuck Berry's Johnny B. Goode a lot in the summer of 2004, and I'm pretty sure it was for John Kerry and John Edwards, especially since Bob Weir kept telling people to vote! This recording is from back then.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

John Edwards at the Auction with Timmeh

Funny video created by sgary.

Monday, October 15, 2007

John Edwards wins support of SEIU from 10 States

Today, 10 SEIU state councils announced their support for John Edwards, including Iowa, California, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Minnesota, Michigan, West Virginia, Ohio and Oregon.

"California SEIU members know that John Edwards will be the best labor president in the history of the United States," said Sal Rosselli, president of SEIU United Healthcare Workers West. "His proposals are far and away the best among the candidates on the issues that matter most to working Americans. Edwards has taken principled stands on workers' behalf, when others took more cautious positions on issues that demand bold action."

This brings his labor union support up to nearly 3 million union members nationwide.

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Iowa SEIU endorses John Edwards

This morning, John Edwards won the endorsement of the Iowa SEIU. Endorsements from several other state councils are rumored to be soon to follow.

Here's a video of Edwards speaking about the right to organize at the SEIU conference in DC back in September.

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Friends of the Earth Action endorses John Edwards for President

Today, John Edwards won a key endorsement from national environmental organization Friends of the Earth Action. He was in Dover, N.H. this morning to accept the endorsement.

Friends of the Earth Action enthusiastically endorses John Edwards for President. He has led the way among the candidates in addressing global warming and ruling out a new embrace of nuclear power. He has also demonstrated himself to be the top-tier candidate most likely to stand up to the powerful, corporate polluters and their lobbyists. After seven years of the most destructive environmental president in modern history, we feel strongly that John Edwards will fight for a healthy and just planet as President.

Edwards, who has an excellent plan to stop global warming, get us off our addiction to oil, and create a new energy economy, was the first candidate to commit to an 80% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050, and he is running a carbon neutral campaign. His environmental platform has been widely praised by environmentalists, and he won the MoveOn town hall on global warming earlier this year.

Friends of the Earth Action will run an independent campaign to educate their members and other environmentalists about Edwards' platform and to get people out to vote, particularly in New Hampshire.

Here's a video of the endorsement bye Friends of the Earth Action:

And here are John's remarks at the event, video by YouTube user guerillavlogger:

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Friday, October 12, 2007

Prescient and Compelling: Congratulations, Al Gore!

Congratulations, Al Gore!  Al Gore has been working hard on solving the problem of global warming for 30 years.  I'm so glad to hear that he's won the Nobel Peace Prize! He's a leading advocate for one of the most important issues of our time, and he may well save the world. This prize is definitely well deserved.

Gore is the first American to win the Nobel Peace Prize since Jimmy Carter, so it's been a while. I hope that this does a little something to repair the damage to America's reputation in the world.

"I am deeply honored to receive the Nobel Peace Prize," Gore said in a statement. "We face a true planetary emergency. The climate crisis is not a political issue, it is a moral and spiritual challenge to all of humanity."

Gore will donate his share of the $1.5 million dollar prize to Alliance for Climate Protection. Nice!

Here's a video from a while back of Al Gore talking about global warming:

One of my other favorite Democrats, my candidate for president, John Edwards, called Gore's battle to save the planet "prescient and compelling -- and often lonely." Here is his statement:

"Congratulations to Al Gore. The Nobel Peace Prize rewards three decades of Vice President Gore's prescient and compelling -- and often lonely -- advocacy for the future of the Earth. His leadership stands in stunning contrast to the failure of the current administration to pursue policies that would reduce the harm of global warming.

"The Nobel Committee's recognition of Vice President Gore shines a bright light on the most inconvenient truth of all -- the selection of George Bush as president has endangered the peace and prosperity of the entire planet.

"Two terms later, Americans are ready for bold change, ready to be patriotic about something other than war and ready to take action to stop global warming before it's too late. The stakes are sky-high -- as Al Gore predicted, our Earth is in the balance."

John Edwards has been bringing global warming to the forefront in his own campaign; he's been running a carbon neutral campaign and has a strong plan to address the problem.

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

John Edwards vs. Hillary Clinton on Iraq and Iran

Hillary Clinton likes to claim there is not much difference between the Democratic candidates. She's been seeking to minimize the very real differences so that people will just accept her without question.

Check out these quotes from the Democratic debate in New Hampshire on June 3, 2007:

CLINTON: The differences among us are minor. The differences between us and the Republicans are major. And I don't want anybody in America to be confused.

EDWARDS: There are differences between us. And I think Democratic voters deserve to know the differences between us.

There are many differences between Edwards and Clinton. This diary focuses on their differences on Iraq and Iran.

Today is an unfortunate and sad anniversary, and we might as well note it. Five years ago, Congress voted to authorize Bush to use force against Iraq. John Edwards and Hillary Clinton both voted for the war on that date. John Edwards has since regretted it and apologized rather profusely (and sincerely, in my opinion).

Today, John Edwards made a statement on this anniversary.

"Five years ago tonight, Congress voted to authorize the president to use force against Iraq. Unlike Senator Clinton, I have apologized for my vote in support of that bill. This war has become one of the greatest disasters of American foreign policy. In light of the terrible mistruths that permitted this president to guide our nation to war, voters have a right to honest answers and straight talk from those running for president. That is why I have made it clear that I oppose the Iraq war, why I have offered a specific plan on how I will end this war as president, and why I have made my position very clear on Iran.

"Unfortunately, political rhetoric aside, Senator Clinton has no specific plan to end the war in Iraq. Instead, she refuses to commit to a specific timeline for withdrawal and has made it clear that she will continue 'combat missions' in Iraq. The Washington Post reports today that Senator Clinton has described multiple missions that would require us to keep combat troops in Iraq—from protecting the Kurds to countering the Iranians to training Iraqi troops to protecting oil to a vague need to 'protect our interests.' These missions would just be excuses to justify continuing George Bush's failed strategy in Iraq.

"Now, we are again facing another challenge: whether to let the president go to war with yet another country, Iran. Evidently, Senator Clinton and I learned two very different lessons from the Iraq war. I learned that if you give President Bush even an inch of authority, he will use it to sanction a war. As the New Yorker recently reported, the administration is actively preparing plans to attack Iran. Despite this clear evidence, Congress recently passed a bill to declare Iran's Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization, a bill Senator Clinton supported and that takes this nation one step closer to war. While Senator Clinton tries to argue both sides of the issue, the truth is her vote opens the door for the president to attack Iran. I believe we must not allow the president to use force against Iran when so many other diplomatic and economic options are still available."

Now let's dig a little deeper into the differences with Clinton that Edwards is noting in his statement.

Although both voted for the war, the differences between John Edwards and Hillary Clinton on their approach to the Iraq war now are very clear. John Edwards would end the war and bring all combat troops out of Iraq within the first nine months or so of his presidency. Hillary Clinton says her goal is to get all our troops out by the end of her first term, but she would leave combat troops in Iraq, with the nebulous mission of fighting terrorism, which isn't really too far from what George Bush has been saying all along. Isn't fighting terrorism supposed to be our original mission there? Hasn’t Al Qaeda been the excuse for the war all along?

An article today from the Fact Checker at the Washington Post notes:

It is only when you examine the details--like the fine print in an insurance contract--that you discover that Clinton's pledge to "get out of Iraq" is far from iron-clad. There are numerous conditions attached. She enumerated some of them in the June 19 Democratic debate when pressed by Chris Matthews. Read the full transcript here. Clinton's list of "vital national security interests" in Iraq turns out to be quite lengthy:

"We cannot let Al Qaeda have a staging ground in Iraq."
"We have made common cause with some of the Iraqis themselves in Anbar province."
"We also have to look at the way the Kurds are being treated."
"We also have to pay attention to Iranian influence."
"We will have to protect our interests. We'll have an embassy there."
"If the Iraqi government does get its act together, we may have a continuing training mission."

Here are a couple more reasons cited by Clinton for a continuing deployment of American troops to prevent Iraq degenerating into a failed state "that serves as a petri dish for insurgents and Al Qaeda." They come from an interview she gave to the New York Times back in March.

Iraq "is right in the heart of the oil region."
Leaving Iraq altogether would be "directly in opposition to our interests...to Israel's interests."

Somehow that doesn't sound like a firm promise "to get out of Iraq" or, even less, a guarantee to "end our involvement there."

Check out these quotes from the MSNBC Democratic debate on September 26th, 2007.

CLINTON: Well, Tim, it is my goal to have all troops out by the end of my first term. But I agree with Barack; it is very difficult to know what we are going to be inheriting. Now, we do not know, walking into the White House in January of 2009 what we are going to find.

RUSSERT: Senator Edwards, will you commit that at the end of your first term, in 2013, all U.S. troops will be out of Iraq?

EDWARDS: I cannot make that commitment. But I—well, I can tell you what i would do as president. When I’m sworn into office, come January of 2009, if there are, in fact, as General Petraeus suggests, 100,000 American troops on the ground in Iraq, I will immediately draw down 40,000 to 50,000 troops; and over the course of the next several months, continue to bring our combat troops out of Iraq until all of our combat troops are, in fact, out of Iraq.

I think the problem is—and it’s what you just heard discussed—is we will maintain an embassy in Baghdad. That embassy has to be protected. We will probably have humanitarian workers in Iraq. Those humanitarian workers have to be protected.

I think somewhere in the neighborhood of a brigade of troops will be necessary to accomplish that, 3,500 to 5,000 troops.

But I do say, I want to add to things I just heard. I think it is true that everyone up here wants to take a responsible course to end the war in Iraq. There are, however, differences between us, and those differences need to be made aware. Good people have differences about this issue.

For example, I heard Senator Clinton say on Sunday that she wants to continue combat missions in Iraq. To me, that’s a continuation of the war. I do not think we should continue combat missions in Iraq.

And when I’m on a stage with the Republican nominee, come the fall of 2008, I’m going to make it clear that I’m for ending the war. And the debate will be between a Democrat who wants to bring the war to an end, get all American combat troops out of Iraq, and a Republican who wants to continue the war.

RUSSERT: Governor Richardson...

CLINTON: Well, Tim, could I just clarify that, you know, I said there may be a continuing counterterrorism mission, which, if it still exists, will be aimed at Al Qaida in Iraq. It may require combat, special operations forces or some other form of that. But the vast majority of our combat troops should be out.

EDWARDS: But, can I just say that my only point is—I don’t have any doubt that Senator Clinton wants to take a responsible course. There is a difference, however, in how we would go about this. And I think Democratic primary voters are entitled to know that difference.

And the difference is really very simple. I would have our combat troops out of Iraq over a period of several months, and I would not continue combat missions in Iraq.

Combat missions mean that the war is continuing.

I believe this war needs to be brought to an end.

In the MSNBC debate, Senator Edwards referred to something Senator Clinton said about combat troops on the previous Sunday. From my research, it seems this was on Wolf Blitzer’s Late Edition show on CNN. Here is the quote:

BLITZER: But on the issue -- excuse me for interrupting, Senator. But on the issue of Al Qaida in Iraq, if you were president, would you still retain troops in Iraq to fight Al Qaida there?

CLINTON: Well, I have voted for that. That is one of the remaining missions, Wolf. I have voted for a remaining mission bringing home our -- the bulk of our combat troops, but doing what we can to continue the counterterrorism effort against Al Qaida in Iraq, protecting our embassy and our civilian employees.

If the Iraqis change in accord with some of the recommendations by General Jones and his commission, continuing a training mission, and I have added, doing what we can to protect the Kurds. Those are among the limited missions that I think are really merited, and that I and others have continued to vote for. I voted for most of that just this week, when I voted for Senator Feingold's amendment to try to set a date to begin withdrawing our troops.

So there is no doubt that if we're making progress against Al Qaida in Iraq, we want to continue that. But we don't need 160,000- plus troops to do that, and the mission has to change. And that seems to be what the president really refuses to do.

On Iran, Senator Clinton voted for the Lieberman-Kyl amendment, which declares the Iranian National Guard a terrorist organization. This is essentially moving us one step closer to war with Iran, as many people, including Senator Jim Webb, have noted. John Edwards says that he and Senator Clinton learned very different lessons from their votes on the Iraq war.

EDWARDS: Well, let me say, first of all, I think there’s a clear responsible course for America with respect to Iran. And that responsible course is to recognize that Ahmadinejad is unpopular in his own country.

And if we work with our friends in Europe in the European banking system, we can put a clear proposal on the table for the Iranian people; sticks and carrots. Carrots being, we will help you with your economy if, in fact, you give up your nuclear ambitions. The flip side being, there will be severe economic sanctions if you don’t.

But I want to come back to a discussion that took place a few minutes ago to make everyone understands what Senator Gravel was talking and Senator Clinton was talking about. Because there was a very important vote cast in the United States Senate today. And it was, basically, in a resolution calling the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization.

I voted for this war in Iraq, and I was wrong to vote for this war. And I accept responsibility for that. Senator Clinton also voted for this war.

We learned a very different lesson from that. I have no intention of giving George Bush the authority to take the first step on a road to war with Iran.

And I think that vote today, which Senator Biden and Senator Dodd voted against, and they were correct to vote against it, is a clear indication of the approach that all of us would take with the situation in Iran because what I learned in my vote on Iraq was you cannot give this president the authority and you can’t even give him the first step in that authority because he cannot be trusted.

Brief note about Obama: Obama was not present for the vote on Lieberman-Kyl.

Issue Summary:
Edwards would end the war within his first year in office and get all combat troops out of Iraq. Clinton would try to end the war by the end of her first term in office, but would meanwhile continue combat missions. Edwards would use diplomacy and economic sanctions to try to work something out with Iran. Clinton has already voted to declare the Iranian National Guard a terrorist organization, taking us one step closer to war with Iran.

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Sunday, October 07, 2007

John Edwards on MTP: Edwards vs. Hillary (Part 4 of 4)

I just love it when John Edwards breathes fire.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

John Edwards on Countdown: End Outsourcing of Military

John Edwards was on Countdown with Keith Olbermann last night, and he called for an end to the outsourcing of military work to contractors like Blackwater.

The answer to this is to get American troops out of Iraq, which is why I'm committed to getting our combat troops out of Iraq, stopping combat missions, doing it the right way. But these things that are going on with Blackwater, they worry all Americans. I hear it everywhere I go. You know, people wonder, first of all, why a company whose executives gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to Bush and to Republicans are getting these no bid contracts with hundreds of millions of dollars. There's something wrong with this picture.

Edwards also attacked his main rival for the nomination, Hillary Clinton, for her plan to continue combat missions in Iraq, and for her yes vote on the Lieberman-Kyl amendment, which takes us one step closer to war with Iran.

I respect Senator Clinton, but we disagree about this. I think if you're going to continue combat missions in Iraq, that is a form of war, and I think the war needs to be ended. I think the combat missions need to be stopped. I think our combat troops ought to be out of Iraq, so there's a very clear choice for Democratic voters. One candidate, Senator Clinton, will continue combat missions. She's said that repeatedly now. I will end combat missions. If the Democratic voters want a candidate for president who wants to continue combat missions, they should vote for her. If, on the other hand, they want this war actually ended, they should vote for me.


What we need to do is continue to make clear to voters that they have choices. They have a different choice between me and Senator Clinton on Iraq. They have a different choice on Iran. I mean, I listened to Senator Clinton's explanation for voting for a Senate resolution that declared the Iranian National Guard a terrorist organization, which to me is the equivalent of giving George Bush the authority of the first step to go to war in Iran. I'm against that. And there's another choice that voters have, and we want voters to know what those choices are.

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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Hillary Clinton Thinks War with Iran is Funny

In the recent Democratic debate, Mike Gravel asked Hillary Clinton about her vote to take us one step closer to war with Iran, and she laughed at him. Disgusting! Check out this video from YouTube user overmind25.