Tag: John Edwards

John Edwards for President


A candidate diary at Docudharma? Oh Noes!

Not really, just one man’s opinion. Just to get it down somewhere kinda official looking. So without further ado…

Realistically, only three can win the nomination.

Clinton, Obama, and maybe if the stars align Edwards.

Death? or Life? – You Choose

When you hear “we need to increase military spending to support the troops” what do you think of?

Money going for body armor, armored vehicles, assault rifles and sidearms, helicopters, uniforms, various forms of advanced training?

All of us want to make sure our men and women in uniform have the tools they need to protect themselves and succeed in the missions they’re sent on. But what about when hundreds of billions of our hard-earned tax dollars go to something like Future Combat Systems?:

The Army’s mammoth Future Combat Systems push is “arguably the most complex” modernization project the Defense Department has ever pursued, according to the Government Accountability Office’s Paul Francis.  

So complex, in fact, that the Army figured it couldn’t pull off FCS by itself.  The service just didn’t have the know-how to manage something as big, as ambitious as remaking just about everything in its inventory — tanks, artillery, drones, you name it — and then building a brand new, absolutely titanic operating system and set of wireless networks, to tie it all together.  Forget a traditional defense contract; the Army needed an industrial partner, instead — some company that could watch over the zillions of moving parts needed to make FCS work. Eventually, the service settled on Boeing as that partner, or “Lead Systems Integrator,” in Pentagonese.

At first, it sounded like a good idea.  But the result was that the contractor basically wound up policing itself, and the military wound up spending lots of its time playing nice with its new partner – rather than cracking the whip.

The outcome has been less than impressive.  In 2003, when the LSI contract officially kicked off, Future Combat was meant to be a $92 billion effort; today, that figures stands at $200 billion, minimum — and maybe more than $230..

The idea was to modernize the Army – to create a new, faster, lighter, more high-tech fighting force for the 21st century. But that’s not how it’s turned out:

Quit giving $$$ to politicians; give the gift of peace

We’ve been regularly donating to two presidential candidates — not large amounts, but smaller contributions about once a month – for the past year.

But we’ve declared a moratorium on those checks and online contributions until after there is a Democratic nominee.

Instead, we’re going to put that money somewhere that is more likely than any politician to end the war in Iraq.

Whether we max out to Obama, Edwards, Gravel, Kucinich, Clinton or whomever isn’t going to have the slightest impact on their policy stance.  Our contributions are a drop in the multi-million dollar campaign bucket.

The same amount of  money, given to an organization working to stop the war, is far more likely to actually accomplish something.

Globalization, Trade And NAFTA: A Defense of Trade Agreements

Free trade is good. Does anyone disagree? Even “fair traders” agree today. We do not hear about nakedly protectionist domestic content legislation anymore. The “fair traders” argue instead for the need for a “fair playing field” on issues like environmental and labor standards.

But is this new emphasis on equal labor and environmental standards really about anything but protectionism? Is there really an expectation of that countries like Peru, Mexico and the Central American countries (not to mention China and India) will meet US labor and environmental standards? the irony is of course that this would be a form of erstwhile globalization – an attempt to impost US standards on the Thrid World – if it were sincere. It is not. It is just a new way of defending an old idea – protectionism.

I think the evidence of this is obvious – in no other context do we see a drive for higher labor and environmental standards in the Third World. Consider the issue of climate change:

. . . George Bush pulled the US out of the Kyoto treaty, which requires 36 industrial nations to cut greenhouse emissions by at least 5 per cent from 1990 levels by 2012. The US president says Kyoto unfairly burdens rich countries while exempting developing ones such as China and India.

Developing nations say rich states built up their economies without emissions restraints and argue that less-developed countries should have the same opportunity to establish their economies now.

But as emissions from places such as China and India grow, environmentalists say action by the developed world alone will not be enough to stop the warming trend.

Does anyone think George Bush shares the concern of environmentalists on this? Or is it an excuse? And does anyone really think Mexico, Peru and the Central American countries are comparable to China and India on this? Of course not. This is pretext for protextionism.


Why Edwards Is In Trouble In Iowa

Yesterday, I wrote about John Edwards' slippage in Iowa. Normally, I do not take great stock in polls this far out (yes, it is still too far out to take polls too seriously), especially the famously difficult to poll Iowa Caucus. My reasons for thinking the latest Iowa poll was not so much the numbers, as the fact that Edwards has dropped while Obama has risen since the end of July. Edwards now lacks a POSITIVE narrative for his candidacy for the critical last phases of the campaign. He has become the “attack Hillary” candidate (as opposed to being the Not Hillary candidate, the position he has now ceded without a shot to Barack Obama.)

At MYDD, Jerome Armstrong sees it differently:

Chiming in, it's great that the pollsters are now adding whether the voters attended the 2004 caucuses or not . . . I would tend to bank more on those that caucused in '04 . . .

With due respect to Jerome, I think he misses a very important point here, on the night of the caucus, the differences between previous caucus goers and first timers is simply not that great – both in choices and participation. For example, in 2004, the entrance polling showed:

Kerry won the initial preference of first-time caucus-goers, while Edwards and Dean roughly tied for second in this group. (First-timers made up 55 percent of participants, up from 46 percent in 2000.) . . .

Here's my point, the John Edwards campaign is looking more and more like the Gephardt campaign of 2004. He is supposed to have union support,  experienced caucus goers, etc. He has gone strongly negative against the perceived frontrunner. He is not a new face for Iowa, thus the change argument is difficult for him in terms of actually being a new candidate.

Most importantly, in my opinion, his dominant narrative now is one of a candidate whose campaign is dominated by personal attacks against the perceived frontrunner. Like Gephardt.

Unlike Kerry in 2004, or Edwards 2004 for that matter, there is no positive narrative for the Edwards campaign now. There is no doubt he can hurt Hillary (or Obama if he chooses to shoot in that direction), but he now has reached the point where he can not help his own campaign.

And this campaign choice by Edwards is utterly perplexing. He was very viable in Iowa. He had a positive agenda. He was NOT in a two person race, the only ones where negative attacks can work (driving up your own negatives is a necessary part of a campaign of attacks, the hope is you drive up your opponents' negatives even further.)

I think it is clear now that the Presidential race is a two person race in that only two people can win now. I think Edwards can not. And he did it to himself. The most baffling campaign decision I can remember.

Should Edwards and Obama Be In Prison?

In the ending minutes of the Democratic Presidential Debate on MSNBC two weeks ago, Tim Russert asked the candidates if any of them disagreed with Sen. Chris Dodd’s recent statement that he supports the decriminalization of marijuana.  Sen. Barack Obama and former Sen. John Edwards both raised their hands.  Edwards gave his reasons for his opposition:

“I think it sends the wrong signal to young people. And I think the president of the United States has a responsibility to ensure that we’re sending the right signals to young people.”

This is a very interesting statement on the part of John Edwards, and on the part of Barack Obama.  Because John Edwards admitted to having used marijuana during the 2003 Democratic Presidential debate sponsored by “Rock the Vote”.  Obama has gone even further; in his book “Dreams From My Father”, Obama wrote:

“I blew a few smoke rings, remembering those years.  Pot had helped, and booze; maybe a little blow when you could afford it.  Not smack, though.”

What is particularly fascinating about these statements by these candidates for the Presidency is that they are supporting criminal penalties which they themselves admit having avoided, which in many cases would not only prevent them from being viable candidates for their current and previous elected offices, but would prevent them from even having the opportunity to vote for themselves.  Nationwide, an estimated 5.3 million Americans are denied the right to vote for current or former felony convictions.  Over two million of those Americans are denied the right to vote after having completed their sentence and parole or probation, for the rest of their lives.  

Ron Paul and the Democrats We Deserve

So, yesterday, Republican Ron Paul raised $4.07 million, in a Guy Fawkes Day fundraising stunt.  That is more money than any other Republican has raised in a single day, although it falls short of Sen. Hillary Clinton’s biggest single day take.

Dr. Paul is a candidate whose campaign has caused no shortage of consternation, both among us here on the political left, as well as in Republican circles.  Dr. Paul is, after all, a nut.  He’s an unapologetic isolationist, a goldbug, a religious fundamentalist, and a possible to probable racist.  He polls at under 5% in nearly every poll.

So why is this person who most Americans had never heard of a year ago outraising nearly all Republican contenders and most Democrats, without any support from major lobbys or corporations, and drawing adoring crowds nearly everywhere he goes?

My Interview of Friends of the Earth Action President Blackwelder Re Edwards Endorsement

Last week, Friends of the Earth Action (“FOE Action”) endorsed John Edwards.

This week, I interviewed Brent Blackwelder, President of Friends of the Earth and FOE Action, about the endorsement of John Edwards.  Part I of the interview is in this diary. 

Here’s a little about FOE Action for those unfamiliar with it:

Founded by David Brower in 1967, Friends of the Earth Action has established a 35-year record of not only fighting the tough battles, but winning them too.  FoE Action provides extra political muscle on legislative battles here in the U.S. for to our sister organization, Friends of the Earth, which is part of a network of affiliates in over 70 nations around the world. 


FoE Action looks beyond the symptoms of environmental degredation, to the systemic causes.

FOE Action

Come around after the fold to hear a real hero of the struggle to save our planet.

On Freedom

We can talk all we want about freedom and opportunity, about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, but what does all that mean to a mother or father who can’t take a sick child to the doctor?

That, my fellow Democrats, is our frontrunner for our party’s nomination for President of the United States, Sen. Hillary Clinton.  Sen. Clinton made that statement in presenting her plan for health care reform which, like that of former Sen. John Edwards, would compel all Americans to enroll in a health insurance program.  Citizens would have an option of many private insurance options, or a public option similar to Medicare.  Tax credits would ensure that no American is forced to pay more than a certain percentage of their income on health insurance.

Lord Have Mercy, Feel My Temperature Rising …

Ok, so the top recommended diary at Daily Kos is the hard hitting speech by John Edwards immediately following Mister Bush’s address to the nation (which I did not watch — will never watch that man if I can help it).

So now I know that America has officially gone nuts.  The video of Edwards looks as though he is President, he’s sitting in a nice chair, an American flag behind him.  Except … except … HE IS NOT EVEN A SENATOR!  He is not in any position to make any decision in Congress right now!  Aaarrrrggggh!

All right, all right, I’ll calm down.  It’s just that this reminds me of the really creepy phenomenon of so many folks watching “West Wing” after Mister Bush was selected — this kind of fantasy-land where you could at least watch on the teevee what a President was supposed to act like, look like, talk like.  Not having a teevee (I stopped watching after 9/11), I was never gripped by this fantasy.

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