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Edwards: Rural America and Economic Fairness

by Stuart ONeill

Courtesy of a Hat Tip from Prezvid here’s a fine video of John Edwards addressing a crowd in Conord, NH that was posted at PrezVid on September 28. As Peter Hauck of PrezVid said in his post:

After Ralph Stanley II and the Bluegrass Brothers finish up “Man of
Constant Sorrrow,” a blue-jeaned John Edwards talks about “economic
fairness” at a town meeting in Conway, NH.

Sound Bite: “We should have a national capital fund
to make money — capital — available to new businesses that will operate
and start in smaller towns and smaller communities. Right now all the
capital stays in big cities. We’ve got to get it out into the rural

I believe this is worth watching because it addresses one of the biggest disparities we face today: Rural America and Economic Fairness. It also shows Edwards, in my opinion…having no dog in the fight yet…as a man with a mission. It is the same mission he has talked about for over 4 years: Economic Fairness/The Two America’s. Even if you have a negative opinion of John Edwards, I ask you to watch this video. When he’s addressing a crowd, in an informal situation, I believe him to have a powerful presence.

Kerry Staffer Called to Serve in Iraq

by Pamela Leavey

In just a short couple of weeks, John Kerry and his staff will “bid farewell to Setti Warren, the deputy director of his Massachusetts office.” Warren is headed to Iraq, is “leaving to spend the next year in Iraq as a Navy intelligence officer.”

Peter Gelzinis reports in the Boston Herald and catches perfectly the relationship between Kerry and Warren:

Warren, 37, is just the latest in a long line of Kerry staffers who are presently stationed, or have served, in Iraq. Kerry’s scheduler, Jackie Kohn, is on the front lines for the second time, serving in a combat support hospital unit.

Brady Van Engelen, Kerry’s adviser on veterans affairs, was a platoon leader with the “Tombraiders” of the 1st Armored Division. He was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart and spent the better part of a year at Walter Reed Army Medical Center coming back from a head wound.

At a time when we tend to reach for the nearest stereotype and hide behind red or blue banners, Setti Warren goes off to war calling his boss, an impassioned critic of the current strategy in Iraq, “a true patriot.”
Read more…

Democratic Candidates Out Raise Republicans Again

by Pamela Leavey

Democratic presidential candidates have out raised the Republican candidates yet again, and strategists in both parties contend that the Democrats are “more energized this year as they battle to reclaim the White House after nearly eight years of Republican rule.”

The imbalance is not lost on the candidates themselves. Mr. Giuliani said over the weekend that the ability of Democrats to raise money this year has been “phenomenal.”

All of the campaigns who gave their tallies reported drop-offs in contributions in the third-quarter, which is considered a difficult time to raise money as many well-heeled donors get out of their offices and off the fund-raising circuit to go on vacations and to their summer houses. And the campaigns often have already tapped their donors to the legal limit in contributions. But the Democrats still appeared to weather the summer months better than the Republicans.

One Republican strategist, Scott Reed, noted that, “This just shows the difficult political climate that Republicans are facing.” Reed went on to say, “The bright side is that next spring, the Republicans will have plenty of money to give the candidate who goes up against Hillary Clinton.” Which leads one to wonder, are the Republicans holding back waiting to see who the Democratic nominee will be and will they then unleash a flurry of donations to their own contender.

Possible… but we’ve seen voters become more and more dis-enchanted with the GOP. Which leads me to think that Scott Reed is musing some wishful thinking. Make no mistake, we all know they will go after Hillary with a force, if she becomes the nominee, but we’ve all seen that Hillary seems to be able to hold her own quite well against both the Republicans and the assaults lobbied against her by the other Democratic candidates.

Kerry Offers Plan for a 21st Century Economic Strategy

by Pamela Leavey

Today, in Boston’s historic Faneuil Hall, Senator John Kerry laid out a plan for a 21st Century economic strategy for America’s middle class in a globalized world. His plan included universal health care, tax reform, green jobs, home ownership, and a renewal of the international labor movement. Note to the ’08 Democratic candidates for president… Read carefully… This IS what America needs to hear…

Below are John Kerry’s remarks as prepared for delivery:

Thank you for coming. Gathering here is special – Faneuil Hall is more than an historic building. This birthplace of American freedom has also been a keeper of the American conscience. Here, where we assemble today, abolitionists dreamed of and demanded a nation that would live out its founding ideal that all are created equal. From the fight for women’s suffrage to the fight against Fascism, from McCarthyism to civil rights to Vietnam, these walls have rung with words of honor, dissent, courage, and principle.

In the last decades, we’ve worked hard to live up to that heritage even if sometimes we’ve fallen short of it—or of victory. I began my presidential campaign here – and three years ago next month, I ended it here, and yes, the loss still exacts its price.

And I’m not talking about me. I’m talking about all the hard working families whose lives would’ve been better, all the young American soldiers whose lives were and are on the line, and all those—here and across the world—who yearn to see America move in a new direction.

So on that hard November afternoon, I had no doubt of one thing: my resolve, as I said then, “that what we started in this campaign will not end here.” I pledged that, rather than walk away, “in the years ahead” in whatever was ahead for me, I would “fight on for the people and for the principles that I’ve learned and lived with here in Massachusetts.” And that’s exactly what together we are doing. Read more…

Clinton Announces Co-Sponsorship of Webb Legislation Prohibiting Use of Funds for Military Operations in Iran

by Pamela Leavey

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton today announced today that she is co-sponsoring the legislation introduced by Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) back in March, that prohibits the use of funds for military operations against Iran without explicit Congressional authorization (S. 759). Taylor Marsh scooped the news of Clinton’s move to co-sponsor Webb’s legislation, noting that Cllinton took a lot of “heat” for her vote on the Lieberman-Kyl legislation.

But Clinton understands what happened with the Iraq authorization bill, at the same time she believes Iran’s Revolutionary Guards is a terrorist organization. She obviously also wants to send a message to Bush as well. Joining Webb in co-sponsoring this legislation is critically important and a progressive move.

In a press release sent out to bloggers via Peter Daou, Clinton’s netroots coordinator, Senator Clinton, who has been at the forefront of calling on President Bush to seek authorization from Congress before taking military action against Iran, said:

“In February, I took to the Senate floor to warn that President Bush needs Congressional Authorization before attacking Iran. Given recent reports about Administration military planning toward Iran and to ensure that Congress plays a proper role in the authorization of any potential military force, today I have added myself as a co-sponsor of a bill introduced by Senator Jim Webb which prohibits the use of funds for military action in Iran without authorization by Congress.”

Clinton added:
Read more…

The Healy Conundrum: What’s Behind the Attacks?

by Pamela Leavey

Patrick Healy (photo above), known for his assaults on Democratic politicians, recently wrote a particularly disturbing piece in N.Y. Times about Hillary Clinton’s laugh, which he labels a “cackle.”

Stepping offstage, she took questions from reporters, and found herself being grilled about whether she was moderating her own pro-choice position. And suddenly it happened: Mrs. Clinton let loose a hearty belly laugh that lasted a few seconds. Reporters glanced at one another as if they had missed the joke.

But nothing particularly funny had occurred; it was, instead, a deployment of the Clinton Cackle.

A Cackle?

Cackle is a word that is often equated with a witch, and it’s extremely sexist, as noted by Ann at Feministing, Jeralyn at Talk Left and Alegre on DKos.

Healy of course doesn’t just stop with the reference to the “Cackle” he attempts to point out the Hillary’s laugh may be a slight of sorts to those asking questions of her. You know a put down. Healy intimates that Clinton’s laugh might even be “Programmed.”

Good gracious, Patrick Healy actually calls himself a journalist? There’s nothing newsworthy about this piece. But then that’s Healy’s style, isn’t it. Writing hit pieces about Democratic politicians and passing them off as news. Media Matters had a piece last year about another hit piece Healy wrote about the Clinton’s. In the Media Matters piece they note:
Read more…

Troubling News from Burma

by Pamela Leavey

The Daily Mail is reporting that a former intelligence officer for Burma’s ruling junta has defected and revealed that “thousands of protesters are dead and the bodies of hundreds of executed monks have been dumped in the jungle.”

The most senior official to defect so far, Hla Win, said: “Many more people have been killed in recent days than you’ve heard about. The bodies can be counted in several thousand.”

Mr Win, who spoke out as a Swedish diplomat predicted that the revolt has failed, said he fled when he was ordered to take part in a massacre of holy men. He has now reached the border with Thailand.

Exiles along the Burmese frontier “confirmed that hundreds of monks had simply “disappeared” as 20,000 troops swarmed around Rangoon yesterday to prevent further demonstrations by religious groups and civilians.”

Word reaching dissidents hiding out on the border suggested that as well as executions, some 2,000 monks are being held in the notorious Insein Prison or in university rooms which have been turned into cells.

There were reports that many were savagely beaten at a sports ground on the outskirts of Rangoon, where they were heard crying for help.

Others who had failed to escape disguised as civilians were locked in their bloodstained temples.

Hla Win, said from his border hideout last night, that he “hopes to cross into Thailand and seek asylum at the Norwegian Embassy.”

The 42-year-old chief of military intelligence in Rangoon’s northern region, added: “I decided to desert when I was ordered to raid two monasteries and force several hundred monks onto trucks. Read more…

Kerry to Deliver Major Economic Speech at Faneuil Hall on Monday

by Pamela Leavey

John Kerry will deliver a major speech on Monday, October 1, offering a 21st Century economic strategy for America’s middle class. The speech will be delivered at Faneuil Hall in Boston at noon. Steve LeBlanc reports for AP News:

President Bush is leaving a tarnished economic legacy that will haunt the middle class and their children, according to U.S. Sen. John Kerry, who is urging his party to embrace what he calls a “bold new age in progressive politics.”

Under Bush, the economic gains made by the middle class and minorities during the Clinton administration have not only been eroded, but reversed, Kerry, D-Mass., said in prepared remarks to be delivered Monday at the historic Faneuil Hall in Boston.

“This is Bushnomics: those at the top get the benefit, and you and future generations get stuck with the bill. That is the Bush legacy to America’s economy,” Kerry said.

As he lashes out at the Bush administration in his speech, Kerry also lays down a “challenge for leaders in his own party, who he said have to do more than just offer piecemeal and incremental solutions for towering problems.”

He said the country is now as far away from the New Deal as the New Deal was from the Civil War and the time is ripe for a new set of bold initiatives geared for the challenges of the new century.

“We need big sweeping changes, not bite-sized ideas that are poll tested, sound bite ready and destined to be mere footnotes to the times we live in,” Kerry said in the prepared remarks. “It is now time for progressives to match Franklin Roosevelt’s vision, not just mimic his rhetoric.” Read more…