Friday, February 9, 2007

Hands off my Speaker!

I am just about sick and tired of the time, effort, and attention that has been focused on the mode of transportation that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi uses to get from DC to California. CNN reports that House Republicans spent hours on the House floor yesterday saying things like "Democrats are abusing their power." That's crap.

Let's make this REAL simple. The United States Government provides the Speaker of the House secure, military transportation when engaging in official travel. The Sergeant at Arms of the United States House of Representatives requested that the military provide her with a plane that did not require refueling during the cross country trip, per security guidelines.

The House Republicans are not only disingenuous, they are wasting time that could be better spent. Perhaps they want to avoid talking about important issues. Issues, like, say.....a pointless war for which we are sacrificing thousands of lives. Yeah, that is probably more important than which plane the military uses to shuttle the Speaker between Washington and California.

Move on!

Edwards Gets Tough

Many of us lefty types were hoping that John Edwards would get tough, stand up to the right wing, and defend his staff. He did that. And if you believe this, he stood up to the media too!

It's hilarious.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Anti-Semit Bigot Loving to Hate John Edwards

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are consistently called "rock stars" by journalists describing their public appearances on the campaign trail. John Edwards doesn't get those kinds of props from the journalists. But, we're finding that the right wing loves to talk about John Edwards.

Usually the tactics they are using on John Edwards would be reserved for the General Election. However, they've gone hard and early on the former Senator from North Carolina.

A few weeks ago, the Carolina Journal, a monthly publication of the John Locke Foundation printed this article on Senator Edwards' new home in North Carolina. It was an attempted smear to cast Edwards as an elitist out of touch with the average person. However, a closer look at the Locke Foundation shows that they are a conservative organization who aligns themselves with some of the most right wing groups in Washington. This link shows organizations who they suggest their readers to consult for information on "important issues." Among this A-List of conservative groups is the Heritage Foundation, which is a juggernaut of the right wing movement.

After Matt Drudge linked to the article on the Carolina Journal website, they posted a message that their website was temporarily down because of all of the traffic generated by the link. While I think it was more of a function of dedicating ALL of their server space to handle the hits they were getting, I think they also didn't want to make it easy for visitors to discover their conservative bend. I suspect that very few people have returned to the website to learn more about them since the initial link from Drudge.

Most recently, Edwards Bloggers Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan came under attack from conservative, anti-Semite, self-appointed spokesperson of Catholics, Bill Donohue. In fact, he called these fine young women "anti-Catholic, trash talking bigots." Let's see what insights supposed religious leader Donahue can offer us:

"We've already won. Who really cares what Hollywood thinks? All these hacks come out there. Hollywood is controlled by secular Jews who hate Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular. It's not a secret, OK? And I'm not afraid to say it. ... Hollywood likes anal sex. They like to see the public square without nativity scenes. I like families. I like children. They like abortions. I believe in traditional values and restraint. They believe in libertinism. We have nothing in common. But you know what? The culture war has been ongoing for a long time. Their side has lost." [MSNBC's Scarborough Country, 12/8/04]

He doesn't sound anything like someone with the moral authority to judge anyone, much less two young women who passionately advocate things like women's health. I'm not a Catholic, but if I were, I'd be standing up and screaming that this right wing, bigoted anti-Semite does NOT represent me. I know many Catholics and they're nothing like this jerk. By the way, criticism of Catholic policies is nothing new. There is plenty of internal debate among loyal, dedicated Catholics about the direction of their Church. There always has been. There always will be.

All day yesterday, the Netroots folks sat on pins and needles wondering if such pandering right-wing jerks would be able to sever the relationship between them and John Edwards. Edwards faced tremendous pressure from both the Conservatives and the progressive blogging community. Matt Browner-Hamlin has a post here on HuffPost that is an awesome description of how it all played out.

Many of us feared Edwards would listen to conventional Washington political consultants and throw these bloggers under the proverbial bus. However, it appears that Edwards has personally intervened to determine the action of the campaign. He released a statement today. The following line shows me that he not only understands the support the Netroots has shown him, but that he's got conviction, loyalty, and that he's not going to let the right wing tell him how to run his campaign:

"We're beginning a great debate about the future of our country, and we can't let it be hijacked. It will take discipline, focus, and courage to build the America we believe in."

The score:
John Edwards: 1
Netroots Movement: 1
Conservative Jerks: 0

Please go to Democracy in Action to send an email to the Press supporting these two bloggers. It will send a message that we will not cede public debates to jerks like Bill Donohue. Here is what he had to say about it all:

"I have news for him--the Catholic League--not Edwards--will decide what the debate will be about, and it won't be about the nation."

Don't let this jerk get away with this. It's time for the progressive movement to proudly defend the high ground and put this issue to rest. We will NOT surrender anything to vicious right wingers.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Blogger Controversy?

We all know I'm not new to blogger controversy, but this recent issue over two of John Edwards' bloggers is ridiculous. Let me see if I can correctly frame the issue for ya.

The Edwards campaign recently hired two bloggers, Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan. They are both very talented bloggers, otherwise they wouldn't be attached to a top tier Presidential candidate.

About a week ago, the right wingers started attacking these junior level campaign staffers as if they were baby killers. As bloggers sometimes do when extremely passionate about something, they used profane words throughout some of their posts. Maybe we don't want our kids reading those posts, but what is really profane is the issues they were talking about: Americans dying in an unjustified war, healthcare for millions of uninsured folks, women's reproductive rights, etc.

So, instead of standing up to right wingers who are making a habit of smearing our '08 Presidential candidates, the Edwards campaign may fire these two bloggers. has reported that they have been fired, but there are still conflicting reports of what's really going on. I hope the Edwards campaign will let us know very soon how this issue will play out.

My advice would be to retain the bloggers and defend them for the passionate and dedicated people that they are. Further, they should attack the hipocrisy of people like Bill Donohue and Michelle Malkin, who have been peddling this story to the main stream media. I'm not done yet. We should also start letting folks know about the ethically challenged staffers on Republican campaigns. There are plenty.

One another note, the blogosphere is an incubator for ideas. It is a place for ongoing dialogue between bloggers and readers. Just as we wouldn't want to be judged by every word we have spoken, I hope this doesn't hinder present and future bloggers from fully expressing their ideas and opinions. If the Edwards campaign seizes this precedent setting opportunity to defend their bloggers, we'll have much more of an opportunity to continue the good work of the blogosphere.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

This is What Congressional Oversight Looks Like

Below are clips from Chairman Henry Waxman's Oversight Hearing on Iraq. It's about time that Congress started doing its job of asking questions. For six years, Republicans gave this Admnistration carte blanche to conduct itself in any manner it so pleased. Now, things are different. Democrats are asking questions and expecting answers. Republicans are even joining forces with the Dems to get Cabinet agencies to comply with information requests. The wheels of Congressional Oversight are a bit squeaky, but thanks to Waxman, they are slowly beginning to hum along once again.

In this video, Paul Bremer, the once "Administrator" of U.S. occupied Iraq, talks about the lessons that Congress should learn about the time that we occupied Iraq as we move forward with rebuilding the country. He even suggests that Congressional legislation may be necessary. But, apparently, this is the first chance he's had to pass along any of his wisdom......(this video is very short)

While Administrator of the Coalition Provisional authority, Paul Bremer, was responsible for the oversight of giving hundreds of billions of dollars of contracts. We've all heard horror stories about who received those contracts. Thankfully, somebody thought ahead and required a certified accounting company to audit all of these contracts that were being awarded. But.....that company wasn't all it was cracked up to be.......(this video is around five minutes)

Here is a paragraph from the Washington Post article that this last video clip is about.

The CPA was designed to be a grand experiment in nation-building, a body of experts who would be Iraq's guide for transforming itself into a model for democracy in the Middle East. Unlike previous reconstruction efforts, it was to be manned by civilians -- advisers on politics, law, medicine, transportation, agronomy and other key areas. They were supposed to be experts, but many of the younger hires who filled the CPA's hallways were longer on enthusiasm than on expertise.

"Grand experiment in nation-building." So much for "grand experiments." But at least now we know part of the reason that our presence in Iraq has been a failure......(this video is around five minutes too)

Monday, February 5, 2007

The Shameful Senate

Today, the Republicans in the U.S. Senate prevented the American people from hearing a real debate about the President's policy of escalating the war in Iraq. Senator John Warner of Virginia voted to deny debate on his own resolution. That is not only intellectually dishonest, it's despicable.

Speaking of despicable, Joe Lieberman voted to deny a debate on the issue. Did he forget that he lost his party's nomination because of his views on this subject? Is he so politically tone deaf that he doesn't realize that nearly 80% of the nation feels that escalation is a bad idea?

Republicans Norm Coleman of Minnesota and Susan Collins of Maine voted with the Democrats on the measure. That's because they are among the most vulnerable Republican incumbents in the 2008 electoin cycle. Senator Collins admitted that the Senate Republican Caucus had a contentious meeting with Vice President Cheney. So, it appears that, because of pressure from the White House (with a current approval rating that ranks right up there with cancer!) many of the Senators who oppose the war in Iraq voted to deny any discussion on the matter. Where were people like Olympia Snowe, Chuck Hagel, and Gordon Smith?

Today's vote was absolutely WOEFUL. It makes me ashamed of the Senate. I worked for that institution for six and a half years. It was always the place of reason and debate. Today, debate was silenced. It's tragic. It's what Republicans are all about.

The people who care about our troops and their families will continue to press for a debate about the policy that brought us into an unjustified war. We will also advocate for the best and quickest way to get our fellow Americans out of that unjustified war.

Please support organizations like who are working night and day to bring us to an end to the failed policy and leadership that is the Iraq War. Our American soldiers and their families deserve better.