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RFK Jr. on the 9/11 Truth Movement

What made these towers fall? Inquiring minds want to know...

What made these towers fall? Inquiring minds want to know...

RFK JR: WHERE HE STANDS ON 9/11 TRUTH

In the wake of the 7th anniversary of the September 11th attacks, Ralph Nader’s well-timed call for a “real investigation,” and this blog’s week-long series of features on independent, third-party and true maverick candidates like Jesse Ventura, Nader, Ron Paul, and Cynthia McKinney all who question the official story, many of our readers have been asking us where Robert F. Kennedy Jr. stands on the question of 9/11 Truth.

Some have pointed out that Kennedy’s uncle, President John F. Kennedy, often warned against such an “inside job” happening in America, citing 1962′s Operation Northwoods, his famous anti-secrecy speech (see video clip below), and even a fascinating doodle by Kennedy from late 1963 in which he scribbled “9″ and “11″ and the word “conspiracy” as proofs that he must have been either incredibly psychic or else knew something we didn’t 45 years ago.

In To Seek a Newer World, Robert F. Kennedy wrote these controversial and perhaps telling words which some have interpreted as a warning to mankind:

“All of us will ultimately be judged and as the years pass we will surely judge ourselves, on the effort we have contributed to building a new world order and the extent to which our ideals and goals have shaped that effort.”

Does this mean RFK saw exactly what was happening and refused the Electric Kool-Aid that was being passed around in the late 1960s? A lot of folks sure seem to think he was blessed with second sight!

Others point to the assassinations of both Kennedy brothers as inside jobs, and openly question how any member of the Kennedy family could fail to see that 9/11 was another coordinated “hit.” How could the Kennedys, of all people, know of this tyranny and not speak out against it, they ask?

So, to put the question to rest, here is what RFK Jr. has said on the record about 9/11 Truthers, the Pentagon plane mystery, bombs in the Twin Towers, and all that jazz.

These comments were made during an interview Bobby did with Philip Shenon, investigative journalist for the New York Times and author of the book The Commission, about the 9/11 Commission. The date of this interview was May 10, 2008, and aired on Ring of Fire, Kennedy’s weekly Air America radio show.

Below are direct permalinks to the interview on the official Ring of Fire and GoLeft.tv websites, so you don’t think we’re making this stuff up! Direct from the source, folks!:

AUDIO LINK – (Interview segment begins about halfway into the hour)
VIDEO LINK – (9/11 Truth issue is raised around 14:20) 

We encourage our readers to take 20 minutes out of their day to listen very carefully to this interview and understand where Kennedy stands on the 9/11 issue.

Many of RFK’s supporters are openly skeptical of the government’s official story about the events of September 11, and the 9/11 Commission. But in the interest of presenting the facts, we want Kennedy’s supporters to know what they are. We do not want any one putting words in Kennedy’s mouth by saying he stands for 9/11 Truth when he clearly does not.

You might think he’s wrong – and feel free to disagree with him – but at least you now know what his take is on the 9/11 Truth movement. We do not censor comments on this blog (avoid personal attacks, and you’ll be welcome here), so 9/11 Truthers are encouraged to express themselves in this forum. Let’s have an open, honest debate. Bring your evidence, bring your facts, and let’s get into it!

Before anyone turns this into a flame war, keep this in mind: Kennedy openly admits in the above interview that he hasn’t taken the time to really look into the evidence. Maybe he should. So our readers who hope to convince Mr. Kennedy can be most helpful by pointing out where he can find the info he needs. Post external links to reputable sources and documents online, or better yet, print out a stack of documentation and mail it to him (that’s the stuff he’ll actually look at – he doesn’t have much time for websurfing). Or call him up on his radio show and ask him about specific 9/11 facts. Perhaps you’ll bump into him at a booksigning and have the chance to talk to him in person. Respectful disagreement is what America is all about, with an emphasis on respectful. At least that’s our motto here.

It’s a tough issue, this whole 9/11 “inside job” thing - one that divides my own family and even this blog’s own editorial staff argues amongst ourselves as to whether “the gubberment did it” or not. Wouldn’t surprise me if the Kennedys themselves are divided over what really happened on Sept. 11. What about RFK Jr.’s supporters? Where do you stand, and do you think Bobby is right or wrong? Let us know…

Example of the JFK/911 Connection perpetuated by many conspiracy research groups across America today, this one in Portland, OR.

 
Copyright 2008 by RfkJrForPresident.com.

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Q&A With RFK Jr.

RFK JR. AT FORECASTLE FEST THIS WEEKEND

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is this year’s keynote speaker at the annual Forecastle Festival in Louisville, Kentucky (happening all weekend, with RFK Jr.’s speech scheduled for Sunday at 2:30 p.m.).

In advance of his appearance at Forecastle, Kennedy gave an interview to Velocity Weekly, in which he discusses green solutions to our energy crisis, the 2008 election, why he’s supporting Senator Obama for president, and hints at his own political plans for the future.

Although the interview is quite good, we did have to wonder, “what’s up with that photo?” As for the cutesy caption, we think what the cutline editor meant to say was “Don’t mess with this Kennedy” rather than “don’t miss with this Kennedy.”

Perhaps Bobby should consider sending one of his hawks over there to demand a correction.

Q&A:

Robert Kennedy Jr.
Sound environmental policy is in our economic and security interest, the Forecastle keynoter says


By Joseph Lord

 

What got you involved in environmental activism?

I’ve been interested in the environment from when I was a little kid. I went hunting and fishing when I was very, very young. I was just involved with animals. I was raising homing pigeons when I was 10 years old, training hawks when I was 9, which I still do today. My father took us to lakes and to see the wildlife in the area, and he was very careful about explaining to us that this is part of our American heritage. The environment was a source of our virtues and our values as a people. I always looked at the environment as a civil rights and human rights issue — the most important one.

You co-host a program on Air America Radio, but what other environmental work do you do?

For 25 years I’ve been working for the Riverkeeper and the National Resources Defense Council. As an attorney, I’ve worked on several hundred public interest cases against polluters on the Hudson River and waterways across North America. Riverkeeper was a group started by a blue-collar coalition of commercial and recreational fishermen to protect their livelihood. And it was very much consistent with the kind of values I’d been raised with, to believe that a clean environment was a democratic right, that the best measure of how a democracy functions is how it distributes the goods of the land: the air, the water, the wildlife, the fish — assets of the community. Does the government allow those to be concentrated in the hands of a few wealthy people, or corporations, or does it maintain it in the hands of all the people?

Are you encouraged by the recent surge of interest in environmental issues?

There’s a vested interest by powerful people in continuing to pollute — it’s not a battle that you “kind of” win. It’s one you have to keep fighting. But today, there’s much more of a realization that good environmental policy is also 100 percent of the time good economic policy. For individual corporations, governments and nations, we need to start focusing on our environment.

So what is the most serious environmental issue we’re facing?

In the United States, the most critical issue is the way we use energy. We use it in a way that weakens our national security and makes us more prone to entanglement with foreign dictators who hate democracy and who are despised by their own people. We’re more likely to be involved in trillion-dollar wars. And it causes global warming. It also destroys our economy. We’re buying oil mainly from nations that don’t like us, that don’t share our values. Are we going to continue down that path or are we going to look at the alternatives? We have really extraordinary alternatives in this country. Every country that has de-carbonized its economy has experienced immediate prosperity. We’re losing jobs abroad — if we invested in a clean economy, we’d be creating an economy that can’t be outsourced. We’d be building solar and wind and geothermal plants in this country and growing our economy and creating jobs that can’t be sent to other countries.

What one action, if every American took it, could improve the environment?

One small thing: Vote for Barack Obama. That’s the one small thing that’s more important than recycling your garbage or buying a Prius or a compact fluorescent light bulb. There are these politicians who are just indentured servants of Big Coal and Big Oil.

You were an early Hillary Clinton supporter, right?

Yes. I’ve always loved Barack Obama, too. I always thought we had two great candidates. I’m proud to be supporting him and working for him now.

Have you ever considered seeking public office yourself?

You know, I’ve got six kids, and my priorities are there. But if something opened up, I would definitely consider it.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. will give the Forecastle Festival keynote address at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at the Belvedere.

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Opinion: Obama is NOT the Next RFK

* We’d like to share with our readers this Letter to the Editor of the Washingtonian in response to a recent article asking “Is Barack Obama the next RFK?”

The author (who is a frequent commentator on this blog) sent us a copy and granted permission to post it here at the Kennedy for President website as well. We think you’ll enjoy what she has to say.

OPINION: 

OBAMA IS NOT THE NEXT RFK!

To: The Editorial Staff of the Washingtonian 

I thank you for allowing me and like-minded others to address this important issue.  Your article on RFK was very painful to read, as I was a young, passionate campaigner in that glorious quest that was Robert Kennedy For President in 1968. 

What is all this nonsense of comparing Obama to Robert Kennedy?  Are all of you deaf and blind to the fact that one of the most charismatic, capable, and noble of men is alive and well?

He is right now one of the smartest stewards of Planet Earth.  A man who draws crowds of strangers who walk away disciples.  A man capable of leading when major societal surgery is necessary.  A man who will appeal to cross generations of Americans, a man who can appeal to Blacks, Muslims, Jews and Catholics alike.  A man who will once again inspire our youth with patriotism and give them effective programs, like JFK’s Peace Corps,  in which to invest their talents and skills in a way that supports our country at large. 

He is a man every inch his father’s son and his name is ROBERT F KENNEDY, JR!  

We missed the opportunity this year, but I pray somebody in agreement with me, somebody REAL powerful and passionate about Bobby Kennedy Sr. will see the light and get RFK’s torch in his hand.

There is a group of devoted volunteers and Kennedy supporters who have started a web site and petition to encourage RFK Jr. to run for the White House. I invite readers, or whoever happens to read this in editorial office to take a peek at http://www.RFKin2008.com

I have nothing against Obama, but he does not move me like Kennedy, Jr. does and I can not, for example, see him coaxing Americans to find and implement radical new ways of transportation to keep ourselves alive in the years to come.  Our enviromental policy has been disasterous; we can no longer keep giving our money and wealth away to the Arab Emerates.  We live in deadly serious times that cry for a level of charisma, common sense, and leadership that I have only seen evidenced in Bobby, Jr.  As Barry Goldwater, a good friend of JFK, used to say, “In your Heart You Know He’s Right!”. 

Right now the dreams of many of us who were behind Bobby Kennedy for 2008 seem dimmed.  However, the times we are living in are so crazy, this campaign has gone off into the most aberrant directions in both campaigns that yes, I CAN, visualize millions of voters going to the polls and drafting our Next President.  After all that is going down, what was once unthinkable is now plausable.

 

– Suzanne Silverstein

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The “Fearless” Kennedy

(No caption necessary. This photo speaks for itself.)

THE “FEARLESS” KENNEDY

If RFK was the so-called “ruthless” Kennedy, you could call his second son the “fearless” Kennedy.

Considering what the conversation on this blog has been centered on for the past couple of weeks (freedom from fear), our readers may find this week’s Huffington Post article about RFK Jr. particularly interesting.

Reading over this and other coverage around the blogosphere lately, it seems like we’re all basically wrestling with the same questions and thinking the same thoughts that people in 1968 did. There’s plenty of frustration, anger and bitterness to go around this election year, too. Demands for dramatic, sweeping change. Talk of revolution in the air.

Perhaps we experienced some kind of collective “A-ha!” moment when the 40th anniversary of MLK’s murder came around recently (did we suddenly remember what a real hero was?). 

Could it be that Americans are finally starting to realize that we must make a choice – to fear or to fight — and that we can’t have it both ways?

Like any good soldier will tell you, nobody can fight worth a damn if they are consumed by fear. Nor can one feel afraid when they have the courage of their convictions. 

When you’ve been to the mountaintop, you’re not fearing any man. You know the difference between fighting and violence, and that “peaceful revolution” is not an oxymoron.

It’s time for us to lose the fear which has held us back for far too long and to get mentally, physically and spiritually prepared for the fight of our lives. Because we’re in it now, and there’s no turning the other cheek this time. We must understand that We, the American People, are in a defensive (NOT offensive) position – we’ve been pushed to the wall and have no choice but to fight our way out of this.

If we don’t fight now, it simply means we have decided that America is no longer worth fighting for.

I refuse to accept that. And I doubt that Mr. Kennedy would ever choose defeat by default, either.

It’s time for all of us to make that critical choice — and soon! — to choose courage over cowardice; patriotism over partisanship; duty over dissuasion; information over infotainment. It’s time to choose bravery over Britney, and America over apathy.

– Ed.

AMERICA THE ENTERTAINED: ROBERT F. KENNEDY JR. AND THE STATE OF DEMOCRACY

By Alison Rose-Levy

“Most Americans know more about Britney Spears than we do about global warming,” Robert F. Kennedy told the thousands people gathered at last weekend’s annual Being Fearless conference, hosted by the Omega Institute.

Forty years ago when the boomer generation saw its heroes gunned down one-two-three (JFK, MLK, RFK), many hung up the marching shoes and turned towards the inner journey. If we couldn’t face a scary world, at least we could control our own minds. Like Big Sur’s Esalen, the Omega Institute served as a safe place to escape the modern maelstrom, find community, and rediscover inner resources.

But as third generation self-help advice proliferates on the internet, many maturing seekers recognize the it’s not enough to heal ourselves, we have to face the fear, and take action to heal the world that is.

“This is the worst administration in American history–it’s put the worst polluters in charge of all areas of government” Robert F. Kennedy Jr told the conference attendees. As Kennedy, Valerie Plame Wilson, and others modeled a caring, balanced, and integral activism, they nudged the self-help movement out of its chrysalis and into the us-in-action movement. The recurring message was: “You have to speak truth to power. You must act.”

Back in my parent’s day, Kennedys in their prime were entrusted to lead, due to their rare ability to marry hope with competency and offer an accurate diagnosis and cure for our national ills.

In today’s harsh world, the Kennedy warrior of this generation is critiqued, maligned, ridiculed, and often censured by the mainstream news media when he offers an accurate (though discomfiting) analysis of environmental rollbacks, public health care policy, and their attendant health impacts. When Kennedy gave New York Times’ editors an array of DNA, animal, epidemiological, and biological studies that document the link between mercury and neurological disorders, they were so “hostile and antagonistic it was like talking to a brick wall,” Kennedy reported. In the past, the news media looked for investigative pieces. Today they look the other way, uncritically accepting government studies.

“The US has privatized safety research and by extension, the regulation of toxins. Expecting objectivity under these conditions is naïve at best,” says Kennedy, one of the few to connect the dots as:

• Campaign contributors are given posts in oversight of the industries they represent, where they
• Rewrite governmental regulations to protect their industry rather than the public good, resulting in:
• Environmental pollution, misuse of resources, and health care polices harmful to childhood and adult health

“We need to protect the environment not because we love trees–but because we love people,” Kennedy points out. A believing Catholic he questions those who thump the bible, and go on to plunder and pollute the Creation for cash.

“MISINFORMATION UNDERMINES DEMOCRACY” – RFK JR.

The multiple crises we face all occur because vested media conglomerates have replaced a watchdog press, Kennedy says.

Goodbye to investigative journalism, foreign news bureaus, and fair reporting. Hello to misinformation, one-sided spins and cheap entertainment, appealing to the reptilian brain.

What happened? As part of the right to use public airwaves, network television was formerly mandated to provide news coverage even at an economic loss, Kennedy reminds us. But that ended in 1988, when Ronald Reagan abolished the Fairness Doctrine, which permitted broadcasters to cut back their news divisions and abdicate their responsibility to inform. Today, the CBS news bureau which formerly boasted Edward R. Murrow and others, is rumored to be seeking to outsource its reporting to CNN.

“We’re the most entertained, and least well informed country on earth.” Kennedy told the crowd. “Misinformation undermines democracy,” as 30% of Americans get their information from biased talk radio.

The boomer generation has to face facts: on our watch, this country took a very bad turn. The time has come to second activists like Kennedy and make our numbers count. In the allied areas of the organic food movement, integrative health care, health care policy reform, environmental activism, food and agricultural policy, media reform, election and judicial activism and other key arenas, many are carrying the meditation cushion into activism.

 

Story from The Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alison-rose-levy/america-the-entertained-r_b_97000.html

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Op-Ed: Throw the Bums Out of D.C.

THEY DON’T CALL IT THE “DISTRICT OF CRIMINALS” FOR NUTHIN’ 

By Jack Mosel

Guest Blogger

Can you imagine working for a company that has a little more than 500 employees and has the following statistics:

* 29 have been accused of spousal abuse

* 7 have been arrested for fraud

* 19 have been accused of writing bad checks

* 117 have directly or indirectly bankrupted at least 2 businesses

* 3 have done time for assault

* 71 cannot get a credit card due to bad credit

* 14 have been arrested on drug-related charges

* 8 have been arrested for shoplifting

* 21 are currently defendants in lawsuits

* 84 have been arrested for drunk driving in the last year…

Can you guess which organization this is?

Give up yet?

It’s the 535 members of the United States Congress.

The same group that crank out hundreds of new laws each year designed to keep the rest of us in line!

There should be a background check for criminal activity if one is going to be in charge of running our country… oh no – wait - actually, every member of Congress does have to go through an exhaustive background check before taking office. They seem to get themselves in trouble after taking office. Then they stay in office. And get in more trouble.

Think it might be time to throw the bums out yet?

We need a top-to-bottom housecleaning in Washington D.C.

Voting for a new president this year is a start in the right direction, but that alone is not enough. So when the midterms come around in 2010, you know what to do, America!

DISCLAIMER: The views expressed in the above editorial are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Robert F. Kennedy Jr., or the owners of this website. You may contact the author directly at: moseljack@yahoo.com.

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Edwards Drops Bid for the Presidency

EDWARDS BOWS OUT GRACEFULLY

At a press conference in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans, still decimated from the effects of Hurricane Katrina, John Edwards announced today that he is suspending his candidacy for President of the United States.

With his family and Habitat for Humanity volunteers standing behind him, Edwards gave an eloquent speech that should live for all time. Anyone who saw it shall never forget it.

Throughout this campaign, his opponents have drawn numerous comparisons to JFK, RFK, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. – but it is John Edwards who rightfully deserved the credit for keeping the populist progressive dream alive. His message echoed President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty, FDR’s New Deal, Robert F. Kennedy’s Poverty Tour, and Dr. King’s Poor People’s Campaign.

While other candidates talked the talk, John Edwards walked the walk.

Sadly, the media has all but ignored Edwards’ campaign in recent weeks, as the pundits focused on the fight between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Even more distressing is the fact that the only way to get John Edwards back on the front page was for him to quit the race.

Edwards may have abandoned his campaign, but not the struggle for economic and social equality in America. No sooner had he delivered his announcement today, he picked up a hammer and got to work building a new home in Musician’s Village for those displaced by Katrina. This in itself was a powerful statement – and he wanted all the world to hear.

As a journalist, I’ve covered every presidential race since 1988, and have seen a lot of candidates come and go. But never have I seen a candidate drop out of the running with as much eloquence and grace as John Edwards did today. His words of farewell moved me deeply, and I sincerely hope they are not forgotten.

The following is a transcript of this moving and memorable speech by John Edwards. Please share it with your friends and family, and ask them to put pressure on whichever candidate they support to incorporate Edwards’ anti-poverty mission into their platform:

John Edwards in New Orleans, Jan. 30, 2008

Thank you all very much. We’re very proud to be back here.

During the spring of 2006, I had the extraordinary experience of bringing 700 college kids here to New Orleans to work. These are kids who gave up their spring break to come to New Orleans to work, to rehabilitate houses, because of their commitment as Americans, because they believed in what was possible, and because they cared about their country.

I began my presidential campaign here to remind the country that we, as citizens and as a government, have a moral responsibility to each other, and what we do together matters. We must do better, if we want to live up to the great promise of this country that we all love so much.

It is appropriate that I come here today. It’s time for me to step aside so that history can blaze its path. We do not know who will take the final steps to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but what we do know is that our Democratic Party will make history. We will be strong, we will be unified, and with our convictions and a little backbone we will take back the White House in November and we’ll create hope and opportunity for this country.

This journey of ours began right here in New Orleans. It was a December morning in the Lower Ninth Ward when people went to work, not just me, but lots of others went to work with shovels and hammers to help restore a house that had been destroyed by the storm.

We joined together in a city that had been abandoned by our government and had been forgotten, but not by us. We knew that they still mourned the dead, that they were still stunned by the destruction, and that they wondered when all those cement steps in all those vacant lots would once again lead to a door, to a home, and to a dream.

We came here to the Lower Ninth Ward to rebuild. And we’re going to rebuild today and work today, and we will continue to come back. We will never forget the heartache and we’ll always be here to bring them hope, so that someday, one day, the trumpets will sound in Musicians’ Village, where we are today, play loud across Lake Ponchartrain, so that working people can come marching in and those steps once again can lead to a family living out the dream in America.

We sat with poultry workers in Mississippi, janitors in Florida, nurses in California.

We listened as child after child told us about their worry about whether we would preserve the planet.

We listened to worker after worker say “the economy is tearing my family apart.”

We walked the streets of Cleveland, where house after house was in foreclosure.

And we said, “We’re better than this. And economic justice in America is our cause.”

And we spent a day, a summer day, in Wise, Virginia, with a man named James Lowe, who told us the story of having been born with a cleft palate. He had no health care coverage. His family couldn’t afford to fix it. And finally some good Samaritan came along and paid for his cleft palate to be fixed, which allowed him to speak for the first time. But they did it when he was 50 years old. His amazing story, though, gave this campaign voice: universal health care for every man, woman and child in America. That is our cause.

And we do this — we do this for each other in America. We don’t turn away from a neighbor in their time of need. Because every one of us knows that what — but for the grace of God, there goes us. The American people have never stopped doing this, even when their government walked away, and walked away it has from hardworking people, and, yes, from the poor, those who live in poverty in this country.

For decades, we stopped focusing on those struggles. They didn’t register in political polls, they didn’t get us votes and so we stopped talking about it. I don’t know how it started. I don’t know when our party began to turn away from the cause of working people, from the fathers who were working three jobs literally just to pay the rent, mothers sending their kids to bed wrapped up in their clothes and in coats because they couldn’t afford to pay for heat.

We know that our brothers and sisters have been bullied into believing that they can’t organize and can’t put a union in the workplace. Well, in this campaign, we didn’t turn our heads. We looked them square in the eye and we said, “We see you, we hear you, and we are with you. And we will never forget you.” And I have a feeling that if the leaders of our great Democratic Party continue to hear the voices of working people, a proud progressive will occupy the White House.

Now, I’ve spoken to both Senator Clinton and Senator Obama. They have both pledged to me and more importantly through me to America, that they will make ending poverty central to their campaign for the presidency.

And more importantly, they have pledged to me that as President of the United States they will make ending poverty and economic inequality central to their Presidency. This is the cause of my life and I now have their commitment to engage in this cause.

And I want to say to everyone here, on the way here today, we passed under a bridge that carried the interstate where 100 to 200 homeless Americans sleep every night. And we stopped, we got out, we went in and spoke to them.

There was a minister there who comes every morning and feeds the homeless out of her own pocket. She said she has no money left in her bank account, she struggles to be able to do it, but she knows it’s the moral, just and right thing to do. And I spoke to some of the people who were there and as I was leaving, one woman said to me, “You won’t forget us, will you? Promise me you won’t forget us.” Well, I say to her and I say to all of those who are struggling in this country, we will never forget you. We will fight for you. We will stand up for you.

But I want to say this — I want to say this because it’s important. With all of the injustice that we’ve seen, I can say this, America’s hour of transformation is upon us. It may be hard to believe when we have bullets flying in Baghdad and it may be hard to believe when it costs $58 to fill your car up with gas. It may be hard to believe when your school doesn’t have the right books for your kids. It’s hard to speak out for change when you feel like your voice is not being heard.

But I do hear it. We hear it. This Democratic Party hears you. We hear you, once again. And we will lift you up with our dream of what’s possible.

One America, one America that works for everybody.

One America where struggling towns and factories come back to life because we finally transformed our economy by ending our dependence on oil.

One America where the men who work the late shift and the women who get up at dawn to drive a two-hour commute and the young person who closes the store to save for college. They will be honored for that work.

One America where no child will go to bed hungry because we will finally end the moral shame of 37 million people living in poverty.

One America where every single man, woman and child in this country has health care.

One America with one public school system that works for all of our children.

One America that finally brings this war in Iraq to an end. And brings our service members home with the hero’s welcome that they have earned and that they deserve.

Today, I am suspending my campaign for the Democratic nomination for the Presidency.

But I want to say this to everyone: with Elizabeth, with my family, with my friends, with all of you and all of your support, this son of a millworker’s gonna be just fine. Our job now is to make certain that America will be fine.

And I want to thank everyone who has worked so hard — all those who have volunteered, my dedicated campaign staff who have worked absolutely tirelessly in this campaign.

And I want to say a personal word to those I’ve seen literally in the last few days — those I saw in Oklahoma yesterday, in Missouri, last night in Minnesota — who came to me and said don’t forget us. Speak for us. We need your voice. I want you to know that you almost changed my mind, because I hear your voice, I feel you, and your cause it our cause. Your country needs you — every single one of you.

All of you who have been involved in this campaign and this movement for change and this cause, we need you. It is in our hour of need that your country needs you. Don’t turn away, because we have not just a city of New Orleans to rebuild. We have an American house to rebuild.

This work goes on. It goes on right here in Musicians’ Village. There are homes to build here, and in neighborhoods all along the Gulf. The work goes on for the students in crumbling schools just yearning for a chance to get ahead. It goes on for day care workers, for steel workers risking their lives in cities all across this country. And the work goes on for two hundred thousand men and women who wore the uniform of the United States of America, proud veterans, who go to sleep every night under bridges, or in shelters, or on grates, just as the people we saw on the way here today. Their cause is our cause.

Their struggle is our struggle. Their dreams are our dreams.

Do not turn away from these great struggles before us. Do not give up on the causes that we have fought for. Do not walk away from what’s possible, because it’s time for all of us, all of us together, to make the two Americas one.

Thank you. God bless you, and let’s go to work. Thank you all very much.

Copyright RFKin2008.com. Speech text courtesy of the John Edwards for President campaign.

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Has the Media Already Crowned Obama King?

THE OBAMA PHENOMENA

If the election were tomorrow (and maybe it should be), Barack Obama would be president. Thanks to a media transfixed by the candidate’s star power, Senator Obama has seemingly unstoppable momentum. He’s got the media and the masses. The delegates can’t be far behind. And that’s the ball game, folks. The race may be over before it’s even been run.

So what’s the point of having an election then, if this thing has already been decided? Just think of all the money and trouble we could save ourselves by just calling the race early and getting the damn thing over with. If it’s a foregone conclusion, can we all go home now? 

Here’s a novel idea: let’s redirect all that obscene money candidates spend on campaigns back to the people. There’s a few billion bucks we could use to feed the hungry and the homeless in this country. Might even solve the economic crisis. It would certainly make a sizeable dent in the debt. Nah…that’s far too compassionate and wise. Can’t do that.

All sarcasm aside, I am troubled by the media’s rush to crown Barack Obama the once and future king (or perhaps the next Dr. King) after only five primaries. Ever since his astonishing win in Iowa, it seems the pundits can’t contain their own bias. Nor could they disguise their disappointment when Hillary Clinton won New Hampshire and Nevada. And after South Carolina, I’m convinced they’ve lost all objectivity and possibly their minds.

No sooner had Obama been declared the winner in South Carolina, in came the news that Caroline Kennedy, the late president’s daughter, was endorsing Barack Obama. The very next day, Senator Edward Kennedy’s endorsement of Senator Obama was treated like the Second Coming of Camelot. All three cable news network took his speech live (quite rare), and proclaimed that “Obama is the next JFK.”

President Kennedy and his son, john F. Kennedy Jr.

WHAT STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS?

The endorsement drew the focus of the national media away from the runup to President Bush’s State of the Union address (as someone who has worked in newsrooms for more than 20 years, let me tell you how unheard of that is!), making the front pages of the major dailies and the lead of each of the networks last night.

ABC World News reported, “Today the audacity of hope had its rendezvous with destiny. The Kennedy clan annointed Barack Obama, a son of Camelot.” Sen. Ted Kennedy: “I know that he’s ready to be the president on day one.” For Bill Clinton, “who has always cast himself as President Kennedy’s political heir, today’s endorsement was a slap to face.”

The CBS Evening News reported, “It was a moment packed with political significance. Ted and Caroline Kennedy, the surviving brother and child of a revered Democratic president declaring that the torch has been passed.”

NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams led by contending: “It’s been 45 years since a Kennedy has been in the White House, and yet because of the American fascination with the family name, and the family business of politics, the Kennedy name still has the power to grab the attention of millions of Americans.”

USA Today reports Obama also “picked up the support Monday of author Toni Morrison, who once called Bill Clinton ‘the first black president.’” The AP reports Morrison “said she has admired Clinton for years because of her knowledge and mastery of politics, but then dismissed that experience in favor of Obama’s vision.”

CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric teased, “Passing the torch: Barack Obama is tapped as the candidate to continue the Kennedy legacy.” NBC’s Lee Cowan, who earlier this month conceded “it’s almost hard to remain objective” when covering Obama, showed he also has a soft spot for the Kennedys as he radiated over how “the endorsement brought the Kennedy mystique to this campaign, not in a whisper, but a roar.”

With “New Son of Camelot” on screen over video of Obama and Ted Kennedy, Nightline anchor Terry Moran led thusly: “Ted and Caroline Kennedy pass the torch to Barack Obama to carry the legacy of JFK…

Good evening, everyone. I’m Terry Moran. And tonight, on a night when the President gave his final State of the Union address, he was overshadowed.” Moran soon hailed how “the political world was transfixed by the spectacle of the most powerful Democratic family of the 20th century christening a new torch bearer for the 21st.” 

 

HAVE WE GONE “CAMELOT CRAZY”?

I’m not saying that Obama isn’t an exciting candidate. He is. This man inspires and stirs the minds and hearts of people in ways we haven’t witnessed in 40 years. He’s one hell of a handsome fellow with charisma to burn. He opens his mouth and poetry flows from his lips. He also seems to have some pretty good ideas about how to get the country back on track. But so do his Democratic opponents – and we’re suddenly not hearing much from them. Why not? Aren’t Clinton and Edwards still in the race?

Well, last time I checked, yes. So why aren’t they getting a lot more face time on tee-vee?

The answer is clear to anyone who has been paying attention. The media even admits their pro-Obama bias, albeit sheepishly. They just can’t help it, they say: yes, we’re journalists, but we’re human beings, too – and we are simply moved by what Obama is doing. Is that so wrong?

Well, actually, yes it is. This is an election year, we’re only a few primaries into the race, and we have a stellar array of impressive Democratic candidates to cover. Our job as journalists is to provide fair coverage across the board to all. Our job is not to steer voters towards one candidate or another, nor is it to heap undue praise or criticism on any of them. We’re supposed to report the news and get the hell out of the way, remember?

In the midst of all the excitement, we seem to be forgetting ourselves. We’ve all forgotten that opinion belongs on the Editorial page. We are not serving the American people well if we are not providing accurate information and dispassionate analysis – even if it makes really good TV. We are not paid to drool all over Obama’s shoes, no matter how moved we may be by his message.

FAIR AND BALANCED, MY ASS

The 2008 election will likely be the most important in our lifetime. This race is for all the marbles — so this is hardly a time for the media to lose theirs. Americans must make a well-informed decision when they walk into the voting booth. How can they possibly do that if information about the candidates is selectively made available?

This was precisely the problem faced by dark horse candidates such as Dennis Kucinich, Mike Gravel (who is still running, incidentally – although CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS and FOX won’t tell you that), Bill Richardson, Joe Biden and Chris Dodd. On the Republican side, it’s a bloody miracle if Ron Paul can get five minutes on any network besides C-SPAN. And just imagine the uphill battle a Cynthia McKinney or Ralph Nader will have as Green or Independent challengers this year. One can’t win the presidency on netroots buzz alone.

Without mainstream media coverage, a candidate’s message is lost on the people. Unless each and every candidate is afforded the opportunity to present themselves and their platform to the public, they don’t stand a snowball’s chance.

So, I guess Lou Dobbs may as well throw his hat into the ring – at least he’s got a highly-rated nightly show on CNN – he has a strong base of followers and a media machine revved up and ready to take him to November. Dobbs may be the only hope for Independents who reject the two-party system outright, and who desperately need a candidate. But not just any candidate. This dog must hunt – otherwise the time, effort and expense of a campaign is an utter waste. Lou Dobbs is no fool, he knows this game all too well. (Which probably explains why he is emphatically not running!)

The same could be said for Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who also has his own media platform, a weekly show on Air America radio. This program is not only heard coast-to-coast, but around the world. Kennedy has already won countless thousands of converts via his books, articles, and public speaking engagements – to say nothing of having the Kennedy name.

The Independent Populists, Democrats, Liberals, Greens and Progressives who embrace him are hungry for a real candidate in 2008 – and they still haven’t found what they’re looking for in anyone but Bobby. They haven’t given up. They still want him to run. Now.

SIGN THE PETITION to Draft RFK Jr. for President!

Copyright RFKin2008.com.

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Teddy Gets Fired Up for Obama

Senator Edward M. Kennedy (Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s uncle), rejecting entreaties from the Clintons and their supporters, is set to endorse Senator Barack Obama’s presidential bid today as part of an effort to lend Kennedy charisma and connections before the 22-state Feb. 5 showdown for the Democratic nomination.
Both the Clintons and their allies had pressed Mr. Kennedy for weeks to remain neutral in the Democratic race, but Mr. Kennedy had become increasingly disenchanted with the tone of the Clinton campaign, aides said.
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He and former President Bill Clinton had a heated telephone exchange earlier this month over what Mr. Kennedy considered misleading statements by Mr. Clinton about Mr. Obama, as well as his injection of race into the campaign.

Mr. Kennedy called Mr. Clinton Sunday to tell him of his decision.

The endorsement, which followed a public appeal on Mr. Obama’s behalf by Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of President John F. Kennedy, was a blow to the Clinton campaign and pits leading members of the nation’s most prominent Democratic families against one another.

Mr. Kennedy, a major figure in party politics for more than 40 years, intends to campaign aggressively for Mr. Obama, beginning with an appearance and rally with him in Washington on Monday. He will be introduced by Ms. Kennedy.

Mr. Kennedy then heads west with Mr. Obama, followed by appearances in the Northeast. Strategists see him bolstering Mr. Obama’s credibility and helping him firm up support from unions and Hispanics, as well as the party base.

The endorsement appears to support assertions that Mr. Clinton’s campaigning on behalf of his wife in South Carolina has in some ways hurt her candidacy.

Campaign officials, without acknowledging any faults on Mr. Clinton’s part, have said they will change tactics and try to shift Mr. Clinton back into the role he played before her loss in the Iowa caucuses, emphasizing her record and experience.

Mr. Kennedy, of Massachusetts, has worked closely with Mrs. Clinton, of New York, on health care and other legislation and has had a friendly relationship with both Clintons, but associates said he was intrigued by Mr. Obama’s seeming ability to inspire political interest in a new generation. For his part, Mr. Obama actively courted Mr. Kennedy for several years, seeking him out for Senate advice and guidance before making the decision to enter the presidential race.

Mr. Kennedy had been seriously considering an endorsement for weeks — a break with his traditional practice of staying clear of primaries.

He remained uncertain of his decision as late as the middle of last week. But, according to allies, when he learned that his niece’s endorsement would appear as an Op-Ed piece in The New York Times on Sunday, he decided to bolster that with his own public embrace of the campaign at a joint rally at American University in Washington on Monday, giving Mr. Obama, of Illinois a potentially powerful one-two Kennedy punch.

As Mr. Obama flew here on Sunday, he smiled when asked about his new wave of support from the Kennedy family.

“For somebody who, I think, has been such an important part of our national imagination and who generally shies away from involvement in day-to-day politics to step out like that is something that I’m very grateful for,” Mr. Obama said of Caroline Kennedy’s support. Ms. Kennedy declined requests on Sunday to discuss her endorsement.

Trying to dilute the impact of the twin endorsements by the brother and daughter of the late president, the Clinton campaign on Sunday issued a statement of support from Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, a former lieutenant governor in Maryland and a daughter of Robert F. Kennedy.

“I respect Caroline and Teddy’s decision, but I have made a different choice,” Ms. Townsend said in her statement, adding: “At this moment when so much is at stake at home and overseas, I urge our fellow Americans to support Hillary Clinton. That is why my brother Bobby, my sister Kerry, and I are supporting Hillary Clinton.”

But two years ago, Ms. Townsend’s mother, Ethel Kennedy, referred to Mr. Obama in an interview as “our next president” and likened him to her late husband.

The Kennedy endorsement grants Mr. Obama, who has been framed by the Clintons as being short on experience, the approval of one of the Senate’s senior members.

Before the Iowa caucuses, Mr. Kennedy had planned to stay out of the race, largely because he had so many friends in the contest, chiefly Senator Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut. He also said he was waiting for one of the candidates to spark a movement.

“I want to see who out there is going to be able to inspire not only our party, but others, because I think we’re going to need the inspiration in order to bring a change in American foreign policy and domestic policy,” Mr. Kennedy said last year on ABC News’s “This Week.”

After Mr. Obama won the Iowa caucuses, associates to both men said, Mr. Kennedy concluded that Mr. Obama had transcended racial lines and the historical divisions the Kennedy family had worked to tear down. Mr. Kennedy was also impressed at how Mr. Obama was not defined as a black candidate, but seen as a transformational figure.

It was then, associates said, that Mr. Kennedy began talking with his children, nieces and nephews, including Caroline Kennedy, who had reached her own judgment some time ago independently of her uncle. They then agreed last week to move ahead with their endorsements, coordinating their decision before the Feb. 5 contests.

Mr. Kennedy has a long history of working with the former president and Mrs. Clinton on health, education and other social issues and, according to his associates, has a good relationship with both. While the Clintons were in the White House, the families socialized and sailed off Cape Cod.

Mr. Obama courted Mr. Kennedy as well, using late-night sessions in the Senate to get some tutoring about the intricacies of the institution. Conversations about the White House began more than a year ago, with Mr. Obama paying Mr. Kennedy a visit to seek his thoughts about whether he should run for president. Mr. Kennedy told him that he should because such opportunities rarely come along.

On the night of Mr. Obama’s national political debut at the Democratic National Convention in 2004, he was preceded on stage by Mr. Kennedy, a symbolic bookend of the party’s dean and its new generation.

A year later, near the end of Mr. Obama’s first year in the Senate, Ethel Kennedy asked him to speak at a ceremony for her husband’s 80th birthday. At the time, she referred to Mr. Obama as “our next president.”

“I think he feels it. He feels it just like Bobby did,” Mrs. Kennedy said in an interview that day, comparing her late husband’s quest for social justice to Mr. Obama’s. “He has the passion in his heart. He’s not selling you. It’s just him.”

By JEFF ZELENY and CARL HULSE

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Dennis, We Hardly Knew Ye

TURN OUT THE LIGHTS, THE PARTY’S OVER

As of about an hour ago, the last progressive light went out of the presidential race with an announcement that Dennis Kucinich is throwing in the towel.

Ohio congressman Dennis Kucinich

Congressman Kucinich Calls It Quits

Photograph: Manny Ceneta/AFP/Getty Images

CLEVELAND (AP) — Democrat Dennis Kucinich is abandoning his second, long-shot bid for the White House as he faces a tough fight to hold onto his other job — U.S. congressman.

In an interview with Cleveland’s Plain Dealer, the six-term House member said he was quitting the race and would make a formal announcement on Friday.

“I will be announcing that I’m transitioning out of the presidential campaign,” Kucinich said. “I’m making that announcement tomorrow about a new direction.”

Kucinich has received little support in his presidential bid; he got 1 percent of the vote in the New Hampshire primary and was shut out in the Iowa caucuses. He did have a devoted following.

Kucinich, 61, is facing four challengers in the Democratic congressional primary March 4, and earlier this week he made an urgent appeal on his Web site for funds for his re-election.

His decision comes a month after the death of his youngest brother, Perry Kucinich.

Kucinich said he will not endorse another Democrat in the primary.

HE FOUGHT THE GOOD FIGHT

This was Kucinich’s second run for the White House. As in 2004, he campaigned for an immediate exit in Iraq. But though the war was even more unpopular than four years ago, Kucinich found it harder to gain traction this time around in a Democratic field overwhelmed by celebrity and money power.

Kucinich made few campaign appearances outside New Hampshire. Aside from the occasional profile of his much younger and very glamourous British wife, Elizabeth Harper, 29, the Kucinich campaign was barely covered by the media.

His preoccupation with seeking the presidency also caused anger in Cleveland. The city’s mayor and a member of the local council last month launched primary challenges to Kucinich, arguing that he had neglected local concerns. In an email appeal to campaign donors, Kucinich said the challenges had been inspired by “corporate interests”.

Despite his apparent failure to gain support in presidential politics, commentators have given Kucinich credit for giving a greater airing to anti-war sentiment. But as he himself admitted yesterday: “There is a point at which you just realize that you, look, you accept it, that it isn’t going to happen and you move on.”

SO MUCH FOR A DEPARTMENT OF PEACE

After being ignored by the media, frozen out of debates and forced off state ballots in recent weeks, it’s no great surprise that Rep. Kucinich is dropping out of the race. But his decision comes at a time when the field of candidates has been narrowed down to three — Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards — all of whom tend to leave progressives cold.

So where will Kucinich’s supporters go now? With Joe Biden, Chris Dodd and Bill Richardson out of the running, who will get the liberal, progressive and independent vote in the primaries? It’s difficult to imagine them flocking to Clinton, Obama, or even Edwards, who may not be in this race much longer himself if the pundits’ predictions come true.

Many of RFK Jr.’s supporters feel that this is the most opportune moment for him to jump into the race as a third party or independent candidate — and it’s easy to see why. With the Democratic party so deeply divided, the three frontrunners lack true progressive cred and are unlikely to overcome the perception of being corporate puppets. Where will all of these these disenfranchised Dems turn when their own party is sending them a clear message of “we don’t want or need you to win?”

We want to hear your thoughts on this most recent development. Has Kucinich dropping out of the race affected the way you will vote in your state’s primary or caucus? Will you throw your support to another Democratic candidate, or do you think they’re all worthless? Suffering from Electile Dysfunction? (Hint: you’re not alone.) Will you vote for a third-party, independent, or even a Republican candidate instead? Or will you vote at all?

Copyright RFKin2008.com, with reports from The Guardian and the Associated Press.

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RFK Jr. Feels The Chill In Iowa (And Everywhere Else)

RFK Jr. autographed photo 

IOWA AIN’T THE ONLY PLACE THAT’S GETTIN’ COLD 

The good news is: Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has recieved more ink in the past week for his endorsement of Hillary Clinton than in the five months since his headline-hogging speech at LIVE EARTH.

The bad news is, much of the ink was thrown on him. From the New York Times to the Des Moines Register to the blogosphere, this was everybody’s week to hurl a few tomatoes at RFK Jr. And while smears from the likes of Dick Morris and Sean Hannity always come with the dinner, this time the liberal and progressive left got into the act as well.

Now Kennedy’s taking a beating from the very base of supporters he will have to count on if/when he decides to run for public office someday. He’s been called everything from “traitor” to “sellout” by the same people who up until recently thought of him as a saint.

All things considered, it’s been a rough week for Bobby, with slings and arrows coming from every direction, perhaps even some unforeseen.

While stumping for Hillary in Iowa, things got even uglier. Mother Nature, perhaps as unmoved by this horserace as we are, decided a massive winter storm might spice up the proceedings a bit. Letting loose a barrage of ice and snow which forced the closure of airports and the cancellation of campaign rallies across the state, she surely must have watched the candidates’ mad scramble with some measure of amusement.

Rather than focusing on Kennedy’s endorsement of Clinton, most media outlets chose instead to dredge up some controversial remarks RFK Jr. made in Iowa five years ago as the angle of their coverage. (For those who may not remember, he had told an Iowa crowd that “large-scale hog producers are a greater threat to the United States and U.S. democracy than Osama bin Laden and his terrorist network.”)

The New Snark York Times was probably the worst offender, managing to work the old hog farm fracas into both the headline and the lede paragraph of what should have been an article about Kennedy endorsing Hillary Clinton for president. (“Will Kennedy’s Remarks Hog The Attention In Iowa?” NYT, Nov. 29, 2007) And of course, the paper was quick to remind readers that RFK Jr.’s comments were once denounced as “idiotic,” “ridiculous,” and “one of the crudest things ever said in Iowa politics.” Ouch.

FROSTBITE

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., january 2007

After a week like that, have we any positive words to offer him? What counsel would we give RFK Jr., who dipped one toe tentatively into these troubled political waters only to get it scalded? Is there anything we can say that might buck the guy up a little and encourage him to not abandon the idea of a future candidacy?

All the usual advice sounds cliche’: “Keep your chin up.” “Don’t let the bastards get you down.” “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” “Keep fighting the good fight.” “Stay focused on the big picture,” etc…and so forth…just doesn’t cut it. It’s a struggle to find the right words.

But if I had the chance to offer Mr. Kennedy a bit of my own high-priced advice (which is always dispensed here free of charge with a money-back guarantee if not completely satisfied) — were he to consult me as his own personal Oracle, Swami, and Magic 8-Ball all rolled into one and ask, “O Merlin, how do I extract the sword from this f%*&in’ stone?” — I would tell him:

Somewhere in the world is a tree that has been struck by lightning in such a way that the scorch marks show your initials. Find that tree.

Somewhere in this world, there is a treasure that has no value to anyone but you, and a secret that is meaningless to everyone except you, and a frontier that possesses a revelation only you know how to exploit. Go in search of those things.

Somewhere in this world, there is a person who could ask you the precise question you need to hear in order to catalyze the next phase of your evolution. Do what’s necessary to run into that person.

And if all of the above just sounds like a load of pagan New Age claptrap to you, well… maybe it is. Let me rephrase this cosmic message in more earthly terms:

Lieutenant General Ricardo S. Sanchez, who was the supreme commander of U.S. troops in Iraq from June 2003 to July 2004, thinks his government has made tragic mistakes. Citing “a catastrophically flawed war plan,” he said, “There has been a glaring display of incompetent strategic leadership from our national leaders.”

Think of Sanchez as your role model for the coming year ahead, Bobby. I hope he inspires you to do the following things: (1) raise a critique of a group or institution you’ve been an instrumental part of; (2) rebel against the faulty execution of an idea you support; (3) put your service to moral truth above blind loyalty.

I think you’ll easily catch the not-so-hidden meaning in this metaphor.

Do what’s inside you, not what others expect of you. Stay true to yourself and you can’t lose!

But the best advice I can think of comes from one of your Uncle Jack’s favorite poems. Written during his first year in Congress, he took these words to heart and would quote them for the rest of his life:

So when at times the mob is swayed
To carry praise or blame too far,
We may choose something like a star
To stay our minds on and be staid.

 – Robert Frost, “Choose Something Like A Star” (1947)

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