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I'm a longtime contributor to MTV, Billboard, Alternative Press and MovieWeb. I've worked as on-air reporter, host, writer and producer for MTV, MSNBC and E!. I have provided opinion and commentary to programs on VH1, IFC, G4, Fuse, Current and Oxygen. I have written for Huffington Post, Premiere, OC Weekly, SFGate.com, NextMovie.com, MTV's television and movie blogs and other publications. I am the founder of Superhero Productions, providing broadcast, online and aftermarket content for a number of clients including Lionsgate, Sony and Warner Bros. I personally handle artist management for a handful of bands. "Ryan Downey has established a history of breaking some good scoops in the last few years, and you could certainly do worse than bookmark [him] to check in on." -- Ain't It Cool

Friday, January 25, 2008

The Candidates: John Edwards

Things I Agree With John Edwards About:

• He wants to investigate the oil companies and ask for conservation.
• He wants to give up SUVs & make other sacrifices to deal with climate crisis
• He wants to reduce greenhouse emissions by 80% by the year 2050.
• He wants bold transformation to stop importing 12M bbl of oil per day.
• He wants to cap carbon emissions & invest in carbon sequestration.
• He wants to store nuclear waste near nuclear plants, not in Yucca Mt.
• He supports real increases in CAFE standards.
• He wants to convert agricultural waste into energy products.
• He Voted NO on drilling ANWR on national security grounds.
• He wants to keep efficient air conditioner rule to conserve energy.
• He wants to eliminate tax-breaks given to corporations for outsourcing jobs.
• He believes that our trade policy caters to the interests of big business vs. working people.
• He believes hedge fund investors should help figure out and reduce poverty.
• He is in favor of a share-holder and worker Bill Of Rights.
• Has said he was wrong to vote for Bankruptcy Reform Act.
• Has said he was wrong to have supported the invasion of Iraq.
• He voted NO on prioritizing national debt reduction below tax cuts.
• He is against gay marriage but is OK with civil unions and is against discrimination.
• He wants to raise the minimum wage.
• He wants to reduce sentencing disparity for crack cocaine retroactively
• He wants to eliminate mandatory minimums for non-violent crimes.
• He does not believe that flag-burning is a Constitutional issue.
• He supports a national ban on smoking in public places.
• He supports drug courts and alternatives to incarceration.
• He is not in favor of lowering the drinking age to 18.
• He supports a free first year of college for all willing to work for it.

Things I Disagree With John Edwards About:

• He wants stricter civil liberties watchdogging of the PATRIOT ACT but he is not in favor of abolishing it outright. Like Ron Paul, I personally think it should be done away with altogether. John Edwards does not.
• He voted YES on loosening restrictions on cell phone wire-tapping.
• He voted YES on Bush Administration Energy Policy.
• He voted YES on ending discussion of CAFE fuel efficiency standards.
• He voted YES on defunding renewable and solar energy.
• He is pro-choice with very few limits that I have seen.
• He thinks it's OK to teach second-graders about same-sex couples.
• He believes Affirmative Action is still necessary.
• Although he does want to require DNA testing for all federal executions, he is pro-death penalty even in its present state.
• He voted for the Bankruptcy Reform Act.
• He voted for and supported the invasion of Iraq.

Things John Edwards Believes That I Am Unsure About:

• Wants to increase federal funding for education. For example, he wants to make community colleges and public universities free. This problem is more complicated than simply throwing money at it and I'm not confident that the federal government can really run much of anything. I would like to see more privatized education, tax breaks for those who home-school (which Ron Paul favors) and see the states controlling what goes on with public schools a bit more than the federal government.

What it boils down to for me with John Edwards is that while I appreciate his position on a great many things from the environment to the war in Iraq and certainly where his heart is at with education and health care, his voting record is awful.

He voted in support of the war, he voted for Bush's energy policy (!), he supports the PATRIOT ACT, he voted for bankruptcy reform, he voted in favor of ending the CAFE energy efficiency standard discussion, he voted in favor of defunding solar renewable and solar energy... What kind of Democrat is that anyway? Why support a Democrat who does all of the things I disagree with Republicans about? The thing I like about Republicans - or true conservatives, anyway - is their aversion to big government and big government spending. Back when he had power to make any real change for progressive values he chose to play the role of politician instead. I know he says he's changed... But hasn't he already blown his chance?

Edwards has all of the classic Democrat big government ideas coupled with a voting record that supported the Bush regime on war, civil liberties, working people and the environment when Bush was still popular.

I repeat: He might say he's sorry now, but when he actually HAD POWER he backed the war, voted against working people in bankruptcy trouble and worked AGAINST the environment. Add to that his still unapologetic support of the PATRIOT ACT and the death penalty (regardless of your stances on abortion or gay marriage) and I just don't think that his good intentions, changes of heart and pro-rehab stances are enough for me to vote for him. Earlier in the race I was really becoming a John Edwards supporter, but after careful review of his record and positions, I just can't endorse him. (Sorry, Tom B.!).

More to come on other leading candidates!

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