Sunday, December 21, 2008

Norm "Karma Kazeminy Chameleon" Coleman

Yesterday Mark Ellias, attorney for the Franken campaign projected victory by 30-50 votes. Despite repetitive attempts to stop the counting of all legally cast ballots, the Coleman campaign will come up short leading Minnesotans to proudly proclaim that this state is not Florida circa 2000.

A bitter and dejected Coleman is said to be consoling himself by embarking on an extravagant shopping spree at the Men's Department at Neiman Marcus followed by a trip to the Caribbean accompanied by his daughter. When the Senator was asked how he expected to pay for these luxuries, he first attempted to drown out the question by blaring Boy George's "Karma Chameleon" but when that didn't work he directed all questions to his longtime friend, benefactor and subject of an on-going FBI investigation, Nasser Kazeminy.

"Karma Kazeminy Chameleon"

Caribbean loving in your eyes all the way

If I listened to your lies, would you say?

I'm a man soon to have a conviction

I'm a man who doesn't know

How to sell a contradiction

You come and go you come and go

Karma Karma Karma Karma Kazeminy Chameleon

You come and go You come and go

Loving would be easy

if your colours were like my dreams

Republican Red, gold and green

Republican Red, gold and green...

(sampling credit : Boy George)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Patti Belfiori: Truly A Purpose Driven Life

Point of personal privilege, I am going off topic somewhat for this, my first post in over a month.

On December 18, 2008 I attended perhaps the most moving funeral service in my life in the Western Wisconsin City of River Falls. The deceased was not a famous celebrity nor a rich and powerful business person, yet Saint Bridget's Catholic Church was crowded with hundreds of men, women and children. The headline of the River Falls Journal, the local daily newspaper said it all: "Cherished, respected teacher loses life after long illness". See article at

All this just for a humble teacher, you may ask? Well, yes Virginia (and Phil), the deceased's parents, there is a Santa Claus so to speak, at least in small town America, like River Falls, Wisconsin. For all the self-help gurus or new-age religious leader heavyweights like Rick Warren ("The Purpose Driven Life") there are those out there that actually live a life of meaning and purpose, other-directed, full of love and enthusiasm for learning and helping others to reach their life's potential. Best of all, they did all this when nobody was looking or paying attention, or so they thought. I still get choked up writing this and I purposely waited a couple of days so I could get my emotions under control.

Well Patti, my dear cousin, people were paying attention: your friends, your extended family (of which I am proud to count myself a member), your students and your colleagues, all of whom eulogized your truly wonderful life so beautiful, so funny and at times, so poignant. Listening to the eulogies I could not help but think of a review of a self-help book I read about on the huffingtonpost back in September entitled "Life Purpose Begins With a Eulogy, Plan a purpose driven life with the end in mind".

Patti Belfiori did not need to be told this. She truly walked the talk as did her loving children Alex and Zoey and her significant other Jim, all of whom put their lives on hold and cared for Patti so she could remain home for two years during her final illness. Alot to ask of people you might be thinking, but as her children stated in their eulogy of their mother, Patti sacrificed so much in her life for them as well as her students, that repaying that debt came without heisitation.

The world and this nation are going through some very troubled times these days. Hopefully with the change in leadership about to take place in this country the era of fear, ignorance, selfishness and greed will give way to our better collective instincts as a people. Barack Obama seems to understand this. However, his job will be a little less easy without Patti Belfiori.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Take a Bow, For Now, the Real Work Has Not Even Begun

Kudos to the voters of our United States for finally making a rational decision in a Presidential election.

A big fat shout to the idiots, errr...I mean, the voting age populace comprising the Sixth Congressional District in the State of Minnesota for re-electing the buffoon Michele Bachmann.

The Minnesota Senate Race is still in doubt as it heads to a statutory mandated recount beginning next week. The results currently stand at 1,211,565 for Coleman and 1,211,359 for Franken, a margin of 206 votes.

Don't Count your chickens quite yet Coleman people...(to be continued).

Sunday, November 2, 2008


I wrote the following essay back on March 2, 2008 for publication at this time (i.e. the week of Election 2008):


The American Electorate must grow-up, take responsibility and educate themselves this time around. This means we have to pay attention to multiple news sources, preferably some international, with in-depth coverage and analysis. We simply cannot resort to being lazy viewers, spoon fed issues with the cliched, knee-jerk reactions that they are designed to elicit, that comes from the shallow and deficient news coverage controlled by the four corporate owned major networks and partisan outlets be it right-wing talk radio or liberal Internet based purveyors while we wait for the next episode of mind cancer that is Survivor, Deal or No Deal and American Idol.

Regardless of your politics, I think it is safe to say that as a nation we have been asleep at the switch the past 8-12 years as the Republican controlled Congress abdicated the critically important role of oversight to their corporate patrons with disastrous results to the working and now endangered, middle class. Just look at the statistics compiled by non-partisan outlets like the GAO and there is the greatest disparity in wealth since 1928, right before the collapse of the economy and the great depression.

Here are some simple truths that the electorate must get its head around:

1. SUPPLY SIDE ECONOMICS DOESN’T WORK. I repeat, supply side economics doesn’t work. It’s not working now, it didn’t work during the Reagan years and although tax cuts are tempting to the greedy, selfish and stupid, the sober facts are that we have always had to raise taxes for national defense during wartime. Furthermore, two terms of GWB administration has left the country less safe, less prosperous (unless you are the wealthiest 1 ½ percent) so that whoever inherits the position of president next will face a slate of difficult, complex and intractable problems with a lack of resources to address them, like no president has faced since FDR in 1932. Gee , I wonder who the Republicans are going to blame? It’s like your dog crapping in the house and then blaming you for the smell and discomfort of having to clean it up.

2. REPUBLICANS ARE THE PARTY OF TAX CUT AND SPEND. I know, I know…you are used to the post-depression and Great Society criticism of Democratic controlled governments as “tax and spend Liberals” but it simply is no longer accurate and neither party can honestly confront the problems that face us domestically if their understanding of economics and government’s role in it is reduced to an outdated and inaccurate slogan. The modern reality is that the two biggest spenders in our Nation’s history are the Reagan and GWB administrations. At the same time, both administrations’ obscured reality with nominal tax cuts for the vast majority (well over 80% of the population) while the obscenely rich reaped huge tax cuts that were somehow magically supposed to “trickle down” to the peasants. Well the only thing that trickled down during these Republican administrations to most American was an acrid smelling and yellow liquid.

3. BALANCE BUDGETS MATTER. Remember the 1960’s and 1970’s when the Republicans railed against deficit spending and the Democrats contended they weren’t important, or more accurately, not as important as programs such as social security, Medicare, education and other social programs for those unable to completely meet all their financial need. Well it turns out they were both right in some respects and now we have a new government order where the Democrats tout fiscal responsibility coupled with programs for ordinary people while the Republican slash taxes on billionaires while throwing some pennies and smoke and mirrors at the rest of us. The lessons of the Clinton Administration are important: working with a Republican Congress we balanced budgets, paid as we went and had the greatest period of unbridled prosperity with gains to ALL economic classes, including lower and middle classes since anytime in our country’s history. When Clinton left office we had a $500 Billion Dollar surplus with a ten-year forecast of surpluses looking forward. While no one could completely predict the national security requirements of the new century, any sober and rational person can see that the policies and strategies of the Republican controlled Congress thru its failure to meet its constitutional duty of oversight, (a duty which Democratic controlled Congresses exercised even at the height of its 30 year reign), resulted in the mis-steps and disasters that are the legacy of the current administration.


Remember WWII? We stood for something and the world looked up to us. Even though the Germans and the Japs were doing horrific things, we didn’t adopt their practices. Same with the cold war, which was not “won” by any person or country, (although credit most deservedly goes to Pope John Paul II and not some Alzheimer patient and his astrology practicing Mommy) but was rather a struggle over ideas and was helped by the fact that people in other lands looked up to us for our principles and the better aspects of our culture (i.e. not David Hasselhoff and “Bay Watch”). Louis Armstrong and jazz music is more powerful than communist inspired dirges to the Great leader. Voice of America used to have credibility and won information battles over the ridiculous propaganda of state controlled media.

The time of bitter, non-productive partisan bickering are over. The ideologues who played to our base instincts of fear, greed and prejudice while waving the flag in one hand and hitting us over the head with their self-serving interpretation of the Bible in the other, have left us with problems that could literally destroy what one, honorable Republican, Abraham Lincoln once called “the greatest experiment on earth”, the United States of America.

After all, the mess we are in today isn’t Bush’s fault, isn’t the Republican’s fault, isn’t the Democrats fault or even, heaven forbid, the Liberals fault (remember Hitler had the Jews), because in a democracy:

It’s our fault. Every single one of us of voting age. Left, right and the majority of us in between.


There are no simple answers to complex problems. The era of “Patriot Acts” and “Fight them over there so we don’t have to fight them here” must come to an end. For when we let our politicians get away with creating cheap slogans out of simplistic dichotomies that imply false choices, we have only ourselves to blame.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


A College Sophomore's Text Message to a Friend Who Defaced Her "Wall" with Anti-Obama Grafitti

"Ok, well first of all, it's not that I don't like you at all, it just makes me so angry that people start complete LIES in this country like being an Arab and linked with terrorists... Good Lord! I forgot.... you say that you want to live off your hard work and not get any benefit from all of us working together, but that would mean that you would be paying 100% of your tuition. As a student do you get any help what so ever?

Since your school is so expensive, I'm pretty sure you get help through grants... which is provided by other people (us) in society to help bring down high cost of education that the average American (me and you) cant afford. If you were extremely wealthy and making over 250k a year, I would say great! Be a Republican! BUT it is doing no benefit for you to vote for people that don't care about the people, they will continue to give tax breaks to each other, the wealthiest 1%, and screw us over. There is a huge risk we won't even have loan possibilities for next year because of this financial issue.

And on the issue of abortion and gay rights... Coming from a party that wants less government interference in our lives, its funny that they want to control EVERYTHING in terms of our personal lives. It is ONLY the concern of the mother, father, and doctor involved in abortions and gay marriage is only the issue of the couple.

Of all the important things that happen in this world, they could at least interfere with more important issues so our country doesn't end up how it is now. Just remember everything that the government and state has ever given you, like a quality education (public schools, post office, fire dept, police dept), and remember that wouldn't be possible if we all didn't work together and strive for the same thing in life. To be happy and healthy.

We all really are the same, we just think we can achieve these things in different ways.
OK I'M DONE I SWEAR! i love u! after the election lets hang out! hahah..."

She Gets It!! That college sophomore gets it and I'm the proudest father in the whole world. There is hope for this new generation of Americans and, oh, by the way, "Yes They Can!!"

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Implosion: Bachmann Self-Destructs or One Dim Bulb Begets Another!

You just knew it was coming. From the very first time you ever listened to this woman, you just knew that there was something not quite right there. And the more you listened, even though she hid out from the press as much as possible, the more you were assured that, excuse me I am not trying to be mean, but this woman was a megalomaniac and an idiot to boot!

So it came as no surprise that Minnesota's national joke of a Congresswoman, Michelle Bachmann said something so stupid that her career would be over, it was just a surprise that it came so late. From the early days of her term when she mugged a kiss from the President, W, as he walked down the aisle of Congress to make his State of the Union speech to the waning days of her campaign and her pathetic appeal to "liberty and freedom". The way she clamped on to the President that night two and a half years ago, I was reminded of Dr. Strangelove, yet a female version.

Despite all the humor she has provided, I certainly won't miss this woman, but I guess this does mean the end of the incandescent light bulb. Well, how ironic, one dim bulb begot another.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Palin's Abuse of Official Power and Misguided Patriotism

Late last Friday night came the news out of Alaska that the bi-partisan legislative investigation committee had voted 12-0 to adopt the special investigator's report concluding Sarah Palin abused her official power in firing the head of the state's Department of Public Safety in retaliation for his not firing Palin's former brother-in-law from his job as a state trooper. The official conclusion is re-published below:

To get a pdf download of the full report by Investigator Stephen Branchflower:

Misguided Patriotism

By now most have heard Sarah Palin's misguided criticism of Joe Biden's accurate statement that to pay taxes is to be patriotic. Well, it took a Minnesotan to take Mrs. Palin to task for her idiotic comment and Thomas Friedman did just that in his fine article in the New York Times entitled: "Palin’s Kind of Patriotism".

In the article, Friedman points out that he "... grew up in a very middle-class family in a very middle-class suburb of Minneapolis, and my parents taught me that paying taxes, while certainly no fun, was how we paid for the police and the Army, our public universities and local schools, scientific research and Medicare for the elderly. No one said it better than Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes: “I like paying taxes. With them I buy civilization.”

So the next time you see one of the selfish and short-sited republican political ads bemoaning having to pay taxes, just remember what taxes pay for. To see Tom Friedman's entire op-ed piece, go to

Coleman's Call for a Cease Fire on Negative Ads: Earnest Epiphany or Cynical Conversion

Just as new stories of Norm Coleman's lavish trips and gifts from wealthy Republican booster Nasser Kazeminy (e.g. open account at Men's clothing department at Neiman Marcus) are hitting the national media and half-truth, non-denials are reported by the very best, seasoned and serious local news reporters, Norm Coleman calls for an end to negative ads by all camps. This is like Hitler calling for a cease-fire as the Russians have Berlin surrounded.

Sorry Norm, it just doesn't work that way. You cannot run false and misleading ads purporting to portray Al Franken as "angry" when in fact the video of Al Franken jumping up and down waiving his finger in actuality is to a heartwarming story about Paul Wellstone the Dad cheering on his son in a cross-country meet. In perhaps the most devastating t.v. ad to run yet in the Senate contest, the Franken campaign lays bare the deceit of the Coleman campaign, even if it is on what should be a non-issue, that Al Franken is, God forbid, "Angry"!

Judge for yourself the timing of Norm's non-negativity conversion: see Ken Silverstein's well documented October 6, 2008 article in Harper's Magazine entitled "Senator Norm Coleman Gets by with a Little Help From His Friends" and Eric Black's October 9, 2008 article at entitled "Does a GOP contributor buy Norm Coleman's clothes? Some perspective" at

Saturday, October 4, 2008

McCain and Palin Continue to Distort and Exaggerate Effect Bush Tax Cuts Have On Small Business Job Creation

One of the biggest lies of the George W. Bush campaigns for Presidency was that his tax cuts for the ultra wealthy helped "millions of
small businesses create jobs". Bush always mentioned the statistic that "85 % of all new jobs are created by small businesses" which is true. The reality behind the big lie, however, is that only approximately 5 or 6 percent of those new jobs were created by small business owners wealthy enough to receive the Bush-McCain Tax Cuts. Not "millions of small business created jobs" and certainly not anywhere near the vast majority of the "85% of the new jobs created by small business owners" as Bush, McCain and Palin falsely imply. Don't Believe me?

The Non-partisan and highly respected web site for political fact checking run by the University of Pennsylvania Annenberg School of Journalism. again pointed out the following:

"Palin repeated a falsehood that the McCain campaign has peddled, off and on, for some time:

Palin: But when you talk about Barack's plan to tax increase affecting only those making $250,000 a year or more, you're forgetting millions of small businesses that are going to fit into that category. So they're going to be the ones paying higher taxes thus resulting in fewer jobs being created and less productivity.

As we reported June 23, it's simply untrue that "millions" of small business owners will pay higher federal income taxes under Obama's proposal. According to an analysis by the independent Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, several hundred thousand small business owners, at most, would have incomes high enough to be affected by the higher rates on income, capital gains and dividends that Obama proposes. That counts as "small business owners" even those who merely have some sideline income from such endeavors as freelance writing, speaking or running rental properties, and who get the bulk of their income from employment elsewhere." See FactChecking Biden-Palin Debate, October 3, 2008 at

Any voter who cares about the economy, job creation or even their own personal financial interest would be a complete idiot to vote for McCain-Palin and their recipe for economic disaster by calling for making the Bush Tax Cuts permanent. The American economy is consumer driven and does best when the tide raises all boats, not just the luxury yachts of the wealthiest 1 1/2 percent of all Americans.

Supply side or "voodoo economics" as GWB's father, the smart Bush, called it did not work under Reagan, was disastrous under GWB and would be the deathblow to our economy if the American People were so stupid as to elect the POW and the Moose Hunter. We need competency and intelligence baby not tired slogans and bailouts for the rich cronies who are the Masters and the ones really calling the shots in the Republican Party.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Finnish T.V. News Report On Americans' Attitudes Toward Firearms Overshadowed by School Shooting Tragedy Back In Finland

Back on September 3rd, my friend Mick Larson received a phone call from Paula Vilén, US Correspondent for Finnish Broadcasting Company, YLE. Mick is also the manager of the South St. Paul Rod & Gun Club of which organization I am a proud member. (This is despite the fact that my abilities with a shotgun are such that I have been told that my aim is so bad that I "Couldn't hit my ass with a fistful of rice!")

The Finnish television reporter and her crew were in town for the Republican Party National Convention and wanted to know whether it was alright to stop in and film a background report on American's attiudes toward firearms. The angle was an obvious one, McCain had just announced his moose hunter VP choice, Sarah Palin and the Finns could obviously relate to this very basic but practical qualification to hold the highest office of the land.

To see the clip that aired on Finnish television station YLE's nightly news cast back on September 4, 2008, go to the nine (9:00) minute mark of the playback counter.

Any European superiority or snarkiness in the tone of the report was wiped away by the tragedy of the Finnish school shooting. I feel for the families of the victims but I hope the Finns are wise enough to know that the answer or proper response to such tragedies is not banning guns, but rather educating people, whether it is on constitutional rights, gun safety, school bullying , mental illness or whatever was behind the evil acts of a selfish perpetrator.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Tactics of Decision Making: Beware the "Fast Sale" & the Little Boy Who Cried Wolf

"Hurry Up, Hurry Up!" the politician barkers yell, "Hurry up before all is lost". The Bush Administration is pressuring with all its might to ram egregiously bad legislation down the throats of the American people. But not so fast Mr. President! Remember the story of Peter and the Wolf?

Well, Wolf Shit!!

Or, as Dubbya now famously put it, "...fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice...ehhrr...ah...Won't Get Fooled Again!".

As Senator Harry Reid stated earlier today, he will not be pressured into a rushed decision. As Reid observed, nothing good has ever come when the Congress was rushed into a decision by the Bush Administration and its choir, the Republican controlled Congress.

Nope. Not this time Bub. Your fanciful and woeful, gloom and doom financial procrastinations won't work their fear this time.

Unlike when the Republican controlled Congress was rubber stamping the Patriot Act, War in Iraq, ineffective K Street Corruption Investigation, the no negotiating provision of the Medicare Prescription Drug Act and the lack of oversight and investigation into the Justice Department Illegal Firing AND Hiring Scandals, this time the Democrats control Congress and they are holding out for the average American's rights; not the billionaire's bailout of the Investment Banking Houses.

Of course we demand drastic reduction in Corporate Officer compensation of the bailed out firms. Of course, as Democrats we demand provisions for affordable mortgages for citizens of modest means. Something that the Republicans are vociferously opposing with all their might.

If fairness and the rights of working Americans means that Congress hold out a little longer and read the fine print, not once, but twice, well that is just the way it has to be then.

And since they have to get it right the first time, yes, it will be worth it!

The Onion: "Rumors Swirl Around Palin"

The Onion, knowing all good humor and satire is based upon the truth, recently published the following:

Ever since Sen. John McCain's selection of Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate, the press has been abuzz with rumors about the former mayor of Wasilla, AK. Here are some of the more persistent rumors:

As a local Alaskan sportscaster, her signature on-air phrase was "Life begins at conception";

An evening-gown-clad Palin personally drilled a clumsy but functional oil well during the talent portion of the 1984 Miss Alaska pageant;

Actually a Muslim;

A lower-back tattoo of Alaska can be seen when Palin wears low-riding jeans;

In addition to the five children that the media are aware of—Track, Bristol, Willow, Piper, and Trig—Palin also has nine secret children: Frag, Moss, Scoot, Skiffer, Minnow, Plow, Snatch, Twiglet, and Drum;

Elaborate moose-lowering-for-sex machine gathers dust in basement;

The Republican Party installed Palin as mayor of Wasilla, AK in 1996 to begin grooming her for a position as VP;

Palin a viable candidate.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Painful Palin Revelations Pose Grave Questions Concerning Her Character and Fitness For Office

In just a little over one week's worth of intense scrutiny, painful revelations have come to light concerning Sarah Palin's personal and public life which raise grave concern as to her character, judgment, experience and fitness to hold, potentially, the highest office of the land.

Most troubling is the now well documented reports of abuse of official power in attempting to have fired her former brother-in-law from his job as a state trooper, allegedly due to his bitter divorce and custody battle with Palin's sister. This is a very serious matter, allegations of abuse of official power by the chief executive and law enforcement officer whether it is by a governor or a president. The threat such abuses to power pose to a constitutional form of government are immense and well-known to those of us old enough to have lived through the Nixon Administration. There is currently underway an investigation of this matter which will hopefully be concluded sometime in October and before the November election.

On top of this very serious charge are the allegations reported in the Washington Post that Palin has repeatedly billed the State of Alaska for per diem expenses for days when she was not on the road but rather at home in the Governor's Mansion. Again, while stupid and dishonest as cheating on one's expense account is, it is the pattern of abuse of official power that should concern every voter. As a criminal defense lawyer, I have had clients who have gone to jail for felony theft that cheated on their employer's expense account.

Sadly, there are also the plethora of allegations from multiple sources starting to emerge concerning two of her children's rampant drug abuse, resulting in a son having to join the military or face the possibility of criminal charges for possession and/or abuse of oxycontin, cocaine and/or marijuana . A daughter is also widely reported to be a drug abuser and when her mother, Gov. Palin, learned of the news of her underage daughter's out of wedlock pregnancy, Sarah Palin threw her daughter out of the house. Hardly the official version portrayed to the faithful at the RNC.

Finally, hopefully, are the tragic stories starting to be reported of Mrs. Palin's extra-marital affair(s). Although I personally am a firm believer that one's personal life and family are out of bounds when it comes to politics, the Republicans cannot have it both ways. The Republicans pride themselves on being the party with moral principles. It was the Republicans that injected, with corrosive effects, the notion of religion and personal morality into this country's political culture. Now, like it or not, the chickens, or more correctly, caribou have come home to roost.

Friday, September 5, 2008

RNC Week In Review: Infiltration, Searches & Seizures, Crowd Control & Bill Starr

Sometime, probably a few months or so, after it was announced that St. Paul Minnesota won the bidding to host the 2008 Republican National Convention, the money and federal agency representatives started flowing into town.

One of the first things that was recommended was for local law enforcement not to be complacent or reactive. "You must be proactive..." I can just hear the feds saying to the local "Uh-huh and Yup Yup" boys and tailwaggers who make up the higher echelon of local law enforcement these days. It seems like everybody has been jealous since former thumper and king of racist language*, Hennepin County Sheriff Rick Stanek had his week in the sun following the MN Dot Tragedy (aka bridge collapse). (*Gov. Pawlenty had to withdraw his name as candidate to head the Minnesota Department of Public Safety after aspects of his personnel history came to light including questionable aggressive conduct and racial epitaphs used, some of which was documented at a deposition).

No by God, this event had to go off without a hitch. If that means trampling a few lines of writing on an old piece of paper, so be it. Never mind that those lines of writing are also known as the Amendments to the Constitution or "Bill or Rights", our guarantees of individual freedoms which are the hallmarks of our form of government and what makes us uniquely American.

As a criminal defense lawyer for over twenty years, I have become almost numb and almost come to expect the litany of lies and distortions found in too many applications for search warrants and investigation reports. The key word is almost because the day it stops bothering me is the day I have become a "law and order", (I don't mean Fred "indigestion-buurrpp"-Thompson, Republican).

So it comes to me as no surprise that local deputies of various local county sheriff departments infiltrated many political organizations, some justified, most not. The key issue is not whether some organization considers itself merely a political organization but rather does the organization have a history of illegal activity and is there credible, non-manufactured or non-government agent advocacy of illegal activity currently which would justify a local judge or magistrate to issue search warrants. The answer based on all the evidence I have seen so far is possibly yes, it may have been justified in the case of the anarchist organization the "RNC Welcome Committee" so long as it does not come out that it was the undercover government agents causing the agitation and encouragement to collect the urine, make the smoke bombs and twist the nails to flatten car and bus tires.

However, it appears at this time, based upon all available information, that police and sheriff department raids of independent filmmakers, journalists and documentarians such as the Eyewitness Video group from New York was completely and totally unjustified. The fact that the fingerprints of head of the the local "Uh-huh and Yup Yup" boys and tailwaggers, Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher, are all over illegal law enforcement conduct comes as no surprise to me. I remember then St. Paul City Council member and young Lieutenant Bob Fletcher of the St. Paul Police Department. It was the early 1980's and I was working a stint at the St. Paul Mayor's Complaint Office. Bob Fletcher was an apologist for police misbehavior and misconduct back then and therefore it is no surprise that he would be engaged in this kind of behavior now.

The person I am really disappointed in however, is Mayor Chris Coleman, who I greatly admire and like. Unfortunately, in this one instance I think Ramsey County and it's Sheriff got around the better judgment of the City of St. Paul, it's mayor and usually competent Chief Harrington.

The anecdotal evidence that brought it all home to me was when I read that my friend and mentor, St. Louis Park Attorney William "Bill" Starr got caught up in the collateral arrests along with reports of an elderly nun arrested.

Shame on local law enforcement for not rising above the extremely low bar it set for itself.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

P.O.W. Status, Bad Judjment, Quick Temper and Inexperience Do Not A President Make & Wishin' It Don't Make It So

God bless John McCain for his military service and misfortune for being a prisoner of war. But prisoner status should never be confused with job qualifications or there would be approximately 50% of all African American males between the ages of 18 and 35 qualified to be President of the United States and I just can't see the Alabama and South Carolina delegations to the Republican National Convention conceding this point.

Next is the huge question of sound judgment. Seriously, in your heart of hearts, does this country really need four more years of the quick tempered, ego-driven, knee-jerk judgment of the Bush foreign policy? The cold facts are that McCain followed the Bush policies, foreign and domestic, well over 90% of the time. On every big issue, whether it was going to war, caving in to big pharma, big oil and defense contractors, John McCain was walking hand in hand with President Bush like he was some kind of Saudi Sultan.

David Brooks, the New York Times shill for the Republican Lite brand has worn this analogy out, (but I repeat it here for all the RE-PUB-LI-CANS out there who ever since the Reagan years think that if you repeat a lie over and over and over again it becomes reality, like supply side works, Democrats are the tax and spenders, Iraq had something to do with 911, they hate us for our freedom, etc...)there are those who captain and steer the aircraft carrier and those who take off from it. McCain is definitely a fly boy and not a cool and collected captain. This country, with all the serious and complicated problems left behind for it by the departing administration, like a teenager leaves dirty clothes and wet towels on the bathroom floor, really needs someone to pick-up the dirty clothes and do the washing not just walk over it on their way out the door or taking off from the deck.

We have a big f---ing mess on our hands people, if anyone who has bothered to turn off American Idol, Big Bother or Duncing with the Starrs would know. Now I will try real hard not to cast dispersions here, but if you really believe that a woman who supported and encouraged the corrupt congressional delegation led by the likes of Terrible Ted Stevens, who were head and shoulders the biggest recipients of pork barrel per capita and now claims to be the one to clean up Washington and "drain the swamp" you really have to be stupid or perhaps related to a pitbull with lipstick aka third rate sportscaster with big hair.

Our way out of the desert both literally and figuratively will not be lead by apostates prone to vicious ad hominem attacks and appeals to base instincts, but rather, it will come from the calm studying of the facts surrounding our problems, including the historical roots which lead up to them. A truly wise leader will then have a robust and intellectual discussion of the issues with qualified and respected advisers, scholars, leaders and allies, of all viewpoints, and then and only then will he or she make sound policy and decisions.

The record (e,g, someone who is prone to abuse of official power, such as trying to fire one's former brother-in-law) clearly calls into question the person's fitness to hold the highest office in the land and be the chief law enforcer where the temptation to cut corners and rationalize illegal conduct will be immense while in office.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

"Sell the House, Sell the Car, Sell the Kids...I've Gone Native @ the RNC!"

Much like Marlon Brando's character, Colonel Kurtz, in "Apocalypse Now" I have finally snapped and am now hiding away in our own little local version of Cambodian Hell formerly known as Pigs Eye and now called St. Paul, as the adopted leader and Shaman of a local tribe, the Republicans.

This is a very odd tribe, these RE-PUB-LI-CANS. I mean, it's not so much their peculiar habits of dress, a uniform consisting of blue blazers for men, dress suits for the not so lil' women and big ugly hats for all. Talk about a city full of big hats and no cattle!!! But rather, it is more their peculiar manner of communication that really makes you have to wonder.

These Republicans do not seem too big on details, or the written word for that matter, as they appear to be a more primitive people; more comfortable expressing themselves, much like their not so ancient ancestors, the cromagnums and neocons, through picture glyphs, photographs and drawings, rather than through reasoned, rational and thoughtful speech or writings.

Circling the block of downtown St. Paul Wednesday late afternoon where my older brother, sister and I were having an early dinner in a restaurant, were a caravan of panel trucks with their sides turned into huge rolling billboards of crystal clear blown up images of decapitated and disemboweled, weeks old aborted fetuses. Talk about family values for 4:30 PM on the streets of a formally peaceful and respectful mid-sized Midwestern city! These heroes are true Christians, just ask them, they are more than happy to tell you thru their blaring bull horn and huge banner screaming "You Sinners Are Going to Hell" or other Christian-like sentiment.

Following our dinner, we strolled across the street to Rice Park where MSNBC had their stage and live outdoor studio set up. Clarance Page, Lawrence O'Donnell's replacement on the McGlauglin Group following his Mormon meltdown, walked by, Casper Milktoast in the flesh. The celebrity political newsreader Rachel Meadows was on stage along with the rest of the hot-air polluters. Just give me the freebies so I can get the hell out of here....

After collecting anthropological proof of this tribe's existence, we headed out of the tribes village, right past the preacher with the bullhorn. I was walking next to my older brother, a conservative appearing, corporate legal type and steered him right in front of the bullhorned preacher man and planted a kiss on him, much to his great surprise and the the preacher's chagrin, as he had earlier been railing on the "gays and homosexuals"!

As the Pink stickers on the progressives read: "Make Out, Not War!" But take this one person's humble advice: Not with your brother!! Yechh!! Sppittt!!!!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Bold Gamble or Cynical Miscalculation: Palin Pick May Be Harriet Miers II

By selecting the appallingly inexperienced and not ready to be President, Sarah Palin, for his running mate, Candidate McCain has again done something that completely contradicts everything John McCain used to be admired for: straight talk and the ability to set aside party politics or personal political gain and do what is in the best interest of the country.

In a move that can only be understood in terms of desperation and one made out of fear, Candidate McCain wins the political equivalent of the grammy, oscar, pulitizer and nobel prize for hypocrisy. After staking out the issues of experience and judgment as the chief talking points for his campaign and running numerous attack ads against Senator Barack Obama as being too inexperienced to step into the shoes of commander in chief, he chooses as his running mate someone who has only been governor of Alaska, a state with a population about that of the 20th largest city in America, for less than two years. Prior to that, Palin’s only executive experience was two terms as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska population 5,470.

It is incredibly ironic and hypocritical that the prepared talking point the Republicans had in the wings if Obama had chosen Governor Tim Cain of Virginia, was that he was too inexperienced since his political experience prior to being governor was that he was formerly Mayor of Richmond, Virginia a city with a population of approximately 200,000 people.

Furthermore, Candidate McCain unfairly characterized Obama’s position on Iraq as being one of willing to lose a war in order to win an election. Very ironic that it is Candidate McCain who is apparently willing to risk the safety and prosperity of the country with a wholly inexperienced vice president in order to win an election.

Perhaps the best indication of just how miserable a miscalculation McCain has made is when a friend of mine at work, who previously had been solidly in the McCain camp, announced to me on Friday the stunning news that she was voting for Obama. Now here was a person of precisely the demographic that Candidate McCain had hoped to win over with his choice of Palin as a running mate. A conservative, suburban white woman who had previously supported Hillary Clinton. The fundamental fact that the McCain people did not understand was that a lot of Senator Clinton’s support was more out of respect for her competence and, not merely, the fact that she was a woman.

If this anecdote is any indication of the broader electorate demographic, we could be in store for a possible Harriet Miers II situation. Don’t be too surprised that if the poll numbers show a widening lead going to Obama-Biden over the next several weeks, Governor Palin withdraws her name by the end of September for “family” reasons to be replaced by someone less agreeable to the far right, but more qualified and therefore acceptable to the broader electorate.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

A Historic Night for All Americans: "We" Have Overcome, But the Work is Far From Done!

When President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, outlawing discrimination in public places engaged in interstate commerce, into law, he knew the battle was not over. He immediately began work on the next piece of the puzzle, passage of the Voters Rights Act, and in the Spring of 1965 he addressed a joint session of Congress and said:

"Even if we pass this bill, the battle will not be over. What happened in Selma is part of a far larger movement which reaches into every section and state of America. It is the effort of American Negroes to secure for themselves the full blessings of American life. Their cause must be our cause, too. Because it is not just Negroes, but really it is all of us, who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice." Johnson then paused slightly and concluded: "And we shall overcome."

A little more than 43 years later, another piece of the puzzle was realized when Barack Obama, a man of both African and American heritage, addressed an electrified crowd of 84,000 in a footbal stadium outside of Denver and accepted the Democratic Party's nomination to be President. I am proud to reprint his prepared remarks below.

Senator Barack Obama:

"To Chairman Dean and my great friend Dick Durbin; and to all my fellow citizens of this great nation;

With profound gratitude and great humility, I accept your nomination for the presidency of the United States.

Let me express my thanks to the historic slate of candidates who accompanied me on this journey, and especially the one who travelled the farthest - a champion for working Americans and an inspiration to my daughters and to yours - Hillary Rodham Clinton. To President Clinton, who last night made the case for change as only he can make it; to Ted Kennedy, who embodies the spirit of service; and to the next Vice-President of the United States, Joe Biden, I thank you. I am grateful to finish this journey with one of the finest statesmen of our time, a man at ease with everyone from world leaders to the conductors on the Amtrak train he still takes home every night.

To the love of my life, our next First Lady, Michelle Obama, and to Sasha and Malia - I love you so much, and I'm so proud of all of you.


Four years ago, I stood before you and told you my story - of the brief union between a young man from Kenya and a young woman from Kansas who weren't well-off or well-known, but shared a belief that in America their son could achieve whatever he put his mind to.

It is that promise that has always set this country apart - that through hard work and sacrifice, each of us can pursue our individual dreams but still come together as one American family, to ensure that the next generation can pursue their dreams as well.

That's why I stand here tonight. Because for 232 years, at each moment when that promise was in jeopardy, ordinary men and women - students and soldiers, farmers and teachers, nurses and janitors -- found the courage to keep it alive.

America, we are better than these last eight years. We are a better country than this

We meet at one of those defining moments - a moment when our nation is at war, our economy is in turmoil, and the American promise has been threatened once more.

Tonight, more Americans are out of work and more are working harder for less. More of you have lost your homes and even more are watching your home values plummet. More of you have cars you can't afford to drive, credit card bills you can't afford to pay, and tuition that's beyond your reach.

These challenges are not all of government's making. But the failure to respond is a direct result of a broken politics in Washington and the failed policies of George W Bush.

America, we are better than these last eight years. We are a better country than this.


This country is more decent than one where a woman in Ohio, on the brink of retirement, finds herself one illness away from disaster after a lifetime of hard work.

This country is more generous than one where a man in Indiana has to pack up the equipment he's worked on for 20 years and watch it shipped off to China, and then chokes up as he explains how he felt like a failure when he went home to tell his family the news.

We are more compassionate than a government that lets veterans sleep on our streets and families slide into poverty; that sits on its hands while a major American city drowns before our eyes.

Tonight, I say to the American people, to Democrats and Republicans and independents across this great land - enough! This moment - this election - is our chance to keep, in the 21st Century, the American promise alive. Because next week, in Minnesota, the same party that brought you two terms of George Bush and Dick Cheney will ask this country for a third. And we are here because we love this country too much to let the next four years look like the last eight. On 4 November, we must stand up and say: "Eight is enough."

Now let there be no doubt. The Republican nominee, John McCain, has worn the uniform of our country with bravery and distinction, and for that we owe him our gratitude and respect. And next week, we'll also hear about those occasions when he's broken with his party as evidence that he can deliver the change that we need.

But the record's clear: John McCain has voted with George Bush 90% of the time. Senator McCain likes to talk about judgement, but really, what does it say about your judgement when you think George Bush has been right more than 90% of the time? I don't know about you, but I'm not ready to take a 10% chance on change.

The truth is, on issue after issue that would make a difference in your lives - on health care and education and the economy - Senator McCain has been anything but independent. He said that our economy has made "great progress" under this president. He said that the fundamentals of the economy are strong. And when one of his chief advisers - the man who wrote his economic plan - was talking about the anxiety Americans are feeling, he said that we were just suffering from a "mental recession", and that we've become, and I quote, "a nation of whiners".

'Discredited philosophy'

A nation of whiners? Tell that to the proud auto workers at a Michigan plant who, after they found out it was closing, kept showing up every day and working as hard as ever, because they knew there were people who counted on the brakes that they made. Tell that to the military families who shoulder their burdens silently as they watch their loved ones leave for their third or fourth or fifth tour of duty. These are not whiners. They work hard and give back and keep going without complaint. These are the Americans that I know.

Now, I don't believe that Senator McCain doesn't care what's going on in the lives of Americans. I just think he doesn't know. Why else would he define middle-class as someone making under $5m a year? How else could he propose hundreds of billions in tax breaks for big corporations and oil companies but not one penny of tax relief to more than 100 million Americans? How else could he offer a health care plan that would actually tax people's benefits, or an education plan that would do nothing to help families pay for college, or a plan that would privatise social security and gamble your retirement?

It's not because John McCain doesn't care. It's because John McCain doesn't get it.

For over two decades, he's subscribed to that old, discredited Republican philosophy - give more and more to those with the most and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else. In Washington, they call this the Ownership Society, but what it really means is - you're on your own. Out of work? Tough luck. No health care? The market will fix it. Born into poverty? Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps - even if you don't have boots. You're on your own.

Well it's time for them to own their failure. It's time for us to change America.

Paying the mortgage

You see, we Democrats have a very different measure of what constitutes progress in this country.

We measure progress by how many people can find a job that pays the mortgage; whether you can put a little extra money away at the end of each month so you can someday watch your child receive her college diploma. We measure progress in the 23 million new jobs that were created when Bill Clinton was president - when the average American family saw its income go up $7,500 instead of down $2,000 like it has under George Bush.

I think about my mom, who raised my sister and me on her own while she worked and earned her degree

We measure the strength of our economy not by the number of billionaires we have or the profits of the Fortune 500, but by whether someone with a good idea can take a risk and start a new business, or whether the waitress who lives on tips can take a day off to look after a sick kid without losing her job - an economy that honours the dignity of work.

The fundamentals we use to measure economic strength are whether we are living up to that fundamental promise that has made this country great - a promise that is the only reason I am standing here tonight.

Because in the faces of those young veterans who come back from Iraq and Afghanistan, I see my grandfather, who signed up after Pearl Harbor, marched in Patton's army, and was rewarded by a grateful nation with the chance to go to college on the GI Bill.

In the face of that young student who sleeps just three hours before working the night shift, I think about my mom, who raised my sister and me on her own while she worked and earned her degree; who once turned to food stamps but was still able to send us to the best schools in the country with the help of student loans and scholarships.

'My heroes'

When I listen to another worker tell me that his factory has shut down, I remember all those men and women on the South Side of Chicago who I stood by and fought for two decades ago after the local steel plant closed.

And when I hear a woman talk about the difficulties of starting her own business, I think about my grandmother, who worked her way up from the secretarial pool to middle management, despite years of being passed over for promotions because she was a woman. She's the one who taught me about hard work. She's the one who put off buying a new car or a new dress for herself so that I could have a better life. She poured everything she had into me. And although she can no longer travel, I know that she's watching tonight, and that tonight is her night as well.

I don't know what kind of lives John McCain thinks that celebrities lead, but this has been mine. These are my heroes. Theirs are the stories that shaped me. And it is on their behalf that I intend to win this election and keep our promise alive as President of the United States.

What is that promise?

It's a promise that says each of us has the freedom to make of our own lives what we will, but that we also have the obligation to treat each other with dignity and respect.

It's a promise that says the market should reward drive and innovation and generate growth, but that businesses should live up to their responsibilities to create American jobs, look out for American workers, and play by the rules of the road.

Ours is a promise that says government cannot solve all our problems, but what it should do is that which we cannot do for ourselves - protect us from harm and provide every child a decent education; keep our water clean and our toys safe; invest in new schools and new roads and new science and technology.

Our government should work for us, not against us. It should help us, not hurt us. It should ensure opportunity not just for those with the most money and influence, but for every American who's willing to work.

That's the promise of America - the idea that we are responsible for ourselves, but that we also rise or fall as one nation; the fundamental belief that I am my brother's keeper; I am my sister's keeper.

That's the promise we need to keep. That's the change we need right now. So let me spell out exactly what that change would mean if I am president.

Workers' tax cuts

Change means a tax code that doesn't reward the lobbyists who wrote it, but the American workers and small businesses who deserve it.

Unlike John McCain, I will stop giving tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas, and I will start giving them to companies that create good jobs right here in America.

I will eliminate capital gains taxes for the small businesses and the start-ups that will create the high-wage, high-tech jobs of tomorrow.

Washington's been talking about our oil addiction for the last 30 years, and John McCain has been there for 26 of them

I will cut taxes - cut taxes - for 95% of all working families. Because in an economy like this, the last thing we should do is raise taxes on the middle-class.

And for the sake of our economy, our security, and the future of our planet, I will set a clear goal as president: in 10 years, we will finally end our dependence on oil from the Middle East.

Washington's been talking about our oil addiction for the last 30 years, and John McCain has been there for 26 of them. In that time, he's said no to higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars, no to investments in renewable energy, no to renewable fuels. And today, we import triple the amount of oil as the day that Senator McCain took office.

Now is the time to end this addiction, and to understand that drilling is a stop-gap measure, not a long-term solution. Not even close.

As president, I will tap our natural gas reserves, invest in clean coal technology, and find ways to safely harness nuclear power. I'll help our auto companies retool, so that the fuel-efficient cars of the future are built right here in America. I'll make it easier for the American people to afford these new cars. And I'll invest $150bn over the next decade in affordable, renewable sources of energy - wind power and solar power and the next generation of biofuels; an investment that will lead to new industries and five million new jobs that pay well and can't ever be outsourced.

America, now is not the time for small plans.

Now is the time to finally meet our moral obligation to provide every child a world-class education, because it will take nothing less to compete in the global economy. Michelle and I are only here tonight because we were given a chance at an education. And I will not settle for an America where some kids don't have that chance. I'll invest in early childhood education. I'll recruit an army of new teachers, and pay them higher salaries and give them more support. And in exchange, I'll ask for higher standards and more accountability. And we will keep our promise to every young American - if you commit to serving your community or your country, we will make sure you can afford a college education.

Paid sick days

Now is the time to finally keep the promise of affordable, accessible health care for every single American. If you have health care, my plan will lower your premiums. If you don't, you'll be able to get the same kind of coverage that members of Congress give themselves. And as someone who watched my mother argue with insurance companies while she lay in bed dying of cancer, I will make certain those companies stop discriminating against those who are sick and need care the most.

Now is the time to help families with paid sick days and better family leave, because nobody in America should have to choose between keeping their jobs and caring for a sick child or ailing parent.

Now is the time to change our bankruptcy laws, so that your pensions are protected ahead of CEO bonuses; and the time to protect social security for future generations.

And now is the time to keep the promise of equal pay for an equal day's work, because I want my daughters to have exactly the same opportunities as your sons.

Now, many of these plans will cost money, which is why I've laid out how I'll pay for every dime - by closing corporate loopholes and tax havens that don't help America grow. But I will also go through the federal budget, line by line, eliminating programs that no longer work and making the ones we do need work better and cost less - because we cannot meet 21st Century challenges with a 20th Century bureaucracy.

And Democrats, we must also admit that fulfilling America's promise will require more than just money. It will require a renewed sense of responsibility from each of us to recover what John F Kennedy called our "intellectual and moral strength". Yes, government must lead on energy independence, but each of us must do our part to make our homes and businesses more efficient. Yes, we must provide more ladders to success for young men who fall into lives of crime and despair. But we must also admit that programmes alone can't replace parents; that government can't turn off the television and make a child do her homework; that fathers must take more responsibility for providing the love and guidance their children need.

Individual responsibility and mutual responsibility - that's the essence of America's promise.


And just as we keep our promise to the next generation here at home, so must we keep America's promise abroad. If John McCain wants to have a debate about who has the temperament, and judgment, to serve as the next commander-in-chief, that's a debate I'm ready to have.

John McCain likes to say that he'll follow bin Laden to the Gates of Hell - but he won't even go to the cave where he lives

For while Senator McCain was turning his sights to Iraq just days after 9/11, I stood up and opposed this war, knowing that it would distract us from the real threats we face. When John McCain said we could just "muddle through" in Afghanistan, I argued for more resources and more troops to finish the fight against the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11, and made clear that we must take out Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants if we have them in our sights. John McCain likes to say that he'll follow bin Laden to the Gates of Hell - but he won't even go to the cave where he lives.

And today, as my call for a timeframe to remove our troops from Iraq has been echoed by the Iraqi government and even the Bush administration, even after we learned that Iraq has a $79bn surplus while we're wallowing in deficits, John McCain stands alone in his stubborn refusal to end a misguided war.

That's not the judgement we need. That won't keep America safe. We need a president who can face the threats of the future, not keep grasping at the ideas of the past.

You don't defeat a terrorist network that operates in 80 countries by occupying Iraq. You don't protect Israel and deter Iran just by talking tough in Washington. You can't truly stand up for Georgia when you've strained our oldest alliances. If John McCain wants to follow George Bush with more tough talk and bad strategy, that is his choice - but it is not the change we need.

We are the party of Roosevelt. We are the party of Kennedy. So don't tell me that Democrats won't defend this country. Don't tell me that Democrats won't keep us safe. The Bush-McCain foreign policy has squandered the legacy that generations of Americans -- Democrats and Republicans - have built, and we are here to restore that legacy.

As commander-in-chief, I will never hesitate to defend this nation, but I will only send our troops into harm's way with a clear mission and a sacred commitment to give them the equipment they need in battle and the care and benefits they deserve when they come home.

I will end this war in Iraq responsibly, and finish the fight against al-Qaeda and the Taleban in Afghanistan. I will rebuild our military to meet future conflicts. But I will also renew the tough, direct diplomacy that can prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and curb Russian aggression. I will build new partnerships to defeat the threats of the 21st Century: terrorism and nuclear proliferation; poverty and genocide; climate change and disease. And I will restore our moral standing, so that America is once again that last, best hope for all who are called to the cause of freedom, who long for lives of peace, and who yearn for a better future.


These are the policies I will pursue. And in the weeks ahead, I look forward to debating them with John McCain.

But what I will not do is suggest that the senator takes his positions for political purposes. Because one of the things that we have to change in our politics is the idea that people cannot disagree without challenging each other's character and patriotism.

The times are too serious, the stakes are too high for this same partisan playbook. So let us agree that patriotism has no party. I love this country, and so do you, and so does John McCain. The men and women who serve in our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and independents, but they have fought together and bled together and some died together under the same proud flag. They have not served a Red America or a Blue America - they have served the United States of America.

So I've got news for you, John McCain. We all put our country first.

We may not agree on abortion, but surely we can agree on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country

America, our work will not be easy. The challenges we face require tough choices, and Democrats as well as Republicans will need to cast off the worn-out ideas and politics of the past. For part of what has been lost these past eight years can't just be measured by lost wages or bigger trade deficits. What has also been lost is our sense of common purpose - our sense of higher purpose. And that's what we have to restore.

We may not agree on abortion, but surely we can agree on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country. The reality of gun ownership may be different for hunters in rural Ohio than for those plagued by gang violence in Cleveland, but don't tell me we can't uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals. I know there are differences on same-sex marriage, but surely we can agree that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in the hospital and to live lives free of discrimination. Passions fly on immigration, but I don't know anyone who benefits when a mother is separated from her infant child or an employer undercuts American wages by hiring illegal workers. This too is part of America's promise - the promise of a democracy where we can find the strength and grace to bridge divides and unite in common effort.

I know there are those who dismiss such beliefs as happy talk. They claim that our insistence on something larger, something firmer and more honest in our public life is just a Trojan Horse for higher taxes and the abandonment of traditional values. And that's to be expected. Because if you don't have any fresh ideas, then you use stale tactics to scare the voters. If you don't have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from.

You make a big election about small things.

And you know what - it's worked before. Because it feeds into the cynicism we all have about government. When Washington doesn't work, all its promises seem empty. If your hopes have been dashed again and again, then it's best to stop hoping, and settle for what you already know.

I get it. I realise that I am not the likeliest candidate for this office. I don't fit the typical pedigree, and I haven't spent my career in the halls of Washington.

But I stand before you tonight because all across America something is stirring. What the nay-sayers don't understand is that this election has never been about me. It's been about you.

For 18 long months, you have stood up, one by one, and said enough to the politics of the past. You understand that in this election, the greatest risk we can take is to try the same old politics with the same old players and expect a different result. You have shown what history teaches us - that at defining moments like this one, the change we need doesn't come from Washington. Change comes to Washington. Change happens because the American people demand it - because they rise up and insist on new ideas and new leadership, a new politics for a new time.

America, this is one of those moments.

I believe that as hard as it will be, the change we need is coming. Because I've seen it. Because I've lived it. I've seen it in Illinois, when we provided health care to more children and moved more families from welfare to work. I've seen it in Washington, when we worked across party lines to open up government and hold lobbyists more accountable, to give better care for our veterans and keep nuclear weapons out of terrorist hands.

And I've seen it in this campaign. In the young people who voted for the first time, and in those who got involved again after a very long time. In the Republicans who never thought they'd pick up a Democratic ballot, but did. I've seen it in the workers who would rather cut their hours back a day than see their friends lose their jobs, in the soldiers who re-enlist after losing a limb, in the good neighbours who take a stranger in when a hurricane strikes and the floodwaters rise.

Martin Luther King

This country of ours has more wealth than any nation, but that's not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military on Earth, but that's not what makes us strong. Our universities and our culture are the envy of the world, but that's not what keeps the world coming to our shores.

'We cannot walk alone,' the preacher cried

Instead, it is that American spirit - that American promise - that pushes us forward even when the path is uncertain; that binds us together in spite of our differences; that makes us fix our eye not on what is seen, but what is unseen, that better place around the bend.

That promise is our greatest inheritance. It's a promise I make to my daughters when I tuck them in at night, and a promise that you make to yours - a promise that has led immigrants to cross oceans and pioneers to travel west; a promise that led workers to picket lines, and women to reach for the ballot.

And it is that promise that 45 years ago today, brought Americans from every corner of this land to stand together on a mall in Washington, before Lincoln's Memorial, and hear a young preacher from Georgia speak of his dream.

The men and women who gathered there could've heard many things. They could've heard words of anger and discord. They could've been told to succumb to the fear and frustration of so many dreams deferred.

But what the people heard instead - people of every creed and colour, from every walk of life - is that in America, our destiny is inextricably linked. That together, our dreams can be one.

"We cannot walk alone," the preacher cried. "And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back."

America, we cannot turn back. Not with so much work to be done. Not with so many children to educate, and so many veterans to care for. Not with an economy to fix and cities to rebuild and farms to save. Not with so many families to protect and so many lives to mend. America, we cannot turn back. We cannot walk alone. At this moment, in this election, we must pledge once more to march into the future. Let us keep that promise - that American promise - and in the words of Scripture hold firmly, without wavering, to the hope that we confess.

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless the United States of America."

Friday, August 29, 2008

A Great Roll Call Exclusive: McCain Picks Palin

Minneapolis, MN 8:00 A.M.

In a shameless bid to counter his close ties to the Washington establishment and in order to try to inject some new life in a campaign that was near death, McCain will announce his choice of Sarah Palin. The inexperienced Governor of Alaska will be McCain's pick in an attempt to steal some of the women voters still disgruntled over the loss of Senator Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Bill Clinton's Speech to DNC: No One Does It Better

I am honored to be here tonight to support Barack Obama. And to warm up the crowd for Joe Biden, though as you'll soon see, he doesn't need any help from me. I love Joe Biden, and America will too.
What a year we Democrats have had. The primary began with an all-star line up and came down to two remarkable Americans locked in a hard fought contest to the very end. The campaign generated so much heat it increased global warming.
In the end, my candidate didn't win. But I'm very proud of the campaign she ran: she never quit on the people she stood up for, on the changes she pushed for, on the future she wants for all our children. And I'm grateful for the chance Chelsea and I had to tell Americans about the person we know and love.
I'm not so grateful for the chance to speak in the wake of her magnificent address last night. But I'll do my best.
Hillary told us in no uncertain terms that she'll do everything she can to elect Barack Obama.
That makes two of us.
Actually that makes 18 million of us - because, like Hillary, I want all of you who supported her to vote for Barack Obama in November.
Here's why.
Our nation is in trouble on two fronts: The American Dream is under siege at home, and America's leadership in the world has been weakened.
Middle class and low-income Americans are hurting, with incomes declining; job losses, poverty and inequality rising; mortgage foreclosures and credit card debt increasing; health care coverage disappearing; and a big spike in the cost of food, utilities, and gasoline.
Our position in the world has been weakened by too much unilateralism and too little cooperation; a perilous dependence on imported oil; a refusal to lead on global warming; a growing indebtedness and a dependence on foreign lenders; a severely burdened military; a backsliding on global non- proliferation and arms control agreements; and a failure to consistently use the power of diplomacy, from the Middle East to Africa to Latin America to Central and Eastern Europe.
Clearly, the job of the next President is to rebuild the American Dream and restore America's standing in the world.
Everything I learned in my eight years as President and in the work I've done since, in America and across the globe, has convinced me that Barack Obama is the man for this job.
He has a remarkable ability to inspire people, to raise our hopes and rally us to high purpose. He has the intelligence and curiosity every successful President needs. His policies on the economy, taxes, health care and energy are far superior to the Republican alternatives. He has shown a clear grasp of our foreign policy and national security challenges, and a firm commitment to repair our badly strained military. His family heritage and life experiences have given him a unique capacity to lead our increasingly diverse nation and to restore our leadership in an ever more interdependent world. The long, hard primary tested and strengthened him. And in his first presidential decision, the selection of a running mate, he hit it out of the park.
With Joe Biden's experience and wisdom, supporting Barack Obama's proven understanding, insight, and good instincts, America will have the national security leadership we need.
Barack Obama is ready to lead America and restore American leadership in the world. Ready to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. Barack Obama is ready to be President of the United States.
He will work for an America with more partners and fewer adversaries. He will rebuild our frayed alliances and revitalize the international institutions which help to share the costs of the world's problems and to leverage our power and influence. He will put us back in the forefront of the world's fight to reduce nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and to stop global warming. He will continue and enhance our nation's global leadership in an area in which I am deeply involved, the fight against AIDS, TB and malaria, including a renewal of the battle against HIV/AIDS here at home. He will choose diplomacy first and military force as a last resort. But in a world troubled by terror; by trafficking in weapons, drugs and people; by human rights abuses; by other threats to our security, our interests, and our values, when he cannot convert adversaries into partners, he will stand up to them.
Barack Obama also will not allow the world's problems to obscure its opportunities. Everywhere, in rich and poor countries alike, hardworking people need good jobs; secure, affordable healthcare, food, and energy; quality education for their children; and economically beneficial ways to fight global warming. These challenges cry out for American ideas and American innovation. When Barack Obama unleashes them, America will save lives, win new allies, open new markets, and create new jobs for our people.
Most important, Barack Obama knows that America cannot be strong abroad unless we are strong at home. People the world over have always been more impressed by the power of our example than by the example of our power.
Look at the example the Republicans have set: American workers have given us consistently rising productivity. They've worked harder and produced more. What did they get in return? Declining wages, less than 1/4 as many new jobs as in the previous eight years, smaller health care and pension benefits, rising poverty and the biggest increase in income inequality since the 1920s. American families by the millions are struggling with soaring health care costs and declining coverage. I will never forget the parents of children with autism and other severe conditions who told me on the campaign trail that they couldn't afford health care and couldn't qualify their kids for Medicaid unless they quit work or got a divorce. Are these the family values the Republicans are so proud of? What about the military families pushed to the breaking point by unprecedented multiple deployments? What about the assault on science and the defense of torture? What about the war on unions and the unlimited favors for the well connected? What about Katrina and cronyism?
America can do better than that. And Barack Obama will.
But first we have to elect him.
The choice is clear. The Republicans will nominate a good man who served our country heroically and suffered terribly in Vietnam. He loves our country every bit as much as we all do. As a Senator, he has shown his independence on several issues. But on the two great questions of this election, how to rebuild the American Dream and how to restore America's leadership in the world, he still embraces the extreme philosophy which has defined his party for more than 25 years, a philosophy we never had a real chance to see in action until 2001, when the Republicans finally gained control of both the White House and Congress. Then we saw what would happen to America if the policies they had talked about for decades were implemented.
They took us from record surpluses to an exploding national debt; from over 22 million new jobs down to 5 million; from an increase in working family incomes of $7,500 to a decline of more than $2,000; from almost 8 million Americans moving out of poverty to more than 5 and a half million falling into poverty - and millions more losing their health insurance.
Now, in spite of all the evidence, their candidate is promising more of the same: More tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans that will swell the deficit, increase inequality, and weaken the economy. More band-aids for health care that will enrich insurance companies, impoverish families and increase the number of uninsured. More going it alone in the world, instead of building the shared responsibilities and shared opportunities necessary to advance our security and restore our influence.
They actually want us to reward them for the last eight years by giving them four more. Let's send them a message that will echo from the Rockies all across America: Thanks, but no thanks. In this case, the third time is not the charm.
My fellow Democrats, sixteen years ago, you gave me the profound honor to lead our party to victory and to lead our nation to a new era of peace and broadly shared prosperity.
Together, we prevailed in a campaign in which the Republicans said I was too young and too inexperienced to be Commander-in-Chief. Sound familiar? It didn't work in 1992, because we were on the right side of history. And it won't work in 2008, because Barack Obama is on the right side of history.
His life is a 21st Century incarnation of the American Dream. His achievements are proof of our continuing progress toward the "more perfect union" of our founders' dreams. The values of freedom and equal opportunity which have given him his historic chance will drive him as president to give all Americans, regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or disability, their chance to build a decent life, and to show our humanity, as well as our strength, to the world.
We see that humanity, that strength, and our future in Barack and Michelle Obama and their beautiful children. We see them reinforced by the partnership with Joe Biden, his wife Jill, a dedicated teacher, and their family.
Barack Obama will lead us away from division and fear of the last eight years back to unity and hope. If, like me, you still believe America must always be a place called Hope, then join Hillary, Chelsea and me in making Senator Barack Obama the next President of the United States.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Fact: Obama Born In Hawaii. Case Closed.

The latest Swift Boat Smear Campaign to hit the internet is that Barrack Obama is not eligible to be President because he was not born in the United States. This flat out lie is being spread online by David Duke's White Supremacist site,

I think the most comical allegation comes from the Complaint in the lawsuit seeking to enjoin the Obama candidacy. The lawsuit claims three "independent" document forensic experts performed extensive tests on the digitally-scanned image of Obama's "Certificate of Live Birth" posted on the campaign's site and found the document to be "a forgery."

Anyone with any experience with forensic science and the legal rules of evidence or even an iota of common sense knows you must examine the original document to lay the foundation to give an expert opinion to challenge the authenticity of a document. Yet I know intelligent people who are attorneys that are apparently so dissatisfied with their choices in the presidential election, that they are not using their critical thinking skills when confronted with such garbage.

The highly respected, nonpartisan and beyond reproach run by the University of Pennsylvania's esteemed Annenberg School of Journalism wrote the following article totally debunking the pathetic, desperate and racist story of Corsi, Duke and the other "nattering nabobs of negativity".

Born in the U.S.A.
August 21, 2008
The truth about Obama's birth certificate.
In June, the Obama campaign released a digitally scanned image of his birth certificate to quell speculative charges that he might not be a natural-born citizen. But the image prompted more blog-based skepticism about the document's authenticity. And recently, author Jerome Corsi, whose book attacks Obama, said in a TV interview that the birth certificate the campaign has is "fake."

We beg to differ. staffers have now seen, touched, examined and photographed the original birth certificate. We conclude that it meets all of the requirements from the State Department for proving U.S. citizenship. Claims that the document lacks a raised seal or a signature are false. We have posted high-resolution photographs of the document as "supporting documents" to this article. Our conclusion: Obama was born in the U.S.A. just as he has always said.

Since we first wrote about Obama's birth certificate on June 16, speculation on his citizenship has continued apace. Some claim that Obama posted a fake birth certificate to his Web page. That charge leaped from the blogosphere to the mainstream media earlier this week when Jerome Corsi, author of a book attacking Obama, repeated the claim in an Aug. 15 interview with Steve Doocy on Fox News.

Corsi: Well, what would be really helpful is if Senator Obama would release primary documents like his birth certificate. The campaign has a false, fake birth certificate posted on their website. How is anybody supposed to really piece together his life?

Doocy: What do you mean they have a "false birth certificate" on their Web site?

Corsi: The original birth certificate of Obama has never been released, and the campaign refuses to release it.

Doocy: Well, couldn't it just be a State of Hawaii-produced duplicate?

Corsi: No, it's a -- there's been good analysis of it on the Internet, and it's been shown to have watermarks from Photoshop. It's a fake document that's on the Web site right now, and the original birth certificate the campaign refuses to produce.

Corsi isn't the only skeptic claiming that the document is a forgery. Among the most frequent objections we saw on forums, blogs and e-mails are:

The birth certificate doesn't have a raised seal.
It isn't signed.
No creases from folding are evident in the scanned version.

In the zoomed-in view, there's a strange halo around the letters.
The certificate number is blacked out.
The date bleeding through from the back seems to say "2007," but the document wasn't released until 2008.
The document is a "certification of birth," not a "certificate of birth."

Recently FactCheck representatives got a chance to spend some time with the birth certificate, and we can attest to the fact that it is real and three-dimensional and resides at the Obama headquarters in Chicago. We can assure readers that the certificate does bear a raised seal, and that it's stamped on the back by Hawaii state registrar Alvin T. Onaka (who uses a signature stamp rather than signing individual birth certificates). We even brought home a few photographs.

The Obama birth certificate, held by FactCheck writer Joe Miller

Alvin T. Onaka's signature stamp

The raised seal

Blowup of text

You can click on the photos to get full-size versions, which haven't been edited in any way, except that some have been rotated 90 degrees for viewing purposes.

The certificate has all the elements the State Department requires for proving citizenship to obtain a U.S. passport: "your full name, the full name of your parent(s), date and place of birth, sex, date the birth record was filed, and the seal or other certification of the official custodian of such records." The names, date and place of birth, and filing date are all evident on the scanned version, and you can see the seal above.

The document is a "certification of birth," also known as a short-form birth certificate. The long form is drawn up by the hospital and includes additional information such as birth weight and parents' hometowns. The short form is printed by the state and draws from a database with fewer details. The Hawaii Department of Health's birth record request form does not give the option to request a photocopy of your long-form birth certificate, but their short form has enough information to be acceptable to the State Department. We tried to ask the Hawaii DOH why they only offer the short form, among other questions, but they have not given a response.

The scan released by the campaign shows halos around the black text, making it look (to some) as though the text might have been pasted on top of an image of security paper. But the document itself has no such halos, nor do the close-up photos we took of it. We conclude that the halo seen in the image produced by the campaign is a digital artifact from the scanning process.

We asked the Obama campaign about the date stamp and the blacked-out certificate number. The certificate is stamped June 2007, because that's when Hawaii officials produced it for the campaign, which requested that document and "all the records we could get our hands on" according to spokesperson Shauna Daly. The campaign didn't release its copy until 2008, after speculation began to appear on the Internet questioning Obama's citizenship. The campaign then rushed to release the document, and the rush is responsible for the blacked-out certificate number. Says Shauna: "[We] couldn't get someone on the phone in Hawaii to tell us whether the number represented some secret information, and we erred on the side of blacking it out. Since then we've found out it's pretty irrelevant for the outside world." The document we looked at did have a certificate number; it is 151 1961 - 010641.

Blowup of certificate number
Some of the conspiracy theories that have circulated about Obama are quite imaginative. One conservative blogger suggested that the campaign might have obtained a valid Hawaii birth certificate, soaked it in solvent, then reprinted it with Obama's information. Of course, this anonymous blogger didn't have access to the actual document and presents this as just one possible "scenario" without any evidence that such a thing actually happened or is even feasible.

We also note that so far none of those questioning the authenticity of the document have produced a shred of evidence that the information on it is incorrect. Instead, some speculate that somehow, maybe, he was born in another country and doesn't meet the Constitution's requirement that the president be a "natural-born citizen."

We think our colleagues at, who also dug into some of these loopy theories put it pretty well: "It is possible that Obama conspired his way to the precipice of the world’s biggest job, involving a vast network of people and government agencies over decades of lies. Anything’s possible. But step back and look at the overwhelming evidence to the contrary and your sense of what’s reasonable has to take over."

In fact, the conspiracy would need to be even deeper than our colleagues realized. In late July, a researcher looking to dig up dirt on Obama instead found a birth announcement that had been published in the Honolulu Advertiser on Sunday, Aug. 13, 1961:

Obama's birth announcement

The announcement was posted by a pro-Hillary Clinton blogger who grudgingly concluded that Obama "likely" was born Aug. 4, 1961 in Honolulu.

Of course, it's distantly possible that Obama's grandparents may have planted the announcement just in case their grandson needed to prove his U.S. citizenship in order to run for president someday. We suggest that those who choose to go down that path should first equip themselves with a high-quality tinfoil hat. The evidence is clear: Barack Obama was born in the U.S.A.

–by Jess Henig, with Joe Miller
United States Department of State. "Application for a U.S. Passport." Accessed 20 Aug. 2008.

State of Hawaii Department of Health. "Request for Certified Copy of Birth Record." Accessed 20 Aug. 2008.

Hollyfield, Amy. "Obama's Birth Certificate: Final Chapter." 27 Jun. 2008.