Tuesday, October 31, 2006

No apology necessary for Kerry's remarks

The recent remarks made by John Kerry have been misrepresented. Here is what Kerry said:

"You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."

Clearly, Senator Kerry is referring to President George W. Bush, not the troops serving in our military. John Kerry served. Bush did not. Kerry has criticized the Bush administration's Iraq war strategies for quite some time, so this is simply an extension of that criticism. These remarks reflect Mr. Kerry's opinion that the president isn't the brightest bulb in the lamp. Simple as that.

Don't apologize, Mr. Kerry. Call them out on what will go down as one of the biggest blunders of any American president.

Bob Denison to speak at BlueNovember.Org event.

Bob Denison, Democratic candidate for U.S. Congress in Michigan's 10th District will field questions about his positions regarding the U.S. occupation of Iraq at BlueNovember.Org's free movie and "town hall" event. Details follow.

Iraq for Sale: A BlueNovember.Org Free Afternoon Movie
Join with neighbors and others to view and discuss the documentary, "Iraq for Sale." This film exposes the Iraq war as a framework for greed, graft, and corruption. If you really want to support our courageous men and women serving in the Iraq war, you should be open to all sides of the debate.

Join BlueNovember.Org for a free film and discussion.
Sunday Afternoon at 3:00
November 5, 2006
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
3201 Gratiot Avenue
Port Huron, MI 48060
Let's talk about this important issue.

Vote for Fairness and Equality - Vote NO on #2

Don't be fooled by the typically tricky wording of Michigan ballot proposals.

Voting NO on proposal #2 means voting for a level paying field for all Michigan citizens.

Until we have parity in schools and boardrooms across this state and land, and until racism and sexism are just bad memories, we MUST be allowed to incorporate programs that promote diversity and equality.
No on Proposal #2
is the right thing to do.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Why we went negative on Jud Gilbert

Our mailer about Jud Gilbert uses a tombstone to symbolize Jud Gilbert's voting record with regard to working class people and their families. Simply put, Gilbert is burying respect for people who work very hard, often for very little. We acknowledge this will be considered a "negative ad." Still, we felt compelled to expose the facts. Consider this, we're not trying to catch anyone with mustard on his chin. We aren't looking into anyone's personal life. We are telling the truth about our Senator, a man who has not voted with the collective interests of the people in mind.

Here are some of the points we make:

Jud Gilbert authored a bill that would require our children's teachers to ask permission from their employers before they could get a new job. This idea is more than incredibly backward workplace policy. It is reinstating indentured servitude. And, considering the overwhelming majority of our public school teachers are women, this plan reeks of misogyny.

Jud Gilbert shows no respect for people who have worked hard every day, yet they find themselves
victims of outsourcing and downsizing. Gilbert voted to make these taxpayers wait longer for their unemployment benefits. Gilbert also had an opportunity to increase these benefits, and chose not to.

When the Michigan State Senate was voting on a resolution to ask our federal government to close loop holes that give tax breaks to corporations for moving their manufacturing operations out of the United States, Gilbert voted NO.

Jud Gilbert voted
to cut important public school programs that helped kids learn to read.

Investigate Gilbert's record for yourself. Visit http://www.senate.michigan.gov/ .

BlueNovember.Org endorses Gary Orr
for Michigan State Senator of the 25th District.
He will put the interests of ordinary people first.

John Tomlinson for Probate Judge

By Cindy Bostwick

There is one political race that may touch your life in the most dramatic way: that’s the race for Probate judge. There’s only one candidate in St. Clair County who will do a good job: that’s John Tomlinson.Find his website at http://www.ElectTomlinsonProbateJudge.com.

Let me tell you what it means to be a Probate judge. You deal with the mentally ill, the developmentally disabled, the criminally insane, the parentless children, the widows and widowers, and thanks to the wisdom of our Supreme Court, you also deal with divorces two days a week. You deal everyday with people in crisis, sad people, sick people, our most vulnerable neighbors.

That means that judge decides who gets locked away for treatment even though they are too sick to know they need it, who gets the kids, how much child support should be paid, which heirs get the money, how much money a surviving spouse can live on, who needs a guardian and what sort of powers does that guardian have, and who takes care of the money if someone can’t manage their own.

It takes a special kind of person to be a good Probate judge, and there aren’t, sadly, that many good ones. John Tomlinson will be one of the good ones, but he needs you. Now.

Don’t get me wrong.Every political decision is an important one, every vote counts. But your vote for Probate judge can literally save your life. Did I mention the Probate judge also has the power, if asked, to make end of life decisions for you?

I was the chief clerk of Probate Court for five years, and in June I left that job to move to Ann Arbor with Ben and take a new job with the Friend of Court. But my sister, nephew and brother in law still live in St. Clair County. The best friends of my life still live there. If I died or became unable to care for Ben, my sister Emily would be Ben’s guardian, and I’d want John Tomlinson watching over that. If my dear friends Linda or Jackie or Phil or Nunu or Bev or Janice or Monica or Bill or Matt became disabled, I’d want John Tomlinson to supervise their guardians and conservators. And I want John Tomlinson to be the judge who oversees my friend Mary Beth’s estate.

John Tomlinson knows and cares about real people. He worked at Community Mental Health for a number of years before becoming a lawyer. He has a developmentally disabled adult sibling. He’s the child of divorced parents, he’s been there. He’s served as conservator, personal representative, trustee, and guardian for many people. He's warm and smart and kind and funny. He’ll make a terrific judge and he’s earned it.

This vote could save your life, or the life of someone you know, like a little kid or a gravely ill elderly person.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Iraq for Sale: A BlueNovember.Org Free Afternoon Movie

Join with neighbors and others to view and discuss the documentary,
Iraq for Sale
This film exposes the Iraq war as a framework for greed, graft, and corruption. If you really want to support our courageous men and women serving in the Iraq war, you should be open to all sides of the debate.

Let's watch. Let's talk.

Join BlueNovember.Org for this important film and discussion.
Sunday Afternoon at 3:00
November 5, 2006
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
3201 Gratiot Avenue
Port Huron, MI 48060

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Lay conviction overturned

In case you missed it, Enron's conveniently deceased CEO, Ken Lay, will rest even more peacefully now that his conviction has been overturned. A legal doctrine called abatement erases a conviction if a defendant dies before he is able to exercise his right to appeal. It's as if Ken Lay were never indicted at all.

This turn of events will make it more difficult for former Enron employees and investors to seek damages form Lay's estate. Attorneys had been in the process of seizing $44 million.

Ironic that the same week our president strikes down habeas corpus, a judge protects a dead man's constitutional rights and the ill-gotten fortune he left behind.

America is no longer free

by Paul Lehto, Attorney at Law

Habeas corpus -- it's your most fundamental legal right, your right to go to a court and get an order requiring the government to prove that it is holding you in prison with proper legal authority to do so. Without that right, one necessarily lives in a dictatorship. President Bush today on October 17, 2006 signed a bill repealing that law, meaning that the administration need not comply or show compliance with law any more with regard to who goes to prison or Gitmo.

While it supposedly applies just to terrorism cases, that doesn't prevent it from ending the rule of law in the United States for our newly all-powerful Executive. This is true not just because terrorism is construed so broadly in the prohibition of "material support" for terrorism (which by the way has already been held to include a lawyer's press release on behalf of a terrorist client) but because the administration NEED NOT PROVE IT'S REALLY TERRORISM because they don't need to answer to any court in the land at any time.

Even "Justice" Scalia wrote in the Hamdan case that "the very core of liberty secured by our Anglo-Saxon system of separated powers has been freedom from indefinite imprisonment at the will of the Executive." That very core of liberty died on October 17, 2006 with the signing of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 and its elimination of habeas corpus.

Oh yeah, it also legalized torture wholesale. While misleadingly purporting to prohibit a few forms, upon full analysis it prohibits none. But who's going to know since your relatives won't be able to find out where you are anyway, right? Habeas corpus ("produce the body") was not supposed to mean habeas corpses. Habeas corpus started as soon as human beings had the yearning to breathe free of the abuses of unchecked power of a king, aristocrat or lord, starting around the year 1215. We now have a pre-1215 mentality, all because of fear of some primitive and violent guys living in caves somewhere. Many of us are not intimidated.

Yet the same day as the signing of this Military Commissions Act of 2006, a lawyer following her ethical duty to represent her client and ill with breast cancer was sentenced to 2 and a half years in prison for the simple act of issuing a press release on behalf of a terrorist client in prison, which was judged "materially aiding" terrorism. (Such press releases for unpopular clients are hardly ever printed verbatim in any respect by newspapers, yet the allegation was that there could be a coded communication in the press release and there was a no-communication order in effect.) While this terrorist is a genuine terrorist, there's nothing in the law that distinguishes between representing serious terrorists and representing "innocent terrorists" (if there is such a thing) or minor ones, but in any case, remember, they don't need to comply with habeas and show that you are guilty anyway! At most, they just think to themselves "this guy's a terrorist" and you disappear into the torture chamber with no right to be heard from, even indirectly through your lawyer, which you have no enforceable right to anyway.

Even public opinion will likely not catch up with this because people will just disappear and who knows, maybe the missing person just went off on a lark or a fugue to start a new life, right?

Consequently, on October 17, 2006 freedom died in the United States of America . We now live in a dictatorship. We live in a dictatorship even if you think George W. Bush will be a wise and beneficent king or dictator. It is defined as the possession of absolute power as opposed to checks and balances.

In the Keith Olbermann commentary at the first youtube link below; I agree with Professor Turley (Constitutional Law) that people "really have no idea how significant this is." Turley says we now have an "absolute ruler" which is really just another way of saying dictatorship. He's not kidding. I'm not kidding.

I'll be releasing an extended (and devastating, early readers say) critical piece on this within 48 hours, but in the meantime and after that please consider the importance of this issue is at a WHOLE OTHER LEVEL. It's not an "issue" that we form polite activist groups to respond to.

The Executive Branch now has full discretion to imprison anybody they want to without charge or trial or bail and there will be nothing anybody can do except beg the King. I.e. there's no rule of law applicable to the administration. EVERY SINGLE AMERICAN LAW was essentially repealed, because the administration need not prove to anybody that it has complied with the law by indefinitely detaining you, your relative or anyone else.

Keith Olbermann's commentary, with Professor Jonathan Turley

The only thing I don't agree with Turley on is this: There is not a giant Yawn, there are a lot of people shocked, many crying, millions disturbed, millions more waking up. It's always hard to be among the first to know and to wait for the rest of the country to catch up, but somebody has to be in that position. Let's not, because we are among the first millions to wake up, send out the message that getting the American dream back is relatively hopeless based on the Yawn seemingly heard today. After all, there is no media echo besides Olbermann to get the word out and reinforce it. But there will be. I also disagree with Turley's approach, even as he makes strongly worded comments that are nevertheless scholarly and restrained in tone and volume, because it's inappropriate and (if you believe in Constitutional rights) not unlike talking in a similar dispassionate tone when a masked man walks into your local elementary school with automatic weapons drawn.

For a more appropriate tone, here's another two minute video below that was filmed right before this bill was signed but it nevertheless applies to this situation, and gives advice on what to do when "they come for your freedom." Paul Revere said "the Redcoats are coming". Today, "the Redcoats already came."

These situation of legalizing torture and eliminating habeas corpus is WAY WAY WAY "out there" in terms of extreme. Bush and his administration are incredibly isolated now, seeking to legalize the very things we prosecuted ourselves in WWII like waterboarding. If I hear anyone even IMPLY that we live in a free country, the correction will be swift. WE DO NOT LIVE IN A FREE COUNTRY ANY MORE. PERIOD.

The hopeful note is this: We can recognize how incredibly isolated both in the world and in our own country this Administration is, and we can turn away, and withdraw any remaining support and respect. But, if we react just in fear, whether fear of Gitmo or fear of torture or fear of terrorists, the dark curtain of dictatorship will descend further and their power will consolidate. In the end, Americans will not be denied freedom in a struggle for freedom on their own soil.

"Freedom is Under Attack" -- Rollins
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6waWS0Y3Ubc (f-bomb warning, but appropriate IMHO in this context)

Paul Lehto
Attorney at Law
Permission granted to distribute in full with attribution.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Hastert tells Limbaugh Democrats are to blame

Transcript from Rush Limbaugh's radio program is remarkable. Yet, should anyone be surprised? Democrats, Hastert asserts, should shut up about Foley's sex crimes against congressional pages because the Republicans are all that stand between the American people and terrorism.

SPEAKER HASTERT: There were two pieces of paper out there, one that we knew about and we acted on; one that happened in 2003 we didn't know about, but somebody had it, and, you know, they're trying -- and they drop it the last day of the session, you know, before we adjourn on an election year. Now, we took care of Mr. Foley. We found out about it, asked him to resign. He did resign. He's gone. We asked for an investigation. We've done that. We're trying to build better protections for these page programs.

But, you know, this is a political issue in itself, too, and what we've tried to do as the Republican Party is make a better economy, protect this country against terrorism -- and we've worked at it ever since 9/11, worked with the president on it -- and there are some people that try to tear us down. We are the insulation to protect this country, and if they get to me it looks like they could affect our election as well.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Granholm's message powerful in first debate

Governor Jennifer Granholm delivered a clear message in her first debate. Her past work and future plans for the state of Michigan put ordinary people and common sense first.

Overall Leadership

Granholm is the clear winner. She works for the common interests of ordinary people. She has great understanding of our laws and constitution. She outlined the reasons she has made difficult decisions. DeVos could only say everything she did "disappointed" him, and he not once directly answered a question. Good leaders are able to be direct. He skirted around every single question relating to the economy and his business dealings.

Jobs and the economy

Granholm is working to help Michigan citizens through our transformation from a predominantly automobile-related economy to a diverse economy, including the effort to make Michigan a leader in alternative energy.

Dick DeVos said he is "disappointed" in the governor's performance. He stated we needed a new leader, but he offered no specifics and no plan.

Stem Cell Research

Governor Granholm is for using stem cell research to offer hope to thousands suffering from disease and paralysis. DeVos says we should vote for him since he has been "consistent" in his opposition of this possibly life-saving research.


Granholm supports a woman's right to make this decision. DeVos' extremist position is a woman should not be able to choose an abortion even if she is raped or a victim of incest.

Other issues

DeVos refuses to release his tax records. What is he hiding? And the issue about investing in a multi-million dollar nursing home company that hurt seniors. He couldn't have cared less.


Jennifer Granholm became governor of a state in horrible financial trouble, paid the debt off, and is working to offer educational and economic solutions to problems Dick DeVos is responsible for causing.

Jennifer Granholm wins on substance and sincerity. Sorry to "disappoint" you, Dick.