Saturday, August 2, 2008

Protesters Disrupt Obama in St. Pete

Obama, interrupted
Posted: Friday, August 01, 2008 11:21 AM by Mark Murray

From NBC/NJ's Mike Memoli and NBC's Lauren Appelbaum
ST. PETERSBURG, FL -- About seven minutes into his remarks here, Obama was interrupted by a handful of African-American demonstrators, who stood up in the last row of a section of bleachers behind him and held up a sign that said: "What about the black community, Obama." It had a link to a Web sitewhich calls itself the "Online Voice of the International African Revolution."

Obama eventually stopped speaking, turned around, and said, "Excuse me, young men. This is going to be a question-and-answer session, so you can ask a question later. Let me make my statement. Why don't you all sit down? Then you can ask your question. That's why we're having a town hall meeting. Sit down. You'll have a chance to answer your question. But you don't want to disrupt the whole meeting. Just be courteous. That's all. All you got to do is be courteous. That's all. Just be courteous and you'll have a chance to make your statement."

The men eventually sat down and their sign was taken away by those sitting nearby, and eventually a campaign staffer took it away.
*** UPDATE *** Per NBC's Lauren Appelbaum, Obama eventually took a question from one of these protestors. Here's the exchange:

Obama: I'm going to call on these young men. Just one of you. All right? And remember, I made a promise to you. But also I want you to give your mike back after you ask your question or make your comment.

Protestor: So my question is: In the face of the numerous attacks that are made against the African community or the black community, by the same US government that you aspire to lead -- and we are talking about attacks like the subprime mortgage that you spoke of -- it wasn't just a general ambiguous kind of phenomena, a phenomena that targeted the African community and Latino community, attacks like the killing of Sean Bell by the New York police department and right here in St. Petersburg by the St. Petersburg police, and Jena 6 and Hurricane Katrina, and the list goes on. In the face of all these attacks that are clearly being made on the African community, why is it that you have not had the ability to not one time speak to the interests and even speak on the behalf of the oppressed and exploited African community or black community in this country?

Obama: Well, I, ah, I guess, I... Hold on a second, everybody. I want everybody to be respectful. That's why we are having a town hall meeting. That's democracy at work. And he asked a legitimate question, so I want to give him an answer.

I think you are misinformed about when you say not one time. Every issue you've spoken about, I actually did speak out about. I'm going to go through the various specific examples. I've been talking about predatory lending for the last two years in the United States Senate and worked to pass legislation to prevent it when I wan in the state legislature. And I have repeatedly said that many of the predatory loans that were made in the mortgage system did target African American and Latino communities. I've said that repeatedly.

Number two, Jena Six -- I was the first candidate to get out there and say this is wrong, that there's an injustice that's been done and we need to change it. That's number two.

When Sean Bell got shot, I put out a statement immediately saying this is a problem. (Protestors yell out something inaudible.) I'm sorry, wait, wait, wait, don't start, hold on, don't start, you know shouting back, I'm just answering your question. On each of these issues, I've spoken out. Now, I may not have spoken out the way you would have wanted me to speak out, which is fine.

More from Obama: Here's what I'm suggesting. What I'm suggesting is that on each of these issues that you mentioned, I have spoken out and I have spoken out forcefully. I was a civil-rights lawyer. I have passed, I passed -- hold on a second -- I passed the first racial profiling legislation in Illinois. I passed, I passed some of the toughest death penalty reform legislation in Illinois. So, these are issues I've worked on for decades. Now, that doesn't mean I'm always going to satisfy the way you guys want these issues framed. I understand that, which gives you the option of voting for somebody else. It gives you the option of running for office yourself. Those are all options. But the one thing that I think is important, the one thing that I think is important is that we're respectful towards each other. And what is true is I believe that the only way we're going to solve our problems in this country... The only way were going to solve our problems in this country is if all of us come together -- black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, young, old, disabled, gay, straight. That I think has got to be our agenda.

Here's the statement from Uhuru:
Breaking News Update:

Covered on CNN, Fox, ABC, as well as on the front cover of today's New York Times newspaper: The Uhuru Movement led a demonstration and protest at Obama's town hall meeting, demanding he address the concerns and conditions of the African community! Held at Gibbs High School, former school of 17-year-old Javon Dawson who was murdered by police June 7th, Obama was campaigning on his platform for "change" when Uhuru Movement members stood up and unfurled the banner reading "What about the Black community, Obama?" Diop Olugbala, international organizer for the International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement, challenged Obama to take a stand about:

  • - The subprime mortgage crisis that targeted the African community and Latino community

  • - Attacks like the killing of Sean Bell by the New York police department and Javon Dawson right here in St. Petersburg by the St. Petersburg police

  • - The Jena 6

  • - Hurricane Katrina, and the list goes on!

This was a strategic political struggle to thrust the issues of the African working class community into the national political debate. Uhuru Solidarity Movement is making a call for white people to take a stand and support this struggle! It's not a debate about McCain being the better candidate, it is a struggle around Obama who is basing his campaign on hope and change, garnering support from people who want to see a change in the world. But if you really look at what Obama represents, it is more of the status quo: he supports the continuation of the war abroad, he supports the death penalty, his financial advisor Penny Pritzker was the architect of the subprime mortgage targeting the African community, and the list goes on! Obama and McCain are the same! Real change, real peace can not happen without social justice.

The Uhuru Movement is demanding that the devastating conditions in the African community must be addressed! African people must have control over their own resources, lives and futures! Go to for more!

If we want real peace, we have to support an end to the terror enforced on the African community. Be part of an organization that is changing the world! Join Uhuru Solidarity Movement!


- Demonstration TONIGHT!

Justice for Javon Dawson demonstration at Tropicana Dome - meet at the Uhuru House at 5:00 pm, 1245 18th Avenue South, we'll caravan to the demonstration!

- Speak out!

Blog and make comments on the national news sites that are running coverage on this protest. They want to characterize the Uhuru Movement as "hecklers", but it was a protest making serious demands that Obama address the conditions in the African community!

- Attend the Community Meeting!

Sunday, August 3rd at 4:00 pm at the Uhuru House (1245 18th Avenue South) - attend this community meeting - hear from the protesters - learn about updates - open yourself up to understanding these issues from the perspective of the working class African community! Everyone is welcome - learn more about how you can participate!

- Attend Event: "The Problems Obama Will Not Solve"

Saturday, September 6th at 2:00 pm, St. Petersburg Main Library, 3745 9th Avenue North, St. Petersburg

For more information - contact USM Chair, Stephanie at 727-510-4360.

Check out these links to see national media coverage, hear Diop address Obama and learn more! (scroll down)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Help Wexler Impeach Cheney

Go to and join Congressman Wexler's call for Cheney Impeachment Hearings

Sign the petition here.

Initially this op-ed was censored (refused) for publication by major newspapers across the country...


By Representatives and Members of the Judiciary Committee:
Robert Wexler (D-FL), Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)

On November 7, the House of Representatives voted to send a resolution of impeachment of Vice President Cheney to the Judiciary Committee. As Members of the House Judiciary Committee, we strongly believe these important hearings should begin.

The issues at hand are too serious to ignore, including credible allegations of abuse of power that if proven may well constitute high crimes and misdemeanors under our constitution. The charges against Vice President Cheney relate to his deceptive actions leading up to the Iraq war, the revelation of the identity of a covert agent for political retaliation, and the illegal wiretapping of American citizens...

Now that former White House press secretary Scott McClellan has indicated that the Vice President and his staff purposefully gave him false information about the outing of Valerie Plame Wilson as a covert agent to report to the American people, it is even more important for Congress to investigate what may have been an intentional obstruction of justice. Congress should call Mr. McClellan to testify about what he described as being asked to “unknowingly [pass] along false information.” In addition, recent revelations have shown that the Administration including Vice President Cheney may have again manipulated and exaggerated evidence about weapons of mass destruction -- this time about Iran’s nuclear capabilities.

Some of us were in Congress during the impeachment hearings of President Clinton. We spent a year and a half listening to testimony about President Clinton’s personal relations. This must not be the model for impeachment inquires. A Democratic Congress can show that it takes its constitutional authority seriously and hold a sober investigation, which will stand in stark contrast to the kangaroo court convened by Republicans for President Clinton. In fact, the worst legacy of the Clinton impeachment – where the GOP pursued trumped up and insignificant allegations - would be that it discourages future Congresses from examining credible and significant allegations of a constitutional nature when they arise.

The charges against Vice President Cheney are not personal. They go to the core of the actions of this Administration, and deserve consideration in a way the Clinton scandal never did. The American people understand this, and a majority support hearings according to a November 13 poll by the American Research Group. In fact, 70% of voters say that Vice President Cheney has abused his powers and 43% say that he should be removed from office right now. The American people understand the magnitude of what has been done and what is at stake if we fail to act. It is time for Congress to catch up.

Some people argue that the Judiciary Committee can not proceed with impeachment hearings because it would distract Congress from passing important legislative initiatives. We disagree. First, hearings need not tie up Congress for a year and shut down the nation. Second, hearings will not prevent Congress from completing its other business. These hearings involve the possible impeachment of the Vice President – not our commander in chief – and the resulting impact on the nation’s business and attention would be significantly less than the Clinton Presidential impeachment hearings. Also, despite the fact that President Bush has thwarted moderate Democratic policies that are supported by a vast majority of Americans -- including children’s health care, stem cell research, and bringing our troops home from Iraq -- the Democratic Congress has already managed to deliver a minimum wage hike, an energy bill to address the climate crisis and bring us closer to energy independence, assistance for college tuition, and other legislative successes. We can continue to deliver on more of our agenda in the coming year while simultaneously fulfilling our constitutional duty by investigating and publicly revealing whether or not Vice President Cheney has committed high crimes and misdemeanors.

Holding hearings would put the evidence on the table, and the evidence – not politics – should determine the outcome. Even if the hearings do not lead to removal from office, putting these grievous abuses on the record is important for the sake of history. For an Administration that has consistently skirted the constitution and asserted that it is above the law, it is imperative for Congress to make clear that we do not accept this dangerous precedent. Our Founding Fathers provided Congress the power of impeachment for just this reason, and we must now at least consider using it.

For more info on this campaign go to

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Robert Wexler Calls for Cheney Impeachment

Robert Wexler Calls for Cheney Impeachment at a local forum in S. FL.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

St. Petersburg GOP Debate Protests

Coverage of the march from the rally at Pioneer Park to the Mahaffy theater

HOMELESS IN ST. PETE from Davis Fleetwood, videography- GLENN P. WARMUTH...

Outside, Before the St. Petersburg GOP Debate

cross-posted from TNJP...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Hecklers Dog Gonzales at UF Protest

Hecklers dog Gonzales By JACK STRIPLING Nov 20, 2007
Hounded by hecklers and protesters, former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales defended an admittedly imperfect record before a raucous University of Florida audience Monday night.

Gonzales devoted much of his speech to encouraging students to enter public service, despite the criticism that public officials like himself endure.

The fervency of that criticism was readily apparent as several protesters stood with their backs turned toward Gonzales throughout his speech, frequently interrupted him with calls of “liar” and “treason” and, in some cases, stormed the stage...

Two UF students, wearing black hoods over their heads and orange suits that resembled those worn by prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, hopped onto the stage next to Gonzales before they were arrested by UF Police. As the men were removed from the auditorium, Gonzales said, “Our young men and women fight overseas to preserve this kind of freedom of speech.”

In an audience of about 1,500 people at the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, Gonzales had several dozen supporters who gave him standing ovations. But the former attorney general, who recently resigned from his post under a cloud of controversy, was challenged at times to even complete a sentence because of the disruption from his opponents... (Full story)

More UF Gonzo Protest Videos...

Protesters Arrested at Gonzales UF Speech

As far as I'm concerned those arrested weren't committing any crime. As citizens we have the obligation under international law to resist the criminal actions of our government. Especially torture-mongers the likes of Alberto Gonzales... The real crime is the University of Florida payin' war criminal Gonzales $40,000 for showing up to be abused!
Protesters arrested at Gonzales speech By DEVIN CULCLASURE, Alligator Writer
In his first appearance at a university since resigning in August, former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was met at UF on Monday with a mixture of cheers, boos and scattered interruptions by protesters, two of whom were arrested.

Gonzales, who resigned from his position after a controversial tenure, spoke to more than 800 people at the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.

During his prepared speech, Gonzales largely avoided discussing the controversies he faced in office, including his dismissal of nine U.S. attorneys.

Instead, he focused on encouraging students to consider a career in public service while describing his own experiences in that field.

About 15 minutes into his speech, two UF students, Richard Gutierrez and Kevin Hachey, climbed onto the stage wearing orange jumpsuits and black hoods on their heads...

University Police Department officers scrambled onto the stage to remove them.

Matthew Cox, an employee of the Phillips Center, wrestled with one protester on the far side of stage, grabbing his legs and pulling him down.

The other stood directly next to Gonzales, who calmly avoided looking in his direction.

As police took the protester away, Gonzales glanced in his direction before attempting to continue his speech while he waited for the raucous crowd to settle down after a few minutes.

A few more protesters climbed onto the stage.

Meanwhile, even more protesters stood up, removed shirts or jackets revealing yellow T-shirts that read "SHAME," and stood with their backs toward Gonzales.

They remained standing in their positions for the rest of the event.

Eventually, Gonzales continued his speech and then sat across from Henry Wihnyk, a UF law professor, for a question-and-answer session.

Wihnyk read students' questions, which had been written on index cards before and during Gonzales' speech.

During Gonzales' address, the self-described "son of a Mexican immigrant and cotton picker" said his life was evidence of the American dream.

"I love America for all that she has done for me," he said. "We are not perfect. Sometimes we stumble, but we always get up."

Gonzales said he was proud of his record and defended his work with President Bush, though there were missteps, he said.

Later, he ignored scattered jeers from the crowd to answer questions about his dismissal of the attorneys, the Geneva Convention and torture.

Afterward, UPD Lt. Stacey Ettel said Gutierrez and Hachey were arrested for disrupting a public event.

Ettel said UPD expected most of the protester's actions because they received information about some of the plans prior to the event. However, UPD did not anticipate what Gutierrez and Hachey did, he said.

Still, Ettel said he believed most of the protesters' behavior was acceptable.

"I felt like they were able to express their feelings and voice their concerns from a visual viewpoint," he said.

Steve Orlando, UF spokesman, said the usual number of four security officers was present. He added that he also thought most of the protesters expressed their views reasonably.

"A few crossed the line, but I think it went pretty well," Orlando said.

"I think Mr. Gonzales saw a whole lot of First Amendment tonight," he added with a laugh. "As he said, that's what this place is about."

Video of students protesting Gonzales speech

Monday, November 12, 2007

Veterans Day Die-In In St. Augustine Florida

We had our Veterans Day die-in protest today at 11am (11-11-11). It was a powerful experience with 16 people "dying" 10 minutes at a time... 2 different locations on busy touristy St. George St. In St. Augustine, FL). We had some wonderful support and encouragement but way too much of an angry response. Still, people were yelling.."We got rid of Saddam"," We are fighting for freedom" and a cop overheard calling us "idiots".

However, I know we made an impact, we made people uncomfortable and reminded them that people actually do die in a war. Here are pictures on Webshot and also here is an article written for our Independent paper, The Collective Press.
Marilyn/PPJ/St. Augustine (member of

Why, Mommy?
By Mary Lawrence
Why indeed. I died on Veterans Day 11/11/07 at 11 a.m in St Augustine as one of 3860 US soldiers, 141 journalists and 1,100,000 Iraqis. Lying on the hard ground, seeing nothing and hearing footsteps and muffled conversations, throughout it all, one child's plaintive voice broke through: "Why, Mommy?"

"Because they're tired, honey."

Twenty people, dressed in black, solemnly and silently marched the entire length of St George Street to the dirge-like beat of a drum. Signs around their necks noted numbers of dead US soldiers, dead Iraqis, dead children and dead journalists. At predetermined places, the twenty laid down dead on the ground for ten minutes while peacekeepers passed out flyers, outlined bodies with chalk and protected them from any potential injury, intentional or otherwise. The police dutifully showed up to tell the group to move on after their second die-in attempt. They were "blocking the flow of foot traffic".

Tired, hell yes. While this small group protested the Iraq "war", others were celebrating sacrifices made there and in other wars. Care was taken to make sure the demonstration was respectful and peaceful but incredibly, there are still those who equate Iraq with the 9/11 attacks, still those who say "You people disgust me" and even worse, still those who will not meet your eyes, take your flyers or rouse themselves from their apathy and despair to take a stand.

Tired, hell yes. While this small group protested the war, draft dodger Dick Cheney was at Arlington Cemetery giving a ten minute speech honoring Iraq veterans while co-draft dodger George Bush was addressing troops at an Army depot in Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania. Clearly wars are fought by the little people, bravely and selflessly, while the power elite sit home safely, making speeches and suppressing dissenters. These two criminal draft dodgers have no business and no right to say anything about those who have sacrificed and died in war yet there is no outrage about this?

Tired, hell yes. While twenty people in the streets is a decent turnout in St Augustine, while countless people thanked us for what we were doing, while many others sadly honored their war dead, why aren't there more of us in the streets? Demonstrators today included members from Veterans for Peace, St Augustine People for Peace and Justice, Grandparents for Peace and Citizens in Action. Where is the general population? Are you dead too? Thank yous are great but actions speak louder than words.

We're all tired but the outrage is building. Many anti-war activists are becoming more radicalized. Orlando's protest on 10/27 was a first in unity with nationwide demonstrations that day. Activists from the sixties are showing young activists how it's done and young activists are adding their own creativity. Status quo government is worried and suppression of dissent and First Amendment rights is growing. Something's got to give.

St Augustine's first "Die In" ended at noon, auspiciously with the church bells pealing loud and long on a beautiful sunny day. Could it be the beginning of the revolution? Could it be the beginning of the truthful answer to the question "Why, Mommy?"

’Die-In’... St. Augustine

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Fort Myers Peace Fair Report

The first ever Peace Fair in Ft Myers was held yesterday. Overall we had a good turn out. Our CODEPINK and Florida For Peace Booth was the busiest and most poupular there and we sold lots of t-shirts and CP stuff, handed out flyers, got petitions and Florida for Peace/Focus on Nelson post cards signed and talked with lots of folks during the day, many of whom never heard of CP.

Quite a few folks signed up to be on our mailing list and we handed out lots of printed material about CP and how to get involved etc. CP activist Faith Fippenger was a keynote speaker and had the whole crowd in tears when she spoke about the women in Iran. We will follow up soon with a CP get together.

I will post photos soon. Because the schedule ran late I got bumped from speaking and also missed the opportunity to be interviewed. But one of our young activists, Dana, did get interviewed by the Naples News. I wish a stronger message was spoken about the war in Iraq and stopping the next war in Iran, but at least we got some press.

Our own News Press did cover the event but did not mention CODEPINK at all.
Peaceful Pink,

Here is the copy from The Naples Daily News.
Peace was a fair topic at rally in south Lee County
By Elizabeth Wright Saturday, November 10, 2007

Row after row of weathered, white crosses lie flat on the grass at a Lee County park, filling the space between the goal posts of a football field.

Each one was hand-lettered with the name and age of a soldier who died in Iraq.

The man behind the display, Naples resident John Riccio, said his collection of about 800 crosses has long since stopped keeping pace with the death count.

This is the same set of markers he will set out on the beach near the Naples Pier on Sunday.

He’s anticipating some won’t be too happy to see the crosses there on Veterans Day.

But Saturday, at a Peace Fair at Rutenberg Community Park in South Fort Myers, he only heard appreciation for the sprawling anti-war statement he usually keeps housed in borrowed trailers and sheds. It was his chance to encourage other peace activists -- a group that at Saturday’s fair included volunteers from a varied collection of environmental, political and religious groups.

“It’s to let them know they’re not alone in their thinking,” Riccio said.

Across the field, standing near a “Women for Peace” sign, Fort Myers resident Dana Foglesong, 25, who supports anti-war efforts but is still discovering her place in the movement, was among those who surveyed the display.

To her, it was a powerful sight.

“I’m not sure what it proves. But it shows we have responsibilities for what has happened and what is happening,” she said.

As an activist with the Fort Myers chapter of Code Pink, a national group that agitates to end the war in Iraq, Foglesong hasn’t hesitated to say what she thinks those responsibilities are: She’s the woman who held a flaming pink peace sign at a protest along U.S. 41 in Fort Myers two months ago.

She said she kept standing there as a driver suggested her kind ought to just move to Iraq.

Yet Foglesong still described herself as an unlikely activist. Or at least, as she put it, she’s not the “good hippy” the way some others appear to her. She has eaten chicken, and she has bought jeans that may or may not have been made in a sweatshop. She gladly voted for Bush in the 2000 elections.

And while she may understand why, across the park, other groups at the peace fair were talking about the link between environmental sustainability and peace, oil and war -- selling T-shirts that blended the arrows of a recycling symbol with a peace sign -- that’s not her passion.

More often, she’s talking about war in the context of conversations she has with friends in the military and their families, talking about their sense of duty, talking about her views on Iraq, and still trying not to offend.

“People think that people who are pro-peace are anti-soldier, but we’re not,” she said.

Those are conversations that don’t easily reduce to the lettering on a piece of poster board.

Looking over the signs Riccio had set up alongside his display, some seemed over-the-top to her, but she agreed with most of them.

“Save lives,” she said. “Yes.”

“Bring them home. ... Yes.”

“Our troops are sitting ducks. ... Hmm. Yeah, probably.”

She plans to continue attending peace events. She said she worries about the cost of the war, about the day-to-day conditions for Iraqi citizens, and she worries about the lives lost. She wonders if people have forgotten to want peace, and instead view it as “something that’s not pertinent anymore.”

But her goal isn’t necessarily to convince others she’s right that it’s time to pack up and leave Iraq -- or even that war ought to be avoided.

Her activism is more about persuading others to at least take notice of her anti-war views.

“There’s a difference between convincing someone of your beliefs and convincing someone to do something about your beliefs,” she said.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Mukasey Confirmed 53-40 - Nelson votes NAY

Senate confirms Mukasey as attorney general
Bush nominee wins backing for post despite waterboarding flap
updated 12:56 a.m. ET, Fri., Nov. 9, 2007
WASHINGTON - The Senate confirmed retired judge Michael Mukasey as attorney general Thursday night to replace Alberto Gonzales, who was forced from office in a scandal over his handling of the Justice Department.

Mukasey was confirmed as the nation’s 81st attorney general after a sharp debate over his refusal to say whether the waterboarding interrogation technique is torture.

President Bush thanked the Senate, even though the margin had been whittled down from nearly unanimous by a sharp debate over Mukasey’s refusal to say whether the waterboarding interrogation technique is torture.....
Roll Call Vote...

I guess this means no waterboarding simulations in front of Bill Nelson's offices!

Perhaps calls of support on this one vote are in order?

Washington, D.C.
United States Senate
716 Senate Hart Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: 202-224-5274
Fax: 202-228-2183

Landmark Two
225 East Robinson Street, Ste 410
Orlando, Florida 32801
Phone: 407-872-7161
Toll Free in Florida: 1-888-671-4091
Fax: 407-872-7165

2925 Salzedo Street
Coral Gables, FL 33134
Phone: 305-536-5999 Telephone
Fax: 305-536-5991

Sam Gibbons Federal Court House
801 N. Florida Ave., 4th Floor
Tampa, Florida 33602
Phone: 813-225-7040
Fax: 813-225-7050

West Palm Beach
500 Australian Avenue Suite 125
West Palm Beach, Florida 33401
Phone: 561-514-0189
Fax: 561-514-4078

US Court House Annex
111 North Adams Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32301
Phone: 850-942-8415
Fax: 850-942-8450

1301 Riverplace Blvd, Suite 2218
Jacksonville, Florida 32207
Phone: 904-346-4500
Fax: 904-346-4506

3416 South University Drive
Davie, FL 33328
Phone: 954-693-4851
Fax: 954-693-4862

Fort Myers
Justice Center Annex Building
2000 Main Street, Suite 801
Fort Myers, FL 33901
Phone: 239-334-7760
Fax: 239-334-7710

Thursday, November 1, 2007

My Encounter With Senator Bill Nelson

My encounter with Senator Bill Nelson Wednesday, October 31 2007 by Samm Simpson
Last Saturday I happened to see Senator Bill Nelson in the hallway at the Democratic convention in Orlando. The Saturday night dinner - which I didn't attend - had been in progress for fifteen minutes and Senator Nelson was in a side hallway, looking for an open door. Here's the exchange - to the best of my memory.

The Senator is pulling on a locked side door. I begin to speak.

"Senator Nelson, you know our occupation in Iraq has led to the death of over one million Iraqis. What are you going to do about this? We are controlled by what General Eisenhower told us about, the Military Industrial Complex. . . . it's here!"

The Senator says, "Yes it is." He walks away from the door. I follow.

"What are you going to do about it, and what about nuclear weapons in space? We have criminals running our country, Senator Nelson, they should be impeached!

The Senator smiles, begins to walk down the hall and replies, "We can't impeach the President, look who'd we get."

"I'm not talking about impeaching the President, Dennis Kucinich has a bill, H.R. 333 that will impeach Vice President Cheney. Why won't you support that?

The Senator chuckles. He does not stand still for one moment during this discourse.

I say, "Why are you laughing, this nation is in trouble!"

He dismisses my concern, does a 180 in the opposite direction and while walking away, remarks, "We're on the same side."

He speeds away, still looking for a back door entrance into the Democratic party dinner. I raised my voice as he leaves the area.

"We are not on the same side, you signed the Military Commissions Act last October, you took away the writ of habeas corpus!

The senior Florida Senator disappears. I'm assuming he found an open door leading to the Saturday night dinner at the Democratic State Convention. I'll bet they praised his presence.

Meanwhile, Baghdad burns. The Constitution lies forgotten.

"We the People" are discounted.

Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.