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Gathering Storm of Obama Supporters Extends to Minot
Written by Chet   

OThe transition from national-campaign driven Obama machine to grassroots-driven Obama machine has expanded up to Minot.  I got an e-mail today from one of the Minot organizers, and here's what it says:

Hello everyone,

This email contains both an invitation and an urgent request!

Invitation:  Crucial Democratic Meet up meeting, Friday September 26th at 7 pm.  Snacks provided!

Urgent Request:  If you are available on a regular basis to staff Democratic Headquarters between the hours of 10 am - 8 pm Monday-Saturday and 1-4 Sunday, please contact Lisa Borden-King (852-5294; 340-1154; bordenki (at) srt (daught) com)

As you may or may not have heard, the Obama staffers who have been working in  ND are being sent to Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Although we will miss them, we have an opportunity to jump in here and really work to win the election in November.  I don't have to remind any of you how important this election is -- from privatizing social security to ignoring our endangered environment to economic security for working families.  We MUST win in November -- and now we are the only ones who can make it happen!

You are invited to a meeting on Friday, September 26th at Democratic Headquarters (in the building on the corner of 4th and 16th across from the building with the VW on the rook :) at 7 pm.  At this meeting we will be discussing ideas to get things moving here in ND -- from convincing undecided voters to getting out the vote on election day! The actions we will take at this meeting are crucial to our wonderful local candidates in districts 38 and 40, as well as our outstanding state candidates, AND our presidential candidate.  After a brief meeting, we will watch the first presidential debate at 8 pm.  Snacks will be provided so come hungry and ready to work!!

In addition to any ideas generated at the meeting on Friday, we need to keep the Democratic Headquarters opened and staffed from approximately 10 am to 8 pm Monday-Saturday and 1-4 on Sundays.  We have been having a fair number of walk-ins and anyone who comes in needs to find a friendly person ready to help them and answer their questions about local, state, and national races.  Lisa Borden-King has volunteered to coordinate this effort so if you have ANY time (preferably on a regular basis between now and the election) please contact her so that we can keep the office open for the public.  (Her phone is 852-5294; her cell is 340-1154 and her email is bordenki (at) srt (daught) com)

I still haven't heard anything about similar grassroots movements in Fargo or Grand Forks, but I'm pretty sure they're happening.  There are lots and lots of Obama supporters in the Red River Valley.

Bush Doesn't Want Economic Smoking Gun to be Economic Mushroom Cloud
Written by Chet   

McChicken... and McSame -- of course -- jumps right in line.

ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos and Rick Klein report: Sen. John McCain on Wednesday said he would “suspend” his presidential campaign to come to Washington to help negotiate a financial bailout bill, a dramatic move designed to seize a powerful issue.

However a senior Obama campaign official said Obama "intends to debate."

"The debate is on," a senior Obama campaign official told ABC News.

McCain said he called on the Commission on Presidential Debates to postpone the debate scheduled for Friday in Mississippi, to ensure quick congressional action.

ABC News

I heard Bush and McSame are asking Colin Powell to talk to the United Nations about this, too.  Something about yellow cake on Wall Street.

Why should the whole world believe George Bush and John McSame when they say there's impending doom on the horizon that justifies the passage of legislation that hasn't been meaningfully debated in Congress?  Sure, if someone with an ounce of crediblity said it it might be worth considering, but George W. Bush? 

Why, again, would we believe him?

And can someone explain to me what's wrong with the limits Democrats want on the $700 billion proposal from Bush?  Why should any part of the $700 billion publicly funded bailout go toward golden parachutes for McSame's Wall Street buddies who created this problem?  

We really deserve better.

NDGrassroots4Obama: The New Sheriff In Town
Written by Chet   

Sen. Tracy Potter Addresses Standing Room Only Crowd at Obama HQThere's a new sheriff in town.  A brand-new volunteer-driven group met at the old Barack Obama campaign office in Bismarck tonight.  The group is calling itself "NDGrassroots4Obama" (or "NDGO").  They had a standing-room-only crowd in attendance tonight, made up entirely of volunteers and "community organizers" who are committed to continuing the work started by Barack Obama's paid campaign staff for a Barack Obama victory in North Dakota in November.  Only difference is that the new team is more excited to win.  If that's possible.

Though there are still some details to work out, one thing is for sure:  There will continue to be a team of Obama supporters staffing an office in Bismarck through election day, working the phones, canvassing our neighborhoods and organizing events.  They've divided up the work into about 10 different areas of focus, ranging from office logistics to volunteer coordination, and everything in between.

Volunteer organizers facilitated the meeting, with a inspirational message from Senator Tracy Potter (D-Bismarck), who fired up the team.  The meeting lasted almost two hours and was attended by over 50 volunteers, all of whom were able to make it to the meeting on short notice.

This energetic group has never stopped making phone calls, canvassing door-to-door and distributing literature, yard signs and bumper stickers.  

NDGO's next team event -- open to all Obama supporters -- is a Presidential Debate Watch Party at NDGO's temporary (and hopefully their eventual permanent) headquarters at 3333 East Broadway, Suite 1206, Bismarck on Friday night (Sept. 26) at 7:00 p.m.  It's "pot-luck" and BYOB and BYOC.  (Bring your own chair).  Though this new group has lots of tables and chairs, they ran out of chairs for the big meeting tonight.  Bring your own chair on Friday night or you probably won't have a place to sit.

After Friday's debate, the group will meet next for an organizational meeting Tuesday night -- September 30 -- at 7:30 p.m.  It should be at the same place, but check back for details.

If you haven't signed up as a volunteer yet, the NDGO group is inviting people to stop in at the office anytime this week.  Doors are open 8:30 a.m. until... well... late.  Probably 8 or 9 p.m. 

Let me repeat that (because it feels pretty good):  An office -- and gathering place -- for Barack Obama supporters and volunteers continues to be open in Bismarck.

Workers Comp: Alaska Style
Written by Chet   
Work Comp

You guys are going to love this:  Alaska has a Workers Comp scandal involving its Governor's Office, too.


Independent investigator Steve Branchflower testified recently he believes someone in the governor's office tried to block Wooten's workers' compensation injury benefits.

Harbor Adjustment Services, the company hired by the state to process, evaluate and decide on workers' benefit claims, had great financial incentive in bowing to pressure from the governor to deny Wooten's injury claim.

Now, you can quibble about whether or not getting Alaska State Trooper Mike Wooten -- Palin's estranged ex-brother in law -- fired from his job does anything to protect her family or her sister's family, as Palin herself still claims. Me, I can't see how making it hard for him to pay his bills protects anybody. But maybe the guy shouldn't be carrying a badge and gun. That's possible.

But what possible protective benefit is there in denying the guy's worker's compensation claim?

Palin's got no answer for that, and never will have one. Because there is not possible protective benefit in it. It's 100% pure, uncut spite. And it's using the trappings of high public office to twist the knife in a long-running and increasingly pathological personal vendetta, too.


But it gets worse.

DailyKos (go read this whole thing)

This is an unbelievable story.  So unbelievable, I'm not sure I believe it.  But if it's true, it explains why Alaska's Governor -- John McCain's impulse-buy of a VP running mate -- is obstructing the investigation into Troopergate.

I heard Rachel Maddow recently say this about John McSame's pick for Vice President (and I'm paraphrasing):  One of two things is true: either (1) John McCain looked into Sarah Palin's eyes and saw her soul during his once -- ever -- meeting with her and decided to make an uninformed, unjustifiable choice, or (2) John McSame wasn't allowed to pick who he wanted as a running mate and was forced, by somebody else, to chose Sarah Palin as his running mate.  If #1 is true, you'd have to be a complete idiot to vote for John McSame.  If #2 is true, then we have a right to know who forced McSame to pick Palin, and we should be voting on whether we want that person running our country.

Fargo Debate Watch Parties
Written by Adam   

Ok, it's been on the left column for some time but nothing has come of it, so I'll ask everyone as a group:

Who wants to watch the debates together?

If someone would be so gracious to lend us their home to watch the debates that would be awesome, BYOB?

If anyone is interested in going to one(or hosting one) in Fargo contact me(adam [dot] blomeke {at} gmail -dot- com).  You can get a hold of Chad(northdecoder {at} gmail  -dot- com) for a Bismarck party.

It'll be a great way to kick off the grassroots movement.  

I'm also up for drinking lines.  Suggestions: "">My friends,"  "">uh uh, uh, " "">Thanks, but no thanks, " and "">ha!"

John Hoeven's Jobs
Written by Chet   
North Dakota Governor John Hoeven's campaign ad (see the Williston Herald website) hints that Hoeven has single-handedly created 30,000 new jobs in North Dakota.  I have a question for Governor Hoeven: 

If there are really 30,000 new jobs in North Dakota, wouldn't that mean there are also 30,000 new people in North Dakota?  

Okay, maybe not 30,000.  But doesn't it mean that a bunch of people -- maybe as many as 25,000 -- have been forced to take a second job just to make ends meet? Or maybe some of those people -- but certainly not all -- had been unemployed.  We all know there aren't 30,000 new people in North Dakota.  North Dakota loses thousands of young people every year with occasional, modest 5-year net gains of about 3,000 to 5,000 (click here for trends).   So let's say there are 20,000 new, second jobs that haven't been filled through our miniscule population growth or through new jobs for unemployed people.  Those are jobs taken as "second jobs" by people who are struggling to make ends meet.  Is that really something to brag about in a campaign ad?

Am I missing something?

Also, with regard to those new jobs -- whatever the number -- might it be true that some of those jobs have been created by the fortuitous fact that there is an oil boom in western North Dakota, and not because of anything Hoeven did?  Or is Hoeven taking credit for putting oil in the ground, too? 

John McSame vs. North Dakotans
Written by Chet   


Retired People

There's a letter to the editor in the Bismarck Tribune that caught my eye.  As you know, organizations send out questionaires to political candidates in order to try to discern what their positions are on the issues.  The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) sent an 11 question questionaire to John McSame and Barack Obama.  As noted by the Tribune letter writer today,

 John McCain refused to answer all 11 questions. Apparently, Sen. McCain isn't quite as brave as we all thought he was.

Bismarck Tribune

I checked into it, and it's true.  McSame didn't answer any of the questions.  You can check it out by clicking here.  

Farming and Rural Issues

North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Roger Johnson pointed his spotlight at McSame's agriculture policies.

Obama supported responsible farm programs and new initiatives to encourage a new generation of biofuels produced from switchgrass and other nonfood materials. He supported the farm bill because he knows how important it is to our rural economy and how much promise it contains for clean, agriculture-based renewable energy. He also knows the farm bill contains critical federal conservation programs to protect the environment while we produce ever more food and energy. On the other hand, John McCain voted against the farm bill and urged President Bush to veto it.

The Republicans’ backward energy policy is displayed in their platform: “The U.S. government should end mandates for ethanol. ...” Should they succeed in eliminating the federal renewable fuels standard, the United States will be forced to import more foreign oil, and the emerging cellulosic biofuels industry will very likely collapse.

Fargo Forum (letter to editor)

Pell Grants - College Financial Aid

Not once since Bush has been president, did McCain vote in favor of financial aid.

Just for the fun of it, I googled ‘Pell Grants’ on Obama and McCain's campaign websites. Obama – 446 hits. McCain – just one! And that one hit was actually a pro-Obama comment.

Then I googled ’Pell Grants’ on Obama and McCain's Senate websites. Obama – 14 hits. The one at the top of the list is about the first bill Obama ever sponsored in the Senate – which was about boosting the amount of the maximum Pell Grant.



Don't have to look far for McSame's plan for Healthcare.  In John McCain's own words...

Opening up he health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation.

Contingencies.org [emphasis added by me]

John McSame literally wants to do for the health insurance market what "we have done over the last decade in banking."  

There's a plan to cry about.

Campaign Finance - Lobbying

McSame claims to have gone against the Republican grain on a couple of issues, including campaign finance and lobbying.  Yet the truth is he's very much a mainstream Republican when it comes to lobbyists, McCain is as in-their-pockets as any Republican.  This from CNN:

"John McCain says that he is going to tell all those lobbyists in Washington that their days of running Washington are over, which sounds pretty good until you discover that seven of his top campaign managers and officials are -- guess what? -- former corporate lobbyists," Obama said recently in Flint, Michigan.

It's true: Seven top McCain officials were lobbyists, though the campaign stresses that none is currently registered to lobby Congress:

• One: Campaign manager Rick Davis is a major telecommunications lobbyist.

• Two: Senior foreign policy adviser Randy Scheunemann recently faced scrutiny over his foreign lobbying on behalf of the Republic of Georgia, which has been embroiled in a military conflict with Russia.

• Three: Senior adviser Charlie Black was a foreign lobbyist for dictators in Zaire and Angola in the 1980s, fodder for the liberal group MoveOn.org.


There's some "change" you can't believe in.


McSame is despised by the Christian right.

A prominent Christian leader whose radio and magazine outreaches are solidly in support of biblically-based marriages – and keeps in touch with millions of constituents daily – says he cannot consider Arizona Sen. John McCain a viable candidate for president.

"Speaking as a private individual, I would not vote for John McCain under any circumstances," said James Dobson, founder of the Colorado Springs-based Focus on the Family as well as the Focus Action cultural action organization set up specifically to provide a platform for informing and rallying constituents.


Can someone tell me one thing about John McCain as presidential candidate that appeals to people?  Who are these people who support John McSame?

Your weekly dose of Joe Biden-9-22-08 and a note to you Chicken Littles out there...
Written by Adam   


To put my two cents down on the "Obama should pull out of North Dakota" meme, I have to disagree.


here's the case to stay:

1.)We're looking at two or three polls after a tumultuous week.  It does show a trend, but it's following the national numbers.  Voters need to be fully educated on Palin and reminded about that other guy, McSame.  

2.)Obama has staffers in Texas.  You heard me, Texas. They can pull some from there if they really need it.

3.)Obama raised $65 Million in August.   They have cash.

4.)Media in the state is cheap, so is office space. 

5.)The map. Over the weekend things returned to where they were pos-DNC on fivethirtyeight: New Mexico is solidly Obama,  CO is lean Obama, OH flipped to tilt Obama, VA flipped to tilt, FL is back on the edge of a razor from lean McSame(now tilt McSame), as is NV, and MI and WI are now lean Obama from being toss-ups.  Meaning:by my count, Obama has 265 EVs in the lean or base catergories.  There are 5 swing states now: NH, OH, FL, VA, NV.  All are 5+ EVs.  McSame literally needs to run the table to win. 

ND is now a lean McCain state. It was always considered a lean McCain state.  It doesn't mean we can't win it, and it doesn't mean that Obama needs to put all the eggs in the basket of the swing states and not expand his horizons for future growth of Democratic support. 

Calm down, the sky is not falling.

Now get out there and win this state!

Yes We Can
Written by Chet   

Okay.  Here's the deal.  The Obama campaign had to have had a plan.  You'd have to assume it had a variety of components, and I won't bore all of you with what I think those components were.  I'm not sure whether I'll be a big fan of their plan, but that doesn't really matter, either.  We need to find out what the big plan was.  Surely they'll turn it over to the state party.  I'll check with them. 

Side note/stream of consciousness:  Before getting into "what to do," I want to throw something out there.  If the smarties in the Obama campaign have figured out that North Dakota is a lost cause, are we better off focusing volunteer efforts on down-ticket races?  I tend to think that a lot of the 1,000 Obama volunteers don't have as much interest in helping a statewide candidate win.  I think they want to help Obama win.  I'm fine with that.

We need a "to do" list.  Some things that need to be on the list, early on, include:

(1) Fundraising -- keep in mind that if the Obama campaign is gone from North Dakota, they probably don't want any more of "their" money spent in North Dakota.  Don't expect them to pay for anything from bumper stickers or yard sign all the way up to phone banks, insurance or radio or TV ads.  If they've left, they've taken all of their budget with them.  There's also going to be resistence from some to allow any fundraising to be done for a volunteer Obama side-campaign effort because that effort will (in theory) be competing for the same dollars the Obama campaign wants to spend in the rest of the country, and for the money other people want spent on other races in North Dakota.  I don't care.  We need some yard signs, etc., in North Dakota, and we're going to have to pay for them.

(2) Finding workspace and equipment - anything we have will have to be provided by volunteers.  If they're gone, they've taken their equipment with them.  We'll need to find equipment (e.g. computers, copiers, faxes, etc.) and we'll need to have volunteers who bring and use their own cell phones. Bump up your cell phone plan for the next 2 months.

(3) Staffing (volunteer coordinators, project coordinators, writers, walkers, phone callers, sign deliverers, etc.) -- this is going to be hard, but it's doable.

(4) Getting Obama stuff (signs, bumper stickers, etc.) -- Again, the campaign is going to want to focus its resources elsewhere.  We'll need to either (a) convince them that there's a reason to pay for these things for North Dakotans, or (b) find a way to get them paid for.  


It's probably not the best idea for me to write all this stuff here, so I'm gonna quit.  I just started a google group.  It is going to be a restricted access group for volunteer leaders of a North Dakotan's for Obama campaign.  If you're interested in joining, please send me an e-mail.  Because I don't know everybody, please tell me about your involvement so far, or give me a couple references.  It's at http://groups.google.com/group/ndgrassroots4obama

Also, there will be an organizational meeting in Bismarck on Tuesday night.  If you're interested in becoming a movement leader or volunteer, please send me an e-mail.

My e-mail address is northdecoder - at - gmail  - dot - com.

We're gonna do this.

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