Probably my first serious public speaking gig was a three-week long study tour across Xinjiang (far western China) in the 1990s just after the Chinese government first opened the region to travelers from the West. The eminent Stanford professor, who was to lead the tour became ill at the last moment and Smithsonian replaced him, as best they could, with a Chinese-speaking American who knew nothing about the history, culture and people of the region. I offered myself and subsequently spoke almost daily on the bus and also in the evenings on the subject of ancient history along the Silk Road, including the Buddhist civilization and culture that once thrived along the northern edge of the Taklamakan Desert. I accomplished that without any prior notice or preparation.
Address at the Dedication of the World War Two Veterans Memorial
on the lawn of the Minnesota State Capitol
Veterans Day Address, Minnesota Veterans Home
As a regular participant at the Wings of the North AirExpo, Interviewed several astronauts and space shuttle pilots, as well as numerous WW2, Vietnam and Korean War combat pilots
University of St. Thomas Law School under the auspices of
The Halloran Center For Ethical Leadership in The Professions
More than anything else in life, most of us value FREEDOM. To that I would add my faith and my family. Freedom is all too often at risk in the courts of our nation. An attorney is also referred to as a counselor. Among the many gifts, which you must possess as a future defense attorney, is that of compassion. You understand, as best you can, what your client is going through and you are called upon to do your best to manage your client’s emotional ride. Depending on the stakes involved, that may be a very wild ride. Compassion and understanding are equally important for prosecutors and judges. You have the life of a fellow human being in your hands. And often there is more than that one life. There may be a spouse and children. Or parents and siblings. And mercy triumphs over judgment.
Robert H. Jackson was Attorney General for the United States from 1940 to 1941 and then an Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court from 1941 until his death in 1954. He was a giant of a man, at least in terms of his mind. Jackson urged all the U.S. attorneys, who served under him, to remember that the government never loses a case when justice prevails, regardless of which side “wins” in the short term. The objective is the truth, not winning. That is somewhat contradictory to the modern America in which winning is everything, regardless of the cost.
The prosecutor has more control over life, liberty, and reputation than any other person in America. His discretion is tremendous … The prosecutor can order arrests, present cases to the grand jury in secret session, and on the basis of his one-sided presentation of the facts, can cause the citizen to be indicted and held for trial. He may dismiss the case before trial, in which case the defense never has a chance to be heard. Or he may go on with a public trial. If he obtains a conviction, the prosecutor can still make recommendations as to sentence, as to whether the prisoner should get probation or a suspended sentence, and after he is put away, as to whether he is a fit subject for parole. While the prosecutor at his best is one of the most beneficent forces in our society, when he acts from malice or other base motives, he is one of the worst … If the prosecutor is obliged to choose his cases, it follows that he can choose his defendants. Therein is the most dangerous power of the prosecutor: that he will pick people that he thinks he should get, rather than pick cases that need to be prosecuted.
Longtime Boston attorney Harvey Silvergate examined how politicians have expanded the criminal laws to the point where the freedom of virtually anyone who attempts to take risks to build a business is subject to the whims of prosecutors. The vague terminology in the ever-expanding and vast federal criminal code, combined with the erosion of intent as a requirement for conduct to be considered prosecutable, nearly anyone may be targeted for prosecution. This trend is exacerbated by the “win at all costs” mentality of the Justice Department. In the words of the legendary defense attorney Alan Dershowitz, “prosecutors can pressure witnesses not only to sing, but also to compose.” In the end, the jury system is the last line of defense for freedom in this country. It is a beautiful thing and it is something many citizens do not fully appreciate. No matter how badly the system wants to “win at all costs”, the twelve jurors can prevent injustice. One of the most profound lessons of history is that large governments, unrestrained by their citizens, have the capacity to commit unjust acts and even unspeakable evil. Robert Jackson was witness to this as the chief United States prosecutor at the post-war Nuremberg Trials in Germany. I sincerely hope that here at UST Law School, you not only study ethics, but also theology. For me, as a Christian, the two are inextricably tied. Man is not intrinsically evil, but man is intrinsically flawed. Greed and power have grave consequences. Far too many people in positions of influence and power have no faith and distorted ethics. There is a longstanding tradition of government people, including DOJ, going to work for powerful corporations after retirement as payback for past favors and to serve as a conduit back to their agency to maintain close ties for future favors. In whatever sector you land to practice law, you will be a caretaker of freedom and democracy. Never let it become all about career advancement and monetary rewards. There is far too much at stake – for individuals, families and our nation’s integrity. Always refer back to what you learn here in terms of ethics and theology. To those targeted by the system, I offer this simple advice: Faith and Family and the Freedom to allow each and every one of us to enjoy both are everything. And courage is fear that has said its prayers.
Regular motivational speaker several times a week as Executive Director of faith-based inner city nonprofit addressing racial reconciliation and root causes of poverty.
You have the ability to change your life from this day forward. A loving and strategic God created you with a unique set of gifts and a plan for your life to use those gifts to honor and serve Him. Your self-esteem can and should come from recognizing that. A Vision is a Dream placed into the framework of reality. Start with a Dream, then transform that dream into the framework of reality with a realistic Vision for your life. Create a Plan to realize that Vision. A Vision is a Dream transformed by a Plan for action. You have little chance of success without a Plan. The Plan is only manageable if you break it down into a series of Goals. A Goal is a step, which you can control, that leads toward your Vision. The key is to break the process down into small, easy-to-manage steps, which you then can tackle one at a time. Each goal must be clearly-defined, attainable and measurable. Some form of formal education is necessary to achieve a comfortable life. Community colleges and vocational technical schools are reasonably affordable and should be a part of your plan. A series of tests can help determine the intersection of your aptitudes and your interests. From that point, you can peruse an array of areas of study & careers for which your aptitudes and interests are applicable. Hard skills can be readily used to make a living. Soft skills, while an important addition to one’s base of knowledge, may not be readily translatable into work. It is important to recognize that there are different learning styles and even learning disabilities. These must be taken into consideration when returning to school, particularly if you struggled with school in the past. Self-regulation, critical thinking and effective problem solving are important life skills. The prophet Jeremiah (Chapter 29) tells us of God’s promise: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Motivational Speaker, BestPrep’s Minnesota Business Venture Program
Find the intersection of your aptitude and your interests and pursue that with intensity. Immerse yourself in studies and experience to gain knowledge in depth & breadth. Never underestimate the value of a mentor or mentors. Surround yourself with people of excellence, but also with similar ethics and hold each other accountable. When the world knocks you to your knees, remain on your knees and pray for strength and guidance, then rise up and never ever give up. How you respond in time of crisis will show your character and define you. Things do have a way of working out. That is not to say it won’t be painful, because it likely will be painful from time to time. Things do not have a way of working out quickly. Patience is required of this journey we call life. Try to consider the crisis as a bump in the road of life. Do not let that become a defining moment. Through it all, never ever forget to count your blessings. Even in a crisis, you need to not take for granted things like family, love, health and a loving God.
Major business presentations to large gatherings through translators in such locations as Moscow, Taipei, Bucharest and more.
Motivational Speaker, Cass Lake High School, Cass Lake Reservation
plus numerous other high schools, middle and elementary schools
Book signings & radio interviews on both coasts, in the Midwest and in the South.
Shoah (Holocaust) Memorial Address, Jewish Community Center, Houston, Texas
Address to a church congregation on Martin Luther King Day
Today, we honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. For an individual to go into the streets and protest in those days was not an easy thing to do. A number of Dr. King’s sermons at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta were compiled in a book titled Strength to Love. In one of his sermons, he shared with his congregation the fear, which nearly overcame him when he became one of the leaders of the Montgomery bus boycott in 1955-56. He told how threats began immediately and became increasingly frequent. It became clear to him that some of these threats were serious. He told of one particular late-night phone call that was nearly broke his will. He was unable to sleep and so he got out of bed. I quote him now:
In this state of exhaustion, when my courage had almost gone, I was determined to take my problem to God. My head in my hands, I bowed over the kitchen table and prayed aloud. The words I spoke to God that midnight are still vivid in my memory. ‘I am here taking a stand for what I believe is right. But now I am afraid. The people are looking to me for leadership and if I stand before them without strength of courage, they too will falter. I am at the end of my powers. I have nothing left. I’ve come to the point where I can’t face it alone.’
Dr. King went on to say:
At that moment I experienced the presence of the Divine as I had never before experienced him. It seemed as though I could hear the quiet assurance of an inner voice, saying, “Stand up for righteousness, stand up for truth. God will be at your side forever … Almost at once my fears began to pass from me.
When his home was bombed just three days later, Dr. King took the news calmly. He did not flee for safety. He continued in his sermon, saying:
… let us remember that there is a great benign Power in the universe whose name is God, and he is able to make a way out of no way, and transform dark yesterdays into bright tomorrows. This is our hope for becoming better men. This is our mandate for seeking to make a better world.
I would like to read from you from an article by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. titled “Nonviolence and Racial Justice”. The article appeared in Christian Century magazine in February 1957, the year in which Dr. King was elected leader of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He wrote:
First, this is not a method for cowards; it does resist … This method is passive physically but strongly active spiritually …
Second … nonviolent resistance does not seek to defeat or humiliate the opponent, but to win his friendship and understanding.
Third … the attack is directed against forces of evil rather than against persons who are caught in those forces
Fourth … avoids not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit … To retaliate with hate and bitterness would do nothing but intensify the hate in the world …
Dr. King found himself in jail in Birmingham in 1963. God works through his people in difficult times and the result was King’s magnificent, “Letter from Birmingham City Jail.”
Over the course of his life, Dr. King was arrested over twenty times and assaulted four times during his fight for civil rights. He led the March on Washington in August 1963. His “I Have a Dream”speech, which he delivered that day, made an indelible mark on the history of our nation. He became the acknowledged conscience of the United States of America. In December 1964 at the age of thirty-five, he became the youngest man ever to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Dr. King told the members of his congregation at Ebenezer Baptist Church on Christmas 1967:
“Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective. No individual can live alone; no nation can live alone, and as long as we try, the more we are going to have war in this world. Now the judgment of God is upon us, and we must either learn to live together as brothers or we are all going to perish together as fools.”
J. Edgar Hoover, as the head of the FBI, was one of the most powerful men in the world. He labeled himself a patriot and he labeled anyone he did not like a Communist. The latter applied to Dr. King. In reality, of course, the Civil Rights movement was influenced, not by Communists as Hoover insisted, but by revolutionaries. Hoover was hoping to instill fear and sway public opinion in America against the Civil Rights movement and maintain the status quo in America.In fact, certain revolutionaries have played an important role in history. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was a revolutionary in Roman Palestine. Washington, Franklin, Adams and Jefferson were revolutionaries. Dr. Martin Luther King was a man of God, who built support by invoking God’s name and His Word, to re-direct our great nation on its proper course. He was most certainly a revolutionary. He reminded our great nation through Christian principles of what democracy should be. Democracy demands that we as citizens play an active role in contributing to the public good, rather than allowing politicians or bureaucrats to run our lives.
On April 3, 1968, Dr. King delivered a powerful sermon at the Mason Temple in Memphis, Tennessee. He closed his sermon with the following:
“Well I don’t know what will happen with me now. We’ve got some difficult times ahead. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. And I’m happy tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”
That sermon was the last of his life. He was assassinated the next day. We honor his memory every year. In order to properly honor Dr. King’s memory, we must take to heart his words and endeavor to make this nation truly a part of the Kingdom of God.