|Progressive Calendar 10.18.06||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Wed, 18 Oct 2006 15:32:07 -0700 (PDT)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 10.18.06 1. Internet/Moyers/TV 10.18 8pm 2. New Hope vigil 10.19 4pm 3. Eagan peace vigil 10.19 4:30pm 4. Northtown vigil 10.19 5pm 5. Small is beautiful 10.19 5pm 6. Creation stories 10.19 6:45pm 7. Rovics/Halliburton 10.19 7pm 8. WBN4P/elections 10.19 7pm 9. Iran 10.19 7pm 10. Hakeem/McLaughlin 10.19 7pm 11. Pentel gov debate 10.19 7pm 12. Jay Pond HQ opens 10.10 7pm 13. AI Wayzata 10.19 7:15pm 14. Naked Stages 10.19 8pm 15. Moyers/Fogdall - Against an imperial Internet 16. Joshua Frank - Democrats or bust: Cindy Sheehan's lesser-evilism 17. Al Krebs - The corporate assault on zoning --------1 of 17-------- Date: Wed, 18 Oct 2006 18:17:08 GMT From: "Timothy Karr, FreePress.net" <list [at] freepress.net> Subject: Save internet/PBS 10.18 8pm Tonight: Join SavetheInternet.com on PBS Tune in to PBS tonight to see the SavetheInternet.com Coalition featured in "The Net at Risk," a documentary produced by award-winning journalist Bill Moyers. Then join other SavetheInternet.com members in an online Web discussion at PBS.org. Bill Moyers' show airs at 8pm in the Twin Cities. Immediately following the East Coast broadcast, PBS.org will host a live Internet debate between Free Press Policy Director Ben Scott and phone industry flack Mike McCurry. You can be a part of this online debate. Here's how to join in: When: Oct. 18, 10:30 pm Eastern / 7:30 pm Pacific Where: http://action.freepress.net/ct/yp2yY-71wPKJ/ You'll be asked to log in to participate in the online discussion. With your help, we hope to light up the PBS Web site with our campaign to save Net Neutrality. It's important to have you there. In the six months since the SavetheInternet.com Coalition was launched, millions of Americans have joined the campaign, spoken out for Internet freedom, and put Congress and the phone companies on notice. Tonight's program could make millions more aware of this issue. They need to hear the real voices of people like you instead of industry mouthpieces. Help us use the Internet to save it from corporate efforts to stifle online innovation, free speech and competition. Please join us tonight! Timothy Karr Campaign Director Free Press and SavetheInternet.com http://action.freepress.net/ct/nd2yY-71wPZ1/ 1. For the latest information on the campaign visit http://action.freepress.net/ct/hp2yY-71wPKV/ 2. Don't miss Bill Moyers' new essay on Net Neutrality: "Against an Imperial Internet": http://action.freepress.net/ct/yd2yY-71wPKF/ Visit the web address below to tell your friends about this. http://action.freepress.net/freepress/join-forward.html?domain=freepress&r=Sp2yY-71-Bw-& If you received this message from a friend, you can sign up for the Free Press at: http://action.freepress.net/ct/n12yY-71wPKC/ [And see item 15 below - ed] --------2 of 17-------- From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at] comcast.net> Subject: New Hope vigil 10.19 4pm NW Neighbors for Peace, Carole Rydberg, carydberg [at] comcast.net Weekly demonstration at the corner of 42nd Avenue N. (Cty. Rd. 9) and Winnetka in New Hope. Many signs available ... just bring yourself. Come and go when you please. --------3 of 17-------- From: Greg and Sue Skog <skograce [at] mtn.org> Subject: Eagan peace vigil 10.19 4:30pm CANDLELIGHT PEACE VIGIL EVERY THURSDAY from 4:30-5:30pm on the Northwest corner of Pilot Knob Road and Yankee Doodle Road in Eagan. We have signs and candles. Say "NO to war!" The weekly vigil is sponsored by: Friends south of the river speaking out against war. --------4 of 17-------- From: EKalamboki [at] aol.com Subject: Northtown vigil 10.19 5pm NORTHTOWN Peace Vigil every Thursday 5-6pm, at the intersection of Co. Hwy 10 and University Ave NE (SE corner across from Denny's), in Blaine. Communities situated near the Northtown Mall include: Blaine, Mounds View, New Brighton, Roseville, Shoreview, Arden Hills, Spring Lake Park, Fridley, and Coon Rapids. We'll have extra signs. For more information people can contact Evangelos Kalambokidis by phone or email: (763)574-9615, ekalamboki [at] aol.com. --------5 of 17-------- From: Jesse Mortenson <jmortenson [at] Macalester.edu> Subject: Small is beautiful 10.19 5pm First and third Thursdays of the month 12.02 5pm Cahoots coffeehouse Selby 1/2 block east of Snelling in StPaul Limit bigboxes, chain stores, TIF, corporate welfare, billboards; promote small business and co-ops, local production & self-sufficiency. http://www.gpsp.org/goodbusiness --------6 of 17-------- From: Karen Engelsen <Karen [at] mtn.org> Subject: Creation stories 10.19 6:45pm Creation Stories: Stewards or Masters at Hennepin Ave UMC Thursday, October 19, 6:45pm Part of the 2006 Minneapolis Interfaith Forum: IDOLS, ICONS AND CARTOONS: What We Hold Sacred. Join with people of faith in dialogue on topics that affect each of us in everyday life. Participate in building community and unity by recognizing and celebrating diversity. Help demonstrate how we can grow in awareness, understanding and appreciate of our differences and our commonalities. Participate in small group discussion and question the clergy about the day's topic. Session begins at 6:45pm with registration, followed by the program from 7:00pm-9:00pm. There is no fee to attend. --------7 of 17-------- From: wamm <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Rovics/Halliburton 10.19 7pm David Rovics "Halliburton Boardroom Massacre" Satiric Concert Thursday, October 19, 7:00 p.m. First Universalist Church of Minneapolis, 3400 Dupont Avenue South, Minneapolis. David Rovics has been called the musical voice of the progressive movement in the U.S. He will make you laugh, he will make you cry, and he will make the revolution irresistible. Rovics will perform at 8:00 p.m. with an opening band beforehand. Refreshments available. Suggested donation: $10.00 to $20.00. FFI: Call WAMM 612-827-5364. --------8 of 17-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: WBN4P/elections 10.19 7pm Thursday, 10/19, 7 pm, White Bear Neighbors for Peace discusses candidates for upcoming elections, White Bear Unitarian Church, 328 Maple St, Mahtomedi. 651-429-3529. --------9 of 17-------- From: Joe Schwartzberg <schwa004 [at] umn.edu> Subject: Iran 10.19 7pm THIRD THURSDAY GLOBAL ISSUES FORUM Free and open to the public. Thursday, October 19, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church, 511 Groveland Avenue, Minneapolis (usual venue), parking in church parking lot. DEALING WITH IRAN: What accounts for the current tensions between the US and Iran? What should one believe about the alleged threat posed by Iran to America's security? What would be the likely consequences of a US and/or Israeli military strike against Iran? What might the US and the global community best do to defuse the presently dangerous confrontation in and around Iran? Presenter: MEHR "JAY" SHAHIDI. The owner of a local construction company, Jay came to the US as an economics student in 1965. He has been a peace and social justice activist ever since his high school days in Tehran. He has served in leadership roles in over thirty social service and advocacy groups including the United Nations Association, Citizens for Global Solutions, and Amnesty International. He is a co-founder and the current President of the Iranian-American Society of Minnesota. He has worked tirelessly in the Adopt-a-Minefield (de-mining) program and in humanitarian activities to aid victims of natural and man-made disasters. --------10 of 17-------- From: press [at] farheenhakeem.org Subject: Hakeem v McLaughlin 10.19 7pm Hakeem And McLaughlin Square Off Third Time For more information contact Jonathan Fluck at 612-229-6947 or at press [at] farheenhakeem.org In a re-match not to be missed, County Commissioner candidates Farheen Hakeem and Peter McLaughlin meet to debate for a third time at 7pm on Thursday October 19 at the Powderhorn Park Building, 3400 15th Avenue South, Mpls. Their two earlier debates took place at the Brian Coyle Center and the United Methodist Church in the Nokomis neighborhood. Following the Commissioner debate will be a Gubernatorial debate, and all four candidates for Governor have been invited. The debates are sponsored by the Powderhorn Forum Steering Committee, an adhoc committee of Powderhorn residents, chaired by Quiana Perkins, Andrea Nordick and Kandice Creel. These debates will give the residents of Powderhorn and the surrounding communities "an opportunity to hear the candidates on their own turf addressing the concerns of their neighborhoods," states Ms. Perkins. During their last two debates sparks flew as Hakeem and McLaughlin argued about the amount of money the stadium deal will bring from the State to aid social services. McLaughlin states unequivocally that the number is $250 million over 30 years (eight and a third million per year). Hakeem undermined that number dramatically by pointing out that six of that eight million each year is not solid. It comes with the words "up to" in front of it, which means that even appropriating one dollar would fulfill the legislative requirement. If that were the case the very real possibility exists that only $2 million will be appropriated each year for the 30 year period. Other areas of disagreement included whether in 2002 McLaughlin had stated his support for a referendum before any Stadium tax was approved. McLaughlin denied having said that and then voiced his disagreement with "rule by referendum." Hakeem pointed out a quote, published on the Nokomis East Neighborhood Association website, where McLaughlin stated on October 10, 2002 that there should be a referendum. There was broad agreement that the greatest challenges to the next Commissioner came in the areas of health care, education, transportation and energy. Both agreed that some mechanism needed to be found to stop the closure of some libraries and the reduction in hours of others. When talking about education, Hakeem described expanding after school programs especially in at-risk neighborhoods that would include extended library hours. Hakeem is looking forward to another debate with McLaughlin because she knows how difficult it is to get an incumbent on stage. She notes a sharp contrast in their areas of expertise, professional experience, and community relationships. The public should find the debates entertaining, Hakeem encourages, not only because of the differences between the two but also because both are intelligent and express their viewpoints clearly. For more information contact Jonathan Fluck at 612-229-6947 or at press [at] farheenhakeem.org --------11 of 17-------- From: Ken Pentel <kenpentel [at] yahoo.com> Subject: Pentel gov debate 10.19 7pm THURSDAY, OCTOBER 19TH Insight News Gubernatorial Panel Shiloh Temple on W. Broadway, Minneapolis 7pm --------12 of 17-------- From: Jay Pond <jay [at] jaypond.org> Subject: Jay Pond HQ opens 10.10 7pm Grand Opening of Pond For Congress Campaign Headquarters Thursday, October 19th, 7 -9 pm Hosted by the Fae Brass Quartet 1535 E 26th Street Minneapolis, MN 55404 Brass Music, Politics, and Community Dialogue. --------13 of 17-------- From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at] bitstream.net> Subject: AI Wayzata 10.19 7:15pm There are several local Amnesty International groups in the Twin Cities area. All of them are welcoming and would love to see interested people get involved -- find the one that best fits your schedule or location: AIUSA Group 315 (Wayzata area) will meet on Thursday, October 19th, 7:15 p.m. at St. Luke Presbyterian Church, 3121 Groveland School Road, Wayzata (near the intersection of Rt. 101 and Minnetonka Blvd). For further information, contact Richard Bopp at Richard_C_Bopp [at] NatureWorksLLC.com. --------14 of 17-------- From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com> Subject: Naked Stages 10.19 8pm timeline autobiographia: everything that is . . . A Naked Stages Performance by Kim Thompson - October 19-21, 2006 Naked Stages artist Kim Thompson explores a series of questions that revolve around one core question "HOW did I end up like this?" that arose out of nomadic continental driftings, tattoos, emptied bottles and littered ashtrays, coming out as an artist and a queer and turning 30 in timeline autobiographia: everything that is . . ., a solo performance by Thompson to debut at Intermedia Arts on October 19-21, 2006 with direction by OBIE and BEESIE award-winning actress and choreographer Laurie Carlos and sound-design and mentoring by Long Beach, CA musician Hannah Smith Keller. How does someone raised in the bowels of deep southern conservative evangelical fundamentalism end up a queer liberal vagabond artist? How does someone left on a doorstep at birth in South Korea end up with a college prep white privileged private school education? How does an Asian American adoptee end up living and traipsing throughout Eastern and Western Europe for eight years? What is the sound - both audible and inaudible - of memory? Thompson is not seeking answers to these questions but rather, through the process of chronicling the past three decades of her life, she is discovering points of intersection in her personal history. Thompson offers an important inquiry for self-examination, "Given my beginnings, how exactly did I end up this way?" Via soundscaping, visual imagery, spoken word and movement, Kim will offer her life up on stage to explore this central question. A resident of Minneapolis' Powderhorn neighborhood, Kim recently finished a three-year grant performance art collaborative project with Pangea World Theater entitled "Bridges" and was co-creator/curator of "S.A.F.E." (Starving Artists Financial Endeavors) which she started and ran with Twin Cities spoken word/hip hop artist Desdamona. Having moved to Minneapolis less than four years ago, Thompson is a relative new comer to the Twin Cities art scene. Beyond performing at a variety of local venues like Patrick's Cabaret and the Blue Nile, she has performed at the Loft Literary Center, opening for Def Poetry Jam artist Ishle Park, as well as working and performing with MNSWA and SASE. Kim has shared the stage and worked with artists like Sha Cage, e.g. bailey, J. Otis Powell!, Rene Ford, Laurie Carlos, Hlee Vang, Bill Cottman and Roxane Wallace. Kim is, for the most part, a self-taught artist who works in the mediums of painting, photography, writing, printmaking and spoken word. From the age of 19 to 27 she worked, studied and lived in England, Austria and Lithuania as well as traveling throughout most of the European continent. Much of Kim's visual art is on permanent display in countries like Austria and Lithuania. Thompson's performance is part of a double bill, also featuring Elliott Durko Lynch's For Your Eyes Only. Q&A sessions follow each performance with a reception following the Saturday, October 21 performance. Tickets are $12 and $6 for Intermedia Arts members, students, seniors and youth under 17. For the most up-to-date information and to learn how to purchase tickets, call Intermedia Arts at (612) 871-4444 or visit www.intermediaarts.org. Intermedia Arts is located at 2822 Lyndale Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55408. WHEN/WHERE: Thursday-Saturday, October 19-21, 2006 8pm at Intermedia Arts 2822 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis ABOUT NAKED STAGES: Naked Stages, sponsored by Intermedia Arts with support from the Jerome Foundation, is an intensive performance research program that gives artists space to dig deep into creative process. Now in its seventh year, the program, developed and directed by artist and curator Eleanor Savage, is designed to give artists a supportive environment for building their performance and production skills while creating a new performance art piece. The showings with an audience are the final step in the program, giving the artists a true assessment of how their ideas are communicating through the form. Intermedia Arts is a catalyst that builds understanding among people through art. CONTACT: Theresa Sweetland Phone: 612-874-2813 E-mail: theresa [at] intermediaarts.org http://www.intermediaarts.org/ --------15 of 17-------- Against An Imperial Internet by Bill Moyers and Scott Fogdall Tuesday, October 17 TomPaine.com It was said that all roads led to Rome. However exaggerated, the image is imprinted in our imagination, reminding us of the relentless ingenuity of the ancient Romans and their will to control an empire. For centuries Roman highways linked far-flung provinces with a centralized web of power. The might of the imperial legions was for naught without the means to transport them. The flow of trade - the bloodstream of the empire's wealth - also depended on the integrity of the roadways. And because Roman citizens could pass everywhere, more or less unfettered on their travels, ideas and cultural elements circulated with the same fluidity as commerce. Like the Romans, we Americans have used our technology to build a sprawling infrastructure of ports, railroads and interstates which serves the strength of our economy and the mobility of our society. Yet as significant as these have been, they pale beside the potential of the Internet. Almost overnight, it has made sending and receiving information easier than ever. It has opened a vast new marketplace of ideas, and it is transforming commerce and culture. It may also revitalize democracy. "Wait a minute!" you say. "You can't compare the Internet to the Roman empire. There's no electronic Caesar, no center, controlling how the World Wide Web is used." Right you are - so far. The Internet is revolutionary because it is the most democratic of media. All you need to join the revolution is a computer and a connection. We don't just watch; we participate, collaborate and create. Unlike television, radio and cable, whose hirelings create content aimed at us for their own reasons, with the Internet every citizen is potentially a producer. The conversation of democracy belongs to us. That wide-open access is the founding principle of the Internet, but it may be slipping through our fingers. How ironic if it should pass irretrievably into history here, at the very dawn of the Internet Age. The Internet has become the foremost testing ground where the forces of innovation, corporate power, the public interest and government regulation converge. Already, the notion of a level playing field - what's called network neutrality - is under siege by powerful forces trying to tilt the field to their advantage. The Bush majority on the FCC has bowed to the interests of the big cable and telephone companies to strip away, or undo, the Internet's basic DNA of openness and non-discrimination. When some members of Congress set out to restore network neutrality, they were thwarted by the industry's high spending lobbyists. This happened according to the standard practices of a rented Congress - with little public awareness and scarce attention from the press. There had been a similar blackout 10 years ago, when, in the Telecommunications Act of 1996, Congress carved up our media landscape. They drove a dagger in the heart of radio, triggered a wave of consolidation that let the big media companies get bigger, and gave away to rich corporations - for free - public airwaves worth billions. This time, they couldn't keep secret what they were doing. Word got around that without public participation these changes could lead to unsettling phenomenon - the rise of digital empires that limit, or even destroy, the capabilities of small Internet users. Organizations across the political spectrum - from the Christian Coalition to MoveOn.org - rallied in protest, flooding Congress with more than a million letters and petitions to restore network neutrality. Enough politicians have responded to keep the outcome in play. At the core this is a struggle about the role and dimensions of human freedom and free speech. But it is also a contemporary clash of a centuries-old debate over free-market economics and governmental regulation, one that finds Adam Smith invoked both by advocates for government action to protect the average online wayfarer and by opponents of any regulation at all. In The Wealth of Nations, Smith argued that only the unfettered dealings of merchants and customers could ensure economic prosperity. But he also warned against the formation of monopolies - mighty behemoths that face little or no competition. Our history brims with his legacy. Consider the explosion of industry and the reign of the robber barons during the first Gilded Age in the last decades of the 19th century. Settlements and cities began to fill the continent, spirited by a crucial technological advance: the railroad. As railroad companies sprang up, they merged into monopolies. Merchants and farmers were often charged outlandish freight prices - until the 1870s, when the Granger Laws and other forms of public regulation provided some protection to customers. At about the same time, chemist Samuel Andrews.inventor of a new method for refining oil into kerosene - partnered with John D. Rockefeller to create the Standard Oil Company. By century's end Standard Oil had forged a monopoly, controlling a network of pipelines and railways that spanned the country. Competition became practically impossible as the mammoth company manipulated prices and crushed rival after hapless rival. Only with the passage of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act in 1890 did the public have hope of recourse against the overwhelming might of concentrated economic and political power. But, less than a century later a relative handful of large companies would assemble monopolies over broadcasting, newspapers, cable and even the operating system of computers, and their rule would go essentially unchallenged by the U.S. government. Now we have an Internet infrastructure that is rapidly evolving, in more ways than one. As often occurred on Rome's ancient highways, cyber-sojourners could soon find themselves paying up in order to travel freely. Our new digital monopolists want to use their new power to reverse the way the Internet now works for us: allowing those with the largest bankrolls to route their content on fast lanes, while placing others in a congested thoroughfare. If they succeed in taking a medium that has an essential democratic nature and monetizing every aspect of it, America will divide further between the rich and poor and between those who have access to knowledge and those who do not. The companies point out that there have been few Internet neutrality violations. Don't mess with something that's been working for everyone, they say; don't add safeguards when none have so far been needed. But the emerging generation, which will inherit the results of this Washington battle, gets it. Writing in The Yale Daily News, Dariush Nothaft, a college junior, after hearing with respect the industry's case, argues that: Nevertheless, the Internet's power as a social force counters these arguments..A non-neutral Internet would discourage competition, thereby costing consumers money and diminishing the benefits of lower subscription prices for Internet access. More importantly, people today pay for Internet access with the understanding that they are accessing a wide, level field of sites where only their preferences will guide them. Non-neutrality changes the very essence of the Internet, thereby making the product provided to users less valuable. So the Internet is reaching a crucial crossroads in its astonishing evolution. Will we shape it to enlarge democracy in the digital era? Will we assure that commerce is not its only contribution to the American experience? The monopolists tell us not to worry: They will take care of us, and see to it that the public interest is honored and democracy served by this most remarkable of technologies. They said the same thing about radio. And about television. And about cable. Will future historians speak of an Internet Golden Age that ended when the 21st century began? Bill Moyers is host of "The Net At Risk," a documentary special airing Wednesday, October 18 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings). Scott Fogdall is with Films Media Group. Visit www.pbs.org/moyers. 2006 Tom Paine.com [Proving once again that no matter how much money the rich have, from destroying how many wonderful things, thay are always deviously plotting for more money, by destroying more wonderful things. They are a bottomless pit, a disease run amok. In America, we're supposed to look up to and revere the rich. Why? Why love those who batter us? Are we insane? Masochistic? Terminally stupid? - ed] --------16 of 17-------- Democrats or Bust Cindy Sheehan's Lesser-Evilism By JOSHUA FRANK CounterPunch October 18, 2006 You can sure tell it's an election year. Despite the fact that over 2770 US soldiers and 600,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed in Iraq, the mainstream antiwar movement, or what's left of it, has failed to hold the two war parties accountable for the destruction and death they've initiated. And perhaps most disappointing of all, Cindy Sheehan, the brave soul who almost single handily resurrected the antiwar movement from the dark vestiges of the 2004 elections, has now surrendered to the politics of lesser-evilism. Sheehan has not completely curbed her activism like so many other antiwar activists did two years ago during John Kerry's bid for president, but she has outright refused to come out and fully embrace any candidates who are challenging the Democrats for their explicit support for Bush's bloody war on Iraq. Aside from endorsing any alternative antiwar hopefuls, Sheehan has also failed to criticize the pro-war Democrats who are up for reelection. Before the campaign season began to heat up Sheehan had lambasted Democratic Senators Hillary Clinton and Dianne Feinstein, among others, for their backward defense of the war effort. She even went as far as to describe Hillary's position on Israel and Iraq as being equal to that of Rush Limbaugh. Yet, when it has mattered most, i.e. now, she has been virtually silent. But it may not be a mystery as to why. Cindy Sheehan has joined forces with Medea Benjamin of CODE PINK as well as the Progressive Democrats of America, where Sheehan serves on the organization's Board of Directors. Benjamin too is on the PDA's Board and has aligned her antiwar activism with the group's charge to reshape the Democratic Party from within. Medea Benjamin is a truly baffling creature. After the fall of Sen. Kerry in '04, for whom she had campaigned avidly, the former California Green Party candidate for US Senate told The Nation magazine, "For those of you willing to keep wading in the muddy waters of the Democratic Party, all power to you. I plan to work with the Greens to get more Green candidates elected to local office." She certainly has not stood by that lackluster promise, as she now works for the Democrats. And I'm not sure how working to elect "progressive" Democrats to office, which Benjamin and Sheehan are now attempting to do with the PDA, will ever help build an alternative to the two pro-war parties. Nor am I convinced that electing Democrats to office will ever end the war in Iraq - as John Walsh recently explained in these pages, even if the Democrats pick up the necessary 15 seats to reclaim the House, their overall position on the war will not be changing, as no new Democratic House contenders actually oppose the war. Perhaps Cindy Sheehan has fallen into the vicious trap of non-profit activism, where she cannot truly speak her mind without being fearful that her liberal supporters will pull their funding from the groups she aligns with. Or maybe Sheehan just doesn't get it. Maybe she doesn't understand that elections are a great place to go after the war enablers for all of their awful habits and evil deeds. Cindy Sheehan isn't accustomed to backing down from a fight, and we owe her tremendously for her efforts to rekindle the antiwar movement when she staked out Bush in Crawford. But her decision to not take on the Democrats with vigor this election deserves criticism. We need Sheehan supporting antiwar candidates, not rebuilding the Democratic Party. As Sheehan told me a year ago, "I will not support a pro-war Democrat. I will support any anti-war candidate ... [We] need to expose the failures of the Bush administration along with those of Congress and the media. [We] need to keep pushing for the full withdrawal of troops 'now.' That is paramount." Come on back to us Cindy, come back. Joshua Frank edits the radical news blog www.BrickBurner.org and is the author of Left Out! How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush, published by Common Courage Press (2005). Josh can be reached at BrickBurner [at] gmail.com. [As each and every election approaches, most progressives feel their knees get weaker and weaker; they wind up doing the lesser-evil thing they did last time (that didn't work) and the time before (that didn't work)... Each time they vow not to be patsied again. But each time they are. No wonder we're moving so fast to the fascist right - those on the left and middle have no courage to do what their hearts and values tell them. -ed] --------17 of 17-------- Once Again the "Enemy Within" Betrays Farmers and the Public Interest The Corporate Assault on Zoning By AL KREBS CounterPunch October 17, 2006 It should come as no surprise to voters in the upcoming elections that hidden among the various local and regional initiatives and propositions can be found a myriad of financial and tax benefits accruing to corporate interests. No better example of such skullduggery can be found than in Washington State's I-933, although similar efforts can also be seen afoot in California, Arizona, Nevada, Montana, Idaho and North Dakota. Basically the Evergreen State's initiative - the Property Fairness Initiative - would ban all zoning laws, retroactive to 1995. It would make it possible for landowners to be compensated if land-use regulations damage the value of their property while government would act under a "pay or waive" system with valid claims being compensated or the regulations would have to be modified. In other words, the measure would require governments to compensate property owners for many regulations that reduce property values - applicable to not only personal property as well as real estate - but also to animals, cars, boats, businesses, stocks, bonds, trademarks and copyrights, according to a study by prominent Seattle attorney Hugh Spitzer who recently issued a report warning that that provisions of I-933 could undermine state and local rules regulating everything from food safety and auto emissions to professional qualifications for doctors and accountants. A major push behind this initiative is a Chicago-based organization - Americans for Limited Government - whose chairman is Howard Rich, a controversial New York-based real estate entrepreneur who has been sharply criticized as an out-of-state meddler for pushing land-reform legislation in Montana. Ironically, Chicago is also the headquarters of the American Farm Bureau Federation and it is the Washington State Farm Bureau, along with several county Farm Bureaus, which are earnestly campaigning for the initiative's passage, claiming the states farmers solidly back I-933 Patrick Connor, director of research for the Washington State Farm Bureau, has told the Seattle Post Intelligencer's Amy Rolph that while he was not familiar with the specifics of Americans for Limited Government's association the Farm Bureau appreciates that the national organization recognizes the importance of land-use changes in the passage of this initiative. Dan Wood, director of government relations for the Washington State Farm Bureau, claims that the opponents of I-933 "advertising has been misleading - suggesting that farmers are against the initiative, and that is not at all the case." Wood conveniently overlooks the fact that one of the most effective pieces of the opponent's state-wide television advertising campaign to date has been a TV ad from Dave Hedlin, a vegetable farmer in La Conner, and a message from Aaron Flansburg, a wheat grower in Palouse pointing out farmers opposition to I-933. According to the State Farm Bureau it currently has some 35,000 members in the state, yet according to the 2002 Ag Census there are 35,939 farms in the state. Thus, it would be a fanciful stretch of the imagination to believe that all farmers in the state are Farm Bureau members. A recent small tractorcade by the "farm supporters" of I-933 through the streets of Seattle saw in typical fashion FB leadership off stage while letting their puppets in overalls mimic their mythology. As the P-I's Rolph reported, Farm Bureau President Steve Appel watched the demonstration from the sidewalk. "We think this is a common-sense proposal," he observed. Responding to TV ads featuring farmers who opposed I-933 he "shrugged the ads off with an appeal to logic: `Would the farm bureau sponsor something that's bad for farmers?'" - a "logic" and remark that undoubtily would evoke a loud chorus of guffaws from thousands of farmers throughout the nation. For many family farmers throughout the U.S. the FB is seen consistently as concerning itself more of being a corporate agribusiness mouthpiece - "the enemy within," the voice of basically an insurance company which likes to politically intimidate governmental policy and the public by referring to itself as "the voice of American agriculture." For example, nationally the FB membership boasts a membership of over 5.5 million members but the 2002 Ag Census tells us that there are only 2.1 million farms in the U.S. During this recent campaign hundreds of small family farmers and grass roots farming organizations from across Washington have been opposing I-933, including the Western Washington Agricultural Association, the United Farmworkers, Skagitonians to Preserve Farmland, and Woodward Canyon Wineries of Walla Walla. Skagitonians to Preserve Farmland has written a position statement that explains why Initiative 933 will hurt farming. The Skagit Valley Herald in the middle of the state's richest farmland puts the impacts of Initiative 933 on farming in the clearest terms: "If I-933 is approved...you can kiss farming good-bye in Skagit County." The fact that the Bureau has taken on the role of the largest contributor to the Yes on I-933 is confirmed by a fellow funder - the Building Association of Washington. As Executive Vice President Tom McCabe pointed out to reporter Rolph, the Building Association decided that I-993 "wasn't going to be a priority for us this year, and there were other things that we were going to be concerned about." Clearly then it has been the Washington State Farm Bureau and subsidiary county farm bureaus that have produced the majority of the remaining donations. With less than a month before the elections the out-of-state Americans For Limited Government has poured $260,000 in to the campaign with the State Farm Bureau and its county affiliates contributing $190,000. The initiative's sponsors have claimed that what they are after is fairness. John W. Tovar who is president-elect of the Washington Chapter of the American Planning Association and serves on the steering committee of the No on 933 campaign, scoffs at such a claim. "But what's fair about a sweeping rollback of our state's land-use protections " the standards that keep our drinking water clean, maintain the livability of growing cities and towns, safeguard neighborhoods from property-devaluing nuisances, protect farms, forests and green spaces from encroaching development, and safeguard habitat for shellfish, orca and salmon? "Our laws now require land-use decisions to be made out in the open, he adds, "through a democratic process that considers and protects everyone's property rights, not just a select few. What's fair about an I-933 system that would hide development decisions from public view and grant maximum financial profit to certain property owners, neighbors be damned? "The core of I-933 is a simple and clever legal scheme called "pay or waive." Such schemes dramatically lower the threshold for when compensation must be paid for restrictions or limitations on property use and value " regardless of how small the limitation or how important the public protection served by the restriction." With the passage of I-993 when an owner claims that a regulation restricts or limits the value or use of property, the initiative would compel the community to choose between paying taxpayer dollars to enforce the law or else waiving those requirements. "Although the language of I-933 states that the "government shall pay," in reality this means "taxpayers shall pay." Tover stresses. How expensive? Tover replies: "because I-933 is retroactive at least to 1996, the Association of Washington Cities estimates that I-933 payouts would cost taxpayers a staggering $3.5 billion to $4.5 billion. This works out to between $2,400 and $3,000 per household. That doesn't even count future years or the cost of the added bureaucracy needed to administer I-933." However, on September 26 a University of Washington study estimated I-933 would cost taxpayers almost $8 billion during the next five years. The study came one week after the state's Office of Financial Management estimated that in the next six years, I-933 would cost $7 billion to $9 billion. Tover also has addressed the question of "eminent domain." "Voters should also not be fooled by shameless and hollow rhetoric about how I-933 is supposed to save us from `eminent domain.' Eminent domain is the power of government to condemn private land for public purposes, paying the owner fair market value for the property. Last summer's U.S. Supreme Court decision in Kelo v. New London alarmed many people because it arguably broadened the definition of `public use.' "Despite their rhetoric," he adds, "the backers of I-933 must admit that their initiative would make absolutely no change to our state's laws on eminent domain. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Voters should see through their cry of Kelo for the cynical and misleading campaign ploy it is." With the backing of I-993 and similar other initiatives around the country it is once again demonstrably clear than when it comes to a choice between representing family farmers' best interests and giving due homage to its corporate paymasters, the Farm Bureau is never reticent about where its true interests lie. In doing so it gives a vicious lie to its historic claim as being "the voice of American agriculture" Al Krebs is the editor of The Agribusiness Examiner "Monitoring corporate agribusiness from a public interest perspective". He can be reached at avkrebs [at] comcast.net ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ - David Shove shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu rhymes with clove Progressive Calendar over 2225 subscribers as of 12.19.02 please send all messages in plain text no attachments To GO DIRECTLY to an item, eg --------8 of x-------- do a find on --8
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