Progressive Calendar 12.18.06
From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)
Date: Mon, 18 Dec 2006 12:31:09 -0800 (PST)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R    12.18.06

1. Fair hiring       12.18 1:30pm
2. Immigrant workers 12.18 4pm
3. Amnesty Intl      12.18 7pm

4. Zimmermann court  12.19 1:30pm
5. Amy Goodman/SPNN  12.19 5pm
6. Vs military in HS 12.19 6:30pm
7. Peace/hope salon  12.19 6:30pm
8. MichaelLerner/CTV 12.19 8pm

9. David Bacon  - Meatpacking raids = union-busting
10. Steven Hill - Instant Runoff Voting is catching on
11. Another Pennsylvania township strips corporations of 'rights'
12. ed          - Corporations are persons  (poem)

--------1 of 12--------

From: Guy Gambill <gambillg [at] crimeandjustice.org>
Subject: Fair hiring 12.18 1:30pm

Council on Crime and Justice presses Minneapolis to follow in St. Paul's
footsteps by "banning the box."

Minneapolis (12/15/06) - On December 18, 2006, at 1:30 pm, and at the
urging of the Council on Crime and Justice, the Ways & Means Committee of
the Minneapolis City Council will discuss the adoption of the Minneapolis
version of the Fair Hiring Practices Resolution recently adopted by St.
Paul. This will take place in Main Council Chambers at the Minneapolis
City Hall.

The resolution seeks specifically to "ban the box" (remove the question
inquiring if a person has a criminal record) on applications for
employment with the City. More broadly, it calls for adherence to Chapter
364 of the Minnesota State Statutes. 364 stipulates that persons with a
criminal history who are seeking public employment must be accorded the
opportunity to provide the hiring body with evidence of rehabilitation and
the opportunity to explain their circumstances.

Adoption of this resolution ensures that the hiring practices of the City
of Minneapolis do not unduly discriminate against individuals with
criminal histories and in particular against persons of color, who are
disproportionately arrested, convicted and incarcerated.  It also promotes
both a fairer and a safer society, improving job opportunities for
individuals with criminal records, thereby reducing recidivism and its
considerable social and economic costs to taxpayers and to the community
as a whole.

The Council on Crime and Justice is a private, non-profit organization
that has been a leader and pioneer in the field of social reform and
criminal justice for nearly 50 years.

CONTACT: Guy Gambill Council on Crime and Justice Tel: 612 596-7628
gambillg [at] crimeandjustice.org <mailto:gambillg [at] crimeandjustice.org>


--------2 of 12--------

From: PRO826 [at] aol.com
Subject: Immigrant workers 12.18 4pm

SOLIDARITY WITH THE WORKERS IN WORTHINGTON
Monday Dec 18th 4 pm
Office of Senator Norm Coleman
2550 University Ave.
St Paul
Demand that Senator Coleman support:
No more raids!
Family  Reunification through the release of detainees!
Legalization for all and  Comprehensive Immigration Reform!

For flyers visit:  http://www.mnimmigrantrights.net
For more information contact Perry  Bellow-Handelman, JCA Immigrant
Rights Organizer at Jewish Community Action  651-632-2184 o

---
HERE ARE SOME  STATEMENTS FROM LOCAL LEADERS...

>From Doug Mork, Organizing Director UFCW Local 789:

The outrageous raids at Swift plants around the country on Tuesday are an
affront to all of us. You have no doubt followed the stories flowing in
from Worthington and the other five cities of communities terrorized,
families divided and children who still don't know the whereabouts of
their parents.  ICE officers were given carte blanche to terrorize over
13,000 people based solely on the color of their skin. Once again, the
poor and disenfranchised have been punished for trying to improve their
lives. A couple of weeks before Christmas on the festival day of Our Lady
of Guadalupe, the current administration has committed another labor
atrocity.

In the Twin Cities, labor, community and religious leaders have been
working to respond to the concrete needs of all those suffering from these
actions. President Mike Potter and UFCW Local 1161 have been working
around the clock to respond to the situation in Worthington and continuing
efforts will be made to support them. However, we must also raise our
voices together and cry out for justice.

Please join us for a vigil and rally at Senator Coleman's office at 2550
University Ave. in St. Paul on Monday, December 18 at 4:00. This is an
opportunity to show solidarity with the Worthington workers and community
and call on Senator Coleman to end the raids, reunify families, free the
detainees and support comprehensive immigration reform.

For  more information, please call Doug Mork at 612-310-5752. See you  there!

--
>From The MN Immigrant Freedom Network:
Dear Allies and  Immigrants,

These are some ways you can help the families and children affected by the
abusive ICE raids in Worthington.

Donate Food,  Clothes, Toys
Thanks to Latino Communications Network, this Friday and Saturday from
8am--8pm, donations will be collected at the La Invasora station in Plaza
Verde, 2nd floor, located on the corner of Lake St. and Bloomington
Avenue. Families have expressed the need for basic foods such as
tortillas, beans, rice, cereal, crackers, maseca, baby formula and juice.
Due to the holiday season right around the corner, people would like to
see toys and children's clothes donated as well.  Please drop off your
donation at the Plaza Verde building, all donations will be transported to
Worthington on Sunday, thanks to the support of Latino Communications
Network.  Once the donations arrive in Worthington, they will be given to
the Distribution Committee who will make sure that all the donations get
evenly handed out to the various locations/organizations that are actively
connecting with families and children who have been affected by the issue.

Donate Money
Monetary contributions are being accepted by Darlene Maklin, United
Way/Chamber of Commerce in Worthington, please call Darlene at
507-372-2919 to let her know how much you'd like to contribute.  Money is
needed to help families pay for rent and heating bills due to the economic
hit some of these families are enduring because of the immigration raids.

Volunteers
People are needed in Worthington to help translate (Spanish-English) in
various settings, from helping the media to connect with human stories of
this issue to helping lawyers fill out in-take forms.  People are needed
to help the union with food distribution logistics and database building,
increasing capacity to connect with families and help provide general
support for local happenings.

Media

You can help to take a stance against immigration raids by writing letters
to the editor (the Star Tribune, Pioneer Press and your local newspaper)
to point out the inhumane and unjust circumstances regarding the raids.
These raids do nothing to help communities engage with the root causes of
immigration. Raids are unacceptable, they devastate communities,
heartlessly divide families and negatively affect all people, not just
Latinos. Try to reach out to members of editorial boards in any newspaper
to see if they can publish an editorial taking a stance against these
oppressive raids.

Participate in web based conversations to help educate the broader public
about why you believe immigration raids are not the answer, we suggest
logging on to:
The Star Tribune's Buzz  http://www.buzz.mn/
The Star Tribune's Crib Sheet, for  parents,
http://www.startribune.com/blogs/cribsheet/
The Worthington Daily  Globe's  commentary,
http://www.dglobe.com/talk/index.cfm?id=28&article_id=28

Minnesota Immigrant Freedom Network 2500 University Avenue, Suite C8 St.
Paul, MN 55114il 651-287-0660n freedomnetwork [at] gmail.com See our history
and visit our website at: www.mnfr.org


--------3 pf 12--------

From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at] bitstream.net>
Subject: Amnesty Intl 12.18 7pm

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:

Augustana Homes Seniors Group meets on Monday, December 18th, from 7:00 to
8:00 p.m. in the party room of the 1020 Building, 1020 E 17th Street,
Minneapolis. For more information contact Ardes Johnson at 612/378-1166 or
johns779 [at] tc.umn.edu.


--------4 of 12--------

From: Dean Zimmermann <deanzimm [at] mn.rr.com>
Subject: Zimmermann court 12.19 1:30pm

Greetings Friends, Family & Supporters,

In answer to the many questions that I am getting about my current status:

A sentencing date has been set for 1:30 pm, Tuesday, December 19th. This
will take place on the 13th Floor of the Mpls Federal Court House, the
same building where the trial was held. I expect that I will have to
report to a prison sometime around January 16th. Any appeals will be filed
at time of sentencing. Right now we have not made any decisions about what
appeals may be made or on what grounds.

Again I want to offer my deepest thanks to all of you who have been so
kind and generous in your support of Jenny and me during the past year and
a half. Please continue with your efforts to build a sustainable and just
society. I look for a lot of good to come out of this situation.

On Saturday, January 6th, 2007 there will be a "Last Supper" at the Twin
Cities Friends Meeting (TCFM) House in St. Paul, 1725 Grand Avenue. This
dinner will be hosted by members of our TCFM Committee of Support: Dorothy
Thomsen, Richard Fuller, Betsy Raasch-Gilman, Anne Holzinger, Susan De
ries, and Charley Underwood. There are two parts to this evening:
 1)  at 5 pm there will be a Quaker Meeting for Worship service with
attention to offering words of support for Dean.
 2)  Part Two is a potluck supper in the Fellowship Hall, lower level, of
TCFM, starting between 6-6:15 p.m.  Friends & family can share a blessing
to give to me to take with me when I go to "camp" (no, we still do not
know where I will be serving my time). You are welcome to attend one or
both parts.  I want to use this evening as a chance to see many of my
friends and have an opportunity to thank you and say good bye, until we
meet again. I hope many of you can join us on January 6th.

PLEASE NOTE: If you have not yet written a letter to Judge Montgomery,
please do so within the next week. In your letter you can cite what a
great person I am and what wonderful things I have done as a longtime
advocate for peace, racial & economic justice and environmental
stewardship. (As a Park Board Commissioner: dog parks/the use of large
wetland-type bio-filters/the re-introduction of native plants and prairie
grasses/a decrease in cutting parkland grass). (As a City Council Member:
work on homelessness issues/immigrants rights issues/anti-war pro-peace
resolution introduced/support for independent & locally owned
businesses/advocated a stronger role for the Civilian Review Authority
relating to police brutality/increases in affordable homes for urban
Native Americans/pushed for and got the City on track for converting its
fleet of vehicles to bio-fuels/advocated for green roofs in the city). Be
sure to mention how my absence will be a loss to the community.

Your letter should be addressed to: The Honorable Ann Montgomery, Federal
District Court Judge, and then SENT to my lawyer, Dan Scott, Attorney,
Kelley & Wolter, P. A., Centre Village Offices, 431 S. 7th Street, Suite
2530, Minneapolis, MN 55415. These letters should be written and sent as
soon as possible. Keep them short - no more than 1 page - and no dissing
the Judge or jury or prosecution. Your letter's intent should be about
encouraging the judge to go easy on me when determining my sentence.

Good news! We have decided to keep our home at 2200 Clinton Avenue. Thus
Jenny will NOT be moving-hooray!  We are still trying to sell our rental
property at 2012 Grand Avenue, Mpls. This is a 4 unit building that is
always full of good tenants.  If you or someone you know might be
interested, give us a call. Or better yet, call Bonnie Everts, our
realtor, at 612-728-2225.

Dean is still working as a handyperson and will continue to do so until he
heads out to "camp." Thus he is looking for jobs.

Stay happy, stay strong and redouble you efforts to build peace and
justice. Again, thanks a bunch for the supportive phone calls, the
e-mails-especially the humorous ones! the hugs, the smiles, the love
you've shared with us through the years, especially this most difficult
past year. --Peace, Jenny Heiser & Dean Zimmermann


-----
Date: Mon, 18 Dec 2006 10:29:05 -0600
From: Dave Bicking <dave [at] colorstudy.com>

Tomorrow, Tuesday, we find out what Dean's sentence will be on the three
charges he was convicted of last August.  Please join us at the
sentencing:

Tuesday, December 18, 1:30pm Sentencing of Dean Zimmermann in the
courtroom of Judge Ann Montgomery, 13th floor of the Federal Building, 300
S. 4th St, in downtown Mpls.

Dean and Jenny have appealed for supporters to come if they are able. They
are heartened by the over 130 letters written to the judge supporting Dean
and asking for leniency.  Let's show our support publicly tomorrow!

Here is Dean and Jenny's take on what to expect:  "While there is no
question that the many - over 100! - letters sent to Judge Montgomery
will have a positive impact, there is no reason for us to believe that she
will deviate a great deal from the Federal sentencing guidelines. These
guidelines are 30-37 months imprisonment. The Federal Prosecutor's office
is asking the judge to sentence Dean to 36-48 months. ....  The likelihood
that the Judge will sentence Dean solely to community service for a period
of time is not high."

[For comparison, Brian Herron received a one year sentence in 2002,
lowered from a federal guideline of 2-1/2 years due to his cooperation in
collecting evidence against the briber Basim Sabri - who received a 33
month sentence.  Joe Biernat received a one year and nine month sentence
in 2003 from the same judge who will be sentencing Dean.  Biernat,
however, was found not guilty on the bribery charge, and was sentenced for
five lesser charges.]

If he is sentenced to prison, Dean will be starting his sentence sometime
in the second half of January, 2007.

Though a sentence of probation or community service would be a huge
relief, we should remember that any sentence at all is excessive and
unwarranted, because Dean is clearly innocent of any criminal act.
Bribery involves the intent to solicit or accept money in exchange for
favors done.  Those of us who know Dean well can safely say that Dean
would never have that intent.

In reality, this case has nothing to do with bribes, corruption, or even
ethics or campaign financing.  This is about Dean being set-up by the FBI
due to his long history of political activism.  The FBI has been watching
and keeping files on Dean for at least 40 years.  Dean is headed for
federal prison because of what he has done RIGHT all his lifetime, not for
anything he has done wrong.

If Dean goes to prison, he will be a political prisoner by any definition
I have ever heard.  We should support him tomorrow, and we should continue
to support him, as such.

I hope to see as many of you as possible tomorrow, --Dave Bicking

PS.  Mark your calendars now:  Saturday, January 6, 5pm Quaker meeting for
worship, 6pm potluck dinner at the Friends Meeting House, 1725 Grand Ave.,
St. Paul.  A going-away party, or as they are calling it, a "Last Supper"
for Dean.


--------5 of 12--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net>
Subject: Amy Goodman/SPNN 12.19 5pm

Dear St. Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN) viewers:

"Our World In Depth" airs at 5 pm and midnight each Tuesday and 10 am each
Wednesday on SPNN Channel 15.  Below are the scheduled shows through the
end of 2006.

12/19 and 12/20  'Amy Goodman: "Static" Tour' (Part 1).  Host of
Democracy Now!  Talk given 9/8 at St. Joan of Arc Church.

12/26 and 12/27 'Amy Goodman: "Static" Tour' (Part 2).  Host of Democracy
Now!  Talk given 9/8 at St. Joan of Arc Church.

"Our World In Depth" features analysis of public affairs with
consideration of and participation from Twin Cities area activists.  The
show is mostly local and not corporately influenced! For information about
future programming of "Our World In Depth", please send an e-mail to
eric-angell [at] riseup.net.  (PS It might be better than PBS.)


--------6 of 12--------

From: PRO826 [at] aol.com
Subject: Vs military in HS 12.19 6:30pm

Central High Students Need Your Support!

tell the St. Paul Board of Education to
RESTRICT MILITARY RECRUITMENT at CENTRAL HIGH

Join us  on
Tuesday, December 19th
6:30 PM
to respectfully and  firmly raise our demands at the
St. Paul  Board of Education Meeting
360 Colborne St., St. Paul, MN  55102

 ** Gather in the hall outside the Board's meeting room at 6:30pm before
we enter together before the 7pm public comment section of the meeting.
 **  if you need a ride, call Brandon at 952-465-5307

CAMPAIGN BACKGROUND
 Central High Youth Against War and Racism has been campaigning against
military recruiters in their school for over a year now. They organized
hundreds to walk out in protest on November 2nd 2005, and then last spring
secured over 600 student signatures on a petition to stop military
recruitment at Central.
 However, military recruiters have only increased their presence this
fall, part of their national intensification of recruitment efforts as the
Iraq war drags on. Now they are taking their demands to the St.  Paul
Board of Education, demanding they do all in their legal power to restrict
military recruitment at Central (see specific demands in the students'
"Open Letter" pasted below)
 At the last Board of Education meeting on November 21 the students
explained their "Open Letter" demands during the public comment section of
the meeting, telling the Board they would return on December 19 to hear
their reply. In the meantime, they have organized a new petition drive
around the demands in the "Open Letter," aiming to get 500 signatures by
next Tuesday. They have distributed their letter to hundreds of parents as
well, asking them to show up on the 19th.
 And they are asking for your support as well! Please consider taking the
following steps.

HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT CENTRAL HIGH STUDENTS

1) Show up to the meeting at 6:30 pm on December 19. Bring a sign to
respectfully, but clearly, back up the students as the testify during the
public comment section. 2) If you're part of a community group or other
sympathetic organization, send out this announcement on your e-mail lists
asking others to come show support. 3) Write the school board, principal,
and superintendent a letter expressing your endorsement of these demands.
Send us a copy at _against.war [at] gmail.com_ (mailto:against.war [at] 
gmail.com)
so we're aware of it. The relevent contact info is below, and you can base
your letter off the points raised in the students' "Open Letter" below
that. 4) Volunteer to also offer testimony at the Board of Education
meeting.  Especially if you are a parent (of any student at any school), a
veteran, or simply passionate on this issue, we would love you to prepare
a short speech (under 3 minutes). If you would like to speak, please call
Brandon at 952-465-5307 to discuss navigating the Board's process
formalities for public comment.

Superintendent Meria J. Carstarphen Administration Building, 360 Colborne
St., St. Paul, MN 55102 _supt.carstarphen [at] spps.org _
(mailto:supt.carstarphen [at] spps.org)

Principal Mary Mackbee
Central Senior High School, 275 Lexington  Pkwy., St. Paul, MN 55104
_mary.mackbee [at] spps.org_ (mailto:mary.mackbee [at] spps.org)

Board of  Education (and all members)
360 Colborne St., St. Paul, MN  55102

Individual board members' e-mails:
Elona Street-Stewart, Chair -  _elona.street-stewart [at] spps.org_
(mailto:elona.street-stewart [at] spps.org)
Tom  Conlon, Clerk - _thomas.conlon [at] spps.org_ (mailto:thomas.conlon [at] 
spps.org)
Anne Carroll,  Director - _anne.carroll [at] spps.org_
(mailto:anne.carroll [at] spps.org)
Al Oertwig,  Director - _al.oertwig [at] spps.org_ (mailto:al.oertwig [at] 
spps.org)
Kazoua Kong-Thao,  Vice-Chair - _kazoua.kong-thao [at] spps.org_
(mailto:kazoua.kong-thao [at] spps.org)
John  Brodrick, Treasurer - _john.brodrick [at] spps.org_
(mailto:john.brodrick [at] spps.org)
Tom  Goldstein, Director - _tom.goldstein [at] spps.org_
(mailto:tom.goldstein [at] spps.org)

Please  forward a copy of your communications with school officials to
_against.war [at] gmail.com_ (mailto:against.war [at] gmail.com)
To contact  Central High YAWR, call Shane Davis at 651-587-6923 or e-mail
_shane89 [at] gmail.com_ (mailto:shane89 [at] gmail.com)    fwd by Danene 
Provencher,
Mound


--------7 of 12--------

From: Carrie Anne Johnson <v0teyourheart [at] yahoo.com>
Subject: Restrict Military Recruitment at Central High School!


Restrict Military Recruitment at Central High!
Open Letter to St. Paul Board of Education
from Youth Against War & Racism

Dear Board Members, Superintendent Carstarphen, and Principal Mackbee,

As you may know, Youth Against War and Racism has been active at Central
for over a year. One of our main activities is running a
counter-recruitment table when military recruiters set up during our
lunches. There, we tell the other side of the story and refute their
incomplete, highly biased advertising. We distribute information about
actual enlistee benefits, the risks of becoming a soldier, life in the
military, and other related topics. In addition to running our table and
distributing information, we have information pertaining to post high
school resources and alternative job opportunities. Besides our table,
we've organized protests, shown movies and held teach-ins, bringing
informational speakers from around the world to Central. Last spring we
held a petition drive and collected over 500 student signatures demanding
that military recruiters leave our school now!

YAWR believes it is ridiculous that military recruiters are present in
school at all, and more so that they are allowed to act almost completely
unchecked. However, we recognize that the No Child Left Behind Act in
effect forces public schools to allow recruiters through funding policy.
In response to that reality, we have launched a new petition drive at
school around three demands that remain within the law, but makes
recruiters act in a more acceptable, accountable manner that is more in
line with the interests of students. We hope you will act rapidly to make
the following demands official policy at Central and district-wide. 1.
Restrict military recruiters to the Career Resource Center and prevent any
unsupervised contact with students.

With monthly quotas to fill, recruiters roam our school's halls,
lunchroom, classrooms, and the parking lot, offering students free pens,
bracelets, basketballs, footballs, and video games. During these times,
there is no way to verify what they say is truthful, which is alarming
considering the documented history recruiters have of using deceptive,
manipulative tactics to mislead students. It is proven that recruiters lie
to students; they have been caught in the past promising students they
won't see combat, exaggerating the career and education opportunities
offered by the military, and worse. Even more alarming is the August 20th,
2006 headline of the Pioneer Press: "Women Raped by Military Recruiters -
More than 100 potential enlistees abused in past year." Recruiters haven't
had background checks and aren't trained to the same level as other
faculty. Plus, many recently returned from stressful war zones, which has
proven to cause mental instability. Currently, college recruiters are
located in the Career Resource Center behind the office, and students are
required to get a pass from a teacher to go meet them. Why should the
military be treated differently? Why should we be forced to walk past
military men and women (and their displays advocating violence) on our way
to lunch?

2. Stop military recruiters coming to Central High more often than any
other post-secondary or job recruiting program actually comes.

For example, if the University of Minnesota visits our school three times
a year, and no other school visits more frequently, then the recruiters
should be restricted to three visits. This policy would comply with
section 9528 of the No Child Left Behind Act, which states: "Each local
educational agency receiving assistance under this Act shall provide
military recruiters the same access to secondary school students as is
provided generally to post secondary educational institutions or to
prospective employers of those students." The purpose of school is to
further a student's education and life potential; statistical information
combined with testimonies from veterans and other activists (some
firsthand to us) shows that the military rarely fits with this purpose.
One third of all homeless people are veterans, and only 15 percent of GIs
eventually get a four-year degree. Granted, the military might be right
for a small percentage of individuals, but that is why schools have job
and college fairs, and why there are numerous recruiting stations in the
metro area. We don't need to be bombarded with the military's message on a
near-weekly basis; colleges and other post-secondary institutions visit
much less frequently, yet they are able to provide sufficient information
for interested individuals.

3. YAWR gets seven days notice before recruiters can enter school grounds.

Under equal access legal precedents, YAWR has the right to set up
counter-recruitment tables whenever any military organization operates in
our school. However, despite the administration repeated promises to the
contrary, the military is seemingly allowed to come and go as they please,
providing little to no prior notice. We feel that for our rights to be
respected, and for our fellow students to get both sides of the story,
Central High YAWR, along with the rest of the school body, should be
guaranteed at least 7 days notice before recruiters are allowed into our
school.

Thanks in advance for considering our three policy proposals. We hope you
will add discussion of them to your agenda on December 19th, where we will
see you next


--------5 of 12--------

From: Patty Guerrero <pattypax [at] earthlink.net>
Subject: Peace/hope salon 12.19 6:30pm

HI, well it's that time of the year, so the salon on next Tuesday will
consist of music and songs of peace and hope.  Some people will be
bringing their musical instruments for our pleasure.  We will have treats
and please contribute if you would like.  thanks, patty

The following Tuesday will be Open Discussion.  The day after Christmas.
we can tell each other how our "alternative Christmas"  ideas panned out.

Pax Salons ( http://justcomm.org/pax-salon )
are held (unless otherwise noted in advance):
Tuesdays, 6:30 to 8:30 pm.
Mad Hatter's Tea House,
943 W 7th, St Paul, MN

Salons are free but donations encouraged for program and treats.
Call 651-227-3228 or 651-227-2511 for information.


--------8 of 12--------

From: altera vista <alteravista [at] earthlink.net>
Subject: Michael Lerner/CTV 12.19 8pm

Tuesday. Dec. 19, 8 pm, Mpls cable channel 16:  "Creating a Culture of
Love, Peace, and Justice"--speech by Rabbi Michael Lerner, founder of the
Network of Spiritual Progressives, author of The Left Hand of God: Taking
Back Our Country from the Religious Right, speaking at the Midwest
Conference of Spiritual Progressives, Wesley Methodist Church, Mpls, Nov.
18, 2006. Repeated on St. Paul cable station 15 on Thursday, Dec. 28, 8:30
pm.


--------9 of 12--------

Justice Deported
Tuesday's immigration raids on meatpacking plants weren't about
curbing identity theft, they were about union-busting.
By David Bacon
Web Exclusive: 12.14.06

In 1947, Woody Guthrie wrote a song about the crash of a plane carrying
Mexican immigrant farm workers back to the border. In haunting lyrics he
describes how it caught fire as it flew low over Los Gatos Canyon, near
Coalinga at the edge of California's San Joaquin Valley. Observers below
saw people and belongings flung out of the aircraft before it hit the
ground, falling like leaves, he wrote.

No record was kept of the workers' identities. They were simply listed as
"deportee," and that became the name of the song. Far from being
recognized as workers or even human beings, Guthrie lamented, the dead
were treated as criminals. "They chase us like outlaws, like rustlers,
like thieves."

Some things haven't changed much. When agents of Immigration and Customs
Enforcement (ICE) arrested over a thousand workers in six Swift and
Company meatpacking plants on Tuesday, they too were called criminals. In
Greeley, Colorado, agents dressed in SWAT uniforms even carried a hundred
handcuffs with them into the plant.

The workers, they said, were identity thieves. Barbara Gonzalez, an ICE
spokesperson, told reporters outside the slaughterhouse there that "we
have been investigating a large identity theft scheme that has victimized
many U.S. citizens and lawful residents." ICE head Julie Myers told other
reporters in Washington, D.C. that "those who steal identities of U.S.
citizens will not escape enforcement."

Not everyone fell into the ICE chorus.

In Grand Island, Nebraska, site of another Swift plant, police chief Steve
Lamken refused to help agents drag workers from the slaughterhouse. "When
this is all over, we're still here," he told the local paper, "and if I
have a significant part of my population that's fearful and won't call us,
then that's not good for our community." In Greeley, hundreds of people,
accompanied by the local priest, lined the street as their family members
were brought out, shouting that they'd been guilty of nothing more than
hard work.

ICE rhetoric would have you believe these deportees had been planning to
apply for credit cards and charge expensive stereos or trips to the spa.
The reality is that these meatpacking laborers had done what millions of
people in this country do every year. They gave a Social Security number
to their employer that either didn't belong to them, or that didn't exist.
And they did it for a simple reason: to get a job in one of the dirtiest,
hardest, most dangerous workplaces in America. Mostly, these borrowed
numbers probably belong to other immigrants who've managed to get green
cards. But regardless of who they are, the real owners of the Social
Security numbers will benefit, not suffer.

Swift paid thousands of extra dollars into their Social Security accounts.
The undocumented immigrants using the numbers will never be able to
collect a dime in retirement pay for all their years of work on the
killing floor. If anyone was cheated here, they were. But when ICE agents
are calling the victims criminals in order to make their immigration raid
sound like an action on behalf of upright citizens.

ICE has not, of course, accused the immigrant workers of the real crime
for which they were arrested. That's the crime of working.

Since passage of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, hiring an
undocumented worker has been a violation of federal law.  Don't expect
Swift executives to go to jail, however, or even to pay a fine. The real
targets of this law are workers themselves, who become violators the
minute they take a job.

Arresting people for holding a job, however, sounds a little inconsistent
with the traditional values of hard work supported so strongly by the Bush
administration. It makes better PR to accuse workers of a crime that sends
shivers down the spines of middle-class newspaper readers, already maxing
out their credit cards in the holiday rush.

The real motivation for these immigration raids is more cynical. The Swift
action follows months of ICE pressuring employers to fire workers whose
Social Security numbers don't match the agency's database. These no-match
actions have been concentrated in workplaces where immigrants are
organizing unions or standing up for their rights.

At the Cintas laundry chain, over 400 workers were terminated in November
alone, as a result of no-match letters. Cintas is the target of the
national organizing drive by UNITE HERE, the hotel and garment workers
union.

In November also, hundreds walked out of the huge Smithfield pork
processing plant in Tarheel, North Carolina, after the company fired 60
workers for Social Security discrepancies. That non-union plant is not
just the national organizing target for the United Food and Commercial
Workers Union. Smithfield has also been found guilty repeatedly of firing
its employees for union activity, and threatening to use their immigration
status against them. When workers at Emeryville, California's Woodfin
Suites tried to enforce the city's new living wage law, Measure C, they
too were suddenly hit with a no-match check.

It's no accident that workers belong to unions in five of the six Swift
meatpacking plants where this week's raids took place. ICE's pressure
campaign recalls the history of immigration enforcement during previous
periods when anti-immigration bills were debated the U.S. Congress, as
they were this year.

Before 1986, the then-Immigration and Naturalization Service conducted
months of high-profile workplace raids, called Operation Jobs. INS used
the raids to produce public support for the employer sanctions provision
later written into the 1986 immigration law.

In 1998, the INS mounted a huge enforcement action in Nebraska, also
targeting meatpacking workers, called Operation Vanguard. Mark Reed, then
INS District Director in Dallas, was open about its purpose - to get
industry and Congress to support new bracero-type contract labor programs.
"That's where we're going," he said in an interview at the time. "We
depend on foreign labor. If we don't have illegal immigration anymore,
we'll have the political support for guest workers."

Today, ICE and the Bush administration also have an immigration program
they want Congress to approve. Once again they want new guest- worker
schemes, along with increased enforcement of employer sanctions.

This fall, appealing to right-wing Republicans, the administration
proposed new regulations to require employers to fire workers listed in a
no-match letter, who can't resolve the discrepancy in their Social
Security numbers. Employers like Cintas and Smithfield now claim
anti-union firings are simply an effort to comply with Bush's new
regulation, although it hasn't yet been issued.

At Swift, the administration is sending a message to employers, and
especially to unions: Support its program for immigration reform, or face
a new wave of raids. "The significance is that we're serious about work
site enforcement," threatened ICE chief Myers.

After six years in office, ICE's choice of this moment to begin their
campaign is more than suspect. It is designed to force the new Democratic
congressional majority to make a choice. The administration is confident
that Democrats will endorse workplace raids in order to appear "tough on
illegal immigration" in preparation for the 2008 presidential elections.
In doing so, they will have to attack two of the major groups who produced
the votes that changed Congress in November - labor and Latinos.

Since 1999, however, the AFL-CIO has called for the repeal of employer
sanctions, along with the legalization of the 12 million people living in
the United States without documents. One reason is that sanctions are used
to punish workers for speaking out for better wages and conditions. Unions
serious about organizing immigrants (and that's a lot of unions nowadays)
have seen sanctions used repeatedly to smash their campaigns.

But unions today also include many immigrant members. They want the
organizations to which they pay their dues to stand up and fight when
government agents bring handcuffs into the plant.

The United Food and Commercial Workers, which represents workers at Swift,
did go into court on the day of the raid, asking for an injunction to stop
the deportations and to guarantee workers their rights to habeas corpus
and legal representation.

But labor will need to do more than that. Unions and immigrants both need
a bill that would mandate what they've advocated since 1999 - the repeal
of employer sanctions. Workers without visas would still be subject to
deportation, but enforcement wouldn't take place in the workplace, where
sanctions deny basic labor rights to millions.

The administration and Republicans in Congress wouldn't like that, nor
would conservative Democrats. Reps. Rahm Emmanuel and Silvestre Reyes,
even want sanctions beefed up. But Democrats and labor must make a choice.
They can defend the workers, unions and immigrant families who gave them
victory in November (voting Democratic 7 out of 10.) Or Democrats can, as
they have so often done, turn their back in another triangulation
sacrificing their base.

They can join the government's chorus calling these workers criminals. Or
they can recognize them as the human beings they are.

David Bacon is a California photojournalist. His latest book, Communities
Without Borders (Cornell University Press, 2006)  documents immigrant
communities, including those employed in the Swift plant in Omaha.
http://www.prospect.org/web/page.ww?
section=root&name=ViewWeb&articleId=12297


--------10 of 12--------

Instant Runoff Voting Is Catching On
By Steven Hill
t r u t h o u t | Guest Contributor
Monday 18 December 2006

Political reforms such as redistricting reform, fusion, and campaign
finance reform have been floundering at the ballot box in recent years,
rejected by voters in several states. But another political reform,
instant runoff voting, has been quietly racking up impressive victories.

Instant runoff voting (IRV), which allows voters to rank their candidates
1, 2, 3, made great strides forward during the November 7 elections.
Voters in four different jurisdictions overwhelmingly approved ballot
measures for IRV. In California, voters in Oakland approved the idea with
a landslide 69 percent of the vote, as did 56 percent of voters in Davis.
In Minneapolis, a landslide 65 percent of voters passed an IRV ballot
measure, as did 53 percent of voters in Pierce County, Washington.

What is interesting about the victories is that they happened in four very
different locations. Oakland is a very diverse, working-class city;
Minneapolis is a Midwestern-values city; Pierce County is a mix of
rural/suburban/urban areas with many independent-minded voters; and Davis
is a small university town. Yet in each place, IRV provided a unique
solution to problems with representative government.

Instant runoff voting ensures that officeholders are elected with a
majority of the vote in a single November election. No separate runoffs or
primaries are necessary. Voters rank their candidates, and if their first
choice can't win, their vote goes to their second-ranked candidate as
their runoff choice. Voters are liberated to vote for the candidates they
really like without worrying about "spoilers." You can rank your favorite
candidate first, knowing if she or he can't win, you haven't wasted your
vote because it will go to your second choice.

IRV is catching on, whether on the liberal coasts or in heartland America.
North Carolina recently passed groundbreaking legislation to use IRV to
fill vacancies for statewide judicial offices and for local elections, and
there's talk of using it for all statewide offices. Driving the interest
in North Carolina are elections like the runoff in 2004 for the Democratic
nominee for superintendent of public instruction, which cost $3.5 million
and produced a 3 percent voter turnout.

Recently Louisiana, Arkansas and South Carolina, which already use
two-round runoff elections for various races, began using IRV for their
military/overseas voters because there is not enough time to mail a second
ballot to them when a runoff election is required.

Colorado recently became the first state to use IRV to fill a vacancy in
the state legislature. Takoma Park, Maryland, will use IRV for the first
time in 2007 to elect the mayor and city council. Burlington, Vermont,
used IRV to elect its mayor last spring, spurring the introduction of
bills in the state legislature for its use in statewide elections.
Following the Minneapolis and Pierce County victories, the largest
newspapers in Minnesota and Washington have called for IRV to be used to
elect state offices.

San Francisco voters launched the IRV movement in 2002 when they
passed it for local elections, and San Francisco has used it now for three
elections. Several exit polls have demonstrated that San Francisco voters
across all racial, age and economic lines like ranking their ballots and
understand IRV. Since San Francisco's trailblazing voyage, nine ballot
measures for IRV have been passed by voters, often with landslide margins.

The movement toward use of IRV is gaining momentum because it answers
a real need. It's one of the best solutions to public frustration with
unresponsive and unaccountable government. IRV makes voters feel like
their votes count, because they are not stuck always choosing the lesser
of two evils; they can cast their vote for their favorite candidate,
knowing if she or he can't win, they haven't thrown their vote away on a
spoiler. IRV opens politics to new candidates and their ideas, increases
political debate, and even discourages negative campaigning as candidates
try to win rankings from the supporters of their opponents.

For all these reasons, instant runoff voting is now the hot reform to
watch as Americans grapple with how to improve our democracy and make
elected officials more accountable to We the Voters.

[There is now a movement to bring IRV to StPaul - ed]


--------11 of 12--------

ANOTHER PENNSYLVANIA TOWNSHIP STRIPS CORPORATIONS OF 'RIGHTS'
From: Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, Dec. 6, 2006

Chambersburg, Pa. -- On December 6th, 2006, the Board of Supervisors for
East Brunswick Township in Schuylkill County, Pa., unanimously passed a
law declaring that sludge corporations possess no constitutional "rights"
within the community.

East Brunswick is the eighth local government in the country to abolish
the illegitimate "rights" and legal privileges claimed by corporations,
and the fourth community in the nation to recognize the rights of nature.

The ordinance takes the offense in challenging corporate managers in
Pennsylvania and around the nation, who effortlessly wield those
constitutional "rights" and legal privileges to dictate corporate values
and nullify local laws.

The East Brunswick Township law

(1) bans corporations from engaging in the land application of sewage
sludge within the Township;

(2) recognizes that ecosystems in East Brunswick possess enforceable
rights against corporations;

(3) asserts that corporations doing business in East Brunswick will
henceforth be treated as "state actors" under the law, and thus, be
required to respect the rights of people and natural communities within
the Township; and

(4) establishes that East Brunswick residents can bring lawsuits to
vindicate not only their own civil rights, but also the newly-mandated
rights of Nature.

In the ordinance, the Township Board of Supervisors declared that if state
and federal agencies - or corporate managers - attempt to invalidate the
ordinance, a Township-wide public meeting would be hosted to determine
additional steps to expand local control and self- governance within the
Township.

Adoption of the ordinance came after community residents organized
educational forums and hosted the Community Environmental Legal Defense
Fund to discuss its rights-based strategy for confronting corporate and
state preemptions of community self-governance.

Annette Etchberger, Regina Wiyda and Dr. Glen Freed took the lead in
generating tremendous public support for an ordinance that asserts rights
and creates tools for their enforcement. Traveling door-to-door and
inviting hundreds to attend meetings that typically draw a handful of
citizens, they put pressure on defiant Township Supervisors, who
reluctantly called special meetings for discussion of the cutting edge
law.

Success was not immediate. Faced with intense public pressure from
residents who packed meetings and insisted on passage of the ordinance,
former Vice Chairman Mark J. Killian Sr. resigned on October 12th and
former supervisor Glenn Miller, resigned on November 1st. They had been
unwilling to act upon the will of the people by confronting the
sludge-hauling corporations. Their resignations delayed consideration of
the law until replacements were appointed. But on December 6th, with a
newly constituted Board of Supervisors, the ordinance was passed
unanimously.

Ben Price, the Projects Director for the Community Environmental Legal
Defense Fund, the organization that helped draft the ordinance said, "The
East Brunswick Township Board of Supervisors has, at last, heard the voice
of the people and acted in the best interests of human and natural
communities. Instead of protecting the interests of corporate directors
for sludge hauling corporations, they've taken their oaths seriously, to
protect the health, safety and welfare of everyone in East Brunswick. The
people of East Brunswick Township have for months been demanding that
their Supervisors challenge the usurpation of local democracy by corporate
officers. They've been telling their elected officials that it is time to
confront the illegitimate delegation of constitutional privileges on
corporations, and reject the State's nullification of community
self-governance. On December 6th, they finally listened."

Richard Grossman, the Legal Defense Fund's historian, noted: "A slave
system once drove the entire country, North and South. Our nation is now
governed by a corporate system. Like the slave system, today's corporate
system calls upon the law to deny fundamental rights of people and
communities.

"East Brunswick has joined other Pennsylvania municipalities in contesting
the constitutional, legal and cultural chains that bind communities to the
corporate system. They have heroically nullified corporate privilege
delivered from on high by exercising democratic rule of law from below."

The East Brunswick ordinance is the result of countywide ferment against
state regulatory agency interference in local decision-making on behalf of
sludge and dredge corporations. Thousands of people in Schuylkill County
now see that regulatory laws and agencies aid and abet corporate managers
to dump their toxins, pathogens and carcinogens in people's front yards
and into the living environment. In September of this year Tamaqua Borough
and Rush Township passed similar ordinances.

Schuylkill County has a long history of people's struggles to wrest rights
and governance from oppressive corporate railroad and coal barons. As
Prof. Grace Palladino has detailed in her gripping history, Another Civil
War - Labor, Capital, and the State in the Anthracite Regions of
Pennsylvania, 1840-1868, "in the coal regions... corporate lawyers and
government officials creatively interpreted the law. Industrialists
retained a remarkable ability to command the coercive power of the state
to protect their particular economic interests." Since the 1840s, as the
people who live there well know, corporations have used the County as a
resource colony. Today, state and federal government officials join
corporate directors in viewing Schuylkill County as a "sacrifice zone"
where they can simply plug the old corporate holes that enriched a few
tyrants with new corporate poisons that help fuel today's corporate
system.

Schuylkill citizens are asserting their inalienable rights, and are
rallying to pass local laws to create democratic self-governance in the
County.

The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, located in Chambersburg,
has been working with people in Pennsylvania since 1995 to assert their
fundamental rights to democratic self-governance, and to enact laws that
end destructive and rights-denying corporate action aided and abetted by
state and federal governments.

[If corporations are persons, sock 'm on the chin and knock 'em out.  -ed]


--------12 of 12--------

 Corporations are
 persons - proof: they piss and crap
 on us night and day.


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