Progressive Calendar 04.27.09
From: David Shove (
Date: Mon, 27 Apr 2009 14:54:25 -0700 (PDT)
            P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   04.27.09

1. Peace walk         4.27 6pm RiverFalls WI
2. Amnesty Intl       4.27 7pm
3. Unclean coal/film  4.27 7pm
4. Winter soldier     4.27 7pm

5. Stop eviction      4.28 8am
6. NWN4P vigil        4.28 4:45pm
7. Neoliberalism      4.28 5pm
8. Single payer       4.28 5:30pm
9. RNC court watch    4.28 6pm
10. District council  4.28 6pm
11. Airport scam      4.28 6:30pm
12. Mpls city charter 4.28 6:30pm
13. Poetry salon      4.28 6:30pm
14. Art/econ crisis   4.28 7pm
15. SAfrica/Mandela   4.28 8pm
16. Frontline         4.28 9pm (?)

17. Russell Mokhiber - AFL-CIO health care survey omits single payer
18. Jos M Tirado     - Iceland's new dawn: huge support for the Left
19. Pam Martens      - The far right's plot to capture New Hampshire
20. ed               - Pelosi  (haiku)

--------1 of 20--------

From: Nancy Holden <d.n.holden [at]>
Subject: Peace walk 4.27 6pm RiverFalls WI

River Falls Peace and Justice Walkers. We meet every Monday from 6-7 pm on
the UWRF campus at Cascade Ave. and 2nd Street, immediately across from
"Journey" House. We walk through the downtown of River Falls. Contact:
d.n.holden [at] Douglas H Holden 1004 Morgan Road River Falls,
Wisconsin 54022

--------2 of 20--------

From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at]>
Subject: Amnesty Intl 4.27 7pm

Augustana Homes Seniors Group meets on Monday, April 27th, 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]

--------3 of 20--------

From: Christine Frank <christinefrank [at]>
Subject: Unclean coal/f 4.27 7pm

A Film by David Novack

There will be a free screening of /Burning the Future:  Coal in America,
/written and directed by David Novack.  The documentary examines coal from
cradle to grave from its extraction through brutal mountaintop removal to
the pollution caused by coal-fired electrical generation and its impacts
on our air, soil, water and climate.  The film is also a story of struggle
between the coal industry and the residents of West Virginia, who are
trying to save their mountains, forests, streams and the hollows in which
many families have lived for generations by halting the destruction.  The
film also explodes the myth of clean coal, exposing it as a dirty lie and
presenting arguments for why it should be left in the ground where Mother
Nature put it and replaced by clean renewable alternatives.

The screening will take place on Monday, April 27th at 7:00 PM at Mayday
Books, 301 Cedar Avenue South on the West Bank in Minneapolis. The program
is free and open to the public and is sponsored by the Climate Crisis
Coalition of the Twin Cities (3CTC).  The Clean-Energy Vigil to Cool Down
the Planet will take on the plaza outside the bookstore at 5:00 PM
(Weather permitting.), followed by the 3CTC Business Meeting at 6:00 PM.
All are welcome.  For more information, EMAIL:  christinefrank [at]
<mailto:christinefrank [at]> or PHONE:  612-879-8937.

--------4 of 20--------

From: Barbara Cracraft <barushka33 [at]>
From: Julie Madden <jmadden [at]>
Subject: Winter soldier 4.27 7pm

Winter Soldiers of the War on Terror: On Monday, Apr. 27 at 7pm in the St.
Joan of Arc Parish Center.

Llocal writers and peace activists Michael and Cynthia Orange will present
testimony from Iraq veterans at the 2008 Winter Soldier hearings in D.C.
Please come to honor the courage of these truth-telling veterans and to
learn what this war has inflicted on so many Iraqis and Americans. Please
be aware that this presentation contains some graphic images and language
unsuitable for children.

--------5 of 20--------

From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at]>
Subject: Stop eviction 4.28 8am

Press Conference and Court Hearing: "Stop the Eviction of Rosemary
Williams" Tuesday, April 28, 8:00 a.m. (Press Conference), 9:00 a.m.
(Court Hearing) Hennepin County Government Center, 300 South 6th Street,
Room A1700, Minneapolis.

Join others to pack the courtroom at the hearing of a Minneapolis resident
whose home has been foreclosed after 26 years of residency. Stop the
eviction of this home's resident initiated against her by the servicer of
her mortgage. Sponsored by: the Minnesota Coalition for a People's
Bailout. WAMM is a member of the Minnesota Coalition for a People's
Bailout. FFI and Updates: Call 612-822-8020 or visit

--------6 of 20--------

From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at]>
Subject: NWN4P vigil 4.28 4:45pm

NWN4P vigil every Tuesday.
Corner of Winnetka and 42nd Avenues in New Hope. 4:45 to 5:45 PM.
All welcome; bring your own or use our signs.

--------7 of 20--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at]>
Subject: Neoliberalism 4.28 5pm

Sysyphytical St. Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN) viewers:

"Our World In Depth" cablecasts on SPNN Channel 15 on Tuesdays at 5pm,
midnight and Wednesday mornings at 10am, after DemocracyNow!  All
households with basic cable may watch.

Tues, 4/28, 5pm & midnight and Wed, 4/29, 10am
The Crisis of Neoliberalism
guests: Peter Rachleff, history professor at Macalester College, Karen
Redleaf, people's economist.

[Neal Ibrolism: who is he, and why is he such a jerk? ]

--------8 of 20--------

From: Kip Sullivan <kiprs [at]>
Subject Single payer 4.28 5:30pm

Dr. Morrison Hodges [member, Physicians for a National Health Program] to
speak on single-payer healthcare at April 28 Bloomington Progressive
Issues Forum

Cardiologist Morrison Hodges will speak at the Bloomington Progressive
Issues Forum on Tuesday, April 28.  His topic will be How to Provide
Healthcare for All without Breaking the Bank [viz, single payer].

Now a senior researcher at the Minnesota Heart Institute of
Abbott-Northwestern Hospital, Hodges previously served as director of
cardiology at Hennepin County Medical Center and is professor emeritus at
the University of Minnesota School of Medicine.

The monthly forum meets at Davanni's Restaurant, Lyndale Ave. and W. 86th
St., at 5:30 p.m., followed by the speaker at 6:00 p.m.  The event is free
with pizza, sandwiches and salads available for purchase.

--------9 of 20--------

From: Do'ii <syncopatingrhythmsabyss [at]>
Subject: RNC court watch 4.28 6pm

RNC Court Watchers are in need of participants to help with organizing
court information, documentation and etc.  RNC Court Watchers Meetings are
every Tuesday, 6 P.M. at Caffeto's. Below is announcement for our

Preemptive raids, over 800 people arrested, police brutality on the
streets and torture in Ramsey County Jail. Police have indiscriminately
used rubber bullets, concussion grenades, tasers and chemical irritants to
disperse crowds and incapacitate peaceful, nonviolent protesters. The
RNC-8 and others are facing felonies and years in jail. We must fight this
intimidation, harassment and abuse!

Join the RNC Court Solidarity Meeting this coming Tuesday at Caffetto's to
find out how you can make a difference in the lives of many innocent

Caffetto's Coffeehouse and Gallery (612)872-0911 708 W 22nd Street,
Minneapolis, MN 55405
Every Tuesday @ 6:00 P.M to 7:00 P.M
participate and help organize RNC court solidarity.
For more information, please contact: rnccourtwatch [at]

--------10 of 20--------

From: Chuckrepke [at]
Subject: District councils 4.28 6pm

Payne Phalen DC 5 Annual Meeting & Election
Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. and the program will begin  at 6:00 p.m.
Tuesday April 28
John A Johnson Elementary School

District 2 Community Council Annual Meeting & Election
6:30 PM - program at 7:00 PM
Wednesday April 29
Epworth United Methodist Church
1961 Sherwood Ave.

--------11 of 20--------

From: Ron Holch <rrholch [at]>
Subject: Airport scam 4.28 6:30pm      [-ed head]

General Meeting Notice
Concerned Citizens of the North Metro
Tuesday April 28, at 6:30 PM
Northtown Branch Anoka County Libraries
711 County Road 10 NE, Blaine
On the North side of County Hwy 10 across from the
Northtown Shopping Center


We need your help.  Please bring your ideas, enthusiasm and energy.
Any Questions, comments contact us at rrholch [at] , trubador2 [at],
Riceb72 [at]

Here is an article that appeared in today's Pioneer Press (March 5, 2009)
regarding the MetroNorth Chamber's meeting yesterday and the fact that they
are considering endorsing 6,000 foot runways for the Anoka County-Blaine
Airport (AC/B).

To all of the doubters out there, ask them to read this article and tell
them that the Metropolitan Council is also looking into expanding our
runways to 6,000 feet in length under the heading of a "Minor II" Airport.
The THREAT is REAL !!!

MetroNorth Chamber of Commerce may back runway extension at Anoka
County-Blaine Airport
Group weighing resident concerns, economic benefits
By Brady Gervais bgervais [at]
Posted: 03/05/2009 12:01:00 AM CST

The MetroNorth Chamber of Commerce is considering backing the contentious
runway expansion at the Anoka County-Blaine Airport.

While a decision could be months away, the chamber has supported past
improvements at the reliever airport, notes Executive Director Tom Snell.
The organization includes business leaders from across Anoka County.

Airport officials want to extend a runway to improve safety for aircraft
taking off and landing in bad weather. But nearby residents have banded
together to fight the plan, fearing a busier and louder airport.

The chamber, though, will look into the economic benefits. If the group
backs an expansion, Snell hopes its support would carry some weight.

"The airport is important to business in our area," he said. "You want it to
be a venture that's going to drive business growth."

The Pioneer Press is a member of the chamber. [Chambers of Commerce almost
universally suck. -ed]

The Metropolitan Airports Commission is studying expanding the airport's
5,000-foot east-west runway to 6,000 feet, Gary Schmidt, the commission's
director of reliever airports, told chamber members Wednesday.

Key Air, an executive charter service at the airport, requested Anoka
County's support this past fall for a longer runway.

If warranted, the longer runway could be included in the commission's
comprehensive plan, Schmidt said. The 20-year plan is now being updated.

Schmidt said: "We're not proposing anything at this point."

But the MAC is looking at investing in its reliever airports, he said.
There's an increased demand during business hours at Minneapolis-St. Paul
International Airport.

Lengthening the Anoka County-Blaine Airport's runway beyond 5,000 feet would
need to be approved by the state Legislature.

Nearby residents already have expressed their displeasure. They fear the
expansion would open the way for larger aircraft, more-frequent flights and
around-the-clock takeoffs and landings. They also worry property values
would fall.

And they are concerned nothing would stop the MAC from expanding the airport
again. It was just a few years ago the runway was extended to 5,000 feet for
safety needs, they note.

"Are we going to come back again in a few years and say 8,000 feet is for
safety?" Anoka County Commissioner Rhonda Sivarajah asked at Wednesday's

The airport likely couldn't accommodate a runway longer than 6,000 feet
because of space, Schmidt said.

The chamber respects residents' concerns but has a responsibility to
determine the economic impact of expanding the airport, said Leonard Gandel,
who serves on the chamber board. [Blather, pure blather. Chambers of
Commerce piss on residents. -ed]

Brady Gervais can be reached at 651-228-2171.

--------12 of 20--------

From: Ian Stade <ianstade [at]>
Subject: Mpls city charter 4.28 6:30pm

The Charter Commission is having public hearings about the proposed
changes to the City Charter by city councilmembers Ostrow, Remington and
Samuels.  [Bad council members, worse charter revisers. -ed] The
elimination of the park board, the board of estimate and the creation of a
city administrator are all being proposed.  Please show up and give us
your opinion. [How about BRAAAKKKK!!! -ed]

Tuesday, April 28, 2009 - 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.
North Regional Library
1315 Lowry Ave N
Minneapolis  MN  55411
Phone:  612-630-6600

Thursday, April 30, 2009 - 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.
Northeast Library
2200 Central Ave NE
Minneapolis  MN  55418
Phone: 612-630-6900

Thursday, May 7, 2009 - 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.
St. Joan of Arc Church (lower level)
4500 Clinton Ave S
Minneapolis  MN  55419
Phone:  612-823-8205

--------13 of 20--------

From: patty <pattypax [at]>
Subject: Poetry salon 4.28 6:30pm

Tuesday April 28 is a salon for poetry.  Bring your poems or poems
of others and come to read or be read to.

Pax Salons ( )
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.

--------14 of 20--------

From: Stevens Square Center for the Arts <ssca [at]>
Subject: Art/economic crisis 4.28 7pm

Art in a Time of Economic Crisis
Community Forum and Panel Discussion
Tuesday, April 28, 7:00 - 9:00 pm

The Stevens Square Center for the Arts (SSCA) will be hosting a Community
Forum and Panel Discussion on Tuesday, April 28, 2009. The topic of the
forum is: "Art in a Time of Economic Crisis."
This event is free and open to the public.

Panel discussion beginning at 7:30 pm, featuring short presentations by:
 Vickie Benson, Program Director, Arts, The McKnight Foundation
 Gwen Cannon, Program Director, Metropolitan Regional Arts Council
 Melinda Hobbs Childs, Program Manager, Forecast Public Art
 Andrea Jenkins, Senior Policy Aide, 8th Ward City Council Office
 Sarah Schultz, Director, Education and Community Programs, The Walker
   Art Center (and) Board Member, The Soap Factory
 Laura Zabel, Executive Director, Springboard for the Arts

There will be a Question and Answer session following the formal panel

Since 2008, the local arts community has suffered a series of financial
setbacks and major closings. With the economy in a tailspin, major
cultural institutions such as the Walker Art Center and the MIA have been
forced to lay off many of their full time employees.

But it is the hundreds of small-to-midsized arts organizations that have
suffered the most. In an age of shrinking endowments and a declining donor
pool, many long-running galleries and theaters - such as the Minnesota
Museum of American Art - have been forced to shut their doors. It is these
smaller, grassroots organizations that have helped to revitalize
struggling neighborhoods and enriched local communities.

The Twin Cities would be a drab place, indeed, without the wealth of
cultural activities we all enjoy.

There are more than 20,000 artists in the state of Minnesota, many of whom
now face the prospect of long term unemployment. Last year, arts and
cultural organizations contributed a total of $1 billion to the state
economy. The loss of hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in annual
spending is already being felt far beyond the nonprofit sector and the
gallery circuit. This is an issue that affects us all.

It is for this reason that the Stevens Square Center for the Arts has
chosen to convene a community forum to discuss what we can do to help
support the arts.

The Community Forum will also serve as a special Sneak Preview of our
next exhibit: "Press Gang: Eight Local Printmakers."
For more information on the forum, please contact Erik Farseth at:
efarseth [at]

The Stevens Square Center for the Arts (SSCA) is a nonprofit, educational
community arts center located in the heart of the Stevens Square
neighborhood, just south of downtown Minneapolis.

Stevens Square Center for the Arts 1905 3rd Avenue South Minneapolis,
Minnesota 55404 612.879.0200 ssca [at]

--------15 of 20--------

From: Lydia Howell <lydiahowell [at]>
Subject: SAfrica/Mandela 4.28 8pm

On April 28th, at 8:00 pm, Frank B. Wilderson, III, Dartmouth '78 returns
to Minneapolis to share excerpts from his award-winning book with the
public. The reading and discussion will be held in downtown Minneapolis at
the Loft Literary Center.

Before immigrating to South Africa, Mr. Wilderson taught creative writing
at The Loft, and was the recipient of numerous literary awards, including
the Loft/McKnight Award for Best Prose in the State of Minnesota.

Mr. Wilderson is an African-American writer who was raised in Kenwood,
near Lake of the Isles.  He who grew up to become an elected official and
an armed insurgent in Nelson Mandela's African National Congress. He is
one of only two African Americans to hold elected office in the ANC. In
the end, however, Mr. Wilderson's commitment to the revolution he had
joined, not the compromise that ensued, led Nelson Mandela to label him a
"threat to national security." Incognegro: A Memoir of Exile and Apartheid
(South End Press 2008) is his response to that accusation and more. It is
the winner of the American Book Award and a finalist for ForeWord
Magazine's Book of the Year.

Not only does Incognegro: a Memoir of Exile and Apartheid chronicle Mr.
Wilderson's life as an elected official in the ANC and his underground
activities as an insurgent in Umkhonto we Sizwe, the ANC's armed wing; but
it is also described as a riveting, funny, and disturbing account of his
life as a member of the first Black family to integrate Kenwood; as well
as his political maturation in 21st century America, when he returned from
South Africa.

Please feel free to take a moment to listen to a ten-minute NPR interview
of Mr. Wilderson conducted by talk show host Farai Chideya. "A Tale Told
From Inside South Africa's ANC," NPR News & Notes, January 6, 2009:

To learn more about Frank B. Wilderson, III please visit his website: <>

By Googling "American Book Award Winner Could Permanently Transform
the National Conversation About Racial Politics" you can also download
a 400-word press release.

Incognegro: A Memoir of Exile and Apartheid can be obtained at Magers and
Quinn, in Uptown Minneapolis, or through the publisher, South End Press: <>

--------16 of 20--------

From: Lydia Howell <lydiahowell [at]>
Subject: Frontline 4.28 9pm (?)

GO to to see air time in MInneapolis/ST.Paul
FRONTLINE Bulletin wrote:

This Week: "The Released" (60 minutes),
April 28th at 9pm on PBS (Check local listings)

Five years ago, FRONTLINE filmmakers Karen O'Connor and Miri Navasky went
deep inside the Ohio prison system to see how it was caring for thousands
of mentally ill inmates—a growing problem for prisons nationwide in the
wake of the shutdown of most of the old state psychiatric hospitals.

This Tuesday night, O'Connor and Navasky return to Ohio to pursue the next
chapter in this disturbing story:  What happens to mentally ill offenders
when they’ve served their time and leave prison?  The film is called "The
Released," and it just may be the most gripping and profound hour of
television you watch all year.

Meet Lynn Moore, for example.  He's a paranoid schizophrenic with a
history of drug and alcohol abuse, who’s been arrested more than twenty
times.  O'Connor and Navasky find him in a homeless shelter after he's
finished his fourth prison term.  He battles his addictions, struggles to
find work, and, ultimately gives in to the voices in his head.  "It is not
delusions," Moore tries to explain, after attacking a trailer-home where
he believed evil figures were gathering one night.  "It was the devil,
Antichrist, bin Laden, Saddam." It's hard to watch without asking yourself
an uncomfortable question:  Would Lynn Moore have been better off in
prison, where he was compelled to stay on the medication that had helped
him so dramatically?

O'Connor and Navasky also follow a number of other men, including Keith
Williams, who’s soon to be released from Northcoast, one of Ohio's last
remaining state hospitals. "The good news is that Keith is getting
better," says one of his nurses at Northcoast, which now provides only
short-term crisis care.  "The bad news is that because of this, he'll be
sent back into the community in Toledo, and he'll be back here within
three months - probably very psychotic, and hopefully not having hurt

Can a patchwork of homeless shelters, group homes, and short-term care
facilities really provide for the severely mentally ill after prison? How
do we reconcile our desire to release the mentally ill from prison and
state hospitals when only the state may be able to provide the care and
supervision they need?  What does it mean for people trapped in their
minds really to be free?

We hope you'll join us for the broadcast this Tuesday night.  You can
watch two excerpts from the film right now at our web site,

Ken Dornstein Senior Editor

--------17 of 20--------

What's Missing from the AFL-CIO Health Care Survey
How Corrupt is That?
April 27, 2009

The AFL-CIO recently posted a health care survey on its web site.
And in the key question (question 21) about the future of the health care
system, the AFL gives you a choice.

Health care reform should let people choose to have private insurance or a
public health insurance plan.


Health insurance should remain in the hands of private insurance

There is no choice for single payer:

The hundreds of private health insurance companies should be replaced by a
single payer.

Single payer is the choice of a majority of individual members of the AFL,
a majority of Americans, a majority of doctors, nurses, health economists
and small businesses.

But the AFL-CIO leaves it out.


Because the AFL doesn't want to offend the private health insurance
industry, the pharmaceutical industry, President Obama and the Democratic
leadership in the House and Senate - who have taken single payer off the

Or as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi put it last week:

"Over and over again, we hear single payer, single payer, single payer.
Well, it's not going to be a single payer".

["Over and over again, we hear what the people want, what the people
want, what the people want. Well, it's not going to be waht the people
want". -ed]

Many within the AFL-CIO, including Rose Ann DeMoro, head of the California
Nurses Association, and a key single payer supporter, know that the AFL is
corrupt to the core.

Yet they bite their tongues.

It's either that, or banishment.

Or if they criticize, the criticism is so mild as to go unnoticed.

Andy Coates is an MD and steward in the Public Employees Federation of the

"Everyone knows that single payer is supported by many within labor,"
Coates said yesterday. "Over 500 union organizations, including 39 state
AFL-CIO's and 126 Central Labor Councils, have endorsed HR 676 (the House
single payer bill) which is co-sponsored by 76 members in the House of
Representatives. Recently, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, a friend of
labor, introduced SB 703, a single payer bill, in the Senate".

"Since a large section of unions and union members supports a single payer
solution to the health care crisis, it is unfair to construct a survey
that completely ignores opinions from single payer advocates," Coates

It's not only unfair, Dr. Coates.

When the majority of your membership wants single payer.

And you don't even put it on the survey.

That's more than unfair.

The only question remaining is:

How corrupt is that?

Russell Mokhiber is editor of Corporate Crime Reporter and founder of

--------18 of 20--------

Iceland's New Dawn         [Huzzah! -ed]
How the Mighty Have Fallen: A Trouncing for the Right, Huge Support for
the Left
by Jos M. Tirado
April 27th, 2009
Dissident Voice

The numbers are in and they are decisive. The longstanding,
corporate-right forces of the Independence Party, known here as Iceland's
"Republicans", have received a trouncing at the polls. With 100% of the
vote tallied, the Social Democratic Alliance (moderate Socialist) won
29.8% of the vote (55,758 votes) and their partners the Left-Green
Movement (Socialist-Green-Feminist) 21.7% (40,580 votes). Together they
will now have 20 and 14 seats in the Parliament, or Althingi,
respectively; 34 out of 63 total. The new Citizen's Movement
(left-populist) received 7.2% of the vote, garnering four seats. The
former ruling Independence Party received 44,369 votes, shockingly losing
9 seats. Their support in the country has never been this low. Their
former coalition partners, the Progressive Alliance (center-Right) gained
only two seats.

The fact that the Independence Party received less than 4000 votes over
the Left-Greens signals a sea change in how Icelanders view their country
and what should be done to take them out of the ruin imposed on them
through 18 years of Independence Party and Progressive Alliance (mis)rule.
While pre-poll surveys suggested even higher votes for the Left-Greens,
this still remains a huge victory for them. Steingrimur Sigfusson, leader
of the Left-Greens will probably remain as Finance Minister and his
principled opposition to EU and privatization of resources will keep his
voice, and party, in the forefront of all major decisions in the days

Another significant change is the rise of the Citizen's Movement, a brand
new populist-based group that arose out of the "pots and pan revolution"
which toppled the right wing government this past winter. This new group
will now have four seats in Parliament bringing the number of
left-populist ministers to 38 out of 63. Iceland will now have one of the
most Left-oriented governments of any of the industrialized Western
nations. (And special note should be made that 43% percent of the
parliament are now women, including the Prime Minister.)

Is this a coup for the Left? Possibly. European Union membership is now
the big issue, and unlike most of the Parliament, the Left-Greens are not
in favor. Is this a big victory for the people against the moneyed
interests who have ruined the world economy? Definitely. Without engaging
in too much hyperbole, this next government will take office reflecting a
new era of populist revolt against the policies embodied by speculative
banking and investment, emblematic of the past 20 years or so in public
policy around the world. Don't let anyone tell you that 300,000+ people
can.t signal a shift that might have repercussions for the US . At
1/1000th the population and a far more homogenous society than the US is,
it might at first appear so. But looks can be deceiving.

Icelanders took to the streets with grit and determination following
revelations that their ruined economy was driven into the ground by
self-serving politicians interested more in hobnobbing with celebrities
and selling off the country's resources to the highest bidder than in
advancing the people's best interests. The people decided (in their
typically reserved Icelandic manner) that enough is enough and
nonviolently toppled the establishment in just a few short months. The
people withheld their support, obstructed the governance of the country,
and demanded completely new elections. They got all of that and more. A
whopping 85.1% of eligible voters voted yesterday, an indication of
Scandinavian civic-mindedness, to be sure, but also an indicator of how
mobilized the people were.

Whether the new governing coalition can deliver considering the extremely
difficult circumstances plaguing the world economy will not be easy to
say. Some key differences within the newly certified governing coalition
will make solving their problems a bit more complicated than one might at
first suspect, given the uniformly positive support the broad Left has
received. For example, the Left-Green Movement, unlike the Social
Democrats, opposes attempts to join the European Union, which may have
siphoned votes from the Independence Party which has also historically
opposed the EU. Thus, the Social Democrats, who favor EU integration, will
need to proceed cautiously (although the Citizen's Movement and
Progressive Party also favor EU entry). And should EU membership be
advanced out of the Parliament, another election will need to be held with
a nationwide referendum on EU membership taken.

While a majority in the new Parliament favor EU entry, (even some
Independence Party members now support it) the country as a whole is split
on this issue but Icelanders aren't known for impulsively acting on urges
(which is partly why the people were so mad at the former government) and
will debate this issue carefully. There are pluses and minuses either way.
Joining the EU will affect Iceland's fishing and immigration policies,
among other things, and they are in no position to demand concessions
considering their precarious financial condition. But many Icelander's
seeking long-term stability view safety in EU numbers. Either way, major
decisions about social service spending, repayment of debt, ensuring
unemployment benefits, and restructuring the banking system, while
investigating the shenanigans which brought them into this mess in the
first place, will be the first tasks ahead. Thus, Jhanna Sigurdadttir, the
acerbic but viewed as incorruptible Prime Minister, will have her hands

For now however, the morning after is quiet as hangovers are nursed and a
new era dawns for this republic of Vikings tenaciously clawing their way
back into solvency and 21st century relevancy. One can only hope the Left
in the US learns something about coalition-building and sustaining
mass-based popular movements against government policies that benefit the
wealthy few over the many.

Rev. Jos M. Tirado is a poet, priest and writer finishing a PhD in
psychology while living in Iceland. Read other articles by Jos.

--------19 of 20--------

"Anarcho Capitalists" Backed by $25 Billion Corporate Giant
The Far Right's Plot to Capture New Hampshire
April 27, 2009
A CounterPunch Special Report

One of the most audacious and cynical corporate-backed social experiments
in living memory, the Free State Project in New Hampshire, has now shifted
into damage control mode.  Free State operatives learned this past week of
my article that appears in the current subscription edition of
CounterPunch, taking the first in-depth look at their plan to entice
20,000 out-of-state ultra libertarians and anarchists to move to New
Hampshire and implant an extremist brand of free market capitalism: a
brand the corporate backers hope will lead to a gutting of business
regulations, environmental laws, and return the state to the right wing of
the Republican fold.  (Currently, all three branches in New Hampshire,
known for its pivotal first primary status, are controlled by Democrats.)

An effort at damage control is playing out in the Free Staters' internet
pummeling of this author and a reporter at the Keene Sentinel newspaper in
southern New Hampshire, Phillip Bantz, who made reference to the
revelations in the CounterPunch piece along with an eyebrow raising quote
from a Free Stater on legalizing cannibalism, a demand of some fringe Free

The attacks have not gone as planned.  Over 128 reader responses are now
registered in the Keene Sentinel, founded in 1799, which typically
receives less than 20 responses to an article.  Area residents, known for
tolerance, are displaying pent-up fatigue and anger with the agenda of the
Free Staters.

Some of the Free State participants call themselves anarcho capitalists,
promoting an embrace of free markets and individual freedoms unencumbered
by authority of the state.  Free State members must formally agree to the
premise that "government exists at most to protect people's rights, and
should neither provide for people nor punish them for activities that
interfere with no one else". [1]   This premise is widely interpreted by
Free Staters to mean all tax supported social welfare programs must go,
along with zoning and planning and building inspectors.  Public education
would be replaced with home schooling or private schools.

What has been able to fly completely under the radar for the last seven
years, is the role of shadowy think tanks and their corporate money
backers in the Free State Project strategy.

On the morning of Friday, February 27, 2004, at the Washington D.C.
corporate headquarters of the free market think tank, the American
Enterprise Institute, this far-fetched plan was carefully rolled out to
the national media.  The key speaker at the event was Jason Sorens,
founder of the Free State Project. Dr. Sorens is currently an Assistant
Professor of Political Science at the State University of New York at

The following are excerpts of remarks made by Dr. Sorens at that event,
according to a transcript available at the American Enterprise Institute:

"The Free State Project started as an effort to identify the best state in
the country for people who favor smaller government and stronger
individual liberties to move to.

We started signing up people in September 2001, and our growth was slow in
our first few months.  However, growth picked up dramatically in late 2002
and 2003, and by August 2003, we had 5,000 signed members.

New Hampshire doesn't have large metropolitan areas, which tend to be

The Free State Project is related to market-preserving federalism in two
different ways.  First, New Hampshire is poised to benefit if the United
States returns to a true model of market-preserving federalism.  One
example is Social Security.  New Hampshire could do much better if it were
taking care of its own Social Security program because its residents pay
much more in Social Security taxes than they receive back in benefits.

The Free State Project can also contribute to market-preserving federalism
and its beneficial workings in another way.  Once New Hampshire moves
dramatically in a free market direction, we are going to continue to
attract individuals and businesses from other states.  And other states
are going to have to reform their own laws in order to avoid losing their
tax base to our state.

So the Free State Project, in more ways than one, I think, is the thin end
of the wedge in increasing liberty throughout the United States". [2]

(Notice what just happened here: unfettered capitalism has been conflated
with "stronger individual liberties".  Are we not currently living the
economic nightmare that proves the opposite is true? )  One of the most
astute questions at this conference came from a man identified in the
transcript as William Kelly of Cox Newspapers:

KELLY: My question is for Jason.  I was wondering, when you sign people
up, do you do any kind of background check on them or anything, to make
sure that you're not importing rapists and thieves to New Hampshire?...

SORENS:  No background checks.  I think libertarians wouldn't like that,
too privacy invading and too resource consuming as well.  So to some
extent this is built on trust.  Everyone I've met has been normal and well

Jenna Wolf of the Union Leader out of Manchester honed in on another
obvious area:

"Have you talked to residents?  What are their feelings about this?"

Dr. Sorens assured Ms. Wolf:

".we have solicited the opinions of people who live in New Hampshire in
our forum. And the responses I have gotten have been overwhelmingly
positive, conditional.  So long as you are good neighbors and really
support the political ideals that you talk about, then they are

In just four months, both the lack of background checks as well as
resident reaction would blow up in Dr. Sorens' face.

Just nine days before Dr. Sorens gently rolled out his case to a
strategically selected group of free market think tanks and reporters
viewed as market friendly at the headquarters of the American Enterprise
Institute, Tim Condon, at the time the Director of Member Services at the
Free State Project, had mapped out an offshoot strategy.  The plan was to
create a Free Town Project as well - "a low-population town in that same
state where Porcupines can congregate.."  (Free Staters refer to
themselves as Porcupines - upset them at your own risk.)  The tiny town of
Grafton, New Hampshire was chosen. [3]

Tim Condon is a Tampa, Florida lawyer and one of the original organizers
of the Republican Liberty Caucus (RLC) in 1991, a group that says it works
"to advance the principles of individual rights, limited government and
free enterprise within the Republican Party" according to its web site.
Unbeknownst to most rank and file Free Staters, Mr. Condon was receiving
funds from the RLC.  According to the First Quarter 2005 minutes of the
RLC of Florida, "On Jan. 4, the National Board of Directors of the
Republican Liberty Caucus agreed to pick up some of the expenses of
Florida RLCer Tim Condon of Tampa who - in conjunction with his efforts on
behalf of the free state project - has been working to develop the New
Hampshire RLC, one of the fastest growing RLC chapters in the nation:. [4]

According to Mr. Condon's own account of how the Grafton plan came about,
an "exploratory trip was launched in early February, 2004.  This time
Porcupines Tim Condon and Zack Bass flew to New Hampshire from Florida,
and had help from resident Free Staters in exploring.  Also present was
Robert Hull, who drove up from New Jersey to join us".
Zack Bass, according to a June 20, 2004 article in The Boston Globe was
actually Larry Pendarvis of Brandon, Florida: "A computer analyst who also
goes by the alias Zack Bass, Pendarvis was convicted in Polk County, Fla.,
in 1997 of more than 100 counts of downloading child pornography, a
conviction later overturned on appeal. His other enterprises include a
website that peddles mail-order brides from the Philippines with the
slogan, 'Date Locally, Marry Globally'. " [5]

According to the Free State Project, it was Mr. Pendarvis who was
responsible for setting up a web site targeting local residents [6] and
one establishing the goals of the Free Town Project as follows:

The Free Town Project intends to liberate either a New Hampshire Town, or
a Western County, by moving in enough Libertarians to control the local
Government and remove oppressive Regulations (such as Planning & Zoning,
and Building Code requirements) and stop enforcement of Laws prohibiting
Victimless Acts among Consenting Adults, such as Dueling, Gambling,
Incest, Price-Gouging, Cannibalism, and Drug Handling. [7]

Hostilities flared against the Free Staters in Grafton by residents,
followed by a large town meeting and unflattering press.  Dr. Sorens has
persistently blamed all of this on Pendarvis and dismissed it by noting
that Pendarvis was expelled from the Free State Project.  Dr. Sorens fails
to note that it was he who declined to do background checks and it was his
own Director of Member Services at the time, Tim Condon, who has
acknowledged in his own article that he was part of the conception and
planning of the project and made the exploratory trip to Grafton with
Pendarvis (aka Zack Bass) in February 2004.

Dr. Sorens has additional explaining to do.  The Mercatus Center lists him
as an Affiliated Scholar.  It, and its sister organization, Institute for
Humane Studies, have funded Dr. Sorens research since at least 2002
according to public records. [8]

Mercatus is the Latin term for markets.  Thanks to an in-depth report
published in September 2006 by the public interest nonprofit, Public
Citizen, and OMB Watch, we know a great deal about the agenda of the
Mercatus Center.  [9]

Richard Fink, executive vice-president of Koch Industries, Inc., founded
Mercatus (then called the Center for Market Processes) at his alma mater,
Rutgers University, in the early 1980s.  Later, he moved the organization
to George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia, where it resides today.
Mercatus blossomed at George Mason in 1997 after receiving a $3 million
grant from the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, which was founded by
Charles G. Koch, chairman and chief executive officer of Koch Industries.
Koch Industries, an oil and gas giant, is the second largest privately
held company in the United States.

The Charles G. Koch Foundation is one of the largest corporate donors to
George Mason University, donating over $15 million since 1998 to the
George Mason University Foundation, which accepts and manages tax
deductible donations on behalf of GMU and its affiliates.  The Charles G.
Koch foundation frequently earmarks these donations for the Mercatus
Center, and in the past two years alone has donated over $2 million to

[As part of its anti-regulatory agenda] Mercatus staffers were pushing
rollbacks that would directly benefit their corporate patrons.  BP Amoco,
Exxon Mobil, and the Kochs, for example, would benefit from 14 of the
suggestions - filed in 2001 to weaken the Clean air Act.  These
petrochemical companies would also benefit from four of the Mercatus
Center's 2002 submissions calling for the weakening of the Clean Water

By far the biggest corporate contributor to the Mercatus Center, and the
group with the clearest personal ties to it, is the Koch group of
foundations and, through them, Koch Industries.  A privately-held $25
billion petroleum, chemical, and agricultural company based in Wichita,
Kansas, Koch Industries has good reason to angle for a rollback of
environmental standards.  In 2001, the company's petroleum division
pleaded guilty to violating the Clean Air Act for releasing benzene, a
known carcinogen, into the air at a Texas refinery.  Koch agreed to pay
$10 million in criminal fines and further agreed to spend $10 million for
environmental projects in the Corpus Christi area.  In addition, Koch must
complete a five-year term of probation and adhere to a strict new
environmental compliance program.

In a separate incident, Koch agreed to pay a $4.5 million penalty to
settle other Clean Air Act violations at its Minnesota refinery.  The EPA
also forced the company to spend an estimated $80 million to install new
pollution-control equipment at two refineries in Corpus Christi, Texas,
and one near St. Paul, Minnesota.

Koch also has had a problem playing by the rules of the Clean Water Act.
The EPA found that during a seven-year period in the 1990s, a Koch
pipeline subsidiary allowed 300 leaks to remain unstopped, spilling three
million gallons of oil into waterways across six states.  In January 2000,
the EPA leveled $30 million in civil fines against Koch, then the largest
U.S. civil penalty, and required Koch to spend an additional $5 million on
environmental projects. [10]

A former director of the Mercatus Center's regulatory program was Wendy
Lee Gramm.  As former chairperson of the Commodity Futures Trading
Commission (CFTC) from 1988 to January 1993, Ms. Gramm's deregulatory
stance toward credit derivatives is widely regarded as a key element in
today's financial market meltdown.  According to Public Citizen, "In 1992,
as the first step in its business plan to profit on the speculation of
energy, Enron petitioned the CFTC to make regulatory changes that would
limit the scope of the commission's authority over certain kinds of
futures contracts.  Immediately before leaving the CFTC, Gramm muscled
through approval of an unusual draft regulation that would do just that -
it narrowed the definition of futures contracts and excluded Enron's
energy future contracts and swaps from regulatory oversight.  Although her
actions were criticized by government officials who feared the change
would have severe negative consequences (as, in fact, it did), Gramm was
rewarded five weeks after she left the CFTC with a lucrative appointment
to Enron's Board of Directors.  Between 1993 and 2001, when the company
declared bankruptcy, Enron paid Gramm between $915,000 and $1.85 million
in salary, attendance fees, stock option sales, and dividends".

How much exactly has Dr. Sorens received from the Mercatus Center, the
Institute for Humane Studies, and George Mason University Foundation?
Requests for specific dollar amounts to Dr. Sorens, the State University
of New York at Buffalo, and each of the nonprofits was met with silence.
Dr. Sorens did take the time to send a seven-page letter to the Editors of
CounterPunch demanding a retraction of this author's first article.

A notice on the web site of the department of Political Science at the
State University of New York at Buffalo, a public funded institution where
Dr. Sorens now teaches and conducts research, notes that "Jason Sorens and
his co-author William P. Ruger, an Assistant Professor at the Texas State
University, San Marcos published a study on Freedom in the 50 States: An
Index of Personal and Economic Freedom with the Mercatus Center of George
Mason University.  The study presents an evidence based ranking of the 50
states in terms of both their provisions for and protection of personal
and economic freedoms. Professor Sorens also continues to oversee a grant
from Donors Trust.  The grant supports a series of research workshops on
'Markets and States'".  [11]

Exactly 13 days after the study on Freedom in the 50 States was released,
the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law at the Buckeye Institute for Public
Policy Solutions in Ohio, another free markets nonprofit, used the
document in testimony on a House Bill in Ohio threatening to "initiate
legal action" if the bill was signed into law. The testimony noted, from
the report, that "Ohio recently ranked 38th in an index of economic
freedom amongst the 50 states". The bill would have eased mortgage loan
modifications to prevent foreclosures. [12]

DonorsTrust, now funding Dr. Sorens "Markets and States" workshops,
explains itself this way: "DonorsTrust was established as the sole
donor-advised plan dedicated to promoting a free society and serving
donors who share that purpose.  To date, DonorsTrust has received $230
million from these donors who are both dedicated to liberty and to the
cause of perpetuating a free and prosperous society through philanthropic
means. Know that any contributions to our DonorsTrust account that have to
be reported to the IRS will not become public information.  Unlike with
private foundations, gifts from your account will remain as anonymous as
you request". [13]

These promises of more freedoms from uninvited liberators who are secretly
backed by special interests sound eerily familiar.  Hopefully, this
particular plan has been outed in just the nick of time.

Pam Martens worked on Wall Street for 21 years; she has no security
position, long or short, in any company mentioned in this article.  She
writes on public interest issues from New Hampshire.  She can be reached
at pamk741 [at]


[1] Free State Project web site

[2] Transcript of Jason Sorens speaking at the American Enterprise

[3] Tim Condon maps out the plan for the Free Town Project in Grafton

[4] First Quarter, 2005 RLC of Florida Minutes (See page two.)

[5] "Grafton's Messy Liberation," Boston Globe, June 20, 2004

[6] Blood Bath & Beyond, Grafton Locals Targeted

[7] Web site of the Free Town Project

[8] Jason Sorens affiations with The Mercatus Center

[9] "The Cost is Too High," Public Citizen, OMB Report: Pgs 43 - 55,
"Meet the Mercatus Center"

[10] Ibid, pg 52

[11] Jason Sorens' funded work at the State University of New York at

[12] 1851 Center for Constitutional Law Cites Sorens Research

[13] DonorsTrust

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