Thursday, March 31, 2005

Remember Cesar and Condemn those Racist Arizona Vigilantes

Marjorie says…

Happy Birthday Cesar Chavez.

I hope everyone will take a moment to remember or to educate yourself about his work and his legacy. Below is a column about Cesar and the United Farm Workers, that also touches on our current political environment, where we have rumblings of new Bracero-like programs for immigrant workers, and where just this week we have the U.S. government capitulating to Racist Vigilantes in Arizona. Rather than send hundreds more border police to Arizona to further criminalize poor people, the U.S. government should be aiming their rifles inward and arresting those men with guns who think they have right to play God. Let's not be confused by all the terrorist mumbo jumbo that's being used as a smoke screen. I'll write more about this in the next few days, but for now just let me say that the way our society criminalizes millions of people that our economy depends on is incredibly disgusting.


Column of the Americas
RELEASE DATE: March 28, 2005
Living the legacy of Cesar Chavez
By Roberto Rodriguez & Patrisia Gonzales

Like most campesinos, Cesar Chavez was the color of the earth. There's little doubt that history will one day look back on the United Farm Worker movement as an indigenous insurrection - a struggle for dignity and human rights for a people who have been here forever.

It should also be seen as a green movement as the UFW has always warned consumers about their own exposure to toxic chemicals.

When one hears the name of Cesar Chavez, it is usually associated with Martin Luther King Jr. or Mahatmas Gandhi. The late Mexican American labor leader came into national prominence for his several historic fasts (1960s-1990s) that brought to light the plight of farm workers. Yet as we celebrate his birthday (March 31), we should always remember that he co-founded the United Farm Worker's of America with his wife, Helen Chavez, and Dolores Huerta and that their very first strike was in support of Filipino farm workers.

Perhaps one day, his name will also be associated with the likes of Zapata, Geronimo and Sitting Bull. On the day before Chavez died in Arizona in 1993, he was reading a book on Native Americans. At this, he told a colleague: “We need to work with our Native American brothers and sisters.”

It's no secret that most campesinos are indigenous or Indian and many nowadays come directly from their pueblos in Mexico and Central America, speaking Zapotec, Otomie, Nahuatl or a variety of Maya languages. But even those who do not speak their ancestral tongue are indigenous; they have always had a special relationship to the land. Their hands tell us this.

As Huerta has often said, farm workers do not hate their work… they're not all trying to escape the fields. They love the land. What they don't like is the low pay and the extreme exploitation.

To this day, farm workers remain outside of the protection of the National Labor Relations Board. And they are treated as foreigners. In dictionaries, the word dehumanization should come illustrated with pictures of hunched-over farm workers.

Chavez used to say that the UFW was born the day the Bracero program was abolished in 1964. The Bracero program, was in effect, modern slave labor. Workers had no rights, except the right to be exploited and shipped back home. In fact, many (of those still alive) are owed money withheld from their paychecks from the 1940s-1960s.

A generation later, and now, incredulously, there's a push for another bracero program, albeit with a different name. So desperate is the situation regarding the border that this new “guest worker” program is being touted as a solution.

If Chavez were alive, he would say this legalized indentured labor is the problem, not the solution. The move to legally codify a category of humans with less rights and less pay is contrary to the march of history. It's a return to 19th century coolie labor; contract them cheaply (leave their families behind), subject them to inhumane working conditions, then ship them home. If they escape, sic the Migra on them. And if they have not given the patron any trouble (union organizing), they can return. This is seen as an alternative to dying in the desert and continuing to work in the shadows. Unless contested, this may become the future model labor for the United States.

Perhaps a better alternative and interim solution can be found in Europe. There, workers from any of the 25 nations that make up the European Community are legally entitled to work in each other's nations. In North America - as a result of NAFTA -- jingoistic politicians treat human beings not as workers, but as criminals. Under this tri-national agreement, goods and capital generally flow freely, but not human beings.

To conveniently assuage America's fears, hard-working migrants are now conflated with terrorists, thus the push to further militarize the border. Some will not be happy until there's an impregnable 2000-mile wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, patrolled by trigger-happy vigilantes. The merchants of fear have done a great disservice to humanity by getting people to see the issue of migration within the context of criminality or “the war on terrorism,” rather than as part of a global economic phenomenon - one that could easily be resolved.

If Chavez taught us anything, it was to appreciate the men and women who provide us our daily sustenance. This begins by accepting and treating all workers as full human beings.

© Column of the Americas 2005

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

"Free Trade" in Action...thanks to Pika over at Albuquerque superblog QuirkyBurque for this photo of China Shipping railcars making their way into the heartland, from the Port of LA.  Posted by Hello

Monday, March 28, 2005

Life Lessons Bunny Style

marjorie says...

On a lighter note - did folks clue into the Easter Egg fiasco this past Saturday? Ha!

5000 people met at 6am at Balloon Fiesta Park for a massive Easter Egg hunt. Unfortunately, the Easter Bunny’s one-two-three to get a pre-hunt bunny hop started miscued the crowd. The false start led to a mad dash onto the field, both kids and parents scrambling for the goodies. Needless to say, parents lost their kids, and lots of kids got no eggs. To make sure that the younger and slower kids got an egg when it was all said and done, event organizers went up in three hot air balloons and proceeded to drop eggs on their heads. Yes, I said Dropped Eggs On Their Heads. It was raining eggs on these poor people. Yikes!

Amazing, truly amazing, but, also a “life lesson” according to Marty the Mayor. "Some of the kids didn't get eggs, but that's a life lesson," he said to the Journal.

hmmm...what could these life lessons be?

  • If you are not in front, you get no egg?
  • That no one will share with you, so grab all the goodies in sight?
  • You better jump right in with the rest of the frenzy, or you get no egg?

Oh, Marty, you are such a sage.

And isn't it nice that the commemoration of the resurrection of Jesus can provide such illuminating life lessons?

GROSS damn-them-all politics

marjorie says...

GROSS GROSS GROSS

This is all I can say about the co-optation of this incredibly profound moment regarding death and a family’s sorrow about the passing of this woman, Terry Schiavo.

Is it not profoundly GROSS that this case has been co-opted by the anti-abortionists? It turns my stomach to see such blatant political opportunism.

These pictures of people with the word “Life” taped over their mouths are GROSS. These people are GROSS, having no regard for the people involved in this case. They have turned this man, Michael Schiavo, into their enemy, when in reality he is simply on the other side of this issue, a sad man doing a sad thing. They are simplistic gross people who cast stones from their self-constructed lofty “faith and values” perch.

Beyond the simple grossness, they are also incredibly well-organized. What we are seeing is an astonishing display of POWER. It’s the power of movement organizing - built over decades, capable of mobilizing congress and the President *overnight* practically to return to DC and attempt to undermine the court system. It reflects a general trend among Republicans towards “damn them all” politics, built on so-called universal moral values. But its “damn them all” aimed at our entire system of governance, our separation of powers, the sanctity of checks and balances. This congress and this president have the gall to speak of activist judges -- LOOK at what they just did.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

a continuum of violence

From Merriam-Webster online:

do·mes·tic: 1 a : living near or about human habitations b : tame, domesticated 2 : of, relating to, or originating within a country and especially one's own country 3 : of or relating to the household or the family 4 : devoted to home duties and pleasures 5: indigenous

vi·o·lence: 1 a : exertion of physical force so as to injure or abuse b : an instance of violent treatment or procedure 2 : injury by or as if by distortion, infringement, or profanation 3 a : intense, turbulent, or furious and often destructive action or force b : vehement feeling or expression; also : an instance of such action or feeling c : a clashing or jarring quality 4 : undue alteration


marjorie says...

I just sat through a five hour training on domestice violence, and have reprinted types of violence from a hand-out below, for all of you. I see these various forms of violence play out around me all of the time. In fact I have witnessed or experienced all of these. I do some of them. I have some of them done to me. I feel like I am surrounded by domestic violence. Maybe we are all on a personal continuum of violence. And, of course, we could apply these types of violence to the world stage as well, from community to community, culture to culture. Ultimately, it's all about power and control. Which is why the great, great majority of domestic violence is directed at women by men. It seems endemic. But I don't think it is - rather, I think it's acquired and conditioned behavior, that can be changed.

Destructive Criticism/Verbal Abuse: Name-calling, mocking, accusing, blaming, yelling, swearing, making humiliating remarks or gestures.

Pressure Tactics: Intimidating, threatening, manipulating.

Abusing Authority: Claiming to be right, telling you what to do, making decisions for you.

Disrespect: Interrupting, twisting your words, putting you down in front of other people.

Abusing Trust: Lying, withholding information, cheating on you, being overly jealous.

Breaking Promises: Not following through on agreements, not taking a fair share of responsibility, child care, or housework.

Emotional Withholding: Not expressing feelings, not giving support, attention, or compliments, not respecting feelings, rights or opinions.

Minimizing, Denying and Blaming: Not taking you seriously, saying it didn’t happen or wasn’t so bad, shifting responsibility for abusive behavior, saying you caused it.

Economic Control: Interfering with your work or not letting you work, refusing to give you money or taking your money, taking your car keys away, threatening to report you to welfare or other social service agencies.

Self-Destructive Behavior: Abusing drugs or alcohol, threatening suicide or other forms of self-harm, deliberately saying or doing things that will have negative consequences.

Isolation: Preventing or making it difficult for you to see friends or relatives, monitoring phone calls, telling you where you can and cannot go.

Harassment: Making uninvited visits or calls, following you, checking up on you, embarrassing you in public, refusing to leave when asked.

Intimidation: Making angry or threatening gestures, use of physical size to intimidate, or standing in the doorway during arguments.

Threats: Making and/or carrying out threats to hurt you or others.

Sexual Violence: Degrading treatment based on your sex or sexual orientation, using force or coercion to obtain sex or perform sexual acts.

Physical Violence: Being violent to you, your children, household pets or others, slapping, punching, grabbing, kicking, choking, biting, burning, stabbing, etc.

Weapons: Use of weapons, keeping weapons around which frighten you, threatening or attempting to kill you or those you love.

Monday, March 21, 2005

More deep thoughts from the weekend...

Mikaela says:

I also bought a new book of poems (surprise!) about (what else?) poetry!

Contemplate this in your navel:

What words say does not last. The words last. Because words are always the same, and what they say is never the same.

-- Antonio Porchia (translated from the Spanish by W.S. Merwin)

WHO I WRITE FOR

I

Historians and newsmen and people who are just curious ask me,
Who am I writing for?

I’m not writing for the gentlemen in the stuffy coat, or for his
offended moustache, not even for the warning finger he
raises in the sad ripples of music.

Not for the lady hidden in her carriage (her lorgnette sending its
cold light through the windowpanes).

Perhaps I write for the people who don’t read my poems. That woman
who dashes down the street as if she had to open the doors
for the sunrise.

Or that old fellow nodding on a bench in the little park while the
setting sun takes him with love, wraps him up and dissolves
him, gently, in its light.

For everyone who doesn’t read my writing, all the people who
don’t care about me (though they care for me, without
knowing).

The little girl who glances my way as she passes, my companion on
this adventure, living in the world.

And the old woman who sat in her doorway and watched life and
bore many lives and many weary hands.

I write for the man who’s in love. For the man who walks by with
his pain in his eyes. The man who listens to him. The
man who looked away as he walked by. The man who
finally collapsed when he asked his question and no one
listened.

I write for all of them. I write, mostly, for the people who don’t
read me. Each one and the whole crowd. For the breasts
and the mouths and the ears, the ears that don’t listen, but
keep
my words alive.

II

But I also write for the murderer. For the man who shut his eyes
and threw himself at somebody’s heart and ate death instead
of food and got up crazy.

For the man who puffed himself up into a tower of rage and then
collapsed on the world.

For the dead women and the dead children and the dying men.

For the person who quietly turned on the gas and destroyed the
whole city and the sun rose on a pile of bodies.

For the innocent girl with her smile, her heart, her sweet medallion
(and a plundering army went through there).

And for the plundering army that charged into the sea and sank.

And for those waters, for the infinite sea.

No, not infinite. For the finite sea that has boundaries almost like
our own, like a breathing thing.

(At this point a little boy comes in, jumps in the water, and the
sea, the heart of the sea, is in his pulse!)

And for the last look, the hopelessly limited Last Look, in whose
arms someone falls asleep.

Everyone’s asleep. The murderer and the innocent victim, the boss
and the baby, the damp and the dead, the dried-up old fig
and the wild, bristling hair.

For the bully and the bullied, the good and the sad, the voice with
no substance
and all the substance in the world.

For you, the man with nothing that will turn into a god, who reads
these words without desire.

For you and everything alive inside of you,
I write, and write.

-- Vicente Aleixandre
translated from the Spanish by Lewis Hyde

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Thousands of Feet Below You

Maggie says:
M3 is in Santa Fe this weekend for some much-needed downtime. Right now we're sitting around reading and resting - no work, no thesis, no worries. One of my afternoon purchases was Alice Walker's latest collection of poems. This one keeps haunting me:

Thousands of Feet Below You
by Alice Walker

Thousands of feet
Below you
There is a small
Boy
Running from
Your bombs.

If he were
To show up
At your mother's
House
On a green
Sea island
Off the coast
Of Georgia

He'd be invited in
For dinner.

Now, driven,
You have shattered
His bones.

He lies steaming
In the desert
In fifty or sixy
Or maybe one hundred
Oily, slimy
Bits.

If you survive
& return
To your island
Home
& your mother's
Gracious
Table
Where the cup
of lovingkindness
Overflows
The brim
(&
From which
No one
In memory
Was ever
Turned)

Gather yourself.

Set a place
for him.

Friday, March 18, 2005


"Brother, can you spare a bone?" Tipper and Cleo out in the cold. Posted by Hello


Mikaela says: Other retreating snows closer to home...really close, in fact. Okay, okay. It's my home. Posted by Hello

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Retreating snows of Kilimanjaro

marjorie says...

Speaking of snow, thanks to Alterdestiny for pointing us to this blog with amazing photos of the *retreating* snows of Kilimanjaro. There seems to be a debate about whether or not this retreat is due to global warming - some say it may be due to deforestation instead. Umm...well, either way it shows how we humans are well on our way to destroying the planet!

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Night lights in the snow, 3.14.05 Posted by Hello

Angie in snow motion, 3.14.05 Posted by Hello

Sundry rants

marjorie says...

Sorry I’ve been absent here for awhile – I finally came down with that bug that’s going around. I’m still not feeling so hot, but have a few current event rants:

Paul Wolfowitz as President of the World Bank????? How does a neo-con who has made a career out of being an ultra-hawk have the credentials to head up a lending institution that supposedly is interested in alleviating poverty? Not to mention that he was completely wrong about WMD in Iraq, and was one of the major people pushing Bush to invade and occupy that country? It’s amazing to me that such blatant expansionism is let slide, to the point that there aren’t even any fall guys. Even though the taking over of Iraq fits just fine with our historic sense of manifest destiny, certainly there have always been a few fall guys when our rabidness gets a little out of control. Just to keep up our fa├žade, ya know? But no, one of the people who should be a fall guy now is being rewarded instead with this plum position. Perhaps we should be happy that it is so blatant, that we are showing our true colors, with no reserve. And thinking about the nature of the World Bank, how it is used to force our own particular economic system on others, perhaps it isn’t such a surprising choice after all. Rather, it could be that this is one of those moments of clarity, a moment that shows just how closely all of our institutions operate with one another, for a pretty singular purpose.

Pinochet hid and laundered almost $15 million in U.S. banks. WOW! WHAT a scandal! Ha! The impulse I have to roll my eyes in derision, to laugh, at the outrage is probably similar to much of the Israeli public’s impulse last week when an official Israeli report was released documenting widespread government support of illegal settlements on Palestinian land. Well, OF COURSE the Israeli government has supported and assisted these settlements. And OF COURSE Pinochet has hidden and laundered his money in the U.S. And, OF COURSE, I think it’s a good thing to force these investigations, and to make these things explicitly public. But, come on, let’s not get too outraged -- because it is so fake.

Terri Schiavo has been in a vegetative state for 15 years in Florida. She is the subject of a bitter battle between her husband and her parents about whether or not she should be kept alive through a feeding tube. I haven’t followed the case too much, so don’t want to say that I agree with either side one way or the other. It looks like her husband is going to win in the end and that he will remove her feeding tube. What amazes me is the lack of attention in the press to how her husband proposes to end her life. He wants to remove her feeding tube. Am I wrong or isn’t that starvation?? Isn’t that right? Now, I agree that someone should have the right to say they don’t want to live in a vegetative state for years on end. He says that is what she said back then. And let me say, to all of you, I do not want to live like that, and someone please end my misery if that ever happens. Here it is in black and white. But please, don’t starve me to death!! The thing is, I am sure that is his only option, and it says a lot about our society. He has no humane way of ending her misery.

So…..what’s happening in Burque?? Aside from our freak blizzard. Wasn’t that great, by the way? We had a great time. Perhaps I will post a picture or two…

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Spring snow


Maggie says:
Spring snow in New Mexico. 70 degrees on Sunday, five inches of snow on Monday. This is the craziest place. And the most beautiful. Posted by Hello

Friday, March 11, 2005

Jack Johnson, "In Between Dreams"

Maggie says:
Can't enjoy the beginning of spring because you're too busy? Can't get that damn inner dialogue out of your head that says workworkworkworkwork? Can't make it onto the plane that could transport you to a tropical beach... or at least a hammock on a porch somewhere with a beer in your hand? Can't take a nap?

Listen to this CD instead, until you can make those things happen. I promise it'll ease your mind. It's like a spring breeze coming out of your computer speakers. And let's face it - we're all in need of a good spring breeze these days.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

The irony is maddening

Maggie says:
Could there possibly be a worst choice for U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations than John Bolton? I mean, the irony is just maddening. It's almost comical that this administration would pick a bullheaded tough guy who's publicly criticized the UN to be our ambassador to the UN. But I find myself not laughing. We've never needed to rebuild our relationship with the UN and the world more. We've never needed the right person for the job more. The consequences of a move like this could be drastic, will be drastic. And I'm caught between shaking my head in disbelief and despair.

Courage in the Roundhouse

Maggie says:
The death penalty is just two votes away from being repealed in the State of New Mexico. The bill (HB 576) passed through the House and just cleared the Senate Rules Committee. Next up is a vote by the Senate Judiciary Committee and finally the full Senate.

For me, this issue is as emotional as it gets. I lived in Boston when Massachusetts was considering reinstating the death penalty after the horrific killing of Jeffrey Curley, a little boy who was raped and murdered by two men who were members of the North American Man Boy Love Association (remember that name and its acronym, NAMBLA - you'd be surprised how often you run across them in the news, and it's never for a good reason).

Those hearings were the most heart-wrenching proceedings I've ever seen in politics. There was an unspeakable crime committed and in response, a genuine organizing movement to make policy reflect what people's hearts were feeling. And so wars of words and tears were waged at the MA State House to allow the state to murder the murderers. The Curley group would ask how dare the death penalty opponents be so unfeeling, so soft on crime, to deny them the vindication they sought in the name of a murdered 8-year old. But the opponents remained steadfast, rightly pointing out that the killing of this boy is exactly why the dealth penalty is used so wrongly. If one event makes people want to change policy in order to exact a certain punishment, doesn't that show us that the death penalty is inherently unfair, inherently subjective, and entirely too emotional to be law?

Massachusetts never reinstated the dealth penalty, but it was surprising how close it came. And here in New Mexico we'll see what happens next. So far our half-asleep media has only focused on those protesting this bill and speaking out in favor of the death penalty. It will be interesting to see how the death penalty opponents and backers of this bill will be portrayed. New Mexico barely uses its death sentence as it is (something like one person in twenty years, I think). This will probably give us more of a reasoned debate than those that are in reaction to something specific, as it was in Massachusetts.

I think the tide is turning in the anti-death penalty movement. Illinois is leading the way on this, but change is happening at the ground-level, where it's always most effective. I hope the local media steps up to honestly cover this issue. HB 576 is a bill to follow, to care about, to emotionally tune into. It's a time for people to reflect. Two more votes to go...

Monday, March 07, 2005

Impact fees are for the Public Good

marjorie says...

So, did folks see that House Bill 805, which would bar the implementation of Albuquerque’s new impact fee system, was approved this weekend by the House of Representatives? Now it goes to the Senate. Proponents say that the new system is “unfair” and that impact fees should be completely uniform throughout the city. What a lot of rubbish! These impact fees would account for the very different public costs associated with different developments – period. In fact, this new system makes *fair* what is currently an entirely arbitrary and unfair system. Why should residents of inner city neighborhoods, who are struggling with crumbling infrastructure and poor city services, be subsidizing new subdivisions on the West Side?? Is it any wonder that many of the very people who move to the West Side are leaving these inner city neighborhoods? This is a vicious cycle that needs to stop.

Not to mention that this bill is a total usurpation of our municipal right to plan for our own development. The New Mexico American Planning Association website conveniently gives us the actual state legislation that authorizes municipalities to plan for development in accordance with the specific needs of that place. Here it is:

Section 3-19-9 NMSA 1978. "The plan shall be made with the general purpose of guiding and accomplishing a coordinated, adjusted and harmonious development of the municipality which will, in accordance with existing and future needs, best promote health, safety, morals, order, convenience, prosperity or the general welfare as well as efficiency and economy in the process of development."


Finally, here is a column by V.B. Price, taking these developers and friends of developers to task. I couldn’t have said it better, V.B.


V.B. Price: Carte blanche
Sprawl developers given red light for irresponsible plans

By V.B. PriceMarch 1, 2005

The National Association of Industrial and Office Properties charged this month that development impact fees mandated by the Planned Growth Strategy in Albuquerque are a "tool of social engineers."

Use of such language implies that socially responsible planning is somehow subversive, almost communistic and definitely not in the interests of those who make their millions in unregulated, sprawling development.

Sprawl follows not the market, but rather an artificial demand created by advertising and subsidized by invisible incentives, tax giveaways, bridges, roads, fire and police protection and other infrastructure freebies that keep costs down.

Impact fees, far from being forms of odious social engineering, are a fair way to counter the longstanding governmental bias against infill development that drives costs up.

For 30 years or more, sprawl developers have been given carte blanche to do whatever they want to do at public expense, while infill developers were often burdened with massive disincentives in the form political harassment.

While city government bent over backwards to do anything it could for sprawlers, and while sprawlers supported, with their massive war chests, the political campaigns of those who helped them, City Hall consistently thwarted redevelopment efforts with malign neglect.

Elections were won and lost by narrow margins, but City Hall ignored those who called for redeveloping areas that already had expensive infrastructure in place, and it opted for giveaways at public expense for those wanting to build in areas where there was nothing but sand.

If impact fees were merely a payback for years of neglect and disrespect, they might be questionable.

Impact fees finally level out the public costs of development, and I stress the word "public." It costs the public millions to subsidize development on the fringes - hence, impact fees. It costs the public relatively nothing for infill growth - hence, minimal impact fees. Impact fees take sprawlers off the public dole.

This is just straight math and is about as far from social engineering as any other prudent public policy that tries to make sure Albuquerque and New Mexico grow in appropriate ways and not in irresponsible ways benefiting the few at the expense of all.

I suppose some people might call efforts in the Legislature to regulate the drilling of private wells a form of social engineering. But they'd be wrong to do that. They might also imply that creating a strategic water reserve might hobble development in ways that are uncongenial to the marketplace. And they'd be wrong again.

Responsible stewardship of resources is not social engineering and not a communist plot.
There is more than one way to grow a vigorous economy in Albuquerque and New Mexico. It's time we look beyond the old-fashioned building-boom economy rooted in resource waste and taxpayer subsidy. Public financing of private development is a rut we don't need to be stuck in anymore.

Price is an Albuquerque freelance writer, author, editor and commentator.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Marjorie's Posse


Marjorie's rocking so hard, we're thinking of making T-shirts! Here's my suggestion for a logo. We could get rich and then gather corporate welfare ourselves! Posted by Hello

Bully Intel Pits Us Against Each Other

marjorie says...

well, well, well…

Looks like Intel bullies Oregonians for tax breaks too. And, what do you know, they use the threat of moving more of their production out of state…to New Mexico! Sounds a lot like the undertones of the company discourse back in September, when they twisted Sandoval County’s arm for a record $16 billion Industrial Development Bond, otherwise known as *Corporate Welfare*.

So, all of us little states are pitted against each other, giving away the store to keep Intel happy. Of course, it looks like Oregonians are a little more critical, a little less ready to roll over and beg like a dog…as evidenced by the very appearance of the opinion piece below in the Portland Business Journal.

Right after I received this little tidbit in my email box, a co-worker gives me an article about Intel overseas in today’s Albuquerque Journal. Seems like France and Germany are feeling threatened by the Irish wooing of High Tech companies such as Intel, through grants and other aid. It’s interesting, and instructive, how differently things are conceptualized in the EU. Ireland withdrew a major grant package to Intel yesterday because “…European Union competition authorities were likely to reject the proposed aid as illegal.” Apparently, France and Germany criticized the Irish modus operandi as “…unfair and designed to poach investment from other EU states.”

oh, if only we had competition authorities here in the states to regulate investment poaching...

Come on, folks, shouldn't Intel have to pay taxes just like everyone else??



The Business Journal, Portland

OPINION
From the February 25, 2005 print edition
Editorial

Intel: Back at trough again

Here we go again, just a bit earlier than expected. Apparently, Intel likes the tax break package it got from the state and Washington County back in 1999 well enough to want to lock in the same deal for another 20 years. Five years ago, The Business Journal took a formal stand against the tax break, even though we knew there was no way the chip leviathan would be denied. We're still not convinced that Intel needs a lot of extra help to survive.

It's easy to justify corporate welfare, especially when a company is as big and employs as many people as Intel.

Back in '99, the company made it clear that without tax breaks it wouldn't take long for Intel Oregon to become a backwater and Intel Arizona or New Mexico to take Oregon's place. Expect the same arguments this time around.

Nobody argues the importance of Intel to Oregon's economy. But corporations get a lot out of the communities in which they locate, such as access to schools, recreation and quality of life they use to recruit employees.

Intel will argue that it pays more than its fair share to support those services. That may be true, but tax breaks for select, large companies negates the idea of fairness.

Intel also will argue that its business is unique and that Oregon's tax structure is unfair to companies of its ilk. That may also be true, but Intel chose the business it's in. Asking for special favors won't make the state a better place in which to do business.

-- Dan McMillan

© 2005 American City Business Journals Inc.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Local media need to get their act together

marjorie says...

As our friends at SwopBlogger rightly point out, it’s lazy and unfair on the part of Channel 13 and the Tribune to parrot suggestions that a house burning on the West Side might be “eco-terrorism” because of the protest of a road through the Petroglyphs. Lazy is the generous assessment, because clearly an iota of critical thinking on the part of our local journo’s would lead to the obvious reflection that the protest about building a ROAD through a SACRED SITE has offered other solutions for providing transportation to the west side, and burning a house down is not exactly the logical way towards victory.

Indeed, one has to wonder why the FBI is called in, and why the word “eco-terrorism” is emphasized, when surely local police and media are well aware that the principle organizations in the protest of the road are non-violent and would never condone such an act. Rather, these organizations have already entered into a decidedly legal action by filing a lawsuit to block the road. What do advocates of protecting the Petroglyph National Monument have to do to receive a fair hearing in the media?

Check out the media pieces for yourself:

Channel 13

The Albuquerque Tribune

And if you get a wild hair and want to complain to Channel 13 or the Trib, here are their #’s:
The Trib: 823 3653
Channel 13: 243 2285

Plus, here's the press release by Laurie Weahkee of SAGE Council:

Press Statement:
Contact: Laurie Weahkee, 238-9243 or260-4696
February 18, 2005

“ Retaliation for building near sacred land”
remark is offensive and unfounded.

We are offended that without any facts regarding the burnt house out on the Petroglyph escarpment that Channel 13 would link this criminal act to the very legitimate issue of protecting Native American Sacred Sites. The statement that the fire was “retaliation for building near sacred land” is an offensive statement and unfounded. The protection of Native American Sacred Sites does not include violence or destruction of property.

SAGE Council does not condone criminal acts.

No More Killing Kids in the Name of Justice

Mikaela says:
In a big victory for opponents of the death penalty, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to outlaw the execution of those who were minors at the time of committing crimes.

Only Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Sandra Day O'Connor voted to uphold the states' rights to give minors the death penalty. In this opinion, they are trailing behind such enlightened countries as Iran, Pakistan, China and Saudi Arabia, which were among the last countries to perform juvenile executions and who have all now gone on record as opposing capital punishment for minors.

I guess now that we can't kill our teens, we'll work harder to install that curfew Marjorie wrote about. Liberty and justice for all.

Scaled-back Attack on Social Security

Mikaela says:
Republicans are starting to look around for a compromise that saves face for the President while still attacking Social Security as a social program:

This from Paul Krugman of the New York Times:
[P]rivate accounts, once established, would be used as a tool to whittle down traditional guaranteed benefits. For example, conservatives would use the existence of private accounts, together with rosy scenarios about rates of return, to argue that guaranteed benefits could be cut without hurting retirees.

In short, anyone who wants to see the nation return to fiscal responsibility, wants to preserve Social Security as an institution or both should be opposed to any deal creating private accounts. And there is also, of course, the political question: Why should any Democrat act as a spoiler when his party is doing well by doing good, gaining political ground by opposing a really bad idea? (Hello, Senator Lieberman.)

The important thing to remember is why the right wants privatization. The drive to create private accounts isn't about finding a way to strengthen Social Security; it's about finding a way to phase out a system that conservatives have always regarded as illegitimate. And as long as that is what's at stake, there is no room for any genuine compromise. When it comes to privatization, just say no.