Tuesday, September 30, 2008

[SDCPJ] [World Beat] Scorched-Earth Presidency

Institute for Policy Studies Logo A project of the Institute for Policy Studies
World Beat
by JOHN FEFFER |Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Vol. 3, No. 39

N E W    A R T I C L E S

SEPT 30 | The Cost of Boots on the Ground in Iraq
John Basil Utley

SEPT 30 | U.S. Should Boost Nonmilitary Security
Miriam Pemberton and Lawrence Korb

U P C O M I N G   

OCT 6 | IPS Mandate for Change Election Series: War and Peace
Washington DC

OCT 10 | Book Event: Broad and Cavanagh's Development Redefined
Washington DC

OCT 15 | 32nd Annual Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Awards
Washington DC

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Scorched-Earth Presidency

An army in retreat often destroys the land so that it can't be used by the adversary. This scorched earth policy began in agricultural times when retreating armies burned the fields to deprive their opponents of food. Later, the militaries would level entire cities, as the Nazis did to Warsaw before they left it to the Soviet army.

The really smart army does something a little different. It sets booby traps. Only when the victorious army walks in and establishes its headquarters do the bombs go off, destroying the city and the soldiers too.

The Bush administration has been putting fuses in place for some time now. The Iraq War is the biggest booby trap. The next administration will be saddled with the bulk of the costs - up to $3 trillion, according to estimates by Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes. It will also have to figure out how to pull the knife out of the bleeding country of Iraq without letting the victim die.

The cost of the war, coupled with the tax giveaways to the wealthy, has contributed to enlarging the U.S. budget deficit to nearly $500 billion, the highest ever. When the Clinton administration confronted the spending excesses of the Reagan-Bush years, it had to choose between deficit reduction and economic stimulus. It cut back on the latter and focused on the former. The tax-cut-and-spend Republicans learned a valuable lesson: the more debt they rack up while in office, the less their opponents can spend on public sector investment when they eventually grab the White House. Guns now mean no butter later.

And now there's the financial crisis. Whenever Congress gets around to approving a bailout package, it will likely put much of the burden onto taxpayers. But we won't really be presented the bill until the next administration. And meanwhile, it's not just the feds who will be strapped for funds. State and local governments are already projecting major budget cuts - New York City is looking at $1.5 billion in public spending cuts in New York City and Los Angeles is facing a $400 million deficit - which means more broken-down buses, unfixed schools, and closed libraries in the near future.

What does this have to do with foreign policy? Everything, as Foreign Policy In Focus columnist Walden Bello explains in Wall Street Meltdown Primer. He identifies the current crisis as the third of a series of attempts to rescue the global market from itself. The first was neoliberal restructuring - the reduction of government spending and the redistribution of money toward the wealthy. The second was globalization - removing barriers to the flow of capital.

In the third attempt, global money managers created dubious financial instruments for the creation of wealth. "The problem with investing in financial sector operations is that it is tantamount to squeezing value out of already created value," Bello writes. "It may create profit, yes, but it doesn't create new value. Only industry, agricultural, trade, and services create new value. Because profit is not based on value that is created, investment operations become very volatile and the prices of stocks, bonds, and other forms of investment can depart very radically from their real value."

And thus we have faced bubble after bubble, as our economy frothed up, lost its carbonation, and now tastes very flat indeed. As Rosa Brooks wrote in the Los Angeles Times, the United States has now officially entered the Third World. The booby trap will be sprung in the next administration when international financial institutions swoop in to impose conditions on the U.S. economy in much the way that U.S. government is now trying to rein in Wall Street. That is, if these institutions aren't destroyed in the aftermath of our own financial implosion. As FPIF contributors John Cavanagh and Robin Broad explain in an excerpt from their new book Development Redefined, the institutions of the global economy are already in a weakened state because the "adverse impacts of their policies - and the arrogance and recalcitrance of these institutions - over these past decades have sparked public opposition around the world. This became even more widespread after their spectacular failure in the Asian financial crisis. In addition to their crises of credibility and legitimacy, the World Bank and the IMF are now experiencing financial difficulties as countries bypass their resources and turn instead to China, Venezuela, and other new donors for loans, often less encumbered by onerous conditions."

Kevin Phillips, who once drafted a winning electoral strategy for the Republicans, has dissected the economic follies of his former coreligionists for some time. As FPIF senior analyst Mark Engler explains in a review of Bad Money, "When McCain was still taking comfort in the idea that America is 'still the most innovative, the most productive, the greatest exporter, the greatest importer,' Phillips was addressing a host of pressing challenges. 'U.S. housing prices, credit-bubble risk, the instability of so many financial innovations never crisis-tested, the ever-more-apparent inadequacy of global oil production, the related vulnerability of the dollar, and, behind it all, the false assurance of American 'imperial' hubris,' he pointed out, had already combined to put the country in serious jeopardy."

The first presidential debate would have been a perfect opportunity for the candidates to explain how their Bomb Disposal Unit - um, I mean, their administration - will resolve both the financial crisis and the compromised position of the United States in the world. As FPIF contributor Ira Chernus argues, however, they missed this opportunity. "The very idea that the domestic emergency eclipses international concerns is misleading, because it assumes that the two arenas can be neatly divided," he writes in Moralism vs. Pragmatism in the First Debate. "Foreign affairs and the domestic economy intersect in countless ways. But the candidates failed to make these connections or tell a compelling story about how they would remake U.S. foreign policy and, by extension, the U.S. economy."

FPIF senior analyst Stephen Zunes considered the debate a failure in other ways as well. Obama didn't challenge McCain's positions on the surge, Iran, Pakistan, or Georgia. And he was prevented by his own support for higher military spending from challenging McCain's budget priorities. "If Obama expects to defeat John McCain, who has indeed had more foreign policy experience, he must be more willing to challenge his opponent's record," Zunes concludes in Obama's Missed Opportunity. "McCain is in fact extremely vulnerable in the foreign policy realm. Obama, however, must be more rigorous in pointing out their differences and more effective in challenging McCain's weaknesses."

Given the booby traps that await the next administration - what Richard Holbrooke calls euphemistically a "daunting agenda" in the latest Foreign Affairs - it must be very difficult for these candidates to continue campaigning with a smile on their faces. That goes double for John McCain, who has a booby trap as a running mate. In a much-cited column, conservative analyst Kathleen Parker urged Sarah Palin to step down as vice presidential candidate because she is so ill-equipped for the job. "If BS were currency, Palin could bail out Wall Street herself," Parker wrote. Wow, talk about scorched earth…

The Next Debate

Unless McCain heeds Parker's advice and replaces Sarah Palin, the next debate will pit the woman from Alaska against the man from Delaware. On foreign policy matters, it will be quite a mismatch. True, Biden doesn't live in a state bordering Russia or Canada. Rather, he acquired his foreign policy experience the old-fashioned way: through travel, meetings with foreign leaders, and hammering out foreign policy legislation.

Stephen Zunes evaluates Biden's foreign policy record and finds it mixed. Although Biden has favored negotiations with Iran and stronger arms control measures, the Delaware senator also backed the Iraq invasion, NATO expansion, free-trade agreements, and unconditional support for Israel.

"Obama's choice of Biden - the quintessential figure of the Democratic Party foreign policy establishment on Capitol Hill - raises serious questions as to whether the Illinois senator really represents 'change we can believe in,'" Zunes writes in Biden's Foreign Policy 'Experience.' "At the same time, Biden has demonstrated a greater-than-average willingness to shift to more moderate positions if the prevailing pressure is from the left. His growing skepticism over Bush policy in Iraq, his calls for the withdrawal of most American combat forces, his outspoken opposition to the surge when it was put forward last year, and his tough questioning of General David Petraeus in hearings before his committee has undoubtedly been a reflection of the growing antiwar sentiment within the Democratic Party."

It would be interesting if immigration comes up in the vice presidential debate. McCain once co-sponsored a bill that would have enabled many undocumented workers to become U.S. citizens, but subsequently reversed himself. Palin's views on the issue are largely unknown, while Biden leans more toward open borders. The candidates would do well to read Illegal People, a new book by David Bacon. "When talking about policy options within the United States," FPIF contributor Michele Wucker writes in her review, "Bacon makes an essential point that is too often lost in a political arena with little room for complexity: Political and social rights for immigrants must be an integral part of a broad agenda for change. As long as Americans are insecure about their own jobs, housing, healthcare, education, and workplace rights, they will be vulnerable to the toxic misinformation spread by the anti-immigrant right."

Events in Washington

Next Monday, October 6, The Institute for Policy Studies, which runs Foreign Policy In Focus, will host a discussion panel called "The Election and War and Peace" from 12:30 - 2 p.m. Phyllis Bennis, Selig Harrison, and William D. Hartung will speak and I'll moderate. This free event will take place at the IPS office in Washington, DC at 1112 16th Street, NW; Suite 600.

If you are in the Washington area, we also hope you can join us at this year's Letelier-Moffitt human rights awards program on Wednesday, October 15, in the National Press Club Ballroom. The Institute hosts this annual event to honor the memories of Chilean diplomat Orlando Letelier and American Ronni Karpen Moffitt, who perished on their way to work at IPS in a September 21, 1976 car bombing. This year's award winners are Francisco Soberón and Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos (APRODEH) and the Indian Workers Congress. Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD) and Barbara Ehrenreich will present the awards. The event begins at 5:30 pm. Starting at 9 pm we'll watch the presidential debate together on a huge screen. Click here to register and purchase tickets and here for more information about the awards.


Walden Bello, "Wall Street Meltdown Primer," Foreign Policy In Focus
(http://www.fpif.org/fpiftxt/5560); Extraordinary events demand extraordinary explanations.

Rosa Brooks, "Hey, U.S., Welcome to the Third World," Los Angeles Times, September 18, 2008; http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-brooks18-2008sep18,0,7282720.column

John Cavanagh and Robin Broad, "Development Redefined," Foreign Policy In Focus (http://www.fpif.org/fpiftxt/5556); The death of market fundamentalism has triggered the development debate's return.

Mark Engler, "When the Betting Goes Bad," Foreign Policy In Focus (http://www.fpif.org/fpiftxt/5554); A review of Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics, and the Crisis of American Capitalism, by Kevin Phillips (Viking, 2008).

Ira Chernus, "Moralism vs. Pragmatism in the First Debate," Foreign Policy In Focus (http://www.fpif.org/fpiftxt/5563); Instead of two overarching visions of the United States in the world, the two presidential candidates in their first debate offered only a contrast in moral style.

Stephen Zunes, "Obama's Missed Opportunity," Foreign Policy In Focus (http://www.fpif.org/fpiftxt/5562); Republican candidate John McCain is vulnerable on foreign policy and Barack Obama failed to highlight these weaknesses in the first presidential debate.

Richard Holbrooke, "A Daunting Agenda," Foreign Affairs, September/October 2008; http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20080901faessay87501/richard-holbrooke/the-next-president.html

Kathleen Parker, "Palin Problem," National Review, September 26, 2008; http://article.nationalreview.com/print/?q=MDZiMDhjYTU1NmI5Y2MwZjg2MWNiMWMyYTUxZDkwNTE

Stephen Zunes, "Biden's Foreign Policy 'Experience,'" Foreign Policy In Focus (http://www.fpif.org/fpiftxt/5549); Despite a few nods in the direction of a progressive foreign policy, vice presidential hopeful Joe Biden sides all too often with hawks.

"Palin's Immigration Views Unknown," UPI, September 3, 2008; http://www.upi.com/Top_News/2008/09/03/Palins_immigration_views_unknown/UPI-34381220491285/

"Joe Biden on Immigration," OnTheIssues.com; http://www.ontheissues.org/International/Joe_Biden_Immigration.htm

Michelle Wucker, "Broken Immigration System," Foreign Policy In Focus (http://www.fpif.org/fpiftxt/5557); David Bacon's Illegal People illustrates how current immigration laws hurt citizens and legal immigrants as well as the undocumented immigrants whom the laws target.


. . .

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Monday, September 29, 2008

[SDCPJ] Join the Peace Center for Dinner at the Big Kitchen, October 15

The Peace Resource Center of San Diego invites you to a Spaghetti Dinner (includes meat or veggie sauce, salad, garlic bread, tea, lemonade and a brownie. Great food and great company!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008, 6-8 p.m. Suggested donation: $10 or ??? Sliding Scale; Please order your tickets by calling Sue 858-274-8447 or Allen, 619-282-4358.

Big Kitchen Cafe, 3003 Grape St., San Diego.

www.prcsd.org or info@prcsd.org

The Rich Are Robbing Us

The Rich Are Staging a Coup This Morning ...a message from Michael Moore
Date: Mon, 29 Sep 2008 03:01:58 -0400

Let me cut to the chase. The biggest robbery in the history of this country is taking place as you read this. Though no guns are being used, 300 million hostages are being taken. Make no mistake about it: After stealing a half trillion dollars to line the pockets of their war-profiteering backers for the past five years, after lining the pockets of their fellow oilmen to the tune of over a hundred billion dollars in just the last two years, Bush and his cronies -- who must soon vacate the White House -- are looting the U.S. Treasury of every dollar they can grab. They are swiping as much of the silverware as they can on their way out the door.
No matter what they say, no matter how many scare words they use, they are up to their old tricks of creating fear and confusion in order to make and keep themselves and the upper one percent filthy rich. Just read the first four paragraphs of the
lead story   http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/22/business/22lobby.html
in last Monday's New York Times and you can see what the real deal is:

"Even as policy makers worked on details of a $700 billion bailout of the financial industry, Wall Street began looking for ways to profit from it.

"Financial firms were lobbying to have all manner of troubled investments covered, not just those related to mortgages.

"At the same time, investment firms were jockeying to oversee all the assets that Treasury plans to take off the books of financial institutions, a role that could earn them hundreds of millions of dollars a year in fees.

"Nobody wants to be left out of Treasury's proposal to buy up bad assets of financial institutions."
Unbelievable. Wall Street and its backers created this mess and now they are going to clean up like bandits. Even Rudy Giuliani is lobbying for his firm to be hired (and paid)  to "consult" in the bailout.  

The problem is, nobody truly knows what this "collapse" is all about. Even Treasury Secretary Paulson admitted he doesn't know the exact amount that is needed (he just picked the $700 billion number out of his head!). The head of the congressional budget office said he can't figure it out nor can he explain it to anyone.  

And yet, they are screeching about how the end is near! Panic! Recession! The Great Depression! Y2K! Bird flu! Killer bees! We must pass the bailout bill today!! The sky is falling! The sky is falling!
Falling for whom? NOTHING in this "bailout" package will lower the price of the gas you have to put in your car to get to work. NOTHING in this bill will protect you from losing your home. NOTHING in this bill will give you health insurance.  

Health insurance? Mike, why are you bringing this up? What's this got to do with the Wall Street collapse?
It has everything to do with it. This so-called "collapse" was triggered by the massive defaulting and foreclosures going on with people's home mortgages. Do you know why so many Americans are losing their homes? To hear the Republicans describe it, it's because too many working class idiots were given mortgages that they really couldn't afford. Here's the truth: The number one cause of people declaring bankruptcy is because of
medical bills. Let me state this simply: If we had had universal health coverage, this mortgage "crisis" may never have happened.  

This bailout's mission is to protect the obscene amount of wealth that has been accumulated in the last eight years. It's to protect the top shareholders who own and control corporate America. It's to make sure their yachts and mansions and "way of life" go uninterrupted while the rest of America suffers and struggles to pay the bills. Let the rich suffer for once. Let them pay for the bailout. We are spending 400 million dollars a day on the war in Iraq. Let them end the war immediately and save us all another half-trillion dollars!
I have to stop writing this and you have to stop reading it. They are staging a financial coup this morning in our country. They are hoping Congress will act fast before they stop to think, before we have a chance to stop them ourselves. So stop reading this and do something -- NOW! Here's what you can do immediately:  

 or e-mail Senator Obama  http://my.barackobama.com/page/s/contact2  Tell him he does not need to be sitting there trying to help prop up Bush and Cheney and the mess they've made. Tell him we know he has the smarts to slow this thing down and figure out what's the best route to take. Tell him the rich have to pay for whatever help is offered. Use the leverage we have now to insist on a moratorium on home foreclosures, to insist on a move to universal health coverage, and tell him that we the people need to be in charge of the economic decisions that affect our lives, not the barons of Wall Street.
2. Take to the streets.
Participate  http://truemajority.wiredforchange.com/event/distributedEventCalendar.jsp
 in one of the hundreds of quickly-called demonstrations that are taking place all over the country (especially those near Wall Street and DC).
3. Call your Representative in Congress and your Senators. (
click here to find their phone numbershttp://www.visi.com/juan/congress/  Tell them what you told Senator Obama.
When you screw up in life, there is hell to pay. Each and every one of you reading this knows that basic lesson and has paid the consequences of your actions at some point. In this great democracy, we cannot let there be one set of rules for the vast majority of hard-working citizens, and another set of rules for the elite, who, when they screw up, are handed one more gift on a silver platter. No more! Not again!
Michael Moore
P.S. Having read further the details of this bailout bill, you need to know you are being lied to. They talk about how they will prevent golden parachutes. It says NOTHING about what these executives and fat cats will make in SALARY. According to Rep. Brad Sherman of California, these top managers will continue to receive million-dollar-a-month paychecks under this new bill. There is no direct ownership given to the American people for the money being handed over. Foreign banks and investors will be allowed to receive billion-dollar handouts. A large chunk of this $700 billion is going to be given directly to Chinese and Middle Eastern banks. There is NO guarantee of ever seeing that money again.
P.P.S. From talking to people I know in DC, they say the reason so many Dems are behind this is because Wall Street this weekend put a gun to their heads and said either turn over the $700 billion or the first thing we'll start blowing up are the pension funds and 401(k)s of your middle class constituents. The Dems are scared they may make good on their threat. But this is not the time to back down or act like the typical Democrat we have witnessed for the last eight years. The Dems handed a stolen election over to Bush. The Dems gave Bush the votes he needed to invade a sovereign country. Once they took over Congress in 2007, they refused to pull the plug on the war. And now they have been cowered into being accomplices in the crime of the century. You have to
call them now http://www.visi.com/juan/congress/ and say "NO!" If we let them do this, just imagine how hard it will be to get anything good done when President Obama is in the White House. THESE DEMOCRATS ARE ONLY AS STRONG AS THE BACKBONE WE GIVE THEM. CALL CONGRESS NOW. http://www.visi.com/juan/congress/

Join Mike's Mailing List  http://www.visi.com/juan/congress/
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Networking for Social Justice
"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."
Mahatma Gandhi

9/11 Responders Need Floor Vote For Health Care


CONTACT: John Feal – 516-901-7427
Anne Marie Baumann – 516-551-0986

September 27, 2008-New York, NY-As the Congress continues to work on the rescue package, renamed from bailout package 9/11 responders throughout America wait for a vote on HR7174 the 9/11 Health & Compensation Bill, seven years after 9/11.

SAVE THE BRAVE, a documentary was given to all Members of Congress encouraging their support for the much needed help responders require following their service at Ground Zero. Real illnesses and no actors were used in making this portrait of suffering.

John Feal, president of the Fealgood Foundation comments, " It is imperative that everyone reading this email pick up the phone and call Speaker Pelosi's office and demand that this Bill gets a vote on the House floor. Where has President Bush's enthusiasm for "getting it done" been when it comes to taking care of 9/11 responders who should be the first symbol of America's promise to provide adequate health care. We are watching our government move with precision when it is important to stabilize world financial markets. How about stabilizing the 9/11 responder families devastated, sick and dying from serving their country, we need deeds not empty words".

Negotiations have been on going this week on the legislation drafted by Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and supported by the NY delegation. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has been personally involved in bringing the Bill to the floor for a vote, which is expected to offer relief for responders affected by health and compensation matters related to their time of service at Ground Zero.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

[SDCPJ] Save the Date Fri, Oct 24: Book Tour; Bill Fletcher, Jr. & Fernando Gapasin to discuss "SOLIDARITY DIVIDED"

  1. Please print and post:
Join Bill Fletcher, Jr. & Fernando Gapasin to discuss
their new book
The crisis in organized labor and a new path toward social justice

Friday, October 24th. 7- 9:30 PM.
Books available for sale.

Vermont St in Hillcrest - just north of
University & next to Trader Joe’s)
Please use Ralph’s underground parking

Note:  There will another appearance at USD on Friday, Oct. 24th;  Time and location TBA

"A landmark in all debates about 'what next' for
labor."—Mike Davis, author of Prisoners of the
American Dream

"Both in its sweeping analysis and priceless
reportage, Solidarity Divided is a deeply illuminating
book and a solid argument for why our unions
need to reclaim their historic heritage as a militant,
grassroots movement."—Barbara Ehrenreich,
author of Nickel and Dimed

Bill Fletcher, Jr. is Director of Field
Services and Education for the American
Federation of Government Employees,
Executive Editor of BlackCommentator.com,
and Co-Founder of the Center for Labor
Renewal. He was formerly the Education
Director and later Assistant to the President
of the AFL-CIO.

Fernando Gapasin is President of the
Central Oregon Labor Council and General
Board Member of the Oregon State
Federation of Labor. He currently teaches at
the University of Oregon. He was the
principal researcher of the AFL-CIO’s Union
Cities program and former faculty at the
National Labor College (Labor Studies), Penn
State (Industrial Relations), and UCLA (Chicana/o Studies).

**This Event is Free** (Nobody turned away for lack of funds –
Donations Gladly Accepted)

To RSVP or for more info, contact Martin (activist@cox.net/619‐871‐9354).
Sponsored by San Diego Socialist Unity Network & Freedom Road Socialist Org.

Palin Investigation

AP Investigation: Palin got zoning aid, gifts
By BRETT J. BLACKLEDGE, Associated Press Writer

WASILLA, Alaska - Though Sarah Palin depicts herself as a pit bull fighting good-old-boy politics, in her years as mayor she and her friends received special benefits more typical of small-town politics as usual, an Associated Press investigation shows.

When Palin needed to sell her house during her last year as Wasilla mayor, she got the city to sign off on a special zoning exception — and did so without keeping a promise to remove a potential fire hazard.

She gladly accepted gifts from merchants: A free "awesome facial" she raved about in a thank-you note to a spa. The "absolutely gorgeous flowers" she received from a welding supply store. Even fresh salmon to take home.

She also stepped in to help friends or neighbors with City Hall dealings. She asked the City Council to add a friend to the list of speakers at a 2002 meeting — and then the friend got up and asked them to give his radio station advertising business.

That year, records show, she tried to help a neighbor and political contributor fighting City Hall over his small lakeside development. Palin wanted the city to refund some of the man's fees, but the city attorney told the mayor she didn't have the authority.

Palin claims she has more executive experience than her opponent and the two presidential candidates, but most of those years were spent running a city with a population of less than 7,000.

Some of her first actions after being elected mayor in 1996 raised possible ethical red flags: She cast the tie-breaking vote to propose a tax exemption on aircraft when her father-in-law owned one, and backed the city's repeal of all taxes a year later on planes, snow machines and other personal property. She also asked the council to consider looser rules for snow machine races. Palin and her husband, Todd, a champion racer, co-owned a snow machine store at the time.

Palin often told the City Council of her personal involvement in such issues, but that didn't stop her from pressing them, according to minutes of council meetings.

She sometimes followed a cautious path in the face of real or potential conflicts — for example, stepping away from the table in 1997 when the council considered a grant for the Iron Dog snow machine race in which her husband competes.

But mostly, like other Wasilla elected officials at the time, she took an active role on issues that directly affected and sometimes benefited her. Her efforts to clear the way for the $327,000 sale of the Palin family home on Lake Wasilla is an example.

Two months before Palin's tenure as mayor ended in 2002, she asked city planning officials to forgive zoning violations so she could sell her house. Palin had a buyer, but he wouldn't close the deal unless she persuaded the city to waive the violations with a code variance.

The Palins, who were finishing work on a new waterfront house on Lake Lucille about two miles away, asked the city for the variance. The request was opposed by one planning official and some neighbors.

"I would ask that the Wasilla Planning Commission apply the exact same rules in this situation that it would apply to other similar requests so that our community can see that being a public figure does not give anyone special benefits," urged neighbor Clyde Boyer Jr. in a 2002 note to the city.

The Palins' house was built by the original owner too close to the shoreline and too close to adjacent properties on each side, including a carport that stretched so far over it nearly connected the two houses.

The Palins didn't create the zoning problems, but they should have known about them when they bought the house, wrote Susan Lee, a code compliance officer with the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, in response to the Palins' request. The borough, similar to a county government, makes recommendations to the city, which has final say.

Lee, in recommending the city reject the request, noted that the exception was needed to resolve an "inconvenience" the Palins experienced while trying to sell their house. In 1989, another borough planner told a previous owner that a variance for the carport couldn't be approved because it didn't meet required conditions and was a potential fire hazard.

But in August 2002, Wasilla Planner Tim Krug approved a "shoreline setback exception" for the Palins' house being built too closely to the water. He sent an e-mail to the mayor saying he was drafting another variance for the side of the house built too close to the property line, but that he understood from her that the other side "will be corrected and the carport will be removed."

Krug asked Palin to let him know if he was wrong in his impression that the carport would be removed.

A few minutes later, the mayor e-mailed back: "Sounds good."

On Sept. 10, 2002, the seven-member Wasilla Planning Commission unanimously approved a variance for both sides of the property, with language covering "all existing structures." Less than a week later, the Palins signed a deed to sell the house to Henry Nosek.

The carport was never removed.

Nosek said Sarah Palin didn't do anything more than any other citizen would have done.

"I sincerely don't feel that Sarah used her position as mayor at the time to get that accomplished," said Nosek, who no longer lives in the home.

James Svara, professor of public affairs at Arizona State University and author of "The Ethics Primer for Public Administrators in Government and Nonprofit Organizations," suggested such behavior is part of small-town politics.

"Small towns are first-person politics, and if people are close, it's hard to separate one's own personal interest and one's own personal property from the work of the city," Svara said. The key questions from an ethics standpoint include whether the politician makes a potential conflict of interest known and removes himself or herself from actions related to it, he added.

"I think in a small town there is a greater likelihood that people will accept that you will pay careful attention to friends and neighbors," he said, adding that there may be some local gossip about it, but not a lot of public scrutiny. "At the national level, there will be far more people watching, there will be far more pressures to come forward to try to influence the outcome."


Associated Press writer Sharon Theimer in Washington contributed to this report

Thursday, September 25, 2008

[SDCPJ] Protest military gun ranges in SD schools, Oct. 14



Students, parents and teachers


OCT. 14, 2008

San Diego Unified School Board Meeting


They would rather have our students go into the military than to college. It's your chance to help end the militarization of our YOUTH!


Students, parents and teachers have been protesting the 11 gun ranges operated by Jr. ROTC in San Diego high schools. Gun ranges are not required for Jr. ROTC; cities like Chicago have removed them. Join us to demand the same!


Come to the Education Center, 4100 Normal St., San Diego

We will address the board at 3pm. WE NEED YOU THERE BY 2:45 pm

For more information:
Education Not Arms Coalition, via ujimainstitute@yahoo.com, www.projectyano.org/educationnotarms/




¡Los estudiantes, padres de familia y maestros,
necesitan su apoyo!



Reunión de la Junta Educativa del Distrito Escolar Unificado de San Diego


Los representantes prefieren que nuestros hijas e hijos se enlisten en las fuerzas armadas en lugar de ir a la universidad. ¡Ésta es su oportunidad de eliminar la militarización de nuestra juventud!


Los estudiantes, padres de familia y maestros han protestado contra la existencia de 11 campos de tiro en las preparatorias del distrito por el JROTC.  Los campos de tiro no son un requisito en el programa de JROTC; algunas ciudades como Chicago los han eliminado.  ¡Apóyennos para exigir lo mismo!


Venga al Centro de Educación en el 4100 Normal St., San Diego
Nosotros hablaremos ante la Junta a las 3PM. ¡Esté presente a las 2:45 PM!

Si necesita más información vaya a:
Education Not Arms Coalition, via ujimainstitute@yahoo.com, www.projectyano.org/educationnotarms/

Looking for simple solutions to your real-life financial challenges? Check out WalletPop for the latest news and information, tips and calculators.

[SDCPJ] peace meditation and communion at Friendship Park -- Oct 5 and new article

Dear Friends of Friendship Park.  Thank you for helping to spread the word about the “Peace Meditation and World Communion Sunday” celebration at Friendship Park on Sunday, October 5.


1)       ANNOUNCEMENT – Here is some text that you can use to spread word about the event in newsletters, bulletins, e-mail distribution, etc. 

PEACE MEDITATION & COMMUNION THROUGH THE BORDER FENCE - Sunday, October 5, 2:30 p.m., Friendship Park. Experience the true meaning of “World Communion Sunday” as we break bread together and share the cup through the border fence. Meditation for peace followed by interfaith communion with U.S. and Mexican clergy. Sponsored by: American Friends Service Committee; Border Angels; Border Meet Up Group; Center for Justice & Reconciliation, PLNU; Foundation for Change; St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral; Si Se Puede Immigrant Rights Organization.  Directions: from I-5, exit West on Dairy Mart Road.  Dairy Mart turns into Monument Road, which leads to Border Field State Park ($5 per vehicle on entrance). Valid U.S. identification required. Info: http://procambio.ning.com or John Fanestil at 619-823-6223.


2)       PLANNING – If you’d like to participate in planning this event, we will meet by conference call tomorrow, Friday, September 26 at 12 noon.  Please contact me for call-in information.  If you can’t make the call tomorrow, but would like to speak today at 12 noon, please let me know and I’ll make arrangements.


3)       ARTICLE – Attached please find a copy of my forthcoming article about Friendship Park, which is featured on the cover of the forthcoming issue of The Christian Century.




John Fanestil

Cell: 619-823-6223




John Fanestil

Executive Director

Foundation for Change


(619) 692-0527




[SDCPJ] Reminder: GreenBuilt Tour, Oct 4-5

San Diego EarthWorks' GreenBuilt Tour 2008

A Self-guided Tour of "Green" Architecture and Construction
October 4-5 10am-4pm

Choose from 20 commercial and residential sites to visit, and talk with
the owners and builder to find out what they did, how they did it, and
why. If you're interested in how "green" construction and remodeling can
save energy, water, natural resources, your health... and $$$, this tour
is for you.


Detailed information about the GreenBuilt Tour sites is available at

===== Volunteers Needed! =====

Like all EarthWorks events, the GreenBuilt Tour is produced and staffed
by volunteers. We still need volunteers; for complete information, and
to sign up on-line, please visit:

Chris Klein
GreenBuilt Tour Manager

Kym Raines
GreenBuilt Tour Development

p.s. If you would like to be removed from this email list, just let us know.

Sdcpj mailing list

[SDCPJ] Oct. 11 Forum/Teach-In: "Wars, Elections & Empire at the Crossroads"


Saturday October 11, 2008



A half-day, comprehensive San Diego workshop/teach-in touching on all facets of the United States' and the world's movement towards wars and military confrontations.  Stay for the whole session or just participate in workshop sessions of your choosing.

Saturday, October 11, 2008
Noon to 6 PM
San Diego City College
Room A-213
1313 Park Blvd
Downtown San Diego, on Park Boulevard
just south of Balboa Park

Some of the Scheduled Speakers:

Marjorie Cohn

Mike Davis

Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz
















Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Video: Bob Bowman Speaks at San Diego County Community Coalition Sep 2008 Summit

Sep 21, 2008 Bob Bowman, National Commander, The Patriots, and Stephanie Monroe of Center On Policy Initiatives speak at the 21 September 2008 Comm...

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

[SDCPJ] *** Let's Party!!! DNC/RNC Legal Fund Benefit Show @ the Free Skool on Sat (9/27)***

 DNC/RNC Legal Fund Benefit Show @ the Free Skool on Sat (9/27)

please forward widely


Saturday, September 27, 7 pm
$5 donation requested, all proceeds from the event go to the legal defense funds for the DNC and RNC demonstrators

City Heights Free Skool (http://www.cityheightsfreeskool.org)
4246 Wightman Street, SD
Map (http://tinyurl.com/freeskoolmap)

Abject (http://www.myspace.com/abject1234)
Nikki and the Mongoloid (http://tinyurl.com/nikkimongoloid)
M(A)N vs. M@N (http://tinyurl.com/manvsman)
Dreaded Solution (http://tiny url.com/dreadedsolution)

RNC Welcoming Committee


National Lawyers Guild DNC Peoples' Law Project


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[SDCPJ] Stop the U.S.-India Nuclear Deal

FCNL: Friends Committee on National Legislation, A Quaker Lobby in the Public Interest
FCNL: Friends Committee on National Legislation, A Quaker Lobby in the Public Interest
Urge Congress to Oppose Nuclear Deal

Stop the U.S.-India Nuclear Deal

By this time next week, Congress will likely have left Washington for the countdown to Election Day. Before your representative and senators go home, President Bush is urging them to rush through a nuclear cooperation agreement with India allowing that country to resume nuclear testing without facing international sanctions. India has already exploded one nuclear weapon and has refused to join the international agreement to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.

Urge your members of Congress to oppose any deal with India allowing that country to resume nuclear testing.

Congress could improve relations with India without agreeing to its resumption of nuclear testing, without enabling the Indian government to increase production of nuclear weapons by up to 500 percent. Congress should insist that before the United States signs any nuclear cooperation agreement, India agree to

  • not produce or test any more nuclear weapons;
  • sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which prohibits all nuclear test explosions; and
  • stop the production of highly enriched uranium and plutonium - fissile materials used in the production of nuclear weapons. All five acknowledged nuclear weapons states (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) have halted production of fissile materials.

Insisting on these safeguards would likely mean that the agreement would be dead for this Congress. A dead agreement would be better than one that undermines efforts to rid the world of nuclear weapons.

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