Monday, January 24, 2005

Report on Humboldt Day

The first annual Humboldt Day was held this past Saturday at the Gazebo in Eureka's Old Town. I estimate the crowd was about 250 strong at its peak. In addition to addressing the audience about No Confidence for approximately six minutes, I spent much of the day mingling in the crowd or hanging out with Scott Menzies manning the petition table. I regret that I didn't focus more on listening to some of the other speakers. Still, I will offer below what impressions I did form from an entirely pleasant event.

So first of all, there was a fantastic band whose name I never got. They played funky eastern-tinged grooves before, after and at certain points during the event. It had been hoped that they would interplay more with the speakers but then the speakers were also imagined to interact more with each other. To the audience unaware of the loose planning that occurred in advance, I think it probably seemed entirely orderly and reasonably efficient. There were no major snafus or disruptions that might have made the "production" seem amateurish. This is a credit to everyone who participated yesterday but most of all to Jack Nounnan. As what I've been calling the conceptual architect of Humboldt Day, Jack's vision was slightly unfulfilled while still an ambitious achievement has moved us forward.

Over the past few weeks there was an evolving program, like a theater playbill, that had the sequence of the speakers and topics. Unfortunately I do not have one at the moment. I want to reference some of the people known by their one-word nicknames, such as Sleeper and Verbena and others. Plus it would help me be clear about who I met.

The first person to speak introduced himself as Mike. He was part of a team of facilitators that moved things along between topic-speakers and performers. He approached me at the end of the day and complimented my stage time. He was surprised that I was as polished on the subject as I am and that he had not heard of me before. I think he is one of many people who heard the No Confidence call to action on Saturday. The message was explicit: sign the petition calling for a town hall forum on election reform, and requesting the No Confidence Resolution be put on the City Council agenda; and then go home and call the Councilmembers with this message. I got many new names for the mailing list. Let me know if you want to join.

Mike introduced Bill Thompson, a prominent member of Veterans For Peace, who spoke about his time in the service, I believe he said in Korea, and how he has been committed to teaching and peace and teaching peace. Bill also played an auto harp and sang. There were also musical performances from the Raging Grannies, a group of older women who sang an a capella medley, and a group from the Dell'Arte performing arts school in Blue Lake who dressed formally and spoofed billionaires for Bush.

So I already confessed to not giving the other main speakers my undivided attention, but the ones I remember include Harmony Groves, Arcata City Councilmember, who read a statement on behalf of I believe a minister. Harmony introduced me to the stage which was actually the spiral brick ramp that leads up to a concrete covered patio, collectively called the Gazebo. The band was at the top and along the rail coming about half way up the ramp were microphones for the speakers and performers. We faced into a courtyard bordered by small shops. There were about eight organizational or informational tables set up.

I also remember Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap talking about corporate power and community currency. I remember hearing about war tax resistance from a woman whose name I don't know. Verbena talked about forest defense and the pledge of resistance. I wish I could remember in greater detail because these people are so amazing. The biggest takeaway for me from Humboldt Day was that this community is mobilizing, there are plenty of people who get it, and we are capable of organizing ourselves and working together. I wish for people in other communities to feel that triumph and to build confidence upon that basis.

There were other speakers I have completely omitted from this report. I hereby apologize to them all. This advocacy journalist was clearly more in advocate mode that day. Perhaps a lesson on balance?

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Sunday, January 23, 2005

Fascism References in NY Times, Fox News, Church Sermon

Exposing America's descent into fascism has been a core part of the GuvWurld mission since day one. The collection of articles in the Fascism section of the GuvWurld News Archive is at 130 and growing. And the GuvWurld blog has devoted several entries to comparing the current reality of America with the definitions of fascism and democracy.

It is imperative that we accurately identify our condition if we are to successfully address it. To that end, observe how the concept of fascism is misapplied by those who otherwise should be fairly labeled as part of the Americorporate regime. Media Matters quotes Fox News propagandist Bill O'Reilly as he lashes out at the ACLU for opposing teaching intelligent design in high school biology:
O'Reilly: "They won't even tell you in the statement what intelligent design entails. They won't mention a creator, a deity, a God. You know why? Because the ACLU then can haul them into court and cost them $100,000 to defend themselves. Fascism, fascism, fascism. Okay? Ah, drive me nuts! Hitler would be a card-carrying ACLU member. So would Stalin. Castro probably is. And so would Mao Zedong."
O'Reilly's assertion is ludicrous on it's face. Fascism is not a practice for an individual or even a single large organization. Fascism requires a consolidation of political power through a merger of corporate interests, military aggressiveness at home and abroad, and restrictive media control of propaganda, just for starters.

As a manipulative method, religion is also invoked, often in ways transparently opposite to the spirit of the teachings. On 11/7/04, Davidson Loehr gave a sermon to the Universal Unitarians in Austin, TX entitled "Living Under Fascism." Like GuvWurld, Loehr concerns himself with definitions so that his audience might then recognize their reality in more accurate terms. His intro:
"You may wonder why anyone would try to use the word "fascism" in a serious discussion of where America is today. It sounds like cheap name-calling, or melodramatic allusion to a slew of old war movies. But I am serious. I don't mean it as name-calling at all. I mean to persuade you that the style of governing into which America has slid is most accurately described as fascism, and that the necessary implications of this fact are rightly regarded as terrifying."
It really is a worthwhile read, if only to experience another's thoughtful approach to laying out the case many of us may need to make many more times and with a greater deftness of persuasion. One other quote from Loehr deserves special attention:
"It is both accurate and helpful for us to understand fundamentalism as religious fascism, and fascism as political fundamentalism."
Today's NYTimes also contains several mentions of fascism in this opinion column by Thomas Friedman:
"Either Iraqis turn out in large numbers to take control of their own future and write their own constitution - and I think they will - or the fascist insurgents there prevent them from doing so, in which case the Bush team will have to move to Plan B."


"This war also can't be won with troops - only with turnout. This is a war between Iraqi voters and insurgents - ballots versus bullets. And the people who understand that best are the fascist insurgents."


""The most important threat [to the West] is Islamic terrorism," said Bernard Kouchner, the founder of Doctors Without Borders, and one of the few French intellectuals to support the ouster of Saddam. This is not a war with the Muslim religion, he stressed, but with a violent "fascist" Muslim minority. "We [in the West] have always been allied against fascism since the Second World War," he said. "We have to be together, America and Europe, because our enemies are the same, Muslim extremism and fascism," but right now, unlike in Bosnia, "we are apart.""
Friedman is only slightly less disingenuous than O'Reilly here. "Insurgents," by definition a minority group of rebels, cannot accurately be assigned the label "fascist," which implies empowerment and control the group simply doesn't have. It is somewhat of a classic technique of the powerful to project onto others the same negative attributes that would rightly explain the power's corruption. GuvWurld has honored this tactic with a section of the news archive called Black Kettles. The quintessential example may be George W. Bush saying "they hate our freedom." Who really hates our freedom?

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Tuesday, January 18, 2005

A Program To Restore Election Legitimacy

The following essay came out today in this week's Arcata Eye. Since not all content from this paper is posted on their site, I have uploaded a scanned copy into the GuvWurld News Archive.

A Program To Restore Election Legitimacy

What is it with elections in America today? Why do they keep creating such controversy? Is it even possible to find someone who has complete confidence in the system, someone who thinks things are exactly as they should be?

Elections, as a measure of the will of the people, should be transparent, observable, and create records that forever sustain unanimous agreement about the outcome. Current conditions do not permit US federal elections to be accepted beyond question. I'm not interested in proving that fraud has been committed or in overturning the results of any recent election. Instead, let us work to create conditions that will make our election process and results unquestionable and beyond reproach. Above all, we need to create a basis for confidence in US federal elections where none currently exists.

Last July, Arcata's City Council passed the Building Confidence Resolution. This is the beginning of the right idea but needs to go further. Just as the foundation of a house must be laid before the walls and roof are built, so too must a basis for confidence be created before voters will be justified in building confidence. I am looking forward, with hope and determination, to a comprehensive set of election reforms that benefits us all. This collection of proposed changes is contained in the No Confidence Resolution, recently submitted for consideration at both the Arcata and Eureka City Councils and available online at These changes are as follows:
1) all private corporations are divested of ownership in election machines, and
2) clean money laws keep all corporate funds out of campaign financing, and
3) any future mechanisms for voting conform to a uniform national standard and produce a verifiable audit trail for every vote, and
4) all votes are cast on the same day, designated as a national holiday, with the exception of absentee ballots which will be granted to applicants meeting a narrow list of federally determined criteria, and
5) all votes are counted publicly in the presence of citizen witnesses and credentialed members of the media, and
6) equal time provisions are observed by the media along with a measurable increase in local, public control of the airwaves, and
7) presidential debates contain a minimum of three candidates, and are run by a non-partisan commission comprised of representatives of publicly owned media outlets, and
8) instant runoff voting (see H.R. 5293) and proportional representation replace the winner- take-all system for federal elections
Collectively, these reforms will ensure honest competition in the “free marketplace of ideas,” allowing us to vote our hopes not our fears. They will eliminate inherent conflicts of interest among voting machine manufacturers and the media. The voice of the people will be heard more clearly, and carry the preponderance of weight over corporations and other special interests. The means by which votes are recorded and tabulated will be standardized, secured, and held to account. And voter turnout will increase dramatically. In short, we can create a basis for confidence in US federal elections, restoring our faith, as voters, in the electoral process.

Of course, no City Council alone has the means to implement these changes to our federal election process. However, as a strategy for developing an overall national platform, organizing locally will harmonize the voices in our community, and then amplify the message through our recognized community spokespeople. Arcata is one of over 300 communities to pass an anti-Patriot Act resolution. There is sound precedent for anticipating a similar trend.

I understand that some people prefer our local Councils concern themselves only with local matters. Yet we are all affected by the results of presidential elections thus making them of local concern. If our views can't get a fair hearing by our most local officials, what possible reason is there to think those in positions of higher power will take us seriously? For that matter, what chance would a single Congressmember have of bringing the entire House around to undo the corrupt and undemocratic conditions that they themselves have helped to create?

If America ceased to be a democracy, would we be able to tell? Would we look only at our electoral system, or would we consider infringements upon basic rights, such as "free speech zones"? Is it fair game to ask who decides how our taxes are spent, and consider it undemocratic if the answer is not We The People? And how about all those seats in Congress that both parties consider "safe"? This is indicative of simulated competition. Surely this term also applies to bogus elections.

Some people may still argue that America is a democracy. But is there really any total number of examples to cite that would offset the fundamental ways in which it just isn’t so anymore? I don’t think this debate hinges on who makes more individual points. You can’t be a little bit pregnant and you can’t have democracy without free and fair elections, a right to petition leaders for redress of grievances, and a say in how the commons (not just taxes, but natural resources too) are treated in our name.

On the whole, most people in our community would likely agree that democracy is favorable and that we should want it and have it and protect it and nurture it. How true will we be to these ideals? Let us start by acknowledging that conditions do not currently exist for US federal elections to be beyond question. Let us recognize that this is the equivalent of saying there is no basis for confidence in the legitimacy of US federal elections. This notion is now married to forward-looking, solution-oriented reforms designed to offer universal advantages to all voters. Please let members of your local City Council know that you agree, and that they should take up and pass the No Confidence Resolution.

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Sunday, January 16, 2005

Guest Post: Letter to AZ Rep. Hayworth

This letter was written the day after the Electoral College vote was counted by Congress. The author is an old friend of GuvWurld and is identified at the end of the letter. I expect any reply received from Rep. Hayworth would be forwarded here for a follow-up post.


Dear Representative Hayworth:

Thank you for reading my email.

Regarding your brief speech at the January 6th certification of electors...

You mentioned there was misinformation in some of the reports out of Ohio ("some that are inaccurate"). Please refer to the following link to John Conyers' report. I request that you detail what exactly is untrue in the report and make that available on your website:

You said "We should operate by the consent of the governed." You stated this as it relates to Bush winning the popular vote. That the people have spoken. I agree. However, the representatives that protested yesterday were also operating by the consent of the governed by giving voice to those people in Ohio who felt they were discriminated against. They have spoken as well.

You also said that the protest "Serves to plant the insidious seeds of doubt in the electoral process." From the protestors perspective, the process is broken. So why wouldn't they want to shine light on its problems? When there is no paper trail for e-voting machines AND when many of those machines are made by companies which have pledged Republican support, then the electoral process is broken. I refer to the CEO of Diebold stating that he would do all he can to deliver Ohio to Bush and also to Sen. Chuck Hagel getting elected on his own ES&S machines in Nebraska. Such conflicts of interest are more insidious than an election protest. Ideas implemented by HAVA still HAVA many problems. A paper trail and open source codes for e-voting would be a good start toward a solution.

You used the terms "Sour Grapes" and "Publicity Stunt" to describe the January 6th protest. Do you feel it is hypocritical to use these terms when Republicans charged after Bill Clinton relentlessly from the moment he was elected in 1992 until the day he left in 2001? That more time was spent investigating fellatio and Whitewater than was spent investigating 911?

It was mentioned that January 6 was not the time and place to bring up these issues. I say, it wouldn't be a protest otherwise. True, many of those who protested at the podium later voted to uphold the election results, but there were about 30 representatives who voted against. Those ~30 people were speaking for many thousands of people from Ohio who felt they were disenfranchised. January 6th was the only time and place to formally protest the election. I believe that is written in the U.S. Constitution.

I find it curious that Republican members of the house kept saying that the protest was a waste of time and that you could be spending time on important business. Can you tell me what important business needs to be addressed during your January 7-19 recess? Can you tell me how a 2-hour debate on January 6th was cutting into your time in "moving the country forward" during your 12-day vacation? Please post your reasoning on your website.

I cannot speak to the quotes you read from David Wade and Joe Lockhart because I cannot locate them. Perhaps you can post this on your website as well.

Thank you, Rep. Hayworth. I appreciate your time.


David Migliore
Tempe, AZ

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Friday, January 14, 2005

GuvWurld Week In Review

Never assume from the lack of posts here that nothing is going on. I've been too busy to keep the GuvWurld blog current this week.

The big achievements are two new essays for mainstream publication. The first, shown here, appeared in today's Eureka Times-Standard. The second will appear in next week's edition of the Arcata Eye, due on Tuesday. While not available online, the No Confidence Movement also received coverage this week in the Humboldt Advocate.

On Tuesday night I held a workshop on the strategy and talking points of No Confidence. At the end we each made a phone call to KMUD, leaving a series of messages on the listener comment line for future broadcast.

On Wednesday night the Election Response Committee had its weekly meeting at the Redwood Peace and Justice Center. Planning for Humboldt Day has come a long way.

On Thursday I did an on camera interview for local ch. 12 though I'm not even sure what show it is for. I was told it would air several times thought I don't know when. That's kind of sad, and a bit unlike me, but things are a whirlwind right now and the profile of the No Confidence message is again on the rise.

Other important steps this week included speaking with Arcata Mayor Michael Machi and Councilmember Dave Meserve. Unfortunately, neither one of them agreed to put the No Confidence Resolution on the agenda. Machi is facing pressure to focus specifically on the local community, especially to confront homelessness, and is adjusting to the new role of Mayor. Meserve offered characteristically thoughtful observations which will either have to be addressed in a revision and resubmitted, worked out by the Council if another Councilmember places the current version on the agenda, or worked through with Meserve in a joint effort to put a revised version on the agenda. It will never pass without him. At this point am content to wait until after Humboldt Day to try to engage him again. Also, I am meeting with new Councilmember Harmony Groves next Tuesday and hope to make contact with the other new Councilmember, Paul Pitino, when he returns to town next week.

In Eureka, I spoke with Councilmember Mary Beth Wolford. I appreciate the courtesy of her call but could tell that No Confidence seems radioactive to her. She asked me a question about Humboldt Day and then tried to quickly end our conversation. To her credit, when I said that I am more the point person for No Confidence, she stayed on the phone another ten minutes. I don't want to try to recap it all here but suffice to say she promised to take a closer look at the resolution and keep an eye on the events of Humboldt Day. Despite the optimistic picture I drew last week about getting the resolution on the Council agenda, I think this is the best we will get for now. With the increased media attention, and the growing number of community members joining in the No Confidence call to action, my optimism is now revolving around building this support to a level high enough that denying us a hearing won't be an option. In fact, we are adding to our call to action the need for a town hall forum, even if it has to precede the resolution getting on the agenda.

Last, check out the new leaflet and fliers for Humboldt Day. They are free for download on the right side of this page.

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Building Confidence Through Election Reform

The following essay appeared in the My Word section of the Eureka Times-Standard today.

Ensuring every vote counts is a service to society. It is also a very tall order. Many thousands of "glitches" and "irregularities" arose in our last two presidential elections. How many times will this repeat before they are considered regularities?

Many aspects of our current electoral system ensure a shroud of uncertainty will taint future elections. Consider whether private corporations should own voting machines. The purpose of a corporation is to make money for shareholders. This motive has caused more than a few corporations to behave unethically. By keeping the source code of voting machines a secret, and also by denying a voter-verified permanent paper record of one's vote, the motive to manipulate an election is accompanied by the means.

Motive and means are usually joined by opportunity. Consider whether it is appropriate for votes to be tallied in seclusion, with the media and other observers explicitly barred from the room. This happened in Ohio. Opportunity also exists simply by virtue of the machines in use, regarded unequivocally by computer scientists as highly susceptible to tampering.

It is not my intention to argue that fraud was or was not committed in the most recent election. Many have tried due to the large number of statistical anomalies including lost data, negative vote totals, tallies equaling more votes than there are registered voters, and persistent automatic vote swapping from a voter's chosen candidate to an opponent. Apparently, the numbers alone just don't cut it. Many prominent people with much to gain by challenging the legitimacy of the outcome have instead shied away for lack of hard evidence. Is it irony, then, that in many places there is also no hard evidence to demonstrate how voters voted?

Let me be clear. I am not interested in allegations of fraud and I am not complaining about the outcome. I am interested in looking forward, with hope and determination, to a comprehensive set of election reforms that benefits us all.

At present, conditions do not exist for US federal elections to be considered beyond question. Even if you have never doubted before, a close examination of the American electoral system provides no explicit reason to believe it is truly measuring the will of the people. Borrowing from the spirit of Arcata's "Building Confidence Resolution," passed last July, here are eight changes that would collectively create a new basis for confidence and allow us to build faith in American democracy:
1) all private corporations are divested of ownership in election machines, and
2) clean money laws keep all corporate funds out of campaign financing, and
3) any future mechanisms for voting conform to a uniform national standard and produce a verifiable audit trail for every vote, and
4) all votes are cast on the same day, designated as a national holiday, with the exception of absentee ballots which will be granted to applicants meeting a narrow list of federally determined criteria, and
5) all votes are counted publicly in the presence of citizen witnesses and credentialed members of the media, and
6) equal time provisions are observed by the media along with a measurable increase in local, public control of the airwaves, and
7) presidential debates contain a minimum of three candidates, and are run by a non-partisan commission comprised of representatives of publicly owned media outlets, and
8) instant runoff voting (see H.R. 5293) and proportional representation replace the winner-take-all system for federal elections;
Until such changes are enacted, there shall be no basis for confidence in the legitimacy of the results reported from future US federal elections. This is the premise of the No Confidence Resolution, recently submitted for consideration at both the Arcata and Eureka City Councils. It is important that readers are able to see this for its solution-based orientation. Should No Confidence really be dismissed out of hand as negative any more than No Child Left Behind?

Election reform may be the most noble and non-partisan social change effort ordinary citizens can support. If we truly love democracy then we should favor politicians being increasingly responsive to and representative of their constituents. Building confidence in the American electoral system requires us to foster and encourage honest competition in the "free marketplace of ideas." Elections, as a measure of the will of the people, must be transparent, observable, and create records that forever sustain unanimous agreement about an election's outcome.

Discussions about how best to bring meaningful election reform have made a great start with this comprehensive platform of universally beneficial changes. No amount of fear on the part of citizens, or political expediency on the part of their elected leaders, should prevent pursuit of this positive and optimistic agenda for the restoration of faith in US federal elections. Please let members of your local City Council know that you agree, and that they should take up and pass the No Confidence Resolution.

Read the resolution here:

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Sunday, January 09, 2005

Eureka Councilmember Mike Jones Offers Alterna-Support For No Confidence

I met with Eureka City Councilmember Mike Jones on Friday afternoon (disclosure: Mike is my insurance agent and a personal friend). We were joined by Gary Bird who works in the City Managers Office at City Hall under the title Special Projects Manager.

I was expecting to be presented with revisions to the No Confidence Resolution but instead saw a draft of a brief letter to Congressman Mike Thompson. Without any of the specifics of the resolution, the letter simply informs Thompson that there are community members with concerns about elections. I'm oversimplifying, I'm sure, but this is the gist and the level of power conveyed. It was an opening offer, which I did not reject, although by engaging in conversation I believe I walked out with much more.

In all, the meeting ran a little over an hour. It was a healthy dialog and I feel like I was heard. Given their patience and willingness to listen, I was able to explain how the conditions surrounding elections are only one set of examples that illustrate how our society has shifted from being a democracy to one which resembles a democracy closely enough that many people can't yet tell the difference. Other examples cited include: free speech zones, "safe" Congressional seats, secret military budgets, and stifling of the competition of ideas through corporate ownership of the public's airwaves.

Both men bristled when I said that reality conforms more to the definition of fascism than democracy. We were at least 45 minutes in before this came up. When they said others on the Council would likely find this radical, I asked them to tell me exactly what part of what I had said would elicit that response. They had not challenged any of my facts and indeed could cite nothing other than my conclusion as likely to get me labeled a radical. I told them this presupposes an inability for the other Councilmembers to be ruthlessly honest with themselves. They are each rational people, and given the opportunity to meet with each of them privately, I would lay out the same facts that lead to this undeniable conclusion. I have selected a few key articles from the fascism section of the GuvWurld News Archive and hope to get another read on Councilmember Jones.

We also spent some time talking about the big picture idea of the No Confidence Movement, beyond just the resolution itself. I'm not sure I convinced them, but I do believe they understand. I was careful to stress that passing the resolution obligates the City to no cost or action and only makes a very strategic statement. Towards the end I definitely felt like they had a deeper appreciation for why I have been so committed to the approach we've adopted - one community at a time asking if the Consent of the Governed has been withdrawn, yet? Gary Bird even said that I had made progress in that hour, and I think he meant both in terms of heightening their awareness and expanding their understanding of the resolution, and also in terms of what Councilmember Jones was willing to do to work with me.

So I had hoped that this meeting was going to enable me to announce for certain that the resolution was going to be on the agenda of the next Eureka City Council meeting. Unfortunately, that is still premature. For this reason, it is important that all the Councilmembers hear from community members on this matter (click HERE for Council contact info). On Tuesday, January 11, there will be a workshop in Arcata to hone talking points and prepare people for public speaking about No Confidence. Contact me to RSVP and get details.

In the meantime, Councilmember Jones has made several welcome gestures. First, within the confines of The Brown Act, which prohibits discussion of pending business among Councilmembers, Jones said he would encourage the other Councilmembers to meet with me and hear me out. Second, Jones said he was going to call Congressman Thompson about setting up a meeting for us all. The possibility was also floated of meetings with State Sen. Wesley Chesbro and State Assemblywoman Patty Berg. And finally, Jones spoke of a few influential conservatives who he hoped would meet with me, possibly even in a public forum. I do not recall any specific names but the impression I got was that these are independent minded Republicans who see where traditional conservative principles are being betrayed by party leaders. This is an ideal demographic with which to be building a bridge.

At the end of the meeting I told Councilmember Jones that I would gratefully accept each of these offers. They now seem to be a parallel path not there even yesterday. Really it is alterna-support, helping bring the issues to light in a way that is more politically comfortable for him. While this still doesn't get the resolution on the agenda, I'll keep pursuing that goal as the other Councilmembers grant me meetings.

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Saturday, January 08, 2005

The End of Suburbia (movie recommendation)

I just watched "The End of Suburbia: Oil Depletion and The Collapse of The American Dream." This may be the best documentary I've ever seen. It is ruthlessly honest. It reinforces no myths and spells out with interviews from countless experts how our country has put itself in a corner through what is essentially a societal design flaw - sprawl begging the perpetual demand for cars and oil. Towards the end it mentions an emerging faction promoting "new urbanism" which emphasizes a local focus and community orientation, but it also concerns itself with food production and mixed use (residential/commercial) neighborhoods. I take no personal pleasure in watching movies or reading articles and books simply because they agree with my world view. In this case, I am glad to have a movie to recommend that will educate and enlighten viewers to content richer and deeper than their attention span allows them to absorb directly from me. Highly recommended.

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Friday, January 07, 2005

VFP 56 Endorses No Confidence Resolution, Humboldt Day

Veterans For Peace Chapter 56 has endorsed the No Confidence Resolution. Another motion passed at tonight's VFP meeting officially made the group a co-sponsor of Humboldt Day.

Earlier in the day, both Humboldt Day and No Confidence were discussed at a press conference at Eureka City Hall. Ellen Taylor led off our presentation talking about the then ongoing Ohio electoral vote debate in Congress. Kudos to OH Rep. Stephanie Tubbs-Jones and CA Sen. Barbara Boxer for finding the fortitude to stand up.

I'm loathe to sound like I'm criticizing but this was hardly a genuine challenge when the complaint was coupled with the resigned conceit of its outcome. See simulated competition. Really it was trademark Democrat pseudo- opposition, tilting at symptoms without a mention of root causes (see the reforms suggested in the No Confidence Resolution). At any rate, it was a good move for us to ensure the news of the day would get local coverage and be wrapped in our perspective.

Humboldt Day conceptual architect Jack Nounnan also spoke at the press conference, describing a day of performance art in which music and audience participation will keep discussions of war tax resistance, corporate personhood and election reform from becoming at all like lectures.

I also spoke about the No Confidence Movement, citing developments I'll cover shortly. Realizing Community essayist Scott Menzies and VFP 56 secretary Jim Sorter were also present. Only the Humboldt Advocate covered the event. We were told to expect a story, with photos, in next week's edition due out on Wednesday.

Following the press conference the Advocate reporter/photographer team followed us around the corner to the Eureka Times-Standard. It seemed to add some amusing color to the press conference story when a T-S reporter (Andrew Bird?) met our group in the lobby and had to insist that the photographer stop taking pictures. We re-created an abridged version of the press conference and provided some literature, all of which we were told would be incorporated in a planned story due Friday on Eurekan and Green Party presidential candidate David Cobb.

Later in the day I was back at the T-S to meet with Managing Editor Charles Winkler. We had a very cordial ten minutes where I was flattered to hear that last summer's media outreach on behalf of No Confidence had really made an impression. Winkler was never supportive of the particulars but performed admirably in allowing ample coverage. He agreed to let me write another My Word opinion column to run before the next Eureka City Council meeting on 1/18. I got a similar invitation from Kevin Hoover at the Arcata Eye.

Regarding the Council(s), we are positioned right now about as well as we could hope. On Wednesday I met with Eureka City Councilman Chris Kerrigan. He said two great things to me. Kerrigan feels so comfortable about the suggested changes listed in the No Confidence Resolution that he went so far as to say they're not even controversial. He also commended the "calm" and "moderate" way I have made my recent repeated visits to the Council meetings.

The Brown Act prohibits Councilmembers from discussing pending business. I mention this only to note that Kerrigan, even while privately voicing this support, could not do anything to help bring the other Councilmembers on board. Despite his assessment, he's not so sure the others will be as open-minded. The sum of these circumstances mute the relevance of his pessimism - it's up to us to convince the others anyway.

Fortunately, Friday afternoon I'll be meeting with Councilmember Mike Jones. Apparently he will offer some modifications to the resolution though I know nothing more about what to expect. Bumping just one step further ahead, Kerrigan suggested that if Jones and I can build a bridge we will likely get the whole group. Of all of these details, the most immediate thing I am seeking to confirm is presence of the resolution on the next Council meeting agenda (1/18). I am very optimistic that I'll be able to announce this confirmation by the end of Friday. Regardless, our phone and e-mail campaign to the Councilmembers should immediately kick into high gear. Click here for contact info.

Also Friday I will be submitting the resolution to the Arcata City Council. It will be accompanied by a brief cover letter bearing the signatures of 25 people I spoke with just this afternoon. We are requesting the resolution be considered at Arcata's next Council meeting on 1/19. The Arcata Councilmembers also need to hear from us:
With a concerted burst of outreach to both the Councilmembers and the media we can hit these two consecutive nights of Council meetings with a lot of momentum. Not to mention what a boost it will be in the days immediately preceding Humboldt Day. It can be tough to find the good in things but right now we really couldn't be in a better position to take our long declared next steps.

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Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Press Release Announces Humboldt Day Press Conference

For more information contact: Jack Nounnan (707-442-8733)

Media Advisory: Notice of Press Conference
Date: January 6, 2005
Time: Noon
Location: Eureka City Hall (531 K St.)

Humboldt Day Organizers To Hold Press Conference Announcing Event

At noon on Thursday (1/6/05), organizers of Humboldt Day will hold a press conference at the entrance to Eureka City Hall (531 K St.). Speakers will address the day’s historic proceedings in Congress, where the Electoral College votes will be tallied, and outline the context of the Humboldt Day event scheduled for noon on Saturday, January 22, 2005 at the Gazebo in Eureka’s Old Town district.

Members of many Humboldt community groups will be participating in Humboldt Day, including: Californians For Alternatives To Toxins, Communities For Peace, Democracy Unlimited, Election Response Committee, EPIC (Environmental Protection Information Center), Mattole Environmental Justice Foundation, North Coast Forest Defense, The Peacekeepers, Realizing Community, Vets For Peace, WILPF (Women’s International League For Peace and Freedom). Local independent media will be present: Green Fuse, GuvWurld (blog), KMUD, and more.

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