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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 5, 2004 10:08 PM. The previous post in this blog was The sorriest commissioner. The next post in this blog is Humpty Dumpty. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Wednesday, May 5, 2004

Hatred is not a community value

I hope that when they catch the idiots who did this, they really, really throw the book at them.

Comments (42)

While I am not necessarily a proponent of such tactics, there has been really, really strong sentiment against the opening of Starbuck's in that neighborhood for quite some time. The community overwhelmingly opposed the shop, and took many actions around their opposition including petitions, stickers in just about every shop window around, picketing, meetings, etc. I just find it incredibly inconsiderate, even bully-ish of Starbuck's to ignore the people living in the area and go ahead and build the store anyway.

Hi, Emily. Two separate issues here:

1. Were Starbucks and the owner "right" in locating the store there?

2. Assuming they're "wrong," what should upset neighbors do about it?

I probably disagree with you on no. 1, but on no. 2, you're not conding arson, are you? Or are you?

But how can anyone lump Starbucks in with a Wal-Mart?

This is a company from what I understand is good to its employees in terms of benefits etc. What really is the harm of another coffee shop? If you like the locally owned one, keep going to it. If enough people in your neighborhood do, it will survive. End of story. Starbucks employs a lot of people here and sometimes I think the crazies forget that.

Of course Starbucks had a right to open a coffee shop there, and I have a right to be absolutely disgusted with the chain for so disregarding community opinion.

Jack, no, I am not condoning arson. I oppose tactics such as arson on principle, but at the same time - what the hell did Starbucks expect opening the store after they said they wouldn't? "Violence is the language of the unheard." - MLK, Jr. I'm not sure what upset neighbors should've done about it - the whole thing just stinks. I'm just not exactly feeling sorry for Starbucks here.

Jon, referring to people as "the crazies" won't get you far. People oppose because the coffee shop 1) tramples community business much like a Walmart (I know of several family owned coffee shops that have gone out of business after Starbucks moved into the neighborhood), 2) is part of a growing trend of homogenous, and ubiquitous and soulless American business, 3) the "trendy" factor is a little nauseating, particularly since the coffee is actually pretty crappy, and 4) the situation for employees isn't always that peachy (see here: http://www.ihatestarbucks.com/bbs.php#2).

That said, I don't believe it'll run Red and Black out of business because R&B has a loyal following and fits into the community well.

Emily, if it won't run the local shop out of town what is the beef?

1. It is homgenous. So what? If they want their coffee shops to be the same the world over, good for them. There is something to be said for knowing what you will get.

2. Community feelings. I don't like protesters gathering every weekend in downtown, but hey that is there constitutional right. I don't think there is anything in the constitution about where you can and can't open a coffee shop no matter the amount of dislike.

3. the trendy factor. Hmmm, boy what a reason not to want a coffee shop on the local corner.

4. Starbucks isn't that peachy to employees. Hey look I am sure I could find alot of people who love working there. If not, no one would. Don't always take everything you read to be true. Someone always has an axe to grind.

Jack do you have an e-mail address?

Yep, it's jackbogsblog@comcast.net .

If the community is so disgusted on such a broad scale, then it won't buy coffee there, and Starbucks will go out of business. If they're truly putting in a store that people don't want, then they'll suffer the consequences.

I doubt that's the case. I suspect what happened is the same thing that usually happens in these situations -- the people who would actually protest a Starbucks opening are a very small minority of the population who make a lot of noise. Which is fine, but not the same thing as broad-based outrage.

Furthermore, in many cases, I believe that the reason Starbucks puts other coffee places out of business is that it makes a tastier cup of coffee and has more selection. Starbucks makes a good cup of coffee. If they didn't, they wouldn't be where they are.

And quite honestly, what I find homogenous and soulless is the replacement of activism about things that matter, like poverty and violence and justice, with activism about how Starbucks is destroying America. My local Starbucks isn't soulless -- it's got people working in it who are funny and friendly and interesting, and it's got people walking in and out who are local and uniquely Minnesotan and certainly not shipped in from central casting anywhere.

"Trendy"? Starbucks has been around for an awfully long time to be tagged as "trendy," it seems to me. I think if anything, Starbucks-bashing is INFINITELY more of a hipster maneuver than actually going to Starbucks. I don't know anyone who thinks that going to Starbucks makes you look cool. I know a boatload of people who think that complaining about Starbucks (and Walmart, and Barnes & Noble, and Borders, and on and on and on) makes them look cool.

Walmart is worth fighting, because they're evil. They're horrible to work for, their labor practices are borderline illegal, and there are a million other reasons why they are crap-ass corporate citizens. But Starbucks? Not to me.

I like Starbucks coffee. It tastes pretty good to me.

I understand why some residents wouldn't want a Starbucks in their neighborhood, as corporate chains take away from the "trendy" Hawthorne appeal.

But the residents lost, Starbucks won. So suck it up! You can still picket and boycott the store.

Somehow I think violence is just going to create even more publicity for an already overexposed company.

Although, I thoroughly believe in supporting local businesses because it spurns the local economy - I also believe in supporting businesses that treat their employees well, contribute to the community they are located in, and take strides to be environmental.

In my understanding Starbucks offers health and dental benefits to their part-time employees, a 401K, stock options and domestic partner benefits.

Starbucks has a reputation for contributing the community - offering free coffee & foods for local community groups, funding local playgrounds, etc.

Starbucks also has started selling fair-trade, shade-grown, organic coffee through partnerships with small coffee growers.

It is for these reasons I don't feel bad picking up an occassional cup of coffee there - though I think there are tastier coffees around.

Where in the heck does The Oregonian do its research (assuming it does actually research its stories)?

The article said "The new Starbucks is also across the street from the Red and Black Coffee Collective, word play on the colors of the old Soviet Union-era Communist Party and of coffee."

Actually, I believe the term Red and Black refers to anarchism. See, e.g., http://flagspot.net/flags/anarc.html#tend

The Red and Black diagonal flag mentioned in this site flies outside of the Red & Black Cafe (as well as several bookstores in Portland which espouse anarchism -- e.g., the Laughing Horse, which is, coincidentally, also on SE Division street). There's also a publication called "Red and Black Revolution" which bills itself as an "anarchist theory and history magazine." See http://flag.blackened.net/revolt/rbr.html

Of course, I suppose it is plausible that they're not actually anarchists, but are instead merely alums of the University of Georgia (http://www.redandblack.com/) and so-named their store in the interest of showing school spirit, but (having lived in that neighborhood for 8 years) I doubt it.

Communism and coffee, indeed.

So, let me get this straight, a molotov cocktail is thrown at a Starbucks which is across the street from a competing cafe which (apparently) espouses anarchism -- and the obvious (to me, at least) link to anarchism (and their tactics, which, unless I'm mistaken frequently involves cowardly acts of vandalism towards "corporate culture" icons like McDonalds and Starbucks) isn't at all mentioned in the article. Huh.

Can we PLEASE get a real newspaper in Portland (besides the New York Times)?

Why drink Starbucks when many other Portland coffee shops carry ALL organic, fair-trade, shadegrown coffee? That's a very small percentage of the coffee Starbucks buys. And while I'm sure there are people who like the taste of the coffee, Starbucks' popularity has as much if not more to do with its branding and the fact that a shop is everywhere you turn.

Justin, Seven Corners (the neighborhood in question) has a far different feel to it than Hawthorne. And there is a Starbucks right smack in the middle of the hipster Hawthorne district.

Now back to, as Linda put it, activism about things that matter. Funny thing is, most of the people I know who have a thing against Starbucks are far more active on issues of poverty and violence and justice than the average joe. It's not some either-or.

It is time we identify these acts of violence for what they are - Hate Crimes.

Pissed off anarchists hate the consumer choices made by others. They are not attacking Starbucks as much as they are attacking the values of Starbucks' consumers.

This hatred motivates them to send intimidating messages to Starbucks and its customers through acts of violence and destruction of property.

Not much different than burning a cross in someone's yard.

Emily, I didn't mean to imply that it's an either-or. But speaking for myself, I'm unable to take people seriously once they've informed me that I don't know enough to choose a coffee shop for myself. (I'm not talking about you; I find your approach perfectly civil, even if I don't agree with you.) I don't appreciate being told that I'm too much of a consumer sheep to select my own damn coffee. And I will never, ever, no matter what, see going to Starbucks or not going to Starbucks as a moral or ethical issue. I think elevating it to a moral or ethical issue is a disservice to the many things that ARE moral or ethical issues. Hate Starbucks? Don't go there.

My friend Sarah has said it better than I ever could, so go here:

http://www.earlygirl.com/kultur.shtml

According to the previous commenters, either Starbucks AND Walmart are evil, or only Walmart is evil.

How about an argument that the impacts of Walmart on the nation are actually mixed? Yes they treat their workers poorly (but what would these workers be doing if they weren't at Walmart?). Yes, they hire illegal aliens as janitors (I'm sure there are lots of U.S. citizens wiling to do that work, right?). Yes, they destroy downtowns and mom-and-pop stores. But the reason they do so is that they have lower prices. That's why people go there. They get more merchandise for their money, so they either have more things, or they have more savings. What's wrong with that? Yes, they promote dependence on the automobile, by locating on auto-oriented streets on the outskirts of town. But a shopper can go to Walmart and get many of his or her needs for goods met, as opposed to going to several smaller stores. This saves time which can be used for other pursuits, either working or leisure. What's wrong with that?

The reason Walmart succeeds is because it gives people what they want. If it didn't, or doesn't in the future, it will decline and fail, just like K-Mart has.

One thing that will hurt Wal-Mart is new "luxury ghettoes" like the Pearl District. People in the Pearl District don't want to shop at Walmart, because it is inconvenient and too auto-oriented. So let's have more Pearl Districts, and more neighborhoods revitalizing like Hawthorne, and then we will have fewer Wal-Marts.

Yes, let's have more luxury 'ghettoes' like the Pearl District! Where in this patch of God's green earth do they earn their livings?

And where does 'everybody else' live -- or where do you suggest we go?

It seems to me that Portland is becoming one of the more unaffordable, and more sharply divided by economic strata, communities in the West.

It was right nice of the Council to extend those property tax breaks across the Pearl District 'ghetto,' though.

Word, Gordo. Walmart has a bad reputation among the anti-globalization crowd because its success and existence is proof that globalization works. It has singlehandedly boosted productivity and lowered the cost of living for all Americans. The funny thing is that Walmart helps the poor more than anyone else, by keeping prices of essentials down. That doesn't seem to occur to the red-and-black crowd, or if it does, they don't seem to care.

Examples:

WM is lowering the price of sending money to Mexico to $10, much cheaper than elsewhere:

http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/040504/datu062_1.html

A new WM in South Central LA has increased traffic and business to other local stores:

"And now that people can stay in the neighborhood for bargains, something else interesting is happening: They're stopping at other local stores, too."

http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/04_19/b3882083_mz017.htm

It is time we identify these acts of violence for what they are - Hate Crimes.

Right on, PanchoPdx.

But here is the reality. In our culture, right and wrong (in a political sense) are not based upon what you do. Instead right and wrong is based upon who you are.

Starbucks is a big bad corporation. So, whatever they do (or don't do) is "wrong" and they deserve whatever they get.

The Red & Black crowd are the poor downtrodden fighting the good fight like those Saintly Baby Boomers so many years ago. Therefore, whatever actions they take are, "right". They may use any means necessary to “help themselves.” For attempting to burn down Starbucks (and any place next to it) the “freedom fighters” will be more popular with their friends and in their community, more attractive to the opposite sex, and have the joy of creating a little “Clockwork Orange” violence (which is OK because they are poor downtrodden and feel anger).

They may be Hate Crimes, but we have decided that there is good hate and bad hate. If you commit an act of good hate, you will be more popular and people will tacitly condone your actions.

Example #1, being Emily who seems to officially oppose the act of arson, but feels the arsonist contributed to the community and was morally right. In other words, “good show.” Her moral outrage is only directed at the victim (here Starbucks) and not at the victimizer. Her arguments can be paraphrased as thinking that rape is wrong, but the victim was a slut and what did the victim expect? So, the rapist can go free.
Of course Emily doesn't feel that way about rape, in part because rape is commited by males and males are wrong. But, that is a different topic.

It was criminal. And it pisses me off. How am I going to react. I'm going to piss of the people who threw the molotovs and go buy a cup of joe from that very Starbucks.

They did a great job of damaging their own cause.

I kind of wish there was a Jon Stewart in the Portland-area to comment on this article.

Because, at the end of the day, all Starbucks does is sell coffee. They're not trying to take of Hawthorned, like Bush is taking over Iraq.

Acts of violence should be reserved for "civil wars" and "sibling rivalries", not "a coffe shop moved into my neighborhood."

I just can't imagine being so angry at a Starbucks that I would throw a Moltov cocktail at the place.

What was the arsonist thinking as he's chucking the cocktail in the air, "I'll be damned if any one is going to sell coffee in my neighborhood. No one's getting a pick-me-up on my watch!"

Ah Portland, I do love this city. It's hilarious.

A couple of shocking statements in this thread, one being Emily's approving quote of MLK that "Violence is the language of the unheard," the other being Pancho's equation of burning a Starbuck with burning a cross. Holy moly!

One, the right to be heard is not the right to be obeyed. The Seven Corners residents voiced their concerns about Starbux moving in, and Starbux and the local property owner decided that it was nevertheless in their financial interest to do the deal. Sorry, folks, but plenty of appellate attorney firepower has been expended to justify the principle that people really do get to do what they want with their real property unless prohibited by value-neutral zoning laws. Linda, please give us, off the top of your head, the cite for that case out of suburban Chicago in the fifties invalidating restrictive covenants that prohibited sale to nonwhites. Moral: the Stones were right, you can't always get what you want. Corollary: not getting what you want does not mean, by itself, that you do not live in a democracy.

And Pancho, are you really equating gutter-punk vandals with the Klan? The Klan's tactics against blacks, Jews and Catholics were designed to perpetuate a system which disadvantaged those groups in various measures, i.e., to keep the oppressed oppressed. Is it fair to equate Starbux (2003 consolidated net revenues $4.1 billion, 7000 worldwide locations per 2003 annual report) with black folks getting lynched in the Jim Crow South?

I would just go ask the state treasurer if he and the oregon investment counsel have an interest in starbucks stocks; via the public employees slush fund. If so then pull a really good (figuratively arsonistic move) and demand an equal or greater financial investment in competing, and locally privately-owned, mom and pop coffee houses. Alternatively demand that they divest themselves of starbucks stocks. Call it social investing, just like they do.

I do not know if they own the stocks but they do control 40+ billion dollars. They must surely hold some QQQ’s (which includes some SBUX). Throw some legal bombs over at your local PERS folks; but focus on the top folks and spare those hired post-1995 and those who have salaries less than the median private sector wage.

Your local public servant cannot make as much money from a mom and pop operation; particularly if it is a breeding ground for wild political ideas. Imagine investing in a losing operation where people just gather to shoot the breeze on a sunny day. A coffee house is a traditional public place. Imagine your local teacher (the SBUX owner) telling you get lost and quit loitering. Take your cameras and go hold a public debate (on any public matter, I don’t care which) in Starbucks, get tossed on your ear, then claim you have the same right there as if you were gathering signatures in Pioneer Square. You don’t need a real fire to set this coffee house (public square) ablaze with excitement.

(If you are shy then a few long games of chess should be enough to piss someone off. But by all means have fun with it and smile for the cameras in your public square - SBUX.)

I don't have much to chime in with other than, I'm with Linda... and I'm SO blogging that link she gave...

Geesh!

A couple of shocking statements in this thread, one being Emily's approving quote of MLK that "Violence is the language of the unheard,"

Agreeing with that quote does not mean that I (or MLK for that matter) approve of violence. It's just stating a "what is".

Her arguments can be paraphrased as thinking that rape is wrong, but the victim was a slut and what did the victim expect? So, the rapist can go free.

Whoa, that is really quite an outrageous analogy to draw. I'm sorry, but I don't equate the violation of a Starbucks storefront with the violation of a rape victim. While I am not pro-vandalism or arson, I do consider violence against a living being highly more objectionable and horrific than violence against property. I simply do not think of them as residing on the same plane.

Yeah, and Brett, folks who have a beef with globalization just think that way because they're so resentful that it's working...yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Please...you may not hold the same view, but don't insult their intelligence like that.

Eh, can't do the cite off the top of my head. But . . . yes, exactly. The Stones and everything.

And I agree that SOMETIMES, violence is the language of the unheard. However, violence is also SOMETIMES the language of the arrogant jackass who has trouble with the fact that he can't have his own way all the time. And the spoiled brat who has had too many beers. And the self-important blowhard who learned exactly the wrong lesson from "Fight Club." I think the application of the quote to this particular set of circumstances is inapt, to say the least. People living in Portland who don't like Starbucks are not the unheard. When I lived in Portland, I heard them. Constantly. Whining in my face. They are the disappointed, not the silenced.

> folks who have a beef with globalization just think that way because they're so resentful that it's working...

Not what I said at all. Folks who have a beef with Walmart think that way because they're anti-globalization. I note no substantive response.

> People living in Portland who don't like Starbucks are not the unheard. When I lived in Portland, I heard them. Constantly. Whining in my face. They are the disappointed, not the silenced.

Amen!

*Matt wrote: "And Pancho, are you really equating gutter-punk vandals with the Klan? The Klan's tactics against blacks, Jews and Catholics were designed to perpetuate a system which disadvantaged those groups in various measures, i.e., to keep the oppressed oppressed. Is it fair to equate Starbux (2003 consolidated net revenues $4.1 billion, 7000 worldwide locations per 2003 annual report) with black folks getting lynched in the Jim Crow South?"

Absolutely.

A burning cross was used to send the message, "We don't like your kind here, and we aren't above using violence/arson/vandalism to convince you to leave."

The message of the Molotov cocktail at Starbucks sent exactly the same message.

We may feel less sympathy for the victims (Starbucks, it's employees and customers) than a threatened black family (and for the record so do I) but that doesn't change the nature of the message.

Moreover, I find little difference between the underlying anti-globalization rationalization these punks espouse and those offered during the communist revolution in Russia.

So, Matt, if I wanted to frame a slanted question back at you I'd ask:

"How could a couple of flaming sticks on the lawn of an otherwise free family possibly equate with the motivations that resulted in tens of millions of deaths and untold suffering under totalitarian governments worldwide for most of the 20th Century?"

But that doesn't seem like a fair way to frame a question...

Brett, I didn't offer a more substantive response on the Walmart issue because I figured if you were genuinely curious in a substantive response you would check out the piles that have already been spoken and written about the harm Walmart has done. I found these in about two minutes:

http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/77/walmart.html
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/opinion/2001859432_floyd18.html
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2004/02/17/BAGLL5224G1.DTL
http://www.walmartwatch.com/
http://www.pbs.org/itvs/storewars/

And from one of the same mags you quoted from: http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/03_40/b3852001_mz001.htm
However, those everyday low prices come at a cost. As the number of supermarkets shrinks, more shoppers will have to travel farther from home and will find their buying increasingly restricted to merchandise that Wal-Mart chooses to sell -- a growing percentage of which may be the retailer's private-label goods, which now account for nearly 20% of sales. Meanwhile, the failure of hundreds of stores will cost their owners dearly and put thousands out of work, only some of whom will find jobs at Wal-Mart, most likely at lower pay.

"Wal-Mart Wages Don't Support Wal-Mart Workers": http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=16111

And on and on ad nauseum.... As far as globalization, a good place to start to understand BOTH sides' views (if you're interested in a different view from your own) would be Joseph Stiglitz' Globalization and Its Discontents. There are about four other books I could recommend too if you really have no idea why some people might take issue with some of the neo-liberal economics rapidly being implemented worldwide. Bottom line: repeatedly, many economic policies that seem smart in theory have ghastly results for people in reality.

Hold it, I fail to see where Emily made any personal attacks, while I saw several people that disagreed (which is your right) making personal attacks and have the gall to complain about other people whining?
[soapbox]
If you don't like who some undefined person is being about an issue, does not give you the right to turn around and be just as annoying/rude. Yes this is a pseudo-free country (if you have the money), but being a prick is not going to enroll many people in your argument.
[/soapbox]

Wow. What a thread! Some heated emotions here.

Let's all remember though that the vandalism is the act a very few number of people. I absolutely hate it when the violent acts of a few are used to condemn everyone who appreciates what is really happening with globalization. The reason many companies make money off of globalization is not because globalization is inherently more efficient, but because globalization allows corporations to circumvent US labor and environmental laws and lower costs. The cost is actually the same but corporations do not pay social and environmental costs unless the government forces them too. The impact still occurs, society just pays instead of corporations. Globalization is merely corporate welfare on a global scale.

Those on this board who have condemned and screamed the loudest about the anti-starbucks/walmart/globalization folks are just plain ignorant. As is the case most of the time in American politics, most of the people have no clue what is actually happening and make no effort to understand situations before jumping to preconceived conclusions.

The Oregonian piece was poorly written at best. But the most interesting part is I was just reading the version in the Clark county edition, and it was total different (and also poorly written). In that version the Oregonian quoted Perrin as saying the neighborhood association was partly responsible for the vandalism! Now the neighborhood association is responsible for all of the acts that people commit in the neighborhood. Please! Of course the Oregonian had no comment. Oregonian really is some sadly crappy reporting. I can’t trust anything they publish. The articles are written to cater to the prejudices of the readership. Important subtleties and details are either ignored or left out altogether. This pattern repeats in article after article.

Does no one realize that Starbucks was already in this neighborhood, at 20th and Hawthorne? It's been a great neighbor, and participated in the construction of the new Abernethy playground equipment. LOTS of neighbors will visit it, for good reason. A FEW neighbors will picket. And hopefully only a VERY few will commit crimes.

Good, finally some substantive responses, more or less. Emily, I read your links, and if I understand them correctly, the arguments aginst Walmart boil down to two things:

1. Their prices are too low, meaning that other stores can't compete.
2. Their wages are too low, which means that people who work there can't live on their wages.

Let me take these one at a time.

1. If you have a problem with this, then you have a problem with the market economy and capitalism. Capitalism is all about providing goods and services at the lowest possible price, thus raising everyone's standard of living. As prices get lower, companies that can't compete go out of business. This is what Adam Smith called 'creative destruction' - it's the market operating to increase efficiency of production. Without this effect, nothing would ever get cheaper. That 150 MHZ laptop with a 300 MB hard drive would still cost $4000. Cell phones would still be the size of lunchboxes and cost absurd amounts. Actually, that's not true, because without capitalism, neither of these things would *exist*. No centrally-planned economy has ever achieved any lasting innovations or efficiencies. Basically, capitalism is responsible for the fact that we can live our lives as we see fit. Otherwise, we'd all still be in the fields doing backbreaking manual labor just to keep ourselves alive. What's the alternative to capitalism?

2. I don't doubt that this is true for some workers. But they voluntarily work there. Last I checked, there was no draft forcing people to work at Walmart. In lots of places, yes, they're the largest employer, but think about what you're saying. Without Walmart, those jobs wouldn't exist. The fact that every time a WM opens up, thousands of people apply for jobs there, means that there is great demand for these kinds of jobs. If there weren't, WM would have to raise their wages. That's that whole capitalism thing again.

I wouldn't be surprised if you had a bumper sticker on your car that said: "Don't believe in abortions? Don't have one." Well, if you don't like WM's working conditions, DON'T WORK THERE. Asking WM to raise its wages would interfere with their ability to make things cheaper, and make us all richer as a result. It's asking everyone in the country to be poorer so that a few workers can make more money. Do you understand what I mean? Let's take the gallon jar of pickles that one of your articles references. If WM is forced to pay higher wages than the market dictates, it will have to raise prices. Let's say that gallon jar of pickles goes from $3 to $4. Now everyone is poorer, because now pickles are more expensive. The only people that are richer are the employees. So you're asking the many to sacrifice for the few. Spock would not approve.

For me, it boils down to choice. People choose to drink Starbucks coffee. People choose to shop at Walmart. Neither business would exist without customers. Some people choose to drink coffee at locally-owned coffeeshops and to shop at smaller stores. So what's the problem? If you want to prevent places like Starbucks and WM from even existing, you are denying people the ability to choose those products and services.

Tim -

> The reason many companies make money off of globalization is not because globalization is inherently more efficient, but because globalization allows corporations to circumvent US labor and environmental laws and lower costs. The cost is actually the same but corporations do not pay social and environmental costs unless the government forces them too. The impact still occurs, society just pays instead of corporations. Globalization is merely corporate welfare on a global scale.

Let me explore this a little. You're saying that we shouldn't trade with places whose environmental and labor laws are weaker than ours. It's a fact that Texas' environmental and labor laws are weaker than ours here in Oregon. Should we not trade with Texas, then? If we should, what's the difference between trading with Texas and trading with Mexico?

Also: have you ever consulted people from the 3rd world about globalization? If you had, you'd know that many people are desperate for any jobs they can get, and are more than happy to work in US-owned or controlled factories that provide infinitely better working conditions than locally-owned ones. You're absolutely right that it's the government's responsibility to set the boundaries within which corporations can operate. But should we really penalize the populations of those countries for the weakness of their governments? Seems like they need our investment the most.

Globalization is the only way that we are ever going to bring the majority of the world's population out of poverty. Again, what's the alternative?

Brett, you sound like an Economist Magazine editorial.

And that's in compliment in my book.

Brett, I don't have the time (honestly) to forumlate a comprehensive response, except to say:

1) I already understand the basic points of capitalism that you stated.

2) Those points don't convince me that capitalism "lifts all boats" because, um, look around. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. It's clear that the beneficial effects of capitalism are limited and selective.

3) Walmart's skimping on wages and benefits is not all being trickled down into low prices. Its executive salaries are outrageous. (I also read an article years ago - I forget the source - that proved that not only is most of Walmart's "Made in America" stuff NOT made in America, but that prices on 80% of its merchandise is not comparatively lower than most stores.)Here's one source: http://www.anti-walmart.com/badwalmart/myth.html

4) Yes, people in third world nations may be grateful for the work, but that's because the crippling SAPs imposed on their economies and societies by Western institutions such as IMF/World Bank leave them in such a situation where the workers are shouldering the debt burden in their countries. Western corporations exploit this (just because "that's the nature of capitalism!" doesn't make it any less repugnant to me, it just makes me more skeptical that this capitalism is ideal). "Does Globalization Help the Poor?": http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=12203

5) Alternatives? LOTS of great sources out there: http://www.ifg.org/programs/alternatives.htm and http://www.joburgmemo.org/ are two off the top of my head. This one's good: http://www.phillyimc.org/alternatives/. Focusing on local, sustainable economies is really key.

There is so much more to say and many finer points to go into (for instance, that many companies that can't compete DON'T go out of business because they are heavily subsidized). You seem to have this idea that capitalism and corporations can do no wrong and that the "wrongs" others point out can be quickly refuted. And yet, how does one explain things like the fact that wages for a heavy percentage of workers have been stagnant in this country for 30 years while the upper 1% make skyrocketing salaries (a classic case of many sacrificing for the few, as you so put it). As far as people choosing, I don't have a problem with that per se, it's just that most people don't have a lot of info in front of them when they make consumer choices. If more people knew the half of what their $$ is going to support, there'd be huge changes - and that's exactly what's happening with people like myself!

Thanks, Gordo. I take that as a compliment even though most Portlanders wouldn't.

> capitalism and corporations can do no wrong and that the "wrongs" others point out can be quickly refuted

Not at all. Capitalism has lots of problems. Corporations do wrong every day. That's why we have laws to set the boundaries of permissible behavior. To paraphrase Churchill, capitalism is the worst economic system, except for every other.

Read your links. They are either explicitly collectivist or so lacking in specifics as to be meaningless. Ex.:

> People who envision a better world often suggest the healthiest form of human organization to be not in hierarchies but in collectives

Collectives. Where have I heard that before? Sounds familiar.

http://www.catallarchy.net/blog/cgi-bin/archives/012349.html

Capitalism has proven to be the only economic model that is sufficiently congruent with human nature to enable us to advance ourselves. Or, if you prefer, people are too damn lazy for communism to work.

> it's just that most people don't have a lot of info in front of them when they make consumer choices

Nice. The unwashed masses don't even know what they don't know, is that it? Elitism, pure and simple.

Then by your logic Consumer Reports is elitist. I never said due to some character flaw in "the masses", information about corporate practices isn't more in the mainstream. Far from it. When I think of elitists I think of those championing structures of oppression, not activists working to make a difference for people.

And I never said I was pro-Communism. I don't consider any of the alternatives I admire to be be Communist either. What's wrong with community gardens and co-ops, fair trade farming practices, companies that are more accountable to human and environmental rights and living wages, etc?. "Collective" does not have to evoke Stalinism and I don't know of anyone who is saying it should.

Collective in the context of the piece I linked means something quite different than the bloody scenario you are referring to: In functioning collective organizations people make decisions together through open discussion, shared reasoning and a dedication to the belief that everyone must participate in a decision proportional to how that decision affects him or her. To me, this evokes cooperation and democracy. Many indigenous groups got by just fine for thousands of years without the massive hierarchies, chains of command and bureaucracies we have today. You look around and think this is all progress? Show me progress and I'll show you billions of unfulfilled and struggling people of all classes.

An alternative to what we have now does not have to look like something we've left behind. I'm all for creating something new and sustainable going forward. Surely human beings have the imagination and heart to create something that works for everyone.

Emily: How does that approach not stifle the individual creative and risk-taking impulse that has gotten us where we are today? While it's true that indigenous people didn't have pollution, etc (though they did quite well at having wars and causing extinctions), they didn't have cars, planes, computers, cell phones or locally-owned coffee shops. As the saying goes, life was nasty, brutish and short (or something like that). On balance, I prefer what we've got now, thanks.

While it's true that red-in-tooth-and-claw capitalism has its downsides, there haven't been any truly successful large-scale examples of anything better. If a better example comes along, I'm sure we'll be happy to standardize it, commoditize it, productize it, and sell it for next-day delivery. =)

(hollering in desparation) - It's a coffee shop people... A COFFEEE SHOP!

Emily, I respect your point of view and I wish I could be as optimistic about human nature as you are. I just don't agree that there was some halcyon past in which indigenous groups lived in harmony with the land and each other. For one thing, they were all engaged in constant backbreaking labor. For another, they were all dead by age 40. There simply was no other choice for those people but to engage in subsistence farming. We have more choices now. I see that as a good thing. And I see capitalism as providing the most choice and the most economic freedom.

But it is just a coffee shop.

I love Starbucks. I love their coffee, and if I was going to work in a coffee shop, it's probably the one I would want to work for.

But you guys who blithely think that all is so well in the US these days need to look a little bit harder at what is going on in the jobs sector. Sure, there are some glory jobs, but there are a whole lot more (percentage-wise) low-wage, lower-benefit jobs. The income divisions across economic sectors are becoming ever more divided -- and much more sharply here than most elsewheres.

As to people living till they were 40 in past times, that is also incorrect. Lots and lots of people died before they were 5. Many many women died in childbirth. Most adults who passed those milestones lived until their 60's or 70's and sometimes longer.

"Averages" don't tell real stories. Just like Matt, Brett, Emily, Justin, Bill Gates & I in the proverbial bar would have an average very high income.


I would like to make some personal comments about the coffee-brew-ha-ha.

First: I grew up in the "7 corners" area and am one of the owners of the Red and Black Cafe. I'm not some punk kid, I'm 46 years old, have two kids and am trying to make a living.

Second: Most of you are reading from papers their intereptation of the issues regarding the Ladds Meats Building Starbucks.

What the issue has been is land use. I think it is important for folks to understand that the property owner, Peter Perrin, came to neighborhood meetings on several occasions looking for neighborhood support for the project. For a long time the neighborhood has been trying to balance development with neighborhood oriented business, preferably locally owned, but not exclusively. This has been a much discussed and collectively reached goal. On 3 seperate occasions, Perrin told neighborhood groups that he wasn't interested in putting in chain stores. We can see how honest he was. Is it right and fair for a developer to get away with lying to a Neighborhhod association to get its OK? Is this how we want development done in Portland?
Rumor has it that a Subway goes in next to Starbucks.

Third: Is a Starbucks a transit oriented business? The Starbucks company spokeperson has repeatedly said that they had been wanting to place a cafe along Divison Street for a long time. This has included approachng the meat slicing company across from Natures/Wild Oats and other occasions. If the 7 Corners Starbucks were without a parking lot, I would say Transit wasn't an issue and it would fit the Zoning. But we felt that the summation of Starbucks desire to locate anywhere on Division shows that it wants a cafe on a major thuroughfare.

Fair enough, it makes business sense. But look at the location. The intersection at 20th and Division is one of the worst in town. Any local knows that. If Perrin had been honest with his intensions, perhaps things could have been better worked out, but as it stands, it looks like the new *transit* oriented development could add alot of dangerous cross traffic to the intersection and traffic sutting through the neighborhood. Take a look at the location in person and you will understand.

Fourth: Work crews on the site repeatedly (3 days in a row) scattered demolition debris, including fibreglass insulation, throughout the neighborhood. Fibreglass tufts were found 3 blocks away. There was no apology from Perrin and all the neighbors got was a literal "f*** you" from the site manager. Again Perrin was a bad neighbor and aliented the neighborhood.

Fifth: The press has repeatedly turned the neighborhhood's issues into a Starbucks vs Red and Black issue. This isn't the case. The Red and Black has publically stated that we do not see Starbucks as a threat to our business. I have been interviewed by the Oregonian, Willamette Week and KOIN-TV. As spokesman for the Red and Black, I always stated the issue was land use. I appreciate the sincere efforts of some of our customers to protect us, we really don't feel threatened. But unfortuantely the press decided our observations and experiences weren't important to what they were wanting to say. No wonder this city is in such a sorry shape in regards to development and were we are headed.

Sixth: We are not a "soviet era communist" or anarchist or any other 'ist' cafe. The only flags we have flying are some Tibetan Prayer flags given to us for a benefit we did for a to help a Buddist priest get training in India.

Seventh: The AP Reporter who said we had the red flag of Soviet Communism also complained about being asked to leave the cafe. Here's my side, so you understand dealing with reporters. I was the only worker dealing with a line of half a dozen folks, The AP reporter came in and over my discussions with my customers insisted on getting my comments. I said I had no comment os I could go back to my customers. He wouldn't stop with the badgering me so I asked him to leave politely. Which he did, but I guess that angered him, so I'm a Stalinist and he's a jerk. That cleared that up.

Eighth: "Evil Dave" says "The Red & Black crowd". I would like him to come in and tell me what that crowd is. Is it my first regular in the morning, a self-discribed conservative, disabled Navy Submarine Vet? Is it the teachers? The union staffers? The retirement aged nurses? Admittedly, the Naturapathic and Accupunture students who study at the cafe are well known for their violence, as are the buddist nuns and the ever threatening Green Party members. These are my regulars, as well as Intel engineers, lawyers, doctors, business owners, middle school kids and yes, even some hipster slackers, 'anarchists', tree huggers and the classic hippies.

But Dave needs to ask himself what is the common thing that all these folks have? They live in the neighborhood! They walk or ride their bike to the cafe. What is wrong with selling coffee, food and beer to our neighbors? If Neil Goldscmidt drank at a starbucks would that make all its customers child molesters? Why not take the same yardstick to everyone?

Last: Thanks for your time and open mind

I stopped in and spent around $7 at the new Starbucks today. I went out of my way to do so. And I look forward to buying a Subway sandwich there, too, if that is what is legally sited there.

Most of the locally owned businesses that the lefties down there would like aren't commercially viable. I don't often need a bong or patchouli oil, thanks.

You live in America. Money talks. Deal with it.

I go through that intersection around once a week, and I couldn't tell you where the Red & Black is. It must be east of 20th, maybe on the north side of the street? Because when I sit at the light facing southbound, I can't see the place. If I can't see it, I can't patronize it.

What Perrin did was completely legal within the land use rules of Portland. It's a perfectly logical use of that space. You're lucky it wasn't a methadone clinic.

Portland needs land use reform. But arson is wrong. Always. Always. Wrong.

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» Portland's Coffee War: What is to be done in return? from Isaac Laquedem
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In Vino Veritas

If You See Kay, Red 2011
Turnbull, Old Bull Red 2010
Cherry Tart, Cherry Pie Pinot Noir 2012
Trader Joe's Grand Reserve Cabernet, Oakville 2012
Benton Lane, Pinot Gris 2012
Campo Viejo, Rioja, Reserva 2008
Haden Fig, Pinot Noir 2012
Pendulum Red 2011
Vina Real, Plata, Crianza Rioja 2009
Edmunds St. John, Bone/Jolly, Gamay Noir Rose 2013
Bookwalter, Subplot No. 26
Ayna, Tempranillo 2011
Pete's Mountain, Pinot Noir, Haley's Block 2010
Apaltagua, Reserva Camenere 2012
Lugana, San Benedetto 2012
Argyle Brut 2007
Wildewood Pinot Gris 2012
Anciano, Tempranillo Reserva 2007
Santa Rita, Reserva Cabernet 2009
Casone, Toscana 2008
Fonseca Porto, Bin No. 27
Louis Jadot, Pouilly-Fuissé 2011
Trader Joe's, Grower's Reserve Pinot Noir 2012
Zenato, Lugana San Benedetto 2012
Vintjs, Cabernet 2010
14 Hands, Hot to Trot White 2012
Rainstorm, Oregon Pinot Gris 2012
Silver Palm, North Coast Cabernet 2011
Andrew Rich, Gewurtztraminer 2008
Rodney Strong, Charlotte's Home Sauvignon Blanc 2012
Canoe Ridge, Pinot Gris, Expedition 2012
Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Gamay Noir Rose 2012
Dark Horse, Big Red Blend No. 01A
Elk Cove, Pinot Noir Rose 2012
Fletcher, Shiraz 2010
Picollo, Gavi 2011
Domaine Eugene Carrel, Jongieux 2012
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Atticus, Pinot Noir 2010
Walter Scott, Pinot Noir, Holstein 2011
Shingleback, Cabernet, Davey Estate 2010
Coppola, Sofia Rose 2012
Joel Gott, 851 Cabernet 2010
Pol Roget Reserve Sparkling Wine
Mount Eden Chardonnay, Santa Cruz Mountains 2009
Rombauer Chardonnay, Napa Valley 2011
Beringer, Chardonnay, Napa Reserve 2011
Kim Crawford, Sauvignon Blanc 2011
Schloss Vollrads, Spaetlese Rheingau 2010
Belle Glos, Pinot Noir, Clark & Telephone 2010
WillaKenzie, Pinot Noir, Estate Cuvee 2010
Blackbird Vineyards, Arise, Red 2010
Chauteau de Beaucastel, Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2005
Northstar, Merlot 2008
Feather, Cabernet 2007
Silver Oak, Cabernet, Alexander Valley 2002
Silver Oak, Cabernet, Napa Valley 2002
Trader Joe's, Chardonnay, Grower's Reserve 2012
Silver Palm, Cabernet, North Coast 2010
Shingleback, Cabernet, Davey Estate 2010
E. Guigal, Cotes du Rhone 2009
Santa Margherita, Pinot Grigio 2011
Alamos, Cabernet 2011
Cousino Macul, Cabernet, Anitguas Reservas 2009
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1967, Toscana 2009
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Mercedes Eguren, Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
Lorelle, Columbia Valley Cabernet 2011
Purple Moon, Merlot 2011
Purple Moon, Chardonnnay 2011
Abacela, Vintner's Blend No. 12
Opula Red Blend 2010
Liberte, Pinot Noir 2010
Chateau Ste. Michelle, Indian Wells Red Blend 2010
Woodbridge, Chardonnay 2011
King Estate, Pinot Noir 2011
Famille Perrin, Cotes du Rhone Villages 2010
Columbia Crest, Les Chevaux Red 2010
14 Hands, Hot to Trot White Blend
Familia Bianchi, Malbec 2009
Terrapin Cellars, Pinot Gris 2011
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Kent Haruf - Eventide
David Halberstam - Summer of '49
Norman Mailer - The Naked and the Dead
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Christopher Buckley - Thank You for Smoking
William Shakespeare - Othello
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Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything
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Sara Varon - Bake Sale
Stephen King - 11/22/63
Paul Goldstein - Errors and Omissions
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Beverly Cleary - A Girl from Yamhill, a Memoir
Kent Haruf - Plainsong
Hope Larson - A Wrinkle in Time, the Graphic Novel
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Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
Jack Walker - The Extraordinary Rendition of Vincent Dellamaria
Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
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Sharon Creech - Walk Two Moons
Keith Richards - Life
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Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 280
At this date last year: 129
Total run in 2013: 257
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