People of the Center vs. The Children of Moloch



From SHARON ASTYK
Author, A Nation of Farmers: Defeating the Food Crisis on American Soil

I’ve gotten literally dozens of emails begging me to weigh in on the East Anglia climate scandal, and for a while, I was reluctant to do so, because ultimately, paying attention to something so inane just gives it credibility. We’re back, again, to the old battles over climate change – attention to trivialities in the absence of the central issue.

Anyone who made any effort at all knows that no, they didn’t lose or hide the data – it is still out there to be gathered by anyone doing the work. Yes, they should have kept the raw data, but given that they had a tiny budget, limited storage space and were writing their own code, maybe cut them some slack – maybe some discredit is due the climate skeptics who have kept this subject so wildly underfunded? Yes, we can still find raw temperature data at both the collection sites and at the several other compilers.

Yes, the scientists said some stupid and imprudent things – but saying that they were responsible for politicizing the discussion ignores the tens of millions of dollars spent by climate skeptic lobbyists over the last decades to create dissension and attack the scientists. Is there a religious-like orthodoxy of science that has exerted pressure on poor, hapless political leaders? Sure…30+ years of not accomplishing jack-shit – wow, those mean and powerful scientists – where do they get their power? Does an attack on four guys in England undermine all climate data? Ummm…four guys. Compared to tens of thousands of peer reviewed papers.

An Open Letter to President Obama from Michael Moore


From MICHAEL MOORE
Flint, Michigan

Monday, November 30th, 2009

Dear President Obama,

Do you really want to be the new “war president”? If you go to West Point tomorrow night (Tuesday, 8pm) and announce that you are increasing, rather than withdrawing, the troops in Afghanistan, you are the new war president. Pure and simple. And with that you will do the worst possible thing you could do — destroy the hopes and dreams so many millions have placed in you. With just one speech tomorrow night you will turn a multitude of young people who were the backbone of your campaign into disillusioned cynics. You will teach them what they’ve always heard is true — that all politicians are alike. I simply can’t believe you’re about to do what they say you are going to do. Please say it isn’t so.

It is not your job to do what the generals tell you to do. We are a civilian-run government. WE tell the Joint Chiefs what to do, not the other way around. That’s the way General Washington insisted it must be. That’s what President Truman told General MacArthur when MacArthur wanted to invade China. “You’re fired!,” said Truman, and that was that. And you should have fired Gen. McChrystal when he went to the press to preempt you, telling the press what YOU had to do. Let me be blunt: We love our kids in the armed services, but we f*#&in’ hate these generals, from Westmoreland in Vietnam to, yes, even Colin Powell for lying to the UN with his made-up drawings of WMD (he has since sought redemption).

So now you feel backed into a corner.

It is the REAL economy that needs the help…



From MICHAEL LAYBOURN
Hopland

I was moved to quote this passage from a novel I recently finished. The novel, written by Stieg Larsson, was set in Sweden and is about a journalist unafraid to investigate and expose a number of criminal corporations and the Swedish mainstream media lack of reporting the facts, instead aiding and abetting the corporations. Near the end of the book the corporations begin to be exposed and the corporation’s many investors cause the Swedish stock market to plummet. Our protagonist is being interviewed on TV and he was asked if he felt responsible for the economy’s freefall…

“The idea that Sweden’s economy is heading for a crash is nonsense,” Blomkvist said.

The host on TV4 looked perplexed. His reply did not follow the pattern she had expected and she was forced to improvise. Blomkvist got the question he was hoping for. “We’re experiencing the largest single drop in the history of the Swedish stock exchange – and you think that’s nonsense?”

“You have to distinguish between two things – The Swedish economy and the Swedish stock market. The Swedish economy is the sum of all the things goods and services that are produced in this country every day. There are telephones from Ericsson, cars from Volvo, chickens from Scan and shipments from Kiruna to Skovde. That’s the Swedish economy and it is as strong or weak as it was a week ago.” He paused for effect and took a sip of water.

“The stock exchange is something very different. There is no economy and no production of goods and services. There are only fantasies in which people from one hour to the next decide that this or that company is worth so many billions more or less. It doesn’t have a thing to do with reality or with the Swedish economy.”

How To Grind, Leach, Cook and Eat Acorns


From SUELLEN OCEAN
Covelo

[This extremely important, locally-produced book, Acorns and Eat ‘Em, is available to download free here. I also have a copy I’ve printed out that can be browsed at Mulligan Books. If anyone wants a copy and cannot download and print it out themselves, I’m happy to do it for you. -DS]


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Hunker Down Locally as the End of the World Arrives in Mendocino County


From TOM DAVENPORT
Family Frog Farm, Redwood Valley

Some interesting thoughts are going through the minds of our friends and neighbors – check out the ones who called Jeff Blankfort’s KZYX radio show on Nov 25…

http://www.vintagenet.us/EOTW_Call_Ins_112509.mp3
~

From KATHY McMAHON
Peak Oil Blues

Ordinary fears/extraordinary times: 55 (real) things to worry about (if you must…)

We have other things to worry about right now…

Peak Oil, Climate change and the Greater Depression will pose many challenges to our way of life but let’s get real, for a moment: Golden Hordes aren’t one of them. At least not now. Economic depression brings with it a host of serious problems, and I think you can say quite confidently, without being a chicken little, that most of the world is in a Greater Depression. But still, we’ve got a few years to go before we can say that the USA is no longer a viable culture, when no one wants to live in Paris or London, when potatoes no longer grow in Poland, and before donkey’s begin pulling our rusted-out cars. Bikers with shotguns; weaving socks from milk thistle; crashing waves drowning our cities; evacuating your house on a moments notice to house troops; the government coming to confiscate your precious metals; a mass exodus of cities as the violence and mayhem escalates to untolerable levels—all of these things should not be on the top of the list of what to prepared for. So what should be?

Cultural orphan of the class struggle


From Joe Bageant
Author, Deer Hunting With Jesus

Hi Joe,

I just found your site a few weeks ago, computer-phobe and migraine sufferer that I am, but it seems like the more I read of you, the more I understand of myself. I’m from southern Illinois, born and raised, although I lived away from here for a short time.

Now I’m back living in Williamson county, in a town where our last major factory closed two years ago, and coal mining, what’s left of it, is not much more than an irritating reminder of better times long gone. But I give the folks around here a lot of credit. They’re always looking to get beyond the disappointments of the present, find ways to attract new business, and keep the population from decreasing. We’ve held at a steady 10,000 for a good thirty years, and although it might seem laughable to some, that’s a victory in itself, considering everything we’ve lost, believe me.

As for me, I was born working class, well, underclass, truth be told. My dad had been a prosperous farmer post World War Two, but after he lost the farm, he had no other skills to fall back on. He became a house painter, working from dawn till dusk. When his health failed, he became a janitor. My mom was a nurse’s aid at a time when not only didn’t you need a certificate, you didn’t even need to show an 8th grade diploma. It was my bad fortune to be born long after the farm was gone, so all I ever heard from my parents was how wonderful everything use to be, and how shitty it is now. I was one of those quiet, bookish, pessimistic little kids, having little in common with my parents or peers. But rural poverty will have its effect, and I grew up to hold the same jobs as everybody else, working at Wal-Mart, Kroger, and at gas stations which seemed to change their names every few months. I never had what most would consider a real job. I guess because I never felt I deserved it.

And at middle age, I have to say I’ve never found a way to overcome those feelings. A few years ago, while still in my thirties, I had the quixotic idea to go to college.

From Wage Slave to Micro Entrepreneur



From The View From Brittany

My girlfriend is setting up her own business. It is something she had always wanted to do, but her being laid off in the wake of the current economic downturn – as we have come to call what might very well be the new economic normality – kicked her into action. She is hardly the only one in this situation. All over the country there is a flurry of new business creations. In normal times, this would bode well for a country which has indeed coined the word “entrepreneur” but had forgotten it quite a long time ago. We are not in normal times however, and this unprecedented wave of entrepreneurship tells in fact of a deep economic insecurity which can only increase with the coming energy descent. It also announces the end of an economic arrangement which had shaped the western social landscape for nearly a century : the wage system.

Wage labor has become so common, so “normal” in today’s society, that we have forgotten how marginal – and despised – it was before the Industrial Revolution. In agrarian societies wages were what farmhands, servants and journeymen got – and for the last category it was considered temporary. All respectable working people were self employed, either owning or renting land or running small – or even not so small – businesses. Living on wages was something you did when you had no other choice, and, socially speaking, that put you a mere step above a beggar or a slave. It is particularly revealing that in Latin, the word for wages has the same root as the word for prostitute.

There were, of course exceptions, but they were not seen as such. Journeymen lived on wages but, at least theoretically, it was, for them only a temporary step

Spencer Brewer urges shop local… as he closes his own store


From K. C. MEADOWS
Ukiah Daily Journal

As the Christmas shopping season kicks off, one Ukiah business will begin a giant sale on Monday.

A going out of business sale.

Spencer Brewer, well-known local musician, is closing the Ukiah Music Center after six years selling pianos, guitars, amplifiers, guitar strings, music books, drums and every other kind of musical instrument or gizmo imaginable.

It was the largest music store in three counties and the only piano store between here and the Oregon border.

The economy certainly had a hand in the problems at UMC this year, but Brewer said he feels his situation also presents a cautionary tale about shopping locally.

“We’re going out of business in large part because of the Internet,” he said, “where they don’t pay sales taxes or freight.”

Competitors on the Internet, he said, can sell musical instruments cheaper than he can even stock them wholesale.

What is most aggravating, he continued, was that people would come into the Ukiah Music Center, ask about an instrument, get the store to give them the research and the brochures, and then buy their instrument or equipment on the Internet.