Llangattock is Making the Transition, Why Can’t We?

The Telegraph UK
Thanks to Linda Sanders

“If you forget to put limits on people and assume that they are capable of fantastic things, then the impossible becomes possible,” said Michael Butterfield, who spearheads the Green Streets.

Llangattock is a small village scattered along a fold in the Brecon Beacon mountains – the softly wooded slopes, high hay meadows and streams making the area one of the loveliest parts of Britain.

The 1,300 inhabitants in the 420 homes have, however, more than the view to be proud of. They are on track to making Llangattock Britain’s first ”carbon-negative community” by 2015. This is no new eco town, but an established settlement alongside the River Usk with a mixture of traditional hill farms and 20th-century bungalows. Yet with energy-saving and energy-creating measures, the community has shown what can be achieved when everyone pulls together.

The woodland group manages and coppices 20 acres of mostly ash and alder for the village’s wood-burning stoves; the residential group coordinates distribution of home energy-saving devices from insulation to solar panels. In just one year, 55 homes will have solar panels installed on their roofs.

The 74-member bio-diesel group collects chip fat from restaurants and has converted more than 11,000 litres of fuel, saving 29 tons of carbon dioxide; 60 families tend a field of new allotments and have resurrected the village fête; and the hydro group is forging ahead with six small-scale hydroelectric schemes on the streams around the village.

Larger projects, such as a woodchip district heating scheme and an anaerobic digester, fed with grass and slurry waste from local farms, that will earn the village an income, are also under way.

But how has a small village with a disparate and fairly elderly population pulled off such an achievement?

Almost exactly a year ago, the village won the Welsh heat of British Gas’s Green Streets competition, run to find the ”greenest” communities in Britain. The win provided £137,400 of grants from British Gas, and other grants and earnings have made a total income for the village of £575,000.

Building Community: An Economic Approach


David Korten with David Brancaccio

David Korten: What economic transformation has to do with building stronger, happier communities.

In Fixing the Future, a one-hour PBS special airing November 18th (check local listings), David Brancaccio visits communities across America using innovative approaches to create jobs and build prosperity in our new economy.

He interviewed YES! Magazine board chair David Korten for a big picture perspective about what it will take to build an economy that works for all. Transcript below.

Watch the full episode. See more NOW on PBS.

David Brancaccio (DB): So our mission here is to fix the future; just give me a sense of how we can get started on this question.

David Korten (DK): Well you know, David, it starts with a very basic question. Do people exist to serve the economy, or should the economy exist to serve people? Now it turns out that we’ve created a whole society with culture and institutions around the idea that people exist to serve the economy. And millions of people are waking up to the reality that that’s a misplaced priority.

DB: Our knee-jerk reaction is to go down to Wall Street to ask questions about how we fix the economy. That’s the usual way of doing things. In fact I think there are entire cable TV channels devoted to asking those people what the solution is. You’re asking us to go not toward Wall Street but where? Just to Main Street, America?

DK: Wall Street is basically dedicated to eliminating jobs or outsourcing jobs in order to increase financial profits of the biggest corporations and to increase the financial assets of the world’s already richest people. Now what we need is a money system that actually is doing what you just said, is connecting real resources with real needs, creating real community wealth at the community level. But that requires a financial system that is rooted in the community and accountable to community interest and that operates by life values rather than financial values.

DB: So if you’re trying to figure out what values an economy or a financial system is displaying, you have a theory about where to look to see where the center of power of the economy is rooted.

Herb Ruhs: Beware the hospital


As a physician I can hardly avoid facing the facts about health care, but I can understand why people would want to.  I get a lot of nervous laughter from folks when I assert that health care itself has become the third leading cause of death in the US behind cancer and heart disease.  But this assertion is chillingly true (http://www.health-care-reform.net/causedeath.htm). Better I guess that people characterize me as a mere crackpot than feel the terror that is lurking behind their illusions.

People are also surprised to hear that it is the health care system itself that is causing shortened US life spans and bad infant survival rates.  In fact it is a credit to our highly effective propaganda system that so many refuse to believe that personal choices, “life style choices” as the propaganda sources like to put it, have essentially nothing to do with our nations plummeting health statistics. Few I speak to are prepared to go even further and identify the ROOT source of our discontents as our insanely increasing economic inequality, as has been shown in the recent book The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger By Richard Wilkinson, Kate Pickett. What can I say? This is the desired result of our massively funded thought control system euphemistically call our mass media. Never have so many been so confused about what is going on.  We are witnessing (though by design most are unaware of it) a triumph of epic proportions in the long march of social engeering.

Consequently I was pleased to come across this report on the Medicare facet of the disaster that is American health care, “AHRQ: Rate of Adverse Events in Medicare Cases ‘Disturbing'” (http://www.healthleadersmedia.com/content/HEP-259160/AHRQ-Rate-of-Adverse-Events-in-Medicare-Cases-Disturbing#%23). The report has details of what sorts of things actually go wrong in hospitals and why. Folks who look through this with open eyes will come to the conclusion that our hospitals have become down right dangerous places to be sick in. Open minds will realize that it is not just Medicare that is spreading death and mayhem. It is the entire system from our decrepit public health system and the corrupt Federal agencies administering it, to the doctors office down the street. It is all bad for very logical reasons that are all political in nature. We are administering ourselves to death.

Only in a nearly perfectly propagandized society could such things go on without rage in the streets.  The propagandist must be so proud of themselves.

List of Citizen Journalism Websites


Citizen journalism has been described as individuals “playing an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing and disseminating news and information.”

In their report We Media: How Audiences are Shaping the Future of News and Information, Shayne Bowman and Chris Willis write that “the intent of this participation is to provide independent, reliable, accurate, wide-ranging and relevant information that a democracy requires.”

Citizen Journalism is slowly being looked upon as a form of rightful democratic ways of giving honest news, articles, etc, directly by citizens of the world from anywhere.

Kent Bye’s “Echo Chamber Project” is attempting a new type of citizen journalism: an “open source, investigative documentary about the how the television news media became an uncritical echo chamber to the Executive Branch leading up to the war in Iraq.” By “open source,” Bye means that he is sharing both the transcripts and footage from his documentary with anyone who wants to use it or remix it with other footage as they see fit. He is also trying to “develop more sophisticated techniques for citizen journalism,” including new software tools that will enable other collaborative efforts. A preliminary video of the Echo Chamber Project is available on OurMedia.org, a non-profit initiative that provides free storage space and bandwidth to anyone with videos, audio files, text files, or software that they’d like to share with the world.

NowPublic lets anyone publish their own work, collectively decide what appears on the homepage and upload photographs, video or sound recordings that relate to news stories. The site is just under 1 year old but with several thousand contributors is already a rival to conventional media in terms of reporting capacity.

World Wide List here

California (partial)


Ritual Humiliation Scanners


Raising taxes on the fat cats will save us. It has before.


[Sorry, Ralph, this is the only way “the Super-Rich will save us. ” -DS]

The Myth

Do tax cuts stimulate the economy?

Yes. Tax cuts allow people to keep more of their own money therefore they have more to invest and spend into the economy and more money to start business and create jobs therefore also helping to stimulate the economy.

I think when people take a look back at this moment in our economic history, they’ll recognize tax cuts work. They have made a difference. ~George W. Bush

The Realities

The brute facts are these:

Large income tax cuts are followed by a bubble and then a crash.

High income taxes correlate with economic growth.

Income tax increases are followed by economic growth.

Moderate income tax cuts are followed by a flat economy.

All this is especially true as applied to the top tax rates, the amount paid on income that exceeds the highest bracket.

The Three Great Tax Cuts: Boom, Bubble, Crash

During World War One the top marginal tax rate went up to 73%. Not the highest ever, but pretty high.

In 1922, a series of rate cuts began. Down to 56%, 46%, and finally, in 1925, it went down to 25%.

The stock market took off. There was a boom. But the boom was a bubble.

It was followed by the Great Crash of 1929.

There were bank failures and the Great Depression.

From Franklin Roosevelt’s second term all the way through to Jimmy Carter, – from 1936 until 1982 – the top rate was in the 70-92% range.

Then along came Reagan in 1981. In 1982 he cut that down to 50%.

The economy went into “the worst recession since the Great Depression.”

Lindsay Maurer: Bring Your Own Bag Raffle

President of the Ukiah High School Environmental Club

The Ukiah High School Environmental Club is rewarding YOU for using reusable bags!  Participate in the BYOBag raffle — bring your own bag when you shop downtown Ukiah, and WIN PRIZES!

From November 15th through December 10th, use your own reusable bag when you shop at the following participating businesses, and receive a raffle ticket to the BYOBag Raffle, for a chance to win beautiful prizes from local businesses. (You will also receive a raffle ticket for choosing to use no bag at all.)

Find us on Facebook-Ukiah BYOBag Raffle– and spread the word

Participating Businesses:
Cinnabar Ceramics
La Tre
Three Sisters
Boutique 120
Mendocino Bounty
Shoefly and Sox
Mendocino Barkery
Dig! Music
Village Books
It’s Time
Ruby Slippers
Renaissance Market
Grace’s On Main
Pacific Outfitters
Tierra- Art, Garden, Wine
Little Brown Bear

Win Prizes From:
Cinnabar Ceramics
Heidi’s Yarn Haven
Three Sisters
Mendocino Bounty
Boutique 120
Bikram Yoga
La Tre
Shoefly & Sox
Mulligan Books
Dig! Music
Ukiah Brewing Co. & Restaurant
Tashe A. Kurland Integrated Massage Therapy
Oco Time
Ukiah Natural Foods Co-op
Esencia Aromatherapy
The Coffee Critic
Hoyman/Browe Studio
Renaissance Market
Pacific Outfitters
Frey Vineyards
Tierra- Art, Garden, Wine
T.E. Cakes
Powerhouse Multimedia & Marketing Solutions

The BYOBag Raffle Drawing will be held at The Brewery on Tuesday, December 14th from 7:00 to 11:00 (need not be present to win).  Join us for aerial silks and other live entertainment, and beautiful prizes!

Q&A with Michele Simon — activist, attorney, badass

From The Ethicurean

It’s always fun to talk with someone who has such a sense of purpose that she doesn’t feel the need to make nice. Michele Simon is one of those people. Let me be clear: Simon, a public health attorney for the Marin Institute, and author of Appetite for Profit: How the Food Industry Undermines Our Health and How to Fight Back is a lovely individual — friendly, thoughtful, and soft-spoken. But she’s also totally unafraid to speak her mind, consistently skewering Coca-Cola, Kraft, and other companies she feels contribute to the poor health of our children, and our nation.

Recently Simon chatted with me about school food, social justice, and why we all need to get more involved with the politics of food.

Let’s start with school food. What do you think about all of the momentum around school food reform?

It’s great that so many people are focused on school food, because schools are such an obvious place that needs reform. But the problems in schools are just a microcosm of a bigger issue. I think sometimes that gets lost. We have wonderful dedicated groups of advocates pushing for school food reform, and I can point to a number of great efforts that are happening around the country. And we need to remember that school food is a part of a larger broken food system that needs to change.

What would you say that change looks like?

Right now, our entire food system is based on profit and growth. That’s what our government policies support. But our policies could, instead, support a system that’s based on values and democracy, so good food is priced in a way that everyone can afford it. It’s a question of policy; better policy can help ensure that truly healthy and sustainable food is available to everyone.

And you think policy change is feasible at this time in history?

It’s a good question. There’s some very disturbing discourse now about how everything government does is bad. And, that anything government might do to “control” your behavior is bad, so if government makes food policy changes, those must be bad, too. But this argument assumes that government is not already involved in your food choices. It completely ignores the reality that government is already involved with everything you eat. Every single meal, every bite you take is already shaped by policy; it’s just that the policy is in corporate interests, instead of the public interest. Government shouldn’t be obstructing Americans’ ability to eat well; it should be supporting it.

I wrote something recently about how despite all the attention, the problem of obesity continues to grow.  A friend then asked me, flat out, “Why should I even care? If I’m taking care of myself, if I’m eating apples and not Cheetos, why should I even care about someone who makes the reverse choice?” What would be your answer to this person?

One answer could be the health care argument – that we’re all going to pay in the form of higher health care costs. But I don’t leave it at that because I come to this work with an altruistic perspective. I believe we have a moral obligation to make the world better for everyone. As human beings, we’ve always needed to support one another,

9 things I learned by shadowing a home-energy inspector


[…] It helps to learn firsthand. The most interesting part of the four-hour visit was the blower-door test. Paul used a large fan with an airtight skirt to blow air out the front door, depressurizing the house and accelerating small air leaks so they’re easier to find. Cold air coming up from the basement doorway felt like a minor squall. Even tiny leaks passing through light-switch plates were perceptible. Langdon followed Paul around and felt each leak for himself — which make it easier to understand the problem.

Thermal imaging cameras are nifty. They make it visual and perceptible where heat escapes — both through air leaks through solid surfaces. Langdon will get a series of photos that Paul shot.

Attics should get insulation first, then walls and basements. Because heat rises. Windows are so expensive they’re rarely worth replacing for heating-bill savings alone…

Utilities are driving the retrofit industry right now… Utilities aren’t paying for reviews and retrofits because they’re tree huggers. They’re doing it because cutting demand is cheaper than building new power plants. All together now: Efficiency is the cheapest form of energy

Full article here

Is this the coolest website on the internet?


[In the tradition of the Whole Earth Catalog… -DS]

True Films


Food, Inc. is a very smart, very visual explanation of the industrial nature of our food system. Some of the characters and arguments are repeated from Michael Pollan’s bestseller, The Ominvore’s Dilemma (which I have reviewed previously), and Pollan plays a large role in this film. Like the book, this film makes a very memorable case for the downsides of agribusiness, although, unlike the book, it is light on solutions. Nonetheless, the film is eye-opening, head-shaking, and disturbing in a good way. If you eat in America, you really should see this film to get a sense of what you are eating. It’s one of a handful of true films than change people’s behavior.

— KK


Rebooting the American Dream – Chapter One: Bring My Job Home!


Also See: Rebooting the American Dream: Introduction

By preferring the support of domestic to that of foreign industry, he [the entrepreneur] intends only his own security, and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention.
—Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations, 1776

The White House called me.

About a year after President Barack Obama took office, on the first anniversary of his major economic recovery legislation, his administration was struggling to get the word out that the legislation was, in fact, quite a success story. I found myself invited to the White House as part of a small group of well-known authors and bloggers to meet with a top administration economist as part of this promotion effort.

It was an odd problem they were facing, given that this president was masterful during the 2008 election campaign in communicating his ideas and his vision to the American public. So what happened? Why didn’t America know that the $787 billion legislation represented one of the largest middle-class tax cuts in American history, that it had demonstrably created or preserved between 1.5 million and 3 million jobs, and that it had, in all probability, prevented the severe recession Obama inherited from George W. Bush from turning into a second Republican Great Depression, at least in the short term?

Peak Moment Television: Meet the Women of YES! Magazine


Todd Walton: Le Village

Under The Table

“I always felt that the great high privilege, relief, and comfort of friendship was that one had to explain nothing.” Katherine Mansfield

A soggy afternoon, the last Friday in October of 2010, Halloween two days away. I moved to Mendocino from Berkeley on Halloween five years ago and I have yet to tire of going to the beach. I mention the beach because almost everyone I met during my first two years here assured me that I would soon tire of going to the beach. These same people also told me that after I lived here for a year or two, I would grow stir crazy and hunger for the cultural excitement of the outer world. They were adamant I would want to travel to Mexico or Hawaii or Europe or Manhattan, or at least to San Francisco, but after five years here I have yet to experience the slightest urge to go anywhere but the village, the forest, and the beach.

Today was the last farmers’ market of the year in Mendocino. I love our little mercado. I hope one day to be one of the people selling things in our market. I will vend vegetables and fruit and books and CDs and greeting cards and Giants T-shirts and Giants baseball hats and Cliff Glover and Marion Miller ceramics, and each week zany and eccentric friends will make guest appearances at my booth. I will also have a weekly poetry contest (one entry per person), and a guess-how-many-beans-are-in-the-jar contest, with valuable prizes.

Today I would have bought a farmers’ market pie from the wonderful Garden Bakery people, but I am gluten free now and the Garden Bakery people only sell pies full of gluten. I’m predicting big things for gluten-free foodstuffs in the near future.

This is the Guy: A Small Fraction of a Man



George W. Bush was all over my television this past week, all over the newspapers, and the feelings inspired by his sudden reappearance are almost beyond my capacity to describe. There was the story about his hearty approval of waterboarding. There was the story that had him contemplating dropping Dick Cheney from the administration. There was the story that had him describing himself as a “dissenter” on the Iraq invasion. He did interviews, and excerpts of his new book dribbled out, and it was all too much to endure.

This is the guy, I thought to myself when I saw his face or heard his voice. This is the guy.

This is the guy who took a massive Clinton administration budget surplus and gave it away to his friends at the top of the tax bracket, a move that laid the groundwork for our current economic calamity.

This is the guy who breezed past a pointed warning about Osama bin Laden, terrorism and airplanes on August 8, 2001, because he was on vacation and couldn’t be bothered.

This is the guy who parlayed that massive failure into a constant goad of fear to be wielded with impunity against the people he purported to lead. Plastic sheeting and duct tape, anthrax under your pillow, and of course, weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

This is the guy who, not even a month after the Towers came down, looked into a television camera and said, “We need to counter the shockwave of the evildoer by having individual rate cuts accelerated and by thinking about tax rebates.”

Richard Heinberg: 300 Years of Fossil-Fueled Addiction in 5 Minutes


See Also ‘Holy Shit’ by Gene Logsdon book promo video here

Herb Ruhs: When will we stop the lyin’ and the denyn’


When will we stop the lyin’ and the denyn’ and face the fact that, in every way, in every time, and in every place, the monster that is SOCIAL CLASS is the source of virtually all of our societal afflictions. Eden is just beyond the door where we leave class behind as a means of ordering society. Rank is the rankest of the rank things that escaped, unnoticed in denial, from Pandora’s box.

In a recent book (on order for me at Laughing Books in Boonville) called Pandora’s Seed: The Unforeseen Cost of Civilization, Spencer Wells, described as “renowned geneticist and anthropologist” takes the position (at least according to the review at Google Books) that our current existential crisis began with the advent of farming and the abandonment of the hunter gatherer life style. With all due respect, if the review was accurate, (I love Wells’ work) I think he is wrong.  From my study I suspect that most of us would be quite happy as early Neolithic farmers on the periphery of the “great civilizations” where the sociopaths had already gotten a foothold and instituted mono-cropping of grains with coerced labor.

My understanding is that our decline began with the invention of class.  Our torment since that time has been the inevitable consequences of class. Class war, a concept that, for me, includes all aspects of class violence, economic, spiritual and educational, is our primary reality.  Those who advocate for peace yet ignore class as the engine of war are pursuing a illusion.

Much of what is taught in our universities about prehistory is bull. Most of what people think they know about our origins is conditioned by the rightist political views of powerful folks in the Academy. Fact is that our species had the brass ring in our hands at the end of a ten thousand year run of good weather following the last ice ages. We began our descent with the establishment of hierarchical institutions like religion,

Roll Back the Reagan Tax Cuts


[It’s very, very simple. Forget all the gibberish from the Deficit Commission about cutting Social Security and Medicare. That is a class war con job on the middle and working classes. To clear up the deficit in a very few years, simply roll back the Reagan tax cuts for the very rich that started this financial disaster. Done. Why is no one else talking about this? Maybe because the wealthy news guys and gals, left and right, will be negatively affected? -DS]

A very small niche of America’s uber-wealthy have pulled off what may well be the biggest con job in the history of our republic, and they did it in a startlingly brief 30 or so years. True, they spent over three billion dollars to make it happen, but the reward to them was in the hundreds of billions – and will continue to be.

As my friend and colleague Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks pointed out in a Daily Kos blog recently, billionaire Rupert Murdoch loses $50 million a year on the NY Post, billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife loses $2 to $3 million a year on the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, billionaire Philip Anschutz loses around $5 million a year on The Weekly Standard, and billionaire Sun Myung Moon has lost $2 to $3 billion on The Washington Times.

Why are these guys willing to lose so much money funding “conservative” media? Why do they bulk-buy every right-wing book that comes out to throw it to the top of the NY Times Bestseller list and then give away the copies to “subscribers” to their websites and publications? Why do they fund to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars a year money-hole “think tanks” like Heritage and Cato?

The answer is pretty straightforward.

Two Santa Clauses or How The Republican Party Has Conned America for Thirty Years

Repost from January 2009

This weekend, House Republican leader John Boehner played out the role of Jude Wanniski on NBC’s “Meet The Press.”

Odds are you’ve never heard of Jude, but without him Reagan never would have become a “successful” president, Republicans never would have taken control of the House or Senate, Bill Clinton never would have been impeached, and neither George Bush would have been president.

When Barry Goldwater went down to ignominious defeat in 1964, most Republicans felt doomed (among them the then-28-year-old Wanniski). Goldwater himself, although uncomfortable with the rising religious right within his own party and the calls for more intrusion in people’s bedrooms, was a diehard fan of Herbert Hoover’s economic worldview.

In Hoover’s world (and virtually all the Republicans since reconstruction with the exception of Teddy Roosevelt), market fundamentalism was a virtual religion. Economists from Ludwig von Mises to Friedrich Hayek to Milton Friedman had preached that government could only make a mess of things economic, and the world of finance should be left to the Big Boys – the Masters of the Universe, as they sometimes called themselves – who ruled Wall Street and international finance.

Hoover enthusiastically followed the advice of his Treasury Secretary, multimillionaire Andrew Mellon, who said in 1931: “Liquidate labor, liquidate stocks, liquidate the farmers, liquidate real estate. Purge the rottenness out of the system. High costs of living and high living will come down…

Mendo Volunteer Events

Together We Can! Mendocino

Dear Members and Friends of Together We Can! Mendocino,
We have five new posted volunteer events, all for the Ukiah Senior Center.  The first three take place on Thanksgiving Day.  The Senior Center will be serving two separate Thanksgiving Day Meals and need volunteers to help with each of them, as well as clean up.  This will be a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings ($7/person).  Here are the links to sign up:
If you are unable to help with the Senior Center Thanksgiving Day Meal during the times we have posted, they also need help on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and in the morning of Thanksgiving Day.  Here is the information on what they need for volunteers:
Wednesday, November 24th
Shifts available: 6:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.     Making pies
9:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon   Kitchen Prep
12:00 noon – 3:00 p.m.   Kitchen Prep
3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.     Kitchen Clean up
Thursday, November 25th
Shifts available: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon   Kitchen help
10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.   Carving Turkeys
Please contact Lavonna Silveria at 707-462-4343 x 106 or usclavon@pacific.net if you would like to help.
The other two posted volunteer events take place on December 10th at the Senior Center.  We will be helping them with their Holiday Comfort Dinner.  This will be a lasagna dinner with wine or beverage and a special dessert ($10/person).  Here are the links to sign up:
Volunteer Calendar Here

Dear Tea Party: You will now get yours


And now, hot on the heels of our recent letter to whiny young Democrats, a loving shout-out to all those moderates and independents, confused conservatives and hard-line Repubs who went just a little more than slightly insane this past election.

To all of you who either flip-flopped your wishy-washy ideals and switched your vote from bluish to reddish this past election because Obama and the lukewarm Dems failed to solve all world problems in 700 days, or because you got yourself so emotionally riled up/mentally watered down by the sexy caveman grunts of the Tea Party that you actually bought the BS line about being “mad as hell” about nothing even remotely coherent.

Here is your grand message: You are hereby wonderfully, thoroughly screwed.

Oh darling, it’s so very true. The fun-filled news is, despite all the bluster and rhetoric, thinly veiled racism and rampant Islamophobia on display, the new army of jittery, anti-everything GOP bobbleheads that you just voted into office doesn’t care a single iota about you, or your haphazard values, or what you sometimes occasionally stand for. And what’s more, deep down, you secretly know it.

Are you slightly offended? Are you scowling and mistrustful of the notion? I’m delighted to hear it. Also: It doesn’t really matter.

You don’t have to believe me. Just wait until nothing at all is done to service the Tea Party non-agenda, because it’s ridiculous and impossible to service. Just wait until you note how there is no actual shrinking of government, no restoring some bogus sepia-toned idealism that never existed, no saving of your job.

What has Jason Bradford been up to since leaving our fair county?

A Socially Conscious Way to Invest in Farmland: An Interview with Dr. Jason Bradford about Farmland LP

The following post is an interview with Dr. Jason Bradford, who answers questions about his business, Farmland LP, which is an investment vehicle that allows its investors to own farmland which is farmed using organic and sustainable practices.

Kalpa: Please start by giving us a small background on Farmland LP. What is it, what are its goals, and who might be interested in investing in it?

Jason: We are an investment fund that buys conventional farmland and converts it to certified organic, sustainably managed farmland. Historically, farmland has been an excellent, inflation-hedged investment. Our firm, Farmland LP, adds value to farmland by converting it to organic farmland and managing it ongoing. Our goal is to play a role in the transformation of the food system while benefiting the environment, people, and our investors.

Potential investors include any accredited individual investors (an SEC requirement) and institutions such as pension funds, university and charity endowments. They are often interested in holding tangible, inflation protected, cash flowing assets, and farmland meets those criteria. Also, since we are an environmentally and socially responsible management company, we attract those interested in making sure their money is doing good work…

It was co-created with my business partner, Craig Wichner. I had the basic agroecological model in my head and was looking for a way to make it happen…

Complete story here

Laura Hamburg: Mendocino Access TV Grand Opening


I am on the Board of Directors for our new community access television station. I would love for you to give us your feedback on what kind of community programming you’d like to see — or even better come with your own ideas for your own show. Sky’s the limit on what you might do — all things Mendo, localization, food safety, politics, arts, music, children, theater, sports, gardening, farming & ranching, cooking, marijuana, interviews, on-location programming and more…

Come to our Grand Opening this Friday — November 12, 5 pm at the Brush Street station. Food, drinks and frolic.

What Do You Want To See? What do you want to create? A weekly, monthly show, a once-in-a-while film project? All content must be either educational, community-oriented, or government. Other than that, there is NO CENSORSHIP.

Programming is seen on Comcast stations 3, 64 & 65. And content is shared with 1,500 other public access television stations nationwide.

A $30 yearly membership fee buys you the ability to check-out and borrow the station’s state-of-the art cameras to film wherever you like, use the studio and the studio equipment for production and editing, and hands-on-training with our wonderful Director of Programming Jason Killilea.

Thom Hartmann: Rebooting the American Dream – 11 Ways to Rebuild Our Country


Truthout is proud to bring you an exclusive series from America’s No. 1 progressive radio host, Thom Hartmann. Starting today, we’ll be publishing weekly installments of Hartmann’s acclaimed new book, “Rebooting the American Dream: 11 Ways to Rebuild Our Country.” We invite Truthout readers to join us over the next 12 weeks as, chapter by chapter, we explore these groundbreaking ideas for national transformation. We begin today with the book’s introduction.

I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power. ~ Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Charles Jarvis, September 28, 1820

On April 14, 1789, George Washington was out walking through the fields at Mount Vernon, his home in Virginia, when Charles Thomson, the secretary of the Continental Congress, showed up on horseback. Thomson had a letter for Washington from the president pro tempore of the new, constitutionally created United States Senate, telling Washington that he’d just been elected president and the inauguration was set for April 30 in the nation’s capital, New York City.

Why Republicans are So Intent on Killing Health Care Reform


It’s not just about expanded care. It’s about proving our government can be a force for the common good.

[Michael Moore has long ago proven the lies that conservatives and tea partiers will tell to kill even the feeble new health care laws we have. We need to stand tall and stop these big lie, sicko bastards in their tracks. -DS]

Why are John Boehner, Eric Cantor and Mitch McConnell so intent on stopping health care reform from ever taking hold? For the same reason that Republicans and the corporate Right spent more than $200 million in the last year to demonize health care in swing Congressional districts. It wasn’t just about trying to stop the bill from becoming law or taking over Congress. It is because health reform, if it takes hold, will create a bond between the American people and government, just as Social Security and Medicare have done. Democrats, and all those who believe that government has a positive place in our lives, should remember how much is at stake as Republicans and corporate elites try to use their electoral victory to dismantle the new health care law.

My enjoyment of the MLB playoffs last month was interrupted by ads run by Karl Rove’s Crossroads front group against upstate New York Rep. Scott Murphy, who was defeated last Tuesday. Rove’s ads rained accusations on Murphy, including the charge of a “government takeover of health care.” Some might have thought that once the public option was removed from the health care legislation, Republicans couldn’t make that charge. But it was never tied to the public option or any other specific reform. Republicans and their allies, following the advice of message guru Frank Luntz, were going to call

The end of cheap oil will be the end of globalization

The Oil Drum

One of the keynote speakers at the recent ASPO-USA conference was Jeff Rubin, former Chief Economist with CIBC World Market. Rubin talked about why he believes high oil prices caused the recent recession. He also talked about how high oil prices are likely to vastly reduce globalization. He views this as a positive situation, because he expects this will change supply curves in such a way as to make American-made products more competitive. He believes that we will find our new smaller world much more livable and sustainable.

Every major recession in the post-war period has oil’s fingerprints all over it. The 1973 first oil shock led to what was then the deepest post-war recession, at the time. The second OPEC oil shock led to no less than two recessions: 1979 and 1982. And then when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, and left half of its oil fields on fire, and oil spiked to the then unheard-of price of $40 barrel, lo and behold, the industrialized world again fell into recession.

Gee, I wonder what happened to oil prices before this recession. It seems to me that oil prices went from about $30 barrel, at the beginning of 2004, to almost $150 barrel by 2008. Even in real terms, that is, inflation-adjusted, that price increase was over double the price increase of either the first or the second OPEC oil shock. If they had led to devastating recessions, why would not the biggest oil shock of them all, be the obvious culprit for what has been the deepest recession to date?…

I will tell you where I think oil prices are going. Even in this most anemic of economic recoveries, we are going to see triple digit oil prices. We are not going to see triple digit oil prices in 10 to 15 years. And it is certainly not clear to me that the global economy is

Book Review: ‘Death Of The Liberal Class’ by Chris Hedges

From NPR

From organizing workers to preventing war to making the economy more green, journalist Chris Hedges argues that, for decades, liberals have surrendered the good fights to corporations and ruling powers.

In his new book, Death of the Liberal Class, Hedges slams five specific groups and institutions — the Democratic Party, churches, unions, the media and academia — for failing Americans and allowing for the creation of a “permanent underclass.”

Hedges says that, for motives ranging from self-preservation to careerism, the “liberal establishment” purged radicals from its own ranks and, as a result, lost its checks on capitalism and corporate power.

“For millions of Americans, including the 15 million unemployed Americans,” Hedges tells NPR’S Neal Conan, “the suffering is becoming acute.”

He sites a recent trip to Camden, N.J., per capita the poorest city in the nation, as an example.

Cover of 'Death Of The Liberal Class'

“When you get up and see the human cost of what this has done — these foreclosures, these bank repossessions, the fact that one in eight Americans and one in four children depend on food stamps to survive,”

FDR Sanity: Time to Try Government as Employer of Last Resort


[If you really wanna piss off your right wing friends, this one will send them over the moon! -DS]

In the wake of the highest unemployment rate in 25 years, the Roosevelt Institute asked historians, economists and other public thinkers to reflect on the lessons of the New Deal and explore new, big ideas for how to get America back to work. Marshall Auerback calls for government to step in as employer of last resort.

At 10.2%, unemployment is now at its highest level since 1983. Nearly 16 million people can’t find jobs even, though we are constantly being told that the worst recession since the Great Depression has officially ended. Yet instead of trying to revive the productive economy, most of the Obama Administration’s recovery efforts still remain focused on cardio-shock treatment for Wall Street. The President still seems curiously hamstrung by his Herbert Hoover-like devotion to fiscal rectitude: he wants to spend but not add “one dime to the deficit,” as he announced at his Congressional address on health care in September. He does this even though deficits are a natural consequence of slowing economic growth, falling tax revenues and higher social welfare payments.

To all of the “Chicken Littles” (including the president), who fret about “excessive” government spending, we would simply point out that it is far better to deploy government spending in a way that reduces unemployment instead of settling for having it rise as a consequence of this spending.

Another Jim Kunstler Classic: Pre Post Mortem


The poetry of dynamic forces does not lend itself to easy explication. Thought exercise: Imagine the vector of a Chevy Trailblazer and a CSX coal train of four 3000-horsepower diesel engines hauling 88 loaded hopper cars four miles north of Chugwater, Wyoming. The Chevy driver left his meth lab, say, fourteen minutes earlier after piping up and doing three tequila shots. The lead engineer on the coal train, a sturdy fellow, five-feet-ten-inches and 270 pounds, having finished his supper of double deluxe nachos (with two meats and extra cheese) is entering a less than blissful realm of myocardial infarction. Meanwhile, a meteor the size of a basketball has passed into the troposphere on a trajectory to strike the planet Earth at precisely the point where the CSX line crosses state road no. 44. That there would be a snapshot of your US political economy.

Of course, lying and doubletalk don’t help none, either. Such as the widespread falsehood that a “recovery” to the consumer credit nirvana and rising house prices of yesteryear is underway (Krugman, Friedman, et al). Or that a program called quantitative easing represents anything more than a national check-kiting scheme ramping up so many zeros that the goddess of infinity herself would run shrieking from the scene in embarrassment.

I saw a black swan in the botanical garden at Melbourne a week or so ago and it reminded me most poetically of Mr. Taleb’s proposition that nobody really knows what is going on in this republic. And so, appropriately, we held an election in which many candidates who know nothing found themselves…
Full article here

Voters: Forget Politics. Jobs, Please!



The most widely accepted narrative to emerge from the 2010 midterm elections, in which Democrats took a “shellacking” and lost the most congressional seats since World War II, was this: Sick of liberal overreach, voters—especially independents—shifted their favor to the right, choosing Republican candidates in huge numbers.

Not so, according to a new exit poll by the firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner. The firm’s findings, released Friday, show that voters weren’t necessarily allying themselves with the GOP, but rather were voicing their disapproval with Washington as a whole, and especially with the federal government’s inability to restart America’s economic engine. To wit, voters polled gave equally poor favorability ratings to both parties as well as the tea party, the poll found. Twenty-six percent of voters said their vote was a message to “both parties,” while 20 percent said it was a rebuke of Obama and 15 percent said it was a rebuke of congressional Democrats. Voters’ chief complaint was “too much bickering in Washington”—a charge directed at both parties.

What matters most to voters isn’t political nit-picking or Washington drama but the economy, plain and simple. As pollster Stan Greenberg, a former Clinton White House staffer, put it, “While this clearly was a blow…to the president and Democrats for failing to fix the economy, there’s very little indication it was an affirmation of conservative ideology and agenda. In fact, we were rather surprised in many ways at the fact that the voters, in large numbers, are still looking for larger answers to an economy that’s not working for them in a situation that they find for the country very worrisome.”