Todd Walton: Robbery


From TODD WALTON
Mendocino

Someone broke into our car last week while we were in Cotton Auditorium for another marvelous Symphony of the Redwoods concert, Marcia in the orchestra, I in the audience. I left our car unlocked, having lost the habit of locking up since I moved to Mendocino from Berkeley six years ago. The thief or thieves took a water bottle, a pair of dark glasses, and several CDs. They did not steal the stereo or wreck anything, but the invasion left us feeling sad and cranky. Marcia always locks her car, and I will do so henceforth, though it pains me to feel I must.

I’ve been robbed several times in the course of my life, each robbery ushering in a time of self-review. I’ve had six bicycles stolen, each theft necessitating the purchase of my subsequent mount, along with new and improved locks and chains. And because riding my bicycle was, until quite recently, my primary mode of transport, I understand very well why we used to hang horse thieves.

The grandest material theft of my life befell me two days after Christmas in 1979. I had just moved to Sacramento and was renting a house in a demilitarized zone—poverty to the south of me, wealth to the north. For the first time since childhood, and after more than a decade of living a monk’s life, materialistically speaking, I was relatively affluent. In quick order I had acquired

How Wall Street Occupied America


From BILL MOYERS
The Nation
Thanks to Janie Sheppard

During the prairie revolt that swept the Great Plains in 1890, populist orator Mary Elizabeth Lease exclaimed, “Wall Street owns the country…. Money rules…. Our laws are the output of a system which clothes rascals in robes and honesty in rags. The [political] parties lie to us and the political speakers mislead us.”

She should see us now. John Boehner calls on the bankers, holds out his cup and offers them total obeisance from the House majority if only they fill it. Barack Obama criticizes bankers as “fat cats,” then invites them to dine at a pricey New York restaurant where the tasting menu runs to $195 a person.

That’s now the norm, and they get away with it. The president has raised more money from employees of banks, hedge funds and private equity managers than any Republican candidate, including Mitt Romney. Inch by inch he has conceded ground to them while espousing populist rhetoric that his very actions betray.

Let’s name this for what it is: hypocrisy made worse, the further perversion of democracy. Our politicians are little more than money launderers in the trafficking of power and policy—fewer than six degrees of separation from the spirit and tactics of Tony Soprano.

Why New York’s Zuccotti Park is filled with people is no mystery. Reporters keep scratching their heads

Charles Mingus Cat Toilet Training Program



From CHARLES MINGUS
mingusmingusmingus.com

1 First, you must train your cat to use a home-made cardboard litter box, if you have not already done so. (If your box does not have a one-piece bottom, add a cardboard that fits inside, so you have a false bottom that is smooth and strong. This way the box will not become soggy and fall out at the bottom. The grocery store will have extra flat cardboards which you can cut down to fit exactly inside your box.)

Be sure to use torn up newspaper, not kitty litter. Stop using kitty litter. (When the time comes you cannot put sand in a toilet.)

Once your cat is trained to use a cardboard box, start moving the box around the room, towards the bathroom. If the box is in a corner, move it a few feet from the corner, but not very noticeably. If you move it too far, he may go to the bathroom in the original corner. Do it gradually. You’ve got to get him thinking.Then he will gradually follow the box as you move it to the bathroom. (Important: if you already have it there, move it out of the bathroom, around, and then back. He has to learn to follow it. If it is too close to the toilet, to begin with, he will not follow it up onto the toilet seat when you move it there.) A cat will look for his box. He smells it… Complete instructions here
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How a Resilient Community Builds a Solar Farming Platform


From GLOBAL GUERILLAS

…How does a resilient community build a solar farming platform?  Here’s what is required (this is MUCH easier to do with new construction):

  1. The community must own/operate the grid infrastructure that currently supplies them with power.  Buy it back if you don’t own it already.  If this is impossible, you might want to think about moving…
  2. Convert the local grid into a smart micro-grid.  A micro-grid is a digitized, small scale version of the national grid.  There are lots of commercial packages available for this already (like this: the Paladin SmartGrid).  A micro-grid turns the community’s local grid from a simple pipe into a digital platform (like the Internet).  This means that new date rich features can be added to the local power system, irrespective of how far behind the national grid is, and it can operate independently from the larger national grid if it goes down (which is a big advantage).
  3. Add plug and play power generation AND a power micro-market.  The combination of these features lets solar farmers, whether entrepreneurial family farmers or farmer co-operatives (that share expertise and equipment) rapidly jump into generating power and selling it at

This Is What Revolution Looks Like


From CHRIS HEDGES
Truthdig

Welcome to the revolution. Our elites have exposed their hand. They have nothing to offer. They can destroy but they cannot build. They can repress but they cannot lead. They can steal but they cannot share. They can talk but they cannot speak. They are as dead and useless to us as the water-soaked books, tents, sleeping bags, suitcases, food boxes and clothes that were tossed by sanitation workers Tuesday morning into garbage trucks in New York City. They have no ideas, no plans and no vision for the future.

Our decaying corporate regime has strutted in Portland, Oakland and New York with their baton-wielding cops into a fool’s paradise. They think they can clean up “the mess”—always employing the language of personal hygiene and public security—by making us disappear. They think we will all go home and accept their corporate nation, a nation where crime and government policy have become indistinguishable, where nothing in America, including the ordinary citizen, is deemed by those in power worth protecting or preserving, where corporate oligarchs awash in hundreds of millions of dollars are permitted to loot and pillage the last shreds of collective wealth, human capital and natural resources, a nation where the poor do not eat and workers do not work, a nation where the sick die and children go hungry, a nation where the consent of the governed and the voice of the people is a cruel joke.

Mindless Demagogue — and Always Talking Loud


From JOE CONASON
Alternet

At a time when nations that tax, spend, regulate and invest more consistently outstrip the United States in many measures of progress, leading Republicans speak only of smashing government and ending vital programs. In this constantly escalating rhetorical game, it became inevitable that one of them would eventually expose the emptiness of this vainglorious display. And it was unsurprising that the ultimate faker would turn to be Rick Perry.

The dim demagogue could scarcely contain himself during the CNBC debate last Wednesday night as he turned to Ron Paul, his fellow Texan whose sincere hatred of government verges on anarchism, saying: “I will tell you, it is three agencies of government when I get there that are gone. Commerce, Education and the—what’s the third one there? Let’s see.”

With the world watching, he literally didn’t know what he was talking about. And from there it only got worse.

Grinning and groping for an answer, Perry flailed embarrassingly until Paul helpfully suggested “EPA?” But for some reason that didn’t satisfy Perry, who smirked as if someone was trying to trick him into giving the wrong response. “The third agency of government I would—I would do away with

Plutocrats Can Dominate the World with Bots


From GLOBAL GUERRILLAS

Event: Bloomberg, the emblematic plutocrat, raids Liberty Square to drive out the Occupy Wall Street protest.  In fact, looking across America, it’s amazing how irritating peaceful protest is to its plutocrats, particularly if it is directed against them rather than some useless issue (that the commerical conservatives/liberals love to waste time on).

The question this should raise: how do a very, very small group of neo-feudal plutocrats control a global population (of economic losers) in the modern context?

Right now?  Lawfare and the buraucracy of the nation-state.  As things continue to degrade, that veneer of legality and constraint will fade and become less effective.

Long term?  Bots.  Software bots.  Drones. My good friend Daniel Suarez did a great job of demonstrating how this works in his books Daemon and Freedom.

In short, bots will increasingly allow a VERY small group of people (in our case, a small group of plutocrats that act as the world’s economic central planners) to amplify their power/dominance in a the physical world to a degree never seen before.

Software bots automate information dominance.  They can do everything from checking purchasing habits to energy use (via smart meters)

Gandhi’s Non-Violence


Thanks to Ron Epstein
~
Other quotes from Gandhi:

Gandhi on Non-Violence (speech 1919)

I do believe that, where there is only a choice between cowardice and violence, I would advise violence. Thus when my eldest son asked me what he should have done had he been present when I was almost fatally assaulted in 1908, whether he should have used his physical force which he could and wanted to use, and defended me, I told him that it was his duty to defend me even by using violence. Hence it was that I took part in the Boer War, the so-called Zulu Rebellion and the late war. Hence also do I advocate training in arms for those who believe in the method of violence. I would rather have India resort to arms in order to defend her honour than that she should, in a cowardly manner, become or remain a helpless witness to her own dishonour.

But I believe that non-violence is infinitely superior to violence, forgiveness is more manly than punishment, forgiveness adorns a soldier. But abstinence is forgiveness only when there is the power to punish; it is meaningless when it pretends to proceed from a helpless treasure. A mouse hardly forgives a cat when it allows itself to be torn to pieces by her. I therefore appreciate the sentiment of those who cry out for the punishment of General Dyer and his ilk. They would tear him to pieces if thy could. But I do not believe Indian to be helpless.

Rosalind Peterson: Geoengineering — Destroying the Atmosphere


From ROSALIND PETERSON
Redwood Valley

Please visit…
Agriculture Defense Coalition
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“Climate Remediation” = Geoengineering – Global Geoengineering Governance: Currently the U.S. Government, our military, NASA, NOAA (other U.S. agencies), any city, county, state, private indivduals, corporations, foreign governments, and foreign corporations, can initiate any type of geo-engineering experiments without public knowledge, consent, government restrictions or public debate.

Rosalind Peterson is California President and Co-Founder of the Agriculture Defense Coalition (ADC). The ADC was formed in 2006, to protect agricultural from a wide variety of experimental weather and atmospheric testing programs.

Ms. Peterson also founded California Skywatch in 2002, when she began researching atmospheric testing and weather modification programs. The two websites are separate entities but are linked together by issues listed alphabetically in the “Categories” section.

Ms. Peterson was a Keynote Speaker at the 60th Annual DPI/NGO Conference on

Book Review: The Town That Food Saved


the town that food saved book cover

From DAN SHAPLEY
The Daily Green 

A portrait of Hardwick, Vt., which may be unique in its efforts to develop a new kind of local food system.

I wanted to read The Town that Food Saved because I grew up and live in New York’s Hudson Valley, where small-scale farming has always been a part of the fabric of life…

The book tells the story of Hardwick, Vt., a small town that the modern U.S. economy basically forgot about after its days as a center of granite quarrying ended. An influx of Canadian farmers, followed by a wave of back-to-the-land countercultural types helped maintain a local farm economy while downtown decayed into a familiar rust belt shell of itself: a strip club, a liquor store, a supermarket and a lot of abandoned buildings. Then along comes, along with a wave of wealthy second-home owners seeking the bucolic country life, a fresh crop of farmers and “agripreneurs”: Young, educated and – in some key cases – as well-suited to the world of PR as to the world of farming. Buzz builds about how the town is redefining a local food system in opposition to the consolidated

Food Hubs Coming Back


From NAOMI STARKMAN
Transition Voice 

During the 20th century, centralized forces made a long-lasting impact on the US food system. An economic and social structure of common markets supplying food produced by local farmers was slowly and steadily dismantled as food production, processing, and distribution consolidated into corporate agri-business.

These changes, on a national scale, created fundamental market barriers for small and midsize farms.

A return to roots

Today, Detroit’s Eastern Market, first established in 1891, is a revitalized food hub, returning to the historical practice of actively offering processing and aggregation support to small and midsize farmers, facilitating relationships between local producers and institutional buyers, and strengthening Michigan’s regional food system. Its evolution says much about the history of our food system and a transformation currently taking place across the country.

From the coasts to the middle of the country, people are seeking new ways to change and sustain the food system.

Nationwide, consumer demand for locally grown food is growing exponentially. The number of farmers’ markets is skyrocketing, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs are on the rise, and restaurants

I Am Not Disappointed In President Obama


From JAKE LAMAR


From DAVID ATKINS
This is Your Modern GOP

Let’s reiterate what we just witnessed: a contender and one-time frontrunner for the nomination of the Republican Party declared that America should eliminate food stamps, Medicare and the expansion of Social Security, before stating that America should emulate China’s social safety net. And the Republican audience cheered her.

At some point the pearl clutchers and bipartisan fetishists are going to acknowledge that there is a political civil war in this country, that the right wing is going off the rails at an accelerated pace, and that these people represent a grave threat to democracy should they ever take power again.

It’s not just the Bachmanns of the world are living in a dystopic fantasyland. The GOP base is living there, too.
~~

Small Is Beautiful – An Economic Idea That Has Sadly Been Forgotten


From MADELEINE BUNTING
The Guardian

It is chilling that so many thinkers, politicians and academics have signed up to the deadening consensus of globalization

EF Schumacher’s Small is Beautiful was the first book on politics I ever read; it was the only book about politics I ever saw my father read or heard him talk about. It arrived in our cottage in rural North Yorkshire as a manifesto from a radical countercultural world with which we had no contact. Re-reading its dense mixture of philosophy, environmentalism and economics, I can’t think what I could possibly have understood of it at 13, but in a bid to impress my father I ploughed on to the end.

Looking back over the intervening almost four decades, the book’s influence has been enormous. “Small is beautiful” was a radical challenge to the 20th century’s intoxication with what Schumacher described as “gigantism”. For several decades, mass production methods were producing more cheap goods than ever before; the mass media and mass culture opened up new opportunities to a wider audience than ever. It was creating bigger markets and bigger political entities – his book came on the eve of the vote on the European Common Market

Common Ground for Occupiers and Transitioners


From ERIK CURREN
Transition Voice

“The Transition Towns movement teaches us that peak oil and climate change are a threat to democracy and economic justice all by themselves,” writes a blogger for the Organic Consumers Association. “No amount of democratic reforms or economic regulations will save us, if we don’t also transition from fossil fuels to more resilient, lower carbon systems.”

Yet, the post continues, the Occupy movement reminds Transitioners that we can’t adequately address peak oil and climate change without democracy and fairness in the economy. Their blogger then goes on to recognize that Occupiers have picked up on their own some of the open ways of the Transition movement: decision-making by consensus and making cooperative action plans to increase community resilience.

Rob and the mob

But not all Transitioners agree that Occupy is a good angle for local groups devoted to making their communities more resilient.

“I personally resonate with the Occupy Wall Street action––a lot,” said one participant in a discussion about Occupy on the Transition US listserv in early October. “But I  see my choice to support that action as one I would make as an individual

OWS: Rejecting What Our Society Has Become


From MATT TAIBBI

I have a confession to make. At first, I misunderstood Occupy Wall Street.

The first few times I went down to Zuccotti Park, I came away with mixed feelings. I loved the energy and was amazed by the obvious organic appeal of the movement, the way it was growing on its own. But my initial impression was that it would not be taken very seriously by the Citibanks and Goldman Sachs of the world. You could put 50,000 angry protesters on Wall Street, 100,000 even, and Lloyd Blankfein is probably not going to break a sweat. He knows he’s not going to wake up tomorrow and see Cornel West or Richard Trumka running the Federal Reserve. He knows modern finance is a giant mechanical parasite that only an expert surgeon can remove. Yell and scream all you want, but he and his fellow financial Frankensteins are the only ones who know how to turn the machine off.

That’s what I was thinking during the first few weeks of the protests. But I’m beginning to see another angle. Occupy Wall Street was always about something much bigger than a movement against big banks and modern finance. It’s about

The Revitalization of Rural Economies


From NATHAN CAREY
The Automatic Earth

The Historical Trade-Off Between Efficiency and Resiliency
For several generations people have been tearing up their country roots and planting themselves in urban centers. It is one of the strongest and most ubiquitous migrations of this century across the world – the migration from rural areas to urban cities. In fact, “rural areas” have simply become the space between departure and arrival. They’re just exits off of the freeway that you have no reason to take. The reason for leaving is quite clear, though.

Starved of jobs and opportunities for socioeconomic “mobility”, our rural towns are dying painfully slow deaths. This process is evident traveling through almost any small town two hours away from any urban center in North America. We see empty storefronts with yellowing “For Rent” signs, empty cracked streets with faded paint, empty crumbling grain silos and empty tilting barns. In the last few years, poverty has only gotten worse in America, and especially the rural portions that are largely ignored.

Don Sanderson: Modern Civilization vs. Climate Change


From DON SANDERSON
Hopland

Maybe not ninety nine percent, but most of us can’t help but support those demonstrating on Wall Street and elsewhere around the world. Never before has humankind seen greed so out of control. Copious availability of fossil fuels has loosened energy restraints and democratic movements have loosened social constraints. I’ve argued elsewhere that the OWS movement is likely to fail because of our modern civilization’s dependence upon fossil fuels and other natural resources that become economically available thanks to fossil fuels. These resources are only sufficiently cheap if they are harvested and utilized under vast economies of scale, which requires capital and naturally results in wealth accumulation. I conclude that OWS should be targeting the root of our problems, our lifestyles, if it has any hopes of being successful. If we insist in living in a fossil fuel based economy, we can expect to pay. But inequality and wealth accumulation aren’t the only consequences, nor even the major ones; fossil fuel usage-caused global warming is.

Todd Walton: 3-D


From TODD WALTON
UnderTheTableBooks.com
Mendocino

As the local and state and national and global economies continue to stagger under the weight of debt, real and imagined, and seven billion hungry humans vie for space and food and air and water on the besieged planet, and the Haves continue their eternal battle with the Have Nots, Hollywood has, in the last few years, been rescued from financial ruin by the advent of huge budget movies made in 3-D to be shown in special 3-D theaters and on special 3-D screens for audiences wearing special 3-D glasses. Yes, it was a close call. People weren’t going to the movies much anymore, preferring to wait to watch the junky new films at home for pennies on the dollar or pirating them off the interweb. Why drive to a multiplex and pay a small fortune to see crap when that crap can be delivered right to your doorstep, so to speak, like bad pizza?

But crap in 3-D is amazing. 3-D crap looks fifty times more real (and better) than real crap. And little kids, the second largest engine of movie ticket sales after kids slightly older than little kids, love 3-D, probably because their brains aren’t fully formed yet and the impact of watching massive multi-dimensional animated penguins and cartoon characters and toys and gigantic super heroes killing and killing and killing

Will Parrish: The Occupy Mendo Food Project


From WILL PARRISH
Laytonville
TheAVA

On the night and early morning of October 16th  to 17th, the San Francisco Police Department raided the Occupy San Francisco encampment at Justin Herman Plaza, disassembling people’s tents and nabbing basic provisions such as food, water, and utensils.  Five people were arrested.  Footage of the police roughly dragging protesters across the pavement and beating them with batons spread quickly across the internet, sparking widespread outrage among movement supporters.

Those supporters include Anderson Valley residents Lisa and Francois de Melogue, who had been following the Occupy movement since its genesis as a small protest in Zucotti Park in the New York City financial district in August.  “We just thought that was, in a nutshell, bullshit,” says Mr. de Melogue, 47, referring to the SF police raid.  “We decided right there and then that we would start bringing food down to the Occupy San Francisco camp as a show of support.”

The San Francisco protesters reassembled their camp only hours after the police finished the raid.  In a matter of days, the de Melogues had solicited enough donations from farmers, bakeries, and grocery outlets in Fort Bragg, Willits

Fukushima Women Protest Nuclear


From GREENPEACE

Women from Fukushima hold a three day sit-in in Tokyo calling for the permanent evacuation of at-risk children in areas of high radiation – and also the permanent shut down of nuclear reactors currently switched off in Japan.

The consequences of the Fukushima disaster will be emerging for at least several decades. According to the Japanese government, it will take up to 30 years for the complete clean up of the radiation released from the reactors.

Japan aims to reduce radiation by half over the next two years. To do so it may have to remove and dispose of massive amounts of radioactive soil, possibly enough to fill 23 baseball stadiums, reports Reuters.

Experts say the areas inside the evacuation zone will have to remain uninhabited throughout the years of contamination. All collected soil and other waste will be stored in the Fukushima Prefecture, in an “interim facility” with an estimated capacity of up to 28 million cubic meters.

Despite official information, some reports suggest the Japanese government is seriously downplaying the real amount of radioactive substances that leaked from Fukushima.

Occupy Wall Street Movement feeding ‘the least of our brothers and sisters among us’


From ALTERNET

It is impossible to separate homelessness from Occupy Wall Street’s struggle for economic justice.

In just under two months, the Occupy movement has managed to turn the country’s attention toward social inequality. As many in the movement struggle with unemployment, student debt and unaffordable mortgage payments, words like foreclosure, debt and joblessness have reentered the public discourse.

More recently, as the number of homeless people at Occupy encampments climbs, the conversation has shifted toward the growing but often hidden dilemma of homelessness in America.

One of the country’s largest occupations can be found in Portland, Oregon’s Chapman and Lownsdale Squares, where an estimated 500 people spend their nights in a sprawling encampment of tents. Many of them are homeless.

Kip Silverman, an organizer with Occupy Portland, told AlterNet, “The majority of them are homeless or disenfranchised people. We have folks that have just recently lost jobs, lost their homes, and the Occupy encampment is all they have right now. We actually have nine families living there.”

During a one-night count in January conducted by Oregon’s Housing and Community Services, the state identified 22,116 homeless people, 30 percent of whom were children. In 2010, the city of Portland had the third highest rate of homelessness in the country. With its free medical facilities, health and outreach services and kitchen serving 1,500 meals a day, it’s no surprise that Occupy Portland has attracted such a high number of the homeless.

The movement is well aware that there are downsides to inclusiveness.

‘Cycle Pub’ Is A Bicycle Built For Beer


From SLASH/FOOD
Thanks to Debora McGillivray

Historically, biking and drinking beer is a bad idea. But imbibing brews and pedaling while someone else steers? That’s a stroke of two-wheeled brilliance. Actually, make that four wheels.

Recently, Bend, Oregon, featured the debut of the Cycle Pub, a trolley car–shaped traveling bar that blends the city’s twin passions: cycling and craft beer. (The innovation is an American riff on Holland’s lush-friendly Bier Bike.) Up to 12 beer lovers belly up to the glossy wooden bar and pump their legs, while an additional three non-pedalers can plop down on a plush bench and sip brewskis served by a pal doubling as a bartender. (Cycle Pub employees are unable to dole out drinks.)

To cut down on the risk of crashes — and spilling your precious carbonated nectar — “we provide the driver, so riders can legally enjoy a local fine-crafted beer, glass of wine or cup of coffee en route,” founder James Watts told The Bulletin.

But forget caffeine. This a bicycle built for brews. Thanks to Cycle Pub, gaining — and losing — a beer belly has never been so much fun.
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Monopoly Capitalism’s Threat to Democracy


From DAVID KORTEN
Yes! Magazine
Cooking Up A Story

What if we had to make a choice between two quintessential American beliefs: Capitalism and Democracy?

As a society, we may well ask ourselves, what is the ultimate purpose of money, if it is not to satisfy human need, and reduce human suffering? Is it possible to make large amounts of money but not create real wealth? What is the difference between our present form of capitalism and a true, self-regulating market economy?

In this frank interview with noted author, and visionary David Korten, he minces no words about the dangers our current capitalist system poses to democracy, and how Wall Street undermines the well-being of society, and threatens civilization itself. The creation of real wealth, Korten argues, by satisfying true human needs, strengthens individuals, promotes the well-being of local communities, and protects the environment, the foundation of all living things.

Korten warns that we are living again in a Plutocracy, where the financial elites of society control the political, social, and economic levers that mainly serve their narrow interests, to the detriment of society.

Although this interview took place in October of 2010, nothing has changed since then (certainly not for the better), and political gridlock in Washington is stronger than ever. National unemployment remains disastrously high, and half our homes are underwater  (where borrowers owe more to the banks than their houses are worth)

Tamara Wilder: Hands-On Friction Firemaking Class Launches Occupy Hendy Woods Friday 11/11/11


From TAMARA WILDER
Paleotechnics
Boonville

Help launch this weekend protest at Hendy Woods State Park, Philo, November 11th, 2011, 5:15ish PM Occupation runs Friday, November 11 at 3:00pm – Sunday, November 13 at 2:00pm

We refuse to sit back and watch OUR park close in June 2012 when the fiscal year ends. We, as a local community, are dedicated to finding ways to protect and preserve the park’s natural beauty for generations to come, which is why we are planning to occupy it for a weekend. We hope to raise awareness in our own community and let the state know that we care about it too much to let it go.

See the event page for more information: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=176753739080392

Join the conversation: http://www.facebook.com/groups/245048052210502/
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Gene Logsdon: Occupy Absentee-Owned Farms


From GENE LOGSDON
The Contrary Farmer

I know something I would much rather occupy than Wall Street. I wonder if the typical young critic of the moneychangers realizes where the wealth that drives Wall Street comes from. How much of it, for example, resides in the land out here in corn and soybean country that is owned by wealthy people who have never set foot on it? A typical if somewhat fictionalized example is Mrs. Petunia Luckybirth who inherited 1200 acres of good Illinois prairie simply because she slid out of the right womb at the right time (as a friend puts it) 84 years ago, but who long ago moved to California and married a man wealthy in his own right. He left her with a million dollar mansion and about 3 million in his own investments when he passed away a few years ago.

Her Illinois farmland is worth some $9,000 an acre at the moment and earns her about $24,000 a year in rental payments which she (actually her lawyers) has been investing dutifully in the stock market at an average return of around 6% over the years which means it about doubles the money every ten years. Industrial corn growers farm her land. She has never had to spend a penny of her farm income. She has never thought of selling it. One thing her father and grandfather had drummed into her head: never sell farmland. It is the best long term investment there is.

What her entire current net worth amounts to is hard to say, but if suddenly her farmland disappeared, she wouldn’t even know it until someone told her. She would have a hard time finding it if she did go back to her roots because she has been away so long all the old landmarks are gone. Even on the county plat books, her farmland is no longer listed under her name but under an investment company her lawyers cooked up to shield her from nosy people like me who used to be able to use plat maps to figure out how much land a farmer owned.