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By Joel Salatin   Aug. 18, 2013

From Polyface Farm FB page

Why do we need more farmers? What is the driving force behind USDA policy? In an infuriating epiphany I have yet to metabolize, I found out Wednesday in a private policy-generation meeting with Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McCauliffe. I did and still do consider it a distinct honor for his staff to invite me as one of the 25 dignitaries in Virginia Agriculture for this think-tank session in Richmond.

It was a who's who of Virginia...

The closest thing to a state religion in America today isn’t Christianity – its corn.” -The Cato Institute

The great danger of confronting peak oil and global warming isn't that we will sit on our collective asses and do nothing while civilization collapses, but that we will plunge after "solutions" that will make our problems even worse.

– Jeff Goodell, Rolling Stone
 

As the Washington Post noted in 2011, “ethanol used to be sacrosanct. Corn-based fuels have been subsidized by Congress for more than three decades, ever since the Energy Tax Act of 1978.”  Now, “...

Here’s a thought: hundreds of local climate activists around the country running for federal, state and local offices in 2014, doing so in a connected way and with solutions to the climate crisis at the top of the list of issues they consistently talk about.

Given the urgency of the crisis, this seems to me to be something we should begin to seriously consider. The use of this tactic has the potential to broaden out and strengthen the movement; running for office is an effective way to reach and interact with large numbers of people. And it is definitely to be...

If a country is at war, and that war is an illusion, is there a cure? 
 
We are a country at war, as President Obama reminded us in his notable May 23 speech about “contemplating the future of warfare here in the 21st century.”
 
The war we’re at is the undeclared war that began, for all practical purposes, on September 11, 2001. It is the war on terrorism. It is a war on an abstraction, a tactic, an idea that can be embodied by anyone or everyone or no one. We are waging war on terrorism even as we embody terrorism. No wonder we seem sometimes to be at war with ourselves, and have been for most of the 21st century. 
 
“We have now been at war for...

Verizon Land Line service has just outdone themselves for the worst possible service and exceeded their previous record of atrocious and mendacious customer service.  After 60 hours they are incapable of adding long distance service to my land line.  In the old days before automation, adding long distance service used to take about 5 minutes.  The agent would ask, "Which long distance service would you like, Sprint, MCI, or ATT?  "I'll take Sprint."  "Ok, SPRINT is now turned on."  "Thank you."

I lost my cellphone and needed to use the land line to call people back with out-of-state numbers.  I called Verizon Land Lines Sunday at 8AM and after getting past the firewall of robot answering machines I ordered long distance service...

Did you know that data released by the Vermont Department of Health in June, 2013 show that vaccination rates of schoolchildren in Vermont have never been higher, and have been increasing for years, even while health department officials said rates were falling?

Despite this news, it seems that those opposed to your fundamental right to choose are not going to back down. 

On August 2, 2013, several Vermont news outlets were emailed a "seed story" about Vermont's vaccination rates. Labeled, "Timely Story for You" ...

F-35 boosters have an Orwellian concept of leadership.

Frank Cioffi, president of the Greater Burlington Industrial Corporation (GBIC), opined in the Burlington Free Press that we should applaud the “leadership” of Vermont’s political establishment for their support of the F-35 basing in Burlington. Cioffi says these politicians have recognized the economic benefits, dealt with “complex” issues, and have stood up to the “...

The Detroit bankruptcy is looking suspiciously like the bail-in template originated by the G20’s Financial Stability Board in 2011, which exploded on the scene in Cyprus in 2013 and is now becoming the model globally. In Cyprus, the depositors were “bailed in” (stripped of a major portion of their deposits) to re-capitalize the banks. In Detroit, it is the municipal workers who are being bailed in, stripped of a major portion of their pensions to save the...

Two Senators Keep Security State Debate In A Narrow Frame 

With much of the country aware of the extent of government spying on and lying to American citizens, there is now a limited public discussion of what kind of country we want ours to be.  The limits of that discussion are illustrated by recent public utterances of two Democratic Senators, Diane Feinstein of California and Ron Wyden of Oregon. 
 
For more that two years, Sen. Wyden has been warning that the National Security Agency (NSA) has been operating outside the law for more than seven years.  His...
 
The passionate disagreements about the F-35 and industrial wind share a commonality: the meaning of home.
 
“Home is the place,” wrote Robert Frost, “where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.” Home and hearth are rooted in our soul, private places of respite and retreat from the grinding gears of public life. The expression “if these walls could talk” symbolizes that our dwellings are more than simply structures; they are storehouses of memories, giving us a sense of our individual and familial selves.
 
That is the romantic...

Vermont, that seemingly progressive New England state, is no exception when it comes to the arrogance and self-serving attitude of the richest and most powerful--nor that the neoliberal priorities of that 1 Percent inspire people to resist.

The Vermont Air National Guard, the state's Congressional delegation and leading business forces are campaigning to win the basing of Lockheed Martin's new F-35 warplane at Burlington International Airport.

But this has been met with a growing grassroots movement to stop the basing that has gained national attention. The Stop the F-35 Coalition opposing the...

Time was, you could count on a Hollywood western to deliver an exciting if predictable imperial story. Thanks to director John Ford, actor John Wayne, and other well-known characters in “The Western” canon, American moviegoers have been conditioned to a certain set of expectations: set against an epic western landscape comprised of cacti, mesas, sand, and shimmering vistas, white hats would vanquish black hats, save distressed damsels, tame the wild frontier, and mete out justice.

Around the late 1960s, the “revisionist” western, however, began to challenge...

 

Burlington- Meeting on Thursday at the Burlington Police Department, the City Council Ordinance Committee continued their process of re-examining the Queen City’s Livable Wage ordinance. Beginning with a lengthy public comment period, the committee slowly picked its way through section after section of the ordinance that sets the minimum wage for city contractors at no lower than $13.94 an hour.

Unlike previous meetings, this one was dominated by a public comment period that stretched on for over an hour as numerous citizens and...

I don’t think too many people are going to argue with the claim that the world is in a mess. It’s definitely a time when we need to re-vision our direction and make some course changes … if there is even time for that. The questions loom large. Where will these changes originate? And, how will they be implemented?

There are a lot of “plans” that originate from the top-down and the outside-in. That is, they are formulated by some umbrella governmental agency and work on the premise that the necessary changes will simply be legislated. This is fascism, any way you look at it. It’s the Nanny State. Such approaches assume that people...

 

Burlington- Meeting on Thursday, the Burlington City Council Ordinance Committee conducted a detailed discussion on the City’s Livable Wage ordinance, recently brought back into the spotlight by the exemption granted to the Skinny Pancake outlet at the Burlington International Airport. Focusing primarily on policy, Councilors Karen Paul, Sharon Bushor, and Committee Chair Chip Mason took a seemingly clinical look at the perceived limitations of the Queen City’s Livable Wage Ordinance established by the Clavelle administration in 2001.

...

 

Tinmouth- Gathering on what is usually a quiet horse farm in southern Vermont, roughly 5,000 people converged on the scenic Forget-Me-Not Farm for the 19th Annual SolarFest. Arriving from across Vermont and the Northeast, attendees participated in a variety of workshops; performances; and activities designed to empower everyday citizens to become more engaged in climate justice organizing and the ongoing quest for a carbon neutral lifestyle.

Transitioning from a sales and marketing oriented festival of years past; the most recent incarnation...

When the city council in a city of just 18,000 people reverses a vote it took a year earlier, it’s not usually off national significance, but if the South Burlington City Council votes as expected on July 8, in support of basing the F-35 strike fighter in Vermont, it will illustrate how deep the tentacles of national power reach into local government in this country. 

The F-35 nuclear-capable bomber, designed for aggressive war, is one of the more obvious tumors of the military-industrial-political cancer that has metastasized throughout the American system, from Congress and the Pentagon in...

All four of the women who addressed the South Burlington city council where soft spoken, polite and brief. 3 of them were elderly. All of them came to the meeting to request a 48 hour delay for the July 8th special meeting that will almost certainly include a vote on a City Council Statement supporting bringing the F-35 warplane to South Burlington.

These women were petitioning for a delay because they wanted citizens to have the opportunity to attend another public meeting, this one regarding the effects of aircraft noise on the health of children, before making up their minds on the F-35 basing.  This July 9th public meeting will...

“Everyone knows I’m an asshole, the point is they’re assholes.” - Michael Hastings on covering figures of power and politics.

Not long ago, on June 19th, journalist Michael Hastings was killed in a fiery, high-speed car wreck in Los Angeles. A recipient of the 2010 Polk Award for National Reporting, Michael Hastings had seared his place in journalism history with his jaw-dropping expose of Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s bitter dismissal of the Obama administration. Within just a few days of the ...

Hands of prayer

You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you.

 ~The Book of Joel~

We are the transformers of Earth. Our whole being, and the flights and falls of our love, enable us to undertake this task.

~Rainer Maria Rilke~

For the past six years I have been writing profusely about the challenges the earth community is encountering in the face of energy depletion, climate change, and burgeoning economic calamity worldwide. Throughout my exploration of these topics, I have used the...

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