09/22/2017
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"The name Commons suggests that the essential alternative to concentrated power and empire is the community or the commonwealth—a shared endeavor to live in harmony with each other and with the larger “biotic community” as Aldo Leopold called the living world. As Peter Barnes defines this concept in his visionary book Capitalism 3.0, the “commons” includes “a set of assets that have two characteristics: they’re all gifts, and they’re all shared.” These assets may be unearned gifts from nature (such as air, water, photosynthesis, seeds,...

There are two quite different perspectives in the set of speeches at this conference. Many on our morning panels – Steve Keen, William Greider, and earlier Yves Smith and Robert Kuttner – have warned about the economy being strapped by debt. The debt we are talking about is private-sector debt. But most officials this afternoon focus on government debt and budget deficits as the problem – especially social spending such as Social Security, not bailouts to the banks and Federal Reserve credit to re-inflate prices for real estate, stocks and bonds.

To us this morning, government deficit spending into...

In 1995, The California Private Transportation Company (CPTC) was awarded a 35-year concession to construct and operate the first private toll road in the U.S. The company promised less congestion and savings. But the traffic just got worse and state and local officials decided to build more non-toll lanes. CPTC, a private company, filed a lawsuit to block — competition.Officials had missed a non-compete clause in the contract. In the end, the local transportation authority had to purchase the private toll lanes for $208 million, before they could build the additional lanes needed.

In 2008, Chicago sold its parking...
The latest round of political theater in Washington DC over the automatic budget cuts enacted in the 2011 debt ceiling compromise—the so-called “sequester”—couldn’t have been better timed, at least as far as this blog is concerned. It’s hard to imagine better evidence, after all, that the American political process has finally lost its last fingernail grip on reality.
  
Let’s start with the basics. Despite all the bellowing on the part of politicians, pressure groups, and the media, the cuts in question total only 2.3% of the US federal budget.  They thus amount to a relatively modest fraction...
History has a special purgatory where it sometimes stashes feckless nations punch drunk on their own tragic choices: the realm where anything goes, nothing matters, and nobody cares. We've surely crossed the frontier into that bad place in these days of dwindling winter, 2013.
 
     Case in point: Mr. Obama's choice of Mary Jo White to run the Securities and Exchange Commission. A federal prosecutor back in the Clinton years, Ms. White eventually spun through the revolving door onto the payroll of Wall Street law firm Debevoise & Plimpton, whose clients included Too Big To Fail banks JP Morgan...

An Open Letter to the VT Department fo Public Health

(This letter was delivered to Tracy Dolan, Deputy Commissioner of Health and Patsy Kelso, State Epidemiolgist) 

Dear Tracy and Patsy,

I do hope you are both doing well and that you are enjoying the sun, snow and latest deep freeze...

It is unfortunate that the Immunization Advisory Committee Meetings are not open to the public, because this is an area where I think we might be able to contribute to the conversation. For example, I have heard a couple of news reports about the pertussis outbreak waning, this is good news - keep up the good work. Since I know you are very busy women, I thought I might outline for...

Yah. So.

Our new MOST LIKELY TO SECEDE book has begun to draw some attention and interest from state and national media.

Cue the anonymous hate bloggers - like dogs to, well, you know.

The only thing funnier than watching anonymous hate blogger "Thomas Rowley" flail, weep, and gnash teeth re: the Vermont independence conversation?

Watching "Green Mountain Daily" AND...

It’s been a little more than a year since I launched the present series of posts on the end of America’s global empire and the future of democracy in the wake of this nation’s imperial age. Over the next few posts I plan on wrapping that theme up and moving on.  However traumatic the decline and fall of the American empire turns out to be, after all, it’s just one part of the broader trajectory that this blog seeks to explore, and other parts of that trajectory deserve discussion as well.

 ...
What is now the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) was organized by Ben Franklin and is older than the United States. It has been self funded since its inception and has never required an appropriation from the Congress.
 
The cost of stamps has of course risen over time, as has everything else
 
But now we are told the USPS is massively broke, teetering on bankruptcy, and can only be “saved” if it is privatized. Competition from private mail and package services and the advent of the Internet for routine correspondence and bill paying are the often cited reasons for the...

When the French nobleman Alexis de Tocqueville toured the newly founded American republic in the early years of the nineteenth century, he encountered plenty of things that left him scratching his head. The national obsession with making money, the atrocious food, and the weird way that high culture found its way into the most isolated backwoods settings—“There is hardly a pioneer's hut which does not contain a few odd volumes of  Shakespeare,” he wrote; “I remember reading the feudal drama of Henry V for the first time in a log cabin”—all intrigued him, and found their way into the pages of his remarkable book ...

The wonderful thing about food is you get three votes a day. Every one of them has the potential to change the world. ~Michael Pollan~

 The earliest humans were hunter-gatherers who never knew exactly where their next meal might be coming from. In fact, their “meals” were probably eaten on the run as they stalked enough prey to constitute an actual meal, but it is unlikely that their meals were regular or even eaten daily. Given the conditions under which they secured food, it was impossible for them to take any of it for granted. Every morsel was hard-won and therefore...

In the decades after World War II the American people built up the greatest and most broadly shared prosperity the world had ever know. That immense wealth attracted admirers. Millions wanted to be a part of it. Others wanted to own it.
 
Now, that wealth and the political power that goes with it are grotesquely concentrated among an ever smaller number of American citizens, in a way to rival the Roman aristocracy of ancient times or the European aristocracy which the first Americans threw off.
 
Democracy itself is threatened.
 
And the soul-less...

The upcoming "sequestration" this Friday originated in the Budget Control Act of 2011.  Since Congress can't agree on anything, they passed a bill for automatic budget cuts starting this Friday of $85 billion this year.  Cutting the bloated Empire's budget is a good thing if you ask me.  Starve the beast.  But of course Democrats and Militarists are crying wolf about the devastating results of budget cuts, especially the militarists.

Writers such as William Bennett are calling the military budget cuts...

The aggressive campaign against vaccine choice that continues this year despite the 133-6 house vote to keep our medical freedom of choice in 2012 reminds me why last year's anti-corporate personhood bill was so critical. It also reminds me of the story of Semmelweiss, a doctor who (in his day) was villified and committed to bedlam by experts who rejected his work on advocating for handwashing to prevent infection...

 
 
The first report, by ...
The old-fashioned school districts that provided me with a convenient example in last week’s post here on The Archdruid Report represent a mode of politics that nobody, but nobody, talks about in today’s America.  Across the whole landscape of our contemporary political life, with remarkably few exceptions, when people talk about the relationship between the political sphere and the rest of life, the political sphere they have in mind consists of existing, centralized...
Maybe it’s time we turned the shortage of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) political bloviations over to Mythbusters. We haven't heard this many anguished cries of alarm since Eisenhower and Sputnik. At least the 1958 National Defense Education Act resulted in a massive improvement in science textbooks and instruction – an approach with more promise than our current practice of importing indentured foreign workers.
 
The first step in busting the myth is to take a look at the federal government's Bureau of Labor Statistics projections of the...

As troops and planes headed toward Afghanistan more than a decade ago, few people initially questioned the reasons for that military engagement. An enemy that didn't hesitate to take thousands of civilian lives had attacked the nation's capital and brought down New York's tallest buildings. The identity of the chief "evildoer" also seemed self-evident: Osama bin Laden, whose al Qaeda network had struck the US before and was being sheltered in Afghanistan by the Taliban.

In the wake of such an outrage, how could anyone doubt that a "war on terror" was just and necessary?

But the...

The more rational a culture seems to be, the more irrational will be its underside when the dark times come, the veils lift, and more is revealed than most want to see.~Michael Meade, Why The World Doesn’t End~

For most modern human beings, it is difficult to imagine that the Western world was essentially dominated by religion from approximately the fourth through the fifteenth centuries. For more than a thousand years, humans functioned in a world without a scientific perspective and with little that resembles what we know as scientific...

Throughout his tenure, Obama governed lawlessly for the monied interests that own him. He's waged no-holds-barred war on humanity. His strategy includes homeland tyranny, fear-mongering, saber rattling, hot wars, proxy ones, drone ones, domestic political ones, geopolitical ones, financial ones, anti-populist ones, sanctions, subversion, sabotage, targeted assassinations, mass murder, cyberwar, and more.
 
In May 2009, Obama prioritized cybersecurity. He called cyber-threats "...

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