05/22/2018
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Book Review: Rob Williams on Sherman et al.'s Freedom and Unity For anyone wishing to understand the promise of a unique place like Vermont, a new and comprehensive account of the Green Mountain State's past is a useful starting place. Michael Sherman, Gene Sessions, and P. Jeffrey Potash's book Freedom and Unity: A History of Vermont offers the traveler a remarkable look at how the Green Mountain State came to be. Don't let the 700 pages intimidate. The book gracefully runs the reader through a comprehensive history of our little section of the globe—a welcome addition to any historian or Vermontophile's library. After examining and dismissing a number of thematic organizing possibilities in the book's introduction—Vermont's quasi-...
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Breakdown of Nations By Kirkpatrick Sale I have just returned from a meeting in Salzburg, Austria, of the “Academic Inn,” an institution of drinking and talking in various pubs and taverns that was initiated more than 30 years ago by a man born just outside that city, a great thinker and luminary, Leopold Kohr. This year I had the chance to present the audience of some 150 Austrians with an idea of the sentiment for secession boiling up in the U.S. and I read the Middlebury Declaration, all of which was greeted by enthusiasm. Salzburgers already have some sense of being independent, for the state of Salzburg has always been a powerful regional organization within Austria and in many ways it is roughly self-sufficient. They understand...
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How did Vermont Get to Be?: The Growth of a Regional Identity By Daniel Gade How our plucky little state's identity evolved from an 18th-century terra incognita is a process that reflects two basic facts: much has changed in 250 years that bodes for further change; and human decisions more than the land are responsible for regional identity. The concept of Vermont as a separate political entity fits the definition of a region as a bounded space with a perceived character of its own. This distinctiveness is the result of a set of historical contingencies acting on an undefined space. To make sense of what has occurred, we can identify four chronological periods in Vermont's past. Stage One: Bounding and Naming the Territory (1750–1800)...
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Book Review: Crossing the Rubicon - An Interview with Michael Ruppert By Rob Williams Most people I know have some intuitive sense that the stories told about the way the world works in our culture of daily “news” (and I use the term loosely) are suspect. The real stories about power and the ways power is exercised lie buried beneath the surface. But how deep, to quote The Matrix's Morpheus, does this rabbit hole go? For those willing to crawl down the hole, U.S. investigative journalism has its own Morpheus, and his name is Michael Ruppert. A UCLA political science honors graduate and former LAPD narcotics investigator, Ruppert is the editor/publisher of From the Wilderness (www.fromthewilderness.com), a monthly newsletter now read by...
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Rob's note: Writer JH Kunstler, below, is among a growing number of observers who urges Americans to look beyond the bleating of the US mainstream media echo-chamber to global issues of consequence. Among the most important of these is the concept of Peak Oil. The U.S. empire is currently enmeshed in a $200 billion imperial project to secure geopolitical control over what's left of the world's dwindling oil reserves in Afghanistan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the Americas. Kunstler and others suggest that we've got a few years left before the cost associated with oil extraction far outstrip any profits generated from the same. In other words, our global fossil fuel economy will only be with us for a little while longer. The foot we eat, the...
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Rob's note: Bennington voters' recent decision to allow Wal-Mart to enlarge the size of its downtown mega-store has prompted more collective head-scratching from Vermonters, including Ripton writer Bill McKibben. Here, we offer Bill's VTC Issue #1 essay on Wal-Mart for your blogging pleasure. Wal-Mart: What's a Bargain Worth? (VTC Issue #1) By Bill McKibben Let us begin by treating Wal-Mart with utter respect, by giving credit where it is due. In the course of a few decades it has become the mightiest retailer the world has ever seen. In 2002 it sold $224 billion worth of goods. It is bigger than Target, Sears, J.C. Penney, Safeway, and Kroger combined. It sells more toys, more furniture, more jewelry, more dog food, more flowers, more...
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