I just had one of those weird disconnect experiences, like HUH??  I read two entirely opposite accounts of the same time period and they can’t both be right.  First I read Michael Moore’s recent book “Here Comes Trouble”, which isn’t great, but has some interesting anecdotes worth reading.  The one that caught my attention was the time Moore attended “Expo Maquila ‘86', a US Commerce Department conference in Acapulco, Mexico to help US companies move jobs to Mexico and save on labor costs.  He went to write an article for Nader’s  Multinational Monitor.  Nader’s chief of staff John Richard told him, “The Reagan...


  I call myself "The Pagan Protectionist" for a few reasons. I like alliteration, I'm into druidry and most importantly, I think tariffs, subsidies and nationalization of key industries are essential to a Sustainable future in our nation, Vermont.

      I know that many people in this movement for secession are libertarian-leaning, and are invested in the movement because of their dissatisfaction with overreach of the federal government. I understand their qualms. The federal government's over-spending and borrowing to pay interest is akin to the behavior of a crack addict. I would estimate that a maximum of 10% of this spending actually helps people. The rest of the spending consists of corporate hand-outs, environmental...


The “Food Landscape” of the Social,  Political and Economic World is changing fast. Trying to keep up on all that is happening is a challenge.

Introducing my new e-News Paper The Food Watch Daily. It is an automatically generated news paper from selected RSS feeds and Twitter accounts covering food; issues, regulation, legislation and solutions.

The paper is released every day at 10 am Eastern Standard time. After it is released I will be hand selecting articles and videos to publish as well as edit the overall...


It is seven-thirty on a Sunday night. I have just completed the last leg of my trip home from Guilin, China. As I travel across the Arkansas River bridge from the Little Rock airport, headed for the bedroom community of Maumelle, where I live, I notice something conspicuously absent from my drive: Horns; nobody is honking! In China, both in Shanghai and in the smaller city of Guilin, every vehicle has a horn. Every driver is damn proud of their possession and uses it liberally. In fact, I am convinced it is likely the first mechanical device on their vehicle which will wear out.




Bartering, or the exchange of goods and services without money, has seen a resurgence with the sluggish economy and struggling financial system, becoming an increasingly common solution to tighter family budgets. In July 2009, consumers listed nearly 142,000 ads in the barter section of Craigslist, a 96 percent increase from the year before, according to site statistics. While approaching your car mechanic about exchanging a weekend of pet-sitting services for minor repairs may be unfamiliar territory to some, most people are already familiar with the basics of barter. “We...


In an unusual column, David Brooks visits Philip Leakey in Kenya and is delighted at the center of appropriate technology experimentation he finds:

Philip has experiments running up and down the mountainside. He’s trying to build an irrigation system that doubles as a tilapia farm. He’s trying to graft fruit trees onto native trees so they can survive in rocky soil. He’s completing a pit to turn cow manure into electricity and plans to build a micro-hyrdroelectric generator in a local stream.

Leakey and his workers devise and build their own lathes and saws...


Where's the Money? Where are the jobs? The Silent Liquidity Squeeze.

Ellen Brown  July 13, 2011


Where did all the jobs go?  Small and medium-sized businesses are the major source of new job creation, and they are not hiring; while startup businesses, which contribute a fifth of the nation’s new jobs, often can’t get off the ground.  Why not?  

In a June 30 article in the Wall Street Journal titled “Smaller Businesses Seeking Loans Still Come Up Empty,” Emily Maltby reported that business owners rank access to capital as the most important issue facing them today; and only 17% of smaller businesses said they were able to land needed bank financing.  Businesses have to...


Ian Urbina has written a series of three articles published in the NY Times which pull back the curtain to reveal doubts and accusations within the much-hyped shale gas industry.

One article, "S.E.C. Shift Leads to Worries of Overestimation of Reserves," is about how the Securities and Exchange Commission, in the waning days of the Bush Administration, adopted a rule that allows gas companies much more latitude in claiming reserves in areas where they had not drilled. Instead of allowing them only to claim reserves...


Last week, the Governing Board of the International Energy Agency, a Paris-based organization that the US and the other OECD countries are members of, issued a statement about oil at their quarterly meeting. It's short and worth quoting in full (emphasis mine):

The IEA Governing Board, at its regular quarterly meeting on 18-19 May, examined oil market developments and their impact on the global economy.  Despite a near-10% correction since 5 May, oil prices remain at elevated levels driven by market fundamentals, geopolitical uncertainty and future expectations.  The IEA Governing Board expressed serious concern that there are growing signs that the rise in oil prices since September is affecting...


Vermont's captive insurance industry is a business model that I usually understand for a few minutes after it's explained to me well, and then I forget it. But it's one that creates 1,400 full-time and part-time jobs, according a New York Times article about it.

OK, what that claim means is not clear. Is it 1 full-time job and 1,399 10-hour-per-week jobs, or is it 1,399 30-hour-per-week jobs and 1 full-time job? And are they counting jobs directly in the industry, or are they including the multiplier effects of the money spent in state because of the industry.

In any case, when I see Vermont's captive insurance industry...



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