Sunday, December 26, 2010

Waste = Food

An inspiring documentary on the Cradle to Cradle design concept of the chemist Michael Braungart and the architect William McDonough. Winner of the Silver Dragon at the Beijing International Science Film Festival 2006. OUTLINE: Man is the only creature that produces landfills. Natural resources are being depleted on a rapid scale while production and consumption are rising in na­tions like China and India. The waste production world wide is enormous and if we do not do anything we will soon have turned all our resources into one big messy landfill.
But there is hope. The German chemist, Michael Braungart, and the American designer-architect William McDonough are fundamentally changing the way we produce and build. If waste would become food for the biosphere or the technosphere (all the technical products we make), produc­tion and consumption could become beneficial for the planet. A design and production concept that they call Cradle to Cradle. A concept that is seen as the next industrial revolution.
• Design every product in such a way that at the end of its lifecycle the component materials become a new resource.
• Design buildings in such a way that they produce energy and become a friend to the environment.
Large companies like Ford and Nike are working with McDonough and Braun­gart to change their production facilities and their products. They realize that economically seen waste is destruction of capital. You make something with no value. Based on their ideas the Chinese government is working towards a circular economy where Waste = Food. An amazing story that will definitely change your way of thinking about production and consumption.

Chomsky at Woods Hole, Ma.

Here's three videos that I found on Vimeo
Noam Chomsky (MIT Emeritus Institute Professor of Philosophy and Linguistics) answers ZMI student questions at Woods Hole part 1

Noam Chomsky answers ZMI student questions from Permaculture Cooperative on Vimeo.
Noam Chomsky ZMI student questions part 2

Noam Chomsky ZMI student questions p2 from Permaculture Cooperative on Vimeo.
Genesis to End Times and Everything Between

Chomsky v2: Genesis to End Times and Everything Between from Permaculture Cooperative on Vimeo.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Lieberman's War on the Press and the First Amendment

Constitutional law and national security scholars testified on the constitutionality of prosecuting Wikileaks founder Julian Assange under the 1917 Espionage Act. [The Espionage Act was passed by Congress in 1917 after the United States entered the First World War. It prescribed a $10,000 fine and 20 years' imprisonment for interfering with the recruiting of troops or the disclosure of information dealing with national defense. Additional penalties were included for the refusal to perform military duty. Over the next few months around 900 went to prison under the Espionage Act.] Among the topics addressed were the nature of journalism, the extent of constitutional protections of the press in protecting the divulgence of classified information, and the amount of information that is categorized as classified. Below we have Ralph Nader and Geoffrey Stone, two of a number speakers addressing the House Judiciary Committee. You can watch all of these videos here.

In response to the actions of Julian Assange and his organization, U.S. Senators Joe Lieberman, John Ensign, and Scott Brown "introduced a bill to amend the Espionage Act in order to facilitate the prosecution of folks like Wikileaks." Critics have noted that "leaking [classified] information in the first place is already a crime, so the measure is aimed squarely at publishers," and that "Lieberman's proposed solution to WikiLeaks could have implications for journalists reporting on some of the more unsavory practices of the intelligence community."Legal analyst Benjamin Wittes has called the proposed legislation "the worst of both worlds," saying:
It leaves intact the current World War I-era Espionage Act provision, 18 U.S.C. 793(e), a law [with] many problems . . . and then takes a currently well-drawn law and expands its scope to the point that it covers a lot more than the most reckless of media excesses. A lot of good journalism would be a crime under this provision; after all, knowingly and willfully publishing material 'concerning the human intelligence activities of the United States or any foreign government' is no small part of what a good newspaper does.
We are fighting for the life of the First Amendment. Thanks to all those who have joined the fight.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Nobody Wastes Like America

Iraq war spending vs. spending on renewable energy. The same amount of money could have been invested to supply 2/3 of of current energy consumption

The Elephant in the Room

See more at

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Military Geoengineering Since 1990 - The Smoking Gun?

(above, man-made clouds above western Europe)

I've been following this story (and watching the effects) since 1997. I discovered this video at a conservative website (which I would normally not visit but was curious to see what they were discussing) and was surprised to discover (though many conservatives [and lefties] would shudder to think so) that "left" and "right" actually share a fair bit of common ground (gasp!). The trick, of course, is to find and focus on those areas of shared interests and concerns rather than the differences. We simply cannot afford to be divided as we face the enormous challenges of climate weirding, economic upheaval and peak oil.

Rosalind Peterson of California Skywatch was a certified U.S.D.A. Farm Service Agency Crop Loss Adjustor working in more than ten counties throughout California. She now spearheads a watchdog group that monitors uncontrolled experimental weather modification programs, atmospheric heating and testing programs, and ocean and atmospheric experimental geoengineering programs Peterson is at the forefront of the chemtrail research field and how the unexplained patterns that scar our skies are “causing detrimental human health effects and environmental degradation.”

After studying water quality samples for the state of California stretching back some 30 years, Rosalind Peterson found that starting from 1990, water sources were all registering unusual spikes in certain chemicals at precisely the same time, namely arsenic, barium, aluminum, calcium, manganese, magnesium, lead and iron. By measuring the spikes in these chemicals in the water supply with similar spikes in these chemicals in air quality samples, Peterson was able to conclude that the cause was airborne and that it had to be coming from the atmosphere. Peterson notes that mixing aluminum and barium creates clouds and that NASA experiments based around this concept were coinciding with the spikes in such chemicals measured in water and air quality samples.

This is an enlightening, detailed and documented explanation of how chemtrailing is being conducted, who is responsible for it and what the consequences are for our health and the environment.

This last video shows lab results of testing for aluminum and barium in northern California. The tests show as much as 61 times the amount of aluminum. Also very high barium and strontium.
"Aluminum greater than 400 ppm is a problem for most growing plants.  The primary target for aluminum is the root cap.  Therefore, it has a major impact on root growth and efficiency." (BTW, Monsanto is developing aluminum-resistant GMO crops. , )
This may be the New World Order's "solution" to overpopulation.

Reaping Whirlwinds: Peak Oil and Climate Change in the New Political Climate - By Sharon Astyk :: ASPO-USA: Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas

Political prognostication is a dangerous game, but one of the certainties of the latest election was that the US will not be enacting any significant federal climate legislation. One could be forgiven for wondering what the election has to do with anything. In the two years previously during which the Democrats controlled Presidency, House and Senate, the US had failed also to enact any climate legislation, but we have moved from the faintest possible hope to none at all.
If inaction is certain on climate change, it may be that all is not entirely hopeless if we reframe the terms to addressing our carbon problem.
Peak-oil activism could accomplish many of the goals of climate activists. Unlike climate change, peak oil doesn’t carry the ideological associations with the left that climate change does. Could peak oil provide a framing narrative for political action to address both climate change and peak oil? Certainly, a great deal would have to happen in order to accomplish this. But peak oil is a sufficiently powerful and pressing issue that its profile could be raised, particularly if current climate activists were willing to change their focus from the means of achieving consensus on climate change to the end of achieving emissions reductions.
Read the rest: Reaping Whirlwinds: Peak Oil and Climate Change in the New Political Climate - By Sharon Astyk :: ASPO-USA: Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas

Sharon Astyk: Can We Fill The [Food] Gap?

Since Vimeo did not allow me to embed this video here please take a look at it, with its accompanying slides, here:

Thursday, December 9, 2010

MN Dept of Agriculture Steals People's Milk

The USDA says that we are not entitled to choose our own food. If we do so we, or our farmers, can be prosecuted. This is an outrage. We all need to document and expose these aggressive acts. At a time when we need millions more small farmers the corporate ag folks are criminalizing it.

Some sources for more info:
Read these books and educate yourself before soul-less non-persons take it all away. 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

America: The Silence of a Nation

Excerpts from a speech by: Chris Hedges.

The author spoke at the Revolution Books Town Hall Meeting at Ethical Culture Society on January 13, 2009 condemning Israel and USA complicity in Israel's murderous destruction and genocide of the innocent men, women and children of GAZA and the West Bank.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Bernie Exposes Parasite Capitalism

Bernie Sanders: Today as the Middle Class Collapses

It should come as no surprise that the consolidation of wealth is occuring among the more affulent members of our society. Bernie Sanders comments on this, in the video below, in an address to the Senate regarding an extension of the Bush Tax cuts. While figures and statistics could be derived to support either side of this argument, let's analyze some information that's fairly commonplace knowledge.
It is easier to gain wealth, when wealth is already present in your life. Conversly, if you come from a less fortunate socio-economic background, it is rather difficult to aquire wealth. While there are anomalies in the system, it is difficult to aquire wealth without dragging yourself up out of the grave dug through student loans and credit cards. So then, why would we ever attempt to lessen the budget deficit by cutting social programs, such as education, a fundimental building block of society that benefits all classes, as opposed to reinstituting previously held taxes on the wealthest few percent?
By Brett Mullins at

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Recall Toxic Lawmakers to Prevent Toxic Food

US Recall News
Interview with Joel Salatin
November 26, 2009

Food recalls seem out of control these days. We’re not just seeing a few sporadic cases of food poisoning here and there anymore. I regularly publish recall alerts for hundreds of thousands of pounds of beef and poultry. Here’s a recent one for half-a-million pounds of beef possibly contaminated with E. coli O157:H7. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg if you factor in the pages upon pages of salmonella recalls.
It’s enough to make you scared of eating anything. In fact, it is enough to make us call our legislators and demand action! The problem is – we don’t ask ourselves, or our legislators, if we’re taking the “right” action. What we end up with are misguided attempts at regulation and laws written by academia and corporate agriculture, such as NAIS. Perhaps we need to take a step back and ask ourselves if we’re treating the symptom or the problem. One man who has done just that is Joel Salatin. I have been granted the honor of asking Mr. Salatin a few questions about our nation’s food supply – especially in regard to food safety – and without further digression I’d like to share his responses with you.

Do you think there are more cases of food-borne illnesses per-capita these days, or are we just hearing about more of them due to the media and better reporting by government agencies?
    I believe we’re having far more per capita. While it’s true we’ve always had food issues, from botulism poisoning to undulant fever, the historic figures are very, very low. If you add obesity and Type II diabetes into the mix – in a way, they are pathogenically caused as well because the food is not real food; it’s pseudo food. Amazingly, we’ve become a culture that considers Twinkies, Cocoa Puffs, and Mountain Dew safe, but raw milk and compost-grown tomatoes unsafe. The fact that we have an entirely new lexicon of salmonella, listeria, bovine spongiform encephalopathy, campylobacter, E. coli, etc. speaks to the new generation and penetration of the current food borne pathogen situation. Furthermore, it’s hard to empirically measure secondary results of tainted food, like the things that occur when people eat genetically modified organisms, irradiated foods, or pasteurized milk. Some of these things take a while to develop into problems, just like infertile frogs, three-legged salamanders, and crippled eagles did not happen immediately when DDT was developed. The long lag between cause and effect is hard to measure, and very hard to quantify in today’s fast-paced data and news system.

Do you see a legitimate, defensible role for state and federal government agencies to play in protecting American consumers from food-borne illnesses? If so, what would that be?
    No. This side of eternity, a perfect system does not exist. To assume that government agents are more trustworthy than business, or journalists, or farmers, is inherently ridiculous. Unscrupulous people exist in all vocations. That is why we have third-party independent accreditation that works fairly well in many areas, from certified General Motors mechanics to schools to Triple A to Underwriters Laboratories. Every time the government gets involved with these things, rather than being voluntary, they move into the realm of force, and that completely changes the dynamics. When the Sheriff shows up with an arrest warrant and a gun, that’s a very different dynamic than Triple A sending me a letter telling me they will drop my two star hotel status because their inspection found wrinkled sheets in Room 129. And that extra force allows the independent certification status to assume inordinate power, which ultimately attracts more unseemly characters to its model – both the regulators and the regulated. It all boils down to trust. Indeed, on my end I see incredible abuses from regulators, especially toward small operators. When people say we just need to create more honesty in the government program, they are speaking from incredible naïveté, in my opinion. We have more dirty food, more centralized mega-processing facilities, and less nutrition now than we did in 1906 when Teddy Roosevelt railed against the packing industry exposed by Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle. Both Sinclair, and to a great extent Roosevelt, wanted much bigger government and far more intrusion into the marketplace. Within six months after The Jungle hit America’s shelves, meat sales dropped nearly 50 percent. Rather than waiting for this marketplace spanking to have its effect, Roosevelt and the industry created the Food Safety and Inspection Service. That organization and the incredible power it wields have systematically banished the embedded butcher, baker, and candlestick maker from America’s villages. We’ve had three overhauls of the system: 1947, 1967, and 2000 – and each time, within 18 months, the US lost half of its smaller abattoirs. People must realize that giving that power to the government is inherently flawed because it will inevitably attract abuses that more gentle, voluntary, privately-operated systems do not.

Is there another country in the world that has a safer, more equitable food production system that allows for corporate agribusiness to thrive without putting small farmers out of business and without endangering consumers? If so, what can we learn from them?
    My sense is that most developing countries have far more food freedom. Whether it’s safer or not, I don’t know. But it’s certainly no worse. The point is that you can’t define safety necessarily. I consider pastured livestock and poultry safe; the poultry industry considers me a bioterrorist because the Red-winged Blackbirds commiserate with my chickens and will transport their diseases to the since-based, environmentally- controlled Tyson chicken houses, endangering the entire planet’s food system. We’re seeing studies coming out of land grant colleges now saying that meat laced with antibiotic residues due to subtherapeutic antibiotic feeding in Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations is safer for consumers than meat carrying no drug residues. The fact is that those of us promoting a heritage-based food system are under assault by the industrial-governmental fraternity just as surely as Native Americans were nearly annihilated by government policy in earlier times. Largely for the same reasons. They threatened the American way of life (read Wall Street there) or they jeopardized decent western contrivances like Roberts Rules of Order and cobblestone streets. Read what the founders of our country said about the Naive American – “just barbarians”. By whose standard? And read what the government-industrial food complex says about heritage food – it endangers the world food supply because it’s not science-based; it plays to ignorant and duplicitous consumers; it’s a waste of land because we can’t afford these low production numbers, etc.

    Historically, respecting an indigenous view while allowing techno-innovation has not been possible. The technology conquers and subjugates the heritage-based. The European Union is attacking heritage-based Polish sausage and Swiss artisanal cheese with a passion. My friends in China tell me that a thriving local food system exists there that would put America to shame. And people not far removed from the land know the difference between the good local stuff and the junk. They export the junk and eat the good stuff themselves. Oh that Americas would have such discernment.

What would a “sane” Food Bill look like to you? Or would there even be one?
    We wouldn’t even have a Food Bill if I were in charge. The first response to that is: “But then the big corporations would just take over and it would be worse than today. After all, the free market is why we’re in the mess we’re in.” On the contrary, the U.S. has not had anything resembling a free market for well over a century. You could argue that ever since that big-governmenter Abraham Lincoln created the US Department of Agriculture, we’ve had inappropriate government agents meddling in the food system. The fact is that the terrible food things that have been developed have come at the financing, either directly or through research, of the government. Why does Monsanto get to park their recruitment bus on the campus of Virginia Tech for several days each year – for free? I personally have had numerous professors from Virginia Tech visit our farm and express great interest in researching some of our environmentally-friendly practices, but lament that they can only get seed funding from multi-national corporations so they can’t do this kind of research. Again, the framers of the Constitution very carefully spelled out the duties of the government, and they were extremely minimal. The reason was that as soon as an area of the culture comes under the authority of the government, that area quickly develops cronyism, a big business agenda, and lack of respect for dissenters, which is now what the local food movement represents. I would call it a freedom of food choice movement.

    In my book Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal, I quote at length from the written testimony of government food police who make no secret that they believe consumers cannot be trusted to make their food decisions. If choosing how to feed my internal three-trillion member bacterial community that is responsible for my health and energy doesn’t represent the most basic Malthusian desire for personal autonomy, I don’t know what does. The Constitution guarantees the Right of Contract, and yet the food police routinely waltz between the farmer and consumer, waving thousands of pages of regulations, and bringing along agents carrying big badges and sidearms to interfere with the right of contract. If we truly allowed unfettered right of contract, the entrepreneurial explosion of creative heritage-based food offered to the local marketplace would topple America’s industrial food complex.
    The only reason America’s food is as industrial and non-local as it is, is because government force encourages such a system. Absent that meddling, thousands and thousands of local food entrepreneurs would spin circles around the subsidized, corporate-welfared food system.

Why don’t small farmers band together to lobby Washington? Could the combined power of thousands of small farmers compete with the centralized power of a few corporate interests?
    Lobbying takes time. Lots of time. And numbers. And money. I’ve been trying all my life to encourage this, but like everyone else, I don’t have the time, money, or numbers to get it done. And too many small farmers still believe the government is a sugar daddy. So more than half the potential supporters are lobbying to get subsidies for small farmers instead of big farmers. Why don’t we forget about subsidies? Period. But we’ve raised a generation acculturated to believe government candy is free, and justified. And then certified organics also split up the small farmer group. That probably more than anything splintered what could have been a significant block. Now much of the time and energy that could be devoted to just creating market freedom are being siphoned off in suits and protests against industrial organics. We just still have way too many people who trust the government and think business is inherently evil.

Are house bills H.R. 875 (NAIS) and H.R. 759 (FDA Globalization Act) still a threat to small farmers and sustenance farmers or are people overreacting?
    First, let me be clear that the industrial food agenda, along with its complicit government fraternity, is evil. These folks lie, steal, cheat, kill, whatever. It’s an evil agenda, with evil planners, evil strategists, and evil execution. Certainly some sincere-minded and honest folks are caught up in it, but it behooves us to appreciate the evil ambition of these people. When Monsanto purposely used geriatric rats in their GMO feeding trials for the FDA, or cleverly falsified data to receive rBGH approval and infected and afflicted hundreds of thousands of dairy cows with mastitis, and then used crooked judges to agree that placing rBGH-free on milk labels on artisanal milk actually harmed consumers – that bespeaks an evil, deceptive company and agenda. And the rest of their cohorts are just like them. So nobody should think that these outfits have a benign, population-friendly agenda. And nobody should underestimate their connivances to advance their agenda.

    That said, here’s my rule for legislation: if Monsanto is for it, I’m against it. If Monsanto is against it, I’m for it. Ditto large meat packers, the USDA, etc. A person is known by the company he keeps. These outfits aren’t Jesus spending time with sinners to bring them to repentance. They are Devils trying to dupe and destroy ecological, economic, and social wholesomeness. This test for legislation can save you lots of time and consternation trying to figure out all the details. I don’t have enough to time to read it all or understand the legalese. I listen to people I trust and assume the enemy hasn’t suddenly converted.

    Thanks for asking these questions, and I hope my answers aren’t too rambling, but in today’s world, you can’t take these positions without some fleshing out and context.

    Happy Thanksgiving.
    Best regards,
    Joel Salatin
    Polyface Farm

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Sacred Demise - Interview w/ Carolyn Baker

From Peak Moment Television
Quoting Janaia Donaldson, interviewer...
"Carolyn Baker is the author of Sacred Demise: Walking the Spiritual Path of Industrial Civilization’s Collapse, and principal of Speaking Truth to Power website. I first read one of her essays three or four years ago in Michael Ruppert’s From The Wilderness site, and was impressed by her attention to our psychological and emotional experience as collapse touches our lives (and that was before the mortgage meltdown and 2008 financial crash!).
In our conversation, Carolyn shared a concise, well-thought-out summary of her perspectives. As a historian with ten years of college-level teaching, she has a sharp eye for current events that are leading indicators of the collapse we’re feeling and seeing, but which is mostly absent from mainstream corporate-owned media.
But, as she pointed out, the recognition of these times is coming into the mainstream. Commentators are using words like “collapse” and “unprecedented.” Even the New York governor recently stated that “we’ve crossed the Rubicon” and “we’re dealing with something much bigger than a recession.”
I think of Carolyn as a premier collapse-watcher. Her daily email digest is an ongoing chronicle with links to multiple changing collapse indicators — economic, political, financial, homelessness, greed, corruption, spin, inequality. They’re examples of what she calls the Old Story that is no longer working, a story based in separation from nature and each other, a story in which the vision of endless economic growth is now hitting the wall.
If this were all her digest included, it could be pretty dark and depressing as a steady diet. But she also includes links to those preparing for the collapse — like the Transition movement, local food producers, permaculturists, communities creating alternate currencies and more.
Such people are living out aspects of the New Story, a culture based on reconnection to nature, including a reclaiming of our indigenous selves. We may not live to see that new culture in its fullness, but many people are finding it meaningful to plant seeds for it.
She provides her perspective on why the demise is sacred, starting with a definition of sacred as “set apart, part of something greater.” This big picture can help counterbalance watching institutions crumble all around us. We are in a process unlike any that humans have experienced. Part of something greater.
But Carolyn is not just a historian. She’s also a psychologist. The heart of Sacred Demise is psychological and emotional preparation. She asserts, with support from Carl Jung and Victor Frankl, that having meaning is essential for humans. In the book she provides reflective exercises to enable our seeing how we’ve responded to prior losses, initiations, and challenges in our lives, and how to carry that learning into what lies ahead. Perhaps my favorite aspect of the book are the well-chosen, soul-touching poems sprinkled throughout.
Like Psyche sorting all the seeds, Carolyn shines as a discerning sifter of information, sharing the essential and life-giving seeds with her readers.
Check out her website Speaking Truth to Power, where you’ll find plenty of essays, her books, daily email digest subscription (my primary information source for what’s going on in the world), transition counseling services, and online courses for navigating the collapse. I think you’ll find a seed or two worth pursuing there."

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Taking Back Our Lives from the Wall Street Mafia

pm180_150.jpg“Get rid of Wall Street!” says David C. Korten, author of Agenda for a New Economy and The Great Turning. Wall Street is about phantom wealth — real wealth is about happy, healthy families, local living economies in balance with Earth’s resources, and caring, resilient communities that provide life’s basics, like food, shelter, and education. To do that, we must change the rules to reduce the power of corporations, the politicians in their pocket, and a destructive money system. ( (From Peak Moment TV)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Prosecute Bush (et. al.) for Murder

Famed Charles Manson prosecutor and three time #1 New York Times bestselling author Vincent Bugliosi stars in this most powerful, explosive, and thought-provoking documentary. In The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder

More Homework for Progressives

... it speaks words to my feelings about the hypocrisy of our government, and the books presents a compelling and full spectrum of information that should tug at the conscience of the true Christians in this country - conservative, liberal, or other. It serves as a reminder that "Republican" and "Christian" aren't necessarily the same thing, and that proclaimed "Christian" policies certainly don't reflect the message of a prophet who gave to the poor and pardoned the sinful. In fact, as Dr. Meyers points out, Jesus saved his white-hot anger for the sins of religious hypocrisy.

Alterman, journalist and proud liberal, readies his readership for the coming day when the word liberal is given a wash and rinse after being slimed by conservatives. Arguing that liberals are so downtrodden they may have forgotten who they are, Alterman provides a refresher course, explaining what liberals believe and why liberal policies are reviled, even though most people approve of their basic ideas as long as they aren’t identified as liberal. His insightful examination of so-called liberal problems (secularism, abortion, dovish foreign policy) leads into an extensive and sharp rebuttal of all the crimes attributed to liberals. In ironically entitled chapters—“Why Do Liberals Hate Patriotism?” “Why Do Liberals Blame America First?”—Alterman fights back with facts and wit. He busts myths in “Why Do Liberals Deny America Was Founded as a Christian Nation?” but he owns up to the fact that liberals do like to tax and spend (conservatives do, too, just on different things). Readers of Alterman’s What Liberal Media? (2003) will find some familiar points here, but this rock-’em, sock-’em defense effectively proves that not all liberals are wimps.

Homework for Progressives

The religious right is gaining enormous power in the United States, thanks to a well-organized, media-savvy movement with powerful friends in high places. Yet many Americans — both observant and secular — are alarmed by this trend, especially by the religious right's attempts to erase the boundary between church and state and re-make the U.S. into a Christian nation. But most Americans lack the tools for arguing with the religious right, especially when fundamentalist conservatives claim their tradition started with the Framers of The Constitution. Fighting Words is a a tool-kit for arguing, especially for those of us who haven't read the founding documents of this nation since grade school. Robin Morgan has assembled a lively, accessible, eye-opening primer and reference tool, a "verbal karate" guide, revealing what the Framers and many other leading Americans really believed — in their own words — rescuing the Founders from images of dusty, pompous old men in powdered wigs, and resurrecting them as the revolutionaries they truly were: a hodgepodge of freethinkers, Deists, agnostics, Christians, atheists, and Freemasons — and they were radicals as well.

 As a Harvard Divinity School graduate, his investigation of the Christian Right agenda is even more alarming given its lucidity. Citing the psychology and sociology of fascism and cults, including the work of German historian Fritz Stern, Hedges draws striking parallels between 20th-century totalitarian movements and the highly organized, well-funded "dominionist movement," an influential theocratic sect within the country's huge evangelical population. Rooted in a radical Calvinism, and wrapping its apocalyptic, vehemently militant, sexist and homophobic vision in patriotic and religious rhetoric, dominionism seeks absolute power in a Christian state. Hedges's reportage profiles both former members and true believers, evoking the particular characteristics of this American variant of fascism. His argument against what he sees as a democratic society's suicidal tolerance for intolerant movements has its own paradoxes. But this urgent book forcefully illuminates what many across the political spectrum will recognize as a serious and growing threat to the very concept and practice of an open society.

"Chris Hedges may be the most credible figure yet to detect real-life fascism in the Red America of megachurches, gay-marriage bans and Left Behind books. American Fascists is at its most daring when it enunciates...the perversities that are obvious to those of us not beholden to political exigencies." -- New York Observer

"Throughout, Hedges documents, and reflects on, what he feels is the bigotry, the homophobia, the fanaticism -- and the deeply un-Christian ideology -- that pose clear and present danger in our previous and fragile republic." -- O, the Oprah magazine

"This is a powerful book that looks inside some of the darkest movements on American soil." -- Time Out New York

More Books to Wake You Up


Books to Wake You Up

AlterNet editor Joshua Holland demolishes the Right's biggest and most outrageous myths about the economy
Taxes kill growth. Labor unions hurt their members. Government regulation destroys jobs. These are just a few of the biggest lies in the web of misinformation spun by conservatives and the Chamber of Commerce. Holland's book dissects each malicious fiction to show how the Right is just plain wrong on the economy—wrong on jobs, wrong on the deficit, wrong on taxes, wrong on trade.
  • Takes down old and new conservative myths about the economy, including healthcare, stimulus, progressive taxes, Wall Street regulation, and more
  • Filled with recent quotes from conservative politicians and pundits, from the misleading to the laughable to the totally outrageous
  • Tackles specific aspects of the Republicans' economic agenda, including their 2010 alternatives to Obama's budget
  • Deftly written and rigorously documented by Alternet senior writer/editor Joshua Holland
With the economy set to be the driving issue before and after the 2010 midterm elections, The Fifteen Biggest Lies about the Economy sets the record straight on every part of the conservatives' economic agenda.

From the Back Cover

"Who knew that the daily gusher of corporate myths and right-wing lies could be boiled down to just fifteen big ones? Holland and Team AlterNet toss up all fifteen for us and knock 'em out of the park, while also teaching us how to detect any new twists they might throw out at us. What a handy book!"
Jim Hightower, author of Swim against the Current "A valuable antidote to the brazen lies, calculated deceptions, and vacuous sound bites of those who want to use our government for their own gain rather than to benefit us all."
David Cay Johnston, author of Free Lunch
"Most of the basic facts that people need to know about the economy are straightforward, as this book demonstrates. It is only the bad guys who make things complicated."
Dean Baker, author of False Profits
"Joshua Holland's brilliant, data-rich, accessible, and in-your-face book, The Fifteen Biggest Lies about the Economy, should be required reading for every American livid about floating a political-financial system that benefits powerful institutionsand megalomaniac leaders."
Nomi Prins, author of It Takes a Pillage
By nearly every conceivable standard, the American economy has gotten steadily worse from the time Reagan took office to the present. The anti-government, pro-corporate agenda has damaged our nation for too long, and yet, turn on Fox News and you'll find them still hawking the same foolish theories, baseless accusations, and bald-faced lies. The Fifteen Biggest Lies about the Economy dissects each malicious fiction to reveal how the Right is just plain wrong on the economy — wrong on jobs, wrong on the deficit, wrong on taxes, wrong on trade. However, Holland goes beyond the most recent Republican talking points to explain the issues with the depth and nuance that you'll need to see through the nonsense rhetoric you're going to hear about the nation's economy for some time to come.

Idiocracy Begins at Home

Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America
The dramatic story behind the most audacious power grab in American history

The financial crisis that exploded in 2008 isn’t past but prologue. The stunning rise, fall, and rescue of Wall Street in the bubble-and-bailout era was the coming-out party for the network of looters who sit at the nexus of American political and economic power. The grifter class—made up of the largest players in the financial industry and the politicians who do their bidding—has been growing in power for a generation, transferring wealth upward through increasingly complex financial mechanisms and political maneuvers. The crisis was only one terrifying manifestation of how they’ve hijacked America’s political and economic life.

Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi here unravels the whole fiendish story, digging beyond the headlines to get into the deeper roots and wider implications of the rise of the grifters. He traces the movement’s origins to the cult of Ayn Rand and her most influential—and possibly weirdest—acolyte, Alan Greenspan, and offers fresh reporting on the backroom deals that decided the winners and losers in the government bailouts. He uncovers the hidden commodities bubble that transferred billions of dollars to Wall Street while creating food shortages around the world, and he shows how finance dominates politics, from the story of investment bankers auctioning off America’s infrastructure to an inside account of the high-stakes battle for health-care reform—a battle the true reformers lost. Finally, he tells the story of Goldman Sachs, the “vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity.”

Taibbi has combined deep sources, trailblazing reportage, and provocative analysis to create the most lucid, emotionally galvanizing, and scathingly funny account yet written of the ongoing political and financial crisis in America. This is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the labyrinthine inner workings of politics and finance in this country, and the profound consequences for us all.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Century of Challenges

Just attended the 2010 International Conference on Sustainability in Grand Rapids where we heard Nicole Foss address some VERY serious issues. The video below is a small snip from a much longer video available at her blog.
To order the interactive video presentation (only $12.50!! ) of her lecture "A Century of Challenges" , PLEASE CLICK HERE

Nicole Foss is senior editor for The Automatic Earth (where she writes as Stoneleigh) and former editor of The Oil Drum - Canada.  Foss recently completed a speaking tour of North America and Europe where she described the interaction of peak oil and debt deflation. Foss also presents at the ASPO-USA conference and the European Biodiversity Conference in Brussels.
You can also listen to an MP3 of her talk here.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Quantitative Easing Explained

Your Farmer Behind Bars?

What S510 Could Do

By Stanley A. Fishman, Author of Tender Grassfed Meat
There are many reasons to oppose S510, the so-called “Food Safety” bill that will come up in the Senate after the election.
It will do nothing to improve actual food safety, relying almost totally on burdensome paperwork.
It will drive small farmers out of business, because they do not have the resources to comply with the crushing burden of meaningless paperwork that will be required.
The paperwork will have to be done to the satisfaction of regulatory agencies that are heavily influenced by the large agricultural companies, who will be able to use the government to destroy their smaller competition. This has happened before, when the adoption of paperwork-heavy HAACP standards led to the closing of most of the small meat processing plants in the nation. Of course, their business was taken by the giants, and most American meat is packed at huge plants owned by a handful of large companies. And there are more meat contamination outbreaks than ever before.
It will give the FDA the power to control every aspect of how crops are grown. The FDA favors genetically modified crops, pesticides, chemical disinfectants and preservatives, and radiating produce. The FDA would have the power to force these industrial methods on every farmer in America.
But perhaps the worst thing S510 would do is create criminal penalties that could result in 10 years in federal prison, and huge fines. People could go to prison for farming, and for selling food, or possibly even receiving food.
But surely the government of the United States of America, a country that prizes liberty, freedom, and justice, would not send people to prison for a technical violation that hurts no one?
Yes it would, and yes it has. Three people were sentenced to more than eight years in federal prison for importing frozen lobster tails that were wrapped in plastic, not cardboard.

Prison for Packaging

There is a federal law called the Lacey Act. The Lacey Act prohibits the importation of seafood in violation of foreign laws, and imposes criminal penalties for its violation.
A small group of businesspeople had been importing lobster tails from Honduras for ten years, without problems. Every shipment was passed by the FDA and Customs. In 1999 they were arrested and charged with violation of the Lacey Act. According to the government, they had violated Honduran law by packaging the frozen lobster tails in plastic, rather than cardboard. They were also accused of violating other provisions that turned out to pertain to turtles, not lobsters. These lobsters were not an endangered species.
The government sought heavy prison terms. This case was such an outrage that some of the finest lawyers and organizations in the nation came to the defense of these businesspeople, and gave them the best representation possible. The Attorney General of Honduras sent a letter to the court, stating that the resolution in question was void and had never been in effect. His letter was backed by a decision of the Honduran Supreme Court.
Since no Honduran law had been broken, since nobody could possibly be harmed by packing frozen lobster tails in plastic rather than cardboard, surely our government would drop the case?
They did not.

What about the trial judge, surely he would dismiss the case?
He did not.
Three defendants were sentenced to more than eight years in federal prison each, and fined heavily. Their business was destroyed. They were separated from their families. They lost their liberty.
They appealed their convictions. Surely the Court of Appeals would overturn this unjust conviction, and set them free?
They did not.
The three defendants appealed their conviction to the United States Supreme Court. Surely the highest court in our land, the court that is charged with enforcing the constitution, would overturn the Court of Appeals, and do justice?
They did not.
The Supreme Court of the United States refused to hear the case.

Prison for Selling Any Food the Government Considers “Adulterated”?

This “lobster tail” case has established that our Federal government will enforce a bad law. This case has also shown that the courts will not stop the government from doing so. A bad law is a threat to the freedom of everyone.
It is expected that S510 will include, as an amendment, Senate Bill 3767. The amended version of S3767 states in part that:
“Any person who knowingly violates subsection (a),(b), (c),(k), or (v) of section 301 with respect to any food and with conscious or reckless disregard of a risk of death or serious bodily injury shall be fined under title 18, United States Code, imprisoned for not more than 10 years, or both”.
The included subsections of section 301 prohibit the introduction of adulterated or misbranded food into interstate commerce, misbranding or adulterating food in interstate commerce, and receiving misbranded or adulterated substances into interstate commerce, among other things.
This means that anyone who sells, produces, or possibly even receives “adulterated” or “misbranded” food with “conscious or reckless disregard of a risk of death or serious bodily injury” could go to jail for ten years.
“Adulterated” has been defined as including any food or that is “unsafe.”
“Misbranded” has been defined as including any food that is marketed or labeled in a way that is “deceptive.”
The statute is very broad. It uses the phrase “a risk of death or serious injury.” This statute does not require a “substantial risk” for prison terms to apply.
It only requires “a risk.” Any risk.
This could mean any risk, even a one in a million risk. Even one in ten million. Even one in a billion.
All the government would have to do is show ANY possibility of death or serious bodily injury.
It is impossible to eat ANYTHING without at least having some tiny chance of death or serious injury, due to choking, allergic reaction, etc.
There is a real danger that all the government would have to do to imprison someone for 10 years is to show that they sold, raised, or even received food that the government considers “adulterated” or “misbranded,” and that they knew the government considered the food to be “adulterated” or “misbranded.”
While I hope the courts would not interpret the law that broadly, and they should not, the lobster tail case shows that we cannot rely on the courts to protect us from a bad law.

The End of Raw Milk?

How does this relate to raw milk? “Adulterated,” according to the FDA would include any substance that the FDA considers “unsafe.” The FDA considers raw milk and cream to be “unsafe.”
The FDA, on its website, warns that the consumption of raw milk can cause “serious illness.” In fact, the FDA‘s page on raw milk warns of a risk of death, as well as serious harm to health. The FDA considers ALL raw milk to be unsafe.
The FDA sent a letter to Morningland Dairy stating that their recalled raw cheese products were an “acute, life threatening danger to health.” This statement was included in the FDA letter, despite the fact that nobody has ever gotten sick from a Morningland Dairy product. The only basis for the danger cited in the letter were tests of cheese that was seized in the infamous Rawsome raid, in California. The cheese was placed in unrefrigerated coolers when seized, in the sweltering heat of a Los Angeles summer. It is unknown if the cheese was even refrigerated before being tested, seven weeks later. The tests were done by the California Department of Agriculture, SEVEN WEEKS after the cheese was seized. No samples were sent to the dairy for independent testing, as required by FDA regulations. But the FDA had no problem in relying on these tests as the basis for their letter, and for their persecution of Morningland Dairy.
These actions show what the FDA will do when they see a chance to attack any raw milk product.
The FDA has also stopped the renowned Estrella Family Creamery in Washington from selling their award winning raw cheese, claiming that the cheese is “adulterated.” Nobody has ever gotten sick from the cheese of the Estrella Family Creamery either, but that does not seem to matter to the FDA.
The persecution of the Morningland Dairy and the Estrella Family Creamery, and others, shows that the FDA will go after small raw dairy producers, even when no one has been harmed.
In addition to the “adulterated” issue, anyone who sells and markets raw milk and says almost anything about the product is in danger of being accused of selling a “misbranded” product, if the FDA considers even a single statement to be “deceptive.”
If S510 passes, would the FDA try to jail farmers who produce raw milk or cheese? I certainly hope not, but I do not want the FDA to have the power to do so.
Given the broad and vague language of the statute, any food or supplement that the government decides is “adulterated” or “misbranded” could trigger criminal penalties, if the government decides that the food or supplement carries a risk of death or serious bodily injury.
S510 must be defeated. If any part of it passes, it must be amended to remove criminal penalties and to exclude small farmers and producers.
This article is not intended to be legal advice. The proposed laws have not yet been passed, and hopefully they won’t be.
Stan Fishman is the author of Tender Grassfed Meat. His book describes in detail how to cook grassfed beef, grassfed bison, and grassfed lamb. The book follows the nutritional principles of Dr. Weston A. Price, and uses only the best natural ingredients. The book can be purchased through Follow Stanley’s blog at

Action you can Take

If you would like to preserve America’s small farms, there is something you can do. See the Action Alert on Food Safety Modernization Act released by the Weston A. Price Foundation.
In regards to the dangers S510 poses to raw milk farmers,  see also, FDA’s Ace in the Hole by Pete Kennedy of the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund.
Send this post to your US Senators office, directly to the legislative aid that works on agricultural or consumer protection issues. And, please share it with your friends using the share buttons, below.

10 Million Americans May Not Have Heat This Winter

Will You Be Able To Heat Your Home This Winter? Millions Of American Families Will Not
by Michael Snyder - Economic Collapse

Will you have a warm house to come home to this winter?  If so, you should consider yourself to be very fortunate. With the United States experiencing the highest levels of long-term unemployment that it has seen since the Great Depression, millions of Americans families are simply out of money.  All across America this winter, families are going to be forced to make some heart breaking decisions.  For many, the choice will come down to either heating their home or putting food on the table.  According to the National Energy Assistance Directors' Association, more than 10 million U.S. households will not be able to afford to heat their homes this winter without assistance, which would be a new all-time record.  So, if you are in a position to easily heat your home this winter, be very, very thankful.  The number of American families that cannot even afford the basics of life is growing by the day.
As I have written about previously, millions of formerly middle class families have been absolutely ripped apart by this economy.  There simply is not nearly enough jobs for everyone, and those who have been left on the outside looking in are becoming increasingly desperate.
Of course there is federal help available, but it doesn't go nearly far enough for those who are truly in need.  For example, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) assists low income households in paying their home heating bills.  However, the truth is that usually only a small fraction of heating costs are covered.  Nationally, the average benefit represents only about 8% of the average winter heating bill.
Last winter, a record number of U.S. households applied for home heating assistance.  In fact, in 17 states application requests were up more than 20% from the year before.  Due to rapidly spreading poverty, the number of Americans filing for heating assistance is expected to increase even more this winter.
If you cannot heat your home, it is a really, really big deal.  In 2009, a 93-year-old man in Bay City, Michigan actually froze to death inside his own home.
These days, many American families are finding that their budgets are stretched beyond the breaking point.  Most Americans take it for granted that they will be able to heat their homes, but for the poor, being able to have enough heat is a great blessing.  Today, the poorest 20 percent of Americans spend more than 50 percent of their after-tax income on food and energy....

So can't the U.S. federal government just pay for everyone to have heat?
No, they cannot.
The truth is that as millions upon millions of Americans jump on to the "safety net" it is rapidly approaching the breaking point.  For example, 42 million Americans are now enrolled in the food stamp program.  That is a whole lot of hungry mouths to try to feed every month.
Not that feeding hungry people should not be a priority.  It is just that the U.S. government continues to spend way, way more money than it is bringing in and is basically bankrupt at this point.
So what about the states?  Can't they step in and help?
No, the truth is that most U.S. states are absolute basket cases financially.  A recent article that I wrote about the state of California illustrates this point very well.
Unfortunately, most Americans families are just going to have to scrape by the best that they can.
It is hard to even describe the horrible pain that many Americans are experiencing because of this economy.  The following story from the Unemployed-Friends website is from a woman named Leetah who is desperately hoping that her family will be able to get through this upcoming winter....
The place I live in right now has no jobs and no places to live. My fiance, Lloyd, and I have been looking for anything but he lost his job from McDonald's and the factories (the only jobs to make a living off of) consider him an insurance liability. I can't get hired to a factory because of I was fired from our major factory for attendance (I had to miss 3 days of work because I was sick). So we are moving to the Edmond/OKC region where we are hoping to find a job and a place with running water and heating. We've spent the last few years without heat and running water and so having a place with water and heat would be heaven.
Winter is coming up fast and I am so afraid. Last winter we almost died from the cold and now the thought of cold makes my throat close up and my heart pound. But it isn't just ourselves we are looking out for, we have our dog too. Our wonderful APBT Maggie who is 2-years-old and has been with us since she was 5-months-old. She's our baby girl and we can't lose her. We almost lost her to the cold too and it scared me so much. We are going to be living in our car soon with our dog.
I am hoping to be able to keep our food stamps in the new city so we can still eat. I have already applied for ten+ jobs and nothing yet but I am keeping my hopes up. Hopefully it will get easier to find a job once we get there. Then we just have to save up and then we can afford an apartment. Now finding an apartment with my awesome dog is another story.

Please say a prayer for those who are hurting this winter.  This economy has pushed millions of Americans to the absolute edge of despair.  Another participant on the Unemployed-Friends forum named Sanskay sounds like the hard reality of her situation has sucked almost all of the life out of her....
I met the love of my life when I was 19, and we moved in together. He had an excellent job and savings (he was several years older than me), and we decided together that I would stay home. When I was 26, he started feeling sick to his stomach a lot. By the time he was diagnosed with colon cancer (at 33!), it had already spread to his liver. We lost everything to medical bills, treatments, and medications. We fought so hard to prolong his life, and we drained his (our) savings accounts to try to cure him. Well, it did not work. He died in agony.
So then I was 26 and a widow and penniless, and I had not worked since college. I moved back in with my parents and decided to go back to school. Everyone told me that the health care fields were all in demand, so I studied to become an ultrasound tech. I excelled in my classes. It took me two years to do all of my prerequisites before I entered the program. By then, the recession had hit, but everyone at the school told me that I would have no problem landing a job as long as I was willing to move. This ended up being all lies. By that point, they knew that they were having trouble placing grads from 2007 and 2008, but that was never mentioned to me. This was a community college with a good reputation, and not some for-profit school, and I believed them.
I graduated last year (2009) and have been looking for employment as an ultrasound tech for over a year now. I have applied to over 400 jobs. I have gained three in-person interviews and seven phone interviews. None of them have amounted to anything. I am still unemployed. There are many per-diem (they'll call you when they need you, and you have no guaranteed hours) jobs listed, but I cannot move unless I have a full-time job.
It's awful because they are still funneling people into the program and telling them that as long as they're willing to move out of state, they will have no trouble finding full-time work. They're just concerned with keeping the seats full and they don't care if their new graduates are unable to find work. I feel betrayed.
So now I'm 30 years old and still living in my parents' basement, as I have been for years now. I feel like such a loser. My parents paid for my community college degree and my registry exams, which are all worthless now. It's been so long that I have scanned anyone that I don't remember what to do for some of the exams any longer, not to mention what the pathologies look like.
I haven't applied to a job in a month. The official unemployment rate in my county is 15.6%, but the "unofficial" unemployment rate (REAL unemployment rate!) is easily double that. There is no work here, and I have no money to move, and no salable skills even if I had the money to move.
I miss my husband terribly. Suicide has definitely crossed my mind many times, but it would literally kill my mother if I did anything rash (she has a heart condition and can't allow herself to become over-excited or her heart starts beating out of rhythm, which could cause a heart attack). It seems most days that the best years of my life are far behind me and that I have nothing to look forward to anymore.
Hopefully as you read these kinds of stories you feel your heart move.  The truth is that it could be any of us that are next.
In this economy, no jobs is secure.  In this economy, no business is secure.  There is no guarantee that the income that you are enjoying today is going to be there tomorrow.
The U.S. economic system is slowly dying.  There are many that are cheering this downfall, but the cold, hard truth is that tens of millions of us are going to experience horrible economic pain as the economy unravels.
It is not going to be a fun time.  So count your blessings while you still have them.