Friday, April 20, 2012

News from the Network, Vol. 5, No. 16

Despite the wild fluctuations in the stock market (and everything else — shall we have another discourse on "The Great Hotdog Hoodwink" now that a 69¢ one-pound package of hotdogs is a $1.79 12-ounce package?) there are definite signs of hope. People seem to be waking up to the need for some serious reform, although they remain unsure what to do about it. To let them know that there are things that can be done, we've been continuing our efforts:

• The Rally at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors building today in Washington, DC went very well. There was only a moderate number of hitches (meaning the things that went wrong were either someone else's fault, or happened to someone else). The event opened with remarks by Rev. Robert Brantley, leading into a rousing rendition of "16 Bills" sung by Dr. Scott Holmes, which (if you haven't heard it), can be found here. (If you don't care for protest songs, tune in to this, which is pretty cool, too.) Scott followed with "People and Things," a piece, like "16 Bills," by Dawn Brohawn.

• Scott's songs were followed by a dramatic reading of a skit by Barbara Olson of Las Vegas, Nevada, "Abraham Lincoln and Miss Liberty." Michael D. Greaney read the part of Abraham Lincoln, while Jackie Woodman of Cleveland read Miss Liberty, appropriately garbed as the Statue of Liberty.

• Bob Brantley then introduced the keynote speaker, Norman G. Kurland, president of CESJ. Norm gave a brief statement as to why we need a Capital Homestead Act and read a statement of support from Pollant Mpofu, an advisor to the Labour Party in the United Kingdom.

• Dave Hamill of the Coalition for Capital Homesteading gave a talk on how Capital Homesteading would help the "small" businesses that provide the bulk of production of marketable goods and services throughout the world, and how it would stimulate effective and lasting — unsubsidized — job creation.

• Monica Woodman gave a presentation of what adoption of a Capital Homestead Act would mean for solving the home mortgage crisis. While some things could be done in the current legal and economic environment, a permanent and just solution to the problem will be found only in Capital Homesteading.

• Joseph Recinos, back in town briefly from traveling in Central America, gave his reflections on why Capital Homesteading is needed globally as a way of establishing and maintaining economic justice for all on a basis of liberty and private property.

• CESJ's "Poet Laureate" Dawn Brohawn then gave a talk on how just "one simple act" — specifically, signing and introducing the Declaration of Monetary Justice to legislators and politicians at all levels of government for adoption as a non-binding resolution — would greatly advance the Just Third Way.

• Jerry Peloquin then gave a brief reflection on the need to revive Washington, DC economically, especially Ward 8 and other distressed areas.

• Scott Holmes finished off with a rendition of "The Just Third Way," accompanied by Jerry on drums.

• According to the Krause Publications e-newsletter, the economy is so bad that coin collectors are divesting themselves of relatively scarce items to make ends meet. Not the great rarities, of course — few ordinary collectors have those — but the "key" items around which someone typically builds a collection. While there's always the hope that it can be replaced when things get better, you have to realize the significance of people selling their "trophies of the hunt" — half the fun of collecting anything is the search for a scarce item and the pride of having a complete set of something. This is a better economic indicator than anything coming from the economists or government, and argues that the so-called "recovery" is an illusion.

• The American Catholic bishops have castigated Representative Paul Ryan's budget proposal for not having a provision that provides adequately for the poor. (The Washington Post, 04/18/12, A2.) While we agree that Mr. Ryan's proposal doesn't address either the needs of the poor or the nation as a whole, it's at least better than the current system — with or without any mandates that violate individual consciences. Not being raised is the possibility that there might be a proposal — such as Capital Homesteading — by means of which the poor can take care of themselves, capital ownership for all can be financed without government subsidy or redistribution, the tax base rebuilt, government spending brought within reasonable limits and the debt paid down.

• ACS Books ("American Chesterton Society Books"?) has published The Hound of Distributism, edited by Richard Aleman, president of the Society for Distributism. Hound appears to be available only in Amazon's "Kindle" at the notorious $9.99 price. According to the one posted review (as of 04/18/12), the book is a collection of essays that rehash old material to the point of redundancy, or (as the reviewer put it), "I was left with the feeling this is a book by Distributists, published by Distributists, sometimes focused on Distributists and, I suspect, for Distributists." If you have $10 you want to invest in reading something you can get for free from other sources by doing a little searching on the internet, you might want to buy The Hound of Distributism, but be warned. Judging from our past experience with a number of the authors whose approach to the natural law is somewhat flexible, their thought is not completely consistent with the Just Third Way. We're just letting you know, however. You can form your own opinion.

• As of this morning, we have had visitors from 63 different countries and 50 states and provinces in the United States and Canada to this blog over the past two months. Most visitors are from the United States, Canada, the UK, India, and Pakistan. People in the Netherlands Antilles, France, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Indonesia spent the most average time on the blog. The most popular postings this past week were "Thomas Hobbes on Private Property," "Guide to Capital Homesteading," "Aristotle on Private Property," "Why Did Nixon Take the Dollar Off the Gold Standard?" and "The Situation in Greece."

Those are the happenings for this week, at least that we know about. If you have an accomplishment that you think should be listed, send us a note about it at mgreaney [at] cesj [dot] org, and we'll see that it gets into the next "issue." If you have a short (250-400 word) comment on a specific posting, please enter your comments in the blog — do not send them to us to post for you. All comments are moderated anyway, so we'll see it before it goes up.

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