Friday, July 5, 2013

News from the Network, Vol. 6, No. 27

The Dow shot up this morning more than a hundred points in the first few minutes of trading . . . and as of this writing has been losing ground . . . regaining it . . . losing it again . . . ever since.  In other words, business as usual.  The rapid rise is presumably in response to a favorable jobs report for June, while the drop is presumably due to the situation in Egypt.  It does raise an issue about the widespread belief that the stock market is a leading economic indicator, but what can you do?

For one thing, support an initiative like the proposal to make a counteroffer to the Chinese purchase of Smithfield Foods, Inc., as we explain in our first news item this week:

• Most people are aware of the proposed sale of Smithfield Foods, Inc., the largest pork processor in the world, to a Chinese company.  According to a recent article in The Virginia Pilot, many people are planning on boycotting the entire array of Smithfield products and labels if the sale goes through.  State representative Bob Marshall of the Virginia House of Delegates (delegatebob [at] gmail [dot] com) has a better idea.  He is proposing that Smithfield’s 46,000 workers buy the company.  Politicians, union leaders, and the “expanded ownership community” have expressed support.  As reported on the “” website, the sale would be through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP).  The article quotes CESJ president Norman Kurland extensively.  An important feature of the proposal is that this could be done without the workers putting up one cent of personal savings or by using any taxpayer money.  The money could be created by the expansion of commercial bank credit, backed up by the Federal Reserve, and repaid with future profits of the company.  The Senate Agriculture Committee is having hearings July 10, 2013 on the proposed Chinese buyout.  If you think that Marshall’s proposed alternative deserves a hearing and that he should testify, send an e-mail to your governor, your House Representative (“Congressman”), both your Senators, and even President Obama, and urge them to examine and then support Marshall’s initiative, with “blind copies” to Marshall at delegatebob [at] gmail [dot] com and to thirdway [at] cesj [dot] org.  You should also send an e-mail to Bob Marshall expressing support for his initiative, with a copy to thirdway [at] cesj [dot] org.  The subject line of your e-mails might say, “I Support Smithfield Foods ESOP” or words to that effect.  A few thousand of those and even Congress might pay some attention.

• The first phase of the revision of Capital Homesteading for Every Citizen has been completed.  This consisted of updating figures, integrating some of the appendices into the main text, adding some new terms to the glossary, and rewriting some sections to reflect our improved understanding of money, credit, banking and finance.  The next step is to review the suggested changes with an eye toward a possible reorganization of certain portions of the book.

• We have most of the text of the first volume in the “Fulton Sheen Project” submitted for editing.  We expect to have the rest available by the end of next week.

• Be sure to send your e-mails supporting a worker buyout of Smithfield Foods, Inc.

• As of this morning, we have had visitors from 52 different countries and 45 states and provinces in the United States and Canada to this blog over the past two months. Most visitors are from the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy, Canada, and Australia. The most popular postings this past week were Response to Professor Shakespeare, III: Shakespeare in His Own Words,” “Aristotle on Private Property,” “Thomas Hobbes on Private Property,” “The Dictatorship of Money, IX: Catholicism and America,” and “News from the Network, Vol. 6, No. 23.”

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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