Are you surprised? We're not. The real unemployment rate has been hovering around 20% or so for two years. Our leaders (such as they are), however, evidently believe that people can't handle the truth any better than they handle the lack of it, and insist that it's below 10%. It's astonishing what you can do when you change the definition of "unemployment." It's no longer "being unemployed," but whatever definition makes the government look better.
Worse than that, of course, is what they've done to "money and credit." It's no longer "anything that can be used in settlement of a debt," but "whatever the State says it is." Right. Just like "unemployment," "justice," "life," "liberty," and "private property." Start changing definitions and there's nothing you can't do, or (more realistically) delude yourself into thinking you can't do. Gosh, if only reality wouldn't keep intruding.
In any event, we're moving things forward. Last week's trip to Chicago, while tiring, was also energizing — we experienced the experience of being so excited we couldn't keep our eyes open. What an experience. Anyway, here's possibly a better roundup of the events and aftermath than was possible last week:
• Thursday of last week started off with an extremely intense hours-long discussion on the application of the Just Third Way to business by implementing Justice-Based Management. If volume and level of interest, to say nothing of the quality of the ideas being generated are any indication, the meeting was a success.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.
• Discussions continued after the official end of the meeting and beginning of dinner. We won't depress you by detailing the menu of a meal of which you did not partake, but more people showed up, and only one had to leave due to a prior commitment. Plans were nailed down for the Friday and Saturday meetings.
• Friday started off very well — we even figured out how to use the new GPS, and got to the first meeting of the day on time, Fr. John McCloskey, resident at St. Mary of the Angels, considered the finest (and biggest) example of the "Polish Cathedral Style" in the world. Father McCloskey listened to our presentation on the Just Third Way and the importance of natural law supporters to come together and start organizing to reestablish the basis of society on a foundation of justice, particularly economic and social justice. He agreed that private property is the key. We hope to follow up in greater detail on the possibilities offered by Capital Homesteading. Father McCloskey had to get to another meeting, but we've already had some follow-up.
• We broke for lunch back at Lydia and François's apartment. Again, it would be cruel to detail the menu, so we'll leave you guessing.
• We got to the meeting with Mr. Robert Colangelo, Executive Director of the National Brownfields Association, in plenty of time. It's astonishing how well technology such as the GPS works when you know how to use it. Mr. Colangelo expressed great interest in the "Citizens Land Bank" concept, and even came up with some interesting ideas that we might be able to integrate into the proposal. This meeting, too, could have gone on for much longer than it did, but Mr. Colangelo had to catch a flight.
• Friday night dinner was "Lithuanian Night." I am certain that no Lithuanians really eat like that, or they wouldn't fit through the door. Or some of the more narrow alleys in town.
• Saturday we met with Max Weismann of the Center for the Study of the Great Ideas, which he co-founded with Mortimer Adler. The groundwork was well-laid for putting together Justice University. A blog has been established as a clearinghouse for discussion on justice, and concrete plans are being made for the future.
• Sunday we rested. Allegedly.
• Monday we immediately started outreach to begin the process of natural law networking by sending an e-mail to a possible contact in Rome who might be able to help us get a meeting or meetings at the Vatican. To show you how this door-opening thing works, the possible contact in Rome came through the son of a man with whom we had worked many years ago. This goes to show that no possibility, however tenuous, can be ignored if we are to succeed in getting Capital Homesteading enacted by 2012.
• Lydia has been burning up the airwaves ("e-waves"?), putting us in touch with a "radio personality" (for some reason, when television came in, people on radio were transformed from "stars" into "personalities") who might be interested in our new book, Supporting Life.
• Chris Cogswell of the "Catholic Finance Professionals" group on LinkedIn and with whom we also met in Chicago during the "mega-meeting" on Thursday (and who couldn't stay for dinner) put us in touch with another possible like-minded soul in Chicago, who is currently looking over both the CESJ and the EEI websites for a possible fit with his objectives, aims, and goals.
• Norm is preparing for his "Shock and Awe" presentation in Buffalo, New York next month before the Canada-U.S. Brownfields Summit. The shock will be when the participants find out the situation isn't hopeless, and the awe will come in when they find out about the possibilities of financing the rebuilding of America's cities in a way that can build ownership into ordinary people by using "pure credit" (i.e., without the need for existing accumulations of savings) through commercial banks discounting qualified Capital Homesteading loan paper and rediscounting it at the Federal Reserve. (You know — what we've been talking about in the current series on Say's Law?)
• Norm is also preparing for the Caux Round Table discussion in Beijing next month. It turns out that Chris Cogswell spent a great deal of time in China, and Robert Colangelo will be going there just as Norm is leaving. There is a way out of the current move of the Chinese in the direction of capitalist mercantilism, which would be to the benefit of both China and the U.S. — but only if they pay attention.
• As of this morning, we have had visitors from 38 different countries and 42 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 UK, Canada, Brazil, and India. People in Poland, Italy, the United States, Russia, and Ireland spent the most average time on the blog. The most popular posting is the one on "The New Banking Rules," followed by yesterday's "The Case for the 'Repeal Amendment'," "News from the Network" of three weeks ago, "CESJ's Orientation in Brief," and, finally, "The Federal Reserve . . . This Time It's Personal."