Welcome to the first issue of Volume Five of News from the Network. We have two predictions for the coming year. One, as what passes for global leadership continues to drift farther and farther (or is that "further and further"? we're never sure about that one . . . "flammable" or "inflammable," anyone?) from the principles of the Just Third Way, uncertainty and chaos will increase geometrically.
Two, if nothing is done to adopt Capital Homesteading in the world, we will see an acceleration of bankruptcies and failures from the individual level right up to the Nation-State. As one expert predicts, several "institutional" brands are in serious danger. If Sears is in trouble, you can bet that governments that have been increasing their "sovereign debt" loads without figuring out how to rebuild their tax bases are in even bigger trouble.
We hope that these predictions do not come true. To make sure that they do not, here's what we've been doing for the first week of 2012:
• On Tuesday, Monica W. in Cleveland attended a press conference of the Neighborhood Housing Services and met with Jim Rokakis, Director of Thriving Community Institute. She will be rescheduling a conference call with Norm in the near future. Jim is putting together county land banks across northern Ohio. She also met with Representative Dennis Kucinich, who told her to schedule a meeting through his secretary. Monica also spoke with Representative Marci Kaptur who, due to redistricting, will be running against Representative Kucinich in a three-way race against . . . Joe the Plumber. Joe Lunchbucket is standing out this election. Representative Kaptur agreed to a half-hour meeting (Monica asked for an hour). Monica also touched base with Lou Tisler, Executive Director of Neighborhood Housing Services, who said he wanted to meet. Monica also spoke with Cleveland City Council Member Anthony Brancatelli, who is very involved in the foreclosure crisis. He was part of what was called a "mocumentry," a mock trial titled Cleveland vs. Wall Street that focused on the Cleveland foreclosure crisis. It was a big hit at the Cleveland film festival last year (no surprise!) and made it to local theaters in the area. He agreed to a meeting and gave Monica his card and even wrote his cell phone number on the back. To top it off, Monica also got a handshake from Senator Sherrod Brown, but couldn't follow up as the Fourth Estate crowded around instantly.
• Also on Tuesday we met with Dr. Scott H., a physician with the Michigan Department of Corrections. Scott, who is a distributist, had heard Norm interviewed on Tuesdays With Tormala out of Grand Rapids, Michigan, and got in touch. Lunch was served following the meeting, where we met Scott's wife and six children. In a flurry of follow-up, Scott has already posted a review of In Defense of Human Dignity (2008) on Amazon, and is preparing to send out information on the Just Third Way to his entire internet network. In Defense of Human Dignity is already selling more copies, and Scott is preparing other reviews.
• Baron McGrath of Sealand is considering endorsing CESJ's annotated edition of William Thomas Thornton's A Plea for Peasant Proprietors.
• CESJ friend Lydia Fisher, author of Cinderella of Wall Street, (not to be confused with Lydia Jane Fisher, author of Letters from the Kingdom of Kerry in the Year 1845) posted a most thought-provoking piece on the Huffington Post under the title, "Everyone is Called to One Human Vocation — That of Being a Good Citizen and a Thoughtful Human Being . . ." The piece was inspired — surprise! — by an interview with Mortimer J. Adler Lydia viewed recently. You'll get more out of the article by reading it first-hand rather than a summary, so we'll just say that it is consistent with the natural law principles of the Just Third Way, as you might expect from something inspired by Adler.
• As of this morning, we have had visitors from 61 different countries and 48 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, Ireland, and Australia. People in Germany, Russia, Argentina, Australia, and the U.K. spent the most average time on the blog. The most popular postings this past week were "Thomas Hobbes on Private Property," "It's the Academics v. the Politicians . . . v. Economic Reality, Part I: Accounting," "Aristotle on Private Property," "'The Market Must Never Neglect Solidarity'," and "Ron Paul and Creating Money."
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.