October 27, 2011
October 22, 2011
As we reported earlier, the Agriculture Committee leadership is proposing a net reduction of $23 billion over the next ten years from the farm bill. According to an article by David Rogers at Politico.com, the structure discussed by the leadership includes at $14 to $15 billion reduction to commodity program payments, a $6.5 billion reduction to conservation programs, and a $4 to $5 billion reduction in nutrition programs including food stamps. Those cuts would translate to a 20+, 10, and less than one percent reduction for commodities, conservation, and nutrition, respectively.
This proposal would wipe out over 40 percent of the funding increases for conservation and environmental initiatives achieved in the 2002 and 2008 food and farm bills, setting the clock back and “un-greening” the farm bill. Moreover, it is unclear what the proposal would do to the fair and healthy farm and food system programs won in 2008 with your help, but in need of being renewed in the new farm bill. It could potentially wipe out all of those gains as well.
69 percent said reducing the use of chemicals that contribute to water pollution should be a top priority of agriculture policy.
60 percent said farmers should be required to meet environmental standards such as protecting water quality or soil health as a condition of receiving subsidy payments and subsidized crop insurance. That number jumped to 65 percent in the six biggest ethanol-producing states (IA, NE, IL, MN, SD, IN).
57 percent did not agree with cutting funding for farm conservation programs, saying that these programs save money by preventing pollution.
52 percent said subsidies for crops such as corn and soybeans should top the list of programs to be cut, and 49 percent named crop insurance as the next target. Only 31 percent ranked conservation programs as top targets for cuts and just 23 percent wanted to cut food aid for low income Americans.
38 percent said protecting soil and farmland to ensure future food security should be the top priority of conservation programs, while 34 percent put protecting water quality at the top.
Please act today for a chance you have only once every 5 years to reform our food and farming system and protect our natural resources.
October 19, 2011
October 15, 2011
October 14, 2011
October 12, 2011
With all due respect to DeBoer, the demands I found aren’t the ones of the go-go 90s-00s, but instead far more ancient cry, one of premodernity and antiquity.
Let’s bring up a favorite quote around here. Anthropologist David Graeber cites historian Moses Finley, who identified “the perennial revolutionary programme of antiquity, cancel debts and redistribute the land, the slogan of a peasantry, not of a working class.” And think through these cases. The overwhelming majority of these statements are actionable demands in the form of (i) free us from the bondage of these debts and (ii) give us a bare minimum to survive on in order to lead decent lives (or, in pre-Industrial terms, give us some land). In Finley’s terms, these are the demands of a peasantry, not a working class.
The people in the tumblr aren’t demanding to bring democracy into the workplace via large-scale unionization, much less shorter work days and more pay. They aren’t talking the language of mid-twentieth century liberalism, where everyone puts on blindfolds and cuts slices of pie to share. The 99% looks too beaten down to demand anything as grand as “fairness” in their distribution of the economy. There’s no calls for some sort of post-industrial personal fulfillment in their labor – very few even invoke the idea that a job should “mean something.” It’s straight out of antiquity – free us from the bondage of our debts and give us a basic ability to survive.
October 11, 2011
In sixteenth-century Paris, a popular form of entertainment was cat-burning, in which a cat was hoisted in a sling on a stage and slowly lowered into a fire. According to historian Norman Davies, “[T]he spectators, including kings and queens, shrieked with laughter as the animals, howling with pain, were singed, roasted, and finally carbonized.” Today, such sadism would be unthinkable in most of the world.
The first is that Hobbes got it right. Life in a state of nature is nasty, brutish, and short, not because of a primal thirst for blood but because of the inescapable logic of anarchy. Any beings with a modicum of self-interest may be tempted to invade their neighbors to steal their resources. The resulting fear of attack will tempt the neighbors to strike first in preemptive self-defense, which will in turn tempt the first group to strike against them preemptively, and so on. This danger can be defused by a policy of deterrence—don’t strike first, retaliate if struck—but, to guarantee its credibility, parties must avenge all insults and settle all scores, leading to cycles of bloody vendetta. These tragedies can be averted by a state with a monopoly on violence, because it can inflict disinterested penalties that eliminate the incentives for aggression, thereby defusing anxieties about preemptive attack and obviating the need to maintain a hair-trigger propensity for retaliation.
October 9, 2011
October 7, 2011
October 5, 2011
However this attempt works out, it’s already within the motion of a wave rather than a particle which can be isolated and defeated. The basic call to regroup and reassemble after every dispersal applies not just on the physical Wall Street starting on Saturday, but to the entire movement, worldwide over great vistas of place and time. They can club us here, they can disperse us there, but we’ll continue to regather in ever greater numbers over ever greater ranges and actions.
While there’s currently a more notorious September milestone, it’s possible that tomorrow will be the beginning of a new September with a new, positive day of democracy to obliterate the cult of the exploited dead. Wall Street has occupied America long enough.