“They’re Trying to Wipe Us Off the Map” – Small American Farmers Are Nearing Extinction | TIME

Mary Rieckmann with her son Russell tending to their cows on Nov. 20, 2019.

A perfect storm of factors has lead to the biggest crisis for American farmers in decades. Here’s what it’s like to be an American farmer in 2019.

Source: American Farmers Are in Crisis. Here’s Why | Time

Read this article. It’s important. Yes, it’s filtered through the requisite anti-Trumpism and climate alarmism of the mainstream media. But the reality it describes, for small family farms in America, is one which needs to be understood:

“In the American imagination, at least, the family farm still exists as it does on holiday greeting cards: as a picturesque, modestly prosperous expanse that wholesomely fills the space between the urban centers where most of us live.

“But it has been declining for generations, and the closing days of 2019 find small farms pummeled from every side: a trade war, severe weather associated with climate change, tanking commodity prices related to globalization, political polarization, and corporate farming defined not by a silo and a red barn but technology and the efficiencies of scale. It is the worst crisis in decades.

“Chapter 12 farm bankruptcies were up 12 percent in the Midwest from July of 2018 to June of 2019; they’re up 50 percent in the Northwest. Tens of thousands have simply stopped farming, knowing that reorganization through bankruptcy won’t save them. The nation lost more than 100,000 farms between 2011 and 2018; 12,000 of those between 2017 and 2018 alone.”

That is dismaying, to put it mildly. Indeed, for those of us who can see past the surface numbers to understand the implications, it is deeply frightening.

While there are a number of factors contributing to this crisis, I believe that the threatened demise of American small farms is at base an attack – and I would argue that it is in large measure a concerted and intentional one, by an unholy alliance of convenience between Big Government and Big Corporatism – on food sovereignty.

Every single one of the factors listed in the article – “a trade war, severe weather associated with climate change, tanking commodity prices related to globalization, political polarization, and corporate farming defined not by a silo and a red barn but technology and the efficiencies of scale” – can be traced directly to one of the two entities mentioned above, in some cases both.

So, where does food sovereignty come in – and what is it, anyway, and why does it matter?

Well, food sovereignty is defined as “the right of peoples to healthy and culturally-appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems.” It is in its essence localized and dispersed, rooted in family farms and local communities.

Big corporations hate this because it interferes with their profits, and big government hates it because it interferes with their control – thus the alliance-of-convenience mentioned above.

And yes, some of the factors that affect small farms are (presumably) unintended consequences of other issues – but the responses, the proposed “solutions,” by government and corporate interests alike, are always in the direction of greater centralization (“get big or get out,” or variations on the theme), greater industrialization and automation, more control, less human input and contact with the land, less local sovereignty.

The underlying reality is that food sovereignty is the basis of sovereignty, period. It doesn’t matter what your system of government is – capitalistic, communistic, or anything in between – you are not sovereign if you cannot control your own food supply: if you have to rely on someone else, state or corporation, to provide your food and to control what food is provided, and when, and how.

Now, obviously, most of us (by choice or necessity) are willing to trade a little sovereignty for convenience – we are no longer (for better or for worse) a nation of farmers. But the further we get from local agriculture, rooted in small family farms that are closely tied in with their local communities, the less sovereignty we all enjoy, and the more we are at the mercy of Someone Somewhere Else turning off the tap.

In other words, the demise of small, local, family farms is not just a shame – although it is! very much so – and it’s not just less healthy for consumers, communities, and the environment, although that is also true. It’s also dangerous, for our rights and freedoms, for liberty, sovereignty, independence.

Who controls the food, controls those who rely on it for survival. That’s the bottom line.

Robert Ruark: Something of value

Robert Ruark – Something of value

“If a man does away with his traditional way of living and throws away his good customs, he had better first make certain that he has something of value to replace them.”

— Robert Ruark

QOTD: Really Real Reality | Stately McDaniel Manor

There are two striking similarities between teaching high school English and being a police officer: many people lie to you, and you must deal with reality.

Source: California: Really Real Reality | Stately McDaniel Manor

Gotta love Mike McDaniel, and his blog, Stately McDaniel Manor! The article itself is an interesting, if depressing, one which I encourage you to read, if only to appreciate how bad things are getting in California (which has historically crowed, “As goes California, so goes the nation” – let us devoutly pray that is not the case, in these days). But this quote is pure gold:

“There are two striking similarities between teaching high school English and being a police officer: many people lie to you, and you must deal with reality.  I’m speaking of real reality, like the laws of physics, not jumping off tall buildings due to the recognition of gravity, there are only two genders, men and women are different, heterosexuality is normal, Islam isn’t a “religion of peace,” evil exists, not everyone wants peace, God – not man – is in charge, and if you like toilet paper and eating, you’ll hate socialism. That reality. Real reality. Really real reality.”

Beautiful. And so true!

 

Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s “Carol of the Bells”… and a piece of original fiction by Yours Truly!

For some reason, whenever I hear this, a tale something like this runs through my mind…


Christmas Eve, A Year In the Near Future.

Santa Claus – Sinter Klaas, St. Nicholas – approaches the [pick an adversary country, preferably a godless and oppressive one like R_d Ch_ina] border, cruising at near his maximum operational altitude. Already the sophisticated Elven instruments on the dashboard of his sleigh can pick up the first brushes of their ACCM (Anti-Christmas Counter Measures), like the prickly whiskers of a restlessly slumbering, evil dragon.

They had been getting better, with each passing year. Last year, the unthinkable had happened: they had actually managed to exclude him from their airspace! Multiple probes had ended in failure, and the danger both to his increasingly disoriented and weakening reindeer, and to the undelivered presents intended for countless boys and girls, had compelled him to stop trying to penetrate their shields.

But that was then. This was now. The Elves had worked night and day for nearly a year to craft his newest sleigh: a Mark VI, the newest, best, and most powerful sleigh he has ever possessed.

A full moon shines down upon the earth below, as Santa calls to his reindeer for a last effort, takes the sleigh higher, higher… and then into a sweeping dive-roll that would have done a jet fighter proud, straightening out into a low-angle, sloping dive right for the defended perimeter. He can feel through his reins the heart the reindeer put into it, racing faster and faster through the night sky, driving relentlessly at the hostile border.

With his off-hand, Santa’s gloved fingers play across the controls, and around them a coruscating nimbus of Christmas magic takes form. Those who might glance up from below would see only an exceptionally bright meteor, with a teardrop shape and a tail like a comet, sparkling and flashing in crimson and argent.

On Dasher, on Dancer, on Prancer and Vixen! On Comet, on Cupid, on Donner and Blitzen! Now, Rudolph – FULL POWER!!!

A few moments, a deep breath… and the powerful Mark VI, surrounded by its protective nimbus, hits the ACCM perimeter like a thousand bolts of lightning. For one shuddering moment, in which time itself seems to stand still, the vile shields hold. Santa can feel, with senses beyond the merely human, as the malevolent dragon awakes… but awakes to a blinding flash of crimson-silver light, before which it recoils, helplessly…

And then they’re through, the defenses shattering, crumbling, falling away, the evil dragon dissipating with a raging, howling wail that fades to a whimper – and then, to nothingness.

And below them, millions of sleeping children stir happily in their slumbers, breathe a bit more deeply… smiles flit across their sleeping faces… a few of the more perceptive ones half-wake for a moment, then subside into peaceful rest, with visions of sugar-plums dancing in their heads.

This year, Christmas is coming.

 


Creative Commons License

This work of original fiction by Thomas H. Harbold is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND). Please click the link for more information.

Thanksgiving 1861 | The Southern Agrarian

Image result for confederate thanksgiving

Source: Thanksgiving 1861 – The Southern Agrarian

Stephen Clay McGeehee, of The Southern Agrarian, notes,

“During the Thanksgiving season we often hear that the first national Thanksgiving Proclamation was given by Abraham Lincoln in Washington, D.C. on October 3, 1863. What the northern history books fail to mention is that Lincoln, bowing to political pressure, copied the President of the Confederate States of America. Jefferson Davis actually had made the first national Proclamation of Thanksgiving two years earlier in Richmond, Virginia.”

Click to the link to read President Davis’ Thanksgiving Proclamation.

In fact, of course, the very first Presidential Thanksgiving Proclamation was issued by George Washington, on 3 October 1789 (see also here, for more background).

And the first Thanksgiving itself, on what would become the original 13 Colonies, later 13 States, was actually held in Virginia, at a place called the Berkeley Hundred, a year before the Pilgrims reached Plimouth (as it was called then)!

That was held on 4 December 1619. It was more about prayer than feasting – which may explain why it has not gotten the societal traction of the Pilgrim’s event – and the foods that were served were probably ham and oysters, not turkey and dressing.

Interesting history of this day, in any case!

Gettysburg Address: Still Balderdash After 150 (+) Years | James Bovard

Image result for lincoln gettysburg address

“I am mystified by all the whooping on the… anniversary of the Gettysburg Address. Most of the commentators seem to believe that Lincoln was an honest man touting the highest ideals.”

Source: Gettysburg Address: Still Balderdash After 150 Years – James Bovard

November 19th of this year of grace 2019 was the 156th anniversary of Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address.”

Along with his “Emancipation” Proclamation, which did not emancipate a single slave (*), it is the basis for the Northern/Federalist mythologizing of both Lincoln as the preserver of the Union (which is true, although at gunpoint, and at tremendous cost to the Founders’ vision of that Union) and liberator of the slaves (which is a bald-faced lie), and the War Between the States as a “civil war” and a conflict between freedom and oppression.

Well, it was not a civil war: a civil war is a war between two or more factions for control of the central government; the WBTS was an invasion of a group of States, who wanted only to be left alone, by another group of States – at the behest of the Federal government – which was violently determined not to leave them in peace.

It was, in fact, a war between freedom and oppression; but not in the way the Lincolnites and supporters of the “Glorious Union” would like us to believe. As one commenter has accurately noted, H.L. Menken had Lincoln pegged 100 years ago:

“The Gettysburg speech was at once the shortest and the most famous oration in American history… the highest emotion reduced to a few poetical phrases. Lincoln himself never even remotely approached it. It is genuinely stupendous. But let us not forget that it is poetry, not logic; beauty, not sense.

“Think of the argument in it. Put it into the cold words of everyday. The doctrine is simply this: that the Union soldiers who died at Gettysburg sacrificed their lives to the cause of self-determination — that government of the people, by the people, for the people, should not perish from the earth.

“It is difficult to imagine anything more untrue. The Union soldiers in the battle actually fought against self-determination; it was the Confederates who fought for the right of their people to govern themselves.”

(For a more detailed treatment of Mencken on Lincoln, go here.)

And as the linked essay points out,

“Massachusetts abolitionist Lysander Spooner” – of all people! – “offered the most concise refutation to President Lincoln’s claim that the Civil War was fought to preserve a ‘government by consent.’ Spooner observed, ‘The only idea . . . ever manifested as to what is a government of consent, is this – that it is one to which everybody must consent, or be shot.'”

That was certainly the case with the Federal Union, in the War Between the States (a.k.a. War of Northern Aggression)! And it has been, by and large, ever since.

On the subject of liberating the slaves: I wonder how many people who hail Lincoln as “the Great Emancipator” realize that his much-vaunted Proclamation did not emancipate a single slave. And why? Because it applied only to areas – Confederate-controlled areas – in which his writ did not run.

It specifically did not apply to any area in or held by the Union! And why was that? Because, as he was very well aware, slavery was still PERMITTED BY THE CONSTITUTION in the “Glorious Union,” and he had absolutely no authority to change that, short of a Constitutional Amendment – which did not occur until after the War (though passed by a Congress in which the Southern States were not represented early in 1865, it was not ratified by the requisite number of States until December 6th of that year).

Now, granted, he did a lot of other things he had no Constitutional authority to do! But I think he was smart enough to realize that if he tried to end slavery inside the Union without an Amendment to the Constitution, he’d be losing several more states, and most likely, the War. And he had already made it clear that he didn’t give a hoot about slavery, one way or the other, as a matter of policy – just about keeping the Union together.

The “Emancipation” Proclamation was a very narrow and (I’m sorry to say) well-designed political and military “poison pill” to make it look like he was doing something about slavery when, in fact, he wasn’t; and to dissuade nations like Britain and France who were debating coming in on the side of the Confederacy, but didn’t want to look like they were defending slavery.

Lincoln was an @$$hole – pardon me – but he was a clever @$$hole… We sometimes forget, I think, that before he was President, he was a frontier lawyer! As one might expect of such an individual, he was very good at manipulating both facts and people to advance his agenda.


Side note: Washington, DC, emancipated its slaves in 1862, with the DC Compensated Emancipation Act of 1862, passed by the Congress and signed by President Abraham Lincoln. The act ended slavery in Washington, DC, freed 3,100 individuals, reimbursed those who had legally owned them and offered the newly freed women and men money to emigrate.

A good example of the correct way to do it, as distinct from what actually happened in the aftermath of the WBTS…

 

A Pledge to the Confederate Flag, by John Field Pankow

Raise Your Battle Flag” (partial) by Celtic Confederate. – this excerpt includes footage from flag-raisings by the Virginia Flaggers. Full version may be found here.

I have not posted much of a Confederate or Southern culture and heritage nature lately, as other issues have taken center stage for the time being. But that does not mean that I have lost my passion for the Southern Confederacy, which (as a friend of mine is wont to points out) “was wrong about slavery” – although many even among the elite recognized it as a moral as well as political evil, and most Confederate soldiers never owned a single slave – “but right about everything else!”

Here, then, by permission , is a Pledge to the Confederate Flag, by my friend John Field Pankow:

I pledge my allegiance to the flag of the Confederacy and to the ideals for which it stood and stands: liberty, honor, chivalry, independence, courage, duty, and love of God, family and home.

On my honor, I promise never to forget the just cause to which so many devoted their lives. I promise to do my best to see that their proud history is truly reported and not defamed. May my voice be strong and true as I tell the story of this flag and its people to my children and their children, and all else who will listen.

And if the time comes when the flag requires my defense, may I have the courage, the strength, and the honor to defend it, at all costs, with all that I have and all that I am.

This I pledge on my sacred word of honor.

John Field Pankow

To which I would add:

(The Rev’d) Thomas H. Harbold

Of course, it could be argued that there is not one single “Confederate flag.” There were three National flags, just in the four years of the Confederacy, and many battle flags, not just “the” Battle Flag, as it has become known.

The First National (1861) was the “Stars and Bars” properly speaking – distinct from, but intentionally similar to, the “Betsy Ross” version of the Stars and Stripes – and that came in four variations (with 7, 9, 11, or 13 stars in the canton), depending on how many states were in the Confederacy at the time:

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The Second National (1863), also known as the “Stainless Banner,” was the first to incorporate the “St. Andrew’s Cross” or “saltire” design as found on the Army of Northern Virginia’s Battle Flag:

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And the third and final design, the Third National (1865), or the “Bloodstained Banner,” added a vertical red bar, primarily to prevent the flag from being mistaken for a flag of truce when hanging from a staff with no wind:

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And of course, there is the one that is best known, called “the Battle Flag,” or “the Rebel Flag”: technically the “Second Naval Jack” (1863-1865). Variations were also used by several field armies (usually square ones closer to the canton of the Second and Third National flags), most notably (as mentioned above) by General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. Here is the version usually seen today:

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It was this flag that has become the one most closely associated with the Confederacy in the popular imagination: loved and revered, or hated and despised, according to one’s sympathies. When people say “the” Confederate Flag, this is generally the one meant.

Needless to say, I fall into the “loved and revered” camp! And since we are still in a battle – a “cold civil war,” as some have termed it, or a “second Reconstruction,” as others have noted – it is this flag, the Battle Flag, that I think of when I read John’s Pledge. I encourage others who wish to “sign on” to the Pledge to do so in the comments. God bless, and Deo vindice (“God will vindicate us”)!