An important piece of history, completely unknown to me.

How embarrassing for a soi-disant educated chimp!

A really educated man, Noam Chomsky,  points to it in a recent speech  on the Great Charter. I knew nothing about the Charter of the Forest, and it is a revelation. Read the wikipedia entry:


The Charter provided a right of common access to (royal) private lands that would wait until the Union of England and Scotland in 1707 to be equaled within the realm. It also rolled back the area encompassed by the designation “forest” to that of Henry II’s time, essentially freeing up lands that had become more and more restricted as King Richard and King John designated greater and greater areas of land to become royal forest. Since “forest” in this context didn’t necessarily mean treed areas, but could include fields, moor or even farms and villages, it became an increasing hardship on the common people to try to farm, forage, and otherwise use the land they lived on. The Charter specifically states that “Henceforth every freeman, in his wood or on his land that he has in the forest, may with impunity make a mill, fish-preserve, pond, marl-pit, ditch, or arable in cultivated land outside coverts, provided that no injury is thereby given to any neighbour.”

It repealed the death penalty for stealing venison, though transgressors were still subject to fines or imprisonment for the offense; it also abolished mutilation as a lesser punishment. Special Verderers’ Courts were set up within the forests to enforce the laws of the Charter. By Tudor times, most of the laws served mainly to protect the timber in royal forests. However, some clauses in the Laws of Forests remained in force until the 1970s, and the special courts still exist today in the New Forest and the Forest of Dean. In this respect, the Charter was the statute that remained longest in force in England (from 1217 to 1971), being finally superseded by the Wild Creatures and Forest Laws Act 1971.

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A Good Daily Dose of Sly Invective

UPDATE: I forgot to credit the indefatigable Lambert of Corrente, via Naked Capitalism for the D-115  posting…..

Commentary on the Obomney election process and much else.

The formation a year or two ago of the “Northern Command” by the Pentagon is being put to use — always impressive ability to plan ahead — no wonder the military commands the greatest respect from the public of any institution these days.

The headlines remind me of Chicago ’68.

D – 115 and counting. *

It would be irresponsible not to speculate. –Peggy Noonan

NATO Summit. Guides: from OccupyChicago (PDF) and Occupy Peace. Coverage and media:Mainstream wrap-upTimCast (independent video streamer). Guardian live blog. Inflammatory headline watch: Chicago braces for violence at NATO summit

Participants: The NATO guest list is rawther long and includes every shade of left opinion — including OccupyChicago. And the ClownBloq (avec entartistes?). For unaffiliated out-of-towners,organizing bus travel fraught (true for Occupy DC also).

Legalities: NATO could be the first public test of H.R. 347 “restrictive zones” (a la Zucotti Park“frozen zone”).

Authorities: DHS leads NATO security through Secret Service and Federal Protective Services divisions, working with the CPD (12,500 strong). (What was “shocking” six months ago is normal now.) Northern Command Gen. Jacoby reminds the troops (3000) they may not “solicit prostitutes.” Philly PD sends 67 officers to assist. (Oh great. But shows independent streamers are important.) interestingly, Charlotte, too. (Historically, forces from multiple jurisdictions face chain-of-command and communications issues, risking violence.)

Police tactics: A field guide for NATO. Kettling is costly! CPD chief McCarthy will control deployments of tear gas, bean bags, etc. “We’re going to take people who are committing crimes out of those crowds.”

Gear: For NATO, $1 million. Including LRAD sound cannons. “This is simply a risk management tool.”

Venues: NATO Summit itself is in McCormick Place (map). Protest stage, sound system permitted near venue (map). “NATO summit visitors promise to continue Chicago’s record tourism numbers.”

OccupyPolling data on Occupy. Note NY vs. Oakland. Citizen journalist arrested during OWS march fights city and wins.

Green Party. Stein, with 50% of delegates won, claims mantle of presumptive nominee, crowd sources VP. After appeal, PA Democrats allowed to seize $56,928 from Nader campaign after Nader’s 2004 candidate petition ruled invalid and court costs were levied against the campaign.

WI (swing state). DNC offers support in every form but money. Barret blasts Walker’s criminal defense fund, connected to a secret probe of his associates. Yeah, “known unknowns”, campaign fodder, poor choice of companions, yadda yadda yadda, but “felony child enticement”?! Also,“massive [human] waste violation”. Also, too, jobs. Not.

CO (Swing State). 47,000 active oil and gas wells in CO and 17 inspectors (hat tip MR).

IA (Swing State). Gov. Branstad insists he’s ‘way ahead’ of job creation goal; state data suggests otherwise (hat tip TTH).

Inside Baseball. Everybody’s building models: Ezra KleinWaPoNate Silver. Americans Elect “failed to generate interest in possible campaigns from Sens. Joe Lieberman and Lamar Alexander.” Nobody could have predicted. Schadenfreude from Krugman, and a whole gallery of very serious people who were wrong. And why not nominate The One True Wanker of The Decade?

Ron Paul. Paul’s campaign chair: “premature” to discuss Romney endorsement. “The most passive-aggressive political maneuver in modern political history.” Paul backers fail to win OK conventionPaulistas en regalia.

RomneyRomney pivots to ZOMG! Teh Debt!!! in IA barnburner: “A prairie fire of debt is sweeping across Iowa and our nation, and every day we fail to act, that fire gets closer to the homes and children we love.” In unrelated incident, Romney Veeps audition on same theme at Pete Petersen’s Catfood Conference.

Obama. The First Family has between $500,001 and $1,000,000 in a “JP Morgan Chase Private Client Asset Management Checking Account.” Have they never heard of “Move Your Money”? Why not avoid the FBI taint? Obama campaign releases “blistering” anti-Romney Bain Capital adwhile raising $2 million at fundraiser held by Tony James, President of Blackstone Group. On the very same dayPierce comments: “The problem is that the president goes around the country undermining the strategy by cozying up to the people who are in the same business as Romney is.” Obama will win in November, Americans predict.

* 115 days ’til the Democratic National Convention ends with funeral baked meats on the floor of Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC. Because 115 has an odd number of 1s in its binary representation, it is sometimes called an “odious number.”

READERS: Again, here are the swing states: AZ, CO, FL, IA, MI, NV, NH, NM, NC, OH, PA, VA and WI. I’m very interested in any local or state links you can send me from those states; original reporting, not wire services stuff. Now I have help with CO thanks to MR, and Iowa thanks to TTH but there are more!

* * *

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Treaty of Wesphalia, Tattered and Dusty

At the start of the last century, the concept of the nation state was under assault primarily from the radical left. While the Great War was fought by nation states, their elites didn’t doubt the legitimacy of the concept — just the definition of boundaries — as they pursued imperialist policies. After the convulsions of the twentieth century the political center in the core countries was redefined and gave birth to many newly independent countries of varying cultural history and geostrategic importance. The new order required new mechanisms of influence and control. Today, the pressure on the nation state is coming consistently from the rising oligarchic reorganization of those same core societies and the return of more naked, atavistic imperial ambitions.

Why bother with a fig leaf abroad when your own population has become too disempowered and terrified at home to question your actions?

The need for a new system of thought regarding international regulation is one of the top 3 issues facing humanity. (the other 2 being climate change and the creation of a democratic and sustainable financial and economic order.)

This is about entertainment software, but it’s also about the creation of a new empire.

We have reached a point in Australia where citizens can be arrested and extradited to the United States based on information supplied by Australian spies for breaches of US law on Australian soil. Australia has effectively signed away its right to govern its own in matters of copyright infringement when those matters overlap the interests of the United States.

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Into the Weeds With Obama’s Chicago Friends

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There’s Something in the Air

Vibrant nightly protests over the past week in downtown Montréal, in solidarity with the Quebec student strike, are sparking global attention. As the Quebec-wide strike continues – it has now been going for over 11 weeks – a new energy is apparent in the city.

All across the city spotting thesymbolic red square patches is easy; on any city bus or métro car patches are proudly pinned on jackets or backpacks.

Despite repeated incidents of police brutality, strikingly hostile mainstream media coverage and a sustained refusal by the Quebec Liberal government to negotiate in good faith, popular support and energy toward the strike is growing. Beyond surveys, or poll numbers, the Quebec student strike is historic in nature, a sustained mass protest movement creating political space to debate not only rising tuition fees but also fundamental questions of social justice.

A clear shift is occurring on the streets, as protests are now expanding to highlight environmental justice and the growing economic inequities in Quebec at a time of austerity-driven economics.

More Here.

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Gold, a form of collateral that pays zero interest

The FT makes the case that gold is less and less different from zero-interest treasuries, and therefore an attractive form of collateral in the shadow banking system. If people think of gold as collateral, then the demand for it will likely continue to be substantial until debt to income ratios return to something realistic. (i.e. not for a long while).

The FT:   But what happens when the music stops and there are far fewer chairs than anyone expected…? (And when the probability of winding up with no chair next time round is much higher than originally expected?) In that scenario participants begin to “eye” their potential seats ever more closely. Anyone with a stake in the game might even choose to reserve a seat by paying off fellow participants.

That process of reserving a seat thus echoes the collateralisation that’s going on today. Collateralisation equals the location and identification of real-world assets against which existing financial claims can be satisfied. If there’s a lack of acceptable assets in the system versus outstanding claims — the stakes in the financial version of musical chairs rise significantly.

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It was a Gang of Five, not a Gang of Four.

I haven’t followed Chinese politics at all for years, but this story in the Guardian caught my eye, since I noticed that many in the West, including the redoubtable Nouriel Roubini, were speculating that the fall of Bo was of major policy significance. The Maoists seem destined to play the role of a grumpy rump group in Chinese society, but unlike Russia, there hasn’t been the kind of organizational rupture with the old ideology that has formalized this. It will be interesting to see when the current leadership of the CPC feels confident enough to dispense with the pretense.

Reminds me that Walden Bello once argued to me a decade ago that the Chinese development model was definitely not neoliberal like the rest of Asia. Say what?


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