September 25, 2008 archive

the practical art of the future: toward post-capitalist environmental design (rewritten!)

Now that the “bailout bill” has been labeled a fait accompli, it should be time for us (at least those of us who live in “safe states,” where  none of our screaming and shouting will affect the electoral count) to consider the possible invention of the practical art of the future: post-capitalist environmental design.  

The point of such a concept of design will be, among other things, to overcome the “merely reactive” nature of environmental/ Left alternatives to the status quo by suggesting that our efforts contribute to more than just efforts to mitigate the damage done by right-wing rule under capitalist conditions.  We do, indeed, have an alternative vision of the world: and this is a beginning discussion of its technics.

(crossposted to Big Orange)

Chinese Economy in Tectonic Shift

Relatively unnoticed in the MSM has been a sudden, even startling, turnaround in Chinese economic strategy in recent days. The Chinese are making it clear that they must move toward satisfying their domestic market and away from their export-driven growth model.

Here is the op-ed piece in yesterday’s People’s Daily. Note especially the last two paragraphs of the article:

Owing to the sluggish global market, more input in China’s domestic production will also give rise to the glut of goods. Therefore, in order to enable the expanded domestic demand to achieve an anticipated result, it is essential and imperative to input more in such fields as social security, medicare and health work, and education.

In other words, the main purpose of imput is definitely not to turn out more goods or to build more high-rises or skyscrapers, but to bring about more and more consumers with substantial financial strength, so that ordinary citizens in the country are better able to resist and defend against risks. Such an imput will eventually effect the long-term benign growth of Chinese economy, and China will be capable of making even greater contributions to the development of the entire world.

The Chinese Government has also directed Chinese banks not to lend to U.S. financial institutions during this ongoing financial crisis.

The Chinese see that the financial crisis in the U.S. will spread and will make their heavily export-driven growth model unsustainable. Logically enough, they are planning to move quickly toward satisfying their own domestic demand, especially for services and for a better quality of life.

The Chinese must also be having their doubts about investing in distressed U.S. companies or showing up with open checkbook at coming U.S. T-bill auctions. The prospect of an accelerating decline in the U.S. dollar will impel them to look for better places to distribute portions of their Sovereign Wealth Fund or surprlus Yuan.

More below the break….

Four at Four

  1. The NY Times reports Lawmakers agree on outline of bailout. Details are yet sketchy and the Republicans seem to be planning on letting only the Democrats support the bailout, setting them up for election disaster. Despite this:

    Lawmakers in both parties said that few substantive differences and no major obstacles remained. They said the bill would authorize the full $700 billion requested by… Bush, but that Congress was intent on disbursing the money in installments.

    One plan under consideration would release $250 billion immediately, with another $100 billion available at the discretion of the president.

    They also said that there would be limits on pay packages for executives whose firms seek assistance from the government and a mechanism for the government to be given an equity stake in some firms so that taxpayers have a chance to profit if the companies prosper in the months and years ahead.

    The Hill reports the House Republicans claiming They have leverage on bailout. “Republicans in the lower chamber are balking at the bailout package, saying that Democrats will be solely responsible for the ramifications of what they see as a flawed compromise.” House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) “made it clear that… House Republicans would not be a part of” the bailout since it does not deregulate Wall Street nor provide capital gains tax cuts.

    The Washington Post quotes Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, saying that “the negotiators were ‘able to accommodate the bulk’ of Democratic concerns about the plan ‘in very responsible ways’ and that “we are on track, I believe, to pass this.'”

    Frank said lawmakers “are responding, I think, to the central thrust” of the administration’s $700 billion bailout request “but adding collectively a number of things that will make people legitimately feel better about the overall vote.” Noting that some lawmakers have been invited to a meeting at the White House today “to try to break a deadlock,” Frank said he was “glad that we’ll be able to go and tell them that there’s not much of a deadlock to break.”

    This bailout has the hallmarks of a Democratic election loser.

Four at Four continues with Pakistan and U.S. troops fighting each other on the border, Afghans growing nostalgic for Taliban rule, Republican efforts in election fraud, and a bonus story about the nation’s first CO2 pollution permit auction.

Two Scenarios

We are on a cusp. The decisions we make, the scenarios we choose in the immediate future lead to two very different worlds.

Of course every decision made leads to a different future. But at a cusp such as the one we are at or on now, the choices lead to starkly different futures, starkly different scenarios. Not just for Americans, but for the entire world and for the human race. Nearly every, if not every, aspect of importance to the way the world is run is hanging on this cusp: The American and world economy, the way America and the world uses military force, human rights, the way the worlds remaining resources are used and distributed, and of course the big one, Climate Change.


Turtle Women Rising – October 10-13

Native American veteran Eli Painted Crow is leading this drumming event for peace in Washington DC.

Please do what you can to support this event.

I, the carrier of the spirit of Randgríðr, the White Shield, Handmaiden of Freyja Vanadis

will be attending and lending all the energy toward this working that I can.

If you want to save our nation and our world – join in as you can.

Ecuador Voting On Legal Rights For Trees, Air & Water!

Cross-posted at The Environmentalist (published at Reuters via The Environmentalist) and Daily Kos.

Next week Ecuador votes on providing constitutional rights to rivers, tropical forests, islands and air.  Polls now show that 56% support and only 23% oppose a bill of rights for nature, similar to legal rights provided to people. This bill of rights would change the legal status of natural resources from property to a “right-bearing entity.”

Ecuador is taking this approach to protect its people from the health care problems caused by pollution when multinational corporations swoop into their country to grab their natural resources, leaving behind damaged and polluted environments for the country to clean-up. This approach would also expedite lawsuits to protect both the environment and people while obtaining damages to pay for clean-ups.  

The Next Financial Mess!!

Dealing in Debt!!

Everyone, almost, is in a complete Rage at what is happening, and has been allowed to happen by not only soft regulation but the ease on any regulation in the Banking Industry, Morgage Industry, Wall Street, and in a Rage you should be.

But want a better picture of the who got us here any why, leave your computer and go to the nearest mirror and take a Good Hard Long Look at the reflection coming back, Yep Folks, it’s most of you, and the rest of the shit hasn’t yet hit the fan, but it’s quickly coming!

Remember the clowns you hire to represent you in Washington, and local and state, are your clowns, you pay them.

The State Of The Empire

Historian Gareth Porter and Real News CEO Paul Jay discuss the state of the US and the world, the Bush doctrine, and Bush’s “war on terror”, near the too long awaited end of the disastrous Bush presidency.

Talking us through the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, though relations with Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, the Iranian view of the larger picture of the Middle East, through the entire simple minded good versus evil worldview of the worst US president in history, Jay concludes the interview with the question: “Maybe someone should ask the empire: Empire, are you better off than you were eight years ago or not?” as the setup for the next in this series.

September 25, 2008 – 8 min 8 sec

Gareth Porter: The US and the world near the end of the Bush administration

Open Thread


Contintental breakfast: coffee and thread.

Docudharma Times Thursday September 25

Taking His Ball And Going Home

To One Of His Eight Houses

John McCain Decides He Wants To

Help Wreck The Economy More

How Lucky For You

Thursday’s Headlines:

Election officials in three states tell college students they can’t vote

 Surge in support for far right ahead of poll reflects centre-left crisis across EU

Yves Rossy attempts to become first human jet to cross the Channel

Sexual cleansing in Iraq

Quartet ‘creating power vacuum’ in Middle East

Thai premier Samak Sundaravej sentenced to jail

Little succor for Burma’s refugees

Persistent corruption threatens Liberian stability

South Africa set for new leader

Bolivian president reassures foreign investors

President Issues Warning to Americans  


Published: September 24, 2008  

WASHINGTON – President Bush appealed to the nation Wednesday night to support a $700 billion plan to avert a widespread financial meltdown, and signaled that he is willing to accept tougher controls over how the money is spent.

As Democrats and the administration negotiated details of the package late into the night, the presidential candidates of both major parties planned to meet Mr. Bush at the White House on Thursday, along with leaders of Congress. The president said he hoped the session would “speed our discussions toward a bipartisan bill.”

Mr. Bush used a prime-time address to warn Americans that “a long and painful recession” could occur if Congress does not act quickly.

Iraqi Red Crescent Paralyzed by Allegations

By Amit R. Paley and Ernesto Londoño

Washington Post Foreign Service

Thursday, September 25, 2008; Page A01

BAGHDAD — The Iraqi Red Crescent, the country’s leading humanitarian organization, has been crippled by allegations of embezzlement and mismanagement, including what Iraqi officials call the inappropriate expenditure of more than $1 million on Washington lobbying firms in an unsuccessful effort to win U.S. funding.

The group’s former president, Said I. Hakki, an Iraqi American urologist recruited by Bush administration officials to resuscitate Iraq’s health-care system, left the country this summer after the issuance of arrest warrants for him and his deputies. He and his aides deny the allegations and call them politically motivated.



Ole Miss hopes presidential debate will spotlight campus progress

 The university has the opportunity to show, once and for all, that it has moved beyond its old, infamous and self-destructive reputation as a bastion of white supremacy.

By Richard Fausset, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer  

OXFORD, MISS. — For the University of Mississippi, Friday’s debate is about more than presidential politics: Officials hope it also helps combat what may be one of the most enduring public relations problems in American higher education.

They know that for many Americans, Ole Miss means little more than the deadly 1962 riot sparked by the matriculation of the first black student, James Meredith, and the 1990s-era controversy over the display of the Confederate flag at football games.

But if the debate goes off as planned, it will provide the 160-year-old school with the opportunity to show, once and for all, that it has moved beyond its old, infamous and self-destructive reputation as a bastion of white supremacy.

First, of course, the school will have to wait and see if the debate takes place. On Wednesday, Republican presidential nominee John McCain said he would not participate unless Congress approved a bailout package for Wall Street by Friday. The Commission on Presidential Debates said in a statement that it was “moving forward with its plan” for the debate. School officials said they were still prepared to host candidates McCain and Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential nominee.

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

A Transition through Poetry XVI

Art Link


Is There a Place for Me?

Is there a place for me

Among the beings of light?

Or must I grow like a fungus

Alone in the musty dark?

Am I like a wildflower

Providing beauty in the wilderness?

Or am I like a weed

That needs to be removed from a lawn?

Can I find someone

Who will love me as I am?

Or am I to be doomed

To a life of loneliness?

Is there a place for me

Where I can thrive and provide beauty?

Or am I forever condemned

To the dark ugliness of society’s cellar?

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–July, 1993

Condi Rice admits White House officials planned torture

For the first time, a senior Bush administration official has admitted to discussing the use of torture by the CIA.

In a written statement to the Senate Armed Services Committee, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice acknowledged that in 2002 and 2003, she and other high-ranking White House officials discussed the use of torture, including waterboarding, and other coercive methods.

Rice’s and her legal council’s statements were released by Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), the committee’s chairman. No specific dates were given.

At the time of the White House torture planing meetings, Rice was George W. Bush’s National Security Advisor. According to the Los Angeles Times, Rice admits Bush officials held White House talks on CIA interrogations, she and other White House officials “discussed simulated torture techniques that elite U.S. soldiers were subjected to as part of a survival training program”.  

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