Friday, March 27, 2009

From Jenna Orkin:

Collapse of Socio-Capitalist Economic System
Former Treasury Secretary Writing About Meltdown
Comparing the US to Russia and Argentina
US Spy Chief: No Global Economic Recovery Yet
What would we do without spy chiefs?
New Reserve Currency Could Be Phased in Quickly: Stiglitz
Dr. Doom Predicts Some Big Banks Will Be Nationalized
JP Morgan Sues Former Washington Mutual Parent, FDIC
Berkshire Hathaway Rating Lowered
Simmons: Oil Shock Possibly In Three Months
Did Goldman Goose Oil?
Northern States Flooding May Cut Wheat Crop
President Signs Spending Bill Including $70 Million for 9/11 Health Care
I hope this will end up being better than nothing. Conversations with some Ground Zero workers leave a conflicted impression of the medical treatment at these facilities. There seems to be a one-size-fits-all dispensing of steroids for a broad spectrum of symptoms as well as an aversion to the more advanced techniques practised by specialists in environmental medicine.

While some of the results of "lobbying" and haranguing Congress for seven years have been positive (the $10 million cleanup of the schools of Ground Zero) others have been ambiguous. The 2002 "cleanup" of residences, for instance, was so antithetical to science as to lead some residents to say it exposed them to even more contamination than they'd already endured.

On a tangential note: A glance at the titles of nine recent scientific studies of the health effects of 9/11 reveals that all but two concern mental health, post traumatic stress, drinking, nightmares, etc.This is in keeping with the expectations of the cynics among us who have noted the desire on the part of TPTB to correlate physical symptoms with "psychiatric" ones. Thus if, after moving back downtown after 9/11, you suffered from PTSD and asthma, the latter was caused by the former. This "post hoc ergo propter hoc" thinking (after this, therefore because of this) is one of the many logical fallacies we've been fighting to little avail.- JO
Researchers Find Ways to Sniff Keystrokes from Thin Air
A New Generation of Farmers
Currency Collywobbles and Farming
Monsanto Sees Robust Demand Despite Recession

EU Risks Paralysis as Czech Collapse Snarls Treaty
Merkel Wants NATO To Focus on Russian Ties
Russia Says Won't Stand Still in Race for Arctic
Ukraine, Russia Should Build Mutually Beneficial Relations
Ukraine Opposes Deployment of Extra Submarines with Russia's Black Sea Fleet
Ukraine, Russia Discuss Cooperation in Aircraft Industry
IMF Will Increase Help to Serbia to 3 Billion Euros
Danish Farmers Hit Hard by Credit Crunch, Low Food Prices

1000 Police Sent to Calm Village Unrest: China
China Industrial Profits Fall First Time on Record
UN Body OKs Call to Curb Religious Criticism
Fear of Unrest Over Jobless Migrant Workers
Economic Downturn Weighs on Philippino Migrant Workers
Drop in Remittances Threatens Unrest in Philippines
New Zealand's Economy Probably Contracted Most in 18 Years


Sebastian Ronin said...

Hi, Jenna:

Is it possible for you to bump my most recent comment "Secessionist Update" from yesterday's comments into to-day's? My timing was a bit off on that...should've waited to see if you post to-day. TIA.

ecosutra said...

Okay everyone. What is your opinion on the Americorp?

Is it a communist conspiracy like the right wing thinks it is?

Or is it a new civilian draft for our permaculture visions?

Diaspora said...

There is an incredible piece in the Atlantic about America’s financial oligarchy, its path to power and corruption and how, if not stopped, will lead us to ruin very soon.

“The crash has laid bare many unpleasant truths about the United States. One of the most alarming, says a former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, is that the finance industry has effectively captured our government—a state of affairs that more typically describes emerging markets, and is at the center of many emerging-market crises. If the IMF’s staff could speak freely about the U.S., it would tell us what it tells all countries in this situation: recovery will fail unless we break the financial oligarchy that is blocking essential reform. And if we are to prevent a true depression, we’re running out of time.”
The Quiet Coup by Simon Johnson

LeoBro said...

Regarding yesterday's stories about the IMF and reserve currencies, and "Tim Geithner's Slip" - I usually keep up here pretty well, but I feel dumb on this one. Could someone please enlighten me on what Geithner's response might mean? Is he just clueless or might he be tipping his hat to something? If so, what? Thanks.

RayLeeUS said...

Interesting that Reuters misrepresented Simmons, stating that the Peak Oil theory forecasts "irreversible decline because oil industry infrastructure is getting too old." Gee, if we just had the infrastructure it wouldn't be a problem extracting all the oil that doesn't exist anymore. Just more market mollification, or setup for more government spending to "save" oil production (i.e. bailout some folks who haven't directly benefitted from all the latest trough-feeding).

sunrnr said...


The fellow from had a bit about profiling dangers when you are out there on the net looking.

The following is an excerpt from his site that explains the dangers ...

He's been experiencing more instances of tracking bots trying to be inserted on his system when clicking on links of interest.

Have you been experiencing any of this as you've been gathering the enormously valuable links you've been posting?

I've been wondering for sometime now how much of what we're seeing and reading on the net is inserted misinformation and how much is based in fact?

Will Big Brother ever get tired of watching and trying to lead us into the slaughter pen?


gamedog said...

ecosutra, re Americorp:

Germany under Hitler during hard economic times set up a volunteer neighborhood/community "Civilian National Security Forces" to protect the Homeland. Once established, the civilian force became a “neighbour” Political Enforcement Arm of the Nazi Government. And was subsequently run by the Gestapo.

It smacks of Hitler youth to a simple Limey. I wonder which camps those who refuse to serve would be sent.

It all looks very brainwashy, complete with a fist together "salute" only lacking the heels clicking together.

Whatever Permaculture or Transition Towns type solution is started at grass roots levels, could it easily be swept up and controlled by Americorp once the youth is indoctrinated and returns back with "new learnt" community values?

Frightening stuff IMO.

pstajk said...

Hey do any of you guys ever mosey over to ... what's everyone's take on those guys - just curious.

pstajk said...

Middle Agers Tryout for Teen Jobs

Steve Bentley's last stint in the lifeguard chair was more than two decades ago. But on Sunday, the out-of-work purchasing agent pounded sand alongside the usual gaggle of bronzed teenagers, taking the chilly seawater plunge for the annual Huntington Beach city lifeguard tryout.

In this down economy, 43-year-old Bentley could use the $16-an-hour job. And he's not alone.

Linda said...

We can produce all our own fuel without having to import another drop.

Brazil is doing it. So can we. It is a myth that if we convert to alcohol fuel, there won't be enough crops left over to feed everyone.

eyeballs said...


"I've been wondering for sometime now how much of what we're seeing and reading on the net is inserted misinformation and how much is based in fact?"

That's heavy. I've wondered that, too, as I surf around on pertinent topics. However, some rules of thumb occur to me.

When genuine information is posted, it is usually monitored for some time by the site owner. Old postings could theoretically be corrupted without the knowledge of the original poster. But at this point (who knows about later?) I think we'd be getting warning bells on that by angry site owners and misquoted personages. EFF is a good watchdog, I think (for no particular reason than that they and many others say they are).

Quotes attributed to people should include a citation, stating the original context in a way that is verifiable. The quote attributed to Stalin (to the effect that it's important who counts the votes, rather than who casts them) is unattributable but often posted. If you come by a quote that gives no context, one way to get the context is to plop a unique phrase from the quote into a search engine and then dig for a while. Then go to the original source if possible to verify that it's there.
Printed books by reputable publishers, available at the public library reference department, may help. If you dig and dig and can't get a verifiable context, drop that one in the "maybe" bin.

If something is attributed to Wall Street Journal or Washington Post, I currently trust the content once I read it on their site.

The flap about Bush having a hideaway in Paraguay enjoyed a rich life on the web, but I still have yet to find an English language confirmation that I can rely on. In many cases, we just have to consider the source, weigh the likelihood, and maybe admit that we really don't know.

There are a lot of sites claiming to be this or that and offering apparently credible "evidence". On the Pentagon attack ("no planes hoax") this page is very revealing:

Any researcher has to weigh sources against each other to form a hypothesis, which then needs to be verified. "Consider the source" is a good web rule. When you get a web page, cut the URL down to the home page and look at the organization posting it. Put that organization in a search engine and see what others say about it.

You can do that with authors of documents, too. Some will be revealed to have defense industry connections or they're working for organizations funded by big oil. If you have heavyweight international scientists being "debunked" by associate professors at Florida State, I'd go for the former on something like global warming.

Above all, we should take good care to maximize the likelihood that we are passing genuine information, checked carefully for facts and sources. If an editorial in the Times of India says Pakistan is about to implode, we should not pass this rumor on without noting the source, and if statistics of some kind are introduced, we should try to check them before passing on a big story. This is extra work for the poster, but saves a lot of confusion down the line.

Thank you for bringing this up. I feel epistemology (how we know that we know) is a key science for activism. If we think we know, but are wrong, we may waste a lot of energy. It's okay to not be sure. Holy cow, what a world.

Diaspora said...

Regulars to the FTW website will not be surprised by a story in the April edition of Forbes. It seems Goldman Sachs is playing the role of the butler again in another financial “who done it”. For more than a decade MCR has done a masterful job of peeling back the onion to reveal how Wall Street and the CIA are joined at the hip or should I say wallet.

I keep reviewing Mike’s presentation ‘911, Economic Collapse and 700 bill Bailout Exposed?” ( ) Seeing this will help many of the new contributors to this website understand the history and connections, some of which include that: Firm AB Brown was involved in insider trading connected to Sept 11th.
AB Brown is the firm that was headed until 1998 by AB “Buzzy” Krongard who became the executive director of the CIA.
6 out of 7 of the first deputy directors of intelligence came to the CIA from Wall St.
That the mission of the CIA is to control money and cash flow for the benefit, not for you and me but for the benefit of the Banks and the Stock brokerage houses and all of the interests that control US politics.

It is with this primer from MCR’s work you can now put the following puzzle pieces on the board. I would encourage you to go to Forbes website and examine the graphic titled ‘Road to Ruin’ and appreciate what Goldman was able to accomplish in a mere 8 months. Gee I wonder if that got any help in this heist from Washington?
Did Goldman Goose Oil?
How Goldman Sachs was at the center of the oil trading fiasco that bankrupted pipeline giant Semgroup.
“When oil prices spiked last summer to $147 a barrel, the biggest corporate casualty was oil pipeline giant Semgroup Holdings, a $14 billion (sales) private firm in Tulsa, Okla. It had racked up $2.4 billion in trading losses betting that oil prices would go down, including $290 million in accounts personally managed by then chief executive Thomas Kivisto. Its short positions amounted to the equivalent of 20% of the nation's crude oil inventories. With the credit crunch eliminating any hope of meeting a $500 million margin call, Semgroup filed for bankruptcy on July 22.
But now some of the people involved in cleaning up the financial mess are suggesting that Semgroup's collapse was more than just bad judgment and worse timing. There is evidence of a malevolent hand at work: oil price manipulation by traders orchestrating a short squeeze to push up the price of West Texas Intermediate crude to the point that it would generate fatal losses in Semgroup's accounts.
"What transpired at Semgroup was no less than a $500 billion fraud on the people of the world," says John Catsimatidis, the billionaire grocer turned oil refiner who is attempting to reorganize Semgroup in bankruptcy court. The $500 billion is how much the world would have overpaid for crude had a successful scam pushed up oil prices by $50 a barrel for 100 days.”

ecosutra said...

Gamedog. yes there is the potential for boot camp thinking taking control over the population. But if you do that, you are loosing the ethics of permaculture. The 2 ethics are people care and earth care. The future is about artistic theme camps. The military ROTC can have their permaculture boot camp, its not how my camp will roll.
The green energy new deal is being shouted on the streets of the G20 summit. I don't think people really understand the freedom associated with green energies. The manifesto is now on my site for everyone to see, its so awesome. Its from the Permaculture research institute. My new upgraded site is up, but the design course is not. Hold your boot straps. Maybe another 2 weeks.

It must be said that the voice in the room from the leaders of our movement all want and need to see a permaculture draft. We have to fast track engineers to build solar cells into silicaon wafers to consultants organizing the relocalization of our nation.The biggest problem we face in green energy is getting electricians educated and transitioned.

So I see Americorp as the new deal agency ready to distribute federal grant funds into "appropriate" projects lead by the army corp of engineers. That's the key in creating camps, energy technologies, or any project. It has to be appropriate technology making functional connections.

So that's why coal is loosing their battle, and so is Monsanto and so will the ROTC.

Hef Lee said...

I worked for an Americorps company in the Southwest, Southwest Conservation Corps. I was paid way under minimum wage, 260 a week working sometimes 12 hours on the clock, but really 16-18 hour days, cooking the provided unhealthy food, tuna, pb+j, lots of MSG. I'm 25 and they treated us like we were troubled teens, doing weird group exercises, giving warnings to people for using cell phones to call family during off hours. There was a weird fascist quality to it, lots of rules, no flexibility. I ended up getting fired for leaving to visit my mom for a weekend, when I returned they said I didn't get permission to leave, even though they walked me to the road to have her pick me up. And this was after I had let the whole 12 person crew stay at my house for two days! All the superiors were very dedicated. Believed in what they were doing. All we did is mark the continental divide trail away from where the actual divide is because BLM was in a hurry to finish the newly drawn trail. They fired one girl because she wasn't as able as some other people, not productive enough, even though as a team we did almost 3 times more work than we were contracted for in the allotted time. Crazy experience...

ecosutra said...

Hef Lee, that was great.

Uh Hey Americorp!!!

No one permaculture should look or be the same as another!

What a wild time and to be a part of this blog freaking rocks.

About Counterpunch, agenda it has one. Hate ISrael. Scapegoating his own imperial over consumption. BUt I had to get rough with Alex and tell him to focus. It seems to be working. HE is a Reagan economist. All his writers were on Reagans staff it seems. Pam Marteens rocks. Search "Beat the devil" The Nation and you will find Alexander Cockburn at his best. His battles with Christopher Hitchens are classics.

He has lost his touch. But I always want to see what he has to say. Always.

ecosutra said...

There is more than just Americorp getting into the consortium

I am feeling hopeful. Imagine if all these agencies show the Geoff Lawton design course. Its going to generate alot of resources. I might be hiring all of you.

tim said...

"the biggest problem we face in green energy is getting electricians educated and transitioned." The biggest problem with green energy is ROEI!!!(return on energy invested) Mike and others have written extensively on this. Training electricians is easy.