Jon StewartSome interesting finds from the last week to ponder:

Saving the Land: John Taylor Gatto, who had the courage to challenge the entire process we call ‘formal education’, now lives simply in nature. He has learned that ‘improving’ the land is an oxymoron, and the foolish belief that we must develop the land and shelter ourselves from nature. This essay is a rallying call for us to get together and buy up undeveloped land with the specific objective of doing nothing with it. For once the last of wilderness is gone, he says, we will never know what we have lost. [Thanks to J.D. Hollis for the link]

Money to Make Your Own Living: Shannon Henry, writing in the Washington Post, reminds fledgling and prospective American entrepreneurs of the availability of federal government money through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBTT) programs. The multi-billion dollar annual allotment is awarded through ten federal agencies like the National Science Foundation. What’s best, big corporatist oligopolies don’t qualify for any of it, and neither do businesses that offshore any part of their operations, you keep control of your business and your intellectual property, and the advances (up to $100,000 for the investigation phase and $750,000 for the pre-launch phase) are outright grants, not loans. More info here and here. Like the undeveloped land that Gatto writes about, get it before Bush gives or takes it all away.

Flight from US Dollar Picks up Steam: Bloomberg reports that the Chinese are selling US dollars and may sever their currency (the yuan) from it, as the currency’s free-fall continues. The global community seems to have finally realized that the US trade deficit is unsustainable, and that the Bush debts have effectively bankrupted the country. The Euro has soared to $1.30 and the Canadian dollar has soared to $0.84, both up more than 30% in the last few months. This is despite the fact that Europe has stepped in to buy US dollars to try to stem the dollar’s fall, since the Euro’s relative surge is making it impossible for European companies to sell goods in America. And this is just the beginning. Get your money out of US dollar denominated investments while you can, and get ready for the next stage in the US economic collapse — an interest rate spike. Only one silver lining in this storm cloud — unpegging the yuan will make Chinese exports much more expensive, and hence stem the huge tide of offshoring by big American corporations, and the price advantage of shoddy Chinese imported crap.

UK Raises Alarm Bells on Global Warming: The UK government has been told by its most senior scientific advisors (unlike the Bush administration, Blair actually listens to scientists) that just one consequence of global warming — the melting of the arctic ice cap in this century — will inundate the world’s coastal cities and “redraw the map of the world”. Although Bush still plans to do nothing to deal with the issue, and in fact is planning to further relax or eliminate the environmental regulations that could at least slow it down, the rest of the world has now moved past the Kyoto Accord and realized that urgent, drastic, coordinated action is required to prevent catastrophe by 2100. The isolation of the US, and the recognition that the Bush administration, not terrorism, is the greatest threat to our planet today, are increasing.

Photo of Jon Stewart is by the late Richard Avedon, part of an unfinished collection on campaign 2004.

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  1. Another Dave says:

    Concerning the US Deficits and story writing, I want to point you to Ian Welch’s story fragments, telling about the adventures of John Q. Treasury. The author weaves real life events [like China’s vanishing reliance on the US Dollar] into a compelling narrative. I like how he manages to make activism look attractive rather than frustrating – he doesn’t describe an end time scenario of a financial collapse, but makes his protagonists care about that scenario without explicitly mentioning it. The story fragments I’ve found so far are:Tokyo New York– David M

  2. marty says:

    David – I see a lot of criticism about the Bush administration regarding the environment. Rightfully so. But waiting for the Bush admin to act on something that will diminish the role of fossil fuels is like asking the DeBeer family to give up the cartel on diamonds. The entire Bush empire is based on making money from oil. We all know that, so let’s move on and look for more productive ways of solving the crisis. A strategy based on putting enough global pressure on Bush so that he actually changes his mind and sells out his own family empire is a bad strategy. It might be a better strategy to target energy consumers and engergy companies themselves. Maybe some class action lawsuits against states buying power from fossil fuel sources (or other strategies that don’t involve Bush having to do something). I’d like to see your creative mind focused on what we CAN do given the circumstances. BTW, there could be 12 more years of Bush’s in the White House – George W was not the “annointed one” of the Bush sons. Jeb was. And he’s gearing up for a run in 2008.

  3. Rajiv says:

    Also India Extract:But senior officials say India ‘s reserves, which have almost tripled in the past three years, are more than enough to cover any exchange rate shock. In addition, India ‘s record foreign exchange reserves represent a large “opportunity cost” since most of the money is invested in low-yielding US Treasury bonds. “We are subsidizing the American economy,” said one official. “These are scarce resources that can be put to better use.”

  4. Dave Pollard says:

    David M.: Great links, and great speculation, thanks. I know some people in Argentina, and if the US becomes another Argentina, we’re going to have WW3 on our hands. Marty: You’re right, but finding a replacement for fossil fuels without a fundamental and broadly-supported (including government) restructuring of the economy is beyond reach, even with innovation. In fact as I’ve argued, the only alternative solution is a global depression — one hell of a lousy way to reduce demand. This is a serious addition we’re talking abour.Rajiv: Wow, I didn’t realize India was thinking of this. Doesn’t India have the most to lose from a collapse of the US dollar — and not just in lowered value of its reserves, but also in making its labour much more expensive for American offshorers?

  5. Rajiv says:

    Not really — India has been suffering from engineering salary inflation — Contrary to popular belief, India does not have a very large pool of engineers — It has a small pool of very good engineers. The new Indian Government and the Indian Government bureacracy knows it — the old Indian (right wing) government thought that the market will take care of everything, and market forces will cause “pigs to fly.”So India needed to do something, and something soon. Investment in Infrastructure, education and manufacturing is the best it can do currently — and that is what I think this means. Further, they did not see US as being a cost effective partner in this rebuilding effort.Further US was trying to put diplomatic screws to India to do its bidding, and this was a good form of retaliation — remember that they aren’t selling Euros — of which they have a sizable chunk.

  6. Dave Pollard says:

    Rajiv: I’m surprised the US has any leverage at all in India, after they have been so friendly with Pakistan’s dictator.

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