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George Victor

And if your farm friends can be hard on the wild innocents (I went through that stage), where are they in regard to tame innocents who want them onside but who talk in impracticalities about things political?

LeighT

in response to your #50, i got a sense of someone who had used Much different language earlier in the election,?then came up with this:

http://election.rabble.ca/post/54709661/war-of-positions

LeighT

and in regard to your #51, i think they are very open to dialogue.? you just gotta speak their language.? or put it in a country song ...think i said that about 4.5 months ago, on this website.? it got pooh-poohed, some people are more committed to 'their' music than they are to outreach and difficult translation work.

sometimes people have to make difficult choices -like standing in other's shoes vs. 'gotta be me', to reach goals.? i realize you know this, as do others, but not obviously enough people, yet.??though, i've been much heartened of late...

LeighT

it could actually be rather fun, if people were sincere and careful not to make fun...

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Quote:
Yep, those two paragraphs from "A Revolution in Spirit" about sum it, FM.

Yes, perhaps. But the author wants to save the "soul of capitalism" when capitalism has no soul. The point of my posting the artilcle is that even contributors to The Nation, that most lofty of alternative media, wish to save the devil - but make him less demonic. I would argue that we must come to recognize not only the need for eliminating the devil himself, but we must also come to terms with why we so badly wish to keep his company despite the cost to our own collective soul? (nevermind the one he doesn't possess).

LeighT

here's a question that might help dialogue with the?'out-there'?- how is 'capital' physically manifest, on the earth in visible reality???talking about those physical realities in the context of government and policy structures and financial instruments and players?may be more useful?than catch-all terms like 'capitalism'.

just a thought.

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Well, for me, I would like to return to surplus because surplus is the basis of human social hierarchy and capitalism. In the capitalist sciety, capitalists convert nature into things that are then sold to us. So we exhange our surplus, obtained through trading our labour, for bits and pieces of our dwindling land base. The capitalists take our surplus, in exhange for that which they took from the Earth (and in many cases which can't be returned), and add it to their own. They then recover from us that surplus paid to us in exchange for our labour but not redeemed for converted products of the Earth, through debt and taxes. So capital is physically manifest in terms of surplus currency. It is the measure of wealth in our society, In our society, for example, virgin forests are viewed as wasted or undeveloped. I recall reading a book where waters that manage to make it to Mexico are regarded by US ranchers as wasted. So what do we value?

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LeighT

so how about?focus on value?

George Victor

And the labour theory of value, at that, Leigh. Let's leave behind the esoterics of marginal value with its baggage of? superiority and? marketer's perspective on human nature.

When you say that "in our society" virgin forests are viewed as "wasted or undeveloped", surely you are talking about an earlier generation's sensibility, FM. Bush is a "Texax rancher." Such ideas do not go unchallenged, today in the blue states.? And the great hope is that large areas can be preserved for esthetic value. I would think that, like ivory, varieties of trees could be protected by regulation.

George Victor

Leigh:

"and in regard to your #51, i think they are very open to dialogue.? you just gotta speak their language.? or put it in a country song ...think i said that about 4.5 months ago, on this website.? it got pooh-poohed, some people are more committed to 'their' music than they are to outreach and difficult translation work."

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We do need more Willie Nelsons. Maybe just a little more particular about what they smoke!

And I have found people outraged by the language of Joe Bageant , gonzo journalist, describing redneck language and social positions in his Deerhunting With Jesus.? Yet it is a demographic in the lexicon of American politics known as "white Appalachia", and it has an identifiable ?beginning in "border Scots-Irish" immigration.

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Quote:
When you say that "in our society" virgin forests are viewed as "wasted or undeveloped", surely you are talking about an earlier generation's sensibility,

In present society. We do not put economic value on the environmental value of forests only on their econimic value as a resource commodity. You and I may do that, but we are a tiny minority. The general public may place an esoteric value on the enironmental value, but only up to the point of a pay cheque. The economic and political powers that be are not part of our minority and they perfectly understand the commitment of the latter to their esoteric values.

Quote:
so how about?focus on value?

Economic or social and why must they be mutually exclusive?

George Victor

We certainly differ on the size of the emerging sensibility, FM.

And I think the labour theory of value places proper value on an item from nature being re-worked by human labour. The forest is not commodified until it has been worked by the - in the future society envisioned by one K. Marx - person who is not just another commodity, objectified by capital.

It's always seemed to me a far, far better?goal ?than that haunt of St. Peter et al., and we seem to be approaching the point of environmental degradation that was missing as a?source of theoretical speculation?in earlier discussions?about ?the?future socialist society. In fact, it's still treated with deep suspicion in some quarters. lol

?

The dialectic at work demands change in that direction, FM. Too optimistic again?

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Quote:

We certainly differ on the size of the emerging sensibility, FM.

But then explain the tar sands. The Liberal leader, for example, knows quite well he can win support in the West by being a staunch defender of the tar sands, the strip mining of the boreal forests, without risking support elsewhere. All politicians know economy trumps ecology always.

?

Quote:
And I think the labour theory of value places proper value on an item from nature being re-worked by human labour.

Interestingly, that is the philosophical capitalist's viewpoint as well - that which is removed from nature and has labour added to it becomes private property. What about the value within nature? What about the loss to the commons?

When we speak of assigning economic value through labour, we begin by necessity to speak of private ownership. ?

To put it another way, to loggers and ranchers the Brazilian rain forests are a commodity that bring surplus wealth, but to the world, the forests are the lungs of the life-system upon which we all depend. Why shouldn't the status quo, whereby the financial interests of Brazilian rancers and loggers over our interests as citizens of the Earth, prevail?

?

George Victor

I don't believe we're the only ones noticing the effects, FM.

And, yes, the labour theory of value demands the presence of the non-alienated citizen to give another value to the forest - before it is cut down. The capitalist quantifies it standing, untouched.

Gotta turn in. Renew.

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George Victor

Reading in the rare-book library at U of T one day I came across something written by?a Thompson (forget his first name) a journalist in the nearly-new province of Ontario (1870s), ranting about the destruction of clearcutting and fires raging iacross entire townships in the province as our pioneer forbears got rid of trees to grow grain and prosper.

It was about the decade Arbour Day was born in the U.S. midwest, and before the turn of the century, the provincial gov't was paying farmers to plant maple trees along the roads. And the failure of much of the deforested land to remain productive has meant a return of tree growth to much of the area.

I know that we can't do anything about the Brazilian situation from here, although some controls are emerging.?

And I would not want to live?near B.C.s virgin forests( or northern Ontario where 150-year-old, 15 cm ?dia. black spruce are clearcut from vast areas? -??where the mills are still viable). But that's the situation now. The situation is evolving rapidly?toward the point where?half measures aren't acceptable. Period.

Back in Nov. 07 I looked for discussion in the thread reviewing Shock Doctrine. Our dependency on investments was under discussion:

"It is one helluva conundrum isn't it.
I've already lost a couple of friends by presenting it to them. They were rather dependent on their investments for the long haul, I guess. Who isn't though?

But that is the heart of the difficulty in getting off our market dependency, not just to slay the neo-con, Chicago School dragons that Naomi describes so well, but the problem of environmentally destructive growth. In economic terms, no growth means recession or depression.

Jimmy Carter had the answer back in 1979 - put our economy on a wartime footing. Wild Bill Clinton is perhaps ready to go that route, you never know. FDR had the late John Kenneth Galbraith introduce price controls even before the U.S. got into the act, back in 1940.

I would really like to know what folks out there in "Canuckistan" think about all this. Or are lifestyle-endangering considerations something for the Gods to handle, something beyond the logical outcome to infinite growth, as the neo-con today seems to assume?"

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Putting the economy on a wartime footing (and I can just remember ration books as a kid), a society can?accomplish whatever change is needed.? And in that society, there is no room for any greed whasoever.

It certainly isn't a popular topic for discussion. But, then, I haven't noticed you avoiding confronting it the past while, FM.? ?:-)??

"Soldier on", as me old mum would say.

LeighT

i'm hearing questions here as;

a)? how or?should we?'valuate' ecosystems, nature?

b) can the economy be shifted to restrain consumption?

c) how do we further motivate for the vast and critical eco/eco shifts?

on c) i'm reminded of those who call for the economy to be shifted (as in war time ie) fully focussed) to green production. people like at the Earth Policy Institute use the same 'war footing' analogy. unfortunately they consider the process to be a task primarily for the private sector, and i don't think they 'get' the realities of financialization, entirely, or the kind of implications of letting people like Jenszen stay in charge.? so there is an important level of communication needed on this, particularly with environmental groups.

on a), I think people are familiar with well-being indexes and the like.? This should be looked at more, as i think it provides opportunity for achieving progress on the issue without getting into the real problems of the uncontrolled financial markets.? If i have a chance i'll read bits of Marilyn Waring on this again to refresh my memory.? she seemed to have a more sound way of looking at the issue, without getting into $ signs, if i recall.? but i could be wrong.?

I'm really hesistant about the pricing game, as you know, even if non-profit, because of the way it will lock in the ecological elements to the control of financiers?given?their current lock on the?economy, via derivatives, other financial products,?and currency speculation.? This wasn't the case to the extent it is?now, when Waring first put forward her ideas.

The ecological element itself might not be directly in the traded markets, but financial products indirectly derived would be.? Maybe we can think more about this.? I realize there are many people who say that if you only price environmental services?high enough, then all will be?solved, but I think?it gives control to finance.

?Maybe after we knock the financiers down a few pegs, through actual public control of speculation (using various mechanisms) then?pricing can be?considered. until?then,?i think we have to focus on bans.?? i'm open to considering other interpretations, though.?

b) restraints on consumption i think are already a lived reality for?many, simply?because many can't afford much food, and certainly not luxuries.?? so you're really talking about restraints on what's left of the middle class.? we know the rich will get away with what they like in any case.

i think the key here is that the lower and middle classes are not?going to accept any further belt-tightening while it's still clear the financial sector is making off with the goods.

so these considerations do lead?to the importance of maybe keeping a tally on what real constraints on global finance are being proposed and implemented (or not), in various countries and forums.? maybe this should be a subject for another thread:

ie) Who is proposing what public financial a) controls b) ownership

or some such wording...

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LeighT

sorry, that should maybe be;

who is proposing what resident/taxpayer control or ownership of?finance?

LeighT

and, handily following up on the water concerns originally expressed in this thread, an article from today's news, the entire Trent Severn Waterway to benefit from a Harperite 'new water management model'.

"One of the largest undertakings will be the development of a new water management model for the entire 386- kilometre length of the system, which runs between Trenton on Lake Ontario and Port Severn on Georgian Bay.

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The funding will also allow upgrading stop logs at some of the waterways dams and mechanizing the dams at other locations along with replacing railings, painting and general maintenance. "

Jim Prentice also suggested future expansion of hydro facilities, the system currently has 18 hydro electric facilities along its route.

http://www.northumberlandtoday.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=1457248

some groups who sponsor rabble will remember my fears?expressed in past years about this precise scenario unfolding, regarding management shifting from Parks Canada to private interests.? (and the conservation authorities for some regions are similarly large, too unwieldy for?real local governance,?and tasked with watershed management?-?also ripe for private takeover.)? management means soft infrastructure, data, and what rights will global infrastructure giants have given current intellectual property and investment deals? not to speak of the hydro and dam infrastructure...

what a freaking mess.

can we get our acts together in time???

George Victor

"The ecological element itself might not be directly in the traded markets, but financial products indirectly derived would be.? Maybe we can think more about this.? I realize there are many people who say that if you only price environmental services?high enough, then all will be?solved, but I think?it gives control to finance. "

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Those "many people" tend to be the libertarians in charge of the Green Party, but that only further impoverishes the poor, and the wealthy happily pay up, while forcing marginal industry to go elsewhere. And the Greens vehicle of choice for change, The Market, ?has gone a very washed out shade of green itself these days.

"so these considerations do lead?to the importance of maybe keeping a tally on what real constraints on global finance are being proposed and implemented (or not), in various countries and forums.? maybe this should be a subject for another thread:

ie) Who is proposing what public financial a) controls b) ownership

or some such wording..."

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Agreed. About all we can do is display?the world's ?thinking and see if it generates interest (along with the expected heat).

Lead on, and make up such a thread, MacDuff (for we do go to war here).

George Victor

In fact( mentioning the Green Party) the ideologues over there must be in a catatonic state these days with the market gone poop. Small wonder we have heard nothing from them. Just imagine the musical chairs being played by Elizabeth and Jim's fund raisers.

George Victor

"can we get our acts together in time???"

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Can't see the private sector interested in anything but hydro. They've been planning a low-head project up around Lock 22-23 between Pbo and Lakefield for a few years. (I grew up swimmin' and fishin' along the Trent).

But moving social democracts to talk in terms of gov't?assisted projects like that (in addition to those natural gas monstrosities now about to be built to provide peak-load summer electricity)? might not fly when there does not seem to be anything in mind but energy conservation and "alternatives" .? God how I've come to hate that cop-out, solves everything?brand.

In the Feb. 25 G & M Law Page I read that a lawyer, Valerie Helbronner, says the provincial Green Ernergy Act will have to also mean gov't help for financing new projects - given scarcity of capital for big outlays...like "government-backed green energy bonds."? Or there won't be private investors (see? business.theglobeandmail.com/law/

LeighT

George, it's a larger discussion but you have to understand the physical geography and watershed flows, how flow 'transfers'?can be accomplished from the Hudson Bay Basin to the watershed systems, including the Great Lakes and western river systems, down south.

in earlier years, when i spent most of my time on email rather than websites,?i wrote up a bit on the Ogoki and Long Lac dams and canals, an example of key hydro systems which effectively divert waters which otherwise would have flowed to Hudson Bay, down to Lake Superior, to replenish the waters that flow out of the Great Lakes through hydro and canal systems all along the lakes, most notably the Chicago Diversion.?

The Chicago Diversion has been exempted from all legislation and regulation banning water diversion in recent years, as have many other diversions, via tiny twisted clauses hiding in benign language.

The scale of this problem is to the extent that even the IJC (Int'l Joint Commission) has found the diversionary flows into Lake Superior are not keeping up with the diversionary flows out of the Great Lakes.? They are able to ascertain this because, as public management currently is in place, they have data.? However, the IJC has been steadily replaced by corporatized players, and we are looking in the face of privatized water management under Harper.

So yes, they are after the energy, but the water itself?is needed for the nuke plants, and every other industrial function across the continent.? Whoever controls it, is in charge.

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i will start a new thread so we can track specifically proposals on finance control.

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LeighT

nb. the Chicago Diversion is a canal system that diverts vast amounts of water from the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River system.? it waters the US south.

LeighT

I have just seen the World Financial Crisis Redux thread, and perhaps it can be a place where actual implementation of financial controls is discussed.

perhaps this eco-eco thread could be left with more of an emphasis on how those controls?impact the ecological end?

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George Victor

Go for it. I'll look for WFCRedux thread...and try to keep up with your advanced H2O? concerns. The central Ontario Trent/Kawarthas system just barely flows by mid July, keeping those sewage system flows moving. I did some work sampling industrial effluent flows into the Otonabee that winter of 1970 with Pollution Probe (Ontario's first) , and we managed to get people concerned about coliform counts in the Kawartha Lakes the following summers.

Do you have anything about the volumes involved in the Chicago diversion (I recall something about it feeding the Fox River.)?

The idea of it watering the US south is a bit of a stretch? perhaps :-)?? , but I don't know volumes.

And I am concerned about diverting the James and Hudson Bay watercheds into Lake Superior. And folks should certainly be reminded of the Conservative itch to exploit it all.

Looking for the thread....

George Victor

Edited

LeighT

From the IJC:?

"The Chicago Diversion is the historical descendant of the Illinois & Michigan Canal, which was constructed in the mid-1800s to allow river transportation between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River...the amount of measured water that the state of Illinois can take directly from Lake Michigan is 2,568 cfs (73 cms)—3,200 cfs (91 cms)..."

http://www.ijc.org/rel/boards/cde/finalreport/diversions.html

That's cubic feet per second or cubic metres per second.? it's a big canal.

there are also other?diversions from the Great Lakes, obviously, it's not just Chicago, but that's the largest.? The main inflow diversion is Ogoki/Long Lac.? Sometimes it keeps up with the outflow, sometimes not, and the parametres have been hotly debated, as you can imagine.? If water management and data collection?gets privatized we haven't a leg to stand on in those debates.

George Victor

All I can remember reading in the popular press is about the amount of evaporation taking place in dry years as a major determinant in the health (flow and levels) of the Great Lakes. Most recently, there have been attempts to show that only ...is it 1 per cent ? ...of the lakes' water is being replaced, so we should not think of them as big, usable reservoirs.? A major point.

There tends not to be talk of the effect of the canal. And the huge fluctuations in levels of the lakes, particularly below Huron, are not apparently explained by a constant flow out to the old Miss. And then there's the states bordering the lakes on the south? with interests similar to our own.

What are?some other?"diversions" ?please...

And is the IJC being set aside by the member states...?

Please don't mind the questions...I am rather spongelike in this way...but will input from experience and recollection when possible.

(and just as an incidental, the 1885 death of 12 per cent of Chicago residents due to polluted drinking water I now see as a factor leading up to the 1886 Haymarket bombing and the framing of a pair of workers for the deed. ...reading from my past. History!)

thanks

i heard an interview with N. Stern this morning on CBC, and he was in conversation regarding the climate change and economic crises, and he mentioned the dot com bubble, then how the crash of that led to the housing bubble, but then he stopped short in his line of reasoning.? I'm hoping he came up against the inconsistency of his own line of argument.

it reminded me of the Janzen article at Harper's, noted in #16 above, and discussed a bit through #19.

the current economy is structured for further bubbles and crashes, so if we simply transition to a green economy without changing the structure, the green economy will crash too.? Stern's line of reasoning, if he had continued with it, would have led to this conclusion.

so let's continue this conversation here, if possible.

there is a UN conference coming up in June around the global economy. here's the link for the "UN Conference at the Highest Level on the World Financial and Economic Crisis and it's Impact on Development" http://www.un.org/ga/president/63/interactive/uneconference.shtml .

the G20 meeting did very little, and the global economy continues to tank, as does the climate, and humanitarianism.

so can we look at some of the options on the table at the UN June conference?? it may be that what is good for a truly strong economy, a healthy planet, and a different kind of 'growth', are one and the same.? i've not looked at the background papers at the UN link yet, but am hoping there are lines there that can be pulled out towards these ends. that we can highlight as useful, while clarifying directions that are not.

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