Saturday, December 5, 2009

Watch This


Highly Recommended.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

World currency status or Immigration?

Why are our issues of national debate so far removed from anything crucial for the future of America? We should be debating the future of America's world currency status domestically. These types of decisions should not be made behind closed boardroom doors.

Economist warns of new bubbles
The dollar’s dominance is ‘pretty much over,’ but the euro will replace it, not the yuan, Chang said.

"Middle Eastern countries are planning to require oil buyers to pay in the euro instead of the dollar."

It that were true it would be an earth-shattering move.

Gaming the carbon market

Hope most predictions ofn the impacts of global warming are not conservative. Emission levels aren't likely to change anytime soon.

Evidence of serious flaws in the multi-billion dollar global market for carbon credits has been uncovered by a BBC World Service investigation.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Financial Statecraft-Government of the market, by the market, for the market

The bailout of Wall Street has been called socialism for the rich, but the reason finance has maintained it’s chosen status throughout this recession is not about propping up Capitalism. It is an indication of how the role of the financial sector today differs from the 1920’s. The financial sector has become a major sector of the economy and a major instrument for executing American foreign policy around the world.

In 1970 90% of international transactions were accounted for by trade, today 90% is from the purchase and sale of financial assets. More than $2 trillion in currency moves across borders every day, 90% of that is money not related to trade in goods or services.(Litan and Steil, pg. 3)

Since the 70's the financial sector has risen to account for 21% of the GDP.

The effectiveness of trade privelages, tariffs and trade sanctions has declined as instruments of foreign policy. Since the 1980’s increasingly we have relied on using capital flows, and underwriting debt to achieve our foreign policy objectives. It may be a reason the trade towers were a target in the attacks of September 11th. It is the reason we are not allowed to challenge free market notions in any real way in the marketplace of ideas, our democracy.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Clean War and Friendly Economic Fire

Clean Energy, Clean Jobs was the slogan of the Obama campaign, but having inherited a recession and two wars, dissolution of the auto industry, and a raging national healthcare debate it’s understandable clean energy hasn’t been a major issue at the national level.

The race to develop clean energy producing technologies to capture future profits in industries like photovoltaic cells, has been underway since their introduction.
The research and development of solar panels is now a major recipient of government investment in wealthy nations all over the world.

Recently Akeena Solar (AKNS) has broken a barrier with the production of a solar panel that can almost be simply plugged in and used out of the box, the Andalay AC Solar PV panel.

The company that manufactures components of the Andalay AC Solar PV Panel is Suntech America of San Francicso California which is actually a subsidiary of Suntech Power Holdings Co. of Wuxi, China.

Suntech Power Holdings Co. is planning to build plants in the US to bypass “protectionist legislation”. Currently, the top 3 suppliers of photovoltaic cells are First Solar of Tempe Arizona, Suntech Power Holdings Co. of China, and Q cells of Germany, and whatever nation gains a majority of the market as it develops ties their future to the worldwide growth of the solar panel industry.

Suntech Power Holdings Co. of Wuxi, China was actually the first privately-owned company from China to list on the NYSE.
They were also the first Chinese company to ring the remote
opening bell for the NYSE
from China and also plan to operate several 10 megawatt or larger projects in the US, in addition to distributing residential units, through a company named Gemini Solar Development.

Here is an excerpt from a recent article about Suntech headquarters in China, pictured above.

Their newly finished headquarters building features the world largest
solar façade, in Wuxi, China. Some 2,552 pieces of Light Thru solar modules
(poly silicon cells laminated in double-layer of tempered glass) cover an area
of 6,900sqm along two adjacent building fronts. With an additional 300kW rooftop
system to be installed on the building, the total solar energy installed will be
over 1MW, generating more than one million kWh of electricity per year. In
combination with other energy-saving technologies such as energy efficient
building materials and a water recycling system, 80% of power demand of the
building will be covered, reducing CO2 emission by 600 tons and eliminating the
use of 367 tons of standard coal per year.
The 18,000 square meter building features not only solar energy and energy
efficiency measures, the unique architectural design using the LightThru panels
also provides extensive natural lighting, creating a harmonious connection
between the people inside and the outside environment. Fish ponds, rocks, trees
and a balcony are incorporated into the interior of the building. The façade was
installed by Suntech`s engineering team.
For more information, please visit

This is the kind of project we can get behind as a nation even during a recession.

The Andalay AC Solar PV Panel was one of MSN’s most brilliant products of 2009. The distributor of the Andalay AC Solar PV Panel, Akeena Solar has been hit hard by the recession. We have bailed out banks to prop up the financial sector of the economy and given cash for clunkers like GM. All while proposing a cap and trade system to keep emitting the same CO2 levels as long as possible as “carbon offsets” can be bought for years with no actual reductions ever made. We are shooting our selves in the foot twice, by not being the leader in seriously altering our emission levels to facilitate the domestic development of clean energy technologies.

Will China take the lead as the world economic powerhouse because of the flaws of our democracy? As the authoritarian Chinese government quickly decides policy we scream at each other about healthcare.

China Racing Ahead of U.S. in the Drive to Go Solar

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Corporate Sponsored Environmentalism-Cap and Trade and the Green Police

President Obama is likely to make cap and trade a reality. The impacts will be felt not just in corporate boardrooms, it is not just a regulation system designed to hold corporations accountable for greenhouse emissions. It will also commodify carbon sinks, the earth’s natural resources containing carbon. Carbon in forests, or bogs and other greenhouse gases, like methane from cows, become “carbon credits” to be traded by industry to offset their emissions. In the debate so far not much has been said about what will be traded as carbon credits or why only the US is considering a cap and trade system to reduce greenhouse emissions.

The appeal of cap and trade is the government gives the right to emit certain levels of CO2 and corporations can choose to reduce emissions or to purchase “credits”, the right to trade the carbon in forests, etc to offset their emissions that are above the cap. This aspect of the carbon cap and trade system sets it apart from other cap and trade systems in the US like the Acid Rain Program run by the EPA to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions. In that system corporations have no option to buy sulfur dioxide sinks to offset emissions, they don’t exist, only from several methods to actually reduce emissions or use a larger portion of energy from renewable sources. Carbon is an exception as it is the building block of life as well as the CO2 in the atmosphere.
What this cap and trade system will do is create value in natural resources as carbon sinks, currently around $10 a ton. If cap and trade becomes reality you could sell the right to trade that $10 in carbon in the trees in your backyard just for letting them sit there. The real value comes not from the monetary value of the carbon sinks, but their inclusion on supranational conglomerates’ balance sheets in order to continue business as usual.

In anticipation of the arrival of cap and trade, companies like Chevron have bought up huge areas of Brazilian rainforest as “banks” of carbon credits. Actually the Nature Conservancy, America’s largest conservancy group, brokered the deal and had the SVPS, a Brazilian conservation group purchase and manage the land on their behalf. The only thing Chevron owns is the right to trade the carbon.
In the process the SVPS has created the Forca Verde, the Green Police, to patrol and protect the areas under its control. Rare species are returning and encroaching ranches and farms are being kept at bay. US corporations are funding an armed police force in the Brazilian countryside to protect a Brazilian rainforest from the poorest Brazilians so that Americans can gradually reduce the burning of coal to power our giant energystar refrigerators full of over processed food of which 30% will end up in the trash anyway. Not that it had much nutritional value to begin with.

If there is going to be a Green Police it should be here in America. Maybe it’s our destiny; maybe America’s future economic prosperity lies in becoming China or Brazil’s "carbon credits" with Chinese or Brazilian funded Green Police to help facilitate our efficiency.

Unless the global warming apocalypse comes first. Even in the face of global warming, freedom and environmental conservation need to be balanced, like freedom and security, or you end up with neither.

Our collective actions are equally as important environmentally as the means of production of supranational conglomerates, which we have no say in. Much of the impact of our collective actions could be mitigated if a Green Police rigorously monitored the latter. Information should be enough to alter the people’s behavior. An issue with urgency like global warming will be used by many people for gain and the the actual urgency of the problem should be considered carefully in proportion to the solutions proposed.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Hatoyama-Obama Update

The Hatoyama administration has said they don't have time to meet with Secretary of State Hilary Clinton this week.
It looks like the Japanese government feels it's not worthwhile to meet with the Obama administration if they haven't made a decision about whether to oppose a realignment of troops in Okinawa.

But they do have time to meet with several Southeast Asian nations, all neighbors of China.

And today, city officials from Dongguan China were in Tokyo courting direct foreign investment from executives at Japanese firms.