10 comments posted · 3 followers · following 7

608 weeks ago @ - The Obama-... · 0 replies · +1 points

Economy is sure not my strong suit but in order to attempt to grasp a better understanding, I thought I would share an article by Ellen Brown concerning sustainable government and ways to infuse funds back into our economy. Perhaps those of you who are more learned can point out the strong points and fallacies associated in the article.

1.Ellen first mentions the Federal Bank Option which would allow the government to set up it's own federally owned lenders. The Reconstruction Finance Corporation was used during Hoover and FDR's administrations to make loans to banks, railroads, farm mortgage associations, and other businesses. However, the RFC borrowed the money before lending it. Ellen suggests a debt-free alternative would be for the Federal Bank to issue the money as credit to avoid having to borrow.

2.Second is the State Bank Option where the states could set up state-owned lenders. This is a quote by Ellen on this option.
While states are waiting for the federal government to step in, they could charter their own state-owned banks that issue low-interest credit on the fractional reserve model. Article I, Section 10, of the Constitution says that states shall not “emit bills of credit,” which has been interpreted to mean they cannot issue their own paper currency. But there is no rule against a state owning or chartering a bank that issues ten times its deposit base in loans, using standard fractional reserve principles.

Ellen uses the Bank of North Dakota as the precedent for this option, as it's the nation's only state owned bank.

3.Lastly, the government could go the inflationary route and print money to be infused into the public by way of public projects. The author notes that if this option is used, inflation could be avoided if the money is used on productive endeavors that increase the supply of goods and services. Endeavors such as public transportation, low-cost housing, and alternative energy developments are examples that would create a rise in supply and demand without price inflation.

608 weeks ago @ - 21st Century Right to ... · 0 replies · +1 points

The thing is, it doesn't take PhotoShop or any media editing programs to attempt to create an alternate version of the facts. I witnessed it daily during the campaign, and it was done with words...nothing fancy, but still very hurtful. I've found that an active community of caring people can be very effective at moderating content. In the least, the group has the opportunity to discuss these issues if they arise. Of course, I suppose the transition team has moderators who could also aid in catching such things.

I would like to be introduced to the team's IT people. Have they been introduced? Did I miss it? I would love to hear them chime in on some of the questions I've seen asked.

I am closer to figuring out how to stay abreast of the changes in these comment threads. Replies to my comments are e-mailed to me for review and I have began using Intense Debate's site to follow certain people's are one of them Kimi. ;-)

608 weeks ago @ - 21st Century Right to ... · 3 replies · +1 points

Sure Kimi, here are the three main principles. Of course there are examples on their website but I don't want to just copy paste in in entirety. I've had some comments not make it and I thought maybe it was because they were too heavy in web links perhaps.

1.No Legal Barrier to Sharing

Content made publicly available in the course of this transition — such as President-elect Obama’s videos, or policy statements posted on the website — should be freely licensed so that citizens can share, excerpt, remix or otherwise redistribute this content without unnecessary complexity imposed by the law.

2.No Technological Barrier to Sharing

A merely legal freedom to share and remix, however, can be thwarted by technological constraints. Content made publicly available should also be freely accessible, not blocked by technological barriers. Citizens should be able to download transition-related content in a way that makes it simple to share, excerpt, remix, or redistribute. This is an essential digital freedom.

3.Free Competition

Governments should remain neutral in the marketplace of ideas. Transition-generated content should thus not be made publicly available in a way that unfairly benefits one commercial entity over another, or commercial entities over noncommercial entities.

608 weeks ago @ - 21st Century Right to ... · 5 replies · +1 points

Open-Government has a PDF entitled Principles for an Open Transition. It discusses the YouTube conflicts as well as eliminating other barriers to sharing while maintaining free competition in the marketplace of ideas.

We were all encouraged during the campaign by President-elect Obama’s commitment to open government — ideals that helped inspire a generation to act. His transition team has now taken an important step to making this commitment real.

That step deserves heartfelt praise. But without intending to minimize its significance, we offer here these additional principles as a practical way to make tangible the values President-elect Obama has spoken of so powerfully. We believe these values should guide every aspect of his transition, and the new government as well. We also believe they are consistent with the ideals President-elect Obama made so central to his campaign.

608 weeks ago @ - National Water Policy ... · 0 replies · +1 points

I agree with the report and the water issues are nearing an emergency status. I think the key word in the report is Stewardship. Ensuring our country and the rest of the world has access to safe drinking water is a necessity. Rachel Carson, who was instrumental in the creation of the EPA, once said...
In an age when man has forgotten his origins and is blind even to his most essential needs for survival, water has become the victim of his indifference.

Through our increased developments and consumption rates, we overtax nature's regeneration abilities. I would have liked the report to mention the emerging destructive trend of privitization of water resources. Out of all the corporate interests, the Vivendi conglomerate comes to mind. Clean, safe drinking water should be a human right, not a bottom line on some corporate structure's profit graph.

At the rate of our consumption, we are quickly reaching the point of peak water! Our global demand for fresh water is close to doubling every 20 years which is more than twice the rate of our global population growth. If this rate of rise continues at the current level, we will soon see water demands that require more than the earth has to offer. As I understand it, water usage can be broke down globally as 69% for agriculture, 23% for industry, and 8% for our domestic purposes. Just for an example from agricultural usage, since we invest more water in the production of crops...I understand it takes 1,000 tons of water to produce 1 ton of rice.

According to Bridget Scanlon, senior researcher and hydrogeologist at UT at Austin, irrigation has increased by 480% over the last 100 years, and is expected to increase by another 20% by 2030. Scanlon and her colleagues state that irrigation across the globe is responsible for 90% of our freshwater consumption. With the increased interest in ethanol, there is also concern of the amount of water that will be required to produce this alternative fuel. It takes 4 gallons of fresh water to produce 1 gallon of ethanol.

For some additional reference, a comprehensive assessment of water management can be found on the CGIAR website.

Thirst: Fighting the Corporate Theft of Our Water is a book and a documentary film that also helps shed some light on privitizing water.

We as citizens have a responsibility as well, and should be promoting alternatives such as greywater, rainwater, etc., and begin the transition away from bottled water.

608 weeks ago @ - 21st Century Right to ... · 0 replies · +2 points

Matthew, under 4D, YouTube does allow anyone to embed their player on different sites as long as it isn't a commercial site where they are being embedded. Unless of course the individual who uploaded the video has chosen to disable the embed function.

608 weeks ago @ - Building the community... · 0 replies · +1 points

I know the hierarchical model will has for centuries. Somehow I've been dreaming about seeing something new...a real change. If we are to utilize real participatory democracy, and actually take it as serious as we should, then there has to be some structure to facilitate transfer of information. Regardless the direction taken, the current model is in need of some order right now. Instead of the pyramidal model, how about we try something different. How about a model that places everybody on a horizontal plane rather than a "I'm above you and they are above me..." model? It would be much more egalitarian and sustainable in my opinion.

I'm not trying to push the wiki model, it's just that I have become more familiar with the wikiworld lately and can understand the premise behind the collaborative form of community. I think with the wiki, the process has to be broken down into multiple wikis, each focused on certain issues of the discussions taking place. Most of the issues that face us now, can and should be broke down into manageable focal groups. Citizens would then be free to contribute to any or all of the different focal groups, moving horizontally from one group to another and participating in drawing up the final document. Each group sets a time frame, and then go to work on reaching a consensus among the contributors. When each facet of the issue has it's decision, then the complete solution to the issue can be compiled and submitted to the team as our best effort from our point of view in the upper decks.

608 weeks ago @ - Building the community... · 0 replies · +1 points

Since I signed up with Intense Debates, it has kept all my posts on my user page there. It's good for reference, but you can't keep track of replies and there is not a link to the posts position in the thread.

608 weeks ago @ - Building the community... · 0 replies · +1 points

Will, your mention of implementing some way to choose a favorite (star), maybe something similar to the interface at Digg, or maybe even a wiki. This made me think of a few sites that believed the Internet would revolutionize democracy. Some are probably no longer available. I can remember only two right off... Wikocracy and Politicopia (Steve Urquhart). A unique experiment in citizen participation, and now we have been asked by our administration to help out and speak up!

I have utilized Digg quite often, but I've become somewhat comfortable with the wiki platform. Although reaching consensus on a particular issue can take some real debating. You give your best argument pro or con, and give the floor for others to argue their case for or against. Through this collaborative of the wiki model, the community of contributors learn to get over their obstacles, and move forward to a more sustainable model of democratic practices. I asked the question once, "What would politics look like if they were actually democratic and the people were able to discuss and decide which goals were the most important to society? And they were allowed an active voice in political directions and decisions?" Now I'm kind of numb, because it's actually happening!

608 weeks ago @ - Building the community... · 0 replies · +2 points

Agreed Chris! This transparency is a little strange to get accustomed to, but doesn't it feel good?

It gives me hope that a more pure form of democracy, a participatory democracy of the people may just be possible with the right people as our representatives. That is where my hope stems from...I think for the first time in a very long time, if not forever...we have the right people in place to transform our country into something special. A democracy of which the world will be envious!

I also would like to thank the team for the invitation to become involved in what I think is the most important step our country has ever taken towards transparency and accountability. I'm personally proud to be fortunate enough to witness this giant step. What a wonderful time to be alive!