Saturday, October 03, 2009


:: econovergence (day two) ::

Given the title of this event, you'd expect to find some economists in the line-up, and indeed we have a couple of those leading our teach-in, here on the third floor of First Unitarian Church. Mom is the next speaker in this room.

The economist we just heard, Tom Palley (EDOS), thinks the USG wasn't aggressive enough in the face of the implosion and that we'll be suffering some more shock waves. As a GST guy (general systems theory) I compete with some schools of thought, ally with others. The sun is what energizes the earth, not money -- let's at least be clear about that.

The other economist, Helen Scharber (PERI), persuaded us the renewable energy investments create more interesting work opportunities than just dumping funds into oil and gas. That seems likely.

The Chinese system is helping to keep the USA's afloat. That probably means we should be listening to Chinese economists a lot more?

Lindsey asked about what political climate would be required to motivate the kinds of policies our panel was advising. If there's another down turn, that's certainly not a guarantee of a more healthy political climate (on the contrary...). She also questioned the rather nationalistic analysis in terms of this or that government's policies -- spoken like a true Global U student eh?

Tag and I found each other at the Free Food exhibit, sponsored by Urban Gleaners, while Lindsey tanked up on vegetables. Tag knows a lot of people here, given lots of overlap with PSU and the student / activist community.

Leslie Hickcox phoned me with her congratulations on Day One of Quarterly, of which she managed to catch a part, in addition to making the Costco run more productive and enjoyable.

Speaking of congratulations, Don Wardwell has his boat back in the water. He and Barry have been working hard on hull restoration. He phoned from Island Cafe today, first time in awhile.

Mom's WILPF group began with a Raging Grannies number. Then she took us down memory lane, reminding us of Portland's resistance to the Pentagon's pet civil defense program (bomb shelters, duck & cover, other Atomic Cafe style nuclear madness). The article in question: Portland -- the City that Chose Sanity instead of Fear by Carol Urner, Fellowship of Reconciliation magazine, January, 1965, page 11.

Portland is now remembered for being a small bubble of sanity in an intellectually lazy Lower48 (not that different from now in some ways). She also mentioned Doug Strain and that Tektronix guy, and Senator Mark O. Hatfield (R), who helped keep Oregon from buying into the military-industrial complex.

This workshop may touch on how some of that self-discipline may be slipping. There's the new army trucks contract (Daimler), the drones by Boeing (cowardly killer or spy?). No mention of Evergreen though.

Barbara is going over the USG budget. 66.3% of the spending is towards mandatory items (vs. discretionary, the various entitlements and interest on the national debt).

The DoD budget runs around $533.7B, with $23.4B for DoE. $130B goes to discretionary occupations, sorry sad imperial crap, a lot of it highly questionable not to mention dishonorable. $9.66B for intelligence (so-called). Lots more numbers going by -- back to entitlements again (veterans, interest etc.).

We have brown envelopes to open with faux defense contracts enclosed. These states could've had a lot more health care and education if not blowing money on ill-advised, loser escapades in Iraq and Afghanistan. We get to affix these contracts to maps of Oregon and Washington at the front of the room.

Someone just handed me a leaflet about the Ralph Nader talk tomorrow. Portland is certainly a happening place this weekend.