Explain how you would build the DOM in reverse order then, with the first element rendered at page bottom and working up (as is natural in chinese and several other asian languages). You can't.
Chinese read from bottom to top? That's news to me, I thought they read from top to bottom. There is a reason why they say, for example Hebrew pages, "do not screw with CSS to get the elements in the order you want". Instead they insist you use direction on your (logically-ordered!) DOM. The user agent sets the direction based on logical DOM order, not CSS. This is not something one should do with the presentational layer.
It seems Microsoft was ahead of the game when it came to CJK... but there's hope for the future.
How do you reset the cascade rules and start again? You don't.
If you are trying to solve a problem, then you'll have to first state why it is a problem. http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/fog0000000037.html
I don't fight the cascade. I use to to let me stay a lazy coder. If you don't want rules on something, don't set them on them. It's like
How do you reset the properties of an object who's inheriting from a class?
Why is that object built from that class then? But that aside, sure, you can individually revoke every single style if you want. I did it once when making a fun site for IE6 users versus everyone else. BUT, if you have to do that in real websites, you're writing it wrong.
How do you put a watermark at .05 opacity in the foreground of the page?
A watermark covering a web page? Seriously?
Layers can be locked off from the user so that they don't affect the user's ability to touch the other elements. The example I gave was animated snow falling in front of everything on the page - but you could also have smoked glass in front of the page as long as it's subtle. This is downright not possible in current CSS.
Smoke, a cloud, a sheet, fairies... I think you're daft if you expect human beings to read through that. Again, I'm assuming this is for web pages, which are text, and not a game or Flash App (catch the monkey in the fog with your mouse kinda thing). You expect me to fill out an insurance form looking through fog? I'm already lost at the legal jargon.
What I'm trying to see is why it's a good idea to have "stuff" in front of a web page. How does something visually in front of any text (you do put text on web pages right?) NOT get in the way of someone reading it? If you put snow or fog or some other stuff in front of my text I sure as heck am not going to be all like "but it's cool because I can still select the text and type into the forms!" because no, that's not cool. It means I need a screen reader to access your page. It may be a technological "problem" of CSS, but it's one nobody in their right minds wants to "fix". I've heard the Japanese were working on a Smell-O-Vision for web sites though.
Layers are able to have rules that would adversely affect the layout of the rest of the page - having a layer render it's elements starting from the bottom of the viewport and working up for example, or if you are doing a timeline page having a set of elements that render from left to right.
Explain to me how I can't have things go from left to right?? I need some new technology to do this? Certainly if I have something I've built "near the top", moving it to start from the viewport bottom on up would be... disasterous. If you want to hide something, use display: none. If you just want the page jumbled and unreadable, remove the doctype and re-feed the code through Sea-Monkey WYSIWYG.
However you might be interested in something coming up in CSS3: so far it's called "flex-box" and basically your container is "box" and you can then just say what the children have to do (no floats, no other funky display states, just stuff like orientation and direction and whether they fill remaining space or not etc).
So this is some sort of CSS version of... iframes? iframes without the frames?
If you built a system the way you're describing and then got one browser on one OS to work with one common type of Accessibility Technology, hell you'd win a prize for... something. One with money. Because it would be such an awesome feat of engineering that the browser vendors and the AT people would bow down at your feet and wash them with their tears and dry them with their hair.
Ok maybe I exaggerate a little. I either am missing what you mean, or it's something that one would never want to add to web sites (maybe when we get into the whole 3-d stuff like I saw in Iron Man 2 the other day... I imagine the accessibility for that stuff will be wildly different from what we have today anyway... and by then, they won't be "web sites").