REAL Democracy History Calendar: September 26 – October 2

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https://realdemocracyhistorycalendar.wordpress.com/2016/09/26/real-democracy-history-calendar-september-26-october-2/

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Cage Payday loan sharks

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You’ve seen them I’m sure. Storefronts in largely low-income neighborhoods with flashing signs saying get quick cash or something similar. They’re companies that provide a one-time “quick fix” consumer loan to those short on cash. They’re called Payday lenders and they often are the only financial entities around in otherwise financial deserts of inner cities.  Because of this monopoly, they exploit low-income borrowers and manipulate the law. Call them loan sharks.

One of the big problems with Payday lending corporations is that they’re not required to determine whether borrowers can actually afford the loan.  Most of the time, they can’t. There’s no credit check. Seventy percent of Payday borrowers end up taking out a second loan. About 20% of borrowers end up taking out ten or more loans — caught in a debt trap and racking up interest and fees on top of each other. Annual percentage rates (or APR’s) can end up over 300%. This is a major scam.

The Ohio Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) issued a report this week, which analyzed close to 10,000 recent complaints made to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the federal agency responsible for regulating Payday lending corporations.

The PIRG researchers found that 91 percent complaints involved aggressive debt-collection practices, bank account closures, and/or long-term cycles of debt.

The PIRG report also found that about 15 corporations accounted for more than half the complaints. The biggest offenders are doing business under the names of CashNetUSA, NetCredit, Check ‘n Go, and ACE Cash Express.

Ohio voters approved tougher standards for payday lending in 2008, but the Payday loan shark corporations used loopholes to work around them. They still do.

There are proposed rules being considered by the CFPB that would require Payday lenders to determine if borrowers can afford the loan. The CFPB needs to hear from us. The deadline for comments is October 7. Now is the time to act to stop the targeting of low income communities and communities of color. The current head of the CFPB is Richard Cordray, former Ohio Attorney General.

The Payday corporate crowd is doing all they can lobby-wise to keep their exploitative scam of low-income people going. It’s up to us to make sure the CFPB hears loud and clear that we need to stop the exploitative debt trap once and for all.

Go to http://stopthedebttrapohio.com and weigh in. Sign your name as an Ohioan. And spread the word.

MONETARY HISTORY CALENDAR September 25 – October 1

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SEPTEMBER 25

1913 – STATEMENT OF T. CUSHING DANIEL, US LEADING MONETARY SCHOLAR BEFORE SENATE BANKING AND CURRENCY COMMITTEE
“[I]t should be borned in mind that the value of the American dollar does not depend upon bankers or gold, but upon the National wealth of the United States created by the people.”

SEPTEMBER 26

1939 – DEATH OF ALFRED OWEN CROSIER, PROMINENT OHIO ATTORNEY AND AUTHOR
Crosier wrote widely against the power and influence held by Wall Street Bankers. Crozier wrote eight books, including The Magnet and U.S. Money vs. Corporation Currency, which warned the country of the replacement of the country’s currency by notes printed by private banking corporations. A wonderful display of political cartoons from his book, U.S. Money vs. Corporations Currency is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4qQ59w4ML4

1942 – STATEMENT OF REVERENT WILLIAM TEMPLE, ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY, CALLING FOR THE NATIONALIZATION OF THE BANK OF ENGLAND
“The private issue of new credit should be regarded in the modern world in just the same way in which the private minting of money was regarded in earlier times. The banks should be limited in their lending power to the amount deposited by their clients, while the issue of newer credit should be the function of public authority. This is not in any way to censure the banks or bankers…But the system has become anomalous, and, so often happens when anomaly has persisted through a long period of time, the result is to make into the master what ought to be the servant.”
Temple’s advocacy for banks being “limited in their lending power to the amount deposited by their clients” was for the ending of “fractional reserve banking” – the common practice of financial institutions providing loans in amounts many times in excess of the actual amount held by them. This feature is one of the major components of HR 2990, The National Emergency Employment Defense Act.

SEPTEMBER 27

2014 – ARTICLE, “‘NATIONALIZE THE FED,’ SAYS MONETARY EXPERT'” BY KEITH JOHNSON
“Few would deny that predatory bankers have been feeding off the blood and treasure of the American people for far too long. So what’s being done about it? Though many have stepped forward proposing ways to break free from this century-old system of debt slavery, perhaps no one has worked harder or come closer to an infallible escape plan than Stephen Zarlenga of the American Monetary Institute (AMI).  “Congress already had the solution hand delivered to them a few years ago,” he replied. “Our work now is getting them to put it into action…
“According to Zarlenga, the solution he has helped champion can be found in the text of the National Emergency Employment Defense Act (NEED), a bill that was introduced by former Representative Dennis John Kucinich (D-Ohio) in 2011.
“’All the components for monetary reform can be found in that bill,’ Zarlenga said. ‘It essentially accomplishes three things: nationalizes the Federal Reserve, prohibits banks from deciding what we use for money and returns that power to Congress, which creates new U.S. money and spends it into circulation for the common good: infrastructure, health care and education.'”

“Nationalize the Fed,” says Monetary Expert

SEPTEMBER 28

2008 – BANK BAILOUT BILL ANNOUNCED, FAILS NEXT DAY
The financial industry imploded in 2007 and 2008. The causes were primarily banking corporations engaging in incredibly risky loans (i.e. subprime mortgages) and too much leverage (loaning out many more times than actual assets – in some cases 30 times – called “fractional reserve” lending).
The response was a call to bail out the largest financial corporations that had the greatest amount of toxic assets (called “zombie” banks). U.S. Senate and House leaders, along with Treasury Secretary Paulson, announced a tentative deal on this day to bail out banking corporations by allowing the government to purchase up to $700 billion toxic mortgage backed securities in an effort to stabilize the banks and the financial markets.  The 3-page proposal outraged the public who rightly thought it was a blank check bailout. Calls to Congress numbered more than 10:1 against the bill. Congress voted the bill down the next day.

SEPTEMBER 29

1897 – BIRTH OF GRAHAM TOWERS, GOVERNOR OF THE CENTRAL BANK OF CANADA, 1934-1955
In testimony in 1939 before a Standing Committee on Banking and Commerce of the Canadian Parliament when asked whether banks create money, he stated: “That is right. That is what they are for… That is the Banking business; just in the same way that a steel plant makes steel…The manufacturing process consists of making a pen-and-ink or typewriter entry on a card in a book. That is all…Each and every time a bank makes a loan (or purchases securities), new bank credit is created — new deposits — brand new money…As loans are debts, then under the present system all money is debt.”

1993 – LOBBY DAY ON MONETARY REFORM
Over 1000 people traveled to Washington D.C. and hand delivered petitions to the U.S. Congress calling for monetary reform. One of the authors of the measure was Byron Dale. Concerning debt, he stated: “Nobody can borrow themselves out of debt no more than you can drink yourself sober.”

1994 – CONGRESS PASSES RIEGLE ACT
The Riegle-Neal Interstate Banking and Branching Efficiency Act [IBBEA] amended the laws governing federally chartered banks. A provision of the Act officially ended the issuance of Greenbacks (US debt free currency first issued during the Civil War). “The [Treasury] Secretary shall not be required to reissue United State currency notes upon redemption.”

2008 – U.S. STOCK MARKET CRASH
The Dow Jones plummeted by 778 points, its largest one-day drop in the history of the New York Stock Exchange. The short-term cause of the crash was the congressional vote against the black check bank bailout. More fundamentally, it was result of the bursting of a massive housing “bubble” caused by financial institutions engaged in highly risky mortgages and other bizarre risky investments and fractional reserve lending. The elimination on controls of the financial industry a decade earlier opened the door, but was not the root cause, of the crash that has come to be known as the Great Recession. The root cause of the 2008 crash, similar to all other bursts of financial bubbles before it, was the ability of banks to issue money out of thin air as debt (loans) many times in excess of their assets. The smaller the asset base, the greater the risk that banks will go bankrupt when their loans cannot be repaid or other investments go bad.

SEPTEMBER 30

1941 – STATEMENT BY MARINER ECCLES, CHAIR OF THE FEDERAL RESERVE
Statement before the House Committee on Banking and Currency:
“That is what our money system is. If there were no debts in our money system, there wouldn’t be any money.”

OCTOBER 1

1525 – FIRST WESTERNER, PORTUGESE EXPLORER DIOGA DE ROCHA, ARRIVES IN YAP
The people on the island of Yap in the Carolina Islands have for centuries used large, solid stone wheels as currency. The modern “civilized” world uses in a similar way gold or silver mined from the ground. The Yap money supply is the most stable in the world. It is controlled by the people and not by banking corporations.

1936 – DEATH OF LOUIS MCFADDEN (R- PA), CHAIRMAN OF THE US HOUSE BANKING AND CURRENCY COMMITTEE
“We have in this country one of the most corrupt institutions the world has ever known.  I refer to the Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Reserve Banks.  Some people think the Federal Reserve Banks are U.S. government institutions.  They are private credit monopolies; domestic swindlers, rich and predatory money lenders which prey upon the people the United States for the benefit of themselves and their foreign customers…The truth is the Federal Reserve Board has usurped the Government of the United States by the arrogant credit monopoly which operates the Federal Reserve Board.”

2009 – RELEASE OF THE FILM, “THE SECRET OF OZ”
“What’s going on with the world’s economy? Foreclosures are everywhere, unemployment is skyrocketing – and this may only be the beginning. Could it be that solutions to the world’s economic problems could have been embedded in the most beloved children’s story of all time, “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”? The yellow brick road (the gold standard), the emerald city of Oz (greenback money), even Dorothy’s silver slippers (changed to ruby slippers for the movie version) were powerful symbols of author L. Frank Baum’s belief that the people – not the big banks — should control the quantity of a nation’s money.” Written by Bill Still.

2014 – NATIONAL DAY IN CHINA
The day commemorates the founding of the People’s Republic of China on October 1, 2014. The first paper money appeared in China about 806 AD.

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Why this calendar? Many people have questions about the root causes of our economic problems. Some questions involve money, banks and debt. How is money created? Why do banks control its quantity? How has the money system been used to liberate (not often) and oppress (most often) us? And how can the money system be “democratized” to rebuild our economy and society, create jobs and reduce debt? Our goal is to inform, intrigue and inspire through bite size weekly postings listing important events and quotes from prominent individuals (both past and present) on money, banking and how the money system can help people and the planet. We hope the sharing of bits of buried history will illuminate monetary and banking issues and empower you with others to create real economic and political justice. This calendar is a project of the Northeast Ohio American Friends Service Committee. Adele Looney, Phyllis Titus, Donna Schall, Leah Davis, Alice Francini, Deb Jose and Greg Coleridge helped in its development. Please forward this to others and encourage them to subscribe. To subscribe/unsubscribe or to comment on any entry, email monetarycalendar@yahoo.com

NEOhio AFSC September 23, 2016 Podcast

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Listen to Podcast here

We summarize last week’s activities; share next week’s upcoming events; and comment on efforts to reign in PayDay lending corporations, the recent and sudden investments of billionaires, and how the decision this week by the Federal Reserve not to raise interest rates effects all of us (Length 39:15).

“Democracy Day” Victory in Kent

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Kent Citizens for Democracy waged a successful campaign to pass a Move to Amend ballot initiative last year, despite strong opposition from the city’s political leadership. The city’s Law Director claimed that citizens needed to collect signatures numbering 10% of all registered voters in Kent as stipulated in the city charter to qualify for the ballot. Kent activists responded that the city charter violated the state constitution, which stipulates that only 10% of registered voters who voted in the previous election were needed. The activists submitted more than sufficient signatures to meet the lower threshold. The city refused to accept the submitted signatures. The activists went all the way to the Ohio Supreme Court, which ruled 7-0 in favor of Kent Citizens for Democracy.

A published article of the controversy is below:
Ohio Supreme Court rules Kent officials unconstitutionally blocked ‘Democracy Day’ ballot issue
http://www.cleveland.com/…/ohio_supreme_court_rules_kent.ht…

The ballot measure in Kent passed last November in a landslide with 64% of the vote. As with all ballot measures, a Democracy Day public hearing was to be held.

The first Democracy Day in Kent is scheduled for October 6. When Kent Citizens for Democracy members reached out recently to the city (specifically, the Law Director) to coordinate details of the upcoming hearing, they were told that the public hearing would only be open to Kent residents to testify — despite the fact that the passed ordinance states the “general public” can speak. The Law Director, who opined last year that the city charter prevailed over the state constitution, once again decided to interpret the law as he saw it and tried to persuade city council to follow suit.

Kent Citizens for Democracy members showed up to their city council meeting last night and asserted that the definition of “general public” should be more inclusive than Kent residents. They prevailed! Thus, the October 6 Democracy Day in Kent will actually be democratic — open to all who wish to speak.

Below is the testimony of Kent resident Lee Brooker to city council:

“2 to 1! 64% of the voters in November voted to add to our charter a requirement for an annual hearing, open for the general public to speak at, about the influence of big money in politics, and for an official statement from the city to congress saying that the voters of Kent voted in favor of a constitutional amendment saying that corporations are not people and that money is not speech.

Now the law department is suggesting that the hearing not be open to the general public to speak at, but be restricted to allow only people who live in Kent to speak. That would defy our new charter amendment.

The Macmillan Dictionary definition of general public is ‘ordinary people in society, rather than people who are considered to be important or who belong to a particular group.’

The fact that the charter governs only people in Kent has nothing to do with who is welcome to speak at a hearing for the general public to speak at that is required by the charter.

I can’t imagine why we would want the Democracy Day hearing to be some insular, closed thing that excludes interested people who don’t happen to live in Kent, but it doesn’t matter why. What matters is the intent and language of the charter, which clearly states that ‘members of the general public in attendance shall be afforded the opportunity to speak…’ Even if it just said ‘public,’ rather than ‘general public,’ it would be clear. ‘General public’ makes it abundantly clear. The Democracy Day hearing is not a city council meeting; it’s a hearing for the general public. You don’t have to live in Kent; you don’t have to live in Portage County; you don’t have to live in Ohio; you don’t have to live in the United States, for that matter, in order to speak. (In fact, international perspectives would be great!) The more varied the perspectives and backgrounds the better.

There are plenty of good reasons for the hearing to be open to the general public to speak at, but that’s beside the point. The point is that it is open to the general public to speak at. That’s what the charter says. That’s the law. That’s what 2/3 of the voters in November voted for. The charter says nothing about excluding anyone from speaking at the hearing; just the opposite. Such exclusion would not only be against the spirit of the amendment, but also against its substance.”

Congratulations Kent Citizens for Democracy!

p.s. The issues of corporate constitutional rights and money as speech, Kent trying to prevent citizens from placing a citizen initiative on their ballot, and the city seeking to determine who can and can’t speak at the Democracy Day hearing are on one level ultimately the same issue — about people asserting their right to decide and having representatives who actually represent them and not “special” interests.