Restoring Human Balance: The Employee Free Choice Act

The American Friends Service Committee is a Quaker related justice, peace and humanitarian organization. Quakers believe in the dignity and worth of every person regardless of religion, race, class, gender, nationality, physical ability, or sexual orientation.

The AFSC works to see that no person is discriminated – none. This includes those in a workplace who are in an unequal power relationship with their employer. That is, a worker who feels he or she is not being paid fairly, not receiving adequate benefits and/or not working in a safe environment. To be treated with respect and dignity, a worker needs to join in union with others who face common grievances to collectively approach their employer. To advocate for justice. To demand fairness. To work for their common health, safety and welfare.

The Employee Free Choice Act restores some balance to what is a grossly unbalanced relationship between employee and employer. It’s about the right to decide. The right to choose. The right to be heard. The right to possess the ability and power to have a real role in shaping a part of their lives – where they work. It’s a right we should all have. When we do, we feel authentic, empowered, and human. We are more open to being creative, dedicated, compassionate, serving.

Consider two groups of people in our community, state and nation.

One group is workers who want to form a union within a corporation. The barriers and hurdles are enormous. Corporate intimidation, harassment, and coercion are common. Corporations fire workers who try to form unions and bargain for economic well-being. They deny workers the ability to exercise their First Amendment rights of free speech, assembly and association since the Bill of Rights doesn’t apply on corporate private property. Yet they exercise their own Constitutionally guaranteed free speech rights to prevent workers from signing cards and holding an election. And those are just some of the corporate hurdles. Never mind government hurdles at recognition and certification. No wonder only 12% of workers in this nation are members of unions.

The second group is a few people who want to form a business corporation. What do they have to do? Four things. Obtain a form from the Ohio Secretary of State’s office. Fill it out. Write out a check. Send it in. That’s it. Voila. Just like that, this group of people have become a business corporation with Constitutionally protected “personhood” rights and with liability protections that human persons couldn’t dream of. For those who place the game of chess, it’s the equivalent of a pawn making it to the opposite end of the board and being transformed into a Queen with powers and rights that we human pawns simply don’t have. Oh, and by the way, powers and rights that were never intended… but that’s another story.

The Employee Free Choice Act is a necessary step in the direction of justice and dignity. The bill’s sponsors and endorsers should be thanked and encouraged to support this bill with no watered down amendments.

But it is only a step. There is still a very long way to go to create democracy and self-governance in our society.

In evaluating this bill and others that come thereafter, here’s one simple measuring stick: Does it increase the ability of people to make fundamental decisions affecting their lives, communities and environment? In other words, does a bill or proposal increase the power of people to decide for themselves? If it does, it should be supported. If not, it should be opposed.

The right to decide is enhanced by the Employee Free Choice Act.

Thanks to its supporters. Thanks to those at the grassroots who have brought it to Congress and have and will apply pressure for its passage — . the sort of pressure that in the past has taken the form of social movements for dignity and rights.

May the Employee Free Choice Act pass. May it be just the beginning.

Banking on Fear

The financial forces responsible for the pillage of what’s left of our national economy and personal assets have learned that playing…or preying… on people’s fear is a better bet than investing in more credit-default swaps or collateralized debt obligations.

Fear is money in the bank.

Big banks, insurance companies, and their friends and supporters in the Obama Administration and Congress are using fear to paralyze critically conscious people, including way too many activists, into mental and mobilizing submission. At stake is at least another $750 billion contained in the fiscal year 2010 federal budget proposed by the Obama Administration.

Throwing hundreds of billions of more tax dollars at American Insurance Group (AIG), Goldman Sacks, Citibank, Bank of America, J.P Morgan Chase and other financial behemoths (aka Zombie Banks) is portrayed as inevitable. Why? Not bailing out these institutions and their CEOs for the global financial crisis would cause, according to these financial geniuses, a worse global financial crisis. It would be chaos. Economic collapse. Massive poverty. More homelessness. Widespread unemployment. Starvation.

The FIRES (finance, insurance, real estate) corporations are simply “too big to fail.”

According to whom?

– The same financial paragons who advocated for massive financial de-regulation over the last decade?
– The same money men (and women) who claimed investing trillions in speculative “products” like derivatives rather than in companies that actually produce goods and services, was the path to perpetual growth and profit?
– The same financial wizards (some of whom occupy important roles in the Obama administration) who built their economic health and claim the health of the larger economy is built on more and more and more debt?
– The same “experts” who never saw coming the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression…if not worse?

These are the people we’re supposed to trust.

The banks are banking on fear to bank more billions. They are counting on us not to think, ask questions, demand answers, and place the burden of proof on those making these claims. Just go along, shut up, and believe.

US taxpayers have already poured or committed to pour $8.5 trillion in capital injections, guaranteed debt, and loans into the financial system — a system that is not designed to invest money in productive ventures, helping people face home foreclosures, assisting people who’ve amassed huge credit card debt, or help communities function as communities. Rather, the mega banks and AIGs of the world are set up to rake in profits from the unreal world of financial bets, speculations, hedges and other gimmicks that are parasitic yet legal. More tax dollars will go simply to pay off these bets, speculations, hedges and gimmicks that have gone bad. They enrich the CEOs and shareholders. It’s legalized theft.

And who are these shareholders? Overall, the richest 1% of the nation’s population in 2004 held $1.9 trillion in stocks, almost equal to the other 99%.

Bailing out Wall Street is bailing out the super rich. Bailing out banks and insurance companies further widens the already considerable gap between rich and poor…and increases their political power.

The Obama approach to financial institutions has been to socialize the losses and privatize the gains…just like the Bush approach. Losses are paid by taxpayers. Gains are banked by the banks and their mega investors.

The latest Obama/Geithner plan to create a US “bad bank” to buy up toxic assets from banks is merely a recycled idea from former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. The latest “cash for trash” scam involves the US government lending private investors money to buy virtually worthless pieces of paper (misnamed “assets”) from banks. If the values of the pieces of paper eventually increase, the investors profit. If they plummet even more than they already have, the investors can walk.

Where can the rest of us get such a one-way deal?

Government takeover of the Zombie “too big too fail but too insolvent to be saved” financial institutions is the best of what are all bad choices. Democratization of financial institutions should be the one and only message to Congress. Once democratized, the public though the government should (for starters):

– Fire and bring to justice all the leadership responsible for triggering what has become the Global Financial Crisis.
– Audit where previous bailout funds went and recover those funds mis-spent on CEO bonuses and acquisition of other financial institutions.
– Wipe out all the financial “bad assets” — the richest 1% investors who own virtually all of these will have to suffer the consequences of their risky past decisions.
– Use funds the government was going to give the financial corporations to directly help those facing foreclosures and offer low- or no-interest loans to help get the economy moving.

The super-rich investors and corporations who own the trillions of “bad assets” are terrified. Public outrage against the legalized heist of our financial present and future, currently personified by massive AIG bonuses, is real. It’s not a long intellectual bridge from public outrage to calls for real public control.

The big banks and insurance conglomerates have responded by trying to shift their terror onto us — that public control of money and credit is a bridge to political and economic devastation.

Consider the sources.

Form your own opinions based on studying the issue.

Read articles linked below, in previous posts, and from other sources.

Don’t be fooled.

Don’t be afraid.

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http://blog.cleveland.com/business/2009/03/lawmakers_soften_opposition_to.html#more
Lawmakers soften opposition to bonuses at bailout companies
Posted by Associated Press March 25, 2009

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/26793903/the_big_takeover/1
The Big Takeover
The global economic crisis isn’t about money – it’s about power. How Wall Street insiders are using the bailout to stage a revolution
MATT TAIBBI

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=12517
America’s Fiscal Collapse
by Michel Chossudovsky
Global Research, March 2, 2009

http://www.truthout.org/031909J
Financial Reports Show Five Biggest Banks Face Huge Loss Risk
Monday 09 March 2009
by: Greg Gordon and Kevin G. Hall

Beware the Madoff Diversion

Richard Grossman is one of two people who came to Ohio more than a decade ago and offered a “Rethinking the Corporation, Rethinking Democracy” weekend workshop that sparked our subsequent Ohio-based education, advocacy, and organizing on corporate constitutional rights. A brilliant guy and a fine piece!

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http://www.truthout.org/031809B
Beware the Madoff Diversion!
Wednesday 18 March 2009
by: Richard Grossman, t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Sure, there are crooks out there. But the overwhelming majority of actions by corporate directors and managers that have created today’s messes have been legal.

Not only legal, but also widely regarded as necessary and essential to sustain the American Way of Life. To put food on our tables. To heat our homes. To provide jobs. To defend liberty and freedom …

Simply put: Giant business and financial corporations govern. The few who run them make the governing decisions that dictate people’s work, living conditions, health and the nature of our communities.

Business and financial corporations are not simply “market players.” Although, in legal terms, corporations are mere “fictions of the law,” they function as political forces. They concentrate wealth and power so their directors and managers can impose their values upon communities, the nation, the earth.

Corporate directors and managers have long defined how people live, what people do. Sometimes, they take their paychecks from their corporations, sometimes, from our governments. For generations, they’ve been writing our laws, propagandizing our children, dictating policy, plundering the planet. To gain such power, they long ago got Congress, federal judges and state legislatures to wrap their corporate bodies in the Constitution of the United States. To bestow upon their corporate “fictions” the authority to govern.

Armed with “freedom of speech,” “due process,” “equal protection of the law,” the “commerce clause,” “the contracts clause,” and other constitutional powers, corporate directors and managers have been wielding the law to deny people’s most fundamental human rights.

Corporate directors and managers have been making “private” decisions, which in an authentic democracy must be made by people in community via democratic processes.

Their real bottom line is not that their corporations are “just too big to fail.” It’s that without giant corporations, we helpless human earthlings could do nothing to meet our needs. That we would languish freezing, starving, unemployed, unentertained, vulnerable, in the dark.

After the great savings and loan thefts, after the great WorldCom and Enron Corporation thefts – after every financial cataclysm of the past century – people have been assured that the problem was “greed and excess.”

There were always pundits and politicians galore to declare “greed and excess,” just as there were always Madoffs galore to personify such evils. So, as night followed day, legislatures passed laws to regulate “greed and excess.” And then they told us to go home and relax … everything would be O.K.

Sure, Madoff and his ilk are major crooks. They’ve caused great harm to many people. There are laws aplenty to deal with such obvious crooks – so they’ll end up in jail and good riddance.

But after the Madoffs of every generation are all locked up, most of the corporate directors and managers who “legally” plunged the nation into these messes continue governing over the nation. They keep instructing people that the source of the nation’s problems is “greed and excesses,” and “crooks.” They keep spending the people’s money to set things right. And they keep writing We the People’s laws.

Isn’t that what’s happening today?

Corporate directors and managers count on our being desperate to return to the way things were, on our not changing who’s calling the shots or the laws of the land, which have long enabled a corporate class to rule.

So, let’s not let ourselves be distracted by a few high-profile crooks on perp walks. Let’s beware “greed and excess.” Instead, we can scrutinize constitutional law and statute law and judge made law that have long empowered a relative handful of corporate directors and managers to deny We the People’s most fundamental rights … to prevent us from governing ourselves.

To stop corporate cataclysms from crashing down upon us and the earth over and over and over again, and to drive human-friendly, planet-loving values into law and policy, We the People can rewrite basic constitutional doctrines regarding corporate “fictions,” flesh and blood human beings and earth rights.

To do this, we’ll have to assume the authority to govern ourselves.

Isn’t that a revolutionary idea?

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Grossman is the author of articles and books about corporations, the economy, labor, environment and legal history. He is also co-founder of the Program on Corporations, Law and Democracy (POCLAD) (1994); co-founder of Stop the Poisoning Schools (1986) and Democracy Schools (2003). He lives in New York’s Catskill Mountains and is reachable at rgrossman@riseup.net.

Keeping Public Assets Public

The dominant culture does not look kindly on most “public” systems. From housing to hospitals, schools to sewers, parks to prisons, or water to welfare, publicly owned or run systems are frequently portrayed as inefficient, ineffective, expensive, and/or dangerous. “Public” is dark, drab, cold, and old.

The word “private,” by contrast, brings forth images of modern, clean, efficient, cheap, and safe. The corporate media, think tanks, and many elected officials perpetually tout the supposed benefits of “private” societal institutions.

But what is “public” and “private” when applied to government and economy? Are existing municipally operated systems best kept under public control or should they be “privatized”?

These are particularly important questions as we face simultaneous breakdowns of multiple realities (i.e. economy, environment, international social order) and search for an all-systems breakthrough.

Public institutions or systems are owned and controlled, quite simply, by the people. Citizens decide, either indirectly through elected officials or directly as members of citizen committees or commissions, how and where public tax dollars will be invested in providing a multitude of services — fire and police protection, utilities, transportation, education, health care, housing, and parks and recreation facilities, among others.

Since policies and budgets are public, people can have a voice in every stage of the decision-making process — from the initial planning, to monitoring the operations and evaluating at the end. Virtually all information is accessible to the public. Those who implement programs (public employees) are responsible to their public employer. Public officials who approve policies and budgets are accountable to the public through the ballot. At many municipal and state levels, voters can directly create public programs through passage of citizen initiatives or overturn laws through citizen referenda. Problems citizens or consumers experience with services or rates can be addressed locally through appearing at council meetings or communicating with city service departments.

Since the primary loyalty of those running public-owned systems is to the public being served, theory says that costs for service will be set as low as possible while services, access, quality, and upkeep will be maintained at as high a level as possible.

We know, of course, that the real world isn’t true to the most noble visions and theories. Many publicly-owned and run systems, from levels local to national, have been ineffective, inefficient, costly, and dangerous due to any combination of public employee incompetence, corruption of public officials, a starving of public funding, and a multitude of distractions that prevent adequate citizen vigilance and engagement.

This has fueled calls for “privatization,” the turning over of public systems to private business corporations.

Democracy Up for Sale

“Privatization is a concerted, purposeful effort by corporations to undercut, limit, shrink, or outright take over any government and any part of the public sector that (1) stands in the way of corporate pursuit of ever larger profits, and (2) could be run for profit.” The Fox in the Henhouse: How Privatization Threatens Democracy by Si Kahn and Elizabeth Minnich, Beret Koehler, 2005.

While many are familiar with the term “privatization,” a more descriptive term is “corporatization.” It’s not mom and pop operations taking over public functions and systems, but usually major national or transnational business corporations. They come with no intention to do the community a favor, only to maximize profits.

Literally anything and everything owned, run or operated by municipal and state governments is up for sale (if not already sold) somewhere across the U.S. — water and sewer systems, turnpikes, road maintenance, airports, solid waste collection, prisons, vehicle fleet maintenance, power systems, accounting functions, community wireless networks, even parking meters. As many as 44 states are currently considering some major sell off of a public asset or function. Assets can be sold, leased or transferred. They sometimes are framed as “Public-Private Partnerships” — which more often than not means the public pays and the private (i.e. corporation) profits.

Chicago, President Obama’s home town, has recently leased its Skyway, a bridge linking Indiana to the Dan Ryan Expressway, for 99 years; Midway Airport for 99 years; and its parking meters for 75 years (parking meter rates are expected to go as high as $6.50 an hour by 2013).

Sandy Springs, a small suburb of Atlanta, is among the newest of many “contract cities” across the country, mostly in California. These are municipalities that have contracted their major municipal
services to outside corporations.

Call it “democracy for sale.”

At the federal level, among the many functions being turned over, in part, to business corporations is national security. The Blackwater corporation may be the most notorious example.

Several factors are driving business corporations to push for corporatization of public assets. For one, many elected officials are willing suitors. Faced with crumbling infrastructures following years, if not decades, of neglect and massive budget deficits due to economic recessions/depression, local and state public officials are looking for a near-term cash infusion. Selling off some infrastructure is preferred to raising taxes and/or service fees.

Second, major corporations, including investment firms, want to place their money in a relatively safe place for at least the next few years. Municipal or state assets provide a safe and steady haven compared to the vagaries of oil futures and hedge funds. Also, local assets are available right now at bargain basement prices as local governments needing cash in a hurry are willing to take a lesser amount than the asset would bring in the long term.

Rising Resistance to Privatization

Resistance to corporatization is happening everywhere — in many nations, over many issues, by many different people, using many different strategies.

The current global economic collapse — in large part due to the failure of the “free market” and “invisible hand” of corporate capitalism, built on the sands of deregulation and privatization, has strengthened resistance. The free market has been free for “corpses” to operate largely beyond public control, which has been very costly to citizens in ways economic, political and environmental. The invisible hand has been more like a clenched fist applied to the gut of citizens resulting in massive job losses, home foreclosures, retirement fund losses, and home price declines.

Resistance outside the U.S. to major proponents of corporatization has focused on the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. These international financial institutions have for decades conditioned top-down development loans to “structural adjustment programs” (SAPs). These have literally sapped the lifeblood out of nations and people by requiring them to sell public resources and assets to willing global corporations at bargain prices. Resistance in South America has become particularly effective with cessation of repayments, the formation of an alternative regional development bank, and protections for remaining public assets.

Paris and 40 other French municipalities and urban communities over the last few years have “re-municipalized” water services from global water corporations. The results are improved services at cheaper prices. France joins Mali in West Africa, Uruguay, Buenos Aires and Santa Fe in Argentina, Cochabamba in Bolivia, Hamilton in Canada, Atlanta and other U.S. cities in finding that while privatization/corporatization may have been a financial boon for water corporation shareholders, it was a disaster for citizens, ratepayers, and consumers. In the drive to maximize profits, jobs, service, quality, and corners were cut. Most importantly, local control was all but eliminated.

In November, citizens of Akron, Ohio prevented the lease of the city sewer system to an outside business corporation. The measure went down 2 to 1, despite a $400 000 campaign in support, the full backing of the city newspaper, the city business community, “respected” city leaders, and even cheerleading “robocalls” by NBA Superstar and Akron native LeBron James. Akronites understood that a corporatized sewer system would mean less local control as well as higher rates and lower quality. At the same time a citizen initiative passed 2 to 1 changing the city charter. The new law stipulates that any future proposal to sell, lease or transfer any public utility must be approved by voters.

The mantras of the two Akron initiatives were “keep public utilities public” and “let the people decide.”

While jobs, service, quality, and costs are all factors in keeping public assets public, the unifying issue is public control.

Don’t put democracy on the auction block. Educate and organize where you are to keep public assets public.

———————–

Coleridge is on the POCLAD collective and works for the Northeast Ohio American Friends Service Committee. Email: gcoleridge@afsc.org

Article link: http://www.poclad.org/bwa/BWAMarch09.pdf
Article page: http://www.poclad.org/bwa/Mar09.htm

Dealing with AIG / America’s Fiscal Collapse

There’s been plenty of political handwringing and grandstanding over insurance giant AIG handing out $165 million in executive bonuses. The Obama Administration claims it can’t do anything to prevent AIG honoring its contracts to pay out the bonuses. Really.

What about these 4 options (some more “assertive” than others):

1. Reduce by $165 million the amount the feds are pouring into AIG to keep them afloat. If AIG execs say they need every last nickel and can’t afford to lose $165 million, they can be told where they can find that exact amount — in the wallets/foreign bank accounts of their executives.

2. Simply state that any future bailout funds will not be forthcoming unless AIG “renegotiates” with their execs to eliminate their bonuses. The fed is taking this exact strategy with the automobile corporations over union contracts. The fed is demanding if GM, Ford and Chrysler want the rest of their $40 billion aid package, they must renegotiate with labor over their existing wage and benefit contract. Why is it OK to demand that working people tighten their belts (people who, by the way, actually produce something of value), but not OK to demand that bank executives forgo their bonuses (for, by the way, running the entire economy of our nation, if not the planet, into the ground)?

3. The federal government owns 80% of AIG through prior bailout rounds. It sounds as if, however, they don’t possess much formal power over company decisions. There’s a difference between investments and control. If the fed actually controlled AIG, they could simply say, “AIG is under new ownership. The old contracts aren’t valid. No executive bonuses. In fact, all executives are fired.” Corporations take this approach when they acquire other companies. The feds should try to leverage their/our 80% company stake in AIG and see where it goes.

4. Threaten that if the executives accept their bonuses, the government will do everything they can to revoke their charter. It’s not very easy to pay bonuses if there’s no company. It can always be reorganized under new management. How about worker ownership?

There’s no reason why timid politicians can’t at least press for #1 and progressives #2. Don’t hold your breath on any of the others that are more populist inspired. To do nothing but try to score a few populist popularity points as many inside the DC beltway may try to do is unacceptable.

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More than 150 signatures on petitions were submitted today to the offices of US Senators Sherrod Brown and George Voinovich calling on them to stop bailing out Wall Street and to democratize banks. Brown’s aides thanked us and said they’d pass along the petition. Voinovich’s people were none too interested.

Thanks to those of you who signed. Copies are going out tomorrow to all the US Representatives from Ohio.

————–

Here’s a chilling and insightful piece on the federal budget as it relates to war, Wall Street and debt. You may want to be seated and out of reach of any sharp objects before reading it. Call it the print version of his recent radio interview (link sent last week)

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=12517
America’s Fiscal Collapse
by Michel Chossudovsky

What is Happening Politically/Economically

Here are 2 interviews (thanks to Gary Goodman for forwarding) well worth listening to which help decipher what is happening economically and politically at this moment. It can only be summarized as pure theft and a profound transfer of power from the many to the few. While it’s tempting to label it true “March Madness,” it’s actually taking place right before us all deliberately with clear logic and strategy.

There are many responses required. All should include maintaining the right to self-governance and protection of our assets from being shifted to the select few connected to financial institutions, military contractors, and other transnational corporations.

No public official should receive a pass. All should be pressured to justify supporting $ for bank bailouts and war (er, “defense”) spending.

If you haven’t already done so, please consider signing the petition linked at the end…as just one action step.

We’ve been focused on this arena for the last few months because it seems to be so pivotal at this moment in history.

Thank you for your patience, interest, and support.

————

Guns and Butter – “The Way We Were and What We Are Becoming” – March 4, 2009 at 1:00pm
with financial economist and historian, Dr. Michael Hudson. We begin with an analysis of the continuing bailout of insurance giant AIG and Monday’s stock market selloff; price and debt deflation; the two sectors of the economy; two definitions of ‘free markets’; the classical economists; revolution from the right and the former Soviet states; the threat of war; IMF/World Bank resurgence; the dollar versus the euro; analogies to Rome, neo-feudalism.
http://www.kpfa.org/archive/id/48892
http://aud1.kpfa.org/data/20090304-Wed1300.mp3

Guns and Butter – “America’s Fiscal Collapse – Obama’s Budget Will Impoverish America” – March 11, 2009 at 1:00pm
with economist and author, Michel Chossudovsky. The administration’s 2010 budget will entail the most drastic curtailment in public spending in American history, leading to social havoc and the potential impoverishment of millions of people. Defense spending and bank bailouts will consume all government revenue resulting in fiscal collapse that will lead to the privatization of the state.
http://www.kpfa.org/archive/id/49073
http://aud1.kpfa.org/data/20090311-Wed1300.mp3

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Petition to Ohio US Senators and Representatives
STOP BAILING OUT WALL STREET EMOCRATIZE CORPORATE BANKS

Please sign the petition: http://www.webpetitions.com/cgi-bin/print_petition.cgi?99504389

Please forward this email

Please circulate the petition and send it back by March 16 (feel free to fill out more than one!)
Download petition at http://www.afsc.net/PDFFiles/DemocratizeBanksPetition.pdf

Please join us on Tuesday, March 17 to turn in collected names to US Senators Sherrod Brown and George Voinovich.

[We will meet at Noon on St. Patrick’s Day in front of Sherrod Brown’s office, 1301 E. 9th St. in Cleveland, deliver the names, then march to George Voinovich’s office where we’ll do the same. St. Patrick’s Day seems an appropriate moment to tell our Senators to “Save our Green by Stop Bailing out Wall St!” Please wear green. We’ll supply green hats. We’ll also send copies of all petitions to each US Representative from Ohio.]

Resources and Petition on Democratizing Banks

More Than One Way to Take Over a Bank
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/01/magazine/01wwln-lede-t.html

AFL-CIO: Gov’t Should Acquire Controlling Shares of Banks (at Least for a While)
http://politics.theatlantic.com/2009/03/afl-cio_govt_should_control_banks_at_least_for_a_while.php

Death To Zombies: Nationalize Banks Now
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/henry-blodget/death-to-zombies-national_b_169095.html

Sold Out: How Wall Street and Washington Betrayed America
[ Report shows $5 Billion in Wall Street Political Investments, 1998-2008]
http://www.wallstreetwatch.org/reports/sold_out.pdf
An embargoed executive summary is at:
http://www.wallstreetwatch.org/reports/executive_summary.pdf>
An embargoed excerpt with highlights of the campaign contribution and lobbyist data is at:
http://www.wallstreetwatch.org/reports/part2.pdf>.
An embargoed copy of the report introduction by Harvey Rosenfield is at:
http://www.wallstreetwatch.org/reports/introduction.pdf>

Money as Debt
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-9050474362583451279&pr=goog-sl

The Dow Knows All
http://www.thedailyshow.com/video/index.jhtml?videoId=220253&title=the-dow-knows-all

The Secret Government
by Derek Wilson ~ New Zealandnd
Pacific Institute of Resource Management Inc.
http://www.converge.org.nz/pirm/

Early Bailout Scams
by Richard Moore rkm@quaylargo.com
Nasrudin was plodding along the village path on his donkey, minding his own business, when he was approached by a stranger. The stranger was distraught, and explained he had just lost a pile of money gambling. He was upset because he was supposed to host a banquet the next day, and it was too important to cancel.
Nasrudin, being a sympathetic soul, said he’d be glad to bail the stranger out, but he was broke himself. So the stranger says, that’s no problem, I’ll loan you the money and then you can give it to me. Nasrudin was bit slow in the head, perhaps from the desert sun, and he agreed.
A few days later Nasrudin was once more out on his donkey, and the stranger approached him again. This time he asked Nasrudin to repay the loan. Nasrudin said, “I can’t, I gave the money to you.” Too bad, the stranger says, I’ll have to take your donkey.

SIGN AND CIRCULATE DEMOCRATIZE BANKS PETITION

Petition to Ohio US Senators and Representatives
STOP BAILING OUT WALL STREET:DEMOCRATIZE CORPORATE BANKS

Please sign the petition: http://www.webpetitions.com/cgi-bin/print_petition.cgi?99504389
[64 of you already have. Thank you! If you haven’t, please do so. Another 50 signatures have been collected/submitted on printed petitions to date]

Please forward this email

Please circulate the petition and send it back by March 16 (feel free to fill out more than one!)
Download petition at http://www.afsc.net/PDFFiles/DemocratizeBanksPetition.pdf

Please join us on Tuesday, March 17 to turn in collected names to US Senators Sherrod Brown and George Voinovich.

[We will meet at Noon on St. Patrick’s Day in front of Sherrod Brown’s office, 1301 E. 9th St. in Cleveland, deliver the names, then march to George Voinovich’s office where we’ll do the same. St. Patrick’s Day seems an appropriate moment to tell our Senators to “Save our Green by Stop Bailing out Wall St!” Please wear green. We’ll supply green hats. We’ll also send copies of all petitions to each US Representative from Ohio — unless someone is willing to make a personal delivery to a local Congressional office. If interested, contact us and we’ll send you a copy of collected names.]