MONETARY HISTORY CALENDAR February 28-March5

FEBRUARY 28

1856 – BIRTH OF WOODROW WILSON, 28TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
“A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is privately concentrated. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men who, even if their action be honest and intended for the public interest, are necessarily concentrated upon the great undertakings in which their own money is involved and who necessarily, by very reason of their own limitations, chill and check and destroy genuine economic freedom.” (1911)

MARCH 3

1863 – LEGAL TENDER ACT PASSED
Congress authorizes the Government to print no more than $400,000 million Greenbacks to pay for the Civil War. This was interest-free and debt-free money. The Lincoln Administration didn’t want to borrow money from corporate banks to pay for the war.

1865 – NATIONAL CURRENCY ACT AMENDED BY CONGRESS
The act amended the National Currency Act of 1864. State banks were no longer permitted to issue bank notes (currency).

1884 – JULLIARD V. GREENMAN ( 110 U.S. 421 ) SUPREME COURT DECISION
US Supreme Court ruling upholding the legality of US Government issued money (Greenbacks) created following the Legal Tender Acts of 1862 and 1863. The Court ruled that the government possessed the authority under the Constitution to issue a national currency and that that currency could be used to pay debts.

2003 – WARREN BUFFET, SECOND RICHEST PERSON ON EARTH, IN HIS ANNUAL LETTER TO BERKSHIRE HATHWAY SHAREHOLDERS
“Derivatives are financial weapons of mass destruction.”

MARCH 4

1789 – US GOVERNMENT UNDER NEW CONSTITUTION BEGINS OPERATION
The Constitution replaced the Articles of Confederation as the overarching legal document of the nation. The new Constitution provides the federal legislature the power “[t]o coin money [and] regulate the value thereof.”

MARCH 6

1926 – BIRTH OF ALAN GREENSPAN, CHAIRMAN OF THE US FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM
“I guess I should warn you, if I turn out to be particularly clear, you’ve probably misunderstood what I’ve said.” In a speech to the Economic Club of New York, 1988

1933 – PRESIDENT FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT ISSUES EXECUTIVE PROCLAMATION 2039 DECLARING A BANK “HOLIDAY”
The “holiday” meant that all banks would be closed from March 6-9 to prevent further runs. Bank failures were a result in earlier speculative investments and banks loaning out more money than they actually possessed (fractural reserve). When too many people came to a bank at the same time wanting their deposits, the banks collapsed since they lacked sufficient assets. The bank “holiday” was meant to restore confidence in the banking system.

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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 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, contact monetarycalendar@yahoo.com For more information, visit http://www.afsc.net/economiccrisis.html

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Protect Workers’ Rights Rally in Columbus – February 26






Teachers, firefighters, police officers and other public service employees joined with students, environmentalists and other citizens from across Ohio on Saturday, February 26 to rally in support of maintaining collective bargaining rights. The rally was the latest mass action over the last several weeks at the State House in Columbus organized against passage of Senate Bill 5. The roughly 500 people at the rally heard from a dozen speakers, mostly those representing public employees, talk about how the current $8 billion state budget deficit is being used as a pretext to eliminate the power of people in public unions to bargain collectively for wages and benefits.

I was one of the non-union speakers who addressed the crowd (the only person representing a religious organization) – focusing on the need to maintain unity despite our separate organizations and issues as well as to understand and work to link the immediate threat to collective bargaining with the larger issue of corporations wielding never-intended political power to influence elections and govern. Referencing the Wisconsin Wave, a new campaign to develop a broad democratic/self-governing platform (including the call for greater election integrity and an end to corporate personhood) I urged those in attendance to consider developing a similar platform in Ohio and to support the national effort, led by Move to Amend, to abolish corporate constitutional rights.

Among those in the crowd were several people from other parts of the state AFSC has worked with over the years – including Friends from Athens on democracy issues, student organizers in Columbus on antiwar issues and social workers from Columbus on affordable housing issues.

Also in the crowd was a brother and sister, Margo Kernan and Charlie Koester, from Akron whose mother Margie Koester, member of the Akron Friends Meeting, recently passed away. Margie was a longtime AFSC volunteer who rarely missed an AFSC organized or supported march and rally for peace or justice in Akron or DC. In small but noticeable letters on the edges of their “Defeat Issue 5” signs were written “Hi Mom!” “We’re here because of the issue but also because of her,” they said. “She’s here today in spirit.”

A march was held following the rally. It circled the State House grounds. Those on the streets and drivers in passing cars showed their support for worker rights with thumps up signs and a din of honking horns.

p.s. The one picture of people holding the “We the People” sign was held in front of a statue of former President and Ohioan William McKinley on the statehouse grounds. During his 1896 election for President, McKinley’s campaign manager, Marc Hanna, said, “There are 2 things important in politics. The first is money. I can’t remember what the second one is.” This captures well the fact that government increasingly has been captured by large monied and corporate interests — with agendas including eliminating worker rights and programs supporting people who don’t donate (or invest) to political candidates.

TESTIMONY AT PEOPLES BUDGET HEARING

February 24, 2011 / Cleveland, Ohio
Greg Coleridge, Director, Northeast Ohio American Friends Service Committee

Increasing tensions in Ohio, other states and in Washington, DC between maintaining vital social and economic services and reducing budget deficits and debts appears irreconcilable. But are they? Not if our vision and understanding expands beyond the narrow construct we’ve been conditioned to accept – which has been reinforced by a distracting corporate media, an educational system designed to nurture the status quo rather than critical consciousness, and by either unaware or corporate-influenced public officials.

Three “off the table” solutions at the federal level to the economic and human crisis need to be placed on the table – for good.

1 Slash funding for military. The military/war budget consumes roughly 59% of the funds Congress can vote on. This includes a dizzying array of Cold War-era military weapons systems; more than 700 empire-reinforcing bases and installations world-wide; military aid to prop up dictators and regimes – many of which are now being challenged by popular democratic uprisings; and hot wars and occupations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and to a lesser extend Yemen. Hundreds of billions of dollars could be saved – to be reinvested in economic conversion of our weapons plants, to balance the budget, to spend on vital social and economic needs, and to reduce taxes.

2 End the most destructive and debt-increasing federal subsidy of all – the license given to banks to print money. All other government subsidies pale in comparison to the subsidy the federal government has provided to banks for most of our nation’s history – the right to print money, which is loaned back to us and which must be repaid with interest. We the People should print our own money – debt and interest free – as stipulated in the Constitution. This would allow us to save roughly $200 billion alone this year in interest payments. It would also permit us to spend money to address vital needs without having to go into debt. Rep. Dennis Kucinich is set to reintroduce the National Emergency and Employment (NEED) Act – which calls for the government to print federal money to address the $2.2 trillion the American Association of Civil Engineers says is needed in infrastructure repair and billions more needed to address education and health care services.

3 Increase taxes on the superrich. Economist and Professor Richard D. Wolff computes that the 2.9 million High Net Worth Americans whose investible assets totaled $12.09 trillion in 2009, if taxed at just 15%, would have yielded more than total government borrowing of $1.7 trillion in 2009. Obama’s stimulus program would have required no deficit, no borrowing, and no additional taxes for 99% of US citizens. The same could be done for this year. There would be no need to even tax the earnings of the top 1% — just the investible assets.

It’s time to discuss these options – those that would make our priorities more sane and humane. They would also increase democracy – of our own money system and of people and nations abroad.

50 States Rally TOMORROW / Wisconsin Wave of Resistance

Wisconsin Solidarity Rally
Saturday, February 26, Noon
Ohio Statehouse

Tomorrow, in cities across the nation, including Columbus and every state capital, people will come together to stand in solidarity with the people of Wisconsin and rally to Save the American Dream. Teachers, nurses, firefighters, students, police officers and others protesting in Wisconsin have occupied the Capitol building and streets of Madison for the past nine days, and now their protest is going national.

——–

Issue 5 and similar bills in other states to remove collective bargaining is not at root about saving money or balancing budgets. The core issue is the right of people to organize — the Constitutional right of freedom of association — against corporate power and rights and for justice and dignity. It’s one piece of the struggle to End Corporate Rule.

The Wisconsin Wave of Resistance is making this connection.
http://www.WisconsinWave.org

Their Statement/Call follows. They are collecting signatures from people across the state.

———–

CALL FOR A WISCONSIN WAVE OF RESISTANCE

the WISCONSIN WAVE Against Corporatization and Austerity and for Democracy and Shared Prosperity

We recognize the rising Wisconsin wave of resistance to corporatization and austerity and call on our fellow Wisconsinites to join it.

For more than a century Wisconsin was America’s laboratory of democracy. Big Wisconsin Ideas, like barring corporate electioneering, workers’ rights protections, and the conservation ethic, have inspired Americans everywhere to push their state governments in a more progressive direction. But Wisconsin is not immune to the forces that often threaten social progress. For every elected official who channels grassroots energy and calls us to the higher ground, there’s a politician who wants to steer us off the cliff. For every “Fighting Bob” La Follette, there’s a “Tailgunner Joe” McCarthy.

Today, Wisconsin’s democratic tradition faces the greatest threat it has ever known. Governor Scott Walker, operating at the direction of Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC), is using the financial crisis caused by Wall Street speculators as an excuse to impose devastating cuts to public services. The WMC agenda is shameless. They intend to shift the tax burden even further away from major corporations and onto the rest of us. Their agenda is undemocratic. They would protect themselves from voters by lowering Wisconsin’s voting rights guarantees to those of Alabama and Mississippi. Their agenda is heartless. It has no place in it for the needs of Wisconsin’s youth, our poor, our disabled, or our unemployed at this time when their needs are greatest. The WMC-Walker agenda would destroy everything that once made Wisconsin great: a robust educational system; safe, high paying jobs; and a clean environment available for enjoyment by all people.

But as in other grim times throughout our state’s history, concerned Wisconsinites are rising up to defend our way of life. This diverse group of individuals, which includes everyone from college students to factory workers to small farmers and businesspeople, is uniting behind the common-sense principle that the wealthy few who caused the financial crisis are the ones who should pay for it. This rising Wisconsin Wave of protest insists that:

* Our state government must guarantee a fully funded public sector including education, health care, human services, transportation, public safety, and vital regulatory agencies.
* Taxes on large corporations and wealthy individuals should be returned to reasonable levels in order to solve the state’s fiscal crisis.
* The state must respect the rights of workers to organize unions and bargain collectively.
* Initial budget priorities must be established through public participation instead of closed door meetings between public officials and special interest lobbyists.
* Voting rights must be expanded, not limited, to insure that every Wisconsinite can take part in our democracy.
* Wisconsin deserves government of, by, and for the people, not the corporate elite; corporations have no constitutional rights and may not buy our elections or government.

This Wisconsin Wave is a force independent of political parties and partisan elected officials. It is an awakening of Wisconsinites independent of –but not exclusive of– whatever other political, union, faith, or organizational affiliations we each might have.

To the giant corporate interests that currently dominate our state, we say that we will not stand by and watch you destroy Wisconsin’s democracy, Wisconsin’s economy, Wisconsin’s schools, and Wisconsin’s communities. We will not pay for your crisis. We will organize. We will march. We will non-violently resist your policies and overcome your agenda.

To our fellow Wisconsinites we say simply, “join us.” Join the Wisconsin Wave of resistance against corporatization and austerity, and for democracy and shared prosperity for all: http://www.WisconsinWave.org

MONETARY HISTORY CALENDAR February 21-27

FEBRUARY 23

1743 – BIRTH OF MAYER AMSCHEL ROTHSCHILD – FOUNDER OF THE ROTHCHILD INTERNATIONAL BANKING DYNASTY
“Permit me to issue and control the money of a nation, and I care not who makes its laws. “

FEBRUARY 25

1791 – CREATION OF THE FIRST BANK OF THE UNITED STATES
A 20-year charter was issued by the federal government (very unusual at the time since most corporate charters, or licenses, were issued by states) to create the first national private bank. This was the first private institution empowered to create paper money — with all the power and profit that goes along with it. The bank’s paper money was accepted for taxes. Eighty percent of its shares were privately owned, among these 75% were foreign owned (mostly by the English and Dutch). The bank was modeled on the Bank of England. It’s main proponent, Alexander Hamilton, argued in support: “Suppose that the necessity existed…for obtaining a loan; that a number of individuals came forward and said, we are willing to accommodate the government with this money (which we have or can raise) but in order to do this it is indispensable, that we should be incorporated as a bank…and we are obliged on that account to make it a consideration or condition of the loan.” In other words, Hamilton was saying the private/corporate bank will be more than happy to give the government loans if the government grants the private/corporate bank the power to create money! Jefferson, Madison and others opposed it. Jefferson said, “This institution (the Bank of England) is one of the most deadly hostility against the principles of our Constitution…suppose an emergency should occur…an institution like this…in a critical moment might overthrow the government.” The bank had an enormous impact on the economy early on. Within 2 months of its creation, it flooded the market with loans and banknotes and then suddenly called in many of its loans. The result was the first US securities market crash — what became known as the “Panic of 1792” – the first of many panics, recessions and depressions due to the private/corporate control of our money system.

1862 – LEGAL TENDER ACT PASSED
A bill authorizing the issuance of $150 million non interest-bearing United States notes (commonly referred to as Greenbacks). Congress would later grant $300 million more in US notes. This was interest free US money. The Lincoln administration wanted to avoid the nation going into debt borrowing money from private/corporate bankers to pay for the Civil War. Greenbacks were not bonds or notes or any other promises to pay “money” at some future time. They were money. Since they were not borrowed, they didn’t add to the national debt. What later made them inflationary was they were used to pay for war – which didn’t produce or add anything productive to the economy to offset the added money supply.

1863 – NATIONAL BANKING ACT PASSED
It provided for the national chartering of banks by the federal government. This replaced state charters – many of which contained much more rigid and democratic provisions. The Act in numerous ways standardized banking across the country. However, it also entrenched what some have called “structural fraud” of the banking system – creating money out of thin air and charting interest on it.

FEBRUARY 27

1867 – BIRTH OF IRVING FISHER, MATHEMATICAL ECONOMIST
“If two parties instead of being a bank and an individual, were an individual and an individual, they could not inflate the circulating medium by loan transaction, for the simple reason that the lender could not lend what he didn’t have as banks can do … Only commercial banks and trust companies can lend money that they manufacture by lending it.” 100% Money (1935)

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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 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, contact monetarycalendar@yahoo.com

For more information, visit http://www.afsc.net/economiccrisis.html

Ohio Lawmakers, Corporations and the Constitution

Creating Jobs Ohio and eliminating collective bargaining.

Different issues. The same approach — to ignore the Constitution.

The former the Ohio Constitution, the later the US Constitution.

Both issues weaken the rights of people.

In both cases, the Ohio General Assembly may approve what it does not have the constitutional authority to grant.

CREATING JOBS OHIO

By a vote of 31-2, the State Senate approved yesterday HB 1, the measure creating Jobs Ohio, a private corporation that would assume the public job creation functions of the Ohio Department of Development. The measure permits state funds to be invested in this private company. This appears to be a direct violation of the Ohio constitution.

Article 8, Section 4 of the Ohio Constitution states, “The credit of the state shall not, in any manner, be given
or loaned to, or in aid of, any individual association or corporation whatever; nor shall the state ever hereafter become a joint owner, or stockholder, in any company or association in this state, or elsewhere, formed for any purpose whatever.”

The version of HB 1 passed was not the version originally proposed. After three rounds of testimony, several amendments were offered in a substitute bill that would increase transparency, prevent the new corporation from making political donations, and segregate funds. As one attorney told me who studied the original measure and reviewed the amendments, “it’s probably not as unconstitutional as before.”

That’s reassuring.

The prohibition of using public tax dollars for investments in private companies goes back to the 1837 “Plunder Law” (Ohio Loan Law) when the state was soaked for $20 million in lousy investments in canal and railroad corporations. Public pressure resulted in the repeal of the Plunder law. But that wasn’t enough. The public didn’t feel confident. What could be repealed today could be re-enacted tomorrow. Thus, the public pressure to “constitutionalize” this law — to be beyond the reach of corporations and compliant public officials. That’s how Article 8, Section 4 (and many other democratic articles and sections) of the Ohio Constitutional came into existence.

After this measures becomes law, will this measure be challenged? Depends I guess on how unconstitutional it’s perceived (I didn’t realize there was some sort of litmus test). If it does meet this threshold, it may also depend on whether wants to buck both political parties. It’s not real politically popular at the moment to come out against jobs and job creation. There’s also the question of legal priorities. All the legal eagles may have their eyes set on challenging another provision which may soon become law, which is….

ELIMINATING COLLECTIVE BARGAINING

Senate Bill 5 would eliminate collective bargaining rights for state employees and change the rights of local government employees. Doesn’t this violate the Contracts Clause of the US Constitution? State employees who work under a union do so under a contract. I thought contracts were considered “sacred.” That’s how they’re presented when a corporation is one of the parties. When workers are involved, contracts aren’t perceived with quite the same reverence.

Protect the rights of people to organize and collectively bargain. Oppose Senate Bill 5.

Testimony on Ohio House Bill 1

Ohio Senate Finance Committee – February 15, 2011

My name is Greg Coleridge. I’m the director of the Northeast Ohio American Friends Service Committee and author of the book Citizens over Corporations: A Brief History of Democracy in Ohio and Challenges to Freedom in the Future.

In 1837, the Ohio Legislature passed the Ohio Loan Law. This is one of the earliest examples of corporations gaining never-intended political power in our state.

The Ohio Loan Law provided funds to railroads, canals, and turnpike companies for construction and maintenance – loans to railroads and canals and funds for the purchase of stock in canal and turnpike companies.

The law greatly benefited Ohio’s development and permitted the state to have a different yet significant role in that development. Corporate influence on legislators, however, resulted in a few years in tremendous favoritism to certain industries (i.e. railroads over canals) and certain corporations (i.e. one railroad over another). This combination resulted in a $20 million state debt, increased taxes, and popular belief that government had been plundered (thus the nickname the “Plunder Law”) by corporate interests.

Stung by the rise in debt and loss of political power over corporations that the state legislature once possessed, the Plunder Law was repealed in 1842. That same year, the legislature also passed a general incorporation law that established among other provisions, that direct managers and stockholders of corporations were not immune from personal liability for the
corporation’s wrongdoing so long as the aggrieved party sued the corporation first.

These two acts together made corporate officials much more subordinate to the We the People – which was the intention of our state’s founders.

The public didn’t feel statutes went far enough to control corporations. A ballot proposal to hold a constitutional convention was approved statewide by 73% in 1850. As the Cleveland Plain Dealer put it, the convention provided an opportunity to pluck “the root of all political sin” from Ohio’s soil. In the words of one commentator, “the major motivating force [for the convention] was an anti-corporation sentiment.”

H.D. Clark, delegate to the Convention, stated the problem in these terms:
“The experiment has been tried in that body and almost every effort to engraft private responsibility on corporations has failed. The State is now strewed with the rotten, putrid carcasses of defunct corporations, and the effluvia is a stench in the nostrils of an outraged, swindled, community. The people of the county I represent have been scourged too much by corporations, to be willing to trust the Legislature.”

The sentiment at the convention was to “constitutionalize” laws controlling corporations – to transform statutes into constitutional provisions beyond the reach of corporations and their rented, leased, bought, and retained legislators.

The resulting 1851 revised Ohio Constitution, passed by voters, contained many strong provisions reasserting democratic control over corporations – affirming that they are, in fact, creations of the state.

Among them were Article XIII consists of seven sections placing general limits on the exercise of corporate power and Article VIII, specifically Section 4, which states (with amendment updates to the present): “The credit of the state shall not, in any manner, be given or loaned to, or in aid of, any individual association or corporation whatever; nor shall the state ever hereafter become a joint owner, or stockholder, in any company or association in this state, or elsewhere, formed for any purpose whatever.”

The language of this Amendment is very clear – no state money given or loaned to any corporation.

Wouldn’t that include the proposed Jobs Ohio corporation as defined in HB1?

Isn’t it unconstitutional for this proposed public corporation to take equity positions in private corporations?

Doesn’t that make the effort to privatize (or more descriptively, corporatize) part of the Ohio Department of Development a violation of the state constitution?

Didn’t We the People, those Ohioans who came before us who had experienced the financial disaster of the Plunder Law, abolish state investments and loans to corporations for a good reason?

And didn’t the citizens of Ohio, committed to self-governance, those who proposed and passed the 1851 Constitution, include Article VIII, Section 4 to prevent what is now being proposed legislatively in HB 1?

Our forebears who proposed and passed the 1851 Constitution were both wise and scathed from their experience to prevent turning over political power and public tax dollars to corporations.

HB1 is asking you to approve what you constitutionally do not have the authority to grant. Only the public, We the People, can amend the state constitution to give corporations more power and privileges.

None of us want a new Plunder Law. None of us want to see public tax dollars mixed up with private corporations. Hopefully, none of us as well want to violate a democratic provision of our state’s constitution.

HB1 may very well be a violation.