Penta Reasons to Cut the Pentagon

This is an expanded version of remarks provided at the “No Cuts” rally on January 30 on Public Square in downtown Cleveland, sponsored by the “No Cuts Coalition,a Faith-based/Labor/Community coalition 

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Those in Congress and the public focusing on saving earned benefit (i.e. Social Security and Medicare) and domestic (i.e. education, food assistance, housing, etc.) programs from budget cuts need to focus on the Pentagon for finding money to reduce our nation’s debt. Additional tax increases on the rich are one source. Closing tax loopholes for corporations are another. Cutting the bloated Pentagon military budget is certainly a third source.

As the Pentagon is the five sided headquarters of the U.S. military, here’s penta (Greek for the number five) reasons for cutting the Pentagon – expressed in five different numbers:

0: Number of full audits of the Pentagon. The Pentagon is the only U.S. agency not subject to regular audits. Their mammoth and decentralized bureaucracy injected each year with hundreds of billions of tax dollars has been virtually impossible to track. Documented levels of waste have in some cases exceeded entire budgets of several human needs programs. Anyone with any semblance of fiscal responsibility should be both shocked and outraged at the “defense” (definitely no pun intended) that the Pentagon is simply “too big to audit” (where have we heard that kind of language before?). No person in his or her right mind would perceive any private company or non-profit charitable organization as reputable, which wasn’t subjected to annual audits. The result of Congress forcing a recent audit of the Federal Reserve system (for the first time in its history) was the discovery of $16 trillion that were made available to “too big to fail” US and international banks — at the very time homeowners and communities were struggling following the 2007-8 financial collapse. A full Pentagon audit will undoubtedly reveal billions upon billions of dollars of waste, fraud and abuse.

2: As is 2 times or double. Pentagon spending has doubled since 1998—and that doesn’t include the $1.4 trillion for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The Pentagon doesn’t spend all the money it’s allocated each year. At the end of the 2012 Fiscal Year ending last September 30, $100 billion was sitting in its bank waiting to be spent.

60: As in nearly 60% of all spending Congress votes on directly (called discretionary spending) last year went to the Pentagon. Congress has in the past allocated more to the Pentagon than what they’ve requested. The 2012 budget is about six times larger the military budget of China. It’s also greater than the next twenty largest military spenders on earth – combined.

1000: Number of military bases and installations outside the United States of America. Many call the US global military expansion an Empire – with a presence on every continent in scores of nations. It’s estimated that $170 billion per year is spent to maintain US bases and troops around the world. Since the start of the 2001 so-called “war on terror,” estimates to maintain this global military Empire is around $2 trillion…and counting. Does the U.S. really need multiple military bases and installations in Germany, Italy, Great Britain, Japan and many other nations? The economies of many of these nations are better than ours.

51: As in 51% percent increase over the last year in political lobbying by Northrup Grumman corporation, a major military contractor. Another major contractor, Lockheed Martin corporation, increased their lobbying last year by 25%. Such lobbying buys access and influence – resulting in ever more military contracts to produce ever more weapon systems we don’t need and certainly can’t afford.

The number 51, however, also happens to be the percent of Americans who want Pentagon cuts to reduce the deficit, according to a recent poll by the conservative Economist magazine. This compares to 31% who want cuts to Medicaid, 21% to Medicare, and 19% to Social Security. If our nation is anything approaching a representative democracy, these poll numbers should mean our federal elected officials would look first and not last at the Pentagon for places to find money to reduce the deficit. We know, though, that political influence from corporation and the very wealthy trumps the voice of the rest of our nation’s citizens. It’s up to the vast majority of people who want to see earned benefit and domestic programs preserved to join with vast numbers of others to create a political force to collectively demand cuts in the Pentagon.  Such initiatives won’t come from the top down. They must come from us.

Citizens United rally

By: Ryan Clark
The Columbus Dispatch – January 18, 2013 4:01 PM
http://dispatchpolitics.dispatch.com/content/blogs/the-daily-briefing/2013/01/11813-citizens-united-rally.html

Citizens United opponents likened the rights of corporations to a national scandal this week: Manti Te’o’s hoax girlfriend.

“If you think about this notion of a ‘catfish relationship’ of an online, supposedly hoax of a person who was relating to another person that didn’t even exist,” said Greg Coleridge, of Move to Amend. “The media has jumped on that, meanwhile the ultimate Moby Dick … of a hoax is that we have defined corporations as persons.”

Coleridge spoke to about 20 people during a press conference today on the danger of giving rights to corporations. Later, about 30 people marched to the Ohio Statehouse with signs and a megaphone to spread their message.

Citizens United is a controversial Supreme Court decision that expanded the rights of corporations to donate funds in the political arena.

Tabitha Woodruff, of the Ohio PIRG Education Fund, released what she said is troubling data the organization collected about fundraising during the 2012 election season, specifically from Super PAC and outside organizations. Outside groups – those not officially collaborating with candidates – spent more than $41 million on Ohio’s federal Senate and House races last year. Of that, super-PACs spent $18.8 million, according to the organization’s report.

The report also stated that more than 40 percent of outside funding came from groups that are not required to publicly disclose their donors.

In all, super-PACs spent $634 million this election and often-affiliated 501(c) groups spent $300 million, according to the Sunlight Foundation. The figures include House, Senate and presidential races.

Woodruff and others said the large amount of outside and hidden spending alters the election process.
“When you talk about one person, one vote, that’s not happening anymore,” Woodruff said.

Citizens United opponents are fighting to eventually pass a constitutional amendment to remove the rights of corporations completely, allowing legislators to regulate campaign fundraising and spending.
The movement has not received high levels of media attention, but is gaining members and momentum, said Michael Greenman, co-founder of the Central Ohio Move to Amend organization.

As opponents spread the word, more people will get on board, which is important because of the suppression of democracy has become like the suppression of the colonists by the pre-revolutionary British, Greenman said.

“We can’t even talk about gun control because of the influence of corporations,” he said. “This movement has got to come from the people.”

The problem, Greenman said, is that there is not enough attention and motivation yet. Achieving the goal of a constitutional amendment is still decades off, he said.

Opponents have made progress, however, with city councils in cities like Athens and Oberlin passing official resolutions, Greenman said.

“I don’t think anyone is saying it’s going to be quick,” Greenman said. “I’d love to be optimistic, but it may not even happen within my lifetime – and I’ll keep fighting until then.”

MONETARY HISTORY CALENDAR January 21 – 27

JANUARY 24

1811 – CHARTER OF FIRST BANK OF UNITED STATES NOT RENEWED
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. Within 2 months of its creation, it flooded the market with loans and banknotes and then sharply shifted course and 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. The result was Congress voting to not renew the bank’s charter, thus dissolving the bank. During the first 50 years of the US, legislatures and courts routinely chose  not to renew or revoke corporate charters, which were considered democratic instruments and used to control the actions of corporations.

1932 – DEATH OF PAUL WARBURG, US BANKER

Warburg guided the operations of the National Citizens League, an organization formed in 1911 with $5 million in contributions from the big New York banks (including those owned by John D. Rockefeller and J.P Morgan) to establish an “educational fund.”  The fund financed respected university professors to endorse the concept of creating a private central bank, what became the Federal Reserve Bank, created by the 1913 Federal Reserve Act.

1939 – STATEMENT MADE BY ROBERT H. HEMPHILL, CREDIT MANAGER OF THE FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF ATLANTA 
“We are completely dependent on the commercial banks.  Someone has to borrow every dollar we have in circulation, cash or credit.  If the banks create ample synthetic money, we are prosperous; if not, we starve.  We are absolutely without a permanent money system. When one gets a complete grasp of the picture, the tragic absurdity of our hopeless position is almost incredible; but there it is. It is the most important subject intelligent persons can investigate and reflect upon. It is so important that our present civilization may collapse unless it becomes widely understood and the defects remedied…”

JANUARY 25

1898 – SECOND INDIANAPOLIS MONETARY CONVENTION BEGINS
Billed as a grassroots effort for monetary reform, the second convention brought together nearly 500 representatives from 31 states. It was a follow-up gathering of major corporate leaders (including many bankers and economists representing leading corporations) to the first convention held a year earlier. Participants advocated for a privately run national central bank. Just as the proposed national central bank was misleading (to be privately controlled), the first and second Indianapolis Monetary Conventions were equally misleading. They were hardly “grassroots”, yet the image was useful when lobbying Congress and communicating with the public.

JANUARY 27

2010 — DEATH OF HOWARD ZINN, HISTORIAN
“The challenge remains. On the other side are formidable forces: money, political power, the major media. On our side are the people of the world and a power greater than money or weapons: the truth. Truth has a power of its own. Art has a power of its own. That age-old lesson – that everything we do matters – is the meaning of the people’s struggle here in the United States and everywhere. A poem can inspire a movement. A pamphlet can spark a revolution. Civil disobedience can arouse people and provoke us to think. When we organize with one another, when we get involved, when we stand up and speak out together, we can create a power no government can suppress. We live in a beautiful country. But people who have no respect for human life, freedom or justice have taken it over. It is now up to all of us to take it back.”

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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

Annual "I’ll believe a corporation is a person when…" List

Please add to the list. It’s a compilation from submissions over the past 2 years — released around the anniversary of the January 21 Citizens United vs FEC Supreme Court decision, which expanded never-intended inalienable constitutional rights for corporations.

Feel free to use it in any Citizens United anniversary actions.

A final version will be released on Monday  – the third anniversary of Citizens United.

People are people. Corporations are public creations of real human persons and our governments – legally distinct from simply a group of people informally working together. Thus, We the People have the democratic responsibility to define or regulate corporations (our creations) in ways that best serve communities, our environment and us.

More information is at movetoamend.org

“I’ll believe a corporation is a person when…
… Arizona deports one
… Texas executes one
… Massachusetts marries two of them
… The US government issues one a Social Security number
… one gets a STD after jumping in bed with an elected representative
… one returns from the Mideast with PTSD
… the CIA extradites one to Guantanamo
… one sacrifices its life in military service
… one is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize
… one is baptized
… one dies from hunger or sickness
… one falls in love
… one is awed by beauty
… one is humbled by things it does not know
… it is NOT too big to JAIL
… one values the life and well being of any one individual before it’s own existence
… The Ohio State University graduates one
… Ohio denies two same sex marriage (and divorce) rights
… one can’t find a job
… one is elected president
… one dies in childbirth.
… one is put in prison  (which would most likely be for defrauding it’s investors)
… one dies and is buried in a cemetery
… it grows a heart
… it develops a conscience
… one stays up all night with a sick baby, a troubled teen, or a dying parent
… one worries about the meaning of life
… one is capable of empathy
… one has an ultrasound detected heartbeat
… when its conception occurs in utero
… one is actually held fully responsible for its actions
… one adopts any of those babies delivered from the women who were denied access to a legal abortion
…. one has to register for the draft
…  I see one doing the hokey-pokey
… one gets pregnant, gives birth and breastfeeds the newborn.
… our budget is balanced
… Herman Cain sexually harasses one
… a female corporation makes 75 cents for every dollar a male corporatoin makes
… the created is equal to the creator
…  it grows an opposable thumb.
… Gepetto makes it a real boy
… they are able to reproduce sexually. They already fuck people, but not in the biological way.
… one gives up their personhood to save another person
… they pay their fair share of taxes
… disco music is finally eradicated from the face of the earth
… Lucy lets Charlie Brown kick the football
… a winter storm warning is posted for hell
… Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. return to Earth and declare corporations are people.
… one teaches a child
…. it shows me its birth certificate
… they all start laughing out loud at these remarks.”
And finally…
“I will never believe a corporation is a person.”

Ohio Actions to Mark Citizens United 3rd Anniversary

January 21 is the 3rd anniversary of the Supreme Court decision, Citizens United v FEC. The decision expanded the constitutional rights of corporations to spend money on elections. The result was an increase in political spending (much of it secret) from corporations and wealthy individuals on political ads – producing a political megaphone that drowned out the voices of people without money.

Below are a listing of actions taking place in various communities across Ohio within the next week related to the growing national movement to pass a constitutional amendment to reverse Citizens United AND end all never intended constitutional rights for corporations AND end the constitutional doctrine that political money is equivalent to political free speech.  Also note that there will be a statewide meeting of the Move to Amend Ohio network February 9 in Columbus (listed at the end).

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ASSERTING THE RIGHTS OF PEOPLE OVER THOSE OF CORPORATIONS AND ELECTIONS
Community Meeting / Wednesday, January 16th / 7 pm

Shaker Heights Community Center, 3450 Lee Road, Shaker Heights
Details at https://movetoamend.org/asserting-rights-people-over-those-corporations-and-elections


FLYERING AT MARTIN LUTHER KING EVENT
[connecting Citizens United and corporate “personhood” to the 14th Amendment]                           
Wednesday, January 16, 7:00 pm,
Cleveland Hts. Community Center, 1 Monticello Blvd., Cleveland Heights
More information, contact Carla Rautenberg, rcarla@aol.com

Human Rights Film Series Launch: “We’re Not Broke”
Thursday, January 17 at 7:00pm
Wild Goose Creative, 2491 Summit Street, Columbus, Ohio 43202
A FREE documentary screening in Columbus before the Citizens United Anniversary event, exposing how corporations dodge billions in taxes!
Details at http://www.facebook.com/events/238527426279952/

Reclaim Democracy Forum & March: Marking the 3rd Anniversary of Citizens United
Friday,  January 18, 2013
11:00am-12:30pm FORUM at Progress Ohio, 172 E. State St. Suite 600 Columbus, OH 43215
12:30-1:30pm MARCH TO Statehouse
Sponsored by Move to Amend, Ohio PIRG, and Progress Ohio
This is a statewide action. All are welcome!
Details at https://movetoamend.org/reclaim-democracy-forum-march-marking-3rd-anniversary-citizens-united

RECLAIM DEMOCRACY RALLY: MARKING THE 3RD ANNIVERSARY OF CITIZENS UNITED
Friday, January 18 / 4:30 pm – 5:30pm
Federal Building, corner of Main and Market streets, Akron
For more information, contact Hallie Bowie at hallie17@sbcglobal.net

Film and Forum: How to Save Our Democracy
Saturday, January 19, 1:00 pm

Lakewood Public Library
15425 Detroit Ave., Lakewood
Details at https://movetoamend.org/film-and-forum-how-save-our-democracy

FLYERING AT MARTIN LUTHER KING EVENT
[connecting Citizens United and corporate “personhood” to the 14th Amendment]                           
Sunday, January 20, 3;30 pm – 5:30 pm
Hope Lutheran Church, 2222 North Taylor Road, Cleveland Heights
More information, contact Carla Rautenberg, rcarla@aol.com

FLYERING AT MARTIN LUTHER KING EVENT
Monday, January 21, Toledo
More information, contact Doug Jambard-Sweet, dougiefresh43537@yahoo.com

MOVE TO AMEND OHIO STATEWIDE NETWORK MEETING
Open to all members of Ohio Move to Amend affiliates and partner groups AND those who want to work on Move to Amend issues in their communities and/or through their groups!
Saturday, February 9 / 11:30 am – 5:00 pm
First Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbus
93 W. Weisheimer Rd., Worthington, Ohio
Bring a bag lunch. Beverages provided.

MONETARY HISTORY CALENDAR January 14-20

JANUARY 14

1753 – DEATH OF GEORGE BERKELEY, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF CLOYNE IRELAND, PHILOSOPHER
Berkeley wrote The Querest in 1735. It was written as questions, which suggested their own answers. On whether money has inherent value, he asked/wrote: “Whether money is to be considered as having an intrinsic value, or as being a commodity, a standard, a measure, or a pledge as is variously suggested by writers? On the evolution of exchange and money, “Whether in the rude original society the first step was not the exchanging of commodities, the next a substitution of metals by weight as the common medium of circulation, after this the making use of coin, lastly a further refinement by the use of paper with proper marks and signatures? And whether as it is the last so it be not the greatest improvement?  And whether money be not in truth tickets or tokens for conveying and recording such power, and whether it be of great consequence what materials the tickets are made of.”

1875 – U.S. CONGRESS PASSES SPECIE RESUMPTION ACT
Wall Street bankers hated federal Greenbacks (U.S. created debt-free money issued by the administration of Republican President Abraham Lincoln.). They preferred “hard money” or “specie” money (paper money backed by gold), since the major banks controlled most of the nation’s gold. Ohio Senator John Sherman (so close was he to the First National Bank of New York that the bank was dubbed “Fort Sherman”) was the major advocate of the Specie Resumption Act, passed during the lame-duck controlled Congress (where have we heard that before). The Act legislated the U.S. Treasury to resume the issuance of legal tender notes backed only by gold (Greenbacks were only backed by the faith and credit of the US). The Act also took steps to reduce the amount of Greenbacks in circulation — a step toward the creation of bank issued debt-money that the government would borrow from them at interest vs using government money without having to pay interest. Farmers and small manufactures opposed the Act, fearful that a contraction of the money supply would lead to a recession or depression. The Act took effect on January 1, 1879. It was a major step toward the re-consolidation of the nation’s money supply and economy toward the Money Trust.

2009 – DEATH OF CHARLES WALTERS, FOUNDER OF ACRES MAGAZINE, A VOICE FOR ECO-AGRICULTURE
“Once upon a time the nobles of Europe believed they had accomplished the physical impossibility of perpetual interest simply by owning all the land and raking in tribute from the peasantry, and when death finally pulled down an economic maggot, then there was always the heir. The historical showdown arrived, of course, and the ‘new nobles’ were forced to invent a more subtle form of tribute taking. It came on as debt, interest, compound interest, and all the institutional arrangements required to make the producing community share its income with the creditor. For centuries the details have stacked up, but economists [by and large] have failed to draw the appropriate conclusions.”

JANUARY 16

1911 – ISSUANCE OF PAMPHLET SUGGESTING PLAN FOR NATIONAL PRIVATE CENTRAL BANK
US Senator Nelson Aldrich introduced a plan for creation of a national private central bank based on the conclusions developed by bankers who met secretly on Jekyll Island. GA. The Citizens League, later the National Citizens League, was formed to promote the plan. The establishment of the Federal Reserve System was the event result of the plan.

JANUARY 17

1706 – BIRTH OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
“The colonies would gladly have borne the little tax on tea and other matters had it not been that England took away from the colonies their money, which created unemployment and dissatisfaction. The inability of the colonists to get power to issue their own money permanently out of the hands of George III and the international bankers was the prime reason for the revolutionary war.”
“This effect of paper currency is not understood in England. And indeed the whole is a mystery to the politicians how we have been able to continue a war for four years without money and how we could pay with paper that had no previously fixed fund appropriated specifically to redeem it.  This currency…is a wonderful machine.”

1863 – BIRTH OF LLOYD GEORGE, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER, 1916-1922

“The international bankers swept statesmen, politicians, journalists and jurists all to one side and issued their order with the imperiousness of absolute monarchs.”

JANUARY 18

1910 – BIRTH OF KENNETH BOULDING, ECONOMIST, PROFESSOR, PEACE ACTIVIST, QUAKER
“Anyone who believes exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist.”

JANUARY 20

1859 – BIRTH OF CHARLES LINDBURGH, SR., REPUBLICAN US REPRESENTATIVE AND FATHER OF THE FAMOUS AVIATOR
“Ever since the Civil War Congress has allowed the bankers to control financial legislation. The membership of the Finance Committee in the Senate (now the Banking and Currency Committee) and the Committee on Banking and Currency in the House have been made up chiefly of bankers, their agents and their attorneys. These committees have controlled the nature of bills to be reported, the extent of them, and debates that were to be held on them when they were being considered in the Senate and the House.”
“This [Federal Reserve] Act establishes the most gigantic trust on earth.  When the president signs this bill, the invisible government by the monetary power will be legalized.  The people may not know it immediately but the day of reckoning is only a few years removed, the worst legislative crime of the ages perpetrated by this bank bill.”

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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