Absurd view of corporations

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Published letter to the editor

Akron Beacon Journal


http://www.ohio.com/editorial/vop/letters-to-the-editor-march-31-1.476948

The claim last week before the U.S. Supreme Court that a for-profit arts and craft corporation, Hobby Lobby, possesses religious beliefs is the latest absurdity in the notion that corporations are “persons” with inalienable constitutional rights.

Hobby Lobby’s owners certainly have a right to religious freedom under the First Amendment, but their corporation does not. As a creation of the state, for-profit corporations are legally separate from their owners.

While certain laws shield religious groups from complying with particular federal statutes, Hobby Lobby is not a religious group or connected to one. The religious beliefs of its owners, who oppose the Affordable Care Act provision for providing contraceptives to women, are not applicable.

A Supreme Court ruling favorable to Hobby Lobby later this year would not only be an assault on common sense, but also an admission that artificial legal entities are spiritual.
It would also no doubt be an assault on a variety of democratically enacted health, safety and civil rights laws protecting people and communities, if such laws violated a corporation’s “religion.”

The bizarre time we live in where money equals speech and corporations are persons would become all the more preposterous if the court concludes that corporations can practice religion.

Greg Coleridge

Director

Northeast Ohio American Friends Service Committee

Cuyahoga Falls

AFSC Weekly Podcast – March 28

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We summarize last week’s events, announce upcoming events for next week and comment on the Supreme Court case on corporate religious rights, the Pentagon slush fund, the Senate unemployment insurance bill, an admission that federal policies help the wealthy and a new report on corporate welfare.

Tune in. Let us know what you think!

http://afsc.org/audio/neo-afsc-march-28-2014-podcast

MONETARY HISTORY CALENDAR March 24-30

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MARCH 24

2008 – NEW YORK FEDERAL RESERVE BANK ANNOUNCEMENT IT WILL GIVE CASH TO J.P. MORGAN CORPORATION TO ACQUIRE BEAR STEARNS
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York announces that it will provide term financing to facilitate JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s acquisition of The Bear Stearns Companies Inc. J.P Morgan received $29 billion from the Fed. However, the Fed never provided term financing of this amount to help small businesses or homeowners who were victimized by the speculative financial ventures of Bear Stearns which led to its implosion, triggering the Great Recession.

MARCH 25

1894 – COXEY’S ARMY BEGINS MARCH
Jacob Coxey, a businessman from Massillon, Ohio organized a 500-strong “Coxey’s Army” march from Massillon (beginning on March 25, 1894) to Washington, D.C. (ending April 30) to promote federal intervention for job creation. The primary demand of this “petition in boots” was unique — the direct printing and issuance of $500 million by the Federal Treasury to employ 4 million people. Coxey’s Army proposed two bills. The first, a “Good Roads Bill”, would help farmers through $500 million issued by the federal government in legal tender notes, or greenbacks, to construct rural roads. The second, a noninterest-bearing bonds bill, would empower state and local governments to issue noninterest-bearing bonds to be used to borrow legal tender notes from the federal treasury. This money would be used to build urban libraries, schools, utility plants and marketplaces. Millions of jobs would have been created — debt-free.

MARCH 26

1892 – BIRTH OF PAUL DOUGLAS, ECONOMIST, US SENATOR, QUAKER
Douglas was a prominent University of Chicago economist who helped develop “A Program for Monetary Reform” in 1939 — sent to President Roosevelt as a means to end the Great Depression. More than 230 economists from 150 universities approved it without reservations while an additional 40 supported it with some reservations.

In assessing the problem of the day, the PMR states, “If the purpose of money and credit were to discourage the exchange of goods and services, to destroy periodically the wealth produced, to frustrate and trip those who work and save, our present monetary system would seem a most effective instrument to that end.” It also stated monetary systems based on a gold standard “has had…disastrous results all over the world.”

The PMR called for government creation and maintenance in the quantity of money. “Our own monetary policy should…be directed toward avoiding inflation as well as deflation, and in attaining and maintaining as nearly as possible, full production and employment.” The plan also called for eliminating fractional reserve lending – the process of banks loaning ourt many more times the amount of money in their possession. Back in the 1930’s the reserved requirement was 5:1. Today it’s 9:1. Some of the major banks involved in the economic collapse of 2007 had ignored this law and were loaning out 50 times their reserves. The PMR called for a 100% reserve requirement – banks could only lend the amount of money they possessed.

The document goes on, “In early times the creation of money was the sole privilege of the kings or other sovereigns – namely the sovereign people, acting through their Government. This principle is firmly anchored in our Constitution and it is a perversion to transfer the privilege to private parties to use in their own real or presumed interest. The founders of the Republic did not expect the banks to create the money they lend. “

Their plan to reduce the national debt was simply to have the government purchase government bonds with new US debt-free money.

MARCH 30

1948 – BIRTH OF MERVYN KING, CURRENT GOVERNOR OF THE BANK OF ENGLAND
“Of all the many ways of organising banking, the worst is the one we have today.” Possible remedies included not just breaking up banks, but also “eliminating fractional reserve banking”—the centuries-old practice of banks taking in deposits and lending most of them out in riskier and longer-term loans.

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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

 

Munroe Falls Protecting Democracy

Unpublished letter to the Akron Beacon Journal 
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To the Editor,

The Munroe Falls challenge before the Ohio Supreme Court on the control of gas and oil drilling is on one level about fracking. On a larger level it’s about democracy. Do local elected officials have the fundamental right to decide what takes place in their communities that directly impacts the health, safety and welfare of their residents or not?

The Beck Energy corporations of this nation have been escaping democratically enacted laws like Munroe Falls zoning statutes for more than a century. Their playbook has consisted of three strategies to shift decision-making from:

1.The legislative to the judicial arena. Judges are fewer in number and further removed from the public than legislators — thus easier as a group to politically influence. At the federal level it’s even better as judges are appointed.

2.The legislative level to regulatory agencies, which are often staffed by people who used to work for those they now regulate. Moreover, regulatory agencies are a buffer between corporations and the public. Unfavorable decisions can also be appealed to courts.

3.One level of government to another: local to state, state to nation, national to international. The higher the level the shift, the further removed from public influence and the greater influence of corporations. The 2004 Ohio law giving “sole and exclusive” authority to regulate drilling to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources was a double gift to energy corporations (shift to a regulatory agency AND to a high level).

These and other corporate powers will continue to be exerted to our political and economic detriment until we organize not simply to oppose this or that single corporate harm, but also in support of the Move to Amend Constitutional Amendment declaring that only human beings, not corporations, possess inalienable constitutional rights and that money is not free speech.

Greg Coleridge
Director
Northeast Ohio American Friends Service Committee
Address: 2101 Front St., #111, Cuyahoga Falls, OH 44221
Phone: 330-928-2301
Fax: 330-928-2628
Email: gcoleridge@afsc.org

4 Problems with Billionaires Privatizing American Science

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I have no problem with the super rich investing their own money in science. Many, if not most, seem genuinely committed to making a positive difference. No doubt the chances are improved of advances if such private investment occurs alongside public investment.

There are at least 4 major problems, however, with privatized science research:

1. Public research has been more committed to “basic” research with no specific short term aim but which has led to fantastic discoveries throughout our nation’s history. Private research is more “mission oriented” — to create or improve a specific product for profit.  Publicly funded science has in the past been more dedicated to serving the common good than private/corporate interests.

2. Private research can serve as an excuse to reduce public research — particularly when public budgets are tights and debts are soaring. If government no longer control what research is funded, We the People have lost another piece of what remains of self-governance. We now must depend on what the billionaires feel is important to research, not our own government.

3. If private science research funding increases while public science funding decreases, trendy science projects (i.e. personal space exploration) or research addressing problems of white people (i.e. cystic fibrosis, melanoma and ovarian cancer) may receive greater attention than concerns and illnesses affecting others.

4. If private science research funding replaces public science research funding rather than complements or supplements it, a huge red flag will be objectivity. Will private research protocols and processes be transparent? Be peer reviewed? The temptation to engage in scientific “research” to justify whatever the endeavors of corporations connected to the billionaires bankrolling the research will be tremendous. Corporate influence over public research and public regulatory bodies are already substantial. With “public” barriers  and whatever degree of public accountability exists out of their way, private/corporate entities will have free reign use research as PR to reinforce their actions.

Quote from article:
“For better or worse,” said Steven A. Edwards, a policy analyst at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, “the practice of science in the 21st century is becoming shaped less by national priorities or by peer-review groups and more by the particular preferences of individuals with huge amounts of money.”

Billionaires with big ideas are privatizing American science 
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/32131874.cms?curpg=2&utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst

Global Debt and Banking Corporations

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Global Debt and Banking Corporations

This problem is only getting worse…

Global Debt Exceeds $100 Trillion

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/03/global-debt-exceeds-100-trillion.html

“Has all that money gone to stimulate the economy? Nope …
Virtually none of it has. Instead, governments chose big banks over their own people. The huge amount of debt was racked up to bail out the big banks.”

The solution…


Banking on Never-Ending Power and Rights


http://poclad.org/BWA/2014/BWA_2014_Feb.html