NEO AFSC October 30, 2015 Podcast

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Listen to podcast here

We summarize last week’s activities; share upcoming events for next week; and comment on upcoming actions on the Trans Pacific Partnership, how income inequality is more severe than we think, the wider importance of the judicial ruling allowing the class action suit by Occupy Wall Street for illegal eviction to proceed, and 3 final reflections on problems of Ohio Issue 2.

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Keep power with the people

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Letter to the Editor / Akron Beacon Journal
October 28, 2015
http://www.ohio.com/editorial/vop/letters-to-the-editor-not-donating-to-ua-opposed-to-state-issue-2-and-no-repeal-in-fairlawn-oct-28-1.635816

It was enthusiastically supported as an “anti-monopoly” constitutional amendment by many of the same legislators and interests who sat on their hands when the casino monopoly initiative earlier appeared on the ballot.

It was fast-tracked through the Ohio legislature with little time for debate.

It provides no definitions of key terms — such as “monopoly,” “commerce,” “commercial interest” and numerous others.

It would provide monopoly power to the Ohio Ballot Board to interpret the above non-defined terms to determine whether a circulated citizen initiative would create a “monopoly.”

It would insulate wealthy and corporate interests from citizen-initiated measures supporting state tax and commercial laws favoring the non-wealthy and small or cooperative businesses that may better protect people and communities.

It would weaken citizen initiatives, whereby citizens gather signatures to place a law directly on the ballot for voter consideration, one of our few remaining tools for direct democracy.

When a few with significant political power in any society call for weakening citizens’ power, we must resist.

Vote no on state Issue 2.

Greg Coleridge
Director
Northeast Ohio American Friends Service Committee
Cuyahoga Falls

MONETARY HISTORY CALENDAR October 26 – November 1

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OCTOBER 26

899 – REIGN OF KING ALFRED OF ENGLAND ENDS
Alfred the Great implemented a law that moneylenders who accepted usury would forfeit all their possessions to the King

OCTOBER 27

1945 – BIRTH OF LULA DE SILVA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF BRAZIL (2003-2010)
“The Third World War has already started. The war is tearing down Brazil, Latin America, and practically all the Third World. Instead of soldiers dying, there are children. It is a war over the Third World debt, one which has as its main weapon, interest, a weapon more deadly than the atom bomb, more shattering than a laser beam.”

OCTOBER 28

1704 – DEATH OF JOHN LOCKE, ENGLISH PHILOSOPHER
“Observe well these rules: It is a very common mistake to say that money is a commodity…Bullion is valued by its weight…money is valued by its stamp.”

OCTOBER 29

1897 – DEATH OF HENRY GEORGE, AUTHOR OF “POVERTY AND PROGRESS,” POLITICIAN AND ECONOMIST
“On the other hand it is the business of government to issue money. This is why the issuance of this money should be made a government function become still stronger. The evils entailed by wildcat banking in the United States are too well remembered to need reference. The loss and inconvenience, the swindling and corruption that flowed from the assumption by each State of the Union of the power to license banks of issue ended with the war, and no one would now go back to them. Yet instead of doing what every public consideration impels us to, and assuming wholly and fully as the exclusive function of the General Government the power to issue money, the private interests of bankers have, up to this, compelled us to the use of a hybrid currency, of which a large part, though guaranteed by the General Government, is issued and made profitable to corporations. The legitimate business of banking – the safekeeping and loaning of money, and the making and exchange of credits, is properly left to individuals and associations; but by leaving to them, even in part and under restrictions and guarantees, the issuance of money, the people of the United States suffer an annual loss of millions of dollars, and sensible increase the influences which exert a corrupting effect upon their government.”

1929 – US STOCK MARKET CRASH
Known as “Black Tuesday,” October 29 was the worst day in stock market history. Since everyone was selling and no one was buying, stock prices collapsed. The crash was due to policies of the Federal Reserve, which had made money cheap to borrow. Too much money was concentrated in too few hands. Cheap money resulted in wild speculation (booms or bubbles) in financial instruments, the stock market and office buildings rather than useful and necessary goods and services. Speculation was rampant. Understanding what was happening, but not admitting it to the public, the Fed significantly contracted the US money supply by raising interest rates to borrow money. Not enough money was available to meet economic needs. The speculative bubbles burst, triggering what became the Great Depression.

2014 – FEDERAL RESERVE ENDS ITS QUANTITATIVE EASING PROGRAM
Quantitative Easing (QE) was the Fed program which created and injected roughly $4 trillion into the economy to assist in its recovery. Much of the money went to banks — to invest in further speculations — not to assist non-wealthy consumers. Funds also ended up in the stock market — artificially inflated prices. The Fed ended the program by citing the economy’s “underlying strength,” which has certainly not been true for a majority of people.

OCTOBER 30

1735 – BIRTH OF JOHN ADAMS, 2ND PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
“All the perplexities, confusion and distress in America arise, not from the defects of the Constitution or confederation, not from the want of honor or virtues, so much as from the downright ignorance of the nation, of coin, credit and circulation.”

1840 – BIRTH OF WILLIAM GRAHAM SUMNER, PROFESSOR, YALE UNIVERSITY AND MONETARY THEORIST
“For as the currency question is of first importance and we cannot solve it or escape it by ignoring it.  We have got to face it and the best way to begin is not by wrangling about speculative opinions as to untried schemes but to go back to history and try to get hold of some firmly established principles.”

OCTOBER 31

1874 – PUBLICATION OF OCTOBER ISSUE OF INDUSTRIAL AGE MAGAZINE
“The religious press has almost without exception been the allies of the bondholders and bankers in their endless schemes to fleece the public, and the mouthpiece of the monopolists and the defender of the soulless corporations that fill their pockets by robbing the toiling people.”

NOVEMBER 1

1972 – DEATH OF EZRA POUND, US POET AND CRITIC
Some of his poetry deals with the destructive moral and social effects of usury.
“The usurers act through fraud, falsification, superstitions, habits and, when these methods do not function, they let loose a war. Everything hinges on monopoly, and the particular monopolies hinge around the great illusionistic monetary monopoly.”

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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 ill uminate monetary and banking issues and empower you with others to create real economic and political justice. This calendar is a project of the Northeast Ohio American Friends Service Committee. Adele Looney, Phyllis Titus, Donna Schall, Leah Davis, Alice Francini, Deb Jose and Greg Coleridge helped in its development. Please forward this to others and encourage them to subscribe. To subscribe/unsubscribe or to comment on any entry, email monetarycalendar@yahoo.com

Abolish “Electoral” Capital Punishment

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Ohio prison officials announced this week that they are delaying executions until at least 2017 due to a shortage of lethal injection drugs. Ohio joins several other states that are delaying inflicting “capital punishment” for this reason.

We associate “capital punishment” as the ultimate form of harm that a state can afflict on a human being — a death penalty for a committed crime so hideous that no other punishment seems sufficient.

There are 31 states in the U.S. where this form of capital punishment is legal. AFSC has been against this form of capital punishment nationally since its inception almost 100 years ago.

But this isn’t the only type of “capital punishment.”

There is another version.

It’s best described as this: if a person doesn’t invest sufficient financial capital in the political process, (s)he will be punished.

Call it “electoral capital punishment.”

The punishments in this version are not literally fines, whippings, jail time or physical death of those who don’t cough up cash to candidates, political parties, SuperPACs or “dark money” groups that run political “educational” ads. It should be a glaring omission, however, not to state the obvious that CEOs of Wall Street financial institutions responsible for the 2008 financial implosion which caused untold suffering to homeowners tricked into buying more home than they could afford or investors who thought their investments were AAAAAA but turned out to be absolute junk have politically invested like Godzilla over the last several year to federal candidates. Their political capital (i.e. campaign contributions or investments) has produced no serious federal investigations resulting in indictments, convictions or jail time. In this case, lots of political capital produced no punishment.

Rather, the punishments in this “electoral” version are the crimes of ignorance and neglect. The absence of campaign cash to the political process by the vast majority of people in this country has yielded an absence of our voices from authentically being heard, the absence of our basic needs being met, the absence of our communities being helped, and the absence of viable alternative non-mega corporate solutions from being realistically considered.

All because of the presence of huge sums of political capital from a sliver of the 1% and giant corporations that have made sure their voices, their needs, their communities and their solutions are anything but ignored and neglected.

While there remains a division of opinion on the issue of human capital punishment, there is growing recognition that the “electoral” version needs to be go. The hurts, harms and horrors of too much political “capital” from too few sources is a form of punishment that is absolutely “cruel and unusual” for the vast majority of people as well as what’s left of our self-governance.

It’s time to abolish “electoral capital punishment” constitutionally by abolishing the constitutional doctrines that corporations are legal persons and money is equal to speech.

MONETARY HISTORY CALENDAR October 19 – 25

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OCTOBER 19

1987 – U.S. STOCK MARKET CRASH
Known as Black Monday, stock markets around the world crashed. The Dow Jones average dropped by 508 points. It was the largest one-day percentage decline in Dow Jones history.

2004 – QUOTE BY ALAN GREENSPAN, CHAIRMAN OF THE FEDERAL RESERVE
His comments on subprime lending…
“Improvements in lending practices driven by information technology have enabled lenders to reach out to households with previously unrecognized borrowing capacities.”
Lenders began lending to those who they knew would be unable to pay back mortgages. They engaged in riskier and riskier loans. The entire system eventually collapsed. US taxpayers bailed these lending financial corporations out. Homeowners who were duped into signing contracts with hidden fees and adjustable rate mortgage loans received little federal assistance.

OCTOBER 20

2005 – QUOTE OF BEN BERNANKE, CHAIRMAN OF THE US FEDERAL RESERVE
“House prices have risen by nearly 25% over the past two years. Although speculative activity has increased in some areas, at a national level these price increases largely reflect strong economic fundamentals.”
Less than 3 years later, the housing market collapsed.

OCTOBER 21

1808 – BIRTH OF SAMUEL FRANCES SMITH, MINISTER, JOURNALIST AND AUTHOR
Smith was also a songwriter. He is best known for writing the lyrics to “My Country Tis of Thee,” which he entitled “America.” Using the same tune, Greenbackers (those who advocated issuing and circulating debt-free US public money) in the 1880’s came up with their own rendition:
Thou, Greenback, ‘tis of thee,
Fair money of the free,
Of thee we sing.
And through all coming time
Great bards in every clime
Will sing with joyful rhyme,
Gold is not king.

Then smash old Shylock’s bonds,
With all his gold coupons,
The banks and rings.
Monopolies must fail,
Rich paupers work in jail,
The ring will then prevail,
Not money kings.

OCTOBER 22

2014 – RELEASE OF THE VIDEO, “THE MONEY FIX: A DOCUMENTARY FOR MONETARY REFORM”
The video provides a good analysis of the problem. Its major solution, however, is limited to organizing community currencies – not addressing macro real monetary reform (e.g. changing laws).
http://www.neverontv.com/the-money-fix-a-documentary-for-monetary-reform/

OCTOBER 23

2008 – TESTIMONY OF ALAN GREENSPAN, FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRMAN, BEFORE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON OVERSIGHT AND GOVERNMENT REFORM (NEW YORK TIMES ARTICLE)
Question to Greenspan: “Do you feel that your ideology pushed you to make decisions that you wish you had not made?”
Mr. Greenspan conceded: “Yes, I’ve found a flaw. I don’t know how significant or permanent it is. But I’ve been very distressed by that fact.” “Those of us who have looked to the self-interest of lending institutions to protect shareholders’ equity, myself included, are in a state of shocked disbelief.”

2009 – PUBLICATION OF ARTICLE, “PRICELESS: HOW THE FEDERAL RESERVE BOUGHT THE ECONOMICS PROFESSION” PUBLISHED BY RYAN GRIM
“The Federal Reserve, through its extensive network of consultants, visiting scholars, alumni and staff economists, so thoroughly dominates the field of economics that real criticism of the central bank has become a career liability for members of the profession, an investigation by the Huffington Post has found.                                                                                                                 This dominance helps explain how, even after the Fed failed to foresee the greatest economic collapse since the Great Depression, the central bank has largely escaped criticism from academic economists. In the Fed’s thrall, the economists missed it, too.
‘The Fed has a lock on the economics world,’ says Joshua Rosner, a Wall Street analyst who correctly called the meltdown. ‘There is no room for other views, which I guess is why economists got it so wrong.’”
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/09/07/priceless-how-the-federal_n_278805.html

OCTOBER 24

2008 – PNC FINANCIAL SERVICES CORPORATION PURCHASES NATIONAL CITY CORPORATION
Using bank bailout funds under the federal TARP program, PNC, headquartered in Pittsburgh, purchases National City Corporation, a major Cleveland based bank. The transaction created the 5th largest U.S. banking corporation. TARP funds were intended to assist struggling banks. The funds ended up in many cases, like PNC, enlarging “too-big-to-fail” banking corporations.

OCTOBER 25

2010 – SPEECH BY SIR MERVYN KING, FORMER GOVERNOR OF THE BANK OF ENGLAND
“Of all the many ways of organising banking, the worst is the one we have today.
“Change is, I believe, inevitable. The question is only whether we can think our way through to a better outcome before the next generation is damaged by a future and bigger crisis. This crisis has already left a legacy of debt to the next generation. We must not leave them the legacy of a fragile banking system too.”
From speech, “Banking: From Bagehot to Basel, and Back Again” To read a summary and analysis of the talk, go to http://positivemoney.org/2010/10/mervyn-king-of-all-the-many-ways-of-organising-banking-the-worst-is-the-one-we-have-today

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