REAL Democracy History Calendar: March 27 – April 2

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https://realdemocracyhistorycalendar.wordpress.com/2017/03/20/real-democracy-history-calendar-march-20-26/

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MONETARY HISTORY CALENDAR March 26 – April 1

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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 multiple 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 27

1933 – BIRTH OF HAZEL HENDERSON, FUTURIST AND ECONOMIST
“All of the intellectual models of the new economy are about cooperation, sharing and abundance.”

2009 –  BARACK OBAMA ASSURES BANKERS HE WILL PROTECT THEM
President Barack Obama’s as expressed privately to the CEOs of Wall Street assembled together in the White House: “”And I want to help. But you need to show that you get that this is a crisis and that everyone has to make some sacrifices…I’m not out there to go after you. I’m protecting you. But if I’m going to shield you from public and congressional anger, you have to give me something to work with on these issues of compensation.”

MARCH 28

2007 – QUOTE BY BEN BERNANKE, CHAIR OF THE US FEDERAL RESERVE
“At this juncture, however, the impact on the broader economy and financial markets of the problems in the subprime market seems likely to be contained. In particular, mortgages to prime borrowers and fixed-rate mortgages to all classes of borrowers continue to perform well, with low rates of delinquency.”
[Note: So much for believing that the head of the Fed should be thought of as some monetary guru.]

MARCH 29

2010 – REUTERS ARTICLE, UK LAWMAKERS SEEK RADICAL, NOT RUSHED BANK REFORM
“Radical and carefully thought reform is needed to shield British taxpayers from having to bail out troubled banks again, a UK parliamentary report said on Monday.
If a bank is too complex to adopt practical and speedy wind-up plan or living will, regulators should be ready to break it up, the Treasury Committee report on banks said.”

MARCH 30

1948 – BIRTH OF MERVYN KING, FORMER GOVERNOR OF THE BANK OF ENGLAND
“Of all the many ways of organizing 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.”

MARCH 31

1913 – DEATH OF J. PIERPONT MORGAN, BANKER
J.P Morgan founded one of the world’s most powerful banks and had extraordinary political influence in the U.S. The National Citizens League, funded by millions of dollars from Morgan and a few other major bankers, financed respected university professors to endorse the concept of creating a private/corporate central bank, which became the Federal Reserve Bank, created by the 1913 Federal Reserve Act. Morgan’s men were among the small number of architects of the private/corporate Federal Reserve.

1999 – “THE MATRIX” FILM RELEASE DATE
“Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world. You don’t know what it is, but it’s there, like a splinter in your mind driving you mad. It is this feeling that has brought you to me. Do you know what I’m talking about?”  — Morpheus to Neo

2015 – PUBLISHED ARTICLE, “ICELAND LOOKS AT ENDING BOOM AND BUST WILL RADICATL MONEY PLAN”
“Iceland’s government is considering a revolutionary monetary proposal – removing the power of commercial banks to create money and handing it to the central bank.”
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/11507810/Iceland-looks-at-ending-boom-and-bust-with-radical-money-plan.html

APRIL 1

2011 – PUBLISHED ARTICLE IN BLOOMBERG: “FOREIGN BANKS TAPPED FED’S SECRET LIFELINE MOST AT CRISIS PEAK”
“Dexia SA (DEXB), based in Brussels and Paris, borrowed as much as $33.5 billion through its New York branch from the Fed’s “discount window” lending program, according to Fed documents released yesterday in response to a Freedom of Information Act request… The biggest borrowers from the 97-year-old discount window as the program reached its crisis-era peak were foreign banks, accounting for at least 70 percent of the $110.7 billion borrowed during the week in October 2008 when use of the program surged to a record.”
[Note: The Fed worked very hard to keep this information secret. The amount in secret loans to US banks and corporations and foreign banks following a partial audit of the Fed in 2012 revealed a total of $16 trillion. The GDP of the United States is only $14 trillion by comparison.

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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
To see the calendar year-to-date, go to https://monetarycalendar.wordpress.com/
A second historical calendar, the REAL Democracy History Calendar, in many ways complements this calendar. For information, go to https://realdemocracyhistorycalendar.wordpress.com/about/

NE Ohio AFSC March 24, 2017 Podcast

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Listen to podcast here

We summarize last week’s activities; share next week’s upcoming events; and comment on the proposed Ohio budget (including opposing a sales tax increase and supporting public transportation funding), the federal health care bill, Neil Gorsuch’s gory expansion of corporate personhood, and a newly discovered — but several year old — report describing the nexus between economic and political inequality (and proposed solutions). [Length: 39:59]

Gorsuch’s Gory Expansion of Corporate Personhood

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by Greg Coleridge

http://poclad.org/BWA/2017/BWA_2017_MarApr.html

Supreme Court Justice nominee Neil Gorsuch didn’t invent “corporate personhood,” the shorthand term used to describe the ludicrous decisions by U.S. Supreme Courts to sanctify corporate entities with inalienable constitutional rights intended exclusively for human beings.

As a federal judge, however, Gorsuch contributed to its expansion by applying it in creatively delusional ways in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby1. That 2014 case established that a “closely held”2 for-profit corporation, apart from the human beings connected to it, possesses religious rights.

Corporations were originally subordinate to We the People

Supreme Court Justices began more than a century ago twisting existing constitutional doctrines into a pretzel to justify with straight faces that corporate charters issued by federal and state governments possessed constitutional rights.

As followers of the Program on Corporations, Law & Democracy (POCLAD) are well aware, corporate entities were not intended originally at the nation’s founding to possess inalienable constitutional rights. They were granted charters, or licenses, one at a time by We the People via legislatures that precisely defined the limits of their actions. These included, among many others, limited charter durations and purposes, limits on the amount of land ownership, and stipulations of who could be corporate directors

Corporate charters were deemed to be democratic tools wielded to ensure public authority and control over subordinate corporate creations by the public. The corporate charter conferred “privileges,” not “rights.” Corporations were designed to be publicly accountable. If a corporation violated the democratically determined terms of its charter, state legislators or courts often revoked its charter with its assets distributed to those negatively impacted.

In a 1900 ruling to revoke the charter of a dairy corporation, the Ohio Supreme Court stated:

The time has not yet arrived when the created is greater than the creator, and it still remains the duty of the courts to perform their office in the enforcement of the laws, no matter how ingenious the pretexts for their violation may be, nor the power of the violators in the commercial world. In the present case the acts of the defendant have been persistent, defiant and flagrant, and no other course is left to the court than to enter a judgment of ouster and to appoint trustees to wind up the business of the concern.3

The role of a corporation was to provide useful goods or services. It wasn’t to lobby, contribute or invest in political campaigns, or even to engage in charitable activities.

Corporations become legal “persons”

All this changed when corporate agents began effectively influencing state legislatures and in the appointment of corporate attorneys to the Supreme Court. Corporations escaped democratic controls by pressing legislatures to adopt general incorporation laws (vs. one-at-a-time charters); and by shifting legal power from smaller to larger and more inaccessible arenas:
•    The state to federal level,
•    Legislatures to regulatory agencies, and,
•    The legislative and executive branches to the judiciary (i.e. courts, including the Supreme Court).

It didn’t take long for corporate lawyers to appeal decisions limiting corporate actions to their peers on the Supreme Court, which “found” corporations as legal persons in a wide number of unforeseen places in the Constitution. These included within the 1st Amendment (right to speak and right not to speak), 4th Amendment (right against search and seizure), 5th Amendment (right against “takings”) and 14th Amendment (right of due process and equal protection of the laws). Corporate attorneys also hijacked the Contracts and Commerce clauses, which became anti-democratic battering rams.

Scores of federal court decisions over the last century have widened and deepened corporate constitutional rights. These decisions overturned local, state and federal laws that had previously protected workers, consumers, communities and the environment. In this way, the occupants of corporate boardrooms increased the political and economic power of the corporation at the expense of ordinary people.

As evident from this brief historical account and despite what many believe, the 2010 Citizens United vs FEC4 Supreme Court decision didn’t initiate the anointment with inalienable constitutional rights to corporate entities. The controversial 5-4 decision by the Supremes merely widened the already existing 1st Amendment free speech rights of corporate entities to make political donations (or investments) in elections.

Gorsuch further expands “corporate personhood”

While serving on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, Neil Gorsuch played a prominent role in further widening and deepening constitutional “rights” bestowed on corporate entities in an entirely new arena: religion. He was among the majority who ruled in the Hobby Lobby case that federal law prohibited the Department of Health and Human Services from requiring closely held, for-profit secular corporations to provide contraceptive coverage as part of their employer-sponsored health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act if it violated the corporation’s religious beliefs.

You read it right: the corporation’s “religious rights.” The U.S. Supreme Court upon appeal affirmed the decision in a controversial 5-4 decision.

Hobby Lobby Corporation’s owners claimed they shouldn’t have had to be forced to comply with federal laws that violated their personal religious convictions. They referenced the 1993 federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which prohibits the government from imposing a “substantial burden” on a person’s exercise of religion, even in a generally enforced law.

Just to be clear about the decision: Gorsuch and others didn’t just rule that Hobby Lobby’s owners had constitutionally-protected religious beliefs, but that the artificial legal creation of the state itself, Hobby Lobby Incorporated, possessed religious convictions.

To extend and pretend that private, personal religious rights apply to public entities such as business corporations is a breach of a constitutional firewall with potential discriminatory implications.  Dissenting in the case, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said, “[t]he exercise of religion is characteristic of natural persons, not artificial legal entities,” the ruling was “a decision of startling breadth” and “[t]he court…has ventured into a minefield.”5

The Hobby Lobby case opens the door as never before to requests for exemptions by private business corporations to laws that apply to human beings based on any number of claimed religious beliefs. Some individuals, for example, currently hold strong religious convictions about everything from racial, religious and sexual-orientation discrimination to the role of women in society. Hiring, paying, treating and providing benefits to employees are potentially up for grabs. Providing service (or not) to customers based on any number of factors is potentially at the whim of certain business corporations. Even specific for-profit charter schools could impose religiously motivated racial segregation policies on their students.

What existing or potential civil rights laws would not be impotent to claims that corporate discrimination against employees was motivated by strongly held religious beliefs of its owners? Thanks to Hobby Lobby, the corporation provides cover for business owners to impose racism, sexism, homophobia and classism. Those wishing to discriminate were handed a powerful weapon in the Hobby Lobby decision.

This isn’t just fantasy. It’s already happening. A federal district judge last year ruled that a transgender employee could be fired by a funeral home owner who believed that gender transition violated his biblical teachings6.

Ending corporate personhood

Corporate personhood has been normalized for too long – with disastrous legal, political, economic, social and environmental consequences. It’s not legitimate. It’s not democratic. It’s not human.

Never mind for the moment “fake news.” Corporate personhood is “fake constitutional law.” Corporations are corporations. People are people. Corporations are legal, subordinate creations of We the People. These artificial entities should receive only privileges, not rights, as authorized by the public.

It’s way past time to affirm that only human beings, not corporate entities, possess inalienable constitutional rights. Move to Amend’s We the People Amendment7 does just this. It should be our long-term goal.

In the immediate term, Neil Gorsuch has played a role in the gory expansion of corporate personhood. If we’re serious about protecting what little democracy remains in our nation, his nomination for the Supreme Court must be defeated.

The Citizens United decision was for many people the first time they had ever heard of “corporate personhood.”  Thanks to the Gorsuch nomination and his ruling on Hobby Lobby, many more are becoming aware.

Call it the “Corporate Personhood Awareness and Wake Up Call 2.0.” This is a teachable moment to educate. It’s also an actionable moment to resist. Let’s take full advantage of these opportunities.

Notes

1 573 U.S. ___ (2014)
2 “Closely held” corporations are defined by the Internal Revenue Service as those which a) have more than 50% of the value of their outstanding stock owned (directly or indirectly) by 5 or fewer individuals at any time during the last half of the tax year; and b) are not personal service corporations. By this definition, approximately 90% of U.S. corporations are “closely held”, and approximately 52% of the U.S. workforce is employed by “closely held” corporations. [Source: Wikipedia]
3 State ex rel. Monnett v. Capital City Dairy Co., 62 OS 350 (1900)
4 558 U.S. 310 (2010)
5 https://www.scribd.com/doc/231974154/Ginsburg-Dissent
6 https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/3031818/Son-of-Hobby.pdf
7 http://wethepeopleamendment.org