POCLAD at the Democracy Convention

title

by Greg Coleridge and David Cobb

http://poclad.org/BWA/2017/BWA_2017_Aug.html

 

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Abolishing Money as Speech and Corporate Constitutional Rights

MTA

The fundamental threat to an authentically representative and direct democracy precedes the 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission1 and other Supreme Court decisions asserting money is protected free speech to include the doctrine that corporations possess inalienable constitutional rights.

While there are multiple sources for the increasing perception, if not reality, that government isn’t responsive and accountable to citizens, the inordinate political influence and power of wealthy individuals and corporations may at the moment predominate. Any hope of attaining a political system widely perceived as legitimate and genuinely representing its citizens must include governing rules that sufficiently control the political influence and power of special interests.

Given the current political climate of profound government mistrust and widespread belief that it’s been captured by wealthy individuals and corporate entities for self-serving ends, a constitutional amendment addressing the constitutional roots of these duel threats is urgent and timely. No laws, regulations or Presidential decrees are capable of providing the essential defining authority over the overall role of money in elections and corporate entities in society.

A proposed constitutional amendment has been introduced in Congress, H.J.R 48, the We the People Amendment. It currently has 44 co-sponsors and a nationwide movement, organized by the Move to Amend campaign, behind it.

The We the People Amendment reads:

Section 1. [Artificial Entities Such as Corporations Do Not Have Constitutional Rights]
The rights protected by the Constitution of the United States are the rights of natural persons only.
Artificial entities established by the laws of any State, the United States, or any foreign state shall have no rights under this Constitution and are subject to regulation by the People, through Federal, State, or local law.
The privileges of artificial entities shall be determined by the People, through Federal, State, or local law, and shall not be construed to be inherent or inalienable.
Section 2. [Money is Not Free Speech]
Federal, State, and local government shall regulate, limit, or prohibit contributions and expenditures, including a candidate’s own contributions and expenditures, to ensure that all citizens, regardless of their economic status, have access to the political process, and that no person gains, as a result of their money, substantially more access or ability to influence in any way the election of any candidate for public office or any ballot measure.
Federal, State, and local government shall require that any permissible contributions and expenditures be publicly disclosed.
The judiciary shall not construe the spending of money to influence elections to be speech under the First Amendment.

 

The proposed amendment’s Section 2 addresses the more familiar issue-area of money in elections. Its main element proposes abolishing the link between money and free speech, first established in the 1976 Buckley v. Valeo2 decision. It goes beyond Citizens United because the corrupting role of money in politics predates Citizens United by decades.

If money is defined in elections as free speech, then those individuals and artificial entities who contribute/invest the most money possess the most speech. This drowns out the political voices of most citizens — hardly a recipe for a legitimate democracy.

Section 2 doesn’t establish any precise funding amounts or formulas. Such regulations would shift back from the judicial to the legislative branch – a more democratic arena where the public has greater influence and where regulations can be more easily adjusted as needed.

Section 1 of the proposed amendment identifies an equally important, but less publicly understood, impediment to the creation of an authentic democracy – constitutional rights to artificial legal entities (i.e. business, non-profit corporations and unions). Courts declared over the last century that sections of the U.S. Constitution, including the Bill of Rights, originally intended exclusively for human persons, applied to corporate entities.

Corporate constitutional “personhood” rights have been used to overturn scores of democratically enacted laws protecting workers, communities, consumers and the environment. Most of these predated Citizens United and the First Amendment “free speech” rights bestowed on corporate entities in First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti3.

While no “artificial entities” should possess Constitutional rights, they should have statutory powers and privileges. These would be defined and adjusted legislatively once inalienable rights are abolished. Like Section 2, these decisions would be shifted back where at one time they once existed from the judicial to the democratic legislative arena.

The We the People Amendment would dramatically increase the perception and reality of an authentic democracy.

Notes

1558 U.S. 310 (2010)
2424 US 1 (1976)
3435 U.S. 765 (1978)

 

REAL Democracy History Calendar: August 28 – September 3

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https://realdemocracyhistorycalendar.wordpress.com/2017/08/28/real-democracy-history-calendar-august-28-september-3/

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MONETARY HISTORY CALENDAR August 27 – September 2

grnback

AUGUST 27

2014 – “DETHRONE ‘KING DOLLAR’ OPED, NEW YORK TIMES BY JARED BERNSTEIN
“There are few truisms about the world economy, but for decades, one has been the role of the United States dollar as the world’s reserve currency. It’s a core principle of American economic policy. After all, who wouldn’t want their currency to be the one that foreign banks and governments want to hold in reserve?
But new research reveals that what was once a privilege is now a burden, undermining job growth, pumping up budget and trade deficits and inflating financial bubbles. To get the American economy on track, the government needs to drop its commitment to maintaining the dollar’s reserve-currency status.”
http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/08/28/opinion/dethrone-king-dollar.html?_r=0

AUGUST 28

2014 – “A POSSIBLE TIPPING POINT FOR SCOTLAND” ARTICLE PUBLISHED ON POSITIVE MONEY WEBSITE
This is an excerpt from James Robertson’s newsletter:
“Scotland will hold a referendum on 18 September. It will decide whether the outcome will be “Yes, Scotland will be independent” or “No, Better Together“…
If the result is independence for Scotland, one particular question will be especially interesting: Money. It hasn’t been decided what currency an independent Scotland should use…
At present there is a comparatively high level of support in Scotland for a Yes referendum vote. But the prospective danger of expulsion from the UK sterling currency might start a shift of opinion towards a cautious No. If that happens, what rabbit could the Scottish National Party leader, Alex Salmond, and his colleagues pull out of their hat to counteract the shift?
It could be monetary reform. Alex Salmond could announce that the present Scottish Government is preparing a feasibility study in the light of the developments at Item 2 above. The study would report on whether, after winning a Yes referendum, an independent Scotland should adopt a democratic currency with a money supply created as a debt-free public service to society as a whole, instead of the present money supply created as debt by commercial banks at great profit to themselves and great cost to society at large.” http://positivemoney.org/2014/08/possible-tipping-point-scotland/
[NOTE: While the Scots voted against independence, sovereignty continues to be discussed there by more people in more countries in Europe and beyond – not only political sovereignty but monetary sovereignty – which, of course, is directly connected to political sovereignty. As the Greek experience shows, elected a government committed to investing in people is virtually impossible if you don’t have your own national currency and you are heavily indebted to financial institutions.]

AUGUST 29

1632 – BIRTH 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.”

1786 – BEGINNING OF SHAYS’ REBELLION
Sparked in large part by personal debt, nonpayment of salaries, and collapse of the national currency, farmers in Massachusetts, led by Daniel Shays, attack a US Armory. The lack of a focused response to the uprisings led to calls to reforming the Articles of Confederation. The Philadelphia Convention, which followed, rather than reforming the Articles of Confederation, created a new more centralized Constitution. While less democratic in many ways (as it was drafted by and gave exclusive rights only to white, male landowners), the new Constitution empowered the government to coin its own money, separate from banks and financial institutions.

2005 – DEATH OF JUDE THADDEUS WANNISKI, AMERICAN JOURNALIST AND POLITICAL ECONOMIST
“There was a big party at Morgan Stanley after the Mexican peso devaluation, people from all over Wall Street came, they drank champagne and smoked cigars and congratulated themselves on how they pulled it off and they made a fortune.”

AUGUST 30

1930 – BIRTH OF WARREN BUFFET, INVESTOR
“Derivatives are financial weapons of mass destruction.”

AUGUST 31

1959 – ROBERT B. ANDERSON, SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY UNDER PRESIDENT EISENHOWER
“When a bank makes a loan it simply adds to the borrowers’ deposit account in the bank by the amount of the loan. The money is not taken from anyone else’s deposit; it was not previously paid in to the bank by anyone. It’s new money, created by the bank for the use of the borrower.”

SEPTEMBER 1

1764 – PASSAGE OF BRITISH CURRENCY ACT
The Act banned Colonial paper money as legal tender, severely limiting commerce and widening the trade deficit between England and the Colonies. Colonists were forced to pay their taxes only in gold or silver. Many, including Benjamin Franklin, claimed this was one of the major triggers, if not the major trigger, of the Revolutionary War.

1894 – DATE AMERICAN BANKERS ASSOCIATION CALLS ON BANKS TO STOP LOANING MONEY TO CAUSE FORECLOSURES
American Bankers Association memo (as submitted into the Congressional Record): “On September 1, 1894, we will not renew our loans under any consideration. On September 1st we will demand our money. We will foreclose and become mortgagers in possession. We can take two-thirds of the farms west of the Mississippi, and thousands of them east of the Mississippi as well, at our own price… Then the farmers will become tenants as in England…”

SEPTEMBER 2

1839 – BIRTH OF HENRY GEORGE, ECONOMIST, POLITICIAN AND AUTHOR OF “PROGRESS AND POVERTY”
“[I]t is the business of government to issue money…To leave it to every one who chose to do so to issue money would be to entail general inconvenience and loss, to offer many temptations to roguery, and to put the poorer classes of society at a great disadvantage. These obvious considerations have everywhere, as society became well organized, led to the recognition of the coinage of money as an exclusive function of government. When, in the progress of society, a further labor-saving improvement becomes possible by the substitution of paper for the precious metals as the material for money, the reasons 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 paper 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.”

1877 – BIRTH OF FREDERICK SODDY, NOBEL PRIZE RECIPIENT (CHEMISTRY) AND MONETARY REFORM AUTHOR
“There is nothing left now for us but to get ever deeper and deeper into debt to the banking system in order to provide the increasing amounts of money the nation requires for its expansion and growth. Our money system is nothing better than a confidence trick.”

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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 the original 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. It is currently updated by Greg Coleridge. 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/

Oppression Eclipses Democracy

Eclipse

Just as the moon blocks out the sun during a total eclipse, oppression blocks out authentic democracy.

Racism, misogyny, homophobia, ableism and other forms of institutional and cultural oppression have been used throughout US history to impede self-expression, self-identification and many other forms of self-determination. Common strategies by oppressors have been to pit oppressed groups against one another (e.g. divide and conquer), blame the victim(s), and/or cooptation.

Oppression is social, economic and political. It’s taken the form in the past of slavery sanctioned by the Constitution, attempted genocide of native peoples by the U.S. government, lynchings, systemic rape, broken treaty promises, beatings, arrests “for being black,” voter suppression, internments, income disparity, deportations, media distortions, lack of physical access, and housing, education and employment discrimination. Too many of these still exist.

Authentic self-determination, individually or collectively, is difficult to achieve when these and any other form of oppression originate by individuals. It’s impossible when societal structures and institutions overtly or covertly initiative and defend them, which legitimize if not legalize individual oppressive acts.

Efforts to create real democracy must face oppression head on. Unlike natural eclipses that are beyond out control, oppression that eclipses democracy is human-created. Oppression is not inevitable or irreversible. It’s not “God’s will.” Oppression must be resisted and replaced by structures and actions that create justice and peace.

While appropriate reactions to natural eclipses should be to safely watch with wonder and awe, passive spectating to human oppression is not an option. Being active change-agents, done best with others in social movements seeking and end to oppression and the creation of real self-determination (for the very first time) is the only responsible response.

REAL Democracy History Calendar: August 21 – 27

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https://realdemocracyhistorycalendar.wordpress.com/2017/08/21/real-democracy-history-calendar-august-21-27/

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MONETARY HISTORY CALENDAR August 20 – 26

grnback

AUGUST 20

1935 – BIRTH OF RON PAUL, US CONGRESSMAN
Referring to the Federal Reserve, he stated, “maybe there’s too much power in the hands of those who control monetary policy? The power to create the financial bubbles. The power to maybe bring the bubble about. The power to change the value of the stock market within minutes. That to me is just an ominous power and challenges the whole concept of freedom and liberty and sound money.”

AUGUST 21

1824 – DEATH OF JOHN TAYLOR OF CAROLINE, US SENATOR OF VIRGINIA IN THE 19TH CENTURY
“As we all know that a regular influx of wealth, from a majority to a minority, is a regular influx of power, the United States ought to estimate the quantity of each, they are pouring into a banking interest. If no new banks should be created after 1808, nor the acquisition of the old increased, the five millions annually collected by the existing banks, at compound interest carry from the public to the corporations, in twenty years, above one hundred and eighty-four millions of dollars. Here is already a vast current of money and power running one way…”

2014 – PUBLICATION OF “PRINT LESS BUT TRANSFER MORE: WHY CENTRAL BANKS SHOULD GIVE MONEY DIRECTLY TO THE PEOPLE” BY MARK BLYTH AND ERIC LONGERGAN IN FOREIGN AFFAIRS
The article is at
http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/141847/mark-blyth-and-eric-lonergan/print-less-but-transfer-more#comment-1560497380
NOTE: Foreign Affairs are a publication of the power elite. Why would an article promoting giving money away to people be published in such a publication? Because the power elite knows that their financial system is in deep trouble. They’ve tried a zero interest rate policy (ZIRP) and Quantitative Easing (QE — which is printing money by the Federal Reserve and giving it to the banks and corporations), but the economy still hasn’t recovered. In fact, almost all economic fundamentals point to a severe downturn. The power elite, therefore, may be trying to get ahead of the economic populist curve by promoting what many at the grassroots say is a way to stimulate the economy — by giving money to people to spend into the economy and, thereby, increasing demand. This, in fact, is a provision of the National Emergency Employment Defense (NEED Act). Missing from the author’s analysis, however, is an examination of the “need” to end the ability of banking corporations to create money out of thin air as debt — which represents the vast majority of the money created in our society. The quantity and use of money in our society should by public decisions, not corporate banking decisions.

AUGUST 22

2009 – PUBLICATION OF “TWENTY QUESTIONS FREQUENTLY ASKED ABOUT THE AMERICAN MONETARY ACT”
The questions begin on p. 23 at http://www.monetary.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/32-page-brochure.pdf
Below is the 1st question asked and answered…
1) Won’t the government creating new money for infrastructure and other expenses cause inflation?
No. While this is an important concern, some of it is anti-governmental propaganda and it need not cause inflation, depending on where the new money goes, for example:
When new money is used to create real wealth, such as goods and services and the $2.2 trillion worth of public infrastructure building and repair the engineers tell us is needed over the next 5 years, there need not be inflation because real things of real value are being created at the same time as the money, and the existence of those real values for living, keeps prices down.
If it goes into warfare or bubbles (real estate/Wall Street/etc.) it would create inflationary bubbles with no real production of goods and services. That is the history of private control over money creation. It must end now. Government tends to direct resources more into areas of concern for the whole nation, such as infrastructure, health care, education, etc. The AMA Title 5 specifies infrastructure items including human infrastructure of health care and education to focus on.
Also remember, the American Monetary Act eliminates ‘fractional reserve banking’ which has been one of the main causes of inflation. And remember new money must be introduced into circulation as the population and economy grow or is improved, or we’d have deflation.

AUGUST 23

1935 – PASSAGE OF BANKING ACT
The law made the FDIC a permanent agency and raised the deposit insurance level to $5,000.
The Federal Reserve System was reformed with the transformation of the Federal Reserve Board of Directors to the Board of Governors. All board members were appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate and the term of service were expanded to 14 years. Open-market operations were formalized in the Federal Open Market Committee and the Governors were allowed to determine interest rates and bank reserve requirements. These “reforms,” however, were window dressing. The power and authority to issue money as debt was retained in the hands of the private Federal Reserve and private banking corporations. Keeping reserve requirement decisions in the hands of the Fed only invited speculation and risk (reserve requirements are the ratio of money banks lend in excess of money they actually possess “in reserve” to cover loans. Banks loan many times the amount of funds in their reserve).

AUGUST 24

1916 – BIRTH OF ROBERT DE FREMERY, AUTHOR, RIGHTS VS PRIVILEGES
“It is not obvious that there are serious defects in our banking system and our tax system that deprive most of us of fundamental rights and bestow enormous privileges on others? How many riots must we endure? How many prisons must we build? How many of our rights must we lose? How many of our young people must be sent away to fight in foreign wars before we decide that enough is enough?”

1922 – BIRTH OF HOWARD ZINN, AUTHOR, PEOPLE’S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES
In response to the announcement that the Obama administration was going to give billions of tax dollars to the financial industry, he said:
“They’re really dedicated to keeping the financial system, which doesn’t mean us, doesn’t mean the people; it means the bankers, the banking industry, the lenders, the insurance companieskeeping them afloat by giving them hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars. Now, it’s amusing to me to see that suddenly, in this past week or so, there’s been this flurry of anger about the fact that some of these companies that have been given hundreds of billions of dollars are giving out several hundred millions in bonuses. And Obama has I think very cleverly joined the indignation against the bonuses. But, after all, these hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses come out of the hundreds of billions that have been given to these financial institutions. So instead of pointing to that, to this huge bailout, Obama and other people and this goes for the press too, the media — the media have seized upon it, television, newspapers all indignant and congressmen all indignant about the hundreds of millions of bonuses. Well, what about the hundreds of billions, leading up to trillions, really, given to the banks?”

AUGUST 25

2011 – OPENING OF “ECONOMIC SYMPOSIUM” SPONSORED BY FEDERAL RESERVE
“Each year since 1978, the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City has sponsored a symposium on an important economic issue facing the U.S. and world economies. Symposium participants include prominent central bankers, finance ministers, academics, and financial market participants from around the world. The participants convene to discuss the economic issues, implications, and policy options pertaining to the symposium topic. The symposium proceedings include papers, commentary, and discussion.”
The theme of 2011 event was “Achieving Maximum Long-Run Growth.” And how is “maximum long-run growth” possible when the current monetary/economic system is based on creating money by banking corporations out of thin air as debt and the only way to repay the debt (plus the interest which wasn’t created — only the principle) is to maximize the plundering of finite resources to produce ever more products?

AUGUST 26

2014 – ARTICLE, “OBAMA AND HOLDER’S WEAK CALL FOR JUSTICE” BY STEPHEN ZARLENGA AND NICK EGNATZ
“The claims of President Obama and Attorney General Holder that they seek justice in the death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, have a hollow ring. They would be almost laughable, if the consequences, of who they, while in office, have actually chosen to prosecute and who they have not prosecuted, were not so destructive to true justice…
“Continuing their disregard for justice, President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder have refused to prosecute the thousands of Wall Street bankers whose financial crimes were directly responsible for working class Americans losing trillions of dollars and over 9,000,000 homes foreclosed or in foreclosure!
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stephen-zarlenga/obama-and-holders-weak-ca_b_5702895.html

———————–

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 the original 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. It is currently updated by Greg Coleridge. 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/