Judge: Exxon can’t stop climate change probes

Chalk one up for basic logic and reason. The main argument presented by ExxonMobil corporation attorneys was that their First amendment “free speech” rights — a basic right in our Bill of Rights intended ONLY for human beings — were violated by not being honest to investors and the public about its own internal knowledge about burning fossil fuels resulting in climate change and its business implications was rightfully dismissed by the judge. The corporate representatives attempted to shield themselves by claiming First, Fourth and Fourteenth amendment rights. Corporations should have no constitutional rights. Statutory rights creating certain protections – yes. Inalienable constitutional rights, however, are reserved exclusively for human beings, not creations of the state that were meant to be subordinate to We the People to serve the public good — not to be equal in any way to its human creators.
http://money.cnn.com/2018/03/29/news/companies/exxon-lawsuit-climate-change/index.html

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REAL Democracy History Calendar: March 26 – April 1

 

realdemhttps://realdemocracyhistorycalendar.wordpress.com/2018/03/26/real-democracy-history-calendar-march-26-april-1/

Subscribe to the REAL Democracy History Calendar, https://realdemocracyhistorycalendar.wordpress.com/about/

#TheDemocracyCalendar #EndCorporateRule #CorporateRule #GetMoneyOut #Democracy #WeThePeopleAmendment #MovetoAmend

MONETARY HISTORY CALENDAR March: 25 – 31

grnback

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 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.
http://www.economist.com/node/17363435

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

———————–

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/

Bridge collapse connected to democracy collapse

The collapse of the Miami bridge was due to shoddy construction, poor regulations and political influence. In other words, the bridge collapse is yet another example of a democracy collapse (to whatever extent one ever existed to begin with, which wasn’t much) — due in part to corporate constitutional rights and money defined as free speech which permit legalized bribery and corporate rule to continue and continue and continue… #MovetoAmend #Democracy #WethePeopleAmendment

https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/16/us/miami-fiu-bridge-collapse-munilla-figg-invs/index.html

REAL Democracy History Calendar: March 19 – 25

realdem

https://realdemocracyhistorycalendar.wordpress.com/2018/03/19/real-democracy-history-calendar-march-19-25/

Subscribe to the REAL Democracy History Calendar, https://realdemocracyhistorycalendar.wordpress.com/about/

#TheDemocracyCalendar #EndCorporateRule #CorporateRule #GetMoneyOut #Democracy #WeThePeopleAmendment #MovetoAmend

MONETARY HISTORY CALENDAR: March 18 – 24

grnback

MARCH 18

1869 – PASSAGE OF US LAW THAT ALL US MONETARY NOTES WOULD BE EVENTUALLY CONVERTED TO SPECIE
Specie means money in the form of coins rather than paper notes. Bankers hated Lincoln’s Greenbacks, which were debt-free and inflation-free US money created to avert financial crisis during the Civil War. Following Lincoln’s death, bankers pressured Congress to eliminate Greenbacks, base money creation on precious metals (preferably gold) and, if additional funds were needed by the government to borrow it from banks at interest. Basing the money supply on gold or silver meant that the money supply could only increase when the supply of gold or silver increased – regardless of the growing population or an expanding economy. A pure metal-based money system has historically resulted in depressions – not enough money to meet the economic needs.

1993 – DEATH 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. [Note: the same goes for debt.]

MARCH 19

1860 – BIRTH OF WILLIAM JENNINGS BRYAN, SENATOR, SECRETARY OF STATE, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (DEMOCRAT/POPULIST)
Bryan had originally supported the 1913 Federal Reserve Act as Secretary of State under the Wilson administration. His position was crucial in gaining the support of many Congressional Democrats and Progressives. He later regretted his decision. “In my long career, the only thing I genuinely regret is my part in getting the banking and currency legislation enacted into law.”

2011– LIBYAN REBELS FORM CENTRAL BANK
In what may have been a first in history, the Libyan revolutionary rebels created a central bank while still fighting an established state power. The rebels designated the Central Bank of Benghazi as the new monetary authority. It would indicate how influential central bankers were over the rebels. “I have never before heard of a central bank being created in just a matter of weeks out of a popular uprising,” said Robert Wenzel of the Economic Policy Journal.

MARCH 20

2014 – BANK OF ENGLAND ADMITS LOANS COME FIRST AND DEPOSITS FOLLOW
The Bank of England released two articles explaining the money creation process – “Money in the modern economy: An Introduction” and “Money creation in the Modern Economy” – in their flagship Quarterly Bulletin of March 2014.
“In the modern economy, most money takes the form of bank deposits. But how those bank deposits are created is often misunderstood: the principal way is through commercial banks making loans. Whenever a bank makes a loan, it simultaneously creates a matching deposit in the borrower’s bank account, thereby creating new money. The reality of how money is created today differs from the description found in some economics textbooks…”

MARCH 21

1821 – GREEK INDEPENDENCE DAY
There is an ever-declining degree of political and economic independence in Greece today. External economic institutions (i.e. International Monetary Fund, European Central Bank and European Union) have forced the nation to reduce public services and privatize/corporatize public assets – selling them off to transnational corporations to reduce costs and raise funds to pay off many loans that were known from the beginning would be unpayable. The Greek people and their Parliament are losing more of their national sovereignty as more decisions are made by undemocratic entities outside their borders.
Debt has become the more preferred weapon (rather than tanks, planes and armies) to colonize other peoples and plunder national assets and treasures – all of which profits foreign corporations, including banks. Economic austerity, social disintegration and loss of political power results. It’s a growing phenomenon among many emerging market nations – and has its domestic equivalent in the U.S. Rising and unpayable debts are increasingly used to justify severe budget cuts, privatization/corporations of municipal or state assets and reduce the power and authority of democratically elected councils, mayors, legislatures and governors – and by extension by We the People.

1923 – BIRTH OF ALBERT BARTLETT, PROFESSOR OF PHYSICS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO AT BOULDER
“The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.” Bartlett was a leader on sustainability and this quote is from his lecture, ” Arithmetic, Population, and Energy” he first delivered on September 19, 1969.
“Exponential growth requires exponential resources – which are finite. If we have no energy, we have no economy. The economy must grow but nonrenewal energy can’t grow since the environment is fixed.”

1975 – DEATH OF RALPH HAWTREY, BRITISH ECONOMIST, FRIEND OF JOHN MAYNARD KEYNES
“Banks lend by creating credit. They create the means of payment out of nothing.”

MARCH 22

1832 – DEATH OF JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, GERMAN WRITER
“None are more enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.”

MARCH 23

2009 – PUBLICATION OF PEOPLE’S BANK OF CHINA GOVERNOR ZHOU XIAOCHUAN’S PROPOSAL FOR REFORMING THE INTERNATIONAL MONETARY SYSTEM
“’In the interest of international financial stability,’ Zhou proposed the creation of a new international reserve currency that is disconnected from individual nations, issued in accordance with agreed rules and stable in value. For this purpose he proposed to modify the IMF’s Special Drawing Right (SDR), a synthetic reserve asset and unit of account created by international agreement in 1969 to supplement official reserves of member countries and to support the Bretton Woods fixed exchange rate system.”

MARCH 24

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

2014 – QUOTE BY RICHARD FISHER, PRESIDENT OF THE DALLAS FEDERAL RESERVE BANK
“I don’t think there is any doubt that quantitative easing enabled the rich and the quick. It was a massive gift.”
[Note: Quantitative Easing was the Fed’s program on injecting several trillion dollars into the economy – most of which ending up going to banks and to corporations to buy back stock.]

———————–

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/

 

Don’t Let the Ability to Rein In Corporate Rule Slip Through Our Hands Like Water – Time to Amend the Constitution Now!

what-God-has-cleansed

What does this year’s Oscar winner for best film and the topic of a new book on corporate power have in common? Besides the Oscar announcement and book release being just days apart, the title of the best film, “The Shape of Water” describes a property of nature that corresponds to a major theme described in We the Corporations: How American Businesses Won Their Civil Rights by UCLA Law Professor Adam Winkler.

Like water, corporations are increasingly legally malleable and pliable. Water conforms to whatever shape it occupies. It’s natural law. The “shape” or definition of corporations is not due to gravity or any other law of nature. The “shape of corporations” is increasingly due to intentional and deliberate activist Supreme Court decisions over more than the past century, with some decisions seemingly contradicting previous ones, yet virtually always providing corporations greater flexibility and power.

The widening and deepening anger over the ever-expanding abuses and assaults of corporations to people, communities and the planet coupled with the frustration that traditional activist responses are less effective has given rise to greater interest in the subject that Winkler examines: corporate personhood and rights.

Winkler’s historical account of how corporations came to acquire constitutional rights of people is helpful, especially if it reaches new audiences. It’s a history, however, that for the past number of years, if not decades, has been shared in great detail in talks, writings, workshops and videos by the Program on Corporations, Law & Democracy, Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom, Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund and Move to Amend – as well as in earlier books, most notably Unequal Protection: How Corporations Became ‘People’ and How You Can Fight Back by Thom Hartmann. That history spelled out that the shape of corporations was not like water, but more like bedrock – strictly defined by We the People through elected representatives by separate corporate charters and later general incorporation acts. Sovereign people were in charge of their legal creations with corporations only possessing privileges, not inalienable rights.

Not as helpful for people wanting to understand this complex topic and interested in taking meaningful action for fundamental change is Winkler’s lack of clarity in some of the articles about his book over the term “corporate personhood.”  “Corporate personhood” and “corporate constitutional rights” are not the same.

Legal personhood for incorporated entities (i.e. corporate personhood) are legal rights established by governmental laws — known as statutory rights. The legal capacity or legal “personality” of corporation includes the ability to make contracts and other obligations, hold property, sue to enforce their rights and be sued for breach of duty.

Constitutional rights, including the Bill of Rights, were originally intended solely for human beings — albeit, at first, only to white, male, property owners. Constitutional rights were never intended to apply to corporate entities. The word “corporation” is not mentioned anywhere in the Constitution. Corporate constitutional rights have been granted exclusively by the unelected body of the Supreme Court. No public official or voter has ever had the authority to grant corporate entities inalienable constitutional rights.

The growing grassroots movement to end corporate constitutional rights, facilitated by Move to Amend, and proposed by its We the People Amendment – declaring that only human beings possess inalienable constitutional rights and that money in political elections, which is not equivalent to First Amendment free speech, can be legislatively regulated — doesn’t advocate to end corporate personhood, only corporate constitutional rights. Corporate personhood and corporate constitutional rights are not interchangeable, at least not in the law. Mixing the two only produces confusion, which leads to inaction, which we as people under expanding corporate assaults and plunders cannot afford at a time when fundamental democratic change is urgent.

The repeated fears expressed by Winkler and others that ending corporate rights would result in random government seizure of property or censorship of the media doesn’t square with the law or reality and, again, confuses corporate personhood and constitutional rights. A corporation as an entity representing the collective individual constitutional rights of its shareholders to defend their property rights would not change with the abolition of the corporation’s constitutional rights. The landmark New York Times v. Sullivan case upholding freedom of the press made no mention of the newspaper’s corporate form – what shielded the Times was the First Amendment’s “freedom of the press” not corporate constitutional rights. And why do we never, ever hear of such grave injustices toward corporations in other western “democracies” – countries with statutory protections of corporations (i.e. personhood) but apparently none of which have anointed corporations with inalienable constitutional rights? How many “corporate persons” have we seen on life rafts flocking to U.S. shores to escape the carnage of corporate “death penalties” and other miseries to the corporate life and limb?

Winkler makes an important point that the Supreme Court decreasingly considers corporations as their own legal person in constitutional cases. The Citizen United v. FEC ruling, for example, which expanded the ability of corporate entities to donate (or invest) in elections wasn’t based on the “corporations are people” premise, but rather on two arguments. First, limiting corporate political speech was a violation not because the organization Citizens United was a corporate person, but because limiting its corporate speech violated “listeners’ rights.” The person, not the government, had “the right and privilege to determine for itself what speech and speakers are worthy of consideration,” stated Justice Kennedy in his majority opinion. Second, limiting Citizens United’s political speech was actually a limit on collective individual speech since the corporation is merely a type of voluntary association of people, specifically shareholders. It’s not just individuals who have constitutional rights, so the argument goes, but individuals in their associated form who come together for mutual purposes.

While the Court has a long history of concocting fantastic pretzel-like legal contortions to justify widening the power and rights of the few and privileged and denying the rights of those historically oppressed (i.e. justifying women as subordinate to men, slaves as property, holding up Jim Crow segregation for sixty years, etc.), it’s nevertheless critical to understand and strategically counter the latest defenses to corporate concentrated power.

A person has no more the inalienable right to “listen” as (s)he has the rights to speak at will, for as long as (s)he may want for hours on end before, say, a city council meeting – including being prohibited from speaking at all if the message isn’t germane or the person may live outside the community. Reasonable limits are legitimate and the rule (e.g., usually a five minute maximum testimony at council meetings). Curious that nowhere in the Citizens United ruling was referenced rights to be heard from individuals whose voices are drowned out since they aren’t wealthy or don’t own a corporation. These rights are completely absent from the equation when calculating corporate free speech.

When it comes to corporations as nothing more than an association of persons, it’s back to the “shape of water” argument. When it’s convenient for a corporation to be separate from its shareholders to avoid being personally liable for a corporate malfeasance, then there’s zero connection, but when it’s convenient for the corporation to shield itself behind its human employees, shareholders, etc., then it’s nothing more than that — a mask to shirk responsibility. Corporate agents can’t have it both ways.

For those of us dedicated to opening up the democracy space that corporations have forever been trying to close, it’s necessary that any final proposed constitutional amendment addressing corporate rule close these loopholes.

Winkler has stated, “[t]he question is not whether corporations should have rights but which rights corporations should have. Today’s steady expansion of corporate rights is a product of giving corporations the same rights as their members. Instead, we should treat corporations as separate legal persons — with only those rights appropriate for corporations.” He’s correct. The corporate rights or protections that corporations should possess should be statutory. Inalienable rights belong alone to human beings.

Corporations have been playacting as “persons” in too many ways for too long – well deserving its own separate academy award for the category of “Worse Stand in for a Human Being.” Yet the Oscar it deserves is no more a legal person than Oscar Meyer (the corporation). Both are objects created by human beings to presumably serve some useful purpose (though maybe questionable given the ingredients in many hot dogs). It’s time that we clearly affirm that unalienable constitutional rights must be reserved exclusively for human beings, not for a hot dog or any corporation– no matter how much they may dramatically act like one.

The legal profession — too many Supreme Court Justices, almost all corporate attorneys and more than a few constitutional law professors — has been the directors and producers of this frightful show. With straight faces they have expanded or argued for corporate rights over human rights and the right to thrive in a livable world.

We cannot be intimidated or confused. While not lawyers or jurists, the vast majority of people in this country have PhDs on being on the short end of one assault or another by wealthy corporations. Permitting such assaults to people, communities and the planet – be they defended by corporate constitutional rights, listener’s rights or any other concocted bogus legal constructs — is the ultimate theatrical fantasy that has been a real life disaster that only an independent, diverse and fearless democracy movement will end.