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The Trillion Dollar Coin: What You Really Need to Know

January 16, 2013 2 comments

Recently a novel idea began circulating in the Washington Beltway that the government could print a $1 Trillion coin and use that to fund its operations in the absence of an agreement on the raising of the debt ceiling. This idea certainly sounds like it came from fantasyland, but if one follows it carefully through to its logical conclusion, it will shine a light on our current monetary system and how it is fundamentally unsustainable. The floating of the $trillion coin has inadvertently opened up a window not just to reform, but to transform our monetary system. The resulting transformational consequences would be welcomed by all political perspectives.

The idea here is that the Treasury Dept has the legal right to issue such a coin, deposit the coin in an account at the Federal Reserve, and then draw upon the account to fund projects approved by Congress. This idea hits at the heart of the power structure across the planet, which has at its core, the ability to create money out of thin air. Currently our entire money supply is created out of thin air by private banks which in turn charge interest on that money. There are many people who, because of its official sounding name, think the Federal Reserve is a branch or part of the U.S. government. However, they are very mistaken. The Federal Reserve is no more federal than Federal Express. The Federal Reserve is simply a [powerful] cartel of private banks with an official sounding name that has usurped the right to print our money, a power bestowed upon Congress in the Constitution by the founding fathers.

“Article I Section 8: The Congress shall have the power to coin money”

FoundingFathersSo what replaced the system that the founding fathers originally intended? In 1913, the passage of the Federal Reserve Act granting the Federal Reserve the legal authority to issue Federal Reserve Notes. When President Wilson signed the bill, he declared it the “first of a series of constructive acts to aid business”. In fact the only business it aided was that of the private banks. The system was designed from its inception to ensure that every dollar that came into existence had to be borrowed from this private cartel of banks called the Federal Reserve.

So what most people also do not know is that every single dollar in circulation has to be borrowed by somebody. In other words, the entire money supply is DEBT BASED and someone is paying interest on that debt to the private bankers. In fact the total cost for 2012 for just servicing the interest on the U.S. government debt was an astounding $359 billion and $454 billion the year before. The interest on our debt for those two years exceeds the entire stimulus bill of 2009.  Think of what we could do with that much money every year: transportation, healthcare, modernizing the electric grid, education, research, are just a few examples that quickly come to mind.

It becomes very easy to see that the ability to collect interest on the national debt involves huge sums of money being paid out to those with the power to create our money and that these people will do almost anything to make sure that things remain exactly as they are. That is why they encourage their corporate controlled media to ridicule the $trillion coin idea as something out of a fantasy tale, or having the talking heads echoing that investors will be spooked, and broadcasting that the world will think that the U.S. has totally lost its marbles.

So how exactly does this idea of printing a $1 trillion coin threaten their power? If the U.S. government does issue such a coin, it will simply be issuing its own currency as the founding fathers originally wrote into the Constitution, bypassing the need to borrow the money from the private bankers. This is what threatens their extremely privileged position. NO INTEREST WILL BE PAID TO THEM ON THIS MONEY!

The question NOT being asked by the corporate media shills is that if the U.S. government can issue its own interest free money in the form of a $trillion coin, then why is it borrowing the money at interest instead?

One can therefore think of the idea of issuing a $trillion dollar coin as being equivalent to the idea of the government printing its own money. The philosophy and result are essentially the same.

Think about this: if you had the LEGAL right to print your own money would you:

1. print your own money to pay your bills?

2. borrow money at interest from the private banks to pay your bills?

Of course any sane person would print their own money. Yet here we have the unimaginable stupidity of a government with the ability to print its own interest and debt free money. Instead chooses to borrow that money at interest. Astoundingly, the corporate controlled media is not asking why this practice continues.

It actually gets even worse. It costs the government 4 cents to print a bill of any denomination, for the paper, labor, ink equipment maintenance etc. It does not matter whether the bill is $1, $5, $20, or $100, the cost is the same.  So if you were the one printing totalprintingcoststhis legal money, the last 4 bills mentioned would have cost you 16 cents to print.  Now can you imagine the totally absurd notion of  you taking these 4 bills to your banker, selling it to them for the cost of printing (16 cents), and then borrowing it back at face value ($126) with interest charges? This is the height of lunacy, and yet this is exactly what our government does. The Treasury Dept prints the bills, delivers them to the Federal Reserve branch offices, charges them for the cost of printing, and then borrows this money back at face value with interest. Ask yourself why the corporate controlled media is not covering this story.

Henry Ford once wrote: “It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.”

The fatal flaw in our monetary system is that every dollar has to be borrowed into existence, then this money is extinguished once the loan is paid back. So there is a balance here? Wrong! If you borrow $1000, you add $1000 to the money supply. When you pay the loan back, you extinguish the $1000. The problem is where does the money to pay the interest come from? There is not enough money in circulation to repay both the principal and the interest. This lies at the very heart of our deficit problem. Someone has to borrow money into circulation to cover the costs of your interest payments. The amount of debt in our system must continue to grow in order to service the interest payments on the original debt. So the more the debt grows, the more interest payments needed, the more that must be borrowed to pay that interest, the more debt grows. The fact the U.S. is trillions in deficit is by design. In reality it is impossible to repay this debt. When you hear those clueless people talking about paying off the debt, it cannot be done. If we paid off the entire debt, we would have no money in circulation.

Pretty clever system these money masters have created for themselves, keeping the nation and its people in perpetual debt slavery and getting paid interest for something they created out of thin air, something they never owned, something the Constitution never gave them the right to do. The result of the unsustainability of our current system is that ultimately the amount of debt overhang will become so huge that the system will collapse in on itself. There are many including myself who believe that we are approaching that end point.

InterestOnUS-DeabtThere are those who say that if the government printed this $trillion coin (government printed its own debt free money) that inflation would skyrocket. I have already read hyperbolic articles about the U.S. becoming the next Zimbabwe or Weimar Republic. The reality is that this money would be deposited in an account at the Federal Reserve and could only be spent for expenditures that had been approved by Congress. Since no money would reach circulation without congressionally approved expenditures, it would not add to inflation anymore than the current system of borrowing the money to finance our expenditures. Actually the use of an interest free $1 trillion coin would help lower inflation by eliminating the costs of paying interest to the private bankers while money could enter into circulation the same way as it does currently.

The talking heads on the corporate media blabber about how the $trillion dollar coin (government printing its own debt free money) would scare investors. How would investors be scared when they see that U.S. government would no longer have to pay interest on any new money it created? The money supply could now grow to facilitate economy activity and it would be interest free. The chart to the right from the Treasury Direct website shows the huge costs of serving the interest payments to the private bankers and yet this could all be avoided if the government simply printed its own debt free money. Over 8 trillion dollars!

The “experts” in the corporate media ridicule the idea of the coin (government printing its own debt free money) and say that nothing like this has ever been done before. That would not be accurate either.

In fact during our colonial days, our government did fund its operations by issuing colonial scrip. Our colonies were flourishing at this time and because the government was printing its own money, there was no need for income taxes. (By the way, it is not a coincidence that the Federal Income tax was instituted just before the Federal Reserve Act because the bankers know that the government would need the revenue to pay for the interest on its money supply and debt.) The colonial governments would issue this colonial scrip to pay their debts. There were some colonies that printed too many and suffered inflation, but most were judicious in their creation. Once the British bankers became aware of this colonial prosperity and how their debt based money system was being bypassed, they petitioned King George to forbid the colonies to issue their own currency. Since the bankers controlled the monarchy then, much as they control our government today, their wishes were granted. This quickly resulted in not enough circulating money to facilitate economic activity and the colonies quickly entered into a deep depression. It was this economic depression that was the driving force for the American Revolution.

Another time that the U.S. government printed its own money was during the civil war. The bankers tried to extort interest rates from Lincoln of 24% to 36% to finance the war.

“I have two great enemies, the Southern Army in front of me and the bankers in the rear. Of the two, the one at my rear is my greatest foe.”

Abraham Lincoln

Instead of acquiescing to the bankers, Lincoln courageously started printing Greenbacks to finance the war saving the nation huge future interest payments. In fact the Greenbacks were so popular with the people that a political party formed called the Greenback Party. In the end, we all know what happened to Lincoln.

Not a Federal Reserve NoteAnother time the U.S. government  printed its own money was in 1963 under Kennedy’s Executive Order  No. 11110 that returned to the U.S. government the power to issue currency, without going through the Federal Reserve. This order instructed the Treasury to print bills against any silver inventory held by the government. There were billions of these certificates printed and they were known as United States Notes and they were all interest free. Some of you may remember some of these bills as they had a red seal, rather than the more common green seal of the Federal Reserve Notes. These United States Notes represented a mortal threat to the Federal Reserve System, and we all know what happened to Kennedy 5 months later.

After the Kennedy assassination, no more interest free United States Notes were issued. The Executive Order was never repealed by any U.S. President, This Executive Order is still valid, yet no president Republican or Democrat has ever utilized it!

Think about this, much of the $16 trillion in debt that was created since the Kennedy assassination has been because of the interest payments on the debt. If any subsequent president had found the courage to use Executive Order 1110, our current level of debt would be magnitudes smaller. We would not be in the same mess we are in now. So when you hear people talking about needing budget cuts in order to solve our problems and leaving a legacy of debt to our children, you are listening to people who do not understand our monetary system, or worse, they are supporters of the current system of debt that can never be paid off with the resulting perpetual interest payments to the private bankers. The better solution would be to have the government issuing its own money, debt free. Now that would be a great “gift” to our children and grandchildren!

One very valid point made by critics of having the government being able to issue its own money is that there will be nothing to restrain the government from simply overspending. In reality, banker issued debt money has also done little to limit government spending. The mechanism we have currently for that now is the congressionally approved debt ceiling, however flawed that is. Any move towards government issued money could be met by congressionally mandated structures to prevent runaway spending. At the least, if we did not have to deal with the interest payments, our spending would be significantly less than it is currently and that would help cut the deficit significantly.

decliningDollarWhen you hear all the propaganda on the corporate media ridiculing the $trillion coin idea (government printing its own debt free money) and saying how it will harm the economy and the markets, ask yourself, who is benefiting from the current arrangement and who is this person trying to persuade you?  They will tell you that this is inflationary. The truth of the matter is that the current system is inflationary. The chart shows how the value of the dollar has eroded since the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913.

If the government wishes to build a bridge it has to pay those who supply the materials and those who supply the labor. This is expected and normal. However, the irony is that the government pays more to the financiers of the project than to those who supply the materials and the labor. Most people will recognize this with their home mortgages where the final cost of paying off a mortgage far exceeds the original sale price of the home because of interest charges. The unproductive bankers make far more money than the producers, the builders, and suppliers. What is wrong with this picture?

Money being spent on infrastructure projects creates wealth and since this wealth is balanced by the money being placed into circulation, there would be no inflationary effect. In fact by eliminating the financing costs of these infrastructure projects, you actually lower the price of every public project, reducing inflation.

The practical effects of the government printing its own money are not limited to the federal level. While states cannot explicitly print their currency, they can leverage the money they do have by utilizing the existing [deeply flawed] Fractional Reserve Lending system. States can create their own banks and use them to fund their projects at either no or very low interest rates. As discussed earlier, by eliminating the costs of obtaining money through the financiers, the cost of public projects is cut by almost half.  Ellen Brown, in her book “Web of Debt” outlines how the bankers have a stranglehold on our economy and how one state has created its own bank, the Bank of North Dakota.  If you have not read this book, then you probably do not understand our debt based monetary system. (Disclosure: I have no economic interest or benefit in promoting this book.)

This bank is popular with both Democratic and Republican legislators in the state of North Dakota.  This idea is starting to catch fire and 20 states are now considering some form of state banking legislation. By having a state owned bank that uses the fractional reserve lending system to create its own money out of thin air interest free, the state of North Dakota has a resource that is counter-cyclical, meaning it is capable of reducing the negative impact of recessions. They can make money available for local governments and businesses precisely when private banks decrease lending. This bank has existed for 90 years and remained stable during the financial crisis. The Bank of North Dakota is one key reason why the state has weathered the crisis better than most, has the lowest unemployment in the country, and has a current budget surplus.

Our current debt based money system is at the very heart of the poverty, debt, and economic problems facing our country and our world. The bankers have enriched themselves because we allowed them to both print our money and collect interest on it. The bankers have impoverished the people because they can print our money and collect interest on it.  The bankers have usurped our government because they have accumulated such wealth at the expense of the rest us and essentially made the politicians their paid servants. They then use those politicians to rig the system against the working people. The result is a Congress with extremely low approval ratings.  These facts are recognized by people across all political perspectives, from Democrat to Republican, from the Tea Party to Occupy. This not a Liberal cause, this is not a Conservative case, this is a Common Cause. We need to take back our government from the money masters and make it serve the people instead of the bankers.

DebtBasedMoneyHow can patriots allow such a system to exist? If we can print our own money by passing the banker middlemen, we will solve so many other problems that are symptoms of our debt based money system. Unemployment will drop, deficits will drop, poverty will drop, inflation will drop, and bank induced problems such as recessions and depressions will be alleviated. We all have our pet issues and they all have validity, but if we can unite together on this one issue, many of the other issues will be solved by themselves with a government that is responsive to the people, not the bankers and corporations, and a monetary system free of burden of debt so the needs of people and business can be met efficiently.

We need to start laying the foundations of a movement to change our monetary system BEFORE the inevitable next crisis. People need to become aware that there was once a better system in the past and that it is possible to have that again. This can be accomplished through education, independent media, social networks, and word of mouth. It is time to end the illusion that our current debt based money system works for the benefit of everyone. The discussion on the $trillion dollar coin provides us with a starting point to make that change possible.

“If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of currency, first by inflation [bubbles], then by deflation [recession or depression], the banks and the corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property, until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.”

Thomas Jefferson

It is time for patriots to take a break from mass entertainment, corporate media propaganda, and to become more familiar with the concept of a “wealth based” money system. These are some good places to start:

Sign the petition on the White House website to have the government print its own debt free money
http://wh.gov/m4co

Review: The White House petition website states that if any petition reaches a threshold of 25,000, it must respond to it. President Obama is surrounded by “expert advisors” who are linked to the current system of unrepayable debt with perpetual interest payments to the bankers, and they certainly will not be pushing this issue. However if enough people sign the petition, he may become aware of it.

The free YouTube video: “Secret of OZ”, by Bill Still

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swkq2E8mswI

Review: Having  private banks create money is the root economic cause of world poverty, ignorance, hunger, and much preventable disease. We can fix this. We can fix it in a matter of months — a year at most – if we have the will. We can make our government the most financially sound in the world — nearly overnight. All we have to do is to take back the power to create and control the quantity of money from private banks (including the privately-owned Federal Reserve banks) and put that power back into the hands of the Congress of the United States where it was under Presidents Jefferson, Jackson and Lincoln.

The book: “The Web of Debt” by Ellen Brown

http://www.webofdebt.com/

Review: Ellen Hodgson Brown may have done the impossible. She wrote a book about the most stupefying subject in the world – money, where it comes from and how it is manipulated – and made it readable, compelling, even suspenseful. Web of Debt is a page-turner that explains the origin of the Federal Reserve, the functioning of our money supply, currency speculation, capital flows, and the rest. As you read, interest grows like a Wall Street bonus package.

The book: “Modern Money Secrets” by Byron Dale

http://www.wealthmoney.org/modern-money-secrets/

Review: For the first time ever, I see a potential solution to our debt black hole.  Most financial “experts” don’t get it.  The Ivy League ones get lost in flawed neoclassical economics so they can’t see the obvious, and the ones wearing suits on TV are just propagandists.  Byron makes it real clear: no money gets into circulation without going into debt to a bank.  There is no other source.  The United States issues no sovereign money!  Therefore Americans are not free people.  It is time for us to admit the truth and either do something about it, or stop blowing up stuff on the 4th of July believing a myth.

The organization: The Public Banking Institute

http://publicbankinginstitute.org/

Since its founding little more than a year ago, the Public Banking Institute has become a significant force that is helping to turn banking and finance away from fraud and predation back toward their intended objectives of promoting general prosperity and the common good. According to the PBI website, PBI’s vision is to establish a distributed network of state and local publicly-owned banks that create affordable credit, while providing a sustainable alternative to the current high-risk centralized private banking system. (beyondmoney.net)

The organization: American Monetary Institute

http://www.monetary.org/the-need-for-monetary-reform/2009/09

The power to create money is an awesome power – at times stronger than the Executive, Legislative and Judicial powers combined. It’s like having a “magic check book,” where checks can’t bounce. When controlled privately it can be used to gain riches, but much more importantly it determines the direction of our society by deciding where the money goes – what gets funded and what does not. Will it be used to build and repair vital infrastructure such as the New Orleans levees and Minneapolis bridges to protect major cities? Or will it go into warfare and real estate loans creating the real estate bubble – leading to a crash and depression.

If you Like NAFTA, You’ll Love TPP

August 24, 2012 6 comments

We, the transnational corporations and the ruling elites are on the verge of a wonderful new dawn bringing us immense power and untold wealth.

We have been secretly negotiating a new agreement called the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) with the United States Australia, Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam and are nearing completing the final details of this agreement. We have had 600 of our corporate lobbyists providing input and have successfully excluded Congress, our own corporate media, and the general public from the negotiations. Once implemented, this agreement will hard code corporate dominance over sovereign governments into international law that will supercede any federal, state, or local laws of any member country. This agreement will grant new corporate privileges and rights, while limiting governments and protective regulations. This agreement will far exceed anything we have been able to achieve with NAFTA, CAFTA, or any other free trade agreement.

TPP What you don't know, will hurt youThe details contained in this agreement will result in total corporate global governance . In this new system the role of elected governments will be to serve as subservient agents for our interests. The institutions under governments such as the armies, police, and courts will also serve our interests, while being financed by the taxpayers of that country. The status of the member states will be locked-in, similar to countries once they are inside the Eurozone.

In the past, we had to deal with environmental regulations, financial regulations, worker safety regulations and other issues that have always brought down the profits we worked so hard to earn and are rightfully ours. Once this agreement passes, these regulations will actually have the potential of increasing our wealth. Some of the provisions in this agreement include the establishment of corporate controlled tribunals to be administered by 3 attorneys with no conflict of interest limitations. These 3 attorney tribunals, which will be controlled by us, will have the power to order sovereign governments to use taxpayer money to pay us and our agents for any environmental or regulatory costs that our transnational corporations expended to meet local standards. We can literally expect to have long term taxpayer revenue streams that will flow into our coffers. At the very least, many existing laws would need to be rewritten and no new regulatory laws could be passed.

With this wonderful new agreement, governments that venture to pass regulations such as limits on the financial industry using risky bets such as derivatives would have the burden of proof to defend such regulations in a tribunal system controlled by us, and staffed by our lawyers and judges. The judges in these tribunals could order the government to use taxpayers’ money to pay damages should one of our transnational corporations prevail in one of our “private courts”. In the past, we have received over $350 million of taxpayer money under the NAFTA style agreements, because of zoning laws, toxic bans, timber rules and other regulations. It is our expectation that this figure will be dwarfed by future payments. This TPP agreement is like NAFTA on steroids. These tribunals setup by this TPP agreement will have binding corporate guarantees with both trade and cash sanctions. These cash sanctions would also effectively transfer taxpayer money to transnational corporate coffers. Can you imagine how much money we will have flowing into our pockets as we challenge regulations within our own private court system forcing governments to pay for our lost profits or to eliminate them? This agreement will essentially strip governments of their sovereignty and make them answerable to our tribunals.

Corporate MilitaryThe result of these corporate tribunals will be to setup a race to the bottom, where if one country chooses not to regulate something, then the corporations would be able to sue the other nations inside of the TPP to have taxpayers cover their losses for any such regulations. These other countries would be vulnerable to corporate led lawsuits to be decided in the corporate tribunals. In order to protect our interests , we could potentially have the ability to utilize the publicly funded militaries of some member states to wage war on other “less compliant” states.

So how could such an extreme agreement that literally gives corporations and us ruling elites everything we could possibly want have been negotiated with little or no resistance? The answer is that the ONLY way this agreement could ever pass is if everything is done in secret, continues to remain secret, and the details never see the light of day.

In that regard, we must do everything in our power to be sure that the general public does not become aware of this agreement or the details before we are ready for a vote. Since our main stream media will represent our interests, we do not need to concern ourselves much about them. However, unfortunately some of the independent media, over which we have little control at this time, is starting to make waves on this issue. Lori Wallach, the director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch recently said in this video:

“These agreements are a little bit like Dracula. You drag them in the sunshine, and they do not fare well. But all of us, and also across all of the countries involved, there are citizen movements that are basically saying that this is not in our name. We don’t need global enforceable corporate rights. We need more democracy. We need more accountability.”

Can you believe the audacity of that statement? It is as if she believes that people should have say in such matters in which they do not have our expertise and could offer no intelligent input. It is as if she believes that limits should be placed on our profits that we worked so hard for.

We have heard that demonstrations are being planned for our next TPP negotiating session that will be held September 6-15 in Leesburg, VA. Information about these negotiations is being circulated on the Internet and we need to do everything we can to stop them or at least limit their attendance and coverage by the independent media. The police need to be informed that they have our permission to employ aggressive tactics against any demonstrators and will not suffer any consequences for unlawful behavior. If necessary, we can plant provocateurs into the crowds to insure a robust police response and to provide fodder for our corporate media.

In the future, once this agreement has been ratified, Internet censorship regulations will be passed that are much stronger than the previous ones we tried to pass, such as ACTA, SOPA, and PIPA. This will lock down the Internet so we can use it for our purposes, as has been successfully done in other countries. Once this has been accomplished, the public masses will have no alternatives except for our controlled media. They will comply when they hear our logic. No one will take the time to investigate. This is why it is so important to make sure that this agreement does not see the light of day.

Once the negotiations have been finalized, the control we have over the elected officials will ensure that this bill passes. We will use every weapon in our vast arsenal to make sure that we get the votes we need. Some elected officials will respond to campaign contributions. Others may need to be threatened. Thanks to the enlightened Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling allowing unlimited anonymous money to flow into negative ads, we will use these new tools to prevail against anyone who opposes us on the TPP in the next election. We are fortunate that the opinions of the gullible masses are so easily and effectively swayed by watching these negative ads put on by us. To further ensure that the agreement is not altered, we must make sure that the TTP receives fast track status. That way no rogue legislator can make amendments or changes, or try to filibuster the agreement. It will be a simple up and down roll call vote.

We are also fortunate in that regardless of the election results in November, it will make no difference who wins. The agreement will be signed by whoever is president. This agreement was negotiated under Obama, so he will certainly sign it. Romney has also stated that he wants this agreement finalized as quickly as possible so he can sign it as well. Only if a 3rd party candidate wins will this be a problem. Our media will work hard to make sure that does not happen.

Polls show that most Americans from both major political parties believe that money exerts far too much influence on public officials. They believe that this effectively makes these elected officials the “hired servants” of the wealthy elites. This sort of popular belief works against our interests. Unfortunately, both the Tea Party and the Occupy Movement also believe that there is too much influence of money on our legislators. While government representatives are essentially our puppets, we will need to be sure that we keep the electorate divided. We still need to continue to work on both the left and the right and create wedge issues that will keep them focused on each other, not on what we are trying to accomplish here. We need each of them to question the patriotism of the other side. We need each of them to make derogatory remarks about each other, even if we need to hire someone to inject them for us. This has worked well in the past and there is no reason to expect it will not work again.

In summary, what we have here is a confluence of forces that has the potential to solidify a shift towards total global corporate control and to encase it in international law. Governments will merely be the tools of our corporations and will serve to provide a degree of separation between us and the masses when the inevitable police response will be needed to enforce this agreement.

Clarification:

I have found that writing in the perspective of the opposite side, some people just do not “get it”. Some believe that such writing is literally my belief. To those people:
I do not believe that the TPP is good for the country.
I do not support the transnational corporate agenda.
I do not support surrendering our sovereign rights to an external tribunal.
This article was written specifically from the elites’ perspective to inform people of the great dangers this TPP represents.

What Can You Do?

We need to end the secret TPP negotiations
Until we bring this process into public view, there is the danger that it will be passed quickly and secretly with little or no congressional or public input. Once the details of these agreements are made public, the TPP will be defeated, or at the very least modified significantly.

We need people to show up at the Leesberg, Virginia negotiations. A large rally that has been endorsed by over 2 dozen organizations has been planned for Sunday September 9. The independent media will be there. We have reached a crossroad where either we allow the corporations to take control of our nations, or we stop them in their attempts. Take an evening off from the TV and make the effort to make a difference so that you leave your children and grandchildren a better future. Don’t expect others to do this vital task for you. YOU need to be there, there may be the last negotiation session before this agreement is finalized. If this passes, there will be no turning back.

For more information on this rally, please visit:
http://www.citizenstrade.org/ctc/

Educate yourself about the TPP. Your future and that of your children depends on what you do. Some sites with more information include:
http://www.citizen.org/tpp
http://www.straight.com/article-688656/vancouver/prointernet-community-must-fight-tpp-weekly-update-openmediaca

Rudy Avizius
http://www.endtheillusion.org

New Jersey Betrayal

August 6, 2011 1 comment

Once upon a time in the State of New Jersey, we had a situation where the public workers (of the state) such as teachers, nurses, police, and others were blatantly violating the laws of NJ by not contributing into their pension funds. In fact for 11 of the last 15 years, these irresponsible public employees paid ZERO DOLLARS into the funds. During this time the State of New Jersey has been paying its full share amount into each pension fund all along. Now the pension system is severely underfunded and it is time for those who have not been paying into the system to pay up. Why should the State/taxpayers have to make up the difference when these public employees were so irresponsible? Those who have been paying their fair share should not be made to bear the burden for the irresponsibility of those who did not.

In an admirable bipartisan spirit, Governor Chris Christie (Republican) has worked closely with Senate President Stephen Sweeney (Democrat) and Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver (Democrat) to forge a Pension-Benefits Reduction Bill that will restore solvency to the pension system. This bill will hold those who have not paid their fair share responsible for restoring solvency to the system through additional deductions, reduced health care benefits, no cost of living increases for pensioners, the establishment of a board that would offer plans with fewer benefits as well as increased co-pays and prescriptions and most importantly the stripping of the unions’ right to negotiate their health-care insurance coverage and contribution levels.

THE ONLY PROBLEM WITH THE ABOVE PARAGRAPHS IS THAT THE ROLES ARE EXACTLY REVERSED AND IT WAS THE STATE THAT WAS PAYING ZERO FOR 11 OUT OF THE LAST 15 YEARS. THE WORKERS WERE PAYING THEIR FAIR SHARE DURING THIS ENTIRE TIME! Unfortunately it is the workers who have been responsible all along that are now the victims of this bill.

So again, why should those who have been paying their fair share be made to bear the burden of the irresponsibility of those who did not? The pensioners will no longer receive cost-of-living increases until the system is “determined to be solvent”. These are people who paid faithfully into the system their entire professional lives. While this might sound like a reasonable concession on the surface, if you look deeper, it will devastate this group. According to a well respected data site, shadowstats.org, the current annual inflation rate is 12% and is climbing. This means that pensioners will lose half their buying power in 4 years. In 8 to 12 years they will be living in poverty!

During the courtship of Governor Christie, Senator Sweeney and Sheila Oliver failed to strong arm their Democratic Caucuses to support the bill and were not successful at getting a majority to do so. However, in North Jersey (Essex area) and in Southern New Jersey, the very powerful party bosses were able to order enough Democrats to betray their principles, so that when combined with the Republican minority in both houses, the Pension-Benefits Reduction Bill was able to pass.

In a cynical move, to protect themselves from the inevitable backlash for their betrayal, the vote on this Pension-Benefits Reduction Bill was purposely withheld until after the primary elections had been completed and the deadline had passed for adding names to the coming election ballot.

This betrayal of organized labor by the South Jersey Democrats has ignited a firestorm among this core constituent group as well as others who recognize the injustice of making some pay for the irresponsibility of others. Meetings were called and the NJ Progressive Democrats of America (no affiliation to the Democratic Party) charted a strategy. During these meetings the Democratic legislators who betrayed their constituents were renamed “Christiecrats”.

These Christiecrats claim that they are looking to make the fund solvent, but where were they during all the years the Democrats controlled the Senate and Assembly and the state was not making its contributions into the fund? Their silence was deafening.

On Monday, August 8, at the War Memorial in Trenton, the NJ Progressive Democrats of America will be starting a petition drive for the removal of Stephen Sweeney from the Senate Presidency and Sheila Oliver from the Assembly Speakership. The petition will be presented to NJ State Democratic Committee chair John Wisniewski.

In these times when public workers are under increasing attack by the corporate controlled media, it is important to remember that:

1. it was not the public workers who instigated multi $trillion bond fraud on Wall Street
2. it was not the public workers who lobbied for financial deregulation
3. it was not the public workers who gambled in derivatives with other peoples’ money
4. it was not the public workers who accepted $billions in bailouts
5. it was not the public workers who paid themselves huge bonuses
6. it was not the public workers who brought the economy to its knees

Remember, the media will try to redirect your anger away from the Wall Street aristocracy. In a classic case of divide and conquer they will try to turn you against other middle class workers, and then place the question in your mind, “why does the bus mechanic who works for the state have full benefits?” WRONG QUESTION! You should be asking why you do not have them.

Categories: Politics, Social

The Corporate States of America

money in politicsAmericans have long had a sneaking suspicion that there was a “hidden hand” directing our government in Washington and the states, and they were right. The “hidden hand” was actually the corporations, unions, and other special interests that contribute literally $billions to our politicians in order to influence legislation that will favor them. This has happened even with the limits that have been placed on these groups that prevented them from directly contributing to campaigns.

Thursday January 21 2010, will go down in history as a dark day. This is the day that a divided Supreme Court, in a case of unbelievable overreach removed all limits on corporate political campaign spending. If you thought our politicians were corrupt and beholden to corporations before, things are about to get a LOT WORSE now that all limits have been removed. Justices Roberts, Alito, Scalia, Thomas and Kennedy swept aside decades of legislative restrictions on the money from corporations in political campaigns and ruled that companies can use corporate funds to support or oppose candidates. These 5 justices have just opened the floodgates and the strangle hold the banks have over the nation’s wealth will now be amplified by this Supreme Court ruling that has totally removed all limits on campaign financing by corporations. This black day will go ultimately go down in history where the Supreme Court officially validated the takeover of the government by the corporations. The amounts of money spent on the 2010 midterm elections was a record, and the amounts that will be spent on the 2012 presidential elections are projected to total $BILLIONS!

money = freedom

In its impartial majesty the Supreme Court rules that the poor as well as the rich can spend unlimited money to influence elections


The flawed logic they used was that this was a freedom of speech issue. These 5 justices have just declared corporations now have 1st amendment rights, the same as individuals. It is ironic that it is the conservative wing of the court, the same wing that consistently calls for “judicial restraint” and rails against anything not specifically mentioned in the constitution, was the one that overturned decades of precedent. Where in the constitution did our founding fathers give corporations the right to freedom of speech? Where were corporations even mentioned in the constitution?

We all know too well what happened when our nation deregulated the financial industry and told us that “the market” will regulate itself. These 5 men have now totally deregulated money in politics and have left it to the “market” to regulate itself. We have already seen what deregulation of the financial industry did to our economy. These deregulators said the market could regulate itself.It does not take much forward thinking to envision the consequences of this disastrous decision. The special interest groups were handed a late Christmas present and are already gearing up to flood the political campaigns with money from their profits. The corporations will move quickly to complete their stranglehold on the media and then leverage this to their advantage. Fred Werthheimer, president of Democracy 21, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to making democracy work for all Americans stated: "With a stroke of the pen, five justices wiped out a century of American history devoted to preventing corporate corruption of our democracy"

If the nation does somehow survive this handing of the government to the corporations, this decision will go down in history as even worse than the Dred Scott v. Sandford and Plessy v. Ferguson monumental errors of the past. The 5 justices that recklessly voted for removing all limits to corporate campaign spending: Roberts, Alito, Thomas, Scalia, Kennedy will rightly be held in the same regard as those who voted for these other two decisions.

In the 2008 election cycle, nearly $6 billion was spent on all federal campaigns, including more than $1 billion from corporate political action committees, trade associations, executives and lobbyists. This $6 billion figure does not include state and local races. Now consider how much money we will be talking about here, now that the labor unions and corporations can spend unlimited amounts in both Federal and State elections. We will now have wholesale buying of elections by corporations with their vast financial resources. The door has also been opened for foreign corporations to have a say in our elections now. You can now also expect these corporations to move quickly to attempt to finalize their control of the media and use the media along with their money to “inform” the citizenry of the issues. While the electorate was distracted by the staged left vs right, Democrat vs Republican, conservative vs liberal fights, we have actually just had a coup take place where the corporations have taken over the country. This ruling does not really favor any party because in the end it will not matter what party the candidate is from, they will have been bought. Have you noticed that the corporate media did not give this huge event much coverage?

Corruption of our electoral process
Monica Youn, who directs the campaign finance reform/money in politics project at New York University’s Brennan Center for Law and Justice, said that with this decision the Supreme Court has essentially armed the corporations with a potent weapon, these corporations may not even have to spend that much money. What could easily happen is that the corporations will now have the THREAT of a massive media campaign against politicans that may not do their bidding. This mere potential of a massive campaign of negative ads will probably be enough to make the majority of politicans reconsider their positions. This is like having a negotiation between 2 parties in a room where one of the parties has a weapon and the other does not. The party with the weapon does not need to actually need to wield it to get the desired results, just knowing that it is there is enough. So much for politicians doing the right thing. The corporations will now have even more clout in the legislatures than before and this is without even spending any additional money.

With the broad language that the Supreme Court opinion was written, it may well be almost impossible to draft new legislation to overcome this ruling. Of course, do you really believe that our politicians will even be willing to do pass effective reform legislation now that this new ruling is in place and it favors incumbents even more strongly than before? Our politicians are like drug addicts that are totally dependent on these large sums of special interest money to maintain themselves in power. They will do almost anything to maintain their power.

As if this Supreme Court decision was not bad enough, the nation suffers from a lack of transparency when it comes to trying to follow the money. Deliberate attempts are made to hide and obfuscate the information so that the electorate remains uninformed.

  • Did you know that the Senate deliberately exempted itself from filing campaign finance reports electronically? This slows down the process of determining who is actually making contributions and expenditures by making research a very arduous process of having to read thousands of pages by hand, or having to retype them into a form that can be indexed and readily searched.
  • Did you know that the government’s new “open government” site http://www.data.gov, doesn’t even contain data on campaign contributions, lobbyist filings, statistics on warrantless searches or even committee assignments?
  • Did you know that here is no indexing of the thousands of hours of House and Senate recordings? You would have to listen for days before you could find what you are searching for.
  • Years after the problems with electronic ballots not having a voter verifiable paper audit trail were made public, we still allow these machines to count votes without verifiable paper trails despite the fact that it has been proven that they are easily manipulated. Regardless of your political beliefs, it is crucial for our democracy that the integrity of election results be considered fair and impartial.

It may well be that we have now lost our democracy, but there may still be some hope. Since we can no longer place limits on corporate campaign funding, we need to do the following:

  1. We need to demand TOTAL TRANSPARENCY. We need legislation passed immediately before the next election cycle goes into full swing, where all campaign funding is placed on the Internet and this data must be completely indexed. It is vital that these databases be directly searchable by each and every sort of variable contained in the original documentation. This will make it easy to cross reference the information and find out exactly who is receiving what and from whom. By creating this standard the American people will be able to make informed decisions about the candidates running for office and whose interests these politicans are really representing.
  2. We need passage of the “Fair Election Now Act” immediately. This legislation has been cosponsored by 120 members in the House, however its companion bill in the Senate has a pitiful 5 cosponsors. It has also been supported by many business leaders who sent a letter to the House Speaker and to the Senate Majority Leader. They understand the need for this reform and are getting tired of politicians constantly calling them for money. This bill would create a voluntary system of public funding of campaigns by supplementing small donations of $100 or less. During an election cycle the voters would be able to determine if a candidate was going to serve the people by using the public system or serve the special interests by not participating in it. Check here to see if your congressional representative is a cosponsor. Check here to see if your Senator is a cosponsor. If they are not, call them and ask them why not.
  3. It is time to pass legislating that any corporate money used for political spending be approved by a majority of the shareholders. This will give the shareholders the ability to control corporate political expenditures. (While we are at it, let’s include language in the legislation about shareholder approval of all compensation and bonus payments as well.)

While passage of the above legislation would not stop all of the corruption of money in politics, it would go a long way to limiting its influence and making it apparent to the voters who is trying to influence their candidates. To make the passage of these legislative bills more likely, it is now incumbent on us to actively support organizations that have been fighting for campaign finance reform and government transparency. The time to mobilize is now, while the issue is hot. If we wait too long, the entrenched interests will put additional barriers in place making harder and harder to enact meaningful reforms. There are many organizations working for political finance reform and government transparency, some of these organizations would include:
Common Cause
Public Citizen
Democracy 21
Follow the Money
Open Secrets
Fair Elections Now

These organizations now need your efforts and financial support more than ever. Plato, an ancient Greek philosopher once said, “the price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." If we do not lift ourselves up from our collective apathy, Plato’s words will most certainly become a reality.

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