A Revolutionary Pope Calls for Rethinking the Outdated Criteria That Rule the World

Pope Francis’ revolutionary encyclical addresses not just climate change but the banking crisis. Interestingly, the solution to that crisis may have been modeled in the Middle Ages by Franciscan monks following the Saint from whom the Pope took his name.

Pope Francis has been called “the revolutionary Pope.” Before he became Pope Francis, he was a Jesuit Cardinal in Argentina named Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the son of a rail worker. Moments after his election, he made history by taking on the name Francis, after Saint Francis of Assisi, the leader of a rival order known to have shunned wealth to live in poverty.

Pope Francis’ June 2015 encyclical is called “Praised Be,” a title based on an ancient song attributed to St. Francis. Most papal encyclicals are addressed only to Roman Catholics, but this one is addressed to the world. And while its main focus is considered to be climate change, its 184 pages cover much more than that. Among other sweeping reforms, it calls for a radical overhaul of the banking system. It states in Section IV: Continue reading

Today on “It’s Our Money” — “Mad as Hell” Over Fast Track

Anchorman Howard Beale’s outburst that mobilized a nation to scream out their windows in anger at the tyranny of the powers-that-be makes an apt sequel to this week’s news that Fast Track approval of the TPP appears imminent. Ellen speaks with Kevin Zeese, the foremost leader of national citizen’s campaigns pushing back against the obvious collusion of government leaders and corporate interests. It will have you heading toward your own windows. Co-host Walt McRee speaks with Chuck Watts of the Empathy Surplus Project about the power of language in creating the new economy and a new generation of public policy, while Matt Stannard reflects on Wells Fargo’s recent efforts at impacting social justice.

Listen at noon pst/3 pm est here or archived thereafter here.

USAWatchDog: Obama Secret Trade Deal Serves Corporations and Banks

“Sentence First, Verdict Afterwards”: The Alice in Wonderland World of Fast-tracked Secret Trade Agreements

`Let the jury consider their verdict,’ the King said, for about the twentieth time that day.

`No, no!’ said the Queen. `Sentence first–verdict afterwards.’

`Stuff and nonsense!’ said Alice loudly. `The idea of having the sentence first!’

`Hold your tongue!’ said the Queen, turning purple.

`I won’t!’ said Alice.

`Off with her head!’ the Queen shouted at the top of her voice.

                    — Lewis Carroll, “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”

Fast-track authority is being sought in the Senate this week for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), along with the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) and any other such trade agreements coming down the pike in the next six years. The terms of the TPP and the TiSA are so secret that drafts of the negotiations are to remain classified for four years or five years, respectively, after the deals have been passed into law. How can laws be enforced against people and governments who are not allowed to know what was negotiated? Continue reading

New on “It’s Our Money” — Monetary Reform: Trending

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Remarkable changes are underway in the world of monetary policy, theory and even the forms of money itself.  Beyond just technology, these new forms and re-forms of the dominant money control systems are being pushed by the need for fairer economic distribution as well as raging battles between global private banks and citizens of Greece, Spain, Canada and more.  This week Ellen speaks with Uli Kortsch, president of Global Partners Investments, who advocates replacing money creation by private banks through “fractional reserve lending” with government-issued money, and we visit with colleagues in London working on something similar.  Co-host Walt McRee discusses a new series of workbooks designed to enable more local investment while Matt Stannard discusses the humanitarian concerns imposed by the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Listen to the podcast here.

Fast-track Hands the Money Monopoly to Private Banks — Permanently

It is well enough that the 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.                                                                                                                                                                        — Attributed to Henry Ford

In March 2014, the Bank of England let the cat out of the bag: money is just an IOU, and the banks are rolling in it. So wrote David Graeber in The Guardian the same month, referring to a BOE paper called “Money Creation in the Modern Economy.” The paper stated outright that most common assumptions of how banking works are simply wrong. The result, said Graeber, was to throw the entire theoretical basis for austerity out of the window.

The revelation may have done more than that. The entire basis for maintaining our private extractive banking monopoly may have been thrown out the window. And that could help explain the desperate rush to “fast track” not only the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), but the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA). TiSA would nip attempts to implement public banking and other monetary reforms in the bud. Continue reading

Upcoming conference in Claremont, CA — “Seizing an Alternative” ; and Dr. John Cobb talks about it on “It’s Our Money”

On June 4-7, 2015, we aim to create Pandomonium! 
“Seizing an Alternative: Toward an Ecological Civilization”

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“Seizing an Alternative: Toward an Ecological Civilization”focuses on the big ideas that matter for a thriving ecosphere, featuring some seven hundred presenters and more than eighty areas of specialty. For details, see here. And to hear about it, listen to founder Dr. John Cobb interviewed on “It’s Our Money with Ellen Brown”, here.

Derailing Amtrak: Tracking the Latest Disaster in the Infrastructure Crisis

The dangerous underfunding of US infrastructure was underscored by a fatal train derailment on May 12th. The tragedy did not deter the House Appropriations Committee from voting to slash Amtrak funding the very next day. There are ways Congress could fund its massive infrastructure bill without raising taxes. But the conservative-controlled Congress seems to have other plans for the nation’s profitable public assets. Continue reading

Dane Wigington, Matt Stannard, Marc Armstrong on “It’s Our Money”

Connecting the Dots – 05.06.15

At what point are you willing to challenge your own notions of what’s really going on? Can you even imagine that the mavens of the Money Power would threaten human survival to serve themselves for even bigger personal profits? Ellen’s guest, researcher Dane Wigington, has a trove of data to suggest that they would. And they do so in the form of geoengineering, a covert tool allegedly being used to control natural systems for private profit. We also hear commentary from Matt Stannard about the economics of the Baltimore uprising and from Marc Armstrong about America’s only publicly-owned depository bank, the Bank of North Dakota, which just issued its latest annual report — it’s another record-setting winner!

Listen here.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Death of the Republic

The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government.    — Article IV, Section 4, US Constitution

A republican form of government is one in which power resides in elected officials representing the citizens, and government leaders exercise power according to the rule of law. In The Federalist Papers, James Madison defined a republic as “a government which derives all its powers directly or indirectly from the great body of the people . . . .”

On April 22, 2015, the Senate Finance Committee approved a bill to fast-track the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a massive trade agreement that would override our republican form of government and hand judicial and legislative authority to a foreign three-person panel of corporate lawyers. Continue reading

Gar Alperovitz on “It’s Our Money” with Ellen Brown

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In the world of monetary reformists, there’s a clear understanding that things not only shouldn’t continue as they are, they can’t continue as they are – that systemic failure is upon us as current social and political outcomes tear at the fabric of civil life. Ellen speaks with Gar Alperovitz, one of America’s most venerable reformist thinkers and policy experts, about his new “The Next System Project” to help design and precipitate what should happen next. Also, maybe the national debt is unnecessary after all – author Scott Baker talks with co-host Walt McRee about his new book “America is Not Broke,” and Matt Stannard reports on the financial travesties imposed by Wall Street on American cities.

Archived here.

USAWatchDog: No Backup Plan for California Drought

How America Became an Oligarchy

The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don’t. . . . You have owners.                                                                                                — George Carlin, The American Dream

According to a new study from Princeton University, American democracy no longer exists. Using data from over 1,800 policy initiatives from 1981 to 2002, researchers Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page concluded that rich, well-connected individuals on the political scene now steer the direction of the country, regardless of – or even against – the will of the majority of voters. America’s political system has transformed from a democracy into an oligarchy, where power is wielded by wealthy elites. Continue reading

California Water Wars: Another Form of Asset Stripping?

In California’s epic drought, wars over water rights continue, while innovative alternatives for increasing the available water supply go untapped.

Wars over California’s limited water supply have been going on for at least a century. Water wars have been the subject of some vintage movies, including the 1958 hit The Big Country starring Gregory Peck, Clint Eastwood’s 1985 Pale Rider, 1995’s Waterworld with Kevin Costner, and the 2005 film Batman Begins. Most acclaimed was the 1975 Academy Award winner Chinatown with Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway, involving a plot between a corrupt Los Angeles politician and land speculators to fabricate the 1937 drought in order to force farmers to sell their land at low prices. The plot was rooted in historical fact, reflecting battles between Owens Valley farmers and Los Angeles urbanites over water rights.

Today the water wars continue on a larger scale with new players. It’s no longer just the farmers against the ranchers or the urbanites. It’s the people against the new “water barons”  – Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Monsanto, the Bush family, and their ilk – who are buying up water all over the world at an unprecedented pace. Continue reading

The ECB’s Noose Around Greece: How Central Banks Harness Governments

Remember when the infamous Goldman Sachs delivered a thinly-veiled threat to the Greek Parliament in December, warning them to elect a pro-austerity prime minister or risk having central bank liquidity cut off to their banks? (See January 6th post here.) It seems the European Central Bank (headed by Mario Draghi, former managing director of Goldman Sachs International) has now made good on the threat. Continue reading

PRN has a new website; and Ellen Brown interviews Paul Craig Roberts

Progessive Radio Network, where you can hear our radio show “It’s Our Money”, has a new and improved website that allows comments. First up on the new site is my interview of Paul Craig Roberts (great guest!). The link is here —

http://itsourmoney.podbean.com/e/the-whole-story-022515/

The second half of that interesting interview will be played this Wednesday at noon PST/3 pm EST.

Power Point, Economics of Happiness Conference, Portland, February 28, 2015

Banking on Colorado Conference, Denver, January 31, 2015

Swimming with the Sharks: Goldman Sachs, School Districts, and Capital Appreciation Bonds

The fliers touted new ballfields, science labs and modern classrooms. They didn’t mention the crushing debt or the investment bank that stood to make millions. 

                       — Melody Peterson, Orange County Register, February 15, 2013  

Remember when Goldman Sachs – dubbed by Matt Taibbi the Vampire Squidsold derivatives to Greece so the government could conceal its debt, then bet against that debt, driving it up? It seems that the ubiquitous investment bank has also put the squeeze on California and its school districts. Not that Goldman was alone in this; but the unscrupulous practices of the bank once called the undisputed king of the municipal bond business epitomize the culture of greed that has ensnared students and future generations in unrepayable debt. Continue reading

Why Public Banks Outperform Private Banks: Unfair Competition or a Better Mousetrap?

Public banks in North Dakota, Germany and Switzerland have been shown to outperform their private counterparts. Under the TPP and TTIP, however, publicly-owned banks on both sides of the oceans might wind up getting sued for unfair competition because they have advantages not available to private banks.

In November 2014, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Bank of North Dakota (BND), the nation’s only state-owned bank, “is more profitable than Goldman Sachs Group Inc., has a better credit rating than J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and hasn’t seen profit growth drop since 2003.” The article credited the shale oil boom; but as discussed earlier here, North Dakota was already reporting record profits in the spring of 2009, when every other state was in the red and the oil boom had not yet hit. The later increase in state deposits cannot explain the bank’s stellar record either.

Then what does explain it? The BND turns a tidy profit year after year because it has substantially lower costs and risks then private commercial banks. It has no exorbitantly-paid executives; pays no bonuses, fees, or commissions; has no private shareholders; and has low borrowing costs. It does not need to advertise for depositors (it has a captive deposit base in the state itself) or for borrowers (it is a wholesome wholesale bank that partners with local banks that have located borrowers). The BND also has no losses from derivative trades gone wrong. It engages in old-fashioned conservative banking and does not speculate in derivatives.

Lest there be any doubt about the greater profitability of the public banking model, however, this conclusion was confirmed in January 2015 in a report by the Savings Banks Foundation for International Cooperation (SBFIC) (the Sparkassenstiftung für internationale Kooperation), a non-profit organization founded by the the Sparkassen Finance Group (Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe) in Germany. The SBFIC was formed in 1992 to make the experience of the German Sparkassen – municipally-owned savings banks – accessible in other countries. Continue reading

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