Monthly Archives: March 2019

2019 Spring Newsletter

2019 Spring Newsletter

  • Summer travel plans
  • Announcing Beyond Money Podcast
  • Jubilee
  • Elections 2020
  • Global War Profiteers vs. the People of the United States

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Summer travel plans

My travels last year were quite limited for various reasons. This year I’m planning to spend six weeks in Europe and the UK starting in early May and extending to the middle of June. My first objective is to meet up in London with colleagues who have been working toward organizing a mutual credit clearing network to enable moneyless trading among cooperative businesses and small and medium sized enterprises. I also have plans to meet up with colleagues in Italy, and I am slated to spend the first two weeks of June as a facilitator in residence (FIR) at the Kalikalos holistic summer school at Mt. Pelion in Greece, where I have previously conducted workshops and spent a lot of productive and enjoyable time. At this point I have some unscheduled blocks of time mainly in the latter part of May, which makes possible visits to other places as opportunities arise and the spirit moves me.
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Announcing Beyond Money Podcast

Building upon last year’s interview with executives of the Moxey trade network, Ken Freeman and I have been working together to set up the Beyond Money Podcast website. The site is now live with the first two of what we hope will be a long series of audio interviews with major players who have knowledge and/or experience in some aspect of alternative currencies and exchange systems.

In the premier episode I provide a broad overview of the money and banking system, its history and dysfunctions, and discuss reciprocal exchange alternatives that have emerged and are continuing to develop. The second episode is an interview with educator and social activist Heloisa Primavera, in which she tells about the conditions that led to the rise of the social money movement in Argentina around the turn of the century, its eventual fall, and current efforts to rebuild it.
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Jubilee

I have long argued that the global interest-based debt money regime is dysfunctional, destructive and unsustainable, yet debts in both the private and public sectors continue to explode exponentially along with increasing disparities of incomes and wealth, causing social, economic and financial pressures to continue to build. The need for strong measures and serious restructuring is enormous but the vested interests, fearing their loss of power, are resistant to change.

In his latest book, “…And Forgive Them Their Debts, renowned economist Michael Hudson, reveals that periodic debt forgiveness has been a practice in many cultures going back thousands of years, even predating the Jubilee prescribed in Mosaic Law and described in Old Testament of the Bible. Hudson’s long historical purview is highlighted in the book’s subtitle, “Lending, Foreclosure and Redemption from Bronze Age Finance to the Jubilee Year.” He argues that periodic debt forgiveness is a necessity to preserve civilization because of the inevitable imbalances that develop over time. The Financial Times has called this book one of the best economics books of 2018.

I’ve not yet read the book, but I met Hudson more than 30 years ago and have followed his work ever since. There are numerous videos available in which Hudson describes his research findings and prescriptions, including this recent interview by award winning journalist Chris Hedges: On Contact: The history of debt forgiveness.

It is to be expected that such a proposal as debt forgiveness, if acknowledged at all, would be greeted by the mainstream as “radical,” “impractical,” or even “communistic,” but it is not hard to see the necessity of making a periodic reset when it comes to debt. Anyone who has ever played the game, Monopoly, knows that, if played long enough, one player ends up owning everything and all the others end up with debts they cannot pay.

Bankruptcy procedures have long since been established to enable some financial restructuring for individual and corporate debtors. These procedures invariably include the reduction of debts in whole or in part. Debtor prisons have long since been abolished but debt bondage remains in many forms and laws tend to favor creditors and the owners of capital over those whose livelihood depends on their ability to sell their labor in the market.

As conditions build toward the next financial crisis, the powers-that-be will undoubtedly employ ever more desperate measures to hold on to power. An article in SD Bullion outlines the ways we should expect them to react to the eventual crisis.
Here is an excerpt:

 “Writing for the Financial Times in February of 2018, the former head of research for the central bank of central banks (the BIS), William White stated the common sense perspective that, “Governments and international forums need to revisit bankruptcy procedures. Debt that cannot be serviced will not be serviced.

“What Mr. White failed to mention in his somewhat recent op-ed article was that the BIS’ FSB has been writing and enacting new global bank and globally important financial institution bankruptcy laws for years now. 

“Far [too] few people banking in supposed first world nations fully understand the existence nor the potential implications of current Bank Bail-in Laws and other financial emergency provisions which have been enacted in recent years.

“Various financial spillover lock down laws have been put into place since the last great recession in 2008 thoughout the G20 nations (yes the USA is part of the G20).”

The bottom line is that, as always, those least able to afford it will be required to pay the cost of systemic failures. Your “money in the bank” may not be as safe as you think. Now that depositors are “legally treated as unsecured creditors,” the stage is set for partial or total confiscation of depositors’ funds. A global financial reset is inevitable. It can be done intentionally in an orderly fashion, but more than likely, the debt crisis will be left to fester until or the reset happens spontaneously and chaotically. The big question is, when will it occur?
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Elections 2020

For the first time in many years, the people may have a chance to decide who will be a major party candidate for US President. For the past several decades, the “Demopublican” regime has forced voters to choose between two preselected candidates, both of whom can be counted upon to advance the agenda of the elite political establishment. But on the heels of the 2018 midterm election victories of many reform-minded and progressive candidates to Congress, the winds of change are beginning to blow.

In anticipation of the Democrat party primary elections, the field of potential Presidential candidates has exploded. It is extremely important that all voices and all ideas be heard. We must not allow the media to tell us which ideas are workable and which are not, or which candidate is able to win and whjich is not. To that end I am supporting with my small voice and small financial contributions the campaigns of many candidates to assure that they will qualify to participate in the upcoming debates.

The criteria established by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) for participating in the Democratic primary debates in June and July are:

  1. Receive at least 1% in 3 polls either nationally or in early states (Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina) between January 1 and mid-May; or
  2. Receive 65,000 individual donations, including at least 200 from 20 different states

The DNC has also said that the field would be restricted to 20 candidates, so if more than 20 candidates satisfy the criteria above, they would knock out the bottom few.

While a closer look at the details of their various platforms is necessary, and I am not yet ready to endorse any candidate, I like what I’ve been hearing from Andrew Yang and Tulsi Gabbard.

Yang has many ideas that I like. Citing advances in automation and artificial intelligence, Yang, on his website, declares one of his main priorities:

I’m not a career politician—I’m an entrepreneur who understands the economy. It’s clear to me, and to many of the nation’s best job creators, that we need to make an unprecedented change, and we need to make it now. But the establishment isn’t willing to take the necessary bold steps. As president, my first priority will be to implement Universal Basic Income for every American adult over the age of 18: $1,000 a month, no strings attached, paid for by a new tax on the companies benefiting most from automation.

The Yang campaign reports that he has already reached the threshold of 65,000 individual donors more than two months before the May 15th deadline, and they have also raised over $750,000 in the last month.

As for Tulsi Gabbard, this excerpt from her website resonates with my own values:

She is a champion for protecting our environment, ensuring clean water and air for generations to come, investing in infrastructure and a green energy economy, healthcare for all, civil liberties and privacy, support for small businesses, criminal justice reform, sustainable agriculture, breaking up the big banks…and she needs your help!

Regime change wars are bankrupting our country and our moral authority. We need to redirect those resources into a renewable, sustainable economy that works for everyone and bring about an era of peace. We must put service above self and reclaim our great democracy from the forces of hatred and division.

As the 2020 campaign season heats up, it is crucial that we attend to more than just the mainstream media channels. You can find a list of my favorite sources here.
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Global War Profiteers vs. the People of the United States

David DeGraw’s report on the vast extent of corruption in the military-industrial-security complex.

The problem has long been recognized but it’s far worse than we thought. DeGraw’s report quotes President John F. Kennedy, speaking in 1961 about the state secrets privilege:
It is a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific and political operations. Its preparations are concealed, not published. Its mistakes are buried, not headlined. Its dissenters are silenced, not praised. No expenditure is questioned, no rumor is printed, no secret is revealed….If you are awaiting a finding of ‘clear and present danger,’ then I can only say that the danger has never been more clear and its presence has never been more imminent.”

10 Mind-Blowing Pentagon Audit Reports All Americans Need to Know

Key Findings:

1) Record Number of Whistleblowers Retaliated Against & Silenced, As Trillions of Dollars Unaccounted For
2) Department of Defense Inspector General Caught Covering Up Corruption, Altering Audit Reports
3) Intelligence Community Whistleblowers Retaliated Against, Cover-Up Attempts Reported, Key Officials Wrongfully Fired, ‘Honest Inspectors Flee,’ Prominent Insiders Speak Out, ‘There Is No Oversight’
4) C.I.A. Caught Illegally, Unconstitutionally Spying on Congress, Using National Security Classification to Cover-Up Corruption, Routinely Retaliating Against Investigators & Whistleblowers
5) First-Ever Full-Scope Audit Failed, No Congressional Briefing, Accounting Fraud “Legalized”
6) Fixable Pentagon Accounting Problems Ignored, Well-Proven, Long-Established Systemic Failure to Address Known Critical Issues
7) Many Critical Cyber Vulnerabilities Ignored at Pentagon & U.S. Treasury, An Open Invitation For Criminals Worldwide
8) Known Solutions – That Can Save Tens of Billions of Tax Dollars Annually – Not Implemented, As Key Gov Accountability Offices Drastically Underfunded & Understaffed
9) Since 1998, $21 Trillion Unaccounted For, $2.6 Billion in Bribes and 12,727 Government Officials Through Global Military Revolving Door
10) Classifying Corruption: Under the Guise of National Security, U.S. Treasury Looted & Constitution Rendered Null & Void
Conclusion
Download Full Report

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How to enable business where money is scarce

How to enable business where money is scarce

What poor people lack, more than intelligence, knowledge or skills, is money, i.e., a way to pay and be paid. Social entrepreneur Will Ruddick tells the story of how community currencies in Africa are enabling the poor to produce, sell, and buy.


The Siege of Venezuela–What are the facts, and who’s to blame?

In 2018, the United Nations Human Rights Commission (HRC) sent its former Secretary, Alfred de Zayas to Venezuela to investigate the situation there. De Zayas is an American lawyer, writer, historian, a leading expert in the field of human rights and international law.

John Bolton, Donald Trump, Mike Pompeo (L to R)

In August of 2018, de Zayas presented his Venezuela report to the HRC but it was greeted with a shocking silence. The only mainstream media outlet that I am aware of that has covered the UN report is the Independent (UK), in an article titled, Venezuela crisis: Former UN rapporteur says US sanctions are killing citizens, published on January 26, 2019. I have not seen any similar coverage it in the United States, and I myself learned about the report almost by accident. Amidst the deafening drumbeat for regime change, one must wonder why such an official investigation has been ignored.

Despite this neglect by the mainstream media, several recorded interviews of De Zayas have made their way onto the Worldwide Web. In this video interview, the UN Investigator and human rights rapporteur gives a summary of his findings. De Zayas says that there is no humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, but“The government … through an external economic war is being asphyxiated.” He asserts that “the financial blockade has had extremely adverse human rights impact” and it has been the intention of the United States “to create a situation whereby the people or the military would topple the government…and then the one percent could again come in and again control the wealth of Venezuela.”

Among the facts that he presents are these:

  • The Venezuelan oil company Citgo has not been allowed to take it revenues, amounting to 9 or 10 billion dollars, out of the United States.
  • In July 2017 Citibank decided, without prior notice, to close the accounts of the Central Bank of Venezuela,
  • And again, in November 2017, Citibank blocked the transfer[of funds] for a shipment of more than 300,000 doses of insulin.
  • Also, in November 2017, “the company Euroclear, retained $1.65 billion that the government of Venezuela had paid for the purchase of food and medicine.

These and numerous other blocks of payment for essential medicines, he argues, are responsible for increased rates of child and maternal mortality, and increased deaths due to lack of insulin and anti-retroviral drugs.

National security advisor, John Bolton has arrogantly admitted on air to Fox Business host Trish Regan that the [Trump] administration had the goal of putting U.S. companies in charge of Venezuela’s oil production. See it on former Congressman Ron Paul’s Liberty Report.
The most recent developments in this matter have included new financial sanctions, the attempt to declare the Maduro presidency illegitimate and to impose a hand-picked puppet, and an attempt to provoke an incident by sending so-called “aid” to the border with Columbia. As Mr. De Zayas, puts it, “Juan Guaido is riding on the Trojan horse of the United States.”

We should be grateful to Mr. De Zayas for courageously reporting the truth of the matter in Venezuela. It is distressing to me to see such broad support by Western and Latin American governments for regime change in Venezuela based on trumped-up charges. Such blatant imperial overreach should have the US populace up in arms, especially after the obvious falsehoods that have been put forth to overthrow governments in places like Iraq, Libya, and others countries across the middle-east and North Africa, and the attempted overthrow of the Assad government in Syria. Truly, the world order today has all the hallmarks of a fascist super-state.

You can find Mr. de Zayas’ official report at https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G18/239/29/PDF/G1823929.pdf?OpenElement. I have excerpted the Conclusions and Recommendations from the report and you canfind them here. You might also want to visit Alfred de Zayas’ Human Rights Corner.
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Venezuela addendum
Here are some additional excerpts and links to articles about the current situation regarding Venezuela.

Another Failed Coup in Venezuela?
George Ciccariello-Maher dissects the failing US-backed coup in Venezuela.
From Venezuelanalysis

Underestimating the People
We’ve seen this all before: On April 11 of 2002, the Venezuelan opposition—according to the most credible accounts—unleashed snipers on its own supporters and used the ensuing deaths to justify a coup against Hugo Chávez. But the opposition dramatically overplayed its hand and underestimated the Chavista grassroots, who it routinely smeared as the blind followers of a populist strongman. When coup leaders abolished all branches of government and scrapped the constitution, hundreds of thousands of poor Venezuelans poured into the streets demanding, and eventually forcing, Chávez’s return to power.

Much has changed since 2002. A perfect storm of Chávez’s death, collapsing global oil prices, a mismanaged system of currency controls, ferocious aggression from the opposition and—more recently—U.S. sanctions, has thrown the Venezuelan economy into a tailspin. Many of the impressive accomplishments of the Bolivarian Revolution—in health care, education and poverty reduction—have quickly evaporated, producing frustration, confusion and desperation among even Chavismo’s most hardline supporters.

Read the rest of the article here
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Hands off Venezuela
By Pat Hynes,
From Traprock Center for Peace and Justice

Hope and US Aid at the Border, the title of a recent New York Times video, deodorizes the US attempt to overthrow President Maduro of socialist Venezuela and replace him with a hand-picked member of the Venezuelan elite, capitalist class.

As the major media presents it, the US is altruistically rushing to feed a people in economic crisis. And, of course, our government knows what is best for the Venezuelan people (just as we did for Afghani, Iraqi and Vietnamese peoples). Yet, photos of mass rallies reveal that millions of darker-skinned – indigenous and mixed-race Venezuelans, of poorer classes support their elected president, while smaller numbers of white descendants of early Spanish colonizers back the US-selected and designated new president, a legislator named Juan Guiado. Our troops and aid anywhere near Venezuela smell like regime change.


The enlightenment of another Iraq and Afghanistan veteran, Kevin Tillman, pierces the benighted world of Washington. “As one of the soldiers who illegally invaded Iraq…I know an illegal coup/invasion when I see one…if Venezuelans believe their president (their president) PMaduro has mismanaged the nation’s most valuable asset [oil], it is their right to seek change, but this is not a right enjoyed by Donald Trump, Nancy Pelosi or Elliot Abrams.”

Please read the full article.
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Financial Imperialism: the Case of Venezuela
by Jack Rasmus
From Counterpunch

The US Neocon-led strategy is increasingly clear: establish a ‘beach-head’ on the Colombian-Venezuelan (and Venezuelan-Brazilian) border under the guise of providing humanitarian aid. Use the aid to get Venezuelans on the border to welcome the US proxy forces to cross over. Set up political and military structures thereafter just inside the Venezuelan borders with Colombia and Brazil, from which to launch further similar efforts deeper into Venezuela.  Repeat this province by province, step by step, penetrating Venezuela space until enough local units of the Venezuelan military change sides and convince one or more of the Venezuelan military hierarchy to join them. Establish a dual state and government within and along the border of the Venezuelan state this way. A breakaway State and dual power within the country. Make it appear, by manipulating the media, that the Venezuelan people are rising up against the Maduro government, when in fact it is US proxy forces invading and using opportunist local politicians, military, and others in the ‘conquered’ zones, as the media covers for their invasion.

Read the full article.
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Can Venezuela and its neighbours survive the coming war?
by Thierry Meyssan
From Voltairenet

Thierry Meyssan is a French journalist, author and political consultant. He is founder of the Voltaire Network (1994) and has written numerous articles about the geopolitical power struggle.
In this article, Meyssan argues that:

If my analysis is correct – and for the moment, everything seems to confirm it – we have to prepare for a war not only in Venezuela, but throughout the Caribbean Basin. Nicaragua and Haïti are already destabilised.

This war will be imposed from the exterior. Its aim will no longer be to overthrow leftist governments for the profit of right wing parties, even if appearances will at first be confusing. The logic of events will make no distinction between one side or another. Little by little, the whole society will be threatened, without the distinction of ideology or social class. Identically, it will become impossible for other states in the region to shelter from the storm. Even those who believe that they can protect themselves by serving as a rear base for military operations will be partially destroyed. For example, even though the Press hardly ever mentioned it, entire cities were wiped out in the region of Qatif, in Saudi Arabia, even though this country was Washington’s main ally in the « Greater Middle East ».

You can read the entire article here.
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What the Press Hides From You About Venezuela
A Case of News-Suppression All Across the Mainstream Media
From NotSee America

By Eric Zuesse Introduction This news-report is being submitted to all US and allied news-media, and is being published by all honest ones, in order to inform you of crucial facts that the others — the dishonest ones, who hide such crucial facts — are hiding about Venezuela. These are facts that have received coverage only in one single British newspaper: the Independent, which published a summary account of them on January 26th. That newspaper’s account will be excerpted here at the end, but first will be highlights from its topic, the official report to the UN General Assembly in August of last year, which has been covered-up ever since. This is why that report’s author has now gone to the Independent, desperate to get the story out, finally, to the public. Read the full article here.
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