Category Archives: General interest

There once was a river …an allegorical tale

Written and narrated by Thomas H. Greco, Jr.

There once was a river that flowed through an arid land, and though rainfall was scant and infrequent, the river provided an abundance of cool, fresh, sweet water with which the people who lived along its banks were able to irrigate their crops and water their flocks. And the people prospered and lived in peace and harmony; and so it had been for as long as anyone could remember.

But there came a time when the water’s flow began to diminish. At first it was barely noticeable, but as time went on the water level fell ever more rapidly until there was barely enough water to keep their animals alive, much less to irrigate the fields. Day by day, the people grew more alarmed as their crops began to wither. Then the men and women of the valley came together to discuss their plight and what might be done to deal with this calamity.

Now, no one knew where the river began or where it ended. They only knew that throughout their generations, it had always been there and it had always provided a reliable supply of water from which everyone was able to draw freely.

Follow the full transcript and audio here.

How to get the job done!

Several months ago while hiking in Sabino Canyon near Tucson I noticed out of the corner of my eye something astonishing. Fortunately, I happened to have my phone with me so I recorded it. I’ve recently taught myself some video editing skills so now I am able to share the experience. The video below clearly shows what can be achieved when there is coordinated action working toward a common objective. Are humans as smart as ants?

A prime example of stigmergy

You can also find it on YouTube at https://youtu.be/Vg-8J72Jp-Y. Help it go viral.

2019 September Newsletter

Contents

  • Website improvements
  • Recent posts
  • Who owns the world
  • The Secrets of Silicon Valley: What Big Tech Doesn’t Want You to Know

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Website improvements
We’ve recently made some major improvements to our websites.

  1. Our WordPress service on BeyondMoney.net has been upgraded to a paid “premium” subscription, so viewers will no longer have to put up with the ads that WordPress inserts into all “free” sites.
  2. Our Beyond Money Podcast page has been redesigned. We hope visitors will find it much more appealing and user friendly.
  3. Important case studies in exchange alternatives have long been resident on our other website, ReinventingMoney.com. These pages have been revised and the link has been added to the menu at BeyondMoney.net to give them greater exposure.

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Recent posts
New podcast episode with John Attridge
In this episode, we speak with John Attridge, CEO of BBX-UK and Ireland, a reciprocal trade community which is part of the BBX network of trade exchanges that spans 14 countries and together service more than 90,000 customers.

The empire vs. journalism and free speech
John Pilger delivers a warning on behalf of Julian Assange who continues to be persecuted for exposing crimes committed by high government officials: “Speak up now,” Pilger said, or face “the silence of a new kind of tyranny.”

Make America sane again
As in the presidential primary of 2016, The Democratic National Committee (DNC) is again trying to tilt the contest to favor its anointed ones. Likewise, other institutions of the “establishment,” like Google, are imposing obstacles in the way of candidates who are challenging the military-industrial-banking-corporate complex (Tulsi Gabbard, Democratic Presidential Candidate, Sues Google for $50 Million). Now is the time for the American people to stand up and use their power to challenge the political establishment…

Read more here.

The empire vs. journalism and free speech

As Julan Assange continues to languish in the maximum security Belmarsh Prison in London, a movement of journalists and supporters of free speech continues to build. The mainstream media did not report it, but a few days ago “Legendary musician Roger Waters sang “Wish You Were Here” in honor of Julian Assange, at a public concert outside the British Home Office. He was joined by journalist John Pilger and UK MP Chris Williamson in calling for the imprisoned Wikileaks publisher to be freed, and not extradited to the US.” You can read about it in The Grayzone.

In the video below, journalist John Pilger delivers a warning from Julian, “Speak up now,” Pilger said, or face “the silence of a new kind of tyranny.”

You can sign the petition to free Julain Assange at Change.org.

Can the corporate beast be tamed?

One of my favorite radio programs is Freakonomics, and my very favorite grocery store is Trader Joe’s. What do these two things have to do with one another?  Well, the other day, while preparing dinner, I was scanning the Freakonomics website to find an interesting episode I might have missed hearing on NPR.

Lo and behold, there at the top of the page was one titled, Should America Be Run by … Trader Joe’s? (Ep. 359 Rebroadcast). Considering my loyalty to Trader Joe’s and my keen interest in politics, I could not resist listening to the podcast. Given my longstanding patronage, I already knew quite a bit about the company from the standpoint of a customer, but was oblivious to the many other features that make Trader Joe’s so unique.

If you’ve ever shopped at one of its stores you will know that TJ’s, as it is affectionately called, is not like other grocery chains. It does things differently. But beyond that, TJ’s business practices are also different, and in many cases contrary to conventional business “wisdom.” I could enumerate these to save you time, but that would spoil your enjoyment of listening to the program and pondering the possibilities as the program reveals them. But I’ll give you a hint: What do large corporation set as their top priority? Compare and contrast…

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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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American Made

How do you take a tragic story about deception, malfeasance, and betrayal at the highest levels of American government and turn it into a farcical comedy? Remarkably, that is precisely what has been achieved in the just released movie, American Made, starring Tom Cruise as Barry Seal. The tag line in the movie publicity says this film is “based on a true lie.” In reality, it’s about the mountain of lies that became known as the Iran-Contra affair, and shows it in a way perhaps that far surpasses what could have been achieved in a dry documentary. As one old enough to remember those times and at least the superficial reports of those events, I came away with an even more cynical regard for the myth of the United States government as the champion of decency and democracy.
See it as expose’ or see it as entertainment, but see it!