Category Archives: General interest

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!

 

 

 

Escape from prison and oppression

In this video below, Professor Jem Bendell of Cumbria University (UK) interviews South African Tim Jenkin about his anti-apartheid work in the 1970s and his more recent alternative exchange activities. Jenkin briefly recounts how he assisted the African National Congress (ANC) in their struggle to end apartheid, work that resulted in his 1978 imprisonment and subsequent remarkable escape. The escape story is soon to be made into a major motion picture, “Escape From Pretoria,” that will star  Daniel Radcliffe in the role of Tim Jenkin. The film is scheduled to begin production on location in South Africa in early 2018, but you need not wait to get a detailed account of the escape, you can read Jenkin’s autobiography, Inside Out: Escape from Pretoria Central Prison, or view the existing documentary film, also titled, Escape from Pretoria.

Later in the interview, Jenkin describes his more recent efforts to demonstrate how people can make a similar escape from the bondage of political money and the global debt-money regime by means of a simple ledger system that records the value of what people give and receive from one another. His Community Exchange platform  currently hosts 921 local exchanges in 86 countries.

Julian Assange’s telephone speech for CISL2016, October 26th, 2016

After having his internet access cut off by the Ecuadorian Embassy where he has been given sanctuary, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange had to deliver his speech by telephone. His story and the work of the information service which he founded are of great importance to the cause of freedom and government by the people.
There is some annoying buzzing at some points in the video but it remains understandable.

A full transcript can be found at https://www.reddit.com/r/WikiLeaks/comments/59myng/assange_102616_full_transcript/.

Money & Debt: John Green’s Crash Course

In this engaging fast-paced video, John Green explores important questions like: What is money? What is it for? How and why did it evolve? What is the relationship between money, nation states and slavery? And perhaps, most importantly, where do trust and credit enter the picture, and what role do they play in today’s world?

Seizing an Alternative, Pomona College, June 4-7 – Free Plenary Sessions, Scholarships, and other reasons to participate.

Here’s a portion of the latest informational brief about the upcoming conference. You’re invited:

Don’t stay away!

(I mean, really, when is the next time you’ll be able to get together with hundreds and hundreds of people rethinking civilization from the ground up?)

            Seizing an Alternative: Toward an Ecological Civilization             June 4-7, Pomona College, Claremont, CA

ATTEND FREE PLENARY SESSIONS at Bridges Auditorium, Pomona College, Claremont, CA:

THURSDAY, June 4
Bill McKibben: 7:00 p.m. Opening Night

FRIDAY, June 5
John B. Cobb, Jr.: 9:00 a.m.
Vandana Shiva: 7:00 p.m.

SATURDAY, June 6
Herman Daly-John B. Cobb, Jr. discussion moderated by PRI’s Warren Olney (recorded):
  9:00 a.m.
Sheri Liao: 7:00 p.m.

SUNDAY, June 7
Wes Jackson: 9:00 a.m.

Southern California Edison makes ADDITIONAL STUDENT SCHOLARSHIPS (limited) available. To apply, write to info@PandoPopulus.com.

Read More…

Newsletter–late Spring, 2014

Newsletter Contents

  • Colleagues doing great work
  • Upcoming Conference
  • The Buddhist way—Principles to live by
  • Psychiatry running amok
  • Flight MH370

I do some of my best thinking when I’m on the move—in a bus, a train, a plane (though perhaps not in a Thai minivan). I can’t help but wonder if this might be due to a physical phenomenon of “induced creativity” akin to the electromagnet induction of electricity that occurs when a coil of wire is moved through a magnetic field. Could it be that “creative energy” is induced when an idle brain is moved through the Earth’s magnetic field or through a monotonous landscape? Far out, eh?

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Colleagues doing great work

 * The NGO, Koru Kenya, headed by American social entrepreneur and aid worker, Will Ruddick, which I’ve written about before, is now undertaking, with support from the Kenyan government, a program to replicate their successful Bangla-Pesa community currency program in other poor areas around Mumbasa and Nairobi. This is one of the most promising projects I know of that demonstrates how local liquidity can be created by producers themselves to facilitate trading amongst them. See my May 4 post about the project , and please help to support it financially by donating even a small amount via their Indiegogo Crowd Funding site.

* Our friend and associate, Michel Bauwens, who is founder and director of the Peer to Peer Foundation, has been engaged by the government of Ecuador to head an effort to plan the transition to a commons based peer-to-peer economy and shared-knowledge society. The project is known by its acronym, FLOK (which derives from the words free, libre, open, knowledge). Bauwens has just announced the publication of the “integrated Commons Transition Plan” which can be seen at https://floksociety.co-ment.com/text/xMHsm6YpVgI/view/. Bauwens recently explained the FLOK transition project at an Integral Theory Conference. You can see it here.

* In 2012, Professor Jem Bendell was appointed to head the newly formed Institute for Leadership and Sustainability (IFLAS) at Cumbria University in the U.K. His inaugural lecture, Exploring Sustainability, given in April of this year was both interesting and enlightening. It is well worth watching at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-Opqi-2UgY.

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Upcoming Conference

Chong Kee Tan and his Bay Bucks team are in the process of organizing a major “new economy convergence” titled, Living the New Economy, to be held in San Francisco October 23—26. I will be one of the keynote speakers, along with Charles Eisenstein and Ian MacKenzie. For details and to register, visit this site.

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The Buddhist way—Principles to live by

I often receive useful input from my correspondents via email. One that came to me recently was a list of life principles referred to as “The Buddhist Way.” I immediately posted it on my blog at https://tomazgreco.wordpress.com/2014/05/20/the-buddhist-way-principles-to-live-by/ , and intend to tack it up on my wall so that I may keep the principles always in mind.

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Psychiatry running amok

A few nights ago I went to a showing of a documentary film titled, The Hidden Enemy: Inside Psychiatry’s Covert Agenda, a film of the Citizen’s Commission on Human Rights. I was astounded to learn, among other things, the extent of suicides and domestic violence amongst our military personnel, and the scale and scope of the their drugging by psychiatric staff both during and after their active duty service. Our troops have been virtual guinea pigs for psychiatric drugs that have questionable benefit and horrendous side effects.

The showing, sponsored by Veterans for Peace, highlighted some startling facts about psychiatry in the military:

  • The shootings at Fort Hood and the Washington Navy Yard are linked to psychiatric drugs.
  • 22 veterans are committing suicide every day.
  • In 2012 more active duty soldiers died from suicide than were killed in battle.
  • A questionnaire used to screen military personnel for depression and PTSD is copyrighted by Pfizer, who manufactures the antidepressant Zoloft and other psychiatric drugs.
  • 85% of military suicides had never seen combat.
  • More than 60% of suicides in the military were taking antidepressants or recently undergoing outpatient psychiatric treatment.
  • The antipsychotic drug, Seroquel, is referred to by soldiers and veterans as “serokill” because of its implication in cases of cardiac arrest and sudden deaths.

The showing was followed by a Q and A session during which many veterans described their own personal experience with psychiatric drugs that were prescribed based only on brief interviews and descriptions of symptoms, not a very scientific approach to treatment, in my view. In many cases, multiple drugs are prescribed even though no scientific testing has been done to determine possible interactions among them. I urge everyone to read the information and view the video here.

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Flight MH370

While news of the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight 370 has faded from the headlines the mystery remains, and the failure to find one shred of physical evidence that the plane crashed into the ocean, adds to the plausibility of explanations other than the official ones.

No less a figure than Mahathir bin Mohamad, who served for 22 years as Malaysia’s Prime Minister, has accused the CIA and the Boeing Company of hiding key information. The May 19 edition of the Sydney Morning Herald reported as follows:

One of the most influential figures in Malaysia’s ruling party claims information about flight MH370 is being hidden and the Australian-led search for the plane off Western Australia is a waste of time and money.

Former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad said the plane’s disappearance on March 8 was “most likely not an ordinary crash after fuel was exhausted”.

“The plane is somewhere, maybe without MAS [Malaysia Airlines] markings,” he said. “It is a waste of time and money to look for debris or oil slick or to listen for pings from the black box.”

“Someone is hiding something. It is not fair that MAS and Malaysia should take the blame,” he wrote.

Dr Mahathir suggested the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency had knowledge of the disappearance of the plane with 239 people on board but was not sharing it with Malaysia.

He also claimed that Boeing, the plane’s maker, and “certain” government agencies, have the ability to remotely take over control of commercial airliners such as the missing Boeing 777. [emphasis added-t.h.g.]

“For some reason, the media will not print anything that involves Boeing or the CIA,” he said.

Further, a number of articles compiled by Intellihub report that:

1. Malaysian opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim, has accused Malaysian officials of withholding evidence.

2. ‘Hijacked flight 370 passenger sent photo from hidden iPhone tracing back to secret U.S. military base Diego Garcia’.

3. One of the passengers, Philip Wood, sent a text message saying “I have been held hostage by unknown military personal after my flight was hijacked (blindfolded). I work for IBM and I have managed to hide my cellphone in my ass during the hijack. I have been separated from the rest of the passengers and I am in a cell. My name is Philip Wood. I think I have been drugged as well and cannot think clearly.”

What a strange world we live in.

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