Sunday, October 31, 2010

Time for a new Reformation

On October 31, 1517, on the Eve of All Saint's Day, a feisty Saxon monk named Martin Luther walked up to the church door of Wittenberg Germany and there nailed 95 thesis against the corruption of the Roman Catholic Church.  In doing so, he touched off one of the biggest social revolts in human history.

In retrospect, this seemingly minor theological dispute would hardly seem the stuff of social revolution.  After all, these sorts of church fights are depressingly common to this day.  But this fight was about more than theology.  The Church was selling "indulgences" (a key beef in the 95 theses) to fund the completion of the Vatican.  So while Luther was enraged over the theology of selling forgiveness for the dead, the rulers of Saxony were worried about the monetary drain those indulgences represented.

When the Catholics threatened to kill him for his "heresy," Frederick III of Saxony (often called "The Wise") took Luther to his Wartburg Castle at Eisenach and gave him protection.  It was there that Luther translated the New Testament of the Bible into German--thereby cementing his Reformation by providing a more universal access to the foundations of the faith.  Luther insisted his followers should read the Bible for themselves and come to their own conclusions through study.  This act alone would have MANY ramifications including a near-universal literacy rate for those areas that became Lutheran.

Luther's church fight would become revolutionary because it embraced economics and empowered the lower classes through literacy.  In doing so, he left a profound legacy.  I remember growing up as a Lutheran preacher's kid being taught that it wasn't merely enough to "get it right" theologically--your beliefs should also improve everyone's economic and social circumstances.  Hence my father, even though very conservative theologically, could also be a New Deal Democrat whose ministry provided social services for those struggling against their personal economic catastrophes.

Personally, I was sick to death of theological disputes by the time I was 15 but I never lost my passion for enrichment through reading or my love of progressive economics.  And since the study of economics was originally a branch of moral philosophy, I have long thought it quite appropriate to examine economic questions from a theological perspective.  And the place where theology and economics most logically intersect is the subject of debt.  As I put it in my speech to the American Economic Association in 1993:
So this is what we have come to: We know we are killing ourselves and our planet; we know there is a possible solution because we can see other humans perfecting one; and, we have millions of highly skilled unemployed whose lives would become infinitely better with useful work. 
Why can we not go to work to solve our dilemmas? We are told that there is no money. In fact, all the nations on earth are in debt! We are told there is no money for useful purposes now, and there will be even less in the future as governments are forced by the lords of international finance to devote more of their tax revenue to debt service.
And why are we all in debt? Because we decided that money was a video game, programmed it with the banking assumptions and economic ideas of the middle ages, and let irresponsible children play with the futures of whole regions of the planet. more
(I believe Dr. Martin would have approved.)

When the subject is debt, the ugly stepsister of debt--monetary policy, moves front and center because as it is currently done, money is almost always a function of the creation of debt.  Put simply, money is debt.  When money is debt, you have a host of related problems.

You are deluded enough to believe that the path to generalized prosperity goes through debt reduction.
Britain's economic policy deficit
Hurrah for the UK coalition government, which will prove for the rest of us just how disastrous cutting your way out of recession is
Dean Baker, Monday 25 October 2010 19.00 BST
George Osborne will tell MPS that his way is tough but unavoidable, although Keynesians say the cuts are a gamble Britain can ill-afford. 
Little brothers exist to be abused by their older siblings. The United Kingdom has willingly played the role of abused sibling for the United States for decades.
When our president wanted to launch a hare-brained invasion of Iraq, no one was more outspoken in his support than Prime Minister Tony Blair. Who is our closest ally in our Vietnam-style occupation of Afghanistan? Yep, it's the Brits again. And now the new Conservative-Liberal Democrat government is taking the lead in trying to use government austerity to restore prosperity.
Those of us who oppose austerity in the United States are delighted. The UK is jumping out front to lay off public sector workers, raise taxes and cut government programs and supports across the board. It is doing this at a time when the economy has nearly 8% unemployment and considerable excess capacity in almost every sector of its economy. more
By challenging the dictates of the banksters, Baker is committing a unpardonable sin in the world of economists.  Of course, NOT challenging the banks on their scheme to create money through debt papers over a host of sins.
No Mr. President, Larry Summers Did Not Resolve the Financial Crisis for a Pittance, He Just Papered Over the Problem
William K. Black
Assoc. Professor, Univ. of Missouri, Kansas City; Sr. regulator during S&L debacle
Posted: October 28, 2010 10:54 AM
I passed up the obvious title: "Heckuva Job Larry!" That was the moment of President Obama's appearance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart that set all Americans cringing. Yes, he really said that Summers "did a heckuva job." The candidate that was gifted the opportunity to run against the legacy of one of the worst presidents in U.S. history has, as president, used Bush as his role model to continue many disastrous policies. It was strangely fitting that he would channel Bush's infamous praise ("Heckuva job Brownie") for the FEMA chief who failed New Orleans so badly in the hurricane.
President Obama understandably wishes to focus attention on the economic disaster he inherited from President Bush. But Jon Stewart's question to him, which led to the president's gaffe, correctly asked about the message that Summers' appointment sent about the administration's commitment to fundamental change.
Summers had financial red ink on his hands at the time he was appointed. He was Rubin's chief minionin the successful effort to defeat effective financial regulation and supervision. (Yes, the effort was bipartisan and the Republican leadership shares in the guilt.) Summers was not simply wrong, but also arrogant and brutal, in blocking effective regulation at the SEC and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Summers was made rich by Wall Street in one of those sordid consulting arrangements designed to buy influence and reward past and future favors. more
The World Liberal Opportunists Made
Posted on Oct 25, 2010
By Chris Hedges
The lunatic fringe of the Republican Party, which looks set to make sweeping gains in the midterm elections, is the direct result of a collapse of liberalism. It is the product of bankrupt liberal institutions, including the press, the church, universities, labor unions, the arts and the Democratic Party. The legitimate rage being expressed by disenfranchised workers toward the college-educated liberal elite, who abetted or did nothing to halt the corporate assault on the poor and the working class of the last 30 years, is not misplaced. The liberal class is guilty. The liberal class, which continues to speak in the prim and obsolete language of policies and issues, refused to act. It failed to defend traditional liberal values during the long night of corporate assault in exchange for its position of privilege and comfort in the corporate state. The virulent right-wing backlash we now experience is an expression of the liberal class’ flagrant betrayal of the citizenry. 
The liberal class, which once made piecemeal and incremental reform possible, functioned traditionally as a safety valve. During the Great Depression, with the collapse of capitalism, it made possible the New Deal. During the turmoil of the 1960s, it provided legitimate channels within the system to express the discontent of African-Americans and the anti-war movement. But the liberal class, in our age of neo-feudalism, is now powerless. It offers nothing but empty rhetoric. It refuses to concede that power has been wrested so efficiently from the hands of citizens by corporations that the Constitution and its guarantees of personal liberty are irrelevant. It does not act to mitigate the suffering of tens of millions of Americans who now make up a growing and desperate permanent underclass. And the disparity between the rhetoric of liberal values and the rapacious system of inverted totalitarianism the liberal class serves makes liberal elites, including Barack Obama, a legitimate source of public ridicule. The liberal class, whether in universities, the press or the Democratic Party, insists on clinging to its privileges and comforts even if this forces it to serve as an apologist for the expanding cruelty and exploitation carried out by the corporate state. more
So what would real debt / monetary reform look like?
Nations MUST print their own money!!
Posted on September 13, 2010 by anticorruptionsociety 
by AL Whitney (C) copyright 2010 All Rights Reserved
The centralized banking system was designed for ‘usery’, theft and control of the population and their countries resources. Privatizing monetary control will always always always benefit the ‘privatizers’ NOT the general population. This is true in every country on the face of this earth.
As one of the Rothschilds said,
“Give me control over a nation’s currency, and I care not who makes its laws.”
Mayer Amshel Rothschild (1743-1812)
Yet what is going on – at this very minute – is the push by the International Monetary Fund (international gangster/banksters) for the establishment of a one-world-currency. They can only achieve this goal by the corruption and cooperation of the politicians in each country. In actuality the feuding two party system in the United States has been vigorously promoted by the gangster/banksters themselves since 1892 – as a diversion. The collaboration of George Bush Sr (R) and Bill Clinton (D) is a perfect example of the current two-party partnership-in-crime. more
As someone who spent part of my childhood on the windswept prairie of northwest North Dakota, it always gives me a special thrill whenever folks recognize the wisdom of the Non-Partisan League.
A real way to fix the economy and it exists in North Dakota
Posted by John Gavin on October 28, 2010 at 3:06pm
Film maker Bill Still has been investigating the history of money and its effect on past governments and has discovered something that we have been ignoring for decades - that governments do not need to borrow their money. Governments have the power to create and control the amount of money in circulation and so, do not need to pay banks for their own money creation. 
The cost of borrowing money from private banks is never-ending debt that enriches banks and gives bankers the power over the economy of the nation.
This knowledge has been put to use under many governments over the centuries and bankers have always convinced governements to turn control back to the bankers. The inevitable result is cycles of inflation as debt grows with the need for more money creation. Eventually the cost of paying for this ever-growing debt becomes too much for the government to pay and the economy crashes.
A few governments have been able to avoid this pitfall and have created their own state-owned banks that serve the people without the need to charge interest to the government when the money supply must be increased. The benefits have been great, except the bankers do not like being deprived of the source of their wealth. The plan requires that Congress controls the supply of money and must not provide it to special interests or political favorites. Banks must compete for the money in the free markets and so, cannot risk imposing onerous interest charges. The plan will also lower insurance premiums when open markets are created.
Bill Still describes the history in an award-winning documentary found on YouTube. This video offers real hope in solving our current fiscal problems and may be the answer we need in restoring the national economies by allowing us to eliminate governmental debts entirely and keep the wealth from being accumulated and controlled by only the bankers. Real wealth will then flow to the common man, small businesses and large according to their ability produce value. This concept, if properly implemented would solve the global poverty problem by preventing the concentration of wealth due to currency and gold supply manipulation (e.g. George Soros, the Hunt brothers, Changing Places)
Learn how North Dakota has put this to use with the only state-owned bank in the nation, now being studied by governments around the world as a result of its continued profitability despite the failing national economies. North Dakota has the lowest unemployment levels of all the 50 states at 4%. Watch the video describing their successful state bank that produces low interest loans and has a method to assist residents in keeping their properties. more
Happy Reformation Sunday!

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