Monday, October 21, 2019


Something very unusual happened on Thursday, Oct. 17. The New York Times suddenly ran an article on its opinion page explaining how to cut $300 billion from the $1-trillion military budget — enough, the article explained, to fund Bernie Sanders’ proposed program for an expanded Medicare program to cover all Americans without raising a dime in new taxes.

The article, written by Lindsay Koshgarian, director of the Institute for Policy Studies’ National Priorities Project, explained that by shifting the US diplomatic and military strategy from one of confrontation, endless wars, expansive overseas basing, and unilateralism to one of diplomacy, a pull-back from foreign bases and global deployments, with a concomitant reduction in the nation’s 2.4 million-person military could be accomplished with no threat to US national security.

Koshgarian’s opinion article actually listed the cuts that could be made, attaching a dollar value to each one. Examples were:

1. End the practice of supplemental appropriations for war funding, much of which is actually used for more spending on other unintended military programs and which have only led to unending wars that have done nothing to make the US safer, for example in Iraq and Afghanistan. Savings: $66 billion per year.

2. End funding for other nations’ militaries. Savings $14 billion a year.

3. Close foreign bases (Almost one-third of all uniformed US military personnel serve abroad, most of them in non-crisis-zone locations or combat zones). Savings: $90 billion

4. Cancel nuclear programs. The US has 1550 or more operational nuclear weapons — enough to destroy any enemy, and indeed the whole globe, yet at the end of his second term before leaving office, President Obama signed a bill launching a 10-year $1.7-trillion program to “modernize” and upgrade the US nuclear arsenal — a completely unneeded and destabilizing program certain to trigger a new global arms race. The immediate savings from eliminating this program: $43 billion a year.

5. Cancel pointless weapons programs from the F-35 and F-22 to new Navy destroyers and aircraft carriers. These are all weapons that will never be used in any war against the US as all such wars, experts agree, would almost instantly go nuclear. Savings: $57 billion.

Just these five areas of cuts alone would save a total of $270 billion. The remaining savings came from smaller cuts, such as the $9 billion for Trump’s Mexico border wall.

The surprise isn’t that there are enormous savings to be had by ending America’s imperial military and slashing it’s extravagant annual budget, which by one reckoning done by the Project on Government Oversight’s Straus Military Reform Project is actually now closer to $1.25 trillion a year. It’s that this opinion piece by Koshgarian is the first time that a major US news organization has published an article explaining how vast that spending is, and how useless and damaging to US society it has become.

But Koshgarian is the first to admit that her article really didn’t tell the whole story…


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Saturday, October 19, 2019

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Public Banking Institute Newsletter, Oct. 17, 2019

Greetings Mike, 

Video spotlight: Nationalizing the Fed  

Journalist Laura Flanders interviews Nomi Prins, author and former Goldman Sachs director, and Thomas Hanna, author and public ownership researcher, to ask, “If you were going to storm a central symbol of power and corruption today, where would you go and what would you do once you got there? Would it be the Fed?”

In their responses, excerpted in Truthout, Prins and Hanna describe how nationalizing the Fed as a public bank would enable our financial system to work for the real economy of Main Street.

Prins: The thing with the public bank.… It actually has been shown to adhere to the public good, the public demand to actual, real economic growth at the foundational level of our economy that allows people to have jobs, to move about, to be involved in research and development projects, and to build a stronger country. ... If you look at something like North Dakota, which is the only state that has a public bank, ... [t]hey’re able to effectively work their economy in a very positive manner.… The Federal Reserve, of course, doesn’t have that necessity. They talk about bailing out the private banks as somehow being good for the public, but they’re not giving the money or requiring that money go in any sort of extra meaningful way to the public. It’s not even true.

Hanna: Well, I think the Bank of North Dakota shows that it plays a role in the banking ecosystem in that state. The Bank of North Dakota essentially works with local banks, with credit unions, community banks. It backstops them. ... I think we need to make structures, and integrated structures of public banks at different levels, integrated with local banks. Maybe if we, in the next crisis, took over one of the large Wall Street banks, that could support a network of regional public banks at the state level.

[read more]
[watch the interview]

Young public bank advocate may upset 22-year incumbent in Seattle's King County Council race

In a tightly contested race for Metropolitan King County Council, public bank advocate Girmay Zahilay is giving 22-year incumbent Larry Gossett the toughest election of his career. The Seattle Times reports that Zahilay "wants King County to create a public bank, pointing to a just-passed California law that lets cities and counties set up public banks to lend money at lower interest rates for things like affordable housing and infrastructure projects."

Zahilay is an immigrant, product of South Seattle public housing, and an Ivy League-educated lawyer, and his campaign won 52% of the primary vote to Gossett's 39%. Gossett has never gotten less than 80% of the vote in a general election. 

[read the article]

Together, we can make 2019 the year public banks win!

Thank you again for your determination and support. Your financial support will help fund our 2019 Campaign for Public Banks to create the BIG PUSH we need now to get public banks established. You can sign on to support and contribute below.

Please update recurring donations. With our new website launch, we have a new donation system, so please update your account if you have a recurring donation. 

PBI launches monthly public banking video-call meetings for elected officials and staffers on the first Friday of each month

Interest in public banking is at an all-time high among elected officials. As more legislation is introduced, more lawmakers are requesting detailed background. The Public Banking Institute has responded to this need by launching a monthly video conference call discussion (via Zoom) limited to elected officials and staff from around the country that will provide in-depth overviews and delve into the nuts and bolts of starting a public bank. Calls take place on the first Friday of each month at 3:00pm ET / 12:00pm PT.

Register for these monthly calls here. (Email address used to register must be associated with a position as an elected official or staff member.) 

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PBI video: Public banking sweeps across the country

The fierce, dedicated, and determined public banking advocates across the country are leading the way to our future! To highlight the inspiring work and surging momentum of the nationwide public banking movement, PBI is proud to launch this short video that incorporates footage and photos collected from across the country. With it, we recognize the incredible achievements that advocates and elected officials have accomplished together and hope to inspire more support for public ownership of our financial institutions.

PBI video: Public Banking Made Easy

Our latest animated video is helping thousands of people understand the basic concepts of public banking. Please help us make public banking common knowledge by sharing it with your friends and groups. Thank you for all your help!

Jeonju, South Korea | Oct 16-18 | Ellen Brown keynote speaker, Economics of Happiness Conference, organized by Local Futures   

Korean Traditional Culture Center, Jeonju, South Korea, map. The conference will focus on three inter-related topics: public banks, local food, and urban regeneration through community restoration. The two-day conference program will include a mix of keynote speeches, panel discussions and workshops. More information here.

San Diego, CA | Oct 23, 11:30am - 1:30pm PT | Ellen Brown, Debate on pros and cons of public banking at Lunch with the League    

Tom Ham's Lighthouse, 2150 Harbor Island Drive, San Diego California 92101. Debate presentation sponsored by San Diego League of Women Voters, San Diego. More information here.

Southbridge, MA | Nov 14-17 | Ellen Brown, speaker, Soil & Nutrition Conference   

Southbridge Hotel and Conference Center, 14 Mechanic Street, Southbridge, MA 01550. The Soil & Nutrition Conference explores principles, techniques and practices at the intersection of farm and human ecosystems that can be applied to improve environmental sustainability, food quality, and overall well-being. Ellen Brown will lead two weekend sessions on "Funding the Green New Deal" and "A Deep Dive into Money and Banking." More information here.

Claremont, CA | Nov 24, 7:00pm PT | Ellen Brown, presentation: "Why We Need Public Banks"   

Claremont Presbyterian Church, 1111 N. Mountain Ave. Claremont, CA 91711. Ellen Brown gives a presentation at this public event sponsored by Agenda for a Prophetic Faith. More information here.

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We list as many events as we can. 

Consortium Newsletter, Oct. 16, 2019

Everybody Betraying
Everybody in Syria

After some eight years of civil conflict, the situation in Syria is basically reverting to the pre-conflict norm, writes Graham E. Fuller.


Civil Rights on High Court
Chopping Block in New Term

The cases concern everything from firing people who are LGBTQ, to abortion restrictions that disproportionately affect low-income women, to deportations, to the scope of the Second Amendment, writes Marjorie Cohn.


Weep for Catalonia, Weep
for Liberalism in Europe

As Catalans are imprisoned for democratic efforts guaranteed by the UN, the EU should be condemned for ignoring an obvious breach of human rights, says Craig Murray.



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