Ellen Brown

The cheapest way to save the planet grows like a weed

Planting billions of trees across the world is by far the cheapest and most efficient way to tackle the climate crisis. So states a Guardian article, citing a new analysis published in the journal Science. The author explains:

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There's a simple way to defeat the right-wing's favorite talking point once and for all

The Democratic Party has clearly swung to the progressive left, with candidates in the first round of presidential debates coming up with one program after another to help the poor, the disadvantaged and the struggling middle class. Proposals range from a universal basic income to Medicare for all to a Green New Deal to student debt forgiveness and free college tuition. The problem, as Stuart Varney observed on “Fox Business,” is that no one has a viable way to pay for it all without raising taxes, a hard sell to voters. If robbing Peter to pay Paul is the only alternative, the proposals will die for lack of funding—just as Trump’s trillion-dollar infrastructure bill did.

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Here's how the public banking revolution has finally arrived

As public banking gains momentum across the country, policymakers in California and Washington state are vying to form the nation’s second state-owned bank, following in the footsteps of the highly successful Bank of North Dakota, founded in 1919. The race is extremely close, with state bank bills now passing their first round of committee hearings in both states’ senates.

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The public banking revolution is upon us — and local communities will be the main beneficiaries

As public banking gains momentum across the country, policymakers in California and Washington state are vying to form the nation’s second state-owned bank, following in the footsteps of the highly successful Bank of North Dakota, founded in 1919. The race is extremely close, with state bank bills now passing their first round of committee hearings in both states’ senates.

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Here's why the Fed is paying so much interest to banks

“If you invest your tuppence wisely in the bank, safe and sound,

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Universal basic income is easier than it looks

Calls for a Universal Basic Income (UBI) have been increasing, most recently as part of the “Green New Deal” introduced by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and supported in the last month by at least 40 members of Congress. A UBI is a monthly payment to all adults with no strings attached, similar to Social Security. Critics say the Green New Deal asks too much of the rich and upper-middle-class taxpayers who will have to pay for it, but taxing the rich is not what the resolution proposes. It says funding would primarily come from the federal government, “using a combination of the Federal Reserve, a new public bank or system of regional and specialized public banks,” among other vehicles.

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This radical plan to fund the ‘Green New Deal’ just might work

With what author and activist Naomi Klein calls “galloping momentum,” the “Green New Deal” promoted by Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., appears to be forging a political pathway for solving all of the ills of society and the planet in one fell swoop. Her plan would give a House select committee “a mandate that connects the dots” between energy, transportation, housing, health care, living wages, a jobs guarantee and more. But even to critics on the left, it is merely political theater, because “everyone knows” a program of that scope cannot be funded without a massive redistribution of wealth and slashing of other programs (notably the military), which is not politically feasible.

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The Bayer-Monsanto Merger Is Bad News for the Planet

Two new studies from Europe show that the number of birds in agricultural areas of France has crashed by a third in just 15 years, with some species being almost eradicated. The collapse in the bird population mirrors the discovery last October that more than three-quarters of all flying insects in Germany have vanished in just three decades. Insects are the staple food source of birds, the pollinators of fruits and the aerators of the soil.

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How Uncle Sam Launders Marijuana Money

Thirty states and the District of Columbia currently have laws broadly legalizing marijuana in some form. The herb has been shown to have significant therapeutic value for a wide range of medical conditions, including cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, glaucoma, lung disease, anxiety, muscle spasms, hepatitis C, inflammatory bowel disease and arthritis pain. The community of Americans who rely on legal medical marijuana was estimated to be 2.6 million people in 2016 and includes a variety of mainstream constituency groups like veterans, senior citizens, cancer survivors and parents of epileptic children. Unlike patented pharmaceuticals, which are now the leading cause of death from drug overdose, there have been no recorded deaths from marijuana overdose in the U.S. By comparison, alcohol causes 30,000 deaths annually, and prescription drugs taken as directed are estimated to kill 100,000 Americans per year.

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Let's End Student Debt Slavery

This is the second in a two-part article on the debt burden America's students face. Read Part I.

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Student Debt Slavery: Bankrolling Financiers on the Backs of the Young

The advantages of slavery by debt over “chattel” slavery – ownership of humans as a property right – were set out in an infamous document called the Hazard Circular, reportedly circulated by British banking interests among their American banking counterparts during the American Civil War. It read in part:

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The Banks Are Coming for Your Savings and Digital Money Is Going to Make It Easier

Exposing tax dodgers is a worthy endeavor, but the “limited hangout” of the Panama Papers may have less noble ends, dovetailing with the War on Cash and the imminent threat of massive bail-ins of depositor funds.

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How the World Is Passing America By in Re-Inventing Banks

Global developments in finance and geopolitics are prompting a rethinking of the structure of banking and of the nature of money itself. Among other interesting news items:

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Hang on to Your Wallets, Bankers Are Coming After Your Cash

Remember those old ads showing a senior couple lounging on a warm beach, captioned “Let your money work for you”? Or the scene in Mary Poppins where young Michael is being advised to put his tuppence in the bank, so that it can compound into “all manner of private enterprise,” including “bonds, chattels, dividends, shares, shipyards, amalgamations . . . .”?

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Why Community Banks Are Dropping Like Flies Across America

At over 2,300 pages, the Dodd Frank Act is the longest and most complicated bill ever passed by the US legislature. It was supposed to end “too big to fail” and “bailouts,” and to “promote financial stability.” But Dodd-Frank’s “orderly liquidation authority” has replaced bailouts with bail-ins, meaning that in the event of insolvency, big banks are to recapitalize themselves with the savings of their creditors and depositors. The banks deemed too big are more than 30% bigger than before the Act was passed in 2010, and 80% bigger than before the banking crisis of 2008. The six largest US financial institutions now have assets of some $10 trillion, amounting to almost 60% of GDP; and they control nearly 50% of all bank deposits.

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Time to Enact the Nuclear Option to Spread the Wealth in America

Predictions are that we will soon be seeing the “nuclear option” — central bank-created money injected directly into the real economy. All other options having failed, governments will be reduced to issuing money outright to cover budget deficits. So warns a September 18 article on ZeroHedge titled “It Begins: Australia’s Largest Investment Bank Just Said ‘Helicopter Money’ Is 12-18 Months Away.”

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Rising Progressive Leader in Britain Making Waves with His Plan Spread the Wealth

Dark horse candidate Jeremy Corbyn, who is currently leading in the polls for UK Labour Party leadership, has included in his platform “quantitative easing for people.” He said in a July 22nd presentation:

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Trumping the Federal Debt Without Playing the Default Card

"The United States can pay any debt it has because we can always print money to do that. So there is zero probability of default."

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Want to Know How the Banks Got Greece to Surrender? Explaining Bank Power 101

In the modern global banking system, all banks need a credit line with the central bank in order to be part of the payments system. Choking off that credit line was a form of blackmail the Greek government couldn’t refuse. 

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A Revolutionary Pope Calls for Rethinking the Outdated Thinking That Rules the World

Pope Francis has been called “the revolutionary Pope.” Before he became Pope Francis, he was a Jesuit Cardinal in Argentina named Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the son of a rail worker. Moments after his election, he made history by taking on the name Francis, after Saint Francis of Assisi, the leader of a rival order known to have shunned wealth to live in poverty.

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Why the TPP Agenda Is Straight out of Alice in Wonderland

"Let the jury consider their verdict,’ the King said, for about the twentieth time that day.

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Awesome Power Is On the Verge of Being Handed Over to Private Banks If TPP Passes

In March 2014, the Bank of England let the cat out of the bag: money is just an IOU, and the banks are rolling in it. So wrote David Graeber in The Guardian the same month, referring to a BOE paper called "Money Creation in the Modern Economy." The paper stated outright that most common assumptions of how banking works are simply wrong. The result, said Graeber, was to throw the entire theoretical basis for austerity out of the window.

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Derailing Amtrak: The Latest Disaster in the Infrastructure Crisis

The dangerous underfunding of US infrastructure was underscored by a fatal train derailment on May 12th. The tragedy did not deter the House Appropriations Committee from voting to slash Amtrak funding the very next day. There are ways Congress could fund its massive infrastructure bill without raising taxes. But the conservative-controlled Congress seems to have other plans for the nation’s profitable public assets.

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How the Trans Pacific Partnership Signals the Death of the Republic

The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government.    — Article IV, Section 4, US Constitution

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It's Depressing But True: The Bankers Run the Show

According to a new study from Princeton University, American democracy no longer exists. Using data from over 1,800 policy initiatives from 1981 to 2002, researchers Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page concluded that rich, well-connected individuals on the political scene now steer the direction of the country, regardless of – or even against – the will of the majority of voters. America's political system has transformed from a democracy into an oligarchy, where power is wielded by wealthy elites.

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Why Aren't Alternative Methods That Could Lift California Out of Its Drought Being Used?

Wars over California’s limited water supply have been going on for at least a century. Water wars have been the subject of some vintage movies, including the 1958 hit The Big Country starring Gregory Peck, Clint Eastwood’s 1985 Pale Rider, 1995’s Waterworld with Kevin Costner, and the 2005 film Batman Begins. Most acclaimed was the 1975 Academy Award winner Chinatown with Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway, involving a plot between a corrupt Los Angeles politician and land speculators to fabricate the 1937 drought in order to force farmers to sell their land at low prices. The plot was rooted in historical fact, reflecting battles between Owens Valley farmers and Los Angeles urbanites over water rights.

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How to Enslave a Country to a Megabank in a Few Easy Steps

Remember when the infamous Goldman Sachs delivered a thinly-veiled threat to the Greek Parliament in December, warning them to elect a pro-austerity prime minister or risk having central bank liquidity cut off to their banks? (See January 6th post here.) It seems the European Central Bank (headed by Mario Draghi, former managing director of Goldman Sachs International) has now made good on the threat.

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How Wall Street's Greedy Tentacles Sank Into Schools, Trapping Them in Massive Debts

The fliers touted new ballfields, science labs and modern classrooms. They didn’t mention the crushing debt or the investment bank that stood to make millions. 

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Why Public Banks Outperform Private Banks: Unfair Competition or a Better Mousetrap?

In November 2014, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Bank of North Dakota (BND), the nation’s only state-owned bank, “is more profitable than Goldman Sachs Group Inc., has a better credit rating than J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and hasn’t seen profit growth drop since 2003.” The article credited the shale oil boom; but as discussed earlier here, North Dakota was already reporting record profits in the spring of 2009, when every other state was in the red and the oil boom had not yet hit. The later increase in state deposits cannot explain the bank’s stellar record either.

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How Goldman Sachs May Provoke Yet Another Major Financial Crisis

Greece and the troika (the International Monetary Fund, the EU, and the European Central Bank) are in a dangerous game of chicken. The Greeks have been threatened with a Cyprus-Style prolonged bank holidayif they “vote wrong.” But they have been bullied for too long and are saying “no more.”

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