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More soon
Fair Economy Group (RIP): References back to: face to face
Coloradans for a Fair Economy flyer 2 RMPJC Alli>Real Democ AFSC, #7, 901 W.14th Ave free
6 Month of TARP: April Report Wall Street Watch - Sold Out: Exec Summary p14
Presentation for conference on economic crisis 2008-12-09.doc financial crisis outline RMPJC meeting Dec 6 2008.doc
Employee Free Choice Act AFL-CIO
where Left meets Right: The Federal Reserve Transparency Act - HB1207 $2B went where?
“Bankers, Brokers, Bubbles & Bailouts” - pdf Trainer’s Guide - pdf Additional Resources - pdf
A New Way Forward: It Is Time to Break Up the Banks
David Korten: Agenda for a New Economy, When Corporations Rule the World The Great Turning: From Empire To Earth Community,
Bill Black on Bill Moyers transcript more Moyers on Economy
track: Americans for Financial Reform Call to Action Consumer Financial Protection Agency Coalition Members
Basics of Steady State Economy Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy
PICO organizing Weathering the Economic Storm, ppt Principles pdf organizing model
Interview - Joel Magnuson - Mindful Economics - YouTube The Big Takeover: Matt Taibb, Rolling Stone 2009:March:19
Governor Revenue Options 1 5 09.doc RevenueOptionsShort1-6.doc MOBILE HOME PARK PAD LEASE LAW.doc
Organizing for Social Change CO Center on Law and Policy Rally 2010:February:11 Thursday
How Wall Street Can Bail Itself Out Without Destroying The Dollar: Thom Hartman
Z Communications: Z Mag - Topics Parecon - Participatory Economics Reimagining Society Primer Topics
Leaked (& unverified) Attendee List of the Bilderberg Conference - June 3-6, 2010, Hotel Dolce, Sitges, Spain
Colorado Ballot Initiative on Public Financing of Elections Colorado Citizen Funded Campaigns (CCFC)
The billionaires are coming: Koch Bros Summit 2011:Jan:28 Koch Rally: 2011:Jan:30 - see below
Challenge Corporate Rule: Colorado
Hick's Bottom-Up Economic Development & survey 2011:Dec:27 - How Banks Cheat Taxpayers
Democracy School background Video 1 2 3 Schedule celdf
Subject:  [bloggerbrigade] Headed to the Koch Rally
Date:  Sun, Jan 30, 2011 3:26 pm
Oil & gas billionaires Charles and David Koch, sons of a co-founder of the racist, right-wing extremist John Birch Society, are important funders of both the Tea Party movement and the deniers of anthropogenic climate change with all their anti-science "think" tanks, such as the Cato Institute (according to these "free market worshippers", anthropogenic climate change is a liberal hoax to destroy the U.S. economy and usher in socialism).
The Koch (rhymes with coke) brothers are extremely important cogs in the corporatist-militarist right-wing machine destroying sanity and hope in this country (for example, see  | I Heard A B-2 Pilot Say His Loyalty To The "Lord's Army" Trumps His Air Force Oath
David is also a prime contributor to PBS, especially the science program NOVA, in the same way Robber Barons Rockefeller, Morgan, and Carnegie attempted to cover their egregious offenses against U.S. workers by their charitable contributions, libraries, and foundations.

"A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death." - Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Everything is connected to everything, in a giant web. - Fritjof Capra

“I'm a pessimist because of intelligence, but an optimist because of will.” - Antonio Gramsci

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Subject: RMPJC: Music night cancelled, sign petition for financial reform
Date: Fri, Jun 11, 2010 4:59 pm
To: <>
Have a good weekend!


Music night tonight has been cancelled due to illness. Thanks!



Yesterday, the House and Senate began discussing their two financial reform
bills, and they'll begin hammering out the differences between them next week
to create a final version. (Click here to see if your Senators and/or
Representative serve on the important committee merging the two bills.) They
hope to pass, and the President hopes to sign, a final bill before July 4.

That means that within a few short weeks, the law creating a Consumer
Financial Protection Bureau and reining in Wall Street could be signed,
sealed and delivered.

But there are still open questions, and we need to keep the pressure on:

Will the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) be given enough
independence? Will it have jurisdiction over car dealers, and be able to make
sure banks of all sizes must follow the rules? Will the bill do enough to
separate the riskiest Wall Street trading from regular banking? Will the
provisions forcing "derivatives" into the light be strong enough, or full of
loopholes? Will it effectively stop banks from using public insured deposits
to gamble for their own accounts?

Your Senators and Representative need to hear from you to keep the reform
bill strong! They're hearing loud and clear from the lobbyists who hope to
weaken the bill while there's less public scrutiny. Don't let them win -
sign our petition now to show your support for strong reform at
We're in the final, final stretch! Please tell friends and family about this
fight, find a financial reform event near you, and be sure to contact
Congress. And again, thank you for your hard work. It's truly paying off!

Sarah Byrnes Director, AFFIL
Americans for Fairness in Lending.
Carolyn Bninski

Life's most urgent question is: What are you doing for others?-Martin Luther


Subject: Meeting Tuesday in Denver on Colorado Ballot Initiative on Public Financing of Elections this November
From: "carolyn bninski" <>
Date: Mon, Apr 19, 2010 5:38 pm
To: "CCJP Announce" <>, <>, <>, <>

Please forward!
We're on our way to getting public financing of elections in Colorado!
Most of the hurdles to getting a ballot inititiative for publically funded campaigns in Colorado has been passed (This inititiative, if passed, would apply to Colorado state Senate and House races, and state-wide elected races like governor . It would NOT apply to members of Congress).
However, the biggest hurdle remains --collecting about 120,000 signatures to get the intiative on the ballot. This is a people-powered campaign- no big bucks and no out of state interests behind it. It's about getting our democracy back.
Would you be willing to commit to collecting as many signatures as you are able to? Jim Hoffmeister is looking for 600 people to collect 200 signatures each, but whatever people can do is great. Money is also needed, as this campaign is grassroots-funded.
Tomorrow there is a meeting in Denver to hand out petitions and instructions for circulators and to start organzing the petition gathering drive. See Jim's email about the details of the meeting below. We'll also be having meeting in Boulder, and Lafayette/Louisville on issue this soon.
Carolyn Bninski
303-444-6981 ext. 2
From: Jim Hoffmeister

Colorado Citizen Funded Campaigns (CCFC)
2010 Ballot Initiative #53 (with your help)

Just a quick note to remind you of the meeting tomorrow (Tuesday) evening at 7:00 p.m. at the Sheet Metal Workers #9, bldg. The address is 7510 W. Mississippi. I called and apparently we take the 2nd driveway east of Wadsworth on Mississippi and go south to the end of the driveway and the Sheet Metal Workers name is on the building.   Different internet maps show the building in the same general area, but somewhat different locations.

We expect to be handing out petitions and instructions for circulators. If it is appropriate we will also break into groups by neighborhood or city so that you will know with whom you are working and you can organize yourselves to be take advantage of where you live.

If you are willing to help cover the cost of printing the first 500 petitions with 50 signature lines and 500 petitions with 100 signature lines. Please make checks payable to Clean Campaigns Colorado and mail them to me: James K. Hoffmeister, 2400 Park Lake Drive, Boulder, CO  80301.

We will have lots of brochures and flyers to hand out and hope that you will be at this meeting. If you live in a city remote from this Denver address, please let us know and we will try our best to arrange a similar meeting in your area as soon as possible.

We have a marvelous opportunity awaiting Sherlock Holmes said to his associate Watson: hurry up Watson...the games afoot.

If you have not already reviewed and updated your information - please see below.

Thank you for your help !
Jim Hoffmeister
(303) 665-9718

2400 Park Lake Drive
Boulder, CO 80301
United States


Subject: Agenda for Coloradans for A Fair Economy
From: "carolyn bninski" <>
Date: Sun, Jan 17, 2010 6:29 pm
To: "Carolyn Bninski" <>
Hello, everyone,
As many of you know, pay day lenders loan to low income people at rates of 300-700%. It's outrageous and criminal. There are efforts to reform this in the Colorado State legislature this year. ( This might be a good effort to get involved in. (See meeting dates below and a lobby day for Tuesday).
I'm attaching a couple of documents about raising revenues in Colorado in order to prevent the further cut of education and the safety net in Colorado. One document is the governor's proprosals; the other are from the Colorado Fiscal Policy Institute, a progressive organization in Denver.
Finally, there will be legislation at the state level this year to protect mobile home owners; a summary of some of the proposed protections is attached; the final bill won't be available until February.
All of these efforts will help poor and low and moderate income people. I think they would be good efforts to organize around. I'd like to talk about them a little on Tuesday. Also would like to talk a little about the grassroots organizing model the RMPJC is studying.
I'm also attaching info about a forum that the Interfaith Alliance is doing on Tax reform as a social justice issue on Sunday, January 24 in Denver.
Colorado Economic Opportunity Poverty Reduction Task Force is a legislative body that makes recommendations on reducing poverty:
I'm sorry I haven't been to the meetings in a while but my mother was here for ten weeks and it was hard to get there. I plan to start coming to the meetings again. I will be late this week because RMPJC is supporting homeless folks who are being arrested in Boulder for sleeping outside. I want to go to the City Council from 6-7 p.m. and will drive down afterwards.
Coloradans for Payday Lending Reform will meet every other Friday, from 10:00 to 11:30 at the Colorado Education Association, Columbine Room throughout the 2010 legislative session; beginning next Friday, January 15th.

  • January 15th and 29th
  • February 12th and 26th
  • March 12th and 26th
  • April 9th and 23rd
  • May 7th and 21st
All coalition lobbyists: Please meet in the capitol basement Tuesday, January 19 @ 10:30 to get organized around current vote counts and targets


Subject: Meeting of Coloradans for A Fair Economy next Tuesday
From: "carolyn bninski" <>
Date: Thu, Jan 14, 2010 4:18 pm
To: "Carolyn Bninski" <>
Coloradans for a Fair Economy will meet next Tuesday, January 19 at AFSC, 901 W. 14th Avenue, Denver at 7 p.m. Aaron will talk about green jobs/economy. We'll also talk about actions to take. Hope you can make it.
I'm going to try hard to come. We have an event with the homeless here in Boulder on Tuesday.
303-444-6981 ext. 2


[CCJP-announce] Meeting of Coloradans for A Fair Economy on Tuesday (tomorrow) & more info [1 Attachment]

Monday, November 2, 2009 3:20 PM
"carolyn bninski" <>
[Attachment(s) from carolyn bninski included below]

Coloradans for a Fair Economy will meet Tuesday, November 3 at 7 p.m. at AFSC, 901 W. 14th Avenue.
Below are principles adopted at last meeting and alsoa list of keyissues put together by the RMPJC group. Below also are notes on community organizing.
____________ _________
A Fair Economy favors localism, nurtures community and allows that community to make decisions that affect them.

A Fair Economy provides meaningful work at a living wage for everyone.

A Fair Economy promotes worker-owned cooperatives and the right of workers to bargain collectively.

A Fair Economy nurtures the common god.

A Fair Economy protects future generations and the life support system upon which it all depends.

A Fair Economy values life over money.
____________ _________ _________ __
Jim's thoughts on our issues
*Economics & Financial Justice: Return Main Street from Wall Street.*

* Health care for All
* A Living Wage for All
* A Clean Environment for All
* Consumer Protection for All
* Financial Freedom for All
o Transparency mortgages
o Eliminate banks’ false incentives
o Control derivatives, open market, transparency
o No insurance on what you do not own! (AIG situation)
o Eliminate stock manipulation by investment banks (more than
nano trading).
o Salary and bonuses based on long term performance and not
stock market performance.



Subject: Coloradans for A Fair Economy meets Tuesday (tomorrow)
From: "carolyn bninski" <>
Date: Mon, Sep 28, 2009 5:59 pm
To: "CCJP Announce" <>, <>, <>, <>
The next meeting of Coloradans for A Fair Economy is Tuesday, September 29 at 7 p.m. at AFSC at 901 W. 14th Avenue, Denver. The group focuses on the current economic crisis (which isn't over despite claims that it is) and solutions that benefit people.
The following principles will  be discussed and further clarified on Sept 29th. Principles are followed by key economic issues that people could be organized around.

Principles of a Fair Economy:

a fair economy favors localism, develop real human community and makes decisions closest to those it affects.

a fair economy provides meaningful work at a living wage for everyone.

a fair economy functions so as not to destroy but to nurture the greater human good.

a fair economy protects the 7th Generation and the planetary systems upon which it will depend.

a fair economy values life beyond its monetary wealth generating capacity for a few

a fair economy recognizes that the boss/employee relationship takes place within the neighbor/neighbor relationship.
Key Economic Issues that people could be organized around;
Single payer health care for all
Job creation, particularly green jobs
Regulation of the financial sector
Help for homeowners facing foreclosure
Cut the military budget


Subject: Nader on Obama's financial reform
From: "carolyn bninski" <>
Date: Sat, Jul 04, 2009 6:40 pm
To: <>, <>, <>
Good Luck, Savers and Investors! The Holes in Obama's Financial Regulation Plan
It's good that Barack Obama is an agile basketball player because on financial regulatory reform he?s having to straddle an ever-widening chasm between his words and his deeds.
Obama said: “Millions of Americans who have worked hard and behaved responsibility have seen their life dreams eroded by the irresponsibility of others and by the failure of their government to provide adequate oversight. Our entire economy has been undermined by that failure.
“Over the past two decades, we have seen, time and again, cycles of precipitous booms and busts. In each case, millions of people have had their lives profoundly disrupted by developments in the financial system, most severely in our recent crisis.
Strong words, even though he didn’t include “corporate crime, fraud and abuse” to replace the euphemism “irresponsibility.” One would think that his 88 page reform proposal to Congress would be up to his words. Instead he provides Washington aspirins for Wall Street brain cancer.
The anemic nature of these reforms ostensibly designed to prevent or deter another big bust on Wall Street and its hostage grip on the nation’s savings and investments immediately drew the ire of well-regarded business columnists.
Joe Nocera of the New York Times wrote the “the Obama plan is little more than an attempt to stick some new regulatory fingers into a very leaky financial dam rather than rebuild the dam itself.” Nocera asserts that the reforms do not “attempt to diminish the use” of the customized type of derivatives which trillions of risky dollars generated “enormous damage to the financial system” ala A.I.G?s collapse. He notes President Roosevelt’s far more fundamental reforms, included the Glass-Steagall Act, which “separated banking from investment.” It prevented a lot of banking mischief until Clinton, his Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin and Citigroup got Glass-Steagall repealed in 1999. Obama is not proposing to re-instate this critical safeguard. Nocera said, firms “will have to put up a little more capital, and deal with a little more oversight, but, in all likelihood, [it will] be back to business as usual.
Star business reporter, Gretchen Morgenson, ripped into the Obama plan in the Sunday New York Times for doing too little to eliminate systemic risks posed by financial firms that are “too big to fail.” “Rather than propose ways to shrink these companies and the risks they pose, the Geithner plan argues instead for enhanced regulatory oversight of the behemoths.” She implies that taxpayers will be on the hook for even greater bailouts in the future.
A measure to prevent the “too big to fail” bailouts was suggested by none other than Obama’s current economic advisor, former Federal Reserve Chairman, Paul Volcker. Speaking in China, no less, Volcker recently said the Federal government could simply prevent these big banks from trading for their own accounts. But Obama is not listening to Volcker these days. Instead Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and White House advisor, Larry Summers, who played important roles in the past decade facilitating the enormous speculation on Wall Street, have got Obama's ear.
The President’s plan omits:
(1) strong antitrust enforcement,
(2) tough corporate crime prosecution, and
(3) more authority for shareholders, who own their companies, to control their hired bosses.  The plan should have included giving shareholders the decisive power to set executive compensation ? the perverse compensation incentives helped push companies to wild speculation.
The reform plan’s defaults go on and on. There are no mechanisms to encourage millions of investors to band together in Financial Consumer Associations. In 1985 then Cong. Chuck Schumer (Dem. NY) introduced such an amendment to the savings and loans bailout legislation. It did not pass.
What about sub-prime mortgage securities? Banks would be required to retain just a five percent stake before handing them off to other syndicates. This hardly is enough to induce prudence by banks selling these mortgages to impecunious home buyers.
Obama does propose a new financial consumer regulatory agency. But unless he appoints someone, as chair, like tough-minded Harvard Law Professor, Elizabeth Warren, who advanced the idea, the regulated financial firms will, as usual, take over the agency.
The Washington Post’s Steven Pearlstein, derided the Obama proposals for not being grounded, first and foremost, in a thorough and independent analysis of how the crisis was allowed to develop and what regulators did and didn?t do to prevent it.” He was disappointed by the lack of controls over “hedge funds, private-equity funds or structured investment vehicles.
Obama did strengthen the fiduciary duties to investors by stock brokers. But he did not give these defrauded investors any better civil action rights in court beyond what they were left with by the hand-tying securities law passed in 1995.
So now it is up to Congress and its hordes of banking and insurance lobbyists. Good luck, savers and investors. Unless that is, you’re doing your business with credit union cooperatives which don’t gamble with your money.
Ralph Nader is the author of The Seventeen Traditions.


Subject: Great news on new coalition & Denver economic meeting Tuesday
From: "carolyn bninski" <>
Date: Sat, Jun 27, 2009 5:11 pm
Great news there is a new national coalition on financial reform (see info below). You might want to check out their website. Lots of great groups are part of it. This will make what we do much more productive.
The next meeting of Coloradans For a Fair Economy (our new name) is Tuesday, June 30 at 7 p.m.
I'm close to having the discussion packets done, so I'll bring enough for everyone on Tuesday.
I'm looking for people who want to facilitate meetings, so let me know if you're interested.

Americans for Financial Reform


Americans for Financial Reform is a coalition of nearly 200 national, state and local consumer, employee, investor, community and civil rights organizations that have come together to spearhead a campaign for real reform in our banking and financial system.


A Call to Action for Real Financial Services Reform


In the face of a full-blown global economic crisis, bold action is needed now by leaders in Congress, the Administration and the federal government to repair our nation’s broken financial system, establish integrity in the financial markets, and facilitate productive economic activity that benefits all segments of our communities. It is only in doing these things that we can meaningfully address the public’s shattered confidence in the fairness of the financial marketplace and establish a healthy, robust and productive economy.


The good news is that a framework for the needed financial services regulatory reform already is in front of us: the “Special Report on Regulatory Reform,” released on January 29, 2009, by the Congressional Oversight Panel identifies the key principles essential for meaningful financial reform. Chaired by Professor Elizabeth Warren, the Panel was established by Congress to monitor the bailout and to help ensure that aid to the financial sector is accompanied by meaningful market reforms. The January report concluded that “the present regulatory system has failed to effectively manage risk, require sufficient transparency and ensure fair dealings.


It proposes principles calling for reforms to:


* more closely regulate financial institutions that pose systemic risk;

* limit excessive leverage in key financial institutions; increase supervision of the shadow financial system;

* create a new system for federal and state regulation of mortgages and other consumer credit products;

* put in place executive pay structures that discourage excessive risk taking;

* reform the credit rating system;

* establish a global financial regulatory floor; and

* start planning now for dealing with the next crisis.


These principles provide an excellent framework for regulation that will constrain market excess and protect our nation’s economic health. As consumers, we need financial products that are fair and reliable. We need to know that financial institutions are in compliance with laws meant to protect our civil and consumer rights and that an unequal, two-tiered financial system that puts low- and moderate-income and minority consumers at risk no longer exists. We need to preserve and modernize laws that serve communities and their access to credit. We need to be confident that there is proper oversight of the financial markets. As workers, we need our country’s financial assets invested prudently.


We need productive economic activity that creates good jobs, supports arrangements for security in retirement, provides the goods and services that we need and want, and is sustainable over the long-term. As investors, we need full and accurate information that allows us to understand risk, make informed decisions and invest our savings prudently.


The era of blind adherence to self-regulated financial markets and the unquestioning deference to the demands of special interests must end. That route has been traveled for well over a decade now, and the results have been nothing short of disastrous. Only when we establish a rational and well-functioning financial system that works in the interests of consumers, investors and workers will we have a sound and efficient financial system and productive economic activity.


It is clear that this is too big a job to be left only to the “experts” and market players who brought about the current state of affairs in which we find ourselves. The undersigned organizations – as representatives of consumers, workers and investors — have come together to ensure that our evolving financial system serves the interests of all Americans.


We support the above-listed principles for reform. We will work together to educate and engage the American public, elected officials, and others in support of these principles in order to build the confidence of American consumers, workers and investors and to establish a vibrant, trustworthy and healthy financial system


Subject: United for a Fair Economy workshop & next meetings of Economics groups in Boulder and Denver
From: "carolyn bninski" <>
Date: Tue, Jun 09, 2009 5:11 pm
To: "carolyn bninski" <>
At our last meetings (of the economic groups in Boulder and Denver), We talked about setting up conversations about the economy in libraries, homes, neighborhood centers, faith groups, etc. The conversations would hopefully be empowering in order to move people to take action. Out of these conversations, we can build a movement for change.
I've attached a new workshop from United for A Fair Economy that could be used as a basis of the conversations. If you have time would you take a look at the workshop info? There are also many other resources, including many vidoes at this point.
You may also want to read some articles at David Korten's website. If you go to and scroll down to The Great Turning, there are several links for articles by David Korten.
Next meeting of the economics groups are:
BOULDER   Monday, June 15 at 7 p.m. at the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center, 3970 Broadway, Suite 105.
DENVER, Tuesday, June 16 at 7 p.m. at the American Friends Service Committee, 901 W. 14th Avenue.


Subject: Good opportunties to talk with Ed Perlmutter about the economic crisis
From: "carolyn bninski" <>
Date: Mon, Jun 01, 2009 6:55 pm
To: <>, <>, <>, "CCJP Announce" <>
I urge people to go to Rep. Ed Perlmutter's coffee this Saturday to talk with him about re-regulating the financial sector. Perlmutter is on the House Committee on Financial Services. You get to talk with Perlmutter one-on-one. Some of us did it a few weeks ago and I think it well worth the time and effort; we had about 15-20 minutes talking with Perlmutter. The amount of time you have depends on how many people are waiting to talk with him.  We also arranged a meeting with his staff person on this issue (Leslie Oliver) which took place a few weeks later.
A good source of information on what led to the financial breakdown and what needs to be done about is "Sold Out: How Washington and Wall Street Betrayed America" at I am also attaching RMPJC's recommendations. And of course, David Korten's books Agenda for a New Economy is very useful. You can find many additional articles at
Below are Perlmutter's upcoming meeting times.
Please call me if there is any way I can help.
Jun 06, 2009 Time: 10:00AM
Title : Coffee with the Congressman (10:00-Noon) Starbucks - 3450 B Youngfield St. Wheat Ridge, CO 80033
Jun 20, 2009 Time: 10:00AM Title : Government in the Grocery (10:00-Noon) Location TBD
Jul 11, 2009 Time: 10:00AM Title : Government in the Grocery (10:00-Noon) Location TBD
Carolyn Bninski


Meeting on Economy in Denver on Tuesday, June 2
"carolyn bninski" <>
Date:Fri, May 29, 2009 8:31 pm
I wanted to remind everyone that there will be a meeting of the economy group on Tuesday, June 2 at AFSC, 901 W. 14th Aveue in denver at 7 p.m. (we have now regular meeting times of the first and third Tuesdays of the month).
Frist, thanks to Evie for her great organizing with David Korten last week. Very inspiring!
I went back and read from David Korten's book about his suggestions for what we can do and he recommends people having conversations about the economy as the most important thing. We talked about this some at the last meeting, when we talked about people having conversations in their homes, etc. One thing I would like to talk about is how we can make this happen, because handing out flyers in and of itself has not been effective in getting more people involved (I've handed out thousands of flyers and gotten very few people calling me). Maybe the outreach flyer should focus on inviting people to join or form a group for discussion. I'll put together something as an example. I think building community is key to being successful in changing the dominant structures, and conversation is perhaps the key way to do this.
I've typed out the ideas we came up with at the last meeting below.
I would suggest people watch the video at A New Way Forward. They are suggesting that we show it during the week of June 8 as part of the national education efforts. Maybe we could show it.
We talked about doing some leafletting at the People's Fair next weekend.
Ideas from last meeting for ways to reach people:
Talking to people one-on-one
Discussions in homes
Public meetings with Congress people
Grassroots organizing and education
Outreach in public places  - People's Fair
Coordination with other groups
Working with state and local officials
Helping in planning and creating solutions
Involving people
Developing strategies
Look at organizing strategies that work
How can we best involve people?
What messages will be effective?
What are the best organizing strategies? What models exist  and can we use them?
How to capture imagination and empower people?
Korten: forces are powerful  and we need to work with others with same strategies to be successful.
Everyone agreed that we should support and work for the Employee Free Choice Act.

---------------------------------------------------------------Back to Top

Subject: Ask your Congressperson to sign on to The Federal Reserve Transparency Act-please forward
From: "carolyn bninski" <>
Date: Fri, May 29, 2009 7:24 pm

Please spread the word about this!
We just learned about H.R. 1207, the The Federal Reserve Transparency Act. The Federal Reserve Transparency Act is a step toward making the Fed accountable for the trillions it is lending to the banks. It would simply require that the Government Accountability Office to audit the Fed's books and report to Congress on the bailout and other issues. There are now 181 co-sponsors.
In a democracy, we have a right to know what a powerful organization like the Federal Reserve is doing with our money.
Democratic Congressman Alan Grayson is trying to get his colleagues to sign on. Below is his dear colleague letter, as well as an article by Dean Baker below Grayson's letter.
Please call your Congressperson and ask him/her to sign on as a co-sponsor of H.R. 1207. Please forward to  your lists.
Over 4,700 people have signed on to have their names circulated to Congress as part of Rep. Grayson's efforts to get cosponsors for the bill. You can sign on at
Many thanks,
Carolyn Bninski
Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center

From: The Honorable Alan Grayson
Date: 5/21/2009

Bring Some Accountability to the Federal Reserve

Letter endorsed by:

Dean Baker, Center for Economic Policy Research
James K. Galbraith, University of Texas and Senior Scholar of the Levy Economics Institute
Bob Borosage, co-director, Campaign for America's Future
Tyler Durden, Zero Hedge
Bill Black, Associate Professor of Economics and Law University of Missouri-Kansas City
Jane Hamsher, Firedoglake
Glenn Greenwald, Salon
Public Citizen
A New Way Forward
Consumer Action

Dear Colleague,

I write to ask you to co-sponsor HR 1207, the Federal Reserve Transparency Act, which would give the Government Accountability Office the authority to audit the Federal Reserve and its member components, and require a report to Congress by the end of 2010. 

The Federal Reserve System operates as the central bank for the United States, managing the economy’s money supply and overseeing the banking system.  Until recently, the Fed has not picked winners and losers when distributing money, nor has it brought credit risk onto its balance sheet.  It has slowed or stimulated the economy by raising or lowering interest rates.  Since March 2008, however, the Fed has resorted to using its emergency powers to pick winners and losers, and to take massive credit risk onto its books.  Since last September, the Fed’s balance sheet has expanded from around $800 billion to over $2 trillion, not including off-balance sheet liabilities it has guaranteed for Citigroup, AIG, and Bank of America, among others.  The bank is also ‘monetizing’ the debt of the United States Government by purchasing massive amounts of agency and Treasury bonds.  An audit is the first step in bringing this unaccountable system under the control of the public, whose money it prints and disseminates at will.

The Federal Reserve is an odd entity, a public-private chimera that controls the US monetary system and supervises the banking system.  The system is governed by a Board of Governors, with twelve regional reserve banks that serve a supporting role.  While the Governors are appointed by the President with confirmation by the Senate, the regional Reserve Banks have boards of directors chosen primarily by private banking institutions.  Right now, for instance, the CEO of JP Morgan, Jamie Dimon, serves on the Board of Directors of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, as did Goldman Sachs Director Stephen Friedman. 

This creates striking conflicts of interest and unseemly appearances in the management of what is ultimately the public’s money.  Consider:

  • JP Morgan’s CEO was a board member of the New York Fed even as he negotiated on behalf of JP Morgan with the New York Fed for a $29 billion bridge loan to allow his company to take over Bear Stearns.
  • New York Fed and Goldman Sachs board member Stephen Friedman purchased 37,300 shares of Goldman Sachs stock in December at the same time as Goldman received permission to convert to a bank holding company regulated by the Federal Reserve.  Friedman at the time was also overseeing the selection of a New York Federal Reserve President to replace Tim Geithner, and the New York Fed ended up hiring another alumni from Goldman Sachs. 
  • According to the bank’s website, the two “class B” directorships of the New York Fed that are supposed to represent the public are vacant.
  • Enron’s Jeff Skilling was on the board of the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank.

Criticism of banker influence and control of our monetary system is not new.  However, the urgency of the financial crisis and the actions of the Fed picking investment bank winners and losers have changed the nature of the criticism.  The Senate just passed a non-binding resolution requiring more transparency at the Federal Reserve in its Budget Resolution.

Still, neither the GAO nor the Federal Reserve Inspector General has audited the books of the Federal Reserve or its regional banks.  The Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a recent hearing with Federal Reserve Inspector General Elizabeth Coleman.  In that hearing, Coleman could not tell me who had received over a trillion dollars in Fed lending, what kind of losses the bank had suffered on its $2 trillion portfolio, appeared unaware that the Fed engages in trillions of dollars in off-balance-sheet commitments, and was not investigating the role of the Fed in allowing the collapse of Lehman Brothers.  Coleman’s responses were so remarkable that when the video of this exchange was put on Youtube, it was watched more than 350,000 times.

Furthermore, the Federal Reserve has refused multiple inquiries from both the House and the Senate to disclose who is receiving trillions of dollars from the central banking system.  The Federal Reserve has redacted the central terms of the no-bid contracts it has issued to Wall Street firms like Blackrock and PIMCO, without disclosure required of the Treasury, and is participating in new and exotic programs like the trillion-dollar TALF to leverage the Treasury’s balance sheet.  With discussions of allocating even more power to the Federal Reserve as the ‘systemic risk regulator’ of the credit markets, more oversight over the central bank’s operations is clearly necessary.

The net effect of recent actions has been to isolate financial policy-making entirely from democratic input, and allow the Treasury Department to leverage the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet to spend money it cannot get appropriated from Congress.  The public does not know where trillions of its dollars are going, and so has no meaningful control over the currency or this unappropriated “budget”.  The extraordinary size of these lending facilities combined, the extreme secrecy, and the private influence is a dangerous seizure of Congress’s constitutional prerogative to appropriate public monies and control the currency.

An audit of the Federal Reserve may not be sufficient to control this sprawling system or bring it back into balance, but it is a start.  The public has a right to know to whom the US government is lending trillions of dollars.  Dancing around this issue with technocratic terms like ‘increasing liquidity’ is preventing a full and long overdue public debate on the role of the Federal Reserve and the influence of private banking interests in the governing of our economy.

I encourage my colleagues to support H.R. 1207, so that we can bring some transparency to our banking system and allow the public to have a real debate over the fundamental direction of our nation’s political economy.
o Dean Baker o, Monday 25 May 2009 19.00 BST o Article history
To my knowledge, no one has proposed waterboarding the US Federal Reserve. But the hostile reaction of much of the country's political leadership to suggestions that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) audit the Federal Reserve Board might lead people to think that waterboarding was being called for.
The basic story is straightforward. The US Congress has lent more than $700bn, via the Treasury, to bankers at below market interest rates through the troubled assets relief programme, or Tarp. This was to keep the banks from going belly up. At the same time, the Fed has lent more than $2 trillion to banks and non-financial institutions to maintain liquidity in the financial system.
The congressional oversight panel, led by Elizabeth Warren, has frequently complained that the Treasury has not always been altogether forthcoming in providing information about its lending practices under the Tarp. However, there is at least a public paper trail. We can find out how much money each bank received and under what terms.
By contrast, there is no public paper trail for the Fed's loans, even though it has more than three times as much money outstanding as does the Treasury through the Tarp. The Fed has only provided aggregate information on the amount of loans in each of its various lending programs, and general information on the terms of the loans and the types of collateral received.
However, it is not possible to find out in detail how much money Goldman Sachs borrowed, for example, at what interest rate, and which assets it posted as collateral. The Fed has explicitly refused to make information about specific borrowers public. In fact, the inspector general who has the responsibility for overseeing the Fed told congress that she does not have this information. Apparently the Fed doesn't even trust its inspector general with information on its lending practices.
It is difficult to understand the rationale for this secrecy. There may be times where it is necessary for America's central bank to lend money to a bank without immediately making the information public in order to avoid a panic. However, it is difficult to understand why this information cannot be made available weeks or even months later. After all, this money does not belong to the Fed – it belongs to us.
The proposal for a GAO audit of the Fed is a first step towards reasserting democratic control over this institution. In many respects, the Fed has more direct control over the direction of the economy than the president or congress, yet it carries through its actions largely outside of the public's view.
Furthermore, it is structured so that the banks have a hugely disproportionate influence over the Fed's actions. The Fed's 12 district bank presidents are appointed through a process dominated by the banks within each district. These 12 presidents sit on the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the Fed's key decision-making body on monetary policy, far outnumbering the seven governors who are appointed through the democratic process. (Only five of the 12 bank presidents are voting members of the FOMC. The president of the New York Fed is always a voting member. The other 4 voting positions rotate among the other 11 districts.)
In a democracy, it is difficult to justify a situation in which the most important economic policy making body is, by design, more answerable to the banking industry than democratically elected officials. The Federal Reserve Transparency Act is a step toward making the Fed accountable. It would simply require that the Government Accountability Office audit the Fed's books and report to Congress on the bailout and other issues.
While more than 130 Republican members of the House of Representatives have signed on as co-sponsors of the bill, just over 30 Democratic members are co-sponsors. No one in the Democratic leadership has signed onto the bill. It is difficult to reconcile the Democrats' position with President Obama's often- repeated commitment to transparency. The resistance to transparency at the Fed will only encourage the public to believe that there actually is something to hide.
The Fed bears primary responsibility for the economic collapse. Alan Greenspan failed to take any steps to rein in the housing bubble and arguably even promoted it. It was inevitable that the collapse of an $8tn bubble would lead to a serious downturn of the sort that we are now seeing.
This incredible failure of the Fed should raise fundamental questions about its structure. Certainly it would be a positive step if the Fed were more answerable to democratically-elected officials and less accountable to Wall Street bankers. A GAO audit would be a big step in the right direction

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