Friday, September 12, 2008

News from the Network (Vol. 1, No. 3)

It may be a little too soon to make this claim, but looking at the "statistics counter" we installed a while ago, the weekly posting of "News from the Network" is proving to be one of our most popular features. It has consistently been among the top four. Building on this good start, this has been a good week for news. We're starting to
make connections and wake up a few people.
• On Monday, September 8, 2008, Norman G. Kurland, Dr. Robert Crane, and Dr. Ahmed Mansour attended a talk given by Dr. Saad Eddin Ibrahim, head of the Ibn Khaldûn Center for Development Studies in Cairo, Egypt, who was jailed and tortured for his advocacy of human rights. Recently he was sentenced to two years in prison at hard labor, on charges of damaging the country's reputation "in the foreign press" for having written an article critical of the Mubarak Regime ("Egypt's Unchecked Repression" The Washington Post, 08/21/07). Dr. Ibrahim's goal, working with Freedom House and other human rights organizations around the world, is to advance political democracy in Egypt and around the world. He's now teaching at Indiana University, Bloomington. In a meeting with President Bush he suggested that America should use its $2 billion annual subsidy to Egypt to promote democratization and as a way of countering the autocrats and theocrats. The talk was given at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Policy. Afterwards Norm had a long talk with Dr. Ibrahim at the home of Dr. Ahmed Mansour, during which Dr. Ibrahim agreed that the Just Third Way would help establish and maintain justice and democracy in Egypt. The talk was an organizing gathering to establish Voices for a Democratic Egypt. They are planning a series of demonstrations in DC.

• We've had visitors from ten different countries: United Kingdom and Northern Ireland — we seem to be popular in London and Belfast; Argentina, Germany, Singapore, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Philippines, New Zealand, Canada and, of course, the U.S., as well as 29 of the fifty states.

• We've sent a series of "approach" letters to various individuals and groups associated with the University of Notre Dame to sound them out on the level of interest in applying the techniques of social justice to issues about which they've expressed concern. No, we do not have a coaching staff, nor do we take any official position on the current status of the football team.

• As part of our program to surface and interest "prime movers," we decided to focus our efforts for the next week on David Walker, former Comptroller General of the United States, and currently President and CEO of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, which describes itself as "dedicated to increasing public awareness of the nature and urgency of several key challenges threatening America's future, and to accelerating action on them. To address these challenges successfully, we will work to bring Americans together to find sensible, long-term solutions that transcend age, party lines and ideological divides in order to achieve real results." We'll draft and post the letter or e-mail we plan on sending within the next couple of days, including contact information, so that you can add your voice to ours — or maybe you know him personally, and can pass on the message.

• Norman Kurland met with Mark Ellmore, the Republican Congressional candidate for Virginia's Eighth District on the afternoon of Thursday, September 11. Norm presented how under section 13 of the Federal Reserve Act (giving the Fed the power to create asset-backed "new money") regional Federal Reserve Banks could support the establishment at local banks of a tax-sheltered Capital Homestead Account for every man, woman and child to enable them to purchase with low-cost, privately insured self-liquidating capital credit newly-issued, full dividend payout voting shares in qualified companies. Repayment would be based wholly with profits ("future savings") produced by new green growth technologies, new plant and equipment, new rentable space and new infrastructure needed to create new jobs in a more sustainable and globally competitive American private sector. Under the tax reforms under the proposed Capital Homestead Act, payroll taxes on workers and their employers would be eliminated but the entitlements promised under Social Security and Medicare would be kept through general revenues at a single tax rate on all incomes (including all property incomes) to enable the poor and middle-income citizens cover their basic costs-of-living. In addition to an annual allotment of about $7,000 Capital Homesteading credit for each family member at present rates of growth of the productive economy, a family of four would pay no tax on incomes below $100,000. A child born today, for example, would be able to accumulate close to $500,000 in capital assets and receive dividends after-taxes of nearly $50,000 by age 65, and $1.6 million in after-tax dividends during the accumulation and loan repayment periods. Such a new strategy would address many issues that should be of concern to every candidate in the upcoming election, including the home foreclosure crisis, how to finance green growth, new infrastructure and the revival of basic industries, universal health care provided through the private sector, retirement income security for every citizen, and the "Billionaire Bailout" public relations disaster of Fannie, Freddie, and Bear Stearns. Norm reported that the meeting went very well, and he was left with an extremely positive impression of the candidate, who promised to read and have his advisers review our proposals and get back to us.
That appears to be all for this week, at least up through Friday morning. If you have any SHORT items of interest, please feel free to submit them to me at mgreaney [at] cesj [dot] org.

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