Friday, September 19, 2008

News from the Network, Vol. 1, No. 4

This has been a very busy week again for news. Obviously there's been the focus on the meltdown in the financial markets, but the good news is that the crisis has spurred some interest in our proposals, most notably the Homeowners' Equity Corporation, and Capital Homesteading in general.


• Dawn, and later Norm had a talk with Thomas Pekarek, candidate for the U.S. Congress for the 11th District in Cleveland, Ohio. He went to the CESJ web site as a distributist after reading about CESJ on another web site. Mr. Pekarek read the CESJ web site, then read Curing World Poverty, Capital Homesteading for Every Citizen, and both Kelso books, and came to conclusion that it was the perfect economic program. He has been talking with Norman Kurland, and while there are some differences in the tax proposals, there may be nothing that can't be ironed out. He's running for the vacant seat of Stephanie Tubbs Jones, against the mayor of a small town. It will be a very tough campaign. He wants to make Capital Homesteading a central part of his campaign, and it may be what is necessary for a Republican to win in a district that is more than 80% Democrat.

• We sent multiple copies of a letter and attached materials to David M. Walker, former Comptroller General of the United States, who is now the president and CEO of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, and was involved in producing the movie IOUSA, currently in theaters. Mr. Walker, a CPA, seems to share a basic understanding of the financial breakdown with CESJ. We encourage everyone to send him a letter (he can be reached through the Peter G. Peterson Foundation), urging him to meet with Norm at his earliest possible convenience.

• Norman Kurland attended a New America Foundation Conference on the formation of a "Heartland Development Bank," a public-private partnership being organized to finance infrastructure, with emphasis on the Midwest and California. Dennis Donohue, the mayor of Salinas, California, was one of the panelists. He responded to Norman Kurland's questions regarding the potential of Fed as the source for financing infrastructure that could be owned by citizen, citing the Community Investment Corporation project in East St. Louis. He thought the concept was interesting. Norm gave him the HEC paper and the Capital Homesteading book flyer, and suggested that, if his interest was piqued to get back to us and we would send him a copy of the book. Also present was a professor at American University, Dr. A. Y. Zohny, Academic Director of International Business and Trade, Washington Seminar Program. He approached Norm and asked if he would be available to make a 20-minute talk. He was particularly interested in using the discount window of the Federal Reserve to finance economic growth. The New America Foundation's emphasis is on using tax incentives and existing investors to finance initiatives, but Norm's input may have given them some additional possibilities to think about.

• Mark Reiners has sent letters about the Homeowners' Equity Corporation to his Representative in Congress and his Senators.

• Ed Brown and his friend Ralph Paige, the head of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives, have been working to get Norman Kurland a meeting with Barack Obama's top policy people. Ed was active in the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s and later became the successor to Vernon Jordan as head of the Voter Education Project headquartered in Atlanta.

• Text has been finalized for In Defense of Human Dignity, and the combined Introduction to Social Justice and Discourse on Social Charity is well advanced. The Discourse on Social Charity is especially noteworthy, as it was taken from a photocopy of a typed transcript that may be the only existing record of a series of talks Father William Ferree, one of CESJ's co-founders, gave back in 1966. Work is also progressing on The Formation of Capital (1935) by Dr. Harold G. Moulton, and we have two other "economic justice classics" by William Cobbett (1763-1835), the "Apostle of Distributism," in the works.

• Universal Values Media, Inc., a for-profit venture by some of our "Core Group," is almost ready to republish Arthur Christopher Benson's Hugh: Memoirs of a Brother, from 1916, with cover designed and formatted by Rowland L. Brohawn, a top-flight professional in the field. Rowland also designs all the covers and formatting for Economic Justice Media, CESJ's imprint.

• We got some insightful comments from Janet Baker over on the White Lily Blog, for which we're preparing a response. In the meantime, read her comment under the "Good Credit/Bad Credit" posting (below).

• Classes have started again at Dr. Raphael Waters' Aquinas School of Philosophy in Buffalo, New York. As he says in his e-mail, "Reminder: We start the new class of Philosophy of Human Nature this coming Friday, September 12. If you are . . . interested in your country, its common good, its citizens, peace, order, freedom and every possible advantage of being an American, . . . attend class on Friday to register. You will understand human nature in a vastly better way than others who study common psychology. This will allow you to understand how society should work for mankind. Please bring friends for you will be doing them a good turn." If you are in the neighborhood, I believe there is no problem with signing up late (just be prepared to work to catch up). The last we heard, there is no charge for tuition, although there may be one for materials. Mr. John Vennari, appears to be the contact for class materials, which you can purchase without attending class. His e-mail is jjvennari58 [at] verizon [dot] net. Mr. Vennari is the editor of Catholic Family News. For information about time and location of the class, send Dr. Waters an e-mail at drrwaters [at] yahoo [dot] com.

• Sheila Musaji over at The American Muslim continues her yeoman service in denouncing "Muslim" extremism and terrorism. If you're Muslim, check out the special icon you can obtain free for Muslims against terrorism to put up on your blog or web site. If you're not Muslim . . . check it out, anyway.

• As of this morning we've had visitors from 14 countries and 31 states on the blog.


There are a great many other news items, but we can't post them because you're not sending them in. If you have a SHORT item about how you are advancing the Just Third Way, send us a note about it at mgreaney [at] cesj [dot] org.

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