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Letter to the Editor: Who Benefits from Natural Disasters?

By Fred Lundgren, Huffington Post Contributor

In terms of human suffering, the answer is obvious… NOBODY!!! Our hearts and prayers go out to everyone whose lives are torn asunder from these horrific catastrophes. This article is not intended to divert our attention from their needs. Instead, it looks at alternative ways to restore their lives and their communities economically. 

Even before the torrential rains of Hurricane Harvey subsided, the SBA was sending out emails urging impacted home owners and businesses to apply for loans.

Each time a devastating storm reeks its havoc, the government wants to take a mortgage on land, homes or business assets which forces victims to pay them interest, or the government will guarantee bank loans so that banks can collect interest without exposure. Keep in mind that a loan is an asset to a lender and a depository account is a liability. This should answer any questions you might have about disaster recovery options. Just follow the money.

Think about it. Direct SBA disaster loans literally plug into the artery system of the community and drain off its blood for years, if not decades after a natural disaster.

AGAIN, LET’S FOLLOW THE MONEY. To fund a disaster loan, the government credits the recipient account which results in a digital entry that bears interest. In essence, every SBA loan become another form of government tax. As you will soon see, it’s an unnecessary tax.

The burden of interest gets attached to each disaster loan because in America, all money is borrowed into circulation. The federal government gave away its authority to create money with the passage of The Federal Reserve Act in 1913. As a result, the government borrows the money it needs to mitigate a natural disaster instead of printing it into existence which would be far more logical. 

Today, a majority of Americans are buried under a mountain of needless debt because our government fell under the control of a central bank and this absurd system gets more absurd after every natural disaster. 

When you spend a $100.00 “bill” you are spending bank credit that came into circulation when you, or someone else borrowed money. This system is doomed because everyone borrows the principal but no one borrows the interest when the loan is created. This creates a system of perpetual borrowing that eventually renders a debt based currency worthless, while concentrating the control of massive amounts of wealth in the hands of few powerful people and the government. Natural disasters accelerate and concentrate borrowing which only drags the economy further out of balance.

Take a look (below) at a traditional $100 dollar “bill”. This familiar series was issued for many years in America. The green stamp and the words “Federal Reserve Note” confirm that it’s a bill we owe that originated as interest bearing debt that we pretend is money.

A far superior way to handle the funding of disaster recovery and currency issuance in general, is to print UNITED STATES NOTES into circulation through the Treasury Department and avoid the Federal Reserve System. Then, our government could simply grant interest free money to disaster victims who will immediately spend it into circulation locally WITHOUT INCREASING THE PUBLIC DEBT, thus improving the economy and the asset base of the stricken area rather than creating more perpetual interest and debt. This can be done without increasing the public debt by a single dollar.

Take a look at a $100.00 “United States Note”. US Notes carry a red stamp and the words “United States Note” above the words “THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA”.

Just the mention of using America’s “people’s currency” to help families and businesses after natural disasters sends shivers up the spines of central banks around the world. 

Will the impact of the two worst natural disasters hitting America back to back be enough of a wake up call? Miracles happen. 

The President should declare a national state of emergency and begin spending the “people’s currency” into circulation in disaster areas before Hurricane Irma stretches the current debt system further beyond it’s limits.


AARP Partners with Millennial Media Company, Blavity, to Teach Young People to Save

LOS ANGELES, CA- In response to a recent survey of African Americans in Los Angeles, AARP has announced that it has formed a partnership with Blavity, a Los Angeles-based media and technology company, to encourage African American millennials to begin planning for their financial future.

The AARP survey, entitled “California Dreaming …or Struggling,” revealed that two-thirds of respondents often worry about not having enough retirement savings. 

AARP and Blavity are collaborating to address this potential retirement-savings crisis by providing tools and information designed to arm millennials with the knowledge they need to manage their finances with the future in mind.

While some might wonder why an organization for people 50+ would partner with one that serves millennials, AARP’s California State Director Nancy McPherson sees a perfect match:

“AARP cares deeply about the financial security of all generations, because we are all connected through family, community, and economic ties,” she said. “Moreover, if we can reach millennials with messages about smart retirement planning while they still have many years left to save for retirement, we are ahead of the game.  That’s why this partnership with Blavity makes so much sense for us. We want to connect with millennials where they already are.” 

The partnership held a wealth-management seminar as a signature event on Wednesday, September13 at Blavity’s headquarters in Los Angeles. The seminar was led by Blavity CEO Morgan DeBaun along with investment advisors Michael and Irwin Persaud. Topics discussed were money management, paying off debt, and planning for retirement.

AARP offers an array of FREE personal finance tools at www.aarp.org/money.


Second Annual Google for Entrepreneurs Exchange Teams Have been Selected, Who You Got?

DURHAM, NC- Google for Entrepreneurs Exchange: Black Founders, a one-week intensive “boot camp” for Black founders of high growth potential startups, October 8 to 13, has selected its 2017 class of companies.

The teams selected focus on software, consumer products, big data, analytics or IoT include:

  • Loanable (Durm) Loanable helps you create friends and family loans online and repay them easily with auto-draft
  • 2020 Shift (NYC) – We train professionals on the skills they need to find careers they love in digital media and technology
  • Please Assist Me (Nashville) – Please Assist Me is a tech based comprehensive home assistant service
  • DisputeDoc (ATL) – First automation platform for fixing credit and improving credit scores
  • Reciprocare (DC) – ReciproCare helps senior care agencies and facilities find caregivers and helps caregivers find the best jobs for their unique needs
  • Partake Foods (Jersey City) – Partake Foods is a line of snacks that are free of the top 12 allergens. They’re Non GMO, Kosher, gluten-free, vegan, and made with simple, whole food ingredients
  • Ilerasoft (Cincinnati) – Ilerasoft’s software centralizes a health system’s equipment data on one platform to improve FDA safety recalls. We have built a better way to link and match FDA safety recalls to relevant hospital inventory to identify defective medical equipment earlier and more accurately. The current method is inaccurate and can takes over 3 weeks to identify and remediate the right defective equipment, leading to 50,000 preventable injuries. Our solution reduces identification time to 1 day
  • ScrapSports (ATL) – ScrapSports is the #1 platform for athletes, coaches, and fans to build their brand, share their story, and cement their legacy on the web
  • Zyrobotics (ATL) – Zyrobotics makes interactive STEM tools and learning games for early childhood education that are accessible, adaptive, and cloud-connected
  • Civic Eagle (Minneapolis) – We help government and policy organizations learn, engage, and activate the people they serve through a suite of inexpensive software tools.

Five of the 10 teams belong to organizations within the Google for Entrepreneurs partner network, including TechSquare Labs, COCO, Nashville Entrepreneur Center and American Underground.

The program, hosted by American Underground, Google for Entrepreneurs and Lincoln Financial Group, will focus primarily on:

  • Preparation for an angel/seed stage round raise (less than $750k)
  • Knowledge sharing around the unique challenges that face Black founders
  • Pairing founders with a Thurgood Marshall College Fund intern during the program to support execution

Startups will also have one-on-one meetings with investors focused on raising seed capital, network building with larger, corporate/strategic partners, and 5+ hours of direct mentoring from an area expert.

Quote from Adam Klein, chief strategist, American Underground
“Last year, the inaugural Black Founders edition of Google for Entrepreneurs Exchange was a huge success. We saw half of all of the participating companies in 2016 receive funding and were better prepared to tackle the unique challenges facing Black startup executives.”

Quote from Nicole Froker, Partner Engagement Manager, Google for Entrepreneurs
“Together with American Underground, we are deeply committed to supporting the growth and success of underrepresented founders. The Google for Entrepreneurs Exchange program is ?a unique opportunity to help bridge the gap between founders seeking funding with mentors and investors, and we saw great success from last year’s program. We are proud to partner with American Underground once again to advance this effort.”

Quote from William Crowder. managing partner, 42 Venture Partners
“There are many groups and places touting their interest in inclusion and diversity but I’ve always been biased towards supporting the efforts of those that are willing to take action as well.  Durham is one such community and the American Underground and Google’s commitment are game changers. This experience for startup founders is exactly what is needed to measurably move the needle forward with the ultimate goal of building a more inclusive and diverse tech ecosystem.”

Quote from Harold Hughes, Founder & CEO, Bandwagon (2016 participant)
“The program directly impacted the success we’ve realized in the last six months. Not only was I able to make connections with black founders from across the country who are dealing with the same challenges that I face, but I was able to tap into a group of supporters in the American Underground team that really opened doors.”

About American Underground
The American Underground — one of twelve Google for Entrepreneurs tech hubs in North America — launched seven years ago in the basement of an old tobacco warehouse at the American Tobacco Historic District. It now encompasses close to 125,000 sq ft of space at three locations in downtown Durham as well as a strategic partnership with open source leader Red Hat to offer an office in Silicon Valley. Founding partners include Google for Entrepreneurs, Lincoln Financial Group, Coastal Credit Union, Duke University, Fidelity Labs, and Capitol Broadcasting Company.

About Google for Entrepreneurs
Google for Entrepreneurs provides financial support and the best of Google’s resources to dozens of coworking spaces and community programs across 125 countries. We also create Campuses: physical hubs where entrepreneurs can learn, connect, and build companies that will change the world. To learn more about Google for Entrepreneurs, visit google.com/entrepreneurs or follow us on Twitter (@GoogleForEntrep).