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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.

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Kenya Brings in World’s Toughest Plastic Bag Ban: Four Years’ Jail Or $40,000 Fine

Producing, selling and using plastic bags becomes illegal as officials say they want to target manufacturers and sellers first

NATIONAL- Kenyans producing, selling or even using plastic bags will risk imprisonment of up to four years or fines of $40,000 from Monday, as the world’s toughest law aimed at reducing plastic pollution came into effect.

The East African nation joins more than 40 other countries that have banned, partly banned or taxed single use plastic bags, including China, France, Rwanda, and Italy. 

Many bags drift into the ocean, strangling turtles, suffocating seabirds and filling the stomachs of dolphins and whales with waste until they die of starvation. 

“If we continue like this, by 2050, we will have more plastic in the ocean than fish,” said Habib El-Habr, an expert on marine litter working with the UN environment programme in Kenya.

Plastic bags, which El-Habr says take between 500 to 1,000 years to break down, also enter the human food chain through fish and other animals. In Nairobi’s slaughterhouses, some cows destined for human consumption had 20 bags removed from their stomachs.

“This is something we didn’t get 10 years ago but now it’s almost on a daily basis,” said county vet Mbuthi Kinyanjui as he watched men in bloodied white uniforms scoop sodden plastic bags from the stomachs of cow carcasses.

Kenya’s law allows police to go after anyone even carrying a plastic bag. But Judy Wakhungu, Kenya’s environment minister, said enforcement would initially be directed at manufacturers and suppliers. 

It took Kenya three attempts over 10 years to finally pass the ban, and not everyone is a fan. 

Samuel Matonda, spokesman for the Kenya Association of Manufacturers, said it would cost 60,000 jobs and force 176 manufacturers to close. Kenya is a major exporter of plastic bags to the region. 

“The knock-on effects will be very severe,” Matonda said. “It will even affect the women who sell vegetables in the market – how will their customers carry their shopping home?” 

Big Kenyan supermarket chains like France’s Carrefour and Nakumatt have already started offering customers cloth bags as alternatives.

NAACP Statement on Steve Bannon’s Removal from the White House

The NAACP, the nation’s oldest social justice organization, released this statement following the removal of Senior White House Strategist and known white supremacist Steve Bannon from President Trump’s administration. 

“The NAACP is glad to see Steve Bannon out of the White House,” said Derrick Johnson, interim president and CEO of the NAACP. “Ousting one key staffer, however, can’t erase the words used by President Trump this week in defense of domestic terrorists, neo-Nazis and white supremacists. President Trump provided permission for these hate groups to exist. Following the travesty in Charlottesville, Virginia, numerous other rallies and white supremacist groups are being mobilized across the country. These groups are not rallying for peace, or for the preservation of Confederate memorabilia. They exist purely to foment hatred and violence. And they march with the president’s blessing.

“President Trump must denounce in words and in deeds these white supremacists and urge them to stop their senseless rallies and killings and unlawful demonstrations. We further call upon the President to remove the people who share Steve Bannon’s poisonous beliefs from the White House, including Stephen Miller and Sebastian Gorka. President Trump needs to send a clear message to our great country: That his administration disavows bigotry in all of its forms, and that racist ideologies simply will not be tolerated.”