Trump Ponders Martial Law, the Truth About a State Public Bank & Heather Cox Richardson in Tremendous Tribute to Deb Haaland

Today we offer info worth sharing on the effort to create a State Public Bank in NM, plus a powerful tribute to Deb Haaland and more delusional behavior from Trump. Lastly, a tremendous interview with Rep. Derrick Lente & two indigenous advocates.

Retake Our Democracy’s 2021 Legislative Priorities Survey is Starting to Go Viral. In less than a week, we are now approaching 500 respondents with every Democratic Senate District in the state represented. It took five months to get 1300 respondents to the 2018 Survey. And we are just beginning outreach to organizations to begin sharing the link to take the survey.

Here is today’s request: Can any of you who have not taken the survey, please do so today. It takes but 5-10 minutes. And can all of you think of 3-4 people who do not live in Santa Fe or ABQ and send a link to the survey with a note encouraging them to take the survey. We do not want survey results exclusively from the SF-ABQ communities and while we have good response rates from Silver City, Rio Arriba, and Taos, the vast majority of responses are coming from SF-ABQ. Click here to take the survey.

News In Briefs:

From Letters from an American: “Heather Cox Richardson, December 19, 2020.” While the first 1/3 of HCR’s piece focuses on Trump and his dangerous exploration of martial law, the last 2/3 focuses on the historic context of Rep. Deb Haaland’s being appointed Interior Secretary. As usual, HCR concisely outlines the historic context of US policies aimed at exploiting and even exterminating indigenous peoples and the role a corrupt Bureau of Indian Affairs has played in the abuse of indigenous peoples and lands. Now Deb Haaland is in charge of that Bureau. This is a must read.

“The Interior Department today manages our natural resources as well as the government’s relationship with Indigenous tribes. Placing Haaland at the head of it is more than simply promoting diversity in government. It is a recognition of 170 years of American history and the perversion of our principles by men who lusted for power. It is a sign that we are finally trying to use the government for the good of everyone. ‘A voice like mine has never been a Cabinet secretary or at the head of the Department of Interior,’ Haaland tweeted after the announcement. ‘I’ll be fierce for all of us, our planet, and all of our protected land.’ ”

Letters from an American: “Heather Cox Richardson, December 19, 2020.”

After Haaland’s quote, HCR closed her piece with: “A new world struggles to be born.” Struggles indeed.

From The Intelligencer: “Trump Floats Coup Plan That’s So Wild Even Rudy Giuliani Is Terrified.” We’ve never experienced anything like Trump and I continue to wonder when, if ever, GOP leadership will say: “enough.” Anyone who isn’t willing to feed Trump’s delusions is being dismissed as disloyal and he is apparently spending far too much time with folks like Giuliani, Powell and Flynn.

From The New York Times: “Trump Weighed Naming Election Conspiracy Theorist as Special Counsel I offer this piece as well, as it goes into much more detail, citing multiple sources. Consider that in the past week, Trump has:

  • Dismissed most every military adviser to the White House, replacing them with unconfirmed, loyalists;
  • Threatened that if Congress doesn’t act and anoint him ruler, that “there will be wild protests in D.C.” and we know that The Proud Boys and others of their ilk will take that statement as Trump’s personal encouragement to commit violence;
  • Repeatedly asserted, in increasingly deluded ways, that he won in a landslide and told White House staff that he may not leave on Jan 20;
  • Dismissed the observations of his own loyal advisor, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that the cyber attacks are very serious and clearly Russia’s work. Trump’s comments: It may have been China (no evidence) and that “Fake News” is overstating the threat and “we have it well under control.” Not very reassuring considering that he spoke those words back in February about a looming pandemic.

If it weren’t that he were so entirely incompetent, this would be very worrisome. But while I feel fairly confident Congress will not follow his bidding and will officially designate Biden President-elect, there is still one month in which Trump could do any number of crazy acts to foment an international crisis. And yes, inauguration day is one month from today!!! Stay tuned.

Retake Conversations with Rep. Derrick Lente, Jasmine Yepa, J.D., and Conroy Chino, three of the leaders of the Tribal Education Alliance of NM.  Jasmine Yepa, J.D., Jemez Pueblo, Policy Analyst, Native American Budget and Policy Institute (NABPI) and coordinator of the Tribal Education Alliance, a coalition of tribal education leaders, experts and advocates supported by the Leadership Institute at the Santa Fe Indian School and NABPI.

Conroy Chino, Acoma Pueblo, has a long career in investigative journalism and filmmaking, former Labor Secretary in the Richardson administration, lobbyist for the Tribal Education Alliance.

Rep. Derrick Lente, Sandia Pueblo, who is currently Chair of the House Agriculture and Water Resources Committee an Vice Chair of the Water and Natural Resources Committee.

This was a most compelling interview that extended for almost 60 minutes, as we spoke about the impact of Covid on indigenous communities, the lack of infrastructure in those communities and the impact of both of these factors upon young people in school and in their lives outside school. They also outlined a framework for how the state of NM could transform the education of indigenous youth.

How a State Public Bank Can Help Strengthen Our Economy and Build a Sustainable Local Food System

This piece comes from our allies, The Alliance for Local Economic Prosperity.

“Food, Glorious Food!”  Words from the musical Oliver! describe a starving community’s fantasies about having lots to eat. Better access to better food is one goal the Alliance for Local Economic Prosperity wants for all New Mexicans. We think a Public Bank can invest in better growing techniques and food distribution here in New Mexico.

Our climate is changing and our agricultural practices are changing too. It takes investment to switch to regenerative agriculture, which keeps more water in our soils and keeps chemicals out of them. No-till planting prevents carbon releases from the soil, but requires specialized seed drills which are expensive. A NM Public Bank can be the investment engine that nurtures our ranchers and farmers as they grow the milk, beef, vegetables, fruit, pecans and chiles that we want on our tables this holiday season and every day.

And New Mexico needs better food distribution services. A State Public Bank will develop lending programs based on local needs and partner with credit unions and community banks to meet local lending demand and help expand food processing plants, packaging plants, and the transportation we need to get the food raised here to our local stores and markets. This is listening to local people and crafting solutions to their borrowing needs, even if what’s being crafted is a New Mexican IPA.

Common Misconceptions About a State Public Bank with Responses from The Alliance

What is Alliance for Local Economic Prosperity?

Alliance for Local Economic Prosperity (AFLEP) is a New Mexico nonprofit think tank. The Alliance promotes investment and management of public funds for local benefit. New Mexico’s revenue is now largely invested in global banks outside the state, missing opportunities to invest in the needs and concerns of New Mexico communities. The public bank is a financial institution that enables a thriving State of New Mexico through expanded economic development and infrastructure enhancements.

What is a public bank and how is it funded?

Public banks hold a bank charter and must follow all the rules and regulations any community bank is required to follow. A public bank only manages and invests public funds (taxes, fees). A public bank does not accept deposits of individuals as a retail bank does.

What Is the purpose of a public bank?

Public banks are owned by the people through their representative governments: city, county, regional authority, state or tribe, for the purpose of benefiting the community.

How is a public bank different from privately-owned banks? 

  • Bank decisions are guided by a public mission or purpose established by the public.
  • Its purpose is to benefit the whole public, so it does not accept individual accounts or serve private shareholders.
  • It accepts and invests public funds (taxes and fees) and keeps them circulating in the state. Dividends are paid to the government body that owns the deposit.
  • Its decisions are fully transparent and accountable to the public, unlike privately-owned banks.
  • It works in partnership with community banks, credit unions and Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) to make loans that enhance local communities.

Will the government run the bank?

No. A public bank is operated by professional bankers who make all bank financial decisions independent from the government entity. Strong protections are established between pursuit of the public interest and inappropriate political influence.

How does a public bank benefit the community?

  • It may invest in local economic and community development, such as: small businesses, low income housing, enhancing our food system, roads, buildings, parks, water and air safety, broadband and transitioning to sustainable energy.
  • Its loans can take the place of expensive bonds for public projects, thereby lowering project costs due to lower interest rates and paying the loan interest to the state-owned public bank.
  • Bank profits from these investments can help fund new community services and projects.

Would a public bank compete with community banks or credit unions?

 No.  A public bank, community banks and credit unions and CDFI’s work together to enhance the local economy. For example:

  • A public bank can provide low interest funding to community banks and credit unions for economic development and infrastructure loans they do not typically make.
  • Through a cooperative arrangement – as in North Dakota – a public bank can help reduce regulatory costs for community banks and credit unions.
  • While community banks and credit unions do not make loans for public projects, they benefit when the contractors who work on public projects borrow from them. Money from these interim financing loans is deposited locally, thereby enhancing the local community.

Are public banks safe?

Public banks make conservative, local investments. They are not vulnerable to the risk of loss associated with global investment banks. A public bank holds a bank charter and must comply with the rules and regulations and independent audits required under that charter. They are managed by professional bankers and governed by qualified community members and others committed to strengthening communities.

What are other examples of public banks?

The highly successful Bank of North Dakota has been owned and operated for the benefit of the people of North Dakota for 100 years. In 2018 the Bank of North Dakota (BND) recorded its 15th consecutive year of record profits with $159 million in net earnings, with an ROI of 18%. BND has helped North Dakota maintain a low unemployment rate, supplemented state government budget revenue, enabled a robust network of community banks in the state and high credit availability even during economic crises.

In the United States, there are initiatives to establish public banks in more than 23 cities, counties, regions, states and tribes. Most recently, legislation in California and New York has advanced and plans for municipal and regional public banks are in development in California.

The Sparkassen Savings Banks in Germany have supported thriving communities for more than 200 years. Public banks worldwide hold 40% of public funds, including taxes, fees and fines.

In solidarity and hope,

Paul & Roxanne

Categories: Public Bank

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