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Wall Street Greed: Not Too Big for a California Jury

Wall Street Greed: Not Too Big for a California Jury

By Ellen Brown, Web of Debt

This piece first appeared at Web of Debt.

United States Attorney General Eric Holder has declared that the too-big-to-fail Wall Street banks are too big to prosecute. But an outraged California jury might have different ideas. As noted in the California legal newspaper The Daily Journal:

California juries are not bashful - they have been known to render massive punitive damages awards that dwarf the award of compensatory (actual) damages. For example, in one securities fraud case jurors awarded $5.7 million in compensatory damages and $165 million in punitive damages. . . . And in a tobacco case with $5.5 million in compensatory damages, the jury awarded $3 billion in punitive damages . . . .

Read the rest of the article here.

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What does North Dakota's Public Bank Does for Small Businesses

Five years ago, Brian Brasch, president of Branick Industries, a maker of specialty automotive tools in Fargo, N.D., took a phone call from a stranger. The caller was an auto mechanic in Florida who had an idea for a new kind of drain plug for an oil pan, one with an O-ring that expands to stop oil leaks.

Mr. Brasch saw an opportunity. “There’s almost a billion oil changes a year in North America — so O.K., it’s a pretty big market, it’s a green product, everybody wins,” he said. The mechanic’s idea ultimately became Branick’s SMART-O drain plug, and the company now ships about 15,000 plugs a day that sell for about $6 each.

But before it could market the plugs, the company needed almost $2 million to import them from China, where, Mr. Brasch said, the manufacturer normally requires 50 percent down before it begins making the product. And, he said, given the time it takes for the manufacturer to ship two or three months’ worth of the product, and the time it takes for the first customers to pay for it, “that’s eight months of float.”

Mr. Brasch visited his local bank, Alerus Financial, based in Grand Forks, and came away with a financing package that would be unusual anywhere but North Dakota, which operates the country’s only public bank. The state-owned Bank of North Dakota helped finance the loan — and also used state money to buy down the interest rate, from 5.25 percent to 1 percent.

North Dakota uses the bank to funnel deposits from state agencies back into the state’s economy through a variety of loan and other development programs. Mostly it makes loans, teaming with local private banks that initiate the transactions with borrowers. The state-owned bank typically takes half of a business loan, and the interest rate on the state-lent portion is normally one or two percentage points below the market rate.

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Posted by on in National News
Vermonters for a New Economy

Vermont Town Meeting Campaign

We were successful in getting articles in favor of a state bank on the town meeting warnings in 20 towns. The towns are: Bakersfield, Barnet, Berlin, Calais, Craftsbury, East Montpelier, Enosburg, Fayston, Greensboro, Marlboro, Montpelier, Plainfield, Putney, Randolph, Rochester, Royalton, Ryegate, Tunbridge, Waitsfield, and Warren. We wish to thank all those who engaged in the process of talking to their neighbors and gathering the necessary signatures.

The other really good news is that Washington County State Senator Bill Doyle has agreed to include a question asking people if they support a state bank on his annual town meeting questionaire so even those who live in towns that will not be discussing a state bank as part of the town meeting agenda will be able to weigh in on the question.

Read entire article here

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What does North Dakota have that Pennsylvania does not.

More jobs, lower taxes
Public Banking
Banking for Main Street, Not Wall Street

Like Pennsylvania, the state of North Dakota is experiencing a boom in energy production. But unemployment in Pennsylvania remains at almost seven percent, in many communities far higher, foreclosures roll on and municipalities have made sometimes savage cuts in basic services like education.

North Dakota has two percent unemployment, rising incomes, a regular budget surplus and low taxes. No banks have failed and students and businesses can get affordable, low cost loans.

What does North Dakota have that Pennsylvania does not? A public bank.

Learn why cities, counties and states from Vermont to California and from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh are working to establish their own public banks, and what you can do to insure a prosperous Pennsylvania - now and for the future.

Banking for Main Street, not Wall Street

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