Marilyn Writes

Marilyn MacGruder Barnewall began her career as a journalist with the Wyoming Eagle in Cheyenne. During her 20 year banking career, she wrote extensively for The American Banker, Bank Marketing Magazine, Trust Marketing Magazine, and other major industry publications. The American Bankers Association (ABA) published Barnewall’s Profitable Private Banking: the Complete Blueprint, in 1987. She taught private banking at Colorado University for the ABA and trained private bankers in Singapore.

Friday, August 06, 2010


By Marilyn M. Barnewall

May 17, 2009

There are so many people today who no longer believe that one person can make a difference. They are wrong. A story proves my point.

In 1987, a guy by the name of Douglas Bruce - an ordinary guy, a citizen and a former prosecutor from California gave up the practice of law, moved to Colorado, and embarked on what ended up being a personal quest to control government growth.

As a private citizen, he wrote and introduced the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights (TABOR) to Colorado voters. It took 90 days to get TABOR on the ballot in Colorado Springs where it passed in 1991. In statewide elections, Bruce got TABOR on the ballot and it lost in 1988 and 1990. It finally passed in 1992. The third time’s the charm, as the saying goes. The people spoke and TABOR amended Article X of the Colorado Constitution.

Bruce took some pretty hard hits while putting major control of taxation into the hands of the people. I used to wonder if he was going to live through it. You cannot imagine the daily verbal scourging Douglas Bruce suffered at the hands of politicians and the mainstream media.

What is TABOR? Why is this guy special? I guess he's special to me because he represents what any one of us could be or could do – if we put our minds and our backs to it.

TABOR lets citizens vote on tax increases. In Colorado - because of TABOR - voters determine the level of government service on which they want to spend tax dollars. Since tax revenues are more limited, government must spend within its means. Prior to TABOR, Colorado could increase mill levies and state taxes at their discretion. Thanks to Bruce, TABOR is "tightly written," which prevents government from counteracting its intent.

In other words, TABOR makes government more accountable, forcing discipline over budget and tax practices. It makes government more efficient and it controls growth.

Only with the approval of the people can State programs and activities be expanded. With periodic regularity, the Colorado government requests voters to give up (usually permanently) their spending limit protection and their right to vote on future excess revenue. It is called "de-Brucing" TABOR.

The people say "yes" or they say "no."

So what did TABOR accomplish? What's the Before and After story?

Changes in Colorado’s Prosperity Rankings after TABOR

Rank Among the States*

Colorado went from 13th among the 50 states to 3rd in Economic Indicators. It went from 18th to 9th in Population Growth, and from 34th to 6th in Per Capita Income. The state moved from being ranked 26th in Economic Growth to 3rd among the 50 states. According to this data provided by the Independence Institute, TABOR has had nothing but a positive influence on the Colorado economy.

The politicians were losing their perceived power base. They were terrified. They said some pretty ridiculous things - about Douglas Bruce and about TABOR.

Pope John Paul II visited Denver for World Youth Day in August 1993 (after TABOR was approved by voters in 1992). The politicians threatened that TABOR would prevent the police from providing security for him. There would not be sufficient funding for schools, they said. The Sheriffs would have to release prisoners from county lock-ups due to a lack of funds, they said. We taxpayers are used to it, these days: The fear tactic.

As Douglas Bruce has stated, "They will say anything." They did. A lot of what was said was about him – and it wasn’t good.

One man can make a difference in America's vast sea of professional bureaucrats, lobbyists, and politicians. All you have to do is care enough to ride against the whirlwind of political power.

We've all heard the threats of what will happen if we don't do as they ask... the fear they throw at us constantly. It always starts with some dire consequence to “the children…”

We've had a constant stream of dire predictions since September 2008 when then Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson intimidated members of the House and Senate into passing TARP. If it wasn't passed, the economy would fail! He needed $750 billion NOW! Without it, the banks would fail. America would fail!

Today no one can trace what happened to the money (and Paulson has admitted the $750 billion was just a guess).

We must learn that sometimes people are dumb - Hank Paulson, Ben Bernanke, or Timothy Geithner (the New York Fed head knew what was happening on Wall Street; it's in the job description) may look dumb, but they are very shrewd. If they cannot see a tidal wave coming in the arena they are paid to oversee, why do we think they are capable of solving the resultant flood of problems caused by it?

One of the interesting things I found on the Bruce Website is an article from The Ludwig von Mises Institute in Mises Daily. It is an article by Albert Jay Nock dated 6/21/2008.

The Lord, the story goes, commissioned the prophet Isaiah to warn the people of His wrath. Isaiah was to tell the people just how worthless they were and what would happen to them unless they had a change of heart. Isaiah was to make it clear that they were down to their last chance. The Lord also told Isaiah that his efforts would do no good. "The official class and their intelligentsia will turn up their noses at you and the masses will not even listen. They will keep on in their own ways until they carry everything down to destruction, and you will probably be lucky if you get out with your life.

"Isaiah had been very willing to take on the job – in fact, he had asked for it – but the prospect put a new face on the situation. It raised the obvious question: Why, if all that were so – if the enterprise were to be a failure from the start – was there any sense in starting it? 'Ah,' the story says the Lord told Isaiah, 'you do not get the point. There is a Remnant there that you know nothing about. They are obscure, unorganized, inarticulate, each one rubbing along as best he can. They need to be encouraged and braced up because when everything has gone completely to the dogs, they are the ones who will come back and build up a new society; and meanwhile, your preaching will reassure them and keep them hanging on. Your job is to take care of the Remnant, so be off now and set about it.’

"As the word 'masses' is commonly used, it suggests agglomerations of poor and underprivileged people, laboring people, proletarians, and it means nothing like that; it means simply the majority. The mass man is one who has neither the force of intellect to apprehend the principles issuing in what we know as the humane life, nor the force of character to adhere to those principles steadily and strictly as laws of conduct." That is why the article tells us they are collectively called the masses.

"The line of differentiation between the masses and the Remnant is set invariably by quality, not by circumstance. The Remnant are those who by force of intellect are able to apprehend these principles, and by force of character are able, at least measurably, to cleave to them. The masses are those who are unable to do either.

" ...(In) any given society the Remnant are always so largely an unknown quantity. You do not know, and will never know, more than two things about them. You can be sure of those – dead sure, as our phrase is – but you will never be able to make even a respectable guess at anything else. You do not know, and will never know, who the Remnant are, nor what they are doing or will do.

Two things you do know, and no more: First, that they exist; second, that they will find you. Except for these two certainties, working for the Remnant means working in impenetrable darkness; and this, I should say, is just the condition calculated most effectively to pique the interest of any prophet who is properly gifted with the imagination, insight and intellectual curiosity necessary to a successful pursuit of his trade."

There are prophets - like Douglas Bruce - telling us what is to come… warning us and trying to do something about it. They work in impenetrable darkness… the darkness of not being able to see how what they do will impact the world. They do what they do because it is right.

Are we listening? Who is part of the Masses rather than the Remnant? Do we complain that it is impossible to change things?

Or, do we light a candle like Douglas Bruce did?

© 2009 Marilyn M. Barnewall - All Rights Reserved

Marilyn MacGruder Barnewall began her career in 1956 as a journalist with the Wyoming Eagle in Cheyenne. During her 20 years (plus) as a banker and bank consultant, she wrote extensively for The American Banker, Bank Marketing Magazine, Trust Marketing Magazine, and other major industry publications. The American Bankers Association published Barnewall’s Profitable Private Banking, the first book written about private banks, in 1987. She taught private banking at Colorado University for the American Bankers Association and trained private bankers in Singapore in 1991. She has authored seven banking books, one dog book, and one work of fiction (about banking, of course). She has served on numerous Boards in her community.

Barnewall received her degree in Banking from the University of Colorado Graduate School of Business in 1978 and was named one of America's top 100 businesswomen. She was a founding member of the Committee of 200, the official organization of America's top businesswomen. She can be found in Who's:Who in America (2005-08), Who's Who of American Women (2006-08), Who's Who in Finance and Business (2006-08), and Who's Who in the World (2008).

What happened to American Sovereignty at G-20?

By Marilyn M. Barnewall April 18, 2009

When one reads the glowing mainstream media reports covering the G-20 meeting, one would think it was all about whether Michelle Obama offended UK citizens by putting a friendly arm around the Queen’s back. Some seem to be charmed by the action.

It is verboten to touch the Queen. It should be verboten for a sitting American president to take something as stupid as an iPod to another head of state as a gift – but it isn’t and the Obamas took one to the Queen. It’s the old “class” vs “style” question. The Obamas have style.

Like most things it covers, the press appears committed to keeping Americans entertained rather than informed – and far too many Americans appear to like it that way. They enjoy being uninformed. It’s so much more fun to live life unaware that the world you are leaving your children will enslave them to perpetual debt – depending on your age, possibly you, too.

I have said for many years that the greatest problem Americans as a people have is their tendency to be reactive rather than proactive. After so many crises, you would think we would learn. The truth is, any intelligent group would learn from past errors if, indeed, it wanted to learn. I have also said that the most serious challenge this country faces regarding its sovereignty is that the global economy being openly created by multi-national companies with no loyalty to a single country would be used to back us into world government.

That, too, may have happened at the G-20.

To be proactive requires people to pay attention to what is happening and take steps to prevent those things that will have a negative impact on their nation. To be reactive is to read the news each day and, using information most people know to be far from reliable, begin wringing one’s hands and tearing at one’s hair and talking about how we need to change things. Oh. I forgot. It was “change” that got us into this problem in the first place, wasn’t it? The only methodology that has ever preserved freedom within governments is the proactive approach.

Did a man who many people say is ineligible to be President of the United States hand over the sovereignty of this nation’s economy to the Europeans at the G-20 meeting? Oh. You hadn’t heard? Well, when loan policies and interest rates are dictated by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), perhaps your mainstream media newspapers will get around to reporting it. Perhaps then you’ll have time to react to the seriousness of what has happened.

The Financial Stability Forum (FSF) was established in April of 1999. Its job was to promote international financial stability through information exchange and international co-operation in financial supervision and surveillance. Since the entire world is in economic crisis, we could logically assume the FSF has not done a very good job.

However, like most things government produces, poor performance is always deserving of reward. The FSF has now been upgraded to the Financial Stability Board (FSB). Its job is to tell American bankers how to run their organizations – maybe even say who can and who cannot qualify for loans, regardless of credit qualification. Perhaps you have a bumper sticker on your car that is pro-U.S. Constitution or you have taken a gun training course recently. If it can make you a potential terrorist in Missouri, surely it can make you a poor credit risk?

And, its job is to tell companies how much pay can be granted to various executives who shoulder certain responsibilities (those who get too much pay can have a negative impact on a company’s credit rating, after all). It will tell all companies, not just a few. That means Mom and Pop stores as well as the multi-nationals.

Who oversees this new regulatory body?

Mario Draghi, governor of the Bank of Italy, will Chair this new group. Since it is no secret just how badly run the Italian economy is (and has been for some time), I guess this central bank bureaucrat will immediately set off to equalize the rest of the world with the Italians. The secretariat is based at the Bank for International Settlements' headquarters in Basel, Switzerland. Everything today is communitized and equalized.

According to a new press release, the group created on April 3, 2009 in London by the G-20 will monitor potential risks in the world economy. It will pay particular attention to the biggest firms, and will conduct "early warning exercises" and periodic reviews to spot potential trouble. Because under this new socialist system everyone will cooperate with everyone else, the FSB will cooperate with the IMF (which will cooperate with BIS – the Bank of International Settlements – and the World Bank). The IMF, of course, already monitors member countries' financial health, lending funds if needed. I still haven’t figured out under which desk the IMF has been hiding since the American economy began its downhill run in 2007. However, FSB duties include the reportage of any threats to the stability of the global financial system. If they find a threat, they will report it immediately to the G20 finance ministers, the IMF and central bank governors – the same people who seem incompetent in their handling of the current world financial crisis. Wow! Does that make me feel better, or what?

In short, it appears the IMF will be our new “global” central bank. Now that’s an objective it’s had since the day it was born – that, and a global currency.

You may ask, “What’s wrong with that? In this global economy, don’t we need global controls to prevent the kind of world crisis in which we now exist?”

And that is precisely how the powers that be want you to feel. Congratulations! You have just passed an early warning system test that seeks to determine how easily a global regulatory body can be established to control finance worldwide. If people will allow globalists to control their money, it’s a slam-dunk they will let them control their government.

What’s wrong with global government?

Look around the world. Can you tell me any single nation’s government that is compatible with the government of any other sovereign nation? The Brits can’t agree with the French about anything. The Germans disagree with everyone – they always have. They all dislike the way capitalism works in America – they’re jealous of our standard of living.

That means socialism and communism are the only forms of government with sufficient power to force the people to accept the changes required for global governance.

Nations have competing interests. That’s the way it’s supposed to be. A nation that becomes non-competitive loses its position in world markets. When citizens suffer a reduction of lifestyle, they become unhappy with the government running the country and vote the jerks out of office. They want legislators that will make them more competitive. This causes productivity to move higher rather than lower.

Americans are being taught that there is something wrong with competition. Not only is there nothing wrong with competition, everything is right about it. In case you haven’t figured it out yet, it is the people who are afraid of competition that want socialism. Socialism minimizes the need to compete. It is the insecure who find solace in the thought of a socialist state! This is who the people of the world want as leaders?

I guess we might add to the above that socialism has never worked anywhere it has been attempted. Before we think “change” is such a hot ticket item, we might want to become better informed about precisely what kind of change the new leadership in Washington, D.C. has in mind.

Regardless, it seems President Obama has agreed to let American financial institutions do the bidding of the new Financial Stability Board.

It seems the world’s bankers have executed a bloodless coup and now represent all of the people in the world.

Who do they really represent? They certainly do not represent the peoples of the various nations of the world. They’re the ones who elect people to be responsive to their needs. The U.S. Constitution, for example, makes Congress responsible for managing the finances of this country. Has a sitting President of the United States just erased another paragraph from the legal documents our founders gave us to protect us from precisely what is happening? Even though Congress has for years ignored the financial responsibilities given it by the Constitution, they always maintained a respectable form of subterfuge about it. President Obama agreed at the G20 meeting in London to create an international board with authority to intervene in U.S. corporations by dictating executive compensation and approving or disapproving business management decisions.

Under the new Financial Stability Board, the United States has only one vote. In other words, the group will be largely controlled by European central bankers. My guess is, they will represent themselves, not you and not me and certainly not America.

Hmmm. As I think about it, European central bankers may be the only group of people less qualified to handle financial crises than American central bankers. © 2010 Marilyn M. Barnewall - All Rights Reserved ________________________________________ Marilyn MacGruder Barnewall began her career in 1956 as a journalist with the Wyoming Eagle in Cheyenne. During her 20 years (plus) as a banker and bank consultant, she wrote extensively for The American Banker, Bank Marketing Magazine, Trust Marketing Magazine, and other major industry publications. The American Bankers Association published Barnewall’s Profitable Private Banking, the first book written about private banks, in 1987. She taught private banking at Colorado University for the American Bankers Association and trained private bankers in Singapore in 1991. She has authored seven banking books, one dog book, and one work of fiction (about banking, of course). She has served on numerous Boards in her community.

Barnewall received her degree in Banking from the University of Colorado Graduate School of Business in 1978 and was named one of America's top 100 businesswomen. She was a founding member of the Committee of 200, the official organization of America's top businesswomen. She can be found in Who's:Who in America (2005-08), Who's Who of American Women (2006-08), Who's Who in Finance and Business (2006-08), and Who's Who in the World (2008).

By Marilyn M. Barnewall


By Marilyn M. Barnewall June 27, 2010

Because my career was banking, I have written much about the attack on America’s independent banks by a federal regime that apparently seeks global governance.

Attacks? How else do you explain that as of June 30, 2009, the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis said there were 6,898 commercial banks in the United States – but as of June 30, 1984, there were 14,369 commercial banks? In 1994, that number was pared down to 10,623. Now we have less than 6,898.

How do we stop the ever-growing power of the Federal Reserve System? Why are financial experts talking about a world run by central banks? There are answers but they must be implemented before the power to make changes at the State level is removed.

The capacity to control monetary policy at the State rather than federal level and a State currency distribution system are powerful tools.

When people hear the words “State Bank,” they may think it means “State-chartered bank.” A State Bank is quite different from a State-chartered bank. The 90-year old Bank of North Dakota is the only State-owned bank in America.

Think of a State Bank as a mini-Federal Reserve – only it’s State-owned rather than a Federal Reserve Bank. The Federal Reserve System, a privately-owned corporation that is not part of the federal government, has Member Banks – nationally-chartered (they usually have the word “national” in their name). The Bank of North Dakota has “Member Banks” – State-chartered banks. The Bank of North Dakota, for example, provides its own State deposit insurance coverage – like a mini-FDIC (call it NDDIC).

Nationally-chartered banks (those licensed by the federal rather than State government) can do business in states that have a State Banking system, but cannot be members because of their national Charters. The authority that Charters a bank determines whether it will be a Member of the Federal Reserve System or of a State Bank.

The Federal Reserve System clears checks and performs other monetary functions for its members. It establishes monetary policy for the nation. Why? Because the Fed is the only alternative available in the 50 states to perform these functions – except in North Dakota. State Banks can, if they choose, replace Federal Reserve System functions and clear checks and set monetary policy for Member Banks.

A State Bank (exemplified by Bank of North Dakota) is the official depository institution for all State collections and fees. It’s very beneficial to local economies. Such a controlled source of funds is called a ‘captive deposit base’. The State Bank pays the State Treasurer a competitive rate of deposit interest that can be used to reduce local tax burdens. In states that are part of the federal system, funds collected by the State leave the State. When a State owns a State Bank, loan policies are determined by the State, not the federal government or the banking cartel known as the Federal Reserve System.

State Banks determine loan policies that can support State assets. In North Dakota, loan policy supports agriculture and energy. In Alaska, Texas and Oklahoma, it can support oil. In Colorado, loan policy can support uranium, natural gas, or oil shale production; in Utah, it can support coal. States rich in other things can create loan policies supportive of them.

Another thing State Banks make possible is getting away from a fiat currency system (paper money with nothing backing it) dependent upon consumer and business indebtedness to survive. That system has bankrupted our nation. A Sovereign State needs its own currency. The currency must be backed by something other than a Governor’s signature. And, without something (like gold, silver, oil, uranium, etc.) backing a State currency, the citizens have the same problem that caused the federal system to fail: a worthless fiat currency.

When a State legislatively declares the right to create its own currency, it needs a State banking system or there is no way to exercise power – a required element of “sovereignty.” A State may print as much of its own money as it chooses, but without a distribution system and without a State-owned asset of value backing it, it’s worthless. You thought your State could declare its sovereignty and still trade in the U.S. dollar? You might want to re-think that. Federal governments whose power bases are threatened by State governments declaring sovereignty usually don’t view the State fondly. They usually don’t offer the use of their currency.

A State that declares itself sovereign must function independently of the federal government – or it is not sovereign. States that have declared (or will declare) State Sovereignty need to fulfill international standards of sovereignty. A State Bank helps achieve that objective. In other words, legislation declaring a State to be “Sovereign” doesn’t make sovereignty a reality.

There is the issue of de jure versus de facto sovereignty. The experts say neither declaring nor being proclaimed sovereign or exercising sovereignty is sufficient. To be sovereign requires both de jure (proclaiming) and de facto (being proclaimed). Proclaiming sovereignty (“I’m sovereign”) doesn’t get the job done. Being proclaimed sovereign (by a legislature or by citizen vote or by another State) doesn’t either. It is generally accepted that both de jure and de facto are required. The ability to exercise sovereign power is also required. That’s a major part of how international law defines “sovereignty.”

State sovereignty, then, must be based on de jure and de facto proclamations. It must exhibit evidence of exercised power. The most recognized exercise of power in the world is monetary. As long as states are tied to the Federal Reserve System, monetary power is vested in the federal, not the State, government.

To be recognized as sovereign, international law says the State, as a person, must have:

1- A permanent population; 2- A defined territory; 3- Government; and, 4- The capacity to enter into relations with other states.

It is also held that sovereignty requires not only the legal standing to exercise power, but also an actual exercise of that power. International law says sovereignty exists only when the State declaring sovereignty is recognized as sovereign by other states (and/or nations).

Why is it important to comply with international laws when declaring State sovereignty? If citizens take a prescription drug for a serious disease made by a German pharmaceutical company, access to international trade must exist. If citizens drive a foreign-made car, they need parts available. If the State wants to provide access to coffee and bananas for citizens, it will have to comply with the international trade laws of Brazil. When a State declares sovereignty, international (as well as interstate) commerce laws become important. Many questions arise. How will highway systems be maintained? Who pays for public schools and police protection – and which currency is used to pay for State government?

The solutions to State Sovereignty: Currency, monetary policy (coordinated with other states) and a State Bank that provides a distribution system for both.

A State structure supporting America’s Constitutional Rule of Law and the Bill of Rights must be in place. State Constitutions generally fulfill that requirement, but may need to be more legislatively clear. Why? After the Federal Reserve System and Wall Street cause economic collapse, the states will be able to reorganize around the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, as written by our founders, and do so quickly to once again become the United States of America.

Can a State declare itself sovereign if it does not have sufficient power to determine its own currency and monetary policy? That is the key question to the core problem.

State Banks give credible stability to State Governments and their business sectors. They provide a distribution source to those states with the lawful authority to create their own currency. This one concept makes possible a logical alternative to the failing federal monetary distribution system – the failed fiat currency and the failed fractional-reserve means of creating currency that results in perpetual debt.

Numerous projects must (and can) be quickly coordinated among sovereign states if interstate commerce is to continue. States must plan ahead and work together to create a workable system. Compatible computer systems able to exchange information so proper check clearing can occur are needed. How does a company in a Sovereign State pay for goods purchased in another State that has not declared sovereignty and still uses the U.S. dollar? State Banks must be able to pay and accept the federal government’s currency via the same settlement process used all over the world.

There is one flashing red light regarding State Banks. It can be solved by how the State Bank Charter is written.

Unless constraints are firmly in place, there is little doubt power abuse will occur. Money draws crooks like honey draws bees. While the above information focuses on the positive aspects of implementing a State Bank, legislators need to be aware that unless prohibited from doing so, a State Bank can become a tool used to redistribute wealth – just as the current system is used nationally. Each State Bank Charter must contain prohibitions against the politicization of State Bank funds and investments, or all that will result is a State Bank that does the same economic harm currently done by the Federal Reserve System.

How does your State fund a State-owned bank? Have your State legislators check the amount of U.S. dollars available in existing State Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFRs). Most states have billions of CAFR dollars that cannot, by law, be used to pay down State debt but can be used to invest in a State Bank on behalf of citizens.

This is a great (and critically needed) project for State Tea Party groups. You really could save your State from an economic apocalypse if you get this job done in time.

© 2010 Marilyn M. Barnewall - All Rights Reserved