“Is Central Banking a Capitalist or Communist Concept?” by Valentin Schmid, Epoch Times

Central banks look capitalist on the surface, but have their roots in communist literature

The right doesn’t like central banks because of their centrality. The banks centralize power over interest rates, and the right doesn’t like central control over pretty much anything. The left doesn’t like central banks because they represent money, capitalism, and “too big to fail” banks.

However, despite the confusion and complicated hybrid setup of the Fed and other central banks, these institutions are more communist and socialist in nature than capitalist.

Contrast these two statements from two important historical documents.

One calls for the “Centralization of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.”

The other one gives Congress the power to “coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures.”

Karl Marx and Frederich Engels penned the former statement in 1848 in their infamous “Manifesto of the Communist Party.”

Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, James Madison, and Thomas Jefferson were responsible for the inclusion of Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, the source of the latter statement.

So which camp is the Federal Reserve in—manifesto or Constitution?

National Monopoly

The Fed is a national banking system and has an exclusive monopoly on issuing the U.S. dollar credit instrument in paper and electronic form.

The Communist Manifesto furthermore calls for “gradually substituting paper money for gold and silver coin.” This objective was achieved, gradually, from the beginnings of the Fed in 1914 until the revocation of the Bretton Woods modified gold standard in 1971. Since then, the world has operated on a global paper dollar standard.

Furthermore, the manifesto wanted the “paper issues [to be] legal tender,” a principle dutifully incorporated into the Federal Reserve Act of 1913.

Under the act, “the said notes shall be obligations of the United States and shall be receivable by all national and member banks and Federal Reserve banks and for all taxes, customs, and other public dues. They shall be redeemed in lawful money,” where “lawful money” means legal tender.

The U.S. Constitution, on the other hand, calls for Congress to “coin money,” referring to the issue of gold and silver coins and the standardization of their measurements. The Department of the Treasury still issues American Gold and Silver Eagles, but the Fed neither coins money nor concerns itself with the standardization of weights and measures.

Hybrid Ownership

What about ownership, capital, supervision, and credit? This is where the Fed does not meet the strict manifesto standard. Legally, the Federal Reserve System is a public/private hybrid, with private banks owning the shares or capital of the system and the government providing some, though not all, of the supervision.

So the Fed does not operate on state capital. However, it shares its profits with the Treasury and most of the important decisions are made by publicly appointed officials. The president appoints seven of the 12 members of the Fed body that decides monetary policy (the Federal Open Market Committee) and they are then confirmed by the Senate. So it does sound like the “centralization of credit in the hands of the state,” or at least the power to manipulate credit.

Credit is not centralized in one bank, but rather in the one Federal Reserve System, which includes thousands of privately owned banks that issue credit to their customers. This goes against the call for “suppression of all private banks and bankers,” because they still exist. However, the system has central control over credit due to regulation and tinkering with the interest rates.

The Fed can control how many reserves the system banks must hold and how much money (credit) they can lend. The open market operations that determine the interest rate on the reserves also incentivize banks to free up or contract credit.

In fact, setting short-term rates and manipulating long-term rates centrally through large-scale asset purchases, like the Quantitative Easing program, is akin to communist central planning.

In the free market, private banks compete for savings, and the interest rate is set in a competitive bidding process between different economic actors. Not so in a centrally controlled system.

Lastly, Marx and Engels got their wish written in 1848: “In most advanced countries, the following will be pretty generally applicable,” with “the following” including centrally controlled credit and other demands of the manifesto.

Today, the only countries without central banks are the micro states of Monaco, Nauru, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Palau, Marshall Islands, and the Federated States of Micronesia.

Communism is estimated to have killed around 100 million people, yet its crimes have not been compiled and its ideology still persists. Epoch Times seeks to expose the history and beliefs of this movement, which has been a source of tyranny and destruction since it emerged.

“Post Tortoise”

While stitching a cut on the hand of a 75-year-old farmer, the doctor struck up a conversation with the old man. Eventually the topic got around to Donald Trump and his role as President elect of the United States.

The old farmer said, ” Well, as I see it, Donald Trump is like a ‘Post Tortoise’.”

Not being familiar with the term, the doctor asked him what a ‘Post Tortoise’ was.

The old farmer said, “When you’re driving down a country road and you come across a fence post with a tortoise balanced on top, that’s a Post Tortoise.”

The old farmer saw the puzzled look on the doctor’s face so he continued to explain.

“You know he didn’t get up there by himself, he doesn’t belong up there, he doesn’t know what to do while he’s up there, he’s elevated beyond his ability to function, and you just wonder what kind of dumb asses put him up there to begin with.”

(Courtesy of Dr. Sharon Forrest and William P. Chiles)

“The Western Model is Broken”, UK Guardian

So far, the 21st century has been a rotten one for the western model,” according to a new book, The Fourth Revolution, by John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge. This seems an extraordinary admission from two editors of the Economist, the flag-bearer of English liberalism, which has long insisted that the non-west could only achieve prosperity and stability through western prescriptions. It almost obscures the fact that the 20th century was blighted by the same pathologies that today make the western model seem unworkable, and render its fervent advocates a bit lost. The most violent century in human history, it was hardly the best advertisement for the “bland fanatics of western civilisation”, as the American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr called them at the height of the cold war, “who regard the highly contingent achievements of our culture as the final form and norm of human existence”. Read more.

Seattle and Davis to Pull More Than $3 Billion From Wells Fargo Over Dakota Access Pipeline


Olivia One Feather (center) of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe holds up her fist after the Seattle City Council voted Tuesday to divest from Wells Fargo over its role as a lender to the Dakota Access Pipeline project.  Elaine Thompson/AP

February 8, 2017

Seattle’s City Council has voted to not renew its contract with Wells Fargo, in a move that cites the bank’s role as a lender to the Dakota Access Pipeline project as well as its creation of millions of bogus accounts. As a result, the city won’t renew its contract with the bank that expires next year.

The unanimous vote will pull the city’s more than $3 billion in annual cash flow from the banking giant, the council says. Seattle says the bidding process for its next banking partner will “incentivize ‘Social Responsibility.'”

Not long after Seattle’s vote, the City Council in Davis, Calif., took a similar action over the pipeline. It voted unanimously to find a new bank to handle its roughly $124 million in accounts by the end of 2017.

On the same day the two cities moved to cut ties with Wells Fargo, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers granted an easement allowing the Dakota Access Pipeline to cross under the Missouri River north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. As NPR’s Rebecca Hersher reported, that clears the way for construction of the final 1.5 miles of the more than 1,700-mile pipeline.

“Protests in Seattle against the Dakota Access Pipeline project have been large and frequent, often organized by local tribal members,” member station KUOW reports. “Protesters, many of them Native people from Washington state, share the concerns of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, which says the pipeline would threaten tribal water supplies, land and cultural sites.”

Wells Fargo has been in the headlines since last fall over a scandal involving bank employees creating fake accounts in customers’ names to bolster performance results and boost bonuses. While other banks are also involved in the pipeline deal, Wells Fargo’s recent history seems to have helped make it a target once again.

Seattle’s plan to stop its dealings with Wells Fargo comes months after the city canceled a $100 million bond deal between its electric utility and the bank. That took place last fall, when the treasurers of California, Illinois and other entities said they would freeze their dealings with the bank — in some cases, for a one-year period.

Wells Fargo’s commercial banking manager for Washington state, Mary Knell, tells KUOW that she’s disappointed in Seattle’s new move, noting that the bank is bound by its contract with the pipeline project.

Knell tells KUOW that the bank has “enhanced our due diligence on projects such as this to include more research into whether indigenous communities are affected and that they have been properly consulted.”

Socialist City Council member Kshama Sawant, who spearheaded Seattle’s move away from Wells Fargo, says a rally against the bank is scheduled for this weekend.

And after noting that Wells Fargo is “one of the six primary financiers of the for-profit private prison industry,” Sawant ended a statement about the bill’s initial passage earlier this month with a note of caution, saying, “All of the big banks are terrible, and, as long as we have capitalism, our contracts will be with institutions that put corporate greed over human need.”

Days before Seattle held an initial vote on divesting from the bank, Wells Fargo announced plans to donate $500,000 to five of the city’s nonprofit groups that work to revitalize Seattle neighborhoods.

When Seattle Council member Debora Juarez spoke of voting against Wells Fargo, she repeatedly cited a need for integrity — even as she acknowledged the small direct impact Seattle’s move will likely have.

“For a company whose deposits totaled more than $1 trillion last year, it’s a drop in a very big bucket,” Juarez said in a statement. “But for Seattle, a City whose budget is approx. $4B., voting to withdraw our funds … money that covers the biweekly payroll of $30 million for about 12,000 employees – is an opportunity to send a message.”

In Davis, the city’s report on the possibility of cutting ties with Wells Fargo noted that Philadelphia and Minneapolis are also considering the same move.

As for Seattle’s future options, KUOW reports:

“It’s not clear which financial institutions the city will work with in the future. More than a dozen other banks are connected to the pipeline, including CitiBank, ING, Chase and Bank of America.

“City Council members including Sawant, Mike O’Brien and Lisa Herbold are interested in contracting with a credit union or state-run public bank. Both of those options, however, would require a change to state law.”

In addition to complaints about the pipeline and its business practices, Wells Fargo was hit with a lawsuit at the end of January that accused the bank of “illegally denying student loans to young immigrants who are protected from deportation and allowed to work and study in the U.S. under a program created by former President Barack Obama,” as member station KPCC reported.

9th Circuit decision upholds stay on Trump’s travel ban

KPIX: #TrumpNever Pinata & 9th Circuit Decision from MPetrelis on Vimeo.

If nothing else, my hope is that the images of my pinata and the words TRUMP and KKK and SEXIST are irritating the White House, especially adviser Steve Bannon.
One lesson I’d like to share with emerging activists eager to resist Trump and creatively attract mainstream and social media, is this.
A single individual with a good prop, easy to read text, a fun attitude and punchy comments to make about Fake President 45, can feed two birds with one seed.
Got to where you know the cameras will be looking for great visuals, give them want they crave, even if you’re the only citizen acting up.
Here is the excerpt of yours truly using the pinata to send a visual message and I also demand Bannon and his puppet respect the rule of law and respect judges. Pointed out that Trump’s sister is a sitting jurist.
This story reported by Melissa Caen aired on KPIX in San Francisco on Feb 9, 2017:
–Michael Petrelis

Divest from DAPL (DefundDAPL.org)

If you have a financial relationship (accounts, loans, credit cards) with one of these banks that fund the Dakota Access Pipeline and you would like to divest, first set up a new account in a credit union that does not invest in fossil fuel extraction. This guide can help you make a smooth transition.

Then, go to your bank and make a #BankExit by publicly closing your account. Make sure to submit a letter to management explaining that you don’t want to finance an institution that profits from human rights abuses and puts our water at risk.


Here are names of CEOs and other bank executives involved in these decisions—along with their phone numbers and email addresses. The first 17 banks (*) are directly funding the Dakota Access pipeline:

Wells Fargo* CEO Timothy J. Sloan timothy.j.sloan@wellsfargo.com BoardCommunications@wellsfargo.co m 866-249-3302 Corporate Office: Wells Fargo 420 Montgomery Street San Francisco, CA 94104

BNP Paribas* CEO Jean-Laurent Bonnafe jeanlaurent.bonnafe@bnpparibas.com Corporate Office: 3 rue d’Antin 75002 Paris, France 00-33-157-082-200 U.S. Office: 787 Seventh Avenue – The Equitable Tower New York, NY 10019 212-841-3000

SunTrust* CEO William H. Rodgers Jr. Corporate Office: 303 Peachtree Street NE Atlanta, GA 30308 800-786-8787 Chief Communications Officer: Sue Mallino 404-813-0463 sue.mallino@suntrust.com

The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ* Chairman Nobuyuki Hirano CEO and President Takashi Oyamada Corporate Office: 2-7-1, Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku Tokyo, Japan 81-3-3240-8111 U.S. Office: 1251 Avenue of the Americas New York, NY 10020-1104 212-782-4000

Mizuho Bank* President and CEO Nobuhide Hayashi Corporate Office: Otemachi Tower 1-5-5, Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku Tokyo 100-8176, Japan 81-3-3214-1111 U.S. Office: 1251 Avenue of the Americas New York, NY 10020 212-282-3000

Citibank (CitiGroup)* CEO Michael Corbat Michael.L.Corbat@citi.com 212-793-1201 Corporate Office: 388 Greenwich Street New York, NY 10013 Phone: 800-285-3000 and 212-793- 0710

Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank) CEO and President Brian J. Porter Corporate Office: Scotia Plaza 44 King Street W Toronto, Ontario Canada M5H 1H1 416-866-6161 email@scotiabank.com U.S. Office: 250 Vesey Street, 23rd and 24th floors New York, NY 10281

TD Securities* Chairman, CEO, and President Bob Dorrance Corporate Office: P.O. Box 1, TD Bank Tower 66 Wellington Street W Toronto, Ontario M5K 1A2 Investment Banking: 416-307-8500 Equity Research: 416-307-9360 Trading Floor Enquiries: 416-944-6978

ING Bank* CEO and Executive Board Chairman Ralph A.J.G Hamers Wholesale Banking, Operations & IT, Sustainability, Corporate Governance: Carolien van der Giessen carolien.van.der.giessen@ing.com 31-20-576-63-86 Head of Media Relations: Raymond Vermuelen raymond.vermeulen@ing.com 31-20-576-63-69 212-225-5000 Scotia Howard Weil (“Energy Investment Boutique”): Energy Centre 1100 Poydras Street Suite 3500 New Orleans, LA 70163 504-582-2500 and 800-322-3005 howardweil@howardweil.com U.S. Office: 31 West 52nd Street New York, NY 10019-6101 212-827-7000 Corporate Office: Amsterdamse Poort Bijlmerplein 888 1102 MG Amsterdam The Netherlands 31-20-5639111 Mailing Address: ING Bank N.V. P.O. Box 1800 1000 BV Amsterdam The Netherlands U.S. Office: ING Financial Holdings LLC 1325 Avenue of the Americas New York, NY 10019 646-424-6000

Intesa SanPaolo* CEO Carlo Messina Corporate Office: Piazza San Carlo, 156 10121 Torino, Italy 39-011-555-1 Corporate Social Responsibility Unit: 39-02-8796-3435 CSR@intesasanpaolo.com sostenibilita.ambientale@intesasanpa olo.com

Credit Agricole* CEO Jean-Paul Chifflet Office: 12, Place des Etats-Unis Montrouge, France 92545 33-1-43-23-52-02 U.S. Office: 1301 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10019 infoamericas@ca-cib.com

Natixis* CEO Pierre Servant Corporate Office: Natixis Global Asset Management, S.A. 21 quai d’Austerlitz 75634 Paris Cedex 13, France 33-1-78-40-90-00 U.S. Office: Natixis Global Asset Management, L.P. 399 Boylston Street Boston, MA 617-449-2100

BayernLB* CEO Johannes-Jorg Riegler Head of Communications: Matthias Priwitzer Matthias.Priwitzer@bayernlb.de 49-89-2171-21255 Corporate Office: Brienner Straße 18 80333 Munich 49-89-2171-27176 U.S. Office: 560 Lexington Avenue New York City, NY 10022 212-310-9800

Societe General* CEO Frederic Oudea https://www.linkedin.com/in/frederic oudea Chiarman of the Board Lorenzo Bini Smaghi lorenzo.binismaghi@snam.it Corporate Office: 29 boulevard Haussmann 75009 Paris, France 2.0@societegenerale 33-1-42-14-20-00 U.S. Office: 245 Park Avenue ICBC London* CEO and Managing Director Jin Chen Corporate Office: 20 Gresham Street London EC2V 7JE, United Kingdom 44-203-145-5000 U.S. Office: 520 Madison Avenue 28th Floor New York, NY 10022 212-407-5000 New York City, NY 10167 212-278-6000

BBVA Securities* CEO Carlos Torres Villa Executive Chairman Francisco Gonzalez Rodriguez Corporate Office: Calle Azul, 4 28050 Madrid, Spain 34-902-22-44-66

SMBC Nikko Securities* President and CEO Yoshihiko Shimizu Corporate Office: 3-1, Marunouchi 3-chome, Chiyoda-ku Tokyo 100-8325, Japan 81-3-5644-3111

DNB Capital* U.S. office: 200 Park Avenue, 31st Floor New York, N.Y. 10166-0396 212-681-3800

Royal Bank of Scotland CEO Ross McEwan ross.mcewan@rbs.co.uk Director of Media Relations: Chris Turner 44-20-7672-4515 Corporate Office: Gogarburn 175 Glasgow Road Edinburgh, United Kingdom 44-131-626-3263 U.S. Office: 600 Washington Boulevard Stamford, CT 06901 203-897-2700

ABN Amro Capital Chairman of the Board Gerrit Zalm Corporate Office: ABN AMRO Bank N.V. Gustav Mahlerlaan 10 1082 PP Amsterdam The Netherlands 31-10-241-17-23 U.S. Office: 100 Park Avenue, 17th floor New York, NY 10017 917-284-6800

JPMorgan Chase Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon jamie.dimon@jpmchase.com 212-270-1111 Corporate Contacts: Andrew Gray andrew.s.gray@jpmchase.com Jennifer Lavoie jennifer.h.lavoie@jpmchase.com Brian Marchiony brian.j.marchiony@jpmorgan.com Corporate Office: 270 Park Avenue New York, NY 10017-2014

Citizens Bank Chairman and CEO Bruce Van Saun Head of Media Relations: Peter Lucht Peter.Lucht@citizensbank.com 781-655-2289 Consumer Lending, Business Banking, Wealth Management, Corporate: Lauren DiGeronimo Lauren.Digeronimo@citizensbank.co m 781-471-1454 Corporate Office: 1 Citizens Plaza

Comerica Bank Chairman and CEO Ralph W. Babb Jr. Investor Relations: 214-462-6831 Corporate Contacts: Wendy Bridges wwbridges@comerica.com 214-462-4443 Wayne Mielke wjmielke@comerica.com 214-462-4463 Corporate Office: Comerica Bank Tower

U.S. Bank Chairman and CEO Richard K. Davis richard.davis@usbank.com Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications Dana Ripley dana.ripley@usbank.com 612-303-3167 Brand, Corporate Social Responsibility, Sponsorships: Susan Beatty susan.beatty@usbank.com 612-303-9229 Corporate Office: U.S. Bancorp Center Providence, RI 02903 401-456-7000 1717 Main Street Dallas, TX 75201 800-521-1190 800 Nicollet Mall Minneapolis, MN 55402 800-685-5065 and 651-466-3000

PNC Bank Chairman, President, and CEO William S. Demchak Media Relations: Fred Solomon corporate.communications@pnc.com 412-762-4550 Investor Relations: Bryan K. Gill investor.relations@pnc.com 412-768-4143 Corporate Office: 300 Fifth Avenue The Tower at PNC Plaza Pittsburgh, PA 15222 412-762-2000

Barclays Chairman John McFarlane john.mcfarlane@barclays.com CEO Jes Staley Corporate Office: Barclays Bank PLC 1 Churchill Place London E14 5HP, United Kingdom 44-20-7116-1000 U.S. Office: Barclays 745 7th Avenue New York, NY 10019 212-526-7000 Press Office: 212-526-7000 CorporateCommunicationsAmericas@ barclays.com

HSBC Bank Chairman Douglas Flint Group Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver managingdirectoruk@hsbc.com Corporate Address: 8 Canada Square London E14 5HQ, United Kingdom 44-20-7991-8888 U.S. Office: HSBC Headquarters 425 5th Avenue New York, NY 10018 212-525-5600 Head of Media Relations, HSBC USA: Rob Sherman 212-525-6901

Bank of America President, CEO, and Chairman Brian Moynihan brian.t.moynihan@bankofamerica.co m Executive Relations, Office of the CEO: Matthew Task 813-805-4873 Corporate Office: 100 N Tryon Street Charlotte, NC 28255

Deutsche Bank CEO John Cryan Corporate Contact: Renee Calabro renee.calabro@db.com 212-250-5525 Corporate Address: Deutsche Bank AG Taunusanlage 12 60325 Frankfurt Am Main (for letters and postcards: 60262) Germany 49-69-910-00 U.S. Office: Deutsche Bank AG 60 Wall Street New York, NY 10005

Credit Suisse CEO Tidjane Thiam Board Chairman Urs Rohner Suisse Banking Ombudsman: Bahnhofplatz 9 P.O. Box 1818 CH 8021 Zurich, Switzerland 41-43-266-14-14 Corporate Office: Uetlibergstrasse 231 P.O. Box 700 CH 8070 Zurich, Switzerland 41-44-333-11-11 U.S. Office: 650 California Street San Francisco, CA 94108 Phone: 415-249-2100 212-250-7171 DNB Capital/ASA CEO Rune Bjerke https://www.linkedin.com/in/runebjerke-04714639 Chairwoman of the Board Anne Carine Tanum 47-915-04800 Executive Vice President Communications Even Westerveld 47-400-16-744 Corporate Address: Dronning Eufemias Gate 30 0191 Oslo, Norway

Sumitomo Mitsui Bank President and CEO Takeshi Kunibe Corporate Office: 1-1-2, Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku Tokyo, Japan 81-3-3282-8111 U.S. Office: 277 Park Avenue New York, NY 10172 212-224-4000

Royal Bank of Canada CEO David I. McKay CEO and Board Communications: Paul French paul.french@rbc.com 416-974-3718 Corporate Media Relations: Catherine Hudon catherine.hudon@rbc.com 416-974-5506 Corporate Address: 200 Bay Street P.O. Box 1 Royal Bank Plaza Toronto, Canada 416-974-5151 and 416-842-2000

UBS CEO Sergio Ermotti https://www.linkedin.com/in/sergiop ermotti Head Group External Communications: Mark Hengel mark.hengel@ubs.com Phone: 41-44-234-32-21 Chief Communication OfficerAmericas: Marsha Askins marsha.askins@ubs.com 212-713-6151 office and 917-226- 4743 cell Corporate Office: Bahnhofstrasse 45, CH-8098 8001 Zurich, Switzerland 41-44-234-11-11 U.S. Office:

Goldman Sachs Chairman and CEO Lloyd C. Blankfein lloyd.blankfein@gs.com 917-743-0939 and 212-902-0593 Media Contacts Americas: 212-902-5400 Corporate Address: Goldman, Sachs & Co. 200 West Street New York, NY 10282 212-902-1000

Morgan Stanley CEO James P. Gorman jgorman@morganstanley.com 212-761-4000 Corporate Office: Morgan Stanley 1585 Broadway New York, NY 10036 212-761-4000 1285 Avenue of the Americas New York, NY 10019 212-713-2000

Origin Bank (formerly Community Trust) Chairman, President, and CEO Drake Mills https://www.linkedin.com/in/drakemills-554a3a20 www.ctbonline.com 318-768-3048 Corporate Office: 3921 Elm St. Choudrant, LA 71227 The information compiled here is from the latest information from Food & Water Watch research, Bloomberg data, and contact information reported by the banks. If there are corrections or additions that we should consider, please let us know. This information will be updated as needed.

“Don’t like Trump’s picks? Fill your own ‘Shadow Cabinet’” by James W. Loewen (sfchronicle.com)

 Photo: John Blanchard, The Chronicle

Photo: John Blanchard, The Chronicle

In view of Donald Trump’s shocking nominations for Cabinet-level positions, it is in our national interest that Democrats appoint a “shadow Cabinet.” A shadow Cabinet can help mobilize public opinion to ward off the worst Republican excesses and help Democrats do better in the next election.

A shadow Cabinet should be publicly assembled; its job would be to report to the nation what Trump’s appointees are doing to the agencies they direct.

“Shadow ministers” form an important feature of political life in many parliamentary democracies, such as Australia and Great Britain. Although the United States is not a parliamentary system, we need to import this feature. The Green Party announced a shadow Cabinet in 2012, but no one noticed. Times have changed, however.

Except for secretary of defense, President Trump has nominated Cabinet secretaries who profoundly disagree with the missions of the departments they are supposed to head. Most obvious is Rick Perry, who promised to close the Department of Energy when running for president in 2011, even though he haplessly couldn’t remember its name. Betsy DeVos, the newly confirmed secretary of education, famously called our public schools a “dead end” and wants to give parents public money to send their children to private schools.

Trump’s choice for the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, Oklahoma’s attorney general, has repeatedly sued the agency. The Sierra Club likened his nomination to putting “an arsonist in charge of fighting fires.” Tom Price, Trump’s pick to run Health and Human Services, has conflicts of interest owing to investments in drug and medical device companies. Of course, he opposes Obamacare.

For the Security and Exchange Commission (not a Cabinet position), Trump chose another fox in a henhouse in the form of mergers and acquisitions lawyer Jay Clayton.

Putting an oil man in charge of our relations with Middle Eastern nations as secretary of state is also a conflict, because we have fought war after war in the Middle East owing to our oil interests there. Rex Tillerson is further compromised by his close business ties in Russia. For housing and urban development secretary, Trump nominated Ben Carson, who calls integrated housing “social engineering,” even “communist.” Andy Puzder, nominated for labor, has a history of violating labor laws and opposes the very idea of a minimum wage.

Worst of all is Trump’s choice for attorney general, Jefferson Beauregard “Jeff” Sessions III, who has never distanced himself from his neo-Confederate heritage.

Trump’s nominees represent a tiny slice of America, mostly hyper-rich white males. He has also rejected the tradition of appointing at least one Cabinet member from the opposing party.

Someone needs to bring to the fore the missions and activities of these various departments of government. A shadow secretary of energy could review Perry’s performance, show what he is not doing, and suggest to the American people the agenda that a sensible Department of Energy would pursue. Congressional oversight will not do, especially because Republicans control Congress.

And, because our new administration does not value facts, the shadow Cabinet ought to provide the information that the appointed secretaries cannot. Shadow secretaries could collect data about “their” agencies, convene hearings to take public testimony about problems in the Republican operation of them, and even coordinate litigation to help them survive the agendas of the directors who will be running them. Small staffs can help, funded by foundations and think tanks that do not agree with the implicit Republican view that the agencies are basically illegitimate.

Equally important, the shadow Cabinet can offer ideas and programs to give Democratic congressional candidates a head start toward the 2018 elections. Opposition Cabinet members do this in Australia, New Zealand and other countries.

Newt Gingrich’s 1994 Contract With America showed the advantage that coordination can provide. Democrats have long lagged the GOP in sound bytes and clarity. A shadow Cabinet can tell the public what Democrats stand for and plan to do, as well as what Republicans are not doing.

Certainly an array of talent is out there awaiting nomination. For energy secretary, Skip Laitner, a consultant to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. For secretary of education, how about Diane Ravitch, the education historian who warns that school reform efforts and charter schools are harming students and communities? For labor, maybe Lawrence Mishel of the Economic Policy Institute. For Housing and Urban Development — or anything she wants — Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. For commerce, perhaps Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz.

Maybe you have better suggestions.

Regardless of the details, taking this step now will induce the public to volunteer time, money and ideas now, rather than doing nothing until the November 2018 midterm elections. And surely America needs a shadow Cabinet today more than Australia ever has!

Sociologist James W. Loewen is the author of “Lies My Teacher Told Me” (1995).

Fill your own shadow Cabinet

Suggest your own shadow Cabinet by Feb. 21. Think of it as a variation of fantasy football for the really, really big leagues.

We will publish a compendium of readers’ suggestions in coming weeks.

Online: Go to SFChronicle.com/opinion, fill out the interactive graphic and click Send.

Email: Type your suggestions and send them to opinion@sfchronicle.com.

Postal mail: Fill in names, clip the graphic below and mail it to Opinion, San Francisco Chronicle, 901 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94103.

Theodore Roosevelt on criticism of the President

The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the Nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else.

–Theodore Roosevelt, 26th US President (1858-1919)