Ralph previews the second Breaking Through Power conference, the Super Bowl of Civic Action, with tax expert, Jon Fox, public banking advocate Ellen Brown, community cooperative founder and funder David J. Thompson, and star litigator, Shanin Specter.
John O. Fox was a tax lawyer in Washington, D.C. and a Visiting Professor at Mount Holyoke College, where he taught “Winners and Losers,” a seminar on U.S. tax policy, as well as a seminar on poverty in the United States. He also is in the process of preparing materials, that will be free online, on five 50-minute classes for high school teachers to consider using: two on the federal individual income tax, two on the federal corporate income tax, and one on Social Security and Medicare. Mr. Fox is the author of If Americans Really Understood the Income Tax and for the 2012 election 10 Tax Questions the Candidates Don’t Want You to Ask.
Ellen Brown is an attorney and the founder of the Public Banking Institute, whose vision is to establish a network of state and local publicly owned banks that create affordable credit, while providing a sustainable alternative to the current high-risk centralized private banking system. Ms. Brown is the author of a dozen books, including Web of Debt, and The Public Bank Solution.
David J. Thompson has worked for the national cooperative organizations of the United States, Britain and Japan as well as the United Nations. He was inducted into the Cooperative Hall of Fame in Washington DC in 2010 and was one of the co-op activists who worked with Ralph and Mitch Rofsky to create the National Cooperative Bank. Mr. Thompson is President of the Twin Pines Cooperative Foundation where he initiated the Cooperative Community Fund program. There are now almost 50 food co-ops throughout the USA, which operate a CCF. The CCF program is the largest equity funder of co-op development organizations in the USA. He is the author of Co-opportunity: The Rise of a Community Owned Market and Weavers of Dreams .
Shanin Specter is an attorney who has obtained more than 200 verdicts and settlements in excess of $1 million, including jury verdicts of $153 million against a major automaker and $109 million against a western Pennsylvania power company. In all, he has achieved 16 eight- or nine-figure verdicts, among them news-making cases involving medical malpractice, defective products, medical devices, premises liability, auto accidents and general negligence. Beyond winning substantial monetary compensation for his clients, many of Specter’s cases have prompted changes that provide a societal benefit, including improvements to vehicle safety, nursing and hospital procedures, the safe operation of police cars, training for the use of CPR at public institutions, and inspections, installation and maintenance of utility power lines.