Tag Archives: campaign finance

WHY ROMNEY IS RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT AND AWAY FROM TAX DISCLOSURES,By Louise Annarino, August 3, 2012

3 Aug

WHY ROMNEY IS RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT AND AWAY FROM TAX DISCLOSURES, By Louise Annarino, August 3, 2012

Recently, (Democracy for America)DFA members attempted to deliver more than 245,300 petition signatures to Romney’s Boston campaign headquarters, asking for disclosure of more of his tax returns. They were turned away and escorted out of the building. This not the first, nor will it be the last request for more information from Mr. Romney regarding his tax returns. Every time he is asked he inadvertently drops another tidbit of information not only by what he let’s slip  (I’ve been audited a few times) but by what he refuses to discuss (I don’t know if I ever paid zero% but I’ll get back to you). To give him credit he never squirms while he skids.

Now, Senator Harry Reid is playing a well-worn political game of filling in the missing blanks for Romney with unsubstantiated allegations that Romney did not pay any tax for more than 10 years. This may or may not be true. This may be fun to watch. Games are fun to watch. I think this is too serious a matter to play games. I also find it undignified and wrong to make unsubstantiated charges against anyone. Besides, I don’t think Romney would refuse to open his tax returns for scrutiny simply because he paid no or very little tax. He is too proud of his ability to use the system for his personal gain to want to hide his skill at making and keeping money. He clearly has no qualms about outsourcing workers, gutting and shutting down companies. He brags about it constantly. He knows Americans admire millionaire entrepreneurs, and each aspires to become one. This would not be enough for Romney to fail to disclose his tax returns. There must be more than how much he earned and how much tax he paid in those returns and their attachments. There must be more he does not want us to know.

I would submit that Romney hides his returns for the same reason he is running for president. He is running as the front man for the now-global military-industrial-banking complex – the Great Pirates– which has been seeking more power over government.We have openly watched this replacement of political power owned by American voters with corporate power owned by too-big-to-fail-or share business since Ronald Reagan’s presidency through George W. Bush’s. President Obama’s greatest fight to change the way Washington works has been with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and ALEC via the Republican Party and Blue-dog Democrats. Obama’s pragmatism is the only thing which has saved him and us thus far.

When Reagan busted the air-traffic controller’s strike it was a blow against unions. The union of American workers was hard fought, opposed at every step by the Great Pirates. They have tried ever since to dismantle unions because unions are the one thing standing in their way of absolute domination of workers, wages, hours, safety and working conditions. Unions have led the environmental and consumer movements by opening our eyes to unsanitary conditions,unsafe products,hazardous chemicals and processes, and threats to our health and safety. Unions have led the movement for technical schools and training, access to higher education, and improved school models and increased funding for education.The Great Pirates want to eliminate the EPA, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Consumer Product Safety Commission, Department of Education, Federal Reserve and any institution in their way as they seek to maximize profits at the expense of our people and our planet. They seek small government or no government so they may pursue wealth with no restrictions, and no concern for anyone’s welfare but their own.

Mr. Romney, like George W. Bush is not his own man. He belongs to the Great Pirates fraternity, and is proud of it. But, he and they cannot afford for us to discover how that fraternity works against us. Why Romney? Why now? The Great Pirates now have firmly in place a global consortium of business and banks. They ply their trade across borders and seas as pirates of old did. They seek to control not only American workers, but the world’s workers. They have alliances not only with American bankers but with the world’s bankers. It is no mystery that Romney met privately with British bankers while in London, the same persons associated with LIBOR. Do we know why? We do know he was fund-raising. Fund-raising from foreign interests?  He told us this. It is not a point of shame nor worry for him. What don’t we know about his foreign associations with the old friends  he met with while abroad. It is reported he is an old friend of, and used to work with Bebe Netanyahu. Doing exactly what?

What is it about politics that renders Romney silent? He is a bright and literate man, capable of organizing and running companies. What is he hiding? He disappears inside himself when campaigning, and becomes robotic and nonsensical. Since his first political run for Governor of Massachusetts,this is his campaign modus operandi. He is uncomfortable and unsure of what to say unless someone else writes his script. Then he knows no shame, no uncertainty. Like George W. Bush, he is not his own man. He is the Great Pirates’ man. In front of the American public, he is only comfortable stepping back inside himself and being their man. It pays very well. Neither the Great Pirates,nor Mitt Romney, would have it any other way.

And,why has the Republican party shoved aside its great conservative intellects like Buckley, Will, and Krauthammer for tea-party ideologues like Buchanan, Palin,and Bachmann? The coffers of the Great Pirates exceeds the traditional Republican campaign chest, which in part led to McCain’s loss in 2008. Popular support for Obama with most donations less that $200 and a changing demographic less supportive of the Republican party platform cleared the way for tea party candidates supported by Great Pirates to win seats in the House and Senate in 2010. Republican leaders of Congress Sen.Mitch McConnel and Rep. John Boehner had little financial choice but to allow the tea party front for the Great Pirates take the lead strings from their tired,tight hands. Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan,bidding for leadership, jumped the Republican ship for the Pirate ship to McConnell’s and Boehner’s chagrin. If Congress is at sea, it is because the Great Pirates have boarded the Ship of State.

Their next goal, planned and put into operation since Inauguration Day, is to mutiny against the captain and make President Obama a one-term president.

The answer to why this multi-billionaire would run for president is not merely ego, nor to “outdo Dad”. He is the right pirate for the times, but he can’t tell you that!

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IS IT REAL OR FICTION? By Louise Annarino

26 Jun

IS  IT REAL OR MERELY FICTION ?

Louise Annarino

June 26,2012

When presidential candidate Mitt Romney declared “Corporations are people, my friend… of course they are. Everything corporations earn ultimately goes to the people. Where do you think it goes? Whose pockets? Whose pockets? People’s pockets. Human beings my friend” 1, he was combining two fictions: political argument and legal principle. He made the statement to explain why he would not reduce the deficit or protect social security and medicare by raising taxes on corporations. His economic policy has always been based on a long-ago disproven “trickle down” theory, and is consistent with the above comment. Theoretically, if one becomes rich off corporate success one does not need social security nor medicare.

But a theoretically consistent analysis does not mean the premise of the theory is correct. One must ask, how many Americans will achieve such success? How many Americans are given “golden parachutes”2 when they are fired or severance packages designed to maintain their employed-level lifestyle when they retire?3  Not public employees! Yet, Romney sided with Wisconsin Governor Walker and Ohio Governor Kasich in decrying the excessive retirement benefits available to public workers.4 Governor Kasich and candidate Romney share another commonality; their pursuit of personal wealth resulted in reduction or loss of pension and retirement benefits for hundreds of thousands of workers: In Kasich’s case, Ohio public employees including state workers,teachers,law enforcement and fire personnel; and, in Romney’s case workers in companies his equity firm salvaged or savaged.

Courts have used the concept of legal fiction since ancient Rome. “This jargon refers to the law’s ability to decree that something that’s not necessarily true is true. It’s somewhat like a person in a discussion agreeing to accept an opinion as fact for the sake of argument in order to move the discussion along. Legal fiction helps to move proceedings along.”7 Corporate personhood is one such legal fiction.It is employed simply to determine the legality of corporate agreements (contracts) and business proceedings. However, we all understand that this is FICTION and not REALITY. Therefore, it is incumbent that such a discussion tool be used judiciously by our courts. Corporations have super-human qualities which must be constrained when using the legal fiction of personhood.

How do courts use legal fiction? Not always with judicial restraint. For example,In CITIZENS UNITED the U.S. Supreme Court recognized corporations as “persons” entitled to the 1st. Amendment political speech protections of human beings, opening a floodgate for unchecked billions of dollars of corporate donations. Last week in KNOX v SEIU “The five conservative justices, led by Justice Samuel Alito, and two concurring liberals,…held that, from now on, non-members have to specifically tell the union to take money out of their paychecks for political purposes; that is, they have to opt in.6,8 It makes sense that an individual worker cannot be forced to donate to a political effort he does not support. Unions allow workers to opt out of such political funds. Now, workers must opt in. This change restrains union efforts to effect political change on behalf of its members. Must corporations likewise now seek approval of each investor before donating to political candidates, campaigns, PACS, and SUPERPACS? Or, does corporate personhood override the 1st. Amendment rights of investors? Why are unions treated less like persons than corporations? Whether one agrees or not that the Supreme Court used this fiction judiciously in CITIZENS UNITED, courts ought to at least use it consistently. Stare Decisis, another legal term, requires such consistency. If such a shareholder challenge should come before the court it would help answer any question one has regarding the politicization of our highest court. Can you imagine a campaign finance system where investors must opt in before corporations can make political donations?

As politicians move to raise money and seal the deal with voters, one can merely hope the misleading conflation of legal fiction with political fiction will stop.Mr. Romney’s corporations are people comment sounded a false note; and, it may be why his comment was greeted with such disdain. Despite his intentions, It just sounded wrong to average citizens who could care less about legal fiction while dealing with real life. Most of us would agree with Elizabeth Warren’s political commentary, that corporations are not human beings, despite a legal fiction used solely for judicial argument.7 Mothers don’t tuck-in corporations. Fathers don’t shoot hoops with them. Voters don’t vote for corporations; they vote for a man or woman who understands their reality and will not harm them. The rest is fiction.

  1. .http://technorati.com/politics/article/video-mitt-romney-says-corporations-are/  Romney made these remarks at the Iowa State Fair in August, 2011.
  2. http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2012/01/golden-parachutes-21-ceos-landed-100m-plus/ So-called golden parachutes are contractual provisions that compensate executives, if they are terminated without cause.
  3. http://money.cnn.com/2012/02/09/news/economy/romney_taxes/index.htm  Romney “is still pulling in millions from Bain Capital, a private equity firm he founded in the mid-1980s and retired from in 1999.Of course, it’s common for retiring executives to walk away with big retirement packages. But Romney pays only a 15% tax rate on his take, unlike executives at corporations, who typically pay 35%.Why? Because Romney was a partner in a private equity firm and some of the money he still receives from Bain — $13 million over the past two years — is “carried interest.”
  4. http://www.aflcio.org/Blog/Political-Action-Legislation/Romney-Finds-Soul-Mate-in-Walker-s-Assault-on-Workers-Retirement-Security “Romney’s focus on pension cuts isn’t surprising. After all, in his role as corporate raider and takeover king at Bain Capital, workers’ pensions were often the first thing to go.”
  5. http://www.examiner.com/article/huge-lehman-brother-payouts-report-recalls-ohio-gov-kasich-s-time-at-the-firm “Former Congressman John Kasich clearly was not a banker, but he found a home at Lehman nonetheless. As a one-time Ohio State Senator and then as a Congressman for 18 years, Kasich had easy access to many doors. Among them were doors to Ohio pension funds.According to published reports at the time, Kasich opened doors for Lehman Brother’s private equity department and investment officials at the Ohio Police & Fire Pension and the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System in 2002. Kasich made the case that Lehman would be a good broker for real estate and other investments.Lehman Brothers losses at Ohio pension funds.When all was said and done, after the nation went spinning into what is now called the Great Recession, the Ohio Treasurers office, which acts as custodian but does not invest pension monies, calculated that the funds had a combined $480 million loss in market value solely from Lehman investments. Other sources, using different calculations, said the direct losses were closer to $220 million.”
  6.  http://mnlabor.wordpress.com/2012/06/25/how-the-supreme-courts-knox-v-seiu-decision-could-dismantle-union-security-around-the-country-news-politics-alternet/ “The public sector union contract has to cover all the workers in the agency, not just card-carrying members– and  all the workers benefit from the resultant pay raises, health benefits, pensions and other goodies. So non-members are expected to contribute something to the direct cost of negotiations. (Workers who don’t support the union shouldn’t get to enjoy the better pay and working conditions that their union colleagues fought for, but employers haven’t historically been willing to pay people less for NOT being union members. They much prefer to bribe, cajole and threaten workers to reject the union.).Public sector unions have been major political players, too (see: Scott Walker’s targeting of Wisconsin’s public employee unions).This is partly because fundraising for politics has been relatively simple: with everyone’s full knowledge and ample notice given (called “Hudson notices”), a percentage of both members’ and non-members’ funds could go toward political work. Anyone could opt out of this political fund, and their money would be reimbursed.”
  7. http://www.examiner.com/article/elizabeth-warren-educates-mitt-romney-explaining-why-corporations-are-not-people “Mitt Romney tells us in his own words, ‘I think corporations are people.’ No, Mitt, corporations are not people. People have hearts, they have kids, they get jobs,” Ms. Warren said. “Learn the difference…And Mitt, learn this,” she continued as she strongly delivered the night’s best line, “We don’t run this country for corporations, we run it for people.”
  8. http://www.afj.org/connect-with-the-issues/the-corporate-court/knox-v-seiu.html Service Employees International Union (SEIU) represents 1.8 million people in health care and public service. Non-member public employees are required by California state law to pay SEIU a “fair share fee” to defray the costs of union representation on their behalf. To that end, each year SEIU sends its non-members a notice, as required by the Supreme Court, which informs non-members of their fair share fee and of their right to object to paying non-chargeable expenditures including money spent for political advocacy. Those fees are calculated based upon expenses during the previous year and do not take into account unforeseen expenses.In 2005, SEIU issued a valid annual notice informing non-members of the percentage of their dues which would be allocated to union representation and gave them 30 days to opt-out of paying amounts associated with non-representation functions. The notice stated that dues were subject to change based on actual costs. A month later, SEIU imposed an emergency temporary assessment fee to defend against attacks on union plans and charged non-members who objected to the increase the percentage set forth in the initial notice as the amount associated with union representation. A group of nonmember state employees in California challenged this practice in a class action suit against SEIU.Employees claim that SEIU’s failure to send out a supplemental notice when the union imposed a special assessment violated employees First and Fourteenth Amendments rights by forcing non-union employees to subsidize union political activities. SEIU counters that its notice was constitutionally and legally sufficient because the Supreme Court has recognized that the notice did not require an exact determination of the yearly expenditures, but merely a good prediction based upon the previous year’s audits. The Court previously recognized the impossibility of anticipating expenditures at the outset of the fee year and that once the union sent the original notice it need not send a second notice speculating how a fee increase might be spent. The district court found for the employees, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed, finding that a temporary fee increase did not require an additional notice.

MR. POTTER VS. GEORGE BAILEY

4 Feb

MR. POTTER VS. GEORGE BAILEY

Louise Annarino

February 4, 2012

Mr. Potter and George Bailey are both characters the 99% have come to mistrust: bankers. But, the community of Bedford Falls, a community of 99ers, doesn’t mistrust George Bailey.He is the hero of IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE, a beloved community leader.

Each man understands and follows sound business practices.Each seeks to make his business profitable. And, each hopes to make a good life for himself. Each pursues the American Dream.

Bedford Falls knows George Bailey understands their plight and is willing to fight for them. He is even willing to fight his fellow banker, on their behalf. For, Mr. Potter has set himself apart from the community of Bedford Falls. He has become an economic dictator, who relishes his superior wealth and economic position, and believes he alone knows best what enterprises should be funded and who is allowed to pursue economic freedom from his control.  Businesses rise and fall on his whim, guided by is ability to “cash in on” a given business enterprise. George Bailey stands in his way to total domination of Bedford Falls.

Sound familiar? Mitt Romney and Mr. Potter are men of a single mind, the mindset of the Republican Party. George Bailey and Barak Obama are men of a single mind, the mindset of the Democratic Party.

Some progressive Democrats are angry that President Obama is willing to associate with and confer with bankers, just as George Bailey did. Banks are an economic engine for our communities. Of course President Obama must engage the expertise of that community to restart America’s economic engines. His choices may not always have been ones we agree with, but the 99% can trust him to do his best to save our communities as George saved Bedford Falls over the years. George saved his community one member at a time. It was a slow process,often painful and calling for George to sacrifice his own security. George discovers he created not just a good life for Bedford Falls; but, a wonderful life for himself.

At the end of the story, the 99% community of Bedford Falls pulls together to help save the Bailey Building and Loan. In doing so, they save George,themselves and their town. They stop Potter from taking absolute control of their community. The 2012 election offers the 99ers the same opportunity. We can elect President Barak Obama, saving his second term as president;and, in the process save ourselves and our communities.

Nowhere is the distinction between Republican candidates such as Mitt Romney and the Democratic candidates such as Barak Obama more obvious than in a review of campaign fundraising records filed with the Federal Elections Commission.

Only President Obama refuses donations from registered lobbyists and bans them from raising money for his re-election. Others in their firms may make individual contributions. Obama goes even further. Though not required to do so, he discloses everyone who has raised at least $50,000. Mitt Romney is the beneficiary of $2.2 million from registered lobbyists.1

As of 12-31-2011, President Obama has raised $128 million dollars. His largest bloc of 2011 donors are retirees. 1 President Obama’s small-dollar donations,those $200 or less, exceed the overall total raised by any other candidate; and, are one-half of the Obama campaign fundraising total.2  One-fourth of Romney’s campaign chest comes from 41 individuals who have formed a super PAC. As of 12-31-2011, the PAC Restore Our Future has raised $30.1 million dollars for Romney. 4 Ten of the donors have contributed AT LEAST $1 million each. 3 Most recently, a former associate (as is Romney) of Bain Capital, Edward W. Conrad, was disclosed to have made a $1million donation to the PAC as W Spann,LLC. W Spann, LLC was formed in Delaware in March; donated to the PAC in April; and dissolved in July, 2011leaving no paper trail.3

Candidates and their campaign committees are required to remain independent of PACS; but, Romney has made personal appearances at Restore Our Future fundraisers.3  The Stephen Colbert PAC, administered by Jon Stewart is an apt parody.

As of 12-31-2012 President Obama had collected $139,526,311. Mitt Romney had collected $57,112,767.  Republicans allege they are raising many more millions than President Obama, who many analysts believe has been abandoned by Wall Street donors. Hedge fund managers fear proposed tax reforms which will tax their gains as regular income. Mr. Potter of Wall Street is not happy with Mr. Obama. Mr. Potter of the US Chamber of Commerce (the bankers) is not happy with Mr. Obama. I, for one, am happy with President Obama and his willingness to fight the Mr. Potters of the world. My money is on Obama. Is yours?

1. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-02-03/lawyers-rank-third-on-obama-campaign-donor-list-even-with-lobbying-ties.html

2. http://elections.nytimes.com/2012/campaign-finance

3.http://www.boston.com/news/politics/articles/2012/02/02/hedge_fund_moguls_top_list_of_donors_to_super_pac_supporting_mitt_romney/

4.  http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/mitt-romney-relying-heavily-on-small-group-of-super-rich-donors/2012/02/01/gIQAFVB4iQ_story.html