Tag Archives: citizens united

NRA ADVERTISES FOR GOOD GUYS WITH GUNS,GUNS,AND MORE GUNS,By Louise Annarino,December 21,2012

21 Dec

NRA ADVERTISES FOR GOOD GUYS WITH GUNS,GUNS,AND MORE GUNS, By Louise Annarino, December 21, 2012

 

Ohio was a primeval forest with river channels best suited to flat bottom boats as transport for those intrepid New Englanders who had survived a revolution against King George III of England, and headed into the wilderness which was home of several Native American Tribes whose confederation of tribes served as an example for the structure of the new government being established by the revolution’s leadership. These shopkeepers,farmers,students and laborers strapped the rifle issued them as citizen soldiers to use as protection, and to bring down game to feed their families.

 

Some of the earliest skirmishes with the British soldiers stationed in the New World occurred when the king’s subjects raided the King’s arsenals to arm themselves. Discussions in the Virginia Assembly were deteriorating,and emissaries of American colonists sent to Parliament were failing to convince King George and Parliament to lower or eliminate taxes which had recently been imposed on British colonies.

 

The pre-revolution American colonists,as British citizens, understood that England’s war with France was costly, and Parliament needed to raise revenue to pay for the war. American colonists s were not opposed to taxes. But, they believed that those who were taxed should have a voice in Parliament. As colonists, they had no voice. There were those in Parliament who took up their cause, arguing colonials should be able to participate in Parliament.

 

While these political discussions went on in England, unrest grew within the colony. The King sent more troops to the American colony to “keep the peace” among the colonials. These troops had no military bases, so their leaders moved them into colonists’ homes, with or without the homeowner’s permission. Some colonials remained loyal to the King,while others became increasing hostile to being taxed with no right to vote,and housing British troops. tempers flared on both sides.

 

After the revolution,as the founders wrote a national constitution, they based it upon the Virginia Constitution, adding some amendments reflecting concerns of the various “states” ( a new term for areas which had been chartered by the King -the Carolinas, the Virginia Territory etc.).

 

The 1st.Amendment was free speech. People wanted a “voice” without fear of repercussion from government. This Amendment has been argued over in the courts and is restrained by reasonable guidelines. One cannot shout “fire” in a crowded theatre,for example.  Protesters, parades, commercial vendors etc. can be regulated as to time, place and manner so as not to disrupt the ordinary course of business. The CITIZENS UNITED CASE stretched the right to free speech by extending the legal fiction that corporations are people for campaign financing purposes, as they had been earlier characterized for business organization and legal remedy reasons.

 

The 2d. Amendment was freedom to bear arms. People wanted the freedom to arm themselves to defend their communities from an autocratic King who would quarter his troops in their homes,which as every British citizen knew, violated their belief that a “man’s house is his castle”. When the Revolution started in the American colonies, many armed themselves by raiding British arsenals. After the revolution, the Americans wanted the freedom to build their own arsenals. National Guard Armories exist within every small town as remnants of these arsenals. There was never any intent to amass personal armories. But, the soldiers of the revolution kept their guns, granted the freedom to do so by the 2d Amendment. Like the 1st. Amendment, the 2d. Amendment is also subject to reasonable constraints, regardless of gun industry refusal to acknowledge that fact.

 

NRA Executive Director Wayne LaPierre held a news conference a moment ago. He blamed the violent video games, their production companies and stockholders as partners and co-conspirators in violent acts. He described Americans as surrounded by deranged and evil persons, who cannot be understood nor contained to prevent the evil acts their “voices” propel them to commit.He denigrated those with mental health issues as demons, asserting that the “only way to  stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun”. He argued forcefully that we are all targets surrounded by great evildoers and we all must carry guns.

 

LaPierre’s suggestion? Arm teachers and principals with weapons and provide security guards at schools. He repeatedly referred to the president using Secret Service to protect himself, impliedly berating this president for protecting himself and failing to protect American children. Then, he reminded us that grants for school security were removed from the budget last year. His continued attacks against President Obama were beyond the pale. His real effort was to undermine the president’s comments and efforts to place restrictions on assault weapons.

 

He repeatedly asserted that many people are deranged and evil,calling for well-maintained data-bases on the mentally ill. This is the same man who opposes a data-base of gun owners. Scapegoating the mentally ill is not a solution to gun violence with assault weapons. Treating the mentally ill, and denying weapons to the mentally ill likely to harm themselves or others should be considered and discussed. Demonizing anyone serves no purpose other than to create fear among us, and justify violence by the “good guys”.

 

Lapierre announced  the creation of a new program, the National Model Schools Shield Program funded by NRA to provide armed guards at every school.  “We can’t wait. We can’t debate and pass legislation which will not work,”  was an indirect effort to undermine and supplant V.P. Joe  Biden’s efforts. He called for every teacher,administrator and state to ask for NRA help to protect its children, to arm its schools with good guys.

 

We cannot allow his one reasonable suggestion, provide more school security, to  stop all discussion about reasonable constraints over gun manufacture,sale,purchase and possession of assault weapons;background checks,waiting periods,registration and removal etc. This was not a news conference. This was an ad for an NRA effort to arm more persons, with no limits nor constraints. This was an effort to undermine President Obama, and anyone who calls for a reasonable review of current gun laws. The laws must be reviewed and changed for the common good and within reason. I doubt those first Americans would expect any less of us.

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NO PURCHASE NECESSARY IN THE GAME OF POLITICS? By Louise Annarino, October 19, 2012

19 Oct

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY IN THE GAME OF POLITICS? By Louise Annarino, October 19, 2012

 

Contests leave a lot to be desired. “No purchase necessary.” Hah! Who believes that? Buy the wrong size drink or fries? No prize piece; no chance to win. Yet, we expect our candidate to win the presidency; “no purchase necessary.” CITIZENS UNITED shocks our sensibilities. But, it is only unique in its scale. This is not the first breath of life into corporations. That was done long ago.

 

Early Rome recognized a group as a single fictional person. As early as 1444, the Rolls of Parliament stated “they [the Master and Brethren of the Hospital] by that same name mowe be persones able to purchase Londez and Tenementz of all manere persones.” Blackstone defines legal persons: “Natural persons are such as the God of nature formed us; artificial are such as are created and devised by human laws for the purposes of society and government, which are called corporations or bodies politic.” Why create such a legal fiction? To allow corporations to do their business: lease, buy or sell property, hire and fire employees, enter into contracts of all sorts. As England moved from a cottage industry into guilds, and then into the industrial age entrepreneurs created new ownership groups to organize workers and manage production. They needed the legal fiction of personhood to conduct business.

 

Some of these management groups were benevolent bosses;many were not. Nevertheless, workers found it ever more difficult to assure safe workplaces, reasonable hours and wages, and fair treatment. Child labor was rampant, seven day/18 hour workdays were not uncommon. Tenements were built alongside work sites for ease of access and assurance of a constantly available workforce. Workers were locked in to work sites. We no longer remember this in the West, but we can see it happening even today elsewhere in developing industrial economies. We see the abuse of corporations from Shell Oil in East Africa to FoxConn (Apple supplier) in China. In the West workers united amidst bloody attacks to form labor unions, opposed at every step by corporations. Unions remain under attack in Ohio, Wisconsin, and in any state where there is a Republican governor, or Republican-controlled state legislature.

 

Corporations, like real persons, do not like ANY regulation or control of their behavior, especially while trying to make money off someone else’s labor. Their lobbyists assure politicians protect their interests and assure their unbridled freedom. In return, through campaign contributions, ALEC and SuperPacs they assure politicians re-election, a high-paying job after they leave public-service, and life-long connections to fictional persons of wealth and power. This, too, is not new.

 

Queen Elizabeth was a somewhat secret partner with English Seadogs, or pirates; overlooking their attacks on Spanish and French fleets, and taking a share of the loot. The difference between a pirate and a privateer depended on whom was being robbed and who helped do the looting. To the gentry of England, who along with their Queen loaned and outfitted ships hoping for a share of Spanish gold they were privateers; to the French and Spanish, pirates. Practiced in maritime attack, Elizabeth mobilized them to help defeat the Spanish armada and destroy Spanish dominance of the seas, and of the newly-discovered Americas. This opened an era of English exploration and colony development, including Jamestown, Virginia (named after the Virgin Queen Elizabeth).

 

So protected were these Captains of (Industry) the Seas that they were knighted by their Queen: Sir Francis Drake, Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir John Hawkins, Sir Humphrey Gilbert and Sir Richard Grenville were all first and foremost pirates. She bridled their freedom only to the extent she was permitted to share in their loot, enrich her coffers and assure her continued rule. Otherwise she assisted them in their piracy. Congress  limits today’s “Great Pirates”, corporations, only to the extent it is permitted to share in their loot. CITIZENS UNITED was inevitable. Any one of you have a game piece? Or only our politicians?

 

Labor unions, teachers unions, environmental groups, civil rights groups (African-American,Latino,GLBT,veterans,immigrants etc) don’t begin to have the power assured to corporations. There is no comparison. They are not given game pieces; they have to buy the right person to get a game piece! They have to elect a politician who will put them in the game. They have to elect a politician who will appoint judges and Supreme Court justices who will understand how the game is played and make it more fair to everyone; and, assure that everyone has an equal chance to win, assure that everyone has a piece of the game.

 

The person willing to do so, President Barack Obama, is the greatest threat to the Great Pirates… ever. The great pirates will do all they can to attack and defeat him; with the full support of those in Congress they control (with whom they share their loot), blocking his every move of the Ship of State. We cannot let them win. It will not be easy. We have little time left. We must support President Barack Obama for president. We must throw out those in Congress who help the great pirates. We must support labor unions, civil rights groups, environmentalists.

“We are in this game together” means nothing to the great pirates  because they hold all the game pieces. This must end if we Americans are to truly win; not just a second term for Barack Obama, but a chance for the 98% to play the game.

 

GAMING AMERICA: CASINO POLITICS,By Louise Annarino,September 26,2012

26 Sep

GAMING AMERICA:CASINO POLITICS, By Louise Annarino,September 26,2012

 

The economic hardships Americans are experiencing have been a long time coming. There have been numerous signs along the path to our economic bust;most of them ushered through our consciousness by snake oil salesmen with booming voices,explaining away our intuitive discomforts as a housing market boom, and investment boom, an hedge fund boom, a stock-market boom, and a commodities boom. BOOM, BOOM,BOOM! Such charlatans blew up our manufacturing base, our banks, our mortgage companies, our insurance industry, and our personal economic lives.

 

“Put your money down,folks!” You, too, can make millions. These salesmen, for that is what they are, started small scale selling pyramid schemes. Americans who got into the game late moved on from home-based sales of baskets, bowls and toilet-bowl cleaners to become dealers themselves,selling others the right to sell and keeping real profits at the top of the pyramid. There was something wrong with this picture but it changed so rapidly, and the booming voices were so distracting that many simply moved from one scheme to the next.

 

Pyramid sales schemes attracted lower income wage earners who could see no way ahead to break out of their economic class to reach all that America seemed to promise. They watched the investment class drive the cars they could not afford to buy, build McMansions they could not afford to heat and looked for a way out.

 

Those born into the investment class who lived on the returns from investment portfolios their parents had created for them were satisfied for awhile.They, too, looked for a way to become wealthier. They would make that wealth work for them. They became skilled in moving around investments like pieces on a chess board, increasing wealth as they won the games they joined. They bet their winnings on bigger games for larger stakes.

 

But, rich or poor, enough is never enough for most of us. Like children, we always want more and don’t always know what is good for us. We don’t mind hedging our bets. Low earners hedged their bets on pyramid schemes; high earners hedged their bets on hedge funds, created by the snake oil salesmen of Wall Street.

 

Those playing chess with American corporations as pawns saw another avenue for wealth creation. Instead of merely playing the game, they bought the board and all the pieces on it,after talking other investors into buying a potential share of the profits from the game. “Put your money down,friends!” The only risk was losing the game, but this could be ameliorated by selling off the poor-performing pieces;and, sometimes the better-performing pieces, to keep the game competitive. THe trick was to keep the game going until enough investors paid back the new owners’ costs, plus massive profits. The game itself, and the pieces on the board, had become meaningless.

 

Those running the game soon realized that the pieces on the chess board did not always cooperate. These game pieces had formed unions in order to make sure the game was played by the rules. But playing by the rules was getting in the way of profits for those betting on the game. No longer did the chess pieces have value other than a means of greater profit.Safety,reasonable hours,equitable pay,moderate health care coverage, and secure retirement benefits interrupted the unbridled movement of the chess pieces. “What if,” the private equity company who bought the board asked, “we could get rid of unions?” “What if we simply move the game” to a different city, county, state, and eventually country where such rules don’t apply? And take our profits offshore as well to avoid taxes?” “What if we sell off the tables,chairs,benches,game board and pieces;then,declare bankruptcy because we can no longer play the game without a board and equipment,avoid any debts we owe and pay off the investors whose money we used to make our own profits?”

 

We know what happened. How did we allow it? How do we find ourselves with one of the best snake oil salesman as a presidential candidate? How do we stop this from happening again?

 

It was when a friend with no finance or business training or experience tried to sell me an investment portfolio after becoming a part-time employee of an insurance company that I first realized how far we were into the game. As mortgages changed hands several times a year, from bank to bank, and between investment groups it occurred to me that not only had I no idea who held my mortgage;but, the company holding my mortgage had no idea of its worth. The walls raised by Glass-Steagall had been removed. Security and Exchange Commission/SEC and Commodity Futures Trading Commission/CFTC oversight had been limited by staff cuts meant to down-size “Big Government” and de-regulation. Snake Oil salesmen moved between both worlds, as traders and as regulators. The rules were gone, the walls were gone; and, the fox was guarding the henhouse.

 

President Obama did bring change to Washington. He also brought change to the snake oil salesmen who are furious that their “game is now up”. They attack Obama for the failures wrought by their own failed gamesmanship. They insist he hates capitalism and doesn’t understand how the game is played. Oh, he understands alright! He simply insists that we regulate the game; protect the game board, pieces and assets; and, assure a fair game. America is ours to protect. The game belongs to all Americans. Only Obama has America’s best interest at heart; not the snake oil salesman who wants to get back to his rigged game.

 

Is it mere coincidence that states are turning to casinos to generate wealth? Isn’t it all of a piece? Isn’t the game the same as that being played by the Republican party? Isn’t that what “Citizens United” is all about? Isn’t that what voter I.D. laws are all about? We won’t be fooled this election. The “Booms” we heard crash did not fall on deaf ears. We know a rigged game when we see it. We want no part of it. Vote for President Obama. Vote for those Democrats who refused to become snake oil salesmen running rigged games.

PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE MAN BEHIND THAT CURTAIN: SEC.501(C)(4) AND THE 2012 ELECTION,By Louise Annarino,July 10, 2012

11 Jul

PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE MAN BEHIND THAT CURTAIN: Sec. 501(c)(4) and the 2012 Election, By Louise Annarino, July 10, 2012

We live in the Land of Oz these days; not the movie, but our very lives, Is anyone out there listening to Dorothy’s lament? She has suffered through terrible storms, as have we: climate change, unfunded wars, 9/11 attack, bank fraud, mortgage melt-down, economic recession/depression, privatization and de-regulation, destruction of the middle-class, erosion of a safety net, attacks on public servants,women, immigrants and union workers. She fears she has lost all. She sees no clear future. The American Dream seems to be merely that, a dream. She simply wants to find her way home, home to the familiar where she feels safe, where she awakes from dreams with the ability to make them happen. Unfortunately, like Americans today, she does not realize she has the power within herself to find her way.

One person finally listens to her; but only when he realizes he can benefit from bringing her within his fold.He opens the door to Oz, invites her in,and promises her exactly what she wants. She falls for the mirage created by a Karl Rovian version of a “very nice man” but “very bad wizard” who uses tricks and deceptions to build a false idea that Dorothy and her buddies must risk all, and take on the formidable Wicked Witch of the West, an enemy he fears and has been unable to contain, before he will help her go home to Kansas. He fully expects she will not survive the ordeal; thus, he is no danger of having to make good on his promises. A typical political operative.

But Dorothy, again like Americans, is determined to succeed with the help of her stalwart friends. It is her willingness to put every concern aside and throw a bucket of water on Scarecrow whom the witch has set afire, which melts away the witch, and her threats. Dorothy saves herself, her friends, the entire city of Oz, even the Wizard himself.

When Dorothy returns to Oz the Wizard plays games with her three compatriots:the Cowardly Lion is given a badge for courage, the Scarecrow is given a diploma for his brains, and a ticking clock to the Tin Man for a heart. Each of these qualities are already present within the characters, but like Dorothy, they have been unable to recognize this fact on their own.

In a memorable scene while Dorothy awaits word from the wizard regarding her return home, her dog Toto pulls back a curtain revealing a man turning gears on the machinery which has created the lie that is the Land of Oz, the lie the people of Oz have also fallen for. He shouts into his microphone, “Pay no Attention to the man behind that curtain.” The wizard sees his power crumbling, and Dorothy sees the truth. She confronts him with such conviction, not allowing him to pull the curtain closed again, and he admits his flawed humanity.  If only we had journalists, politicians, and jurists so brave as Toto, so fearless as Dorothy, so willing to pull back the curtains and reveal truth.

Perhaps we do. Despite the fact that the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) is slow to act, and probably will not do so before 2012 election, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee filed a formal complaint this week against three social welfare groups, charging them with willful violation of federal election law: Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies,Americans for Prosperity, and 60 Plus Association. THese organizations hid behind the curtain provided by section 501(c)(4) of the tax code, which grants them tax exempt status for social welfare work and allows donors to remain anonymous. Public policy is often written into the tax code. In the case of 501(c)(4)s all funds collected are deemed to serve a social welfare purpose which would likely save the government tax dollars which would otherwise need to be spent to assure the public welfare tasks performed by the  organization.

What are these organizations actually doing? Buying political attack ads against specific Democratic candidates. Crossroads (Rove and former RNC Chair Ed Gillespie) has already spent $25 million on ads attacking President Obama, and plans to spend nearly $40 million (Rove’s Crossroads GPS) attacking Democratic senatorial candidates. Americans for Prosperity (David and Charles Koch) has poured $1 million into Ohio to defeat Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown, attacks only Democratic candidates, and has chapters in at least 38 states.(see more at http://www.opensecrets.org/outsidespending/detail.php?cmte=Americans+for+Prosperity.) In 2009, Rachel Maddow opened the curtain on 60 Plus Association (Pharmaceutical Industry) disclosing its ties to the GOP, disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff and the lobbying group Bonner & Associates.  (see more at http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=60_Plus_Association) Social welfare? Welcome to Oz.

To anyone willing to pay attention to that man behind the curtain it is clear the major purpose of such groups is federal campaign activity, political benefit not social welfare. Therefore, they should not be treated as 501(c)(4) organizations but as political committees, and their donors must be disclosed. Then, each of us, like Dorothy and her companions, will be able to see the truth behind the messages, tricks, distortions and lies that are Oz; and, find our way home. As a result of CITIZENS UNITED, President Obama has for the first time accepted donations from PACS and SUPER PACS, but not from a 501(C)(4) organization. He refuses to draw a curtain over our eyes. His donors are disclosed, along with his tax returns, and bank balances. Is the Mitt Romney behind that curtain? He may be a very good man but he is a very bad wizard.

(see more at http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/subjects/c/campaign_finance/index.html) and http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/09/us/politics/democrats-want-fec-to-restrict-donor-shielding-groups.html?_r=1&ref=campaignfinance)

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.

JUST A THOUGHT

18 May

JUST A THOUGHT

Louise Annarino

May 17,2012

 

Citizens United says Corporations are people. A business entity has same rights and privileges as human beings. Corporations must not be regulated, restricted; nor taxed at a rate equal to individual human beings in order for the corporation to survive and thrive. It has the rights of a human being, must be allowed to act freely without restrictions.

 

Government of The United States of America is an entity of the people, by the people and for the people.  It must be limited, restricted, and not allowed to thrive or survive by raising taxes. It is not a person, thus has no rights, even though the people fought and died to create it and keep it alive. It must be constrained and restricted.

 

I get your point. I just disagree.

The GOVERNMENT is US.

Corporations are not us. Why are they entitled to more than we are?