Tag Archives: Democratic Party

NOT ENVIOUS JUST HUNGRY,By Louise Annarino,December 27, 2012

28 Dec

NOT ENVIOUS JUST HUNGRY,by Louise Annarino, december 27.2012

 

On January 20, 2012 I wrote the following commentary.Sadly, near a year later, failure to address the issues I discussed are driving the country over a fiscal cliff, created by Republican intransigence and refusal to raise taxes. We may also be about to go over a social justice cliff with far worse consequences for this nation.

 

“Let them eat cake !” Marie Antoinette purportedly responded when told of bread riots in the streets of Paris; failing to heed the warning that her 1% lifestyle would not sit well with the 99% who were hungry, jobless and hopeless. Americans are hungry, jobless and homeless; but, thanks to the safety net of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment insurance, and food stamps they are not quite so hopeless nor desperate as those who overthrew the French monarchy. Everyone should be grateful we have a “food stamp president” !

 

Politicians used to understand that the social contract between the rich and poor was an essential cog in the economic engine of the country; and, the very thing which would allow citizens to amass wealth, without the threat of harm to the nation or themselves. Republicans and Democrats alike passed into law programs to create and protect a strong middle class. It was understood and agreed upon that the American dream was not built on envy, but on the Golden Rule “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”

 

The latest crop of Republican congresspersons seem to have forgotten this. The top 1% of investment earners (one cannot honestly call them wage earners) would have 99% of us wage earners believe that reminding them of this social contract is un-American, anti-capitalist, and irreligious.

 

Now, Republican congressional leaders undermine the Golden Rule, claiming, as men who are right with God, that anyone who oppose their economic and social order policies, must be wrong;and,not only are they wrong but they are evil, which carries the weight of immorality. Asking that the Golden Rule be applied to economic policy does not make the 99ers immoral, unpatriotic socialists, un-American, nor envious.

 

Years ago, before labor laws, civil rights laws, and a system of public education for all children created a middle class, the working class had to be satisfied with crumbs from the table. Labor unions, civil rights activists, and public education created a place at the table for workers. But now, Governors like John Kasich (R-OH) tell us we are envious when we ask for a menu, question why no food is being served to us, or ask how they arranged to have nearly all the food piled on their plates as it disappeared from our own.  They say we are envious. No, we are simply hungry, hungry for justice.

 

Today, I suggest it is not a budget deficit which will destroy this country; but, a social justice deficit. President Obama and Democratic leaders are right to insist on continued stimulus spending and safety net protection, and increased taxes on the top 1-2% ; any further efforts to compromise us into starvation will do more harm than good. Productivity, not hoarding seeds, is what puts food on the table.

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THE BALANCE OF POWER AND COMPETITIVE COMPROMISE,By Louise Annarino,12-27-2012

26 Dec

THE BALANCE OF POWER AND COMPETITIVE COMPROMISE,By Louise Annarino,December 26,2012

 

Politics has often been called the art of compromise. Too seldom do we admit politics is the art of exercising power. Congress cannot exercise the art of compromise when the balance of power is so uneven. Our focus at the moment is solely on the failure of congresspersons to compromise on several levels;between the president and Speaker of the House, within the House, within the Senate, within the Republican Party between Teapublicans and Republicans. We should instead focus on the lack of balance within our congressional districts. Until we right that balance, no compromise will be possible. Continuing the dialogue solely on the personal assessment of individual  character illustrated by a willingness or unwillingness to compromise hides the real problem.

 

In 2010 the Republican/Teapublican victories brought control of the legislature of many key states, in some cases a veto-proof majority. And, 2010 placed more states under the leadership of Republican governors and secretaries of state as well. The 2010 census allowed these states ,including Ohio, to redistrict an imbalance so severe that Ohio’s districts were gerrymandered to form safe seats for both parties. The inability to compromise is the affirmed in these gerrymandered districts. Secretaries of state redefined vote counts within districts,further assuring veto-proof legislatures.

 

Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) has no motivation to seek the middle when doing so will have no impact on his re-election in a general election. His seat is safe thanks to the recent redistricting legislation, and Ohio’s failure to overturn that legislation in the 2012 campaign. His threat comes from within his own party;and, not just for his chairmanship, but for his re-election. The threat would come as a primary challenge;one well-funded by the moneyed interests and super PACS supporting the Teapublicans. Tacking to center, seeking compromise, would encourage such an attack.How can he seek compromise?

 

We must organize around redistricting,and other legislative changes which upset the balance of power for both parties. For example, there is a well-financed effort by Teapublicans to demonize the electoral college,to eliminate it, or change how Ohio calculates electoral votes. Republicans are mounting a quiet effort to change our current system to one which favors the minority of Ohio voters. Now Republicans have more safe districts than Democrats do and they want to allow each district to cast electoral votes based on district wins, rather than casting all of Ohio’s electoral votes for the candidate who wins the majority of all Ohio votes, as is current law.

 

Republicans realize this could give them short-term gain.However, their control is not absolute and eternal. Should Democrats gain control, the Democratic Party could benefit just as unfairly. But, both parties should be more concerned about the good of the people; not the good of any party. It behooves both Democratic and Republican voters to insist that our legislators create more balance;not less. Those of us who believe in the platform and values of the Democratic Party should not fear such a balanced approach. Democratic candidates can compete with Republican candidates, and can win even in unsafe districts. How much better could we do in competitive districts? And, if John Boehner’s district were competitive, he might gain more political power through compromise than obstruction. That would be a win-win for both parties, and for the American people.

 

We have overlooked the importance of what happens at our local and district levels for too long. we have been trained to keep our eyes on the federal government,thus national elections, as the source of our failed compromise; when,in fact, competitive compromise begins within our own districts. We cannot sit back until the next presidential election, hoping to elect persons who promise to compromise. Everyone wants to compromise when it maintains their balance of power;but without such a balance, no one can afford to compromise. Not Mr. Boehner, despite his fine character and personal wishes…unless he is willing, and we are willing to watch his failed re-election as the price to be paid. Would that be a win for Ohio or the Teapublicans?

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.

NOT CAN,BUT HOW? THE BUDGET AND DEFICIT REDUCTION,By Louise Annarino,November 9,2012

9 Nov

NOT CAN,BUT HOW? THE BUDGET AND DEFICIT REDUCTION,By Louise Annarino, November 9, 2012

At President Obama’s first press conference he stated a willingness to consider any idea which fairly addresses the nation’s fiscal needs. However, he clearly and unequivocally asserted that taxes on earnings above $250,000 must be increased. He went further asking congress to immediately extend tax cuts on earnings below $250,000 rather than waiting for negotiations on deficit reduction and balancing the budget plays out,stressing the need for stability and certainty for small business owners.

In effect, the president seeks to stabilize small businesses and encourage their creation and expansion, and continue tax policies which economists agree will stimulate middle class spending, and which will help those small businesses grow. This is basic and sound fiscal policy upon which any honest politician, of either party, could easily agree. The only reason Boehner might not agree is to use the middle class and small businesses as a political tool to continue to shelter wealthy supporters and their corporate interests, at the expense of average Americans.

Republicans also make no secret of their intention to eliminate, starve into extinction, or privatize the social safety net: social security,medicare,medicaid,food stamps,WIC,unemployment compensation etc.

Will Rep. Boehner insist on continuing tax breaks for Big Oil while  delaying the Social Security retirement age for a woman who stands on her aching feet all day at a cash register, or a mechanic whose arthritic hands can no longer twist a wrench without pain, or a security officer who must chase a teen robber up and over a fence? Or will he agree instead to lift the cap on FICA taxes,increasing contributions from higher income earners? Such choices matter.

Will Rep. Boehner insist the Ryan Budget must be accepted in whole or in part before the House is willing to even consider the President’s Jobs Bill? Will veterans continue to wait for House Republicans to approve a veterans’ jobs program included in the president’s bill? Will farmers wait for House Republicans to pass the Agriculture Bill unless it contains Ryan’s proposed cuts of $1.6 billion dollars a year (four times the amount spread over five years in the bi-partisan bill passed by the Senate) to food stamps, WIC (women,infants and children),and meals on wheels for seniors and the disabled? Why must we wait?

What can we do to put a stop to such nonsense? ASK our Republican representatives and senators to answer questions regarding their positions on specific cuts. TELL our Democratic representatives and senators that we expect them to stand strong and speak out on our behalf. Remind both that they will soon be up for re-election and that we will not forget what they do.

The news pundits,once again,focused on whether a deal can be reached with Boehner since Obama is willing to compromise, discussing the need for Democrats to give a little. Chris Mathews even suggested the president should appoint Mitt Romney Secretary of Business, chuckling that he would not do so, but should do something like this…throw Boehner a bone? No,such talk is throwing over an election, throwing over the middle class. The first person Andrea Mitchell interviewed for reaction to Obama’s press conference today was  House Assistant Democratic Leader James E. Clyburn (D-SC) who concurred that when negotiating everything must be on the table. Feeling a bit nervous, I listened  to him then suggest that even social security would have to be reworked because we want  it and programs such as medicare and medicaid to be there in the years ahead. Okay, I thought, that is a no-brainer. But then he suggested one likely change is delaying the age at which one may receive benefits. There are alternatives methods to reducing program costs which don’t deprive people of, or delaying access to, benefits they have a right to rely on, and which they desperately need to survive with dignity.

Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and food stamps are not frills. They are not “stuff.” These programs are life support. We are not a poor nation;we are a very rich nation. Budgets define our priorities in this country; and, not our wealth. We can reduce the deficit and balance our budget over time. Either party is capable of doing so. The real issue is not can we do so; but how we do so. Hopefully, we do so while maintaining life support for the aged, the disabled, the hungry, the unemployed, the uneducated, and even the planet itself. We count on our president and our Democratic senators and congressmen to remember this, and to fight for us. John Boehner will be fighting for his political life, and the survival of his party; but, unless I miss my guess,not for us.

Central Ohio Contact List ( Rep.Joyce Beatty (D-OH) info not yet available):

 

Rep. John Boehner (R-OH)

(202)225-6205

(202)225-0704 Fax

Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-OH)

3000 Corporate Exchange Drive,Suite 310

Columbus, Ohio 43231

(614) 523-2555.

(614)818-0887 Fax

 

Rep. Steve Stivers

3790 Municipal Way
Hilliard, OH 43026
(614) 771-4968
(614) 771-3990 Fax

Joyce Beatty for Congress

233 S High St Ste #300

Columbus, OH 43215

614-600-4231

beattyforcongress@gmail.com

 

Senator Rob Portman

37 West Broad Street,Room 300

Columbus, OH 43215

(614)469-6774

Toll-Free: 1-800-205-6446

 

Sen. Sherrod Brown

(614) 469-2083

(202)224-2315

Toll Free : 1-888-896-6446

 

 

 

STAY TUNED:OBSTRUCTIONISM IS STILL ON THE TABLE,By Louise Annarino,November 9,2012

9 Nov

STAY TUNED: OBSTRUCTIONISM IS STILL ON THE TABLE,By Louise Annarino, November 9,2012

 

 

Team,
This victory is a testament to you. Take pride in your hard work over the past 18 months: the countless calls you made, the doors you knocked, the people you inspired to support our president.
I know it wasn’t always easy. But through your perseverance, you proved that a strong, grassroots organization could overcome powerful interests on the other side.
You built this organization from the ground up. You helped this country stay the course. Enjoy this victory for now and rest up. There will be more work to come. Stay tuned.- Jeremiah Bird, Obama For America

 

”Stay tuned” We have heard this before from OFA, the grassroots organization which continued to work in support of President Obama after they did so in the 2008 election. It was OFA who announced to those of us who had already started organizing marches and rallies, collecting signatures on petitions, and garnering support for single payer health care that we must cease, and instead, push for The Affordable Health Care Act-Obamacare. We joined the effort to see near-universal health care passed,hoping it would be a beginning,understanding that if the votes are not there in Congress, compromise is necessary. But it does not sit well with those of us who understand that the most affordable health care system is one which eliminates profit for investors, and delivers dollars to direct service. Built into Obamacare is the 85% required delivery of direct care; with refunds to patients whose insurance carriers spend less than 85% of money collected on direct care. Still, this allows a 15% overhead for administrative costs,which exceeds that of medicare. The amount of difference could fund more direct service rather than to investors for profits off our illnesses. But, it is a start.

 

Yesterday, Speaker of the House, Rep.John Boehner (R-OH) responded to Diane Sawyer during an ABC interview when asked about his desire to repeal Obamacare:

“It’s pretty clear that the president was re-elected ,” Boehner added. “Obamacare is the law of the land.” But, he then added that there were parts of the law congress would try to change. Shortly following the interview his spokesman said,that repealing the law ‘would be on the table.’ Clearly, the re-election has not changed Boehner’s attitude, nor his operational style.

Stay tuned: Obstruction by Boehner and the GOP is still on the table.

Obstruction takes many forms: It blocks bills in committee,not allowing them to be voted out of committee for floor vote. It refuses to put a bill or discussion of a bill on the calendar. It refuses to discuss bills with both parties in attendance, Republicans locking out Democratic members who retreat to a separate room for discussion. It holds votes in the middle of the night when the public and news media are not paying attention to the machinations of voting irregularities; such as, stopping the vote at the last minute when it appears your side is losing and holding the vote open for hours while arms are twisted and votes are changed. It requires a supermajority to override a filibuster,which is an impossibility with the number of current party members. It walks out of bipartisan meetings with the President and holds a news conference belying the president’s efforts to find a compromise. It is the party of walk-backs,confusing reporters and the public as to what GOP’s true position is, or if it has ANY position other than OPPOSITION.

If you thought the ugliness and lies were over, you are wrong. GOP has learned nothing from the 2012 election. They campaigned with no respect, dignity nor integrity. This is how they intend to govern. Do not expect Republicans to govern with respect, dignity,and integrity.

Already,I am disgusted by newspersons concern over the fate of the Republican Party, the endless hours of commentary suggesting how it can change and grow. Where is the discussion about what this country needs to do NOW and what this country has a right to expect from the GOP to see that what we need happens? I say to the GOP what I say to those who discriminate against women and people of color, “Heal yourself! I have enough on my hands doing what I can for the betterment of my fellow citizens. I must heal my own pain at your insensitivity to the needs of my fellow citizens;I have no time to heal yours.”

Our focus should not be on the improved chances of Republicans to win future elections but their failure to support the efforts being made by Democrats in Congress and by President Obama to stimulate economic growth, create jobs, protect our environment, educate our children, reform immigration, reduce poverty, assure health care for all, reduce the deficit fairly,increase taxes on the top tier of income and capital gains, end useless and harmful wars, solidify and extend diplomatic gains etc.

The morning after the election I awoke with a smile on my face, a feeling of increased security, with no fear that my civil rights were in jeopardy, knowing our president is one who sees a future full of promise and has a plan for leading us in the right direction. It was a place of calm I had not been in since January 20, 2009. I needed that peace of mind to last longer. It ended too soon. It ended when I realized the direction media is leading us: away from serious discussion of issues of governance and on to the 2016 election. Shame on the Third Estate for failing us…again. Stay tuned.

 

IT’S NOT ABOUT IRRESPONSIBLE OHIO VOTERS,By Louise Annarino, November 4, 2012

4 Nov

IT’S NOT ABOUT IRRESPONSIBLE OHIO VOTERS,By Louise Annarino, November 4, 2012

Now the counting of provisional ballots in Ohio shifts to the Republican theme that 47% of us refuse to accept responsibility for ourselves. On Friday Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted added reasons to reject a provisional ballot with incorrect or missing information as to the type of Identification used by voters casting a provisional ballot, SHIFTING RESPONSIBILITY for checking the appropriate boxes on the provisional ballot affirmation form from poll workers to voters.

Husted spokesman Matt McClellan said the provisional ballot affirmation form  (above) is the same that’s been used in this year’s spring primary and a special election in August. This is NOT the point. What matters is that it is contrary to Ohio law and violates court decree.

Ohio Rev. Code § 3505.181(B)(6) provides that, once a voter casting a provisional ballot proffers identification,  “the appropriate local election official shall record the type of identification provided, the social security number information, the fact that the affirmation was executed, or the fact that the individual declined to execute such an affirmation and include that information with the transmission of the ballot . ..”

This is an overt effort by Ohio Republicans to avoid a previously entered court decree as described by plaintiffs in Case: 2:06-cv-00896-ALM-TPK Doc #: 346 Filed: 11/01/12 Page: 1 of 11 PAGEID #: 12588. In the earlier decision and consent decree filed before US District Court Judge Algernon Marbley, it was agreed by all parties, including Republican SOS Husted, that he direct Ohio’s 88 county election boards to count certain provisional ballots WHERE POLL WORKERS MADE MISTAKES such as: 1. Allowing or directing voter to cast ballot in the wrong precinct, but correct poll location. 2. Allowing voter to cast ballot without completing or signing the ballot. 3. Failing to complete the application for the voter,as required by Ohio law.

As a former poll workerI can attest that it is not uncommon to overlook a missing piece of information when polls are busy; but,it is the poll worker’s duty to assure each voter’s ballot will be counted by correctly completing information requested on the ballot envelope. Poll workers,not voters, are trained to understand the language on the provisional ballot envelopes and trained to assure the form is complete. Voters do not second-guess poll workers;but, simply follow the directions to the best of their ability. They rely on the competence of poll workers. Plaintiffs’ counsel Subodh Chandra explains, “Judge Marbley’s decision ensures that legitimate voters do not  lose their right to vote when government workers make mistakes.”

SOS Husted is attempting to make sure such ballots are not counted,despite his prior consent to Judege Marbley’s decree by throwing sand in our face and making the issue VOTER IRRESPONSIBILITY, rather than poll worker error. Disrespect for the constitutional rights of voters to cast a ballot which will be counted is just the latest effort to undermine the Ohio election by confusing Ohio voters, and stealing their votes.

Our solution is simple: GET OUT THE VOTE. A huge turnout is the only way to assure a clean decision on election night, rather than an election dragged through the courts ad infinitum. BUT BE WARNED: Even if we elect President Obama on election night by overpowering Republican vote theft with an exceptionally high turnout, Republicans will use continued court involvement as a sign that President Obama is NOT REALLY the winner. Al Gore backed away from such an argument to  preserve our union and uphold the election process. I doubt Ohio Republicans will behave with such respect. They have not for the past four years;so don’t expect a sudden change of heart.

Read more: http://www.timesunion.com/news/article/Ohio-provisional-ballot-voting-order-criticized-4005729.php#ixzz2BGkeXgHQ

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.