Tag Archives: Democrats

“WHAT YOU DO TO THE LEAST OF THESE” OUR VETERANS,By Louise Annarino,September 19,2012

20 Sep

“WHAT YOU DO TO THE LEAST OF THESE” OUR VETERANS; By Louise Annarino,September19,2012

Today was a day of further frustration as Republicans blocked passage of a veterans jobs bill. Democrats needed 60 votes but got only 58,including votes of 5 Republicans who joined them in attempting to override a point of order raised by Sen. Sessions (R-Ala).  Senator/Chairperson of the Veterans Affairs committee Patty Murray (D-Wash,) hoped an amendment she introduced which included a provision by Sen.Burr (R-NC) as a compromise to satisfy Republican objections could have gotten to a vote. “At every turn, we have sought compromise. But instead of meeting us halfway, we have been met with resistance,” Murray said. “Instead of saying yes to the nearly one million unemployed veterans, it seems some on the other side have spent the last week and a half seeking out any way to say no.” She warned that such Republican obstruction threatens every effort to aid veterans.

The $1 billion Veterans Jobs Corp Act would have paid for itself over 10 years. It would have created job-training and assistance to obtain work in targeted fields including police work,firefighting,national park conservation, historic preservation projects etc. The same persons who had no problem sending our young men and women to war, with no money budgeted to pay for those wars, objected on a budget point of order to aide the veterans of those wars. The deficit they decry was partially created by borrowing money to pay for those wars in order to avoid raising taxes and upsetting Grover Norquist. The same persons who raised no objection when passing Medicare Part D without funding the expansion to cover prescriptions, and who refused to include language to require bulk rates by pharmaceutical companies to reduce the cost of this unpaid mandate, refused to even consider a bill to put our unemployed veterans to  work.

Sen Tom Coburn (R-Ok) opposed it because it duplicated other efforts; Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky), because it did not include a provision to force Pakistan to free Dr. Shakil Afridi, the doctor who led the US to Osama bin Laden. While I appreciate Dr. Afridi’s help, I also appreciate the soldiers who were sent to Iraq and Afghanistan to find Bin Laden and destroy Al Qaeda. Our soldiers should not be held hostage by Sen. Paul.The hypocrisy is overwhelming.

One appreciates even more Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown’s unwavering support for America’s veterans. Brown was an original cosponsor of the VOW to Hire Heroes Act, a key provision of which is VRAP, which offers job retraining assistance to veterans; up to 99,000 veterans will receive retraining assistance through March 31,2014.

The veteran jobs bill was expected to create at least 20,000 jobs at a time when one in four veterans are unemployed. But, then, they are part of Mr. Romney’s 47%, so perhaps Republicans think they are merely unwilling to take care of themselves, and feel entitled to depend on their government, and the people, all of us, who sent them to war. Here’s a novel idea: THEY ARE ENTITLED.

The Center for American Progress has put together this list showing the unfortunate facts behind veterans’ homelessness:

50 percent: Rate at which veterans are more likely than other Americans to become homeless. The Obama administration has set a goal of ending veteran homelessness by 2015.

About 75,000: Number of veterans who are homeless on any given night, according to estimates from the Veterans Administration.

About 20,000: Number of veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who were homeless in the past five years according to the Veterans Administration.

5.5 percent: Percentage of homeless vets who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan in the overall homeless population, according to the Veterans Administration.

A Veteran Commits Suicide Every 80 Minutes, according to a Center for a New American Security Suicide report. And, according to armytimes.com. 1,868 veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, in 2009 alone, made suicide attempts. Marine Corps veteran Jason Christiansen, 35, of St. Paul, Minn. watched his life unravel upon completing his service. He lost his job as an auto dealer in 2008, avoided debt collectors and fell into a serious depression, and considered suicide. Minnesota.publicradio.org reports. Should he be able to expect more from the nation he served at the risk of his life, over there and back here ?

Recent job initiatives by President Obama have helped veteran unemployment fall by six points over the past year. Between January 2010 and January 2011, veteran homelessness declined by 12 percentage points. Still, with wars winding down in Iraq and Afghanistan, those numbers could increase rapidly without government safeguards, according to the Center for American Progress.

Perhaps this explains why Republicans blocked this bill. They could not hand President Obama ANY success, even that of helping our veterans. The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America reacted with strength,dignity, and disappointment. “Once again, this Congress let partisan bickering stand in the way of putting thousands of America’s heroes back to work,“ said Paul Rieckhoff, the organization’s founder. “Lowering veteran unemployment is something both parties should be able to agree on – even in an election year.” It’s the least our veterans should be able to expect from us.


POLITICAL GLOBALIZATION,By Louise Annarino,September 6,2012

6 Sep

POLITICAL GLOBALIZATION, By Louise Annarino,September 6,2012

It has been a curious fact to me that my blog is being viewed in over 35 countries, in addition to the United States. American political blogs, I must conclude, are of some interest to individuals across the globe. Emerging democratic republics watch us for insights into party politics. Democrats are an example of people united to move this country FORWARD, despite a well-financed opposition. This is the nature of political fights. However, the level of personalized hate-filled distortions by Super-PACS is exceptionally virulent this campaign cycle.

Could it be the reason our party politics seems to be in flames with incendiary rhetoric against our president and the Democratic Party is because of globalization? I watched much of the Republican convention and am now watching the Democratic convention. The differences are writ large. The diversity within the Democratic Party delegates mirrors that of the globe, while the delegates at the Republican Party convention were the face of an older,nearly all-white America. America has always been diverse but its power-brokers and political leaders have not. Not only did earlier political leaders not recognize nor respond readily to the needs of women, minorities, LGBT community,immigrants and others within America, they carried such chauvinism abroad.

The Democratic Party is the face of a new America. When Barack Obama was elected he changed the face of American politics and power,at home and abroad. There are 12 Democratic women serving in the United States Senate, more than any time in history; 55 in the House of Representatives. One-fourth of Democratic delegates to the convention are African-American. There are more than 800 Latino delegates,150 Native-American delegates. Americans know how to build consensus among diverse cultures and create an American political family called The Democratic Party. Following the practice among union members, Democrats address one another as brothers and sisters. The internet has joined the young people of the world as cousins, if not yet as brothers and sisters. The Democratic Party and the leader of the party, President Barack Obama welcome the nations of the world to join in building a thriving global community of mutual respect and prosperity. American voters should celebrate this;a few do not.

An appreciation and acceptance of diversity within America and across the globe is too often called “un-American”; when, in fact, it is totally American. Racial, cultural, and gender diversity is what built America and what keeps it strong. Diversity of ideas and viewpoints is what stimulates imagination and creates new technology and new enterprises. American prosperity was built upon the backs of a diverse labor group. American immigrants own 18% of small businesses, accounting for 30% of all private sector employment (see morehttp://fiscalpolicy.org/immigrant-small-business-owners-FPI-20120614.pdf). One can only hope that all nations will embrace such diversity within their borders,as we have within ours. What is disturbing is not such diversity but the virulent  disdain and destructive rhetoric the Republican Party rails against the party embracing it. This is what confuses those of us who know and love the American ideal of E Pluribus Unum, “One out of many” from those of us who are Americans, and those of us from other nations.

As businesses and multinational corporations moved jobs and companies abroad, they thought they could avoid organized-labor fair wages, safety precautions, environmental standards and U.S. taxation. Republicans say  they are the party which understands and appreciates globalization,and knows how to rebuild an economy. But, I think it is the Democratic Party which truly understands the value of globalization,and which is ready to embrace citizens of other nations as brothers and sisters for our greater prosperity through job creation. I can only imagine how millionaire investors fear the impact of the spread of American ideals on such a global scale,and how it will affect their bottom line. And of course, destroying or at least weakening the middle class here and abroad will create a labor force willing to accept low wages, few benefits and no ability to wield political power.

This is what is going on in American politics today. This is what readers abroad need to understand. Rest assured, the grassroots supporters of Barack Obama and Democratic Party candidates are working very hard to move America FORWARD 4 more years. Democrats understand politics can get down and dirty; but, neither President Obama nor his party will buckle under to hate, lies or vote suppression. The stakes for America and for the world are too high.

GO TO THE BACK OF THE BUS,WHAT BUS?,By Louise Annarino,July 15, 2012

15 Jul

GO TO THE BACK OF THE BUS, WHAT BUS?, By Louise Annarino, July 15,2012


“The racial diversity among Democrats and the lack of it among Republicans means that the two bases bring differing concerns to the national debate.”

Charles blow, Not Afraid To Talk About Race, NYT, Opinion, 6-7-2012,  http://campaignstops.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/07/not-afraid-to-talk-about-race/?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20120607


But, do we really have different concerns as Americans? Everyone wants a stable and decent job; one which pays enough to provide safe housing, safe food supply, generous health care, sound education, affordable transportation, and reliable retirement income.  Just the basics, but unpredictable for the racially-diverse urban poor, and the more-segregated homogeneous rural poor. Demographic studies and census data indicate that the gap between the availability of basic necessities for the top 2% and the rest of us is ever-widening. The issue of race as part of our analysis of how we can turn this situation on its head is clearest in considering the needs of the the multi-racial urban cores of our cities.

Some cities such as Columbus, Ohio are making come-backs while others like Detroit are decaying from within. But even in Columbus, Ohio,those areas where racial diversity is strongest, the improvements are weakest. Of course mayors are hampered by governors who turn away federal dollars meant to address the needs of the urban core as well as the rest of the state.

No where is this more apparent than in the refusal of federal transportation dollars to build interurban rail service, high speed rail, and slow rail between key cities within a state. One of the reasons unemployment is so much higher in urban cores where minorities live is that white flight to the suburbs for housing was also white flight of jobs to the suburbs. Companies moved their headquarters and manufacturing plants to the outskirts of cities. Malls and shopping areas closed in the urban core to move to suburban malls, and more jobs were lost. Even major union halls moved outside the city core. Lack of public transportation made it more likely organizations would move out of the urban core to facilitate parking. But, many of our urban poor lack automobiles and are, therefore, left out of a city’s forward commerce. They simply are denied any opportunity to turn things around themselves. If they can’t get to an interview to get a job, then get to a job to earn money, they have no way to change the game. Apartments  built outside the city core seldom have sidewalks, and are in areas not designed for walking or biking as a means of transportation. And these areas still lack substantial bus service, and no rail service.

In Columbus, bus service is limited for those seeking jobs outside the urban core. There is little to no bus service from downtown to the outlying malls, business and plants. Minorities are trapped jobless within the city core. A plan to connect the downtown with outlying areas by rail with federal transportation dollars was scrapped when Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) returned federal grant made to Ohio. In the latest transportation bill  the deficit argument was used to eliminate and cut funds for public transportation projects, bike trails etc. There is little understanding of the transportation needs of voters in our city core.

Thus, our attitude toward our racially diverse urban populations affects our transportation decisions. We are willing to spend tax dollars to maintain the status quo for those who fled the cities, abandoning our fellow citizens to second class status. Mainly white Republican voters agree with racially diverse Democratic voters that America needs a strong transportation system. The difference is that Republicans don’t notice that their tax and spend policies ignore the needs of so many fellow citizens in our  urban cores. They fled for the same reason they refuse to fund the urban core’s survival. As President Obama says, “We can do better than this.”


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)

WE DON’T DO THINGS BY HALF, By Louise Annarino, July 6, 2012

6 Jul

WE DON’T DO THINGS BY HALF, BY Louise Annarino, July 6, 2012

It is 7:35 AM. It is 75.3 degrees; humidiity 87%; heat index 80.2 degrees. We expect records to be broken a second day in a row, with high temperature of 100…or more. Who knows anymore? Yesterday, Columbus broke the record high temperature set in 1911. We are now accustomed to reading 100 degrees on our car and home thermometers, no matter what the official figures are. We trust it will be too hot to care if the weatherperson hits the mark or not. It will be hot. Too hot. That is all we know.

Yesterday, I spent almost 2 hours at the Columbus Zoo with my teenage nephew. The temperature was 100 degrees; heat index 110. We don’t do things by half. The heat has made our judgment faulty. We had left a WATER exhibit at COSI to see how the animals were faring at the zoo. We forgot we are human animals. We thought ,for once, the polar bears might be in the water instead of sleeping on the rocky outcropping in their display area. Only one was on display, sleeping on the rocks with water to swim in mere inches away. The water was too hot. We are saving polar bears from global warming’s melting polar ice by placing them near water too hot to swim in at the zoo. Nice save.

We walked slowly, from mister to mister, viewing animals much smarter than ourselves, curled motionless in shady nap spots while we walked the sun alive on the pavement beneath our feet. The heat has made us stupid. The misters lost moisture before the beads of water could touch our faces. It was too hot for water to last.  Consider that it is too hot for water to last, too hot for H2O to stay beaded together until our bodies can use it for sustenance or comfort. The WATER exhibit at COSI explains water’s use and effect, and the threat of its loss . We saw COSI’s message played in real time at the zoo. It is an uncomfortable reality that water is being superheated beyond our ability to access it for human use. The polar bears already know this.

We don’t do things by half. Would that we could. Then,we could survive. But, we are made stupid by the heat. Our judgment is faulty. We don’t do things by half, even when our survival depends upon it. There are some whose anger with our president’s willingness to do things by half ,which he can do no other way, clouds their judgment of his abilities, his motives and his wisdom. Their over-heated rhetoric only makes a successful economic recovery less assured. His first half may have pleased no one on the far right, nor on the far left. But, it is those of us in the middle half who understand his many accomplishments, with half a Congress in support, half in opposition:

– Cut payroll taxes for all Americans,putting $40 per paycheck back in the pocket of the typical Ohioan.

– In Ohio, the manufacturing sector aded more than 33,500 jobs in last 2 years, while President Obama works to end tax cuts for companies shipping jobs overseas and lower tax rates for companies which manufacture goods in America.

– Created over4.1 million privates sector jobs, 123,000 in Ohio over the last 2 years.

– Rescued the U.S. auto industry, protecting 848,000 Ohio jobs and over 1 million jobs nationwide. US auto industry is once again #1 in the world.

– Created or extended 18 tax cuts for small businesses – the drivers of economic growth.

– Strengthened medicare, saving 185,000 Ohioans an average $512 on prescription drugs.

– Expanded access to preventive care with no out-of-pocket costs to 2.1 million Ohioans, including 559,000 children and 797,000 women under age 65.

– Stopped insurance industry practice of denying coverage for pre-existing conditions for  643,000 Ohio children.

– Expanded health care coverage to 82,000 young adults by allowing them to stay on parents’ health care plans until age 26.

– Required Insurance companies who failed to spend at least 80%-85% of premiums collected on health care to return an average of $127 to 3.4 million Americans who paid for their own insurance. Over $1 billion dollars will be paid back nationwide.

– Reduced our dependence on foreign oil to lowest level in 16 years. Domestic oil production is at an 8 year high, natural gas at an all-time high, and renewable energy from wind and solar has more than doubled.

– Helped Ohio produce 9 times more electricity from wind in 2011 than in 2010.

– Signed VOW to Hire Heroes Act, providing tax breaks to businesses hiring returning veterans.

– Brought Iraq war to honorable end, and is working towards same goal in Afghanistan.

– Brought 2/3 of Al Qaeda’s leadership, and Osama Bin Laden to justice.

– Ended “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”.

– Doubled funding for Pell Grants. Signed into law a tax credit up to $10,000 over 4 years to help middle class families afford tuition.

– Supported 12,500 teachers and school staff jobs in Ohio 2009-2010, reducing burden on local school districts.

The list of accomplishments made by doing things by half – with the support of half the Senate, half the House goes on and on. We are out of the hole and moving forward after years of digging the hole deeper under Republican leadership. We Americans don’t like doing things by half. But, when we must do so, it is good to have a president who knows how to do so effectively. Hopefully,  more progressive Democratic candidates will be elected to the US House and Senate more fully supporting President Obama during his second term. Don’t like doing things by half? Then, vote for Sherrod Brown for US Senate. Vote for the Democratic candidate in your congressional race. Vote for Barack Obama. Don’t let the heat of Republican attacks distort your ability to think straight and move the country forward.


12 Jun

A break from global politics to family politics today. I was one of the fortunate kids with a good father. I often think of what he would say about the world today. It is really not so different from the one he first deciphered with me. He was a strong Republican;on the local Republican Central Committee. One of his best friends since childhood was Rep. John Ashbrook, a very conservative Republican. Another childhood friend he remained close to his entire life was the Chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party. This openness to diverse political thought worked just fine back in Dad’s day. Dad was a die-hard republican but he could listen to another point of view. He would make jokes about the other guy “talking like a guy with a paper hat”; but, he would later affirm the “guy might have something there”. He always told me to find a union job which would offer the greatest job security, protection, and best work environment. He was self-employed and could not imagine working for anyone else without a union. Today, his party is intent on destroying unions. Times have changed. I don’t know if dad would have changed to fit the party but I doubt it. He would have told his party it was “talking like a man with a paper hat”. I still don’t know the origins of that phrase,but I get its meaning.

It was understood and Dad imparted to me that all politicians, and all attorneys, are “crooks”; always have their hands out for a donation, or in your pocket for taxes. He told me whenever another’s behavior confused me to “follow the money” and all would be made clear. Still, politics was the core of the community and important stuff according to Dad. He suggested I attend both the Teenage Republicans and Teenage Democrats,both led by friends of his, to see how each party  operated. He encouraged me to visit Congressman Ashbrook when he held week-end office hours at the  Licking County court house and confront his support for Rhodesia even though it practiced apartheid. He knew his friend would deal with the concerns of a fledgling Democrat as equally important to the concerns of a Republican constituent.

In his later years, as he saw the benefit of Democrtically supported programs such as PELL grants, equal pay for women, voting rights, Title VII and Title IX, social security, medicare, disability benefits, unemployment compensation etc.his view of political theory mellowed. His view of politicians did not. He thought the crook Nixon deserved what he got, thought Reagan behaved wrongly and owed the nation an apology for the Iran-Contra Affair, thought Bill Clinton was a sleazy womanizer (most men in power are) but not deserving of  impeachment. By today’s standards he would be a liberal Republican and that description would absolutely enrage him. He prided himself on his conservatism, and voted for John Kennedy, even though “his old man made his money as a bootlegger”. He never asked anyone except the VA for anything. His first reaction to any liberal suggestion was opposition until we discussed it more fully and he could then see some value in the program or policy. Like most hard working small business owners, he had little spare time to research anything on his own, but was willing to learn and change when facts were brought to his attention. He was not an ideologue. He was man who believed most persons could make it on their own.

He also acknowledged some could not. Quietly, anonymously, he helped those people. Sometimes, he thought he could do it better than government. Most other times, he acknowledged government could do it better. He understood the benefits and limitations of government. He held government accountable. That is a true conservative.

We seldom agreed on political theory, and seldom disagreed in political practice. Most moderates are like that. They can see the good in both sides, and the bad in both sides. They want what works for the country. How I miss my dad, those old style Republicans, those moderate voices of reason who could laugh, live, love and work together with Democrats.

On this Fathers’ Day I hope you will recall your own father kindly, if he is no longer with you. And, if he is, let him know how much his wise counsel has meant to you. If we can’t find common ground with our own fathers, how can we hope to find common ground with anyone? There are those who will try to stop an approachment, who do not want Republicans and Democrats to find common ground with one another. Such Tea Party types like “a good fight” better than peacemaking. Ignore them. Have a happy  Fathers’ Day. I’ll be thinking of my conservative, Republican dad. I share my poem with you below:


Louise Annarino

Fathers’ Day 2012

Those laughing eyes

and strong hands

which fashioned safety

from the strands

of life

which too often looked

like a cage

but was nothing more

than a ladder

one could climb

on his lap

where every problem

could be left

in his care

so all consuming

which too often felt

like loss of self

but was nothing more

than a cushion

against hard knocks

he absorbed

with his own body

to protect

his children with

a father’s love.


1 Jun


Louise Annarino

June 1, 2012


As Fathers’ Day nears I have been thinking about the fathers of America and what they are thinking about our presidential candidates. Polls show that the largest group of Democratic candidate President Barack Obama’s supporters are women; the largest group of Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s, white men. Clearly, the patriarchal position of Republican policies and legislative agenda does not sit well with most women. Also, President Obama’s record abounds with efforts to empower and protect women and their children. Men who think they can offer platitudes to women are sadly mistaken, and will not gain women’s support by returning them to second-class citizenship.


But, it is the men who cause me to ponder. One would expect strong support for a president who is hands-on seeking out and destroying the enemies who attacked us on 9/11, who works hard to assure our military and veteran’s have our full support and gratitude; who repeatedly asks congress for approval and support to rebuild our bridges,  ports, roads, airports and infrastructure; and who seeks legislative reform to  bring home companies which have moved off-shore, rebuild our manufacturing platform, gives tax breaks to small business etc. to encourage economic growth. Since President Obama took office we have only moved forward with an on-going increase in productivity, job retention and creation, GNP, and a reduction in unemployment. They must understand that slow and steady growth which is sustainable over the long term is best for our economic stability as the world’s economic powerhouse. While currency values fall worldwide, the U.S. dollar remains strong.


And, it is the men who cause me to ponder when they seem unwilling to consider how President Obama explores changes which will transform how we educate their children. I realize rich men need not be concerned; they simply send their children to the best schools money can buy: low class size, highly paid and trained staff, broad extracurricular opportunities, readily available tutoring and support services. But even working men, whose children attend public schools in overcrowded classrooms, with poorly paid staff who must use their own money to enrich classroom activities, who must deal with those unruly and emotionally stressed children of poverty without anyone’s support; men who must pay for their children to play sports and engage in other extracurricular opportunities out of their unemployment checks who oppose this president. Why do such men, such fathers, oppose what is in their own best interest, and the interests of their wives and children?


Do they believe Mitt Romney, who as Governor of Massachusetts plunged that state to 47th. in the nation in jobs creation will do better as president? Do they really believe that a man who made his living by destroying the livings of men like them will protect them and their families? I am sure his equity firm made companies more profitable. He did so by eliminating union and non-union workers, reducing wages of workers who remained, stopping workers’ health care coverage. Once the company was profitable, however, his company withdrew those profits to repay the bank loans he had used to buy the company in the first place. Then, he used what profit remained to repay his investors and pay himself the fees to which he was entitled. Often, he had to sell off the equipment needed to continue production.

Finally, the company he tells you his equity firm made more profitable had to file bankruptcy. Since there were no longer assets, nor sufficient equipment to continue to create worth there was no means to pay retirement benefits to the workers who lost their jobs. The companies eventually closed. The bankruptcy court approved termination of retirement benefits for people who had worked their whole lives for the company.


This is how Mitt Romney became a self-described successful businessman and multi-millionaire. I don’t call that success; I call that legal piracy.  Like a pirate his money rests in off shore accounts one would need a map to discover. He’s not telling; not even disclosing his prior tax returns. Is this what makes him appealing to men? Do they all want to play pirate? Do they all think if they follow Romney they will become wealthy, too. Do they want a pirate at the helm of our Ship of State? At what cost to their women and children? At what cost to their country, and mine?