Tag Archives: elections

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.



10 May


Louise Annarino

May 10, 2012


I received the following e-mail tonight: “Louise: Thank you for all the e-mails with information on the campaign you have sent us and others over the past 4 years. You kept us well informed. Unfortunately, Pres. Obama publicly admitted today his preference for same-sex marriages, (emphasis mine) which prevents us now to vote for him. So, please take us from your distribution list.” I must not have understood President Obama. I did not hear him say he preferred same-sex marriage. I am certain Mrs. Obama would have been surprised to learn of her husband’s preference, from these former Obama supporters. http://www.cnn.com/2012/05/09/politics/obama-same-sex-marriage/index.html


The President, like many others, has struggled with his own perceptions, misconceptions, and stereotypes of those who are gay,lesbian,bi-sexual or transgender (LGBT), His past reluctance is even more poignant given his racial heritage. There are those who say he should have known better, having experienced prejudice himself. Others are grateful he was willing to openly engage in the struggle to face down his own prejudices. His journey is one we can all learn from.


It is 2:34 a.m. I could not sleep and decided to write. I found the above note as I first sat down at my computer. I had not intended to write about the president’s announcement. I had been thinking I would write about the similarities between the way we treat President Barack Obama and how an abuser treats his victim. The above e-mail fits right in to the puzzle that is abuse.


Few of us are strangers to abuse and bullying. If we have not personally been abused, we are close to someone who has been. It is never easy to be the victim, nor to be close to a victim. An abused person seeks to escape the abuse in many ways: denial, deflection, perfection-seeking, appeasement, depression, hostility, violence against self and against others, even suicide. To get close to a victim and stay close is a struggle indeed. It is hard to watch someone be slapped mentally, physically, emotionally – often all three. It is harder to the one slapped.


So many have told me over the past few months that they can no longer watch television news programs, nor read the newspaper, nor read on-line missives which contain one demeaning slap against President Obama after another. Even liberal commentators on MSNBC spend much of their programming discussing the attacks. There is no escaping the hateful distortions of his record, personal beliefs, character and leadership. There is no escaping the outright lies meant to undermine the country’s confidence in him. The bullies cannot even credit him with the death of Osama Bin Laden, the resurrection of the auto industry, the steady creation of jobs, the lower cost of health care, the investment in green energy, the increased production and glut of oil and gas since he took office. These abusers credit him with nothing, not even his humanity. They hide their racism behind their abuse. No wonder it is hard to watch. No wonder we cringe in distaste.


Obama supporters know the attacks are meant to not only act as cover for those who oppose the president, and seek to destroy his presidency and his historical record; but, are also meant to turn his supporters away from him, to make any close contact with him so unbearably hard to stomach that even his supporters cannot approach him or his campaign. This is classic abuser behavior: Separate then attack,repeat,repeat,repeat. We see it. We know it. We hate it. We avoid it; and, in so doing doing we fail our president, our country and our selves.


An abuser is charming. He disarms any potential supporters of his victim with a story-line upon which he acknowledges a commonality with the victim’s friends and family. His remarks appear innocent; hidden behind his smile and slight chuckles is a comment assuming shared agreement with the victim’s poor behavior. He assures friends and family he does not blame them for the victim’s shortcomings. At the beginning of the abusive relationship, both the victim and supporters strive to please the abuser, catering to his whims, reaching “across the aisles” to make everyone feel better about what is fast becoming a “situation”, a falsity created by the abuser to separate the victim from his support group. By the time the supporters get suspicious, and uncomfortable enough to express their doubts about the abuser’s veracity, supporters have already ostracized the victim. Media personalities awoke too late to the abuse game being played out in public view.


African-Americans, Native-Americans, and others are not so easily duped. After all, they have been victimized by abusers for over 200 years. They understand the methodology of abuse and oppression. When I voice my outrage to white supporters they too often express a desire to avoid the election entirely. When I express my outrage to African-Americans they often tell me “shoot, this is nothing new; if my people got this upset every time, they would have committed mass suicide! You got to be tough.” They offer this wisdom, “Only white people can afford to get upset; we got to survive!” Those who think African-American voters will avoid voting for President Obama because of today’s announcement, do not understand the strength and wisdom of African-Americans to face down abusers. White supporters need to “get tough” and face them down, too.


We are right to feel uncomfortable. We are correct when we acknowledge the abusive behavior. We are justified in saying, “I can’t stand anymore of this!” but, we are wrong to abandon the victim so we can feel comfortable again. None of us should feel comfortable so long as any of us is being abused. That is why President Obama changed his position regarding same-sex marriage. Knowing members of the LGBT community continue to be abused made him more uncomfortable than his own discomfort with same-sex marriages, and his concern of potential political fall-out. He put aside his discomfort and chose to take the courageous path. It is time we all do so.


It is time we all acknowledge the abuse of others sanctioned by law, the ongoing victimization occurring daily in our local communities, and the abuse being heaped upon a president who continues to “do the right thing” while abusers attempt to undermine and destroy his every effort on our behalf, his personal integrity, even his personal safety. If you have ever suffered abuse or bullying you can see it as clearly as I can. It can keep us up at night, but it cannot stop us from supporting the LGBT community and President Obama.