Tag Archives: politics

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.

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?

PUTTING A PRICE ON THE HEADS OF OUR CHILDREN,BY Louise Annarino,December 18,2012

18 Dec

PUTTING A PRICE ON THE HEADS OF OUR CHILDREN,By Louise Annarino, December 18, 2012

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What price do we put on the heads of our children? If there were not so much money involved, the U.S. could have regulated the gun industry long ago. Following the money we learn:

– “Net sales from continuing operations for the second quarter were a record $136.6  million, up 48.0% from the second quarter last year,” states a press release by Smith & Wesson Holding Corporation. While market drops for other industries it escalates for the gun industry. This is one business where uncertainty increases profit.

-As of 2011, there were approximately 5,400 licensed firearms manufacturers and 950 importers in the United States, The United States Department of Justice Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives reports. THis does not include miltary armament sales.

-Arms sales (agreements), by Supplier, 2003-2010 (in billions of constant 2010 U.S. dollars)

Supplier Total Sales in US Dollars (billions) Percent of total sales
United States 170.764 39%
Russia  81.059 18%
France  37.4 8%
United Kingdom  29.803 7%
China  15.272 3%
Germany  22.807 5%
Italy  15.134 3%
Other European  47.024 11%
Others  23.654 5%
Source: Richard F. Grimmett, CRS Report for Congress; Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations, 2003-2010, September 22, 2011If you are viewing this table on another site, please see http://www.globalissues.org/article/74/the-arms-trade-is-big-business for further details and context.

-”Industrialized countries negotiate free trade and investment agreements with other countries, but exempt military spending from the liberalizing demands of the agreement. Since only the wealthy countries can afford to devote billions on military spending, they will always be able to give their corporations hidden subsidies through defence contracts, and maintain a technologically advanced industrial capacity.

“And so, in every international trade and investment agreement one will find a clause which exempts government programs and policies deemed vital for national security. Here is the loophole that allows the maintenance of corporate subsidies through virtually unlimited military spending.”— Stephen Staples, Confronting the Military-Corporate Complex, presented at the Hague Appeal for Peace, The Hague, May 12th 1999.

TAXES GENERATED IN THE UNITED STATES

TAX IMPACT                                  BUSINESS TAXES                                 EXCISE TAXES

Federal Taxes                                  $2,503,904,614                                     $487,998,107

State Taxes                                       $2,071,203,685

Total Taxes                                      $4,575,108,309                                     $487,998,107

Chart from (National Shooting Sports Foundation) NSSF website www.nssf.org/.

-in 2010, Dun and Bradsrteet listed 661 U.S. manufacturers of small firearms or parts. It is estimated these private companies generated approximately $1.2 billion per annum.

-Gun dealers foster political uncertainty to boost sales as illustrated by the following comment by Rick Gray, owner of Accuracy Gun Shop in Las Vegas: “Clinton was the best gun salesman the gun manufacturers ever had. Obama’s going to be right up there with him.”, International Herald Tribune; November 8, 2008. Fear-mongering of Democratic candidates, including the scary African-American president, creates political advantage for the Republican candidates and increases profits for gun manufacturers. Using race to divided the country only increases uncertainty and fear, driving up sales. Is it any wonder Republican- and some Democratic-congresspersons not only refuse to regulate gun and armament  manufacturing and sales; but,also support shadow corporate welfare within defense spending bills?

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

 

 

 

OUR VOTES COUNTED, BUT WE DIDN’T?By Louise Annarino,November 9,2012

9 Nov

OUR VOTES COUNTED, BUT WE DIDN’T?,By Louise Annarino,November 9,2012

 

If we are to believe the media-take on the re-election of President Barack Obama, we managed to have our votes counted; but, we still don’t count. Despite the fact that Barack Obama won by a greater margin than George W. Bush without the need for court intervention to seal the deal, corporate media refuses to acknowledge president Obama’s mandate. Instead it sees his presidency as one calling for accession to the demands of those whose candidate lost the election and the majority of the electorate’s support for Republican policies.

 

The list denying a mandate includes: CBS Evening News’ Bob Schiefer. Washington Post’s Dan Balz. Politico’s Glenn Thrush,Jim VandeHei,and Mike Allen. CNN’s David Gergen, and Gloria Berger. FOX News’ Charles Krauthammer.Time Magazine’s Joe Klein.

 

Even NPR’s Cokie Roberts failed to credit the value of those who voted for the President and handed him a mandate when she described his challenge to govern in this way: “It is a divide where he’s lost whites, he’s lost Southerners, he’s lost people of a certain income and age, and he’s really got to do something fast to deal with that.”

 

Oh, I see now whose vote REALLY counts: whites (but not those whites who voted for Obama), Southerners (but not those Southerners who voted for Obama), people of a certain income and age( but not those wealthy, older persons who voted for Obama). Interestingly, the need to address the concerns of African-Americans, Latinos, Asians, young people, women and LGBT community seems to be of no concern to Ms. Roberts. Apparently, she thinks she knows who should be driving the bus, and who should ride in the back.

 

It is not because she sees division as a concern which disturbs me; we are all concerned about the divisions within our country. But, because she weighs the interests of those who do not support Obama as a greater issue for his attention than the mandate the majority of voters handed him on November 6 to enact the change we need to secure America’s future for all its citizens. It is the diminished value corporate media places on an Obama victory for those who do not look like them, earn what they earn, live like they live. By diminishing his win, they diminish his right to govern and they diminish the value of our vote. That diminishes all Americans.

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

PRIVATIZING FIRST RESPONDERS: THE NEW CARPETBAGGERS, By Louise Annarino, October 30, 2012

30 Oct

Privatizing First Responders: the New Carpetbaggers, By Louise Annarino, October 30, 2012

April 22,1970. My friend Daisy Ouwelein saw the fruition of her organizing work on the campus of The Ohio State University as we celebrated the first Earth Day with millions of fellow Americans. Rachel Carson had published SILENT SPRING a year earlier, alerting us to the dangers of DDT and pesticides. In 1969 a massive oil spill despoiled the coast of Santa Barbara, California. Dead rivers carried industrial pollutants to the Great Lakes. Daisy had asked my help to promote and involve others in the day’s activities: Senatorial Candidate and former astronaut John Glenn spoke about his proposed anti-pollution legislation in Hitchcock Hall. Students learned about their “responsibility of the land” from the editor of Field and Stream magazine,Mike Frome, at the Ohio Union. Students walked the polluted Olentangy River which flowed through campus, many students needing medical treatment for rashes and infections after wading or being jokingly thrown in it. Organizing workshops were held on how to handle and fight environmental problems.

Earth Day’s founder, Senator Gaylord Nelson (D-WI), announced the idea for a “national teach-in on the environment” to the national media and persuaded Congressman Pete McCloskey, (R-CA)to serve as co-chair. His National Coordinator  Dennis Hayes, with a staff of 85, promoted events across the country. http://www.earthday.org/earth-day-history-movement. Students nationwide were already mobilized on college campuses in opposition to the Viet-Nam War. At OSU, students were in the midst of protests to end campus racism and establish a Black Studies Department, as well as end the war. The environmental movement became part of our generation’s understanding that the corporate world was using us as fodder for war and profit, with no concern for the destruction of human and environmental ecology.

Today, we see a continuing battle against these forces who refute the overwhelming evidence of climate change, genetically modify our foods, and wage war to seize and control natural and labor resources. They continue to pollute our soil/ air/ water, create disease in our children; and ask us to accept that “based on rates from 2007-2009, 41.24% of men and women born today will be diagnosed with cancer of all sites at some time during their lifetime. This number can also be expressed as 1 in 2 men and women will be diagnosed with cancer of all sites during their lifetime.” http://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/all.html#incidence-mortality

As I watch events unfold over eastern 1/3 of The U.S. from Hurricane, now Tropical Storm, Sandy I wonder at those who would vote for a candidate who openly attacks environmental regulation and control, is unwilling to maintain and fund FEMA, who seizes and controls labor at home and abroad by outsourcing jobs,and who questions the very existence of climate change.  Presidential candidate Romney states that “it is immoral” for the government to pay for emergency responders, passing on the cost to his grand-children. Instead he argues that emergency response should be “privatized”. I for one do not want to sit in my attic as waters rise, wondering if a private company finds it profitable to rescue me, or if a private fire company thinks my home is worth saving from a fire. Think I exaggerate? It has already happened because of a  Tennessee family’s failure to pay a $75 fee.

Imagine if emergency services had been privatized in New York on 9-11; or today while first responders search and rescue in Atlantic City, NJ and across the Eastern Seaboard. Imagine if the unions of government workers had failed to oppose efforts to eliminate government workers. When there is trouble of this magnitude, when so many lives are threatened and our cities face unimaginable  infrastructure losses, “Who Ya Gonna Call?” Ghostbusters? No, city, county and state workers, the national guard and the coast guard. And who is going to coordinate this effort across geopolitical boundaries? And who is going to assist smaller towns and cities to handle the heavy costs incurred? The federal government, FEMA, and a president who keeps private profit out of the formula to maximize results at lowest possible cost, spread wide to absorb the sticker shock for an individual person or community. This is how it works best. This is what we have learned over time.

Those who ask us to privatize government functions are the new “carpetbaggers”. Like those carpetbaggers who descended upon a broken South when it was at its most vulnerable, to make personal profit as it struggled to restore some economic stability, today’s carpetbaggers have targeted the entire country,perhaps the entire world, as an “easy mark”. I have mentioned before the shell game https://worthingtonforobama2012.wordpress.com/2012/10/01/a-debate-or-a-shell-game-whom-does-romney-think-he-is-kiddingby-louise-annarino-october-1-2012/ being played out during the 2012 election. As you watch events unfold over the next hours and days, keep in mind that increasing environmental threats are real. Our first responders are even more important to our survival and entitled to not only our thanks, but to our financial support for the risks they take to protect us. They come when called out of civic duty; not to profit off our suffering.