Letter to the Editor
October 1, 2021
The city of Kent will be holding Democracy Day next week, on Oct. 6. I imagine your first impression of the Democracy Day label is that it may be a holiday to celebrate our form of government because of what the United States has achieved. No! It is not a day of celebration but a day of mourning.
This public hearing before City Council will be about how corporations have abused democracy and taken control of our political and financial lives in the name of capitalism, renamed corporatism. Why? Because corporations control democracy. They are the winners and we are the losers. Capitalism is about making “big and dark money” that is accumulated by the plutocrats at the top and not shared with “we the people.” For more background, read New Yorker journalist Jane Mayer’s books and articles.
Democracy Day is an invitation to listen to how our corporations have acquired personhood and how their money has been ruled a form of speech. If “we the people” don’t act, the next presidential election could further erode our democracy toward an autocracy. For more information on the event, Google “Kent Democracy Day”.
By Sarah Wittman | Guest columnist
September 3, 2021 | Miami Valley Today (Ohio)
Friends and Neighbors,
I think we have all known for a long time that our elected officials have forgotten who they really work for — we the people, not their mega campaign donors and large corporations. A congressperson’s schedule reveals how much more time they spend meeting with corporate special interest groups and lobbyists or rubbing elbows with CEOs at campaign fundraisers than meeting with their actual constituents.
Large corporations have found it very easy to spend time in Washington interfering and taking advantage of our political process because of the broad interpretation of the Constitution and the reinforcement of First Amendment rights to corporations in the 2010 Supreme Court decision, Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission. This broad interpretation has allowed corporations to use these First Amendment freedom of speech rights to donate millions of dollars to political campaigns. This amount of money is vastly more than your or I could ever afford to contribute, and it creates a tremendous disadvantage to the average citizen. Who do you think is going to be first at the door asking for a favor when their politician gets elected?Read more
July 3, 2021
June 24, 2021
Letter to the Editor
PBM fiasco shows more must be done to hold corporate executives responsible
I write to thank The Dispatch for its series on Pharmacy Benefit Managers and the editorial in the June 20 edition that summarized how PBMs prey upon the country’s health care system and increase the cost of health care.
The series illustrates the essential role local newspapers play in protecting the public interest.
It also revealed yet another example of how executives in corporations routinely escape accountability for their criminal actions because a corporation is considered a “person” under current U.S. law.
The Dispatch reported how Centene corporation and its subsidiaries double-billed Ohio for their services, were sued by the state and then paid the state $88 million to “settle” the case without admitting any wrongdoing. It also paid a total of $1.1 billion to settle claims from several other states.
But no one faced criminal charges. Not the executives and managers who planned the thefts. Not the accountants who buried the thefts in annual reports. Not the corporate boards that signed off on those reports. And of course, since a company cannot be locked up, not the corporate “person” that was allowed to use its stolen money to buy its way out of accountability. Everyone involved in this multistate criminal conspiracy walks away scot-free.
So I ask the question: If an individual swindles senior citizens and reaps millions of dollars, how much of that money should it take to pay a large fine, admit no wrongdoing and walk away with no criminal liability?
Corporations are not people.
As Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens noted in 2010, the idea of corporate personhood “often serves as a useful legal fiction…” Corporations “are not themselves members of 'we the people' by whom and for whom our Constitution was established.”
More information can be found at movetoamend.org.
Steve Abbott, Columbus
Sandy Bolzenius, Coordinator of the Central Ohio MTA affiliate, developed a creative, personal and powerful approach to request Rep. Joyce Beatty co-sponsor HJR 48, the We the People Amendment. In addition to working with others to set up a virtual meeting with Rep. Beatty or an aide, she produced and sent a packet to the Congresswoman. The packet contained a personal letter and booklet appealing to her interest in Frederick Douglass and in making the connections between the efforts of Douglass, Ida B. Wells and Rosa Parks to assert the morality and constitutionality of slaves being human persons, not property, with Move to Amend's efforts that corporations are property, not human beings, and can be defined by We the People.
Below is Sandy's letter to Rep. Beatty. Click on the image to download the bookletRead more
Cleveland Heights' Democracy Day presented powerful testimony
Cleveland Heights City Council members, speakers and virtual viewers called January’s 8th annual Democracy Day public hearing “inspiring,” “informative,” and “enlightening”—hardly the “waste of time” claimed by Robert Shwab in a letter published in the March issue of the Heights Observer.
VILLAGE OF CHAGRIN FALLS
MOVE TO AMEND
March 4, 2021
Present: Grube, Rogoff, DeBernardo
The virtual meeting was called to order at 9:00 a.m. by Council President Erinn Grube.
Written statements were read from the following and are attached:
Diana Nazelli, 35 High Court, Chagrin Falls
Greg Coleridge, Cleveland Heights Resident
Anthony Fossaceca, 61 Olive Street, Chagrin Falls
Kathryn Garvey, 70 East Washington Street, Chagrin Falls
Sharon Broz, 410 Bell Street, Chagrin Falls
Judy Kramer, 165 Pheasant Run Drive, Chagrin Falls
Judy Majcen, 7180 Harris Farm Drive, Bainbridge Township
Lynne Rustad, 442 Solon Road, Chagrin Falls
Becky Thomas, 124 Ridgewood Road, Chagrin Falls
Audio comments from:
David Lima, 7774 Litchfield Drive in Mentor, said he coordinates the Mentor Move to Amend. He spoke about the ongoing tension in the history of the United States between legislative efforts to limit the influence of money and political power and judicial rulings curving congress=s power to do so.
Russ, 10259 Regatta Trail, Reminderville, spoke about the influence of corporations, problems with the environment, and global warming.
Mrs. Grube announced that the next Move to Amend meeting will take place in March of 2023.
Mrs. DeBernardo said we do face a lot of problems and we have been discussing them for decades. We do need to start working on solutions.
The meeting adjourned at 10:11 a.m.
MOVE TO AMEND DAY
March 4, 2021 - Public Comments Submitted
TABLE OF CONENTS
ZOOM CHAT ROOM MEETING COMMENTS ... 1
Greg Coleridge ... 1
Anthony Fossaceca ... 2
Kathryn Garvey/Sharon Broz ... 4
Judy Kramer ... 5
Judy Majcen ... 6
Diana Nazelli ... 7
Lynne Rustad ... 7
Becky Thomas ... 10Read more
MENTOR, OHIO | February 23, 2021
The biennial city-sponsored virtual public hearing for Mentor residents to speak on the impact of money in politics and its influence on our democracy and the role of corporations and other moneyed interests that play a part in the political process.
The hearing was mandated as part of a Mentor Move to Amend-led effort to pass a ballot initiative calling on the City to communicate to federal and state representatives that Mentor citizens want a Constitutional Amendment to end corporate personhood and money as free speech. The citizen-driven ballot initiative passed in 2014 by 70%.
There has been an ongoing tension in the history of the United States between legislative efforts to limit the influence of money and political power, and judicial rulings curbing Congress' power to do so. Particularly in the past 50 years, legislative efforts and Supreme Court rulings have made pivotal changes to the role that money plays in our democracy. Efforts to restrict the influence of money have been rolled back largely based on the misguided narrative that artificial entities are people and money is equivalent to speech protected by the First Amendment.Read more
OHIO: Painesville Issue 1: Grassroots group pushing to send message against corporate campaign contributions
PAINESVILLE, Ohio — The Center for Responsive Politics preliminarily projects the total cost of the 2020 election cycle to be $10.8 billion, roughly a 50% increase in spending compared to the 2016 election when adjusted for inflation. If the projections hold true, political spending this election cycle would equal about a third of Ohio's annual budget ($32.4 billion). As large sums of money and political influence have largely become synonymous with one another, a small but passionate group in Painesville is trying to put a stop to it.
On their ballots this November, Painesville voters will decide Issue 1, a proposed ordinance by petition that would declare the need for a constitutional amendment that would clamp down on political contributions by corporations, unions and Super PACs. The ordinance would also declare that money is not the equivalent of speech.Read more