The Ati-thesis , Marxism

"By that definition, a state capitalist country is one where the government controls the economy and essentially acts like a single huge corporation, extracting the surplus value from the workforce in order to invest it in further production.[3] Friedrich Engels, in Socialism: Utopian and Scientific, argues that state capitalism would be the final stage of capitalism consisting of ownership and management of large-scale production and communication by the bourgeois state.[4]"

Quoted from Wikepedia

Monday, April 16, 2018

The Maine Capital Corporation-Seeds of Fundamental Transformation

The capital stock was issued on August 7, 1980, to 6 individuals, 6 corporations, and 19 banks. THE MAINE CAPITAL CORPORATION Report of a Study by the JOINT STANDING COMMITTEE ON TAXATION 

This blog is the opinion of a layperson and citizen of Maine.

In the year 1976, under the leadership of Governor Longley's board, the Maine constitutional government was replaced with a centrally managed government based on public-private relationships. Longley's special board was composed, of the heads of Maine's largest and most powerful industries. The board produced a report identifying two objectives. One objective was to eliminate the municipal referendum on economic development bonds authorized by the Home Rule amendment to the Maine constitution in 1969.

The other objective, identified in The Governor's Task Force for Economic Redevelopment, Recommended Legislation for an Economic Development Program -110th Congress was, pursuant to the Maine Constitution, Article IV, Part Third, sections 13 & 14, equally unconstitutional. That objective was to charter the Maine Capital Corporation.

Neither the report by the Governor's Task Force of 1976 nor 1984. report of a study by the Joint Standing Committee on Taxation to the 111th Maine Legislature measures the consistency of the legislation chartering the Maine Capital Corporation with the Maine Constitution, the enabling authority for Maine statutory law.

The 1984 report is an evaluation 
of how the purpose of the law, which enabled the charter of the Maine Capital Corporation and associated tax credits, in the proposed interest of Maine small business economic development, was met in practice. Also required by PL 19 Chapter 686, was an examination of the income tax credits as they relate to Maine economic development.
Although the stated primary goal of the Maine capital Corporation is not the same goal as stated in the enabling legislation, the primary objective of the MCC is no different from that of most venture capital firms throughout the nation. According to Venture Economics, "The primary motivation for venture capital investment is to achieve very large capital gains for investors." By depending upon a strictly private venture capital investment company which has obligations to stockholders and no State imposed performance standards as a means to promote economic development of the State, the State of Maine has accepted the premise that the injection of venture capital in the Maine economy, is itself, a public benefit and promotes economic development. The more pertinent issue in this case may be the degree of effectiveness of a private, Maine based venture capital firm in providing needed capital to the Maine economy. report of a study by the Joint Standing Committee on Taxation to the 111th Maine Legislature
Both the majority and minority opinions of the Joint Standing Committee, concurred that the purpose of the enabling act of legislation had not been met but concluded that the corporation had significant potential and should be given the opportunity to realize that potential by taking away the limit on capitalization and the requirement that the geographical area be limited to Maine. To avoid the danger that the geographical expansion would result in investments concentrated outside the state, it was recommended that a percentage of the increase in investments be reserved for Maine.

The Joint Standing Committee recommended that a 1981 change to the statute, which extended the tax credit to any investor in the Maine Capital Corporation be reverted back to restricting tax credits to the original stockholders, composed of  6 individuals, 6 corporations, and 19 banks.
The original law creating the MCC limited the income tax credit provision to "subscribers in the common stock of the Maine Capital Corporation." The Attorney-General's office interpreted "subscribers in the common stock" to be the initial investors in the Maine capital Corporation. According to this opinion, " ... a transferee purchasing stock from a subscriber is not a subscriber, and thus, the credit cannot extent to transferees. report of a study by the Joint Standing Committee on Taxation to the 111th Maine Legislature
No explanation is offered for the interpretation supported by the Maine Attorney General's Office, In this author's opinion. words must be added to the law to support the Attorney General's interpretation. "Initial investor" qualifies a subset of common stockholders. Not discussed is that when the tax credit is transferred with a private sale of stock, does it surrender the power of taxation to the Maine Capital Corporation and violate the Maine Constitution, Article IX General Provisions, Section 9.  Power of taxation.  The Legislature shall never, in any manner, suspend or surrender the power of taxation. This leads to asking if the tax credit suspends the power of taxation?

Section 9.  Power of taxation.  The Legislature shall never, in any manner, suspend or surrender the power of taxation

The enabling 1979 law extended tax credits to subscribers of the common stock of the Maine Capital Corporation. 1981 legislation defined the tax credit as applying to any stockholder in the corporation, consistent with the Maine Constitution, Article IX, Section 8

Section 8.  Taxation.  All taxes upon real and personal estate, assessed by authority of this State, shall be apportioned and assessed equally according to the just value thereof.
The original stockholders took objection to the change for reasons left unexplained in the Joint Standing Committee report. The report does not say the defined number of shares is increased but states that there was a million-dollar cap on the capitalization making investors eligible for a total of  $500,000.00 in tax credits. Additional shares would have reduced the amount of the tax credit per shareholder. If the number of shares is decreased when a shareholder sells a portion of his shares to a new shareholder, the value per share for the original shareholder increases. Since selling stocks with the tax credits can be interpreted as transferring the power of taxation, it might explain why there is no provision in the law governing the sale of stocks as a transference of the tax credit.
 As a result of its investigation, the Joint Standing Committee on Taxation discovered that the enabling legislation and income tax credit provisions were amended in 1979. In the process of revising the income tax credit provisions to facilitate administration of the tax credits, the Legislature may have inadvertently expanded eligibility for MCC tax credits. Initially, only the original subscribers of MCC stock were eligible for tax credits, but currently, any investor in the corporation may qualify for the credits. The Committee unanimously recommends revision of the income tax credit to apply only to the original subscribers.THE MAINE CAPITAL CORPORATION Report of a Study by the JOINT STANDING COMMITTEE ON TAXATION 
In the section, above, it is suggested that changes enacted by the Legislature to extend the tax credits, on an ongoing basis, "may have been inadvertent". One wonders how conscientious can the law-making body be if they make such changes accidentally. I submit that it was done intentionally. Extending the tax credit to all investors furthers consistency with the Maine Constitution, Section 8: Taxation.  All taxes upon real and personal estate, assessed by authority of this State, shall be apportioned and assessed equally according to the just value thereof." By restricting the tax credits to the original stockholders. it becomes government in the interests of an oligarchy.

The Maine Constitution, Article IV, Part Third Section 14 prohibits the Maine Legislature from chartering corporations by special act of legislation, with exceptions for municipal purposes and if the object of the corporation cannot be achieved another way.  MCC enabling legislation defines the object of the Maine Capital Corporation as growing small business and rural economic development in the State. Clearly, economic development can be done by another means such as within the free enterprise economy by diversified resources. The institution of a centrally managed economy represents a change in the governing political philosophy. 

The enabling legislation's parameters of economic development include:
1. Develop or promote development of new businesses
2. Promote viable business expansions
3. Encourage capital reinvestments
4.. Reduce unemployment
5. Increase per capita income.
The primary objective of the Maine Capital Corporation according to the MCC brochure  is to 
"create long term capital appreciation for the venture's stockholders and for Maine Capital Corporation."  

The Oversight Committee hired the Beldon Hull Daniels firm to produce a report studying the effectiveness of the Maine Capital Corporation. A report entitled, Maine Small Business Development Finance by Belden Hull Daniels, presents the most detailed and relevant discussion, which I have come across in my years of studying Maine small business economic development policy. However, the Oversight Committee report deals only with how to attract investors to the Maine Capital Corporation and makes no recommendations relevant to measuring the effectiveness of the Maine Capital Corporation on Maine small business economic development.

The Daniels report concludes that
" MCC believes that it cannot compromise its expectations of return or any other investment criteria when looking for ventures in Maine. This would suggest that only expected returns in the range of 25-30 percent would be acceptable to MCC.Maine SmallBusiness Development Finance by Belden Hull Daniels.
The Daniels report questions whether this primary objective of MCC is consistent with the objective in the enabling law and does not agree with the Joint Standing Committee's central premise, that, "what is good for Maine capital is good for the State of Maine."
The Belden Hull Daniels report argues that the MCC looks for a minimum rate of return of 25 to 30% on its investment. Furthermore, the Daniels report asserts that this rate of return is substantial compared to the actual investment of $500,000 by the stockholders. The 50% income tax credit reduces the $1,000,000 investment to $500,000 and increases the effective rate of return to 50-60 percent. "Maine SmallBusiness Development Finance by Belden Hull Daniels.
The Daniels report strongly urges that the MCC be made accountable to the State with respect to the purposes established in the law, suggesting minimum standards and goals be included in the law, such as the number of new jobs to be created, for investors to qualify for the tax credit. In subsequent development of Maine economic development policy, this advice will be taken but in such a way that an artificial upper crust of the economy is created through taxpayer subsidies, damaging the middle sector of the Maine economy, which carries the burden of subsidizing the top.

The Standing Committee report simplifies the task of Maine economic development to creating attractive terms for investors in the Maine Capital Corporation. Although the Daniels report is comprehensive and must have cost the taxpayers of Maine a pretty penny, the Daniels report is all but ignored by the Standing Committee when the solutions recommended by the Joint Standing Committee address only the interests of investors in MCC. There are no measures recommended by the Committee to assure that the Maine Capital Corporation grows Maine's small business economy.
In the first year of operation, the MCC contracted with the Maine Development Foundation which agreed to provide facilities and personnel to the venture capital firm at a rate not to exceed $65,000 per year. Using the administrative and staff resources of the Maine Development Foundation the MCC made its first investment of $52,000 in a firm entitled Cabletronix in Rockland. In June, 1981, Cabletronix fi1ed for bankruptcy. report of a study by the Joint Standing Committee on Taxation to the 111th Maine Legislature
The Maine Development Foundation was chartered by the Maine Legislature when the Longley administration established a centrally managed economy in Maine. The Maine Development Foundation (corporation) is as unconstitutional as the Maine Capital Corporation pursuant to Article IV, Part Third, Section 14 of the Maine Constitution. The Maine Development Foundation still exists today. It's board members are found on the most influential boards across the State.

 The Maine Capital Corporation was repealed in 1994 with a Statement of Fact that it had fulfilled its original public purpose. The repeal of the Maine Capital Corporation was co-ordinated by the Joint Standing Committee with the ending of the tax credits. Once the tax credits no longer existed, it was interpreted as there is no further purpose to be fulfilled by the Maine Capital Corporation and the Joint Standing Committee recommended that the Maine Capital Corporation be reverted to a corporation operating under Maine general law, consistent with the Maine Constitution, Article IV, Part Third, Section 13 and 14.
Section 14.  Corporations, formed under general laws.  Corporations shall be formed under general laws, and shall not be created by special Acts of the Legislature, except for municipal purposes, and in cases where the objects of the corporation cannot otherwise be attained; and, however formed, they shall forever be subject to the general laws of the State. Maine Constitution
Spokespersons for the Maine Capital Corporation compare its investment strategy to "most other venture capital firms". The comparison, by both the Maine Capital Corporation and the Beldon Hull Daniels Report ,of MCC to any other private venture capital corporation, supports the argument that the charter of the MCC corporation by the Maine Legislature violated Article IV, Part Third Section 14 of the Maine Constitution, which prohibits the Legislature from chartering corporations with only two exceptions, one for municipal purposes, and the other if the object of the corporation cannot be done another way:

The Maine Capital Corporation argued that:
1. the low capitalization does not allow for many losses and does not generate sufficient income to pay administrative costs and offer attractive returns to investors,
2. the investment strategy of the MCC is no different than the investment strategy of most venture capital firms, (emphasis mine)
3. the investment of $250,000 in Maine businesses and future investments in themselves, fulfill the public purpose in the enabling legislation, and (emphasis mine)
4. The MCC is a private firm in which investors are eligible for income tax credits in return for risking their private' fortunes. The income tax credits are not state investment. (emphasis mine)
report of a study by the Joint Standing Committee on Taxation to the 111th Maine Legislature
Neither report includes what is found outside of the enabling statute, in the taxation chapter of the Maine statutes, which is the Maine Capital Corporation tax credit, including a 100% general corporate tax exemption for small business investment companies. The MCC tax credit has since been repealed but the general 100% tax exemption remains in place. The exemption was placed within the statutes, separately from the charter for the Maine Capital Corporation.

If one searches the Maine Capital Corporation, one will come across Title 10, Chapter  108: THE MAINE CAPITAL CORPORATIONClick on this link and it appears that the entire Act has been repealed. This Act is the "enabling legislation" referred to by the report.

However, the actual tax credit is located in two separate locations under TAXATION. Curiously, when googling the Maine Capital Corporation, today, the link to §5167. Credit for investment in The Maine Capital Corporation under Title 36: TAXATION Part 8: INCOME TAXES Chapter 811: COMPUTATION OF TAXABLE INCOME OF RESIDENT ESTATES AND TRUSTS, is displayed at the top of the list. If you click on that link, it appears that the credit was repealed and that is all there is to it, but that is deceptive.

There is another section to Title 36, Part 8, which is not displayed on the Google search. Under Title 36: Part 8: Chapter 817: IMPOSITION OF TAX ON CORPORATIONS is found 
§5202 and most importantly, §5202-A, which makes small business investment companies exempt from taxation. At the time the Maine Capital Corporation tax credit was written into the TAXATION chapter of the Maine statutes, refundable tax credits were first coming into use across the USA. Although the legislation does not identify the Maine Capital Corporation tax credit as a refundable tax credit, considering that the same chapter included a 100% tax exemption, as a section of the MCC tax credit, it is, by design, a refundable tax credit. A refundable tax credit means that if no taxes are owed, the public owes the holder a cash payout. The credit is not an investment, which anticipates receiving something in return. It is a gift which takes the risk out of the investment. (This author is not a tax lawyer and puts forth this observation as a common-sense  speculation, only.)

§5202. Credit for investment in The Maine Capital Corporation (REPEALED) SECTION HISTORY
1977, c. 531, §4 (NEW)1981, c. 364, §67 (RP).
§5202-A. Small business investment companies exempt
Corporate small business investment companies, licensed under the United States Small Business Investment Act of 1958, as amended, and commercially domiciled in Maine and doing business primarily in Maine, shall be exempt from taxation under this Part. [1977, c. 640, §2 (NEW).]SECTION HISTORY
1977, c. 640, §2 (NEW).
... the enabling legislation was amended in 1979 to expand the financing methods of the MCC from solely investing equity capital to also include loans and guarantees. The purpose of this change was to allow the MCC to operate as a Small Business Investment Corporation under the Small Business Administration. This new function allows the SBIC or the MCC in this case to borrow money from the SBA to loan to small business. A SBIC can borrow up to 3 times its capital  report of a study by the Joint Standing Committee on Taxation to the 111th Maine Legislature
The rational found in "4. The MCC is a private firm in which investors are eligible for income tax credits in return for risking their private' fortunes" is an incomplete truth. The language is suggestive that personal (private) fortunes are being invested. The pool of investors is composed of  6 individuals, 6 corporations, and 19 banks. Investments typically involve risk in return for an opportunity for profit. The Maine taxpayers are either directly refunding 50% of the investment or carrying the burden of the investor's taxes, for which the Maine taxpayers do not receive a share of the profits. It is the Maine taxpayers who are taking on risk without a measurable opportunity to profit.

Accepting the reasonable assumption that the tax credit was treated as a refundable tax credit, an investment of $250,000, at a direct cost to taxpayers of $500,000.00 cannot be said to fulfill a public economic development purpose since the public is clearly the loser in this picture. If the Small Business Investment Corporation could borrow three times its capital, that meant that MCC had 3,000,000.00 in funds to lend or invest in Maine small businesses. Of the $250,000.00 reported as an investment, $50,000.00 was a loan. With only $200,000.00 of a total $1,000,000.00 invested in Maine small businesses, reported in the 1984 report, by June of 1983 MCC had invested $800,000.00 in interest-earning accounts in its own shareholder's banks.
The Maine Capital Corporation also " invests idle cash in certificates of deposit and money market accounts with shareholder banks. As of June 30, 1983, these investments were approximately $800,000, and income from those investments for 1983 was $95,000." report of a study by the Joint Standing Committee on Taxation to the 111th Maine Legislature
 A certificate of deposit is a promissory note issued by a bank. It is a time deposit that restricts holders from withdrawing funds on demand. A CD is typically issued electronically and may automatically renew upon the maturity of the original CD. When the CD matures, the entire amount of principal,as well as interest earned, is available for withdrawal. Investopedia
 Money market accounts are typically able to offer higher annual percentage yields than savings accounts as the vehicles invest in a variety of options from which traditional passbook accounts are restricted. Banking institutions provide access to insured money market deposit accounts (MMDA). MMDA’S offer FDIC backing and the portfolios typically invest in short-term, liquid securities. They are able to offer a higher interest rate by requiring a higher minimum balance, and by placing restrictions on the number of withdrawals the account holder may take over a given period of time. This restriction makes them less liquid than a checking account, but more liquid than bonds. Money markets pursue investing deposits in vehicles such as certificates of deposit, government securities, and commercial paper that offer higher yields than are generally found in savings accounts.
In expanding the financing methods of the MCC to include loans and guarantees, the MCC violated the original rationale for forming the Maine Capital Corporation as stated in the report for the Governor's Task Force of 1976:
The Legislature finds that one of the limiting factors on the beneficial economic development of the State is the limited availability of capital for the long-term needs of Maine businesses and entrepreneurs. In particular, the lack of equity capital to finance new business ventures and the expansion or recapitalization of existing businesses is critical. This lack of equity capital may prevent worthwhile businesses from being established; it may also force businesses to use debt capital where equity capital would be more appropriate. This creates debt service demands which a new or expanding venture may not be able to meet successfully, causing the venture to fail because of the lack of availability of the appropriate kind of capital.
The Governor's Task Force of 1976
In the following section, the Maine Capital Corporation threatened to take their investments elsewhere, if it did not get its terms written into Maine law:
The Maine Capital Corporation argues that if no changes are made with respect to the low capitalization and the geographical investment restriction (limited to Maine businesses), the MCC will form a "sister Corporation'" able to invest anywhere. If the capitalization ceiling is removed, but the geographical restriction is not eliminated, the MCC argues that out-of-state investors, the major source of investment capital) will not invest in the MCC.…/Rp…/kf1080_z99m2_1984.pdf
During the Angus King Administration, the Maine Legislature chartered a new venture capital firm, today called the Maine Venture Fund. The Maine Venture Fund is structured as a public fund, in which investments "roll over" in the manner of a non-profit, and the side funds, which are left to be managed and defined at the discretion of the board. The Maine Venture Fund is promoted as investing exclusively in Maine businesses, but with the loose structuring of the side funds, that statement should be taken with a grain of salt, noting that in the original act chartering the Maine Venture Fund, it was, and is, still called the Small Enterprise Growth Fund- a name shared in the definitions with the public part of the fund, while the term "Side Fund" refers to side funds, defined and administered by the board at its own discretion. The co-existence of two sets of funds in the contemporary public-private investment company, the Maine Venture Fund, mirrors "the sister Corporation" proposed by the Maine Capital Corporation.

The Joint Standing Committee report ends with this paragraph suggesting the Maine Capital Corporation be ended in 1988, keeping the 100% tax exemption, provided in §5202-A. Small business investment companies exempt, in place, obscured and separated from a plethora of acts, passed since 1984, creating refundable tax credits for investors.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Meeting at Maine Statehouse on Penalties for Violations of Maine's Freedom of Information Act.

I recently posted in the Boothbay Register public forum concerning the secret agreement between the Boothbay selectmen and Maine Coastal Botanical Gardens Inc, opining that it violates due process provided in Maine's Freedom of Information Act- and posted this section from that act:
1. Conditional approval or denial. Every agency shall make a written record of every decision involving the conditional approval or denial of an application, license, certificate or any other type of permit. The agency shall set forth in the record the reason or reasons for its decision and make finding of the fact, in writing, sufficient to appraise the applicant and any interested member of the public of the basis for the decision. A written record or a copy thereof shall be kept by the agency and made available to any interested member of the public who may wish to review it.
[ 1975, c. 758, (NEW) .]
Today I received an email notice of a meeting about the penalties for violating the Freedom of Information Act taking place on April 26:
Here it is 
Good morning,

The Right to Know Advisory Committee will hold a subcommittee meeting to discuss penalties under the Freedom of Access Act on Thursday, April 26 at 11:00am in Room 437 (Veterans and Legal Affairs) of the State House. We are finalizing the agenda for the meeting and will send it along as soon as possible.

Thank you,

Legal Extern
Public Access Division
Office of the Attorney General
6 State House Station | Augusta, ME 04333 |

Correspondence to and from this address is considered a public record and may be subject to a request under the Maine Freedom of Access Act. Information that you wish to keep confidential should not be included in email correspondence.

If you are interested in protecting the public's right to know,please attend and spread the word !

Sunday, April 8, 2018

A Convenient Law Suit & New Commercial Development at Maine Coastal Botanical Gardens Inc.

While the super-funded Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens Inc is busy using it's vast re-distributed wealth to bully the Town of Boothbay, Maine.into allowing the Gardens to build a parking lot in the water shed, few are paying attention to the fact that the tax-exempt Gardens is also expanding its commercial operations via a restaurant and an expanded gift store.
Meanwhile, thanks to the distributive policies of the Maine DOT, Maine state taxpayers were required to pay one third of the cost of rerouting the traffic patterns entering and exiting Boothbay Harbor by creating an obstacle in the formerly unobstructed roadway so that the traffic pattern goes directly from Coastal Gardens Incorporated to Paul Couloumbs Country Club and planned shopping mall.
The co-chair of the JECD public-private development group, Wendy Wolf, when running for State Selectmen weighed in on the round about issue by glibly saying she supported the round about because "it wasn't a referendum on Coulombe, it's a traffic issue", with no further explanation of what the traffic issue is- but clearly it was to reroute traffic to join two members of Ms Wolf's "peer group" of the wealthiest oligarchs in town.
So while the JECD development group with clearly stated ambitions to become a regional board with taxation authority over four municipalities, may currently have gotten away with taxing Boothbay and Boothbay Harbor residents equally in the interests of developing a social scene for the wealthy in Boothbay Harbor during what was formerly called "the Christmas Season" but now called with political correctness a "Festival of Lights" , one must ask, is the ultimate master plan to replace Boothbay Harbor as the center of commercial activity with the commercial ambitions of the non-profit Gardens incorporated and the for-profit kingdom of Coulombe- both located in Boothbay. Is this the JECD development group's rational for currently taxing Boothbay for benefits going to Boothbay Harbor?
In consideration of the commercial ambitions of the tax-exempt Garden's Inc, and its use of its tax-exempt funding to finance a law suit designed to force the Town to do its bidding, this is a good time to read Burton Weisbrod.
Quote from the abstract of this paper:
These questions are:
a) Why is the nonprofit sector expanding
b) How is the growth of nonprofits affecting other parts of the
economy?; and
(c) What evidence is there that nonprofits make a difference,
that they perform functions which private firms or government cannot perform?
A major theme is that the sector's growth necessitates finding ways to increase revenues, and that has brought side effects, particularly as nonprofits have become more and more "commercial." In the process, borders between
the nonprofit and both the for-profit and public sectors are being crossed increasingly, and with consequences that often pose problems.…

The nonprofit sector - neither private enterprise nor governmental - is growing rapidly, and not only in the United States. This article…

Friday, April 6, 2018

Prototype design- Carved Vase by Weston Neil Andersen
This weekend, on Saturday , April 7th, Andersen Design will be featured in the First Vintage Show at the Wiscasset Community Center
Phone(207) 882-8230Website
A sampling of cobbles- small inexpensive but individualistic ceramic art

The entry road to the Center runs next to the sports field to the Wiscasset High School. Traveling on the road headed to Augusta from Wiscasset, the entry road is before on epasses the sports field. There is a red & white sign announcing the show.

The show includes work made by local artisans . We fit into both the vintage and local artisans category and will be displaying both.

An early 1950's Andersen Chowder Bowl, signed in the hand written Andersen signature

For the last several months, I have been photographing our vintage work and publishing it in an Air Table data base. The data base is not yet ready for prime time and so is not yet publicly accessible but we will grant access by special request.

We have 467 pieces documented to date and a lot more to add. This includes everything from mint pieces to broken pieces. During the 65 years in which Andersen Design has been producing ceramic art and design, many one of a kind decorated pieces were created using our slip cast designs as a canvas. Back in the day, when there was no instant documentation technology. the best pieces were quickly sold without a record being made. We got to keep the broken or chipped works. 

Recently I found a box of broken rectangular trays completely blacked with soot, because they had been in a house fire. I washed off the soot and found underneath a jig saw puzzle of decorative ceramic drawings by my mother. They look like an artists sketch pad but they are not as easy to do in ceramics as they look. Ceramics is not a what-you-see-is-what-you-get technology. Colors after being fired look nothing like the un-fired colors. Ceramic colors are also very sensitive to teh weight of application. My mother ( Brenda Andersen)'s drawings looked so spontaneous that one can only presume that she had a very intuitive relationship to the ceramic decorating process. This kind of work is rarely done, especially not in production ceramics, which is why I often say that Andersen Design was doing production as an art form long before it was invented by Andy Warhol.
A drawing of the author of this blog as a young girl by Brenda Andersen

Although many of our retained works are broken, they represent a larger body of work that is out there across the American landscape, individualistic - one- of- a - kind artists work which has never been recorded for prosperity. This is one task we hope to accomplish through the Andersen Design Museum of American Designer Craftsmen.

So come to the show at WiscassetCommunity Center on Saturday and see what a historical perspective of one of America's most unusual and classic ceramic design companies looks like. See you there!
Three of Brenda's Studio work done on the large Egg Form Vase by Weston


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Public Private Relationships and the New Owners of The Means of Production a Finalists in the Pen Literary Awards


The combination of our New York and Los Angeles offices and membership strongholds will provide tent poles on each coast, enabling us to accelerate efforts to build a truly national organization.
 Our goal is to build a national constituency of writers and readers who are energized to defend open discourse; foster the exchange of ideas across political, geographic and ideological bounds; amplify unheard voices; and stand with writers and creators who face persecution. Over the last year, PEN America has taken new steps to engage and mobilize members across the country through events, activities and leadership development in more than a dozen cities including Tulsa, Tucson, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Detroit, and New Orleans.

The timing of this union is no coincidence as we face potent challenges to free speech, press freedom, the right to dissent, and the open flow of information here in the United States. Never have the voices of writers and their allies been so essential. Members of the writing community have a vital role to play in shaping public discourse, resisting encroachments on treasured freedoms, and standing with those on the front lines to safeguard the values at the heart of PEN’s mission. These treacherous times have prompted a far-reaching discussion about how PEN’s manifold efforts could be fortified. It became obvious that rather than toiling separately, we should marshal our energies, resources, and ideas in order to maximize our collective impact in the United States and around the world.

Last Summer I entered my ongoing project Public Private Relationships and the New Owners of the Means of Production in the Oral History category of the Pen Literary awards .It is the first writing competition which I have entered and so to make it as far as the finalists is very encouraging.

 The entry confirmation said this:

Dear Susan Andersen, 

Thank you for submitting Public Private Relationships and the New Owners of the Means of Production for the 2018 PEN/Jean Stein Grant for Literary Oral History. We are writing to confirm that we received your application, and if we should require any additional information, we’ll be sure to be in touch. 

Applicants will be notified immediately when/if their project is no longer under consideration. If you should have any questions in the meantime, please write to

Please visit for updates regarding the timing for the announcement of the winner of the award. 

Thank you! 
PEN Literary Awards

Then I didn't hear back until I received this: 

Dear Susan Andersen, 

Thank you for submitting Public Private Relationships and the New Owners of the Means of Production for the 2018 PEN/Jean Stein Grant for Literary Oral History. The overall quality of this year's applications was quite high, making for some very difficult decisions for our judges. The judges have made their final selections, and I regret to inform you that your project has not been chosen as the winner. 

We are tremendously grateful for your submission to this award, and we hope that you will consider submitting another project of yours for this award in the future. Submissions for the 2019 Awards Cycle will open in the late spring. 

Please note that due to the large volume of applications that our judges review, they are unable to offer feedback or recommendations on any particular project. 

We know this isn’t the update you were hoping for, but we would nevertheless like to take this opportunity to wish you the best of success with your work. 

Best regards, 
The PEN America Literary Awards Department 

588 Broadway Suite 303, New York, NY 10012, USA | | @penamerican 
The Freedom to Write

You can go here to view the submission:

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Wendy Rosen's Campaign for Indelible Labeling Meets the Global State's Foreign Trade Zones.

Click to Go to our KickStarter Campaign Preview


Wendy Rosen has been advocating for indelible labeling of imports for years. During the beginning of the Baldacci administration, Wendy Rosen sent me an initiative on this and I submitted it to "the creative economy list serve" a list serve sponsored by Maine's public-private government, jurored by its friends. My message asked Mainers to contact Olympia Snowe but the overlords of the listserve rejected my submission.

I then took the message to a local craft fair. I could not even finish my first sentence before people were grabbing it out of my hand. I told them that it had been rejected from the list serve. Someone suggested I contact Mrs Baldacci. I did so but did not get a personal response from the Governor's wife. However, several months later I received a demented apology from the list serve jurors, explaining that they thought it was spam.

Years later while researching for my book, "Public Private Relationships and the New Owners of the Means of Production", I learned that the labels are removed at foreign trade zones. Maine receives federal money for setting up foreign trade zones. Corporation with shareholders are required to maximise profits, which they do by locating production where labor is least expensive. Large corporations make higher profits than American made hand crafts and so the state protects the interests of global markets, as is written into the Legislative treatise establishing the DECD, which manages the foreign trade zones. The findings section of the statute establishing Maine's Department of Economic and Community Development illuminates a a philosophy in which the State’s function is to facilitate globalism and to conform to the new world order in which manufacturing takes place where ever the cost of labor is the least in the global economy.
§13051. Legislative findings (Department of Economic and Community Development)

The Legislature finds that the State's economy is linked to the national and international economies. Economic changes and disruptions around the world and in the nation have a significant impact upon the State's economy. The rise of 3rd-world and 4th-world countries as manufacturers of commodities for mass markets and the gradual evolution of the national economy to a technological, informational, specialty product-based economy have significantly affected the State and its communities. [RR 2013, c. 2, §5 (COR).] 
 In order for the State's economy to grow and gain a solid footing, it is necessary to determine the State's assets and the economic opportunities that are or will be available to the State's enterprise, municipalities and labor force. When these opportunities are determined or become apparent, state economic development policies and programs must be focused on facilitating the realization of these opportunities and removing barriers that impede the exploitation of these opportunities. [1987, c. 534, Pt. A, §§17, 19 (NEW).] (emphasis mine)
The Legislature finds that an economic development strategy designed to focus the State's economic development activities and resources on economic opportunities can significantly help the State and its municipalities realize greater growth and prosperity without adversely affecting the quality of life in the State. An economic development strategy must recognize and reflect the different needs, conditions and opportunities of the several different economic regions of the State. This strategy must be flexible and periodically evaluated to make it consistent with changes in conditions and opportunities that arise during these times of dynamic change. It is necessary to involve municipalities, regional economic development organizations and the private sector in the formulation of this strategy in order to establish a well-developed and comprehensive plan that has the support of the State's citizens and officials. [1987, c. 534, Pt. A, §§17, 19 (NEW).]

Note that in this statutory rhetoric, enterprises, municipalities, and labor force are treated as belonging to the State. For argument's sake if you take the phrase "The State" out of the sentence, it conveys a different meaning, ie" In order for the Maine economy to grow and gain a solid footing, it is necessary to determine the assets and the economic opportunities that are or will be available to enterprises, municipalities and the labor force."  The state's interest lies in managing the entire labor force in the state, which explains why entrepreneurialism is inconceivable in the bottom half of the economy which the state does not serve because it only serves "the quality jobs sector" which by definition is that sector offering a higher than average income- subsidized by the state of course! The entire labor force of Maine is conceived as belonging to the state, along with the enterprises and municipalities. The state gains ownership of the municipalities through regionalism, which gradually eliminates the municipal referendum as it transfers decision making to regional boards. That is why business ownership is discouraged in the bottom of the economy. The state has created a taxpayer subsidized top of the economy designated as the "quality jobs" sector, in which the state plays the role outlined in Mussolini's Doctrine of Fascism.
Conception of a corporative state
The Ministry of Corporations is not a bureaucratic organ, nor does it wish to exercise the functions of syndical organizations which are necessarily independent, since they aim at organizing, selecting and improving the members of syndicates. The Ministry of Corporations is an institution in virtue of which, in the centre and outside, integral corporation becomes an accomplished fact, where balance is achieved between interests and forces of the economic world. Such a glance is only possible within the sphere of the state, because the state alone transcends the contrasting interests of groups and individuals, in view of co-coordinating them to achieve higher aims. The achievement of these aims is speeded up by the fact that all economic organizations, acknowledged, safeguarded and supported by the Corporative State, exist within the orbit of Fascism; in other terms they accept the conception of Fascism in theory and in practice. (speech at the opening of the Ministry of Corporations, July 31, 1926, in Discorsi del 1926, Milano, Alpes, 1927, p. 250) The Doctrine of Fascism, Benito Mussolini, 193239
In Maine, today, one could just replace "The Ministry of Corporations:with §3304.Industry partnerships, passed by the Maine Legislature in 2015.

One also finds the historical origins of the "quality jobs" sector in Mussolini's writings:
Grouped According to their several interests, individuals form classes; they form trade-unions when organized according to their several economic activities; but first and foremost they form the State, which is no mere matter of numbers, the sums of the individuals forming the majority. Fascism is therefore opposed to that form of democracy which equates a nation to the majority, lowering it to the level of the largest number but it is the purest form of democracy if the nation be considered as it should be from the point of view of quality rather than quantity. The Doctrine of Fascism 

It is not the role of the DECD or Maine’s creative economy to protect American and Maine made products from fraudulent imitators. If the local government does not protect the interest of Maine and American made manufacturing from fraudulent imitators abroad, then who does? Foreign Trade Zones facilitate the foreign imitators by providing the facilities where the transformation of the identity of country of origin can take place.

Recently, I checked out the donation page of a local economic development group. There I found Aid To Artisans, a Washington DC based non-profit dedicated to using the crafts to help low income people develop economic independence in "emerging countries", though sometimes they say "all over the world". I have never received an enthusiastic response from the local economic development group, or from any other economic development group in Maine. Usually I do not receive an answer to my correspondence. When I do, it is a list of classes for "start ups" or a link to a different organization. When I asked for help with our business plan from the local economic development group, I mentioned that my partner had been in talks with someone from their organization about licensing but I not heard back from them in months. Thereafter my partner heard back but was told they only deal with one person per company, to let her know why I would not receive a response.  I developed my business plan on my own, as a working partner business plan.

Here is the description about what Aid to Artisans does from their website:
This new partnership will broaden ATA’s capacity to transform artisan skills into profitable businesses in emerging countries. ATA’s signature approach is centered on market driven product development, entrepreneurial training and access to ATA’s international buyer network, developed during more than 38 years of creating sustainable income for artisans in more than 110 countries. Creative Learning brings expertise in large-scale development initiatives aimed at improving infrastructure, upgrading health and education, creating jobs, and preventing or reversing damage to the environment. With support in management and program design from Creative Learning, ATA will continue to leverage its global expertise for compounded economic impact, bolstering linkages between artisans and international markets Aid To Artisans, About Us ( emphasis mine)
Like most organizations in Maine, the local development group uses the coded language of the State rhetoric. In the global economy, with many organizations, expressing their goals using similar language and concepts, crafts are used to develop economic independence in "third world countries", where the global low cost labor markets used by large corporations with obligations to the shareholders to maximize profits, manufacture. Is there a connection to the "grass roots"  non-profit global economic development initiatives which use the crafts to stimulate economic independence ? "Crafts", "making", and "manufacture" are words which mean the same thing, but in American politically correct society, "production" is a word on the "Do not use list". My application for fiscal sponsorship as a social enterprise, which would use the crafts as a way to develop economic independence in low income areas of Maine, was rejected because I used the word "production" on my application, which the board said meant I was only in it for the money, although Andersen Design has never had shareholders and so is not obligated to maximize profits. We competed successfully for years in a market dominated by products made in global low-ost markets. The large corporations which sells a mug in the same price range as we do, but has it manufactured in the global low cost market, makes a much larger profit.

Later I ran into the taboo against the word "production" when I invited a local individual over to meet with our group about developing a video for our Kickstarter project, or so I thought. Instead he sat at the table and proceeded to play the role of business consultant. When I used the word "production", he stopped me mid-sentence, to tell me I should not use that word. He then proceeded to tell us that we cannot do a Kickstarter because we are not a start-up company- using the word "kickstarter" to justify his logic, displaying his lack of real research into the development of KickStarter. KickStarter is being used today to launch products on the market and to finance ceramic production studios. Kickstarter is a free enterprise development, which is a counter political philosophy to a centrally managed economy. Perhaps this explains why one finds no support for developing a KickStarter project from local economic development groups, apparent extensions of the state, whose political philosophy is expressed above in the findings for Maine's Department of Economic and Community Development, which performs the planning function for the FAME corporation, which concentrates and redistributes wealth in Maine. And the web weaves on.

PREVIEW LINK TO ANDERSEN DESIGN KICKSTARTER PROJECTWe Need To Develop A list of supporters who will pledge on day  one before we can launch.We are also looking for talent who can help us to produce the video

Our would-be collaborator never discussed making a video.It amazes me that one cannot find support for making a video. This is a natural business for someone to start up in today's economy or for economic development groups to offer, but it seems, it is not consistent with central management's agenda to offer services which might help independent grass roots entrepreneurs in the USA.

So many years later Wendy Rosen is still an activist for indelible labels on foreign imports and still the government does nothing.It is aligned with the new global world order like any hot shot should be!