Republicans to blame
The present market turbulence is refocusing public attention on what matters. Yes, the Alaska governor’s inability to discuss anything of significance coherently and truthfully is significant. But her family tribulations, and her running mate’s proclaiming we are all Georgians, are mere side shows, no more real than “reality television.” How private markets are recapitalized with public money, and for whose benefit they are regulated, are reality.
Who benefits? Since Ronald Reagan proclaimed that “government was the problem,” government was administered by those who disdain governance.
Regulation was in the hands of those who regarded it as a crime against freedom bestowed by private wealth. The public good was entrusted to those who held the public in contempt. The administration of George W. Bush, with all its incompetence, scandal and ignorant arrogance, is the final product, our nation on supply-side conservatism.
Who benefited? The well-to-do, whose acquisitive aggression was undeterred. In less than 30 years their incomes and assets more than tripled; the ratio of CEO compensation to average worker pay ballooned from 40 to 1 to almost 400 to 1. Taxes on wealth and business profits assumed a smaller fraction of government revenue; the nonwealthy majority of taxpayers picked up the bill, paying higher local taxes and getting less services.
The word “republic” derives from the Latin ‘res public,’ the business of the public at large, the commonwealth. Liberal Democrats always understood this and have been more conscientious stewards of the public business than conservative Republicans, whose defense of private wealth mocks their party’s name.
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Obama and the tide
Is anyone happy with the state of the economy today, with the prices of everything going up and the wages of average Americans going down? With a 90 percent voting record with George Bush, John McCain’s policies have done nothing to help out the people of Maine, but they have made things a lot easier for the fat cats in Washington.
During this election, we have a clear choice between a candidate who will offer meaningful change and a candidate who will offer more of the same. In 1935, the U.S. Public Works Administration and Democratic President Franklin Delano Roosevelt started the Quoddy Tidal Power Project, a plan that would have used Maine’s natural resources to provide jobs and energy to our people, but which was never built.
Barack Obama has proposed investing $150 billion over the next 10 years in alternative sources of energy like wind power, tidal power, and advanced biofuels. This could bring the change we desperately need. Vote for McCain and you will get a continuation of the last eight years, but if you cast your ballot for Barack Obama, we will have a real shot at turning Maine around.
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Tom Allen for Senate
Let’s be clear: We do not have two moderate Republican Senators. We have one, Olympia Snowe. At nearly every turn Susan Collins as a Bush Republican has rubber-stamped all of the president’s tax plans — in 2001, 2003 and 2006. Maine’s Sen. Snowe objected that the Bush tax plans did not offer adequate relief for the middle class and voted against the plans in 2003 and 2006. That took courage and showed a moderate’s devotion to Maine unmatched by her Senate colleague Susan Collins.
I am a Democrat, to be sure, but with that voting record against the needs of Maine residents it is quite clear which Republican senator on principle needs to be replaced. Nostalgia voting for Collins, who originally promised to run only for two terms, seemingly runs deep among older Mainers, particularly women voters. I urge every voter to question their possible support for Susan Collins this time around. Tom Allen in the House has a record unmatched in support of the needs of Mainers and against the Iraq war. We need Democrat Tom Allen in the Senate this time around — one principled Democrat and one principled Republican is a far better formula for the deep, deep troubles America now faces after eight Bush years.
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In support of civility
In his Sept. 29 column, David Broder claims that Barack Obama’s “deference” to John McCain in the Sept. 26 debate, his several acknowledgements of agreement with McCain, and his frequent glances at McCain (despite McCain’s refusal to meet his eye) indicated that “Obama seemed to accept McCain as the alpha male.”
How sad that Sen. Obama’s old-fashioned good manners are interpreted as weakness. What an advantage in international diplomacy those manners would be! And surely courtesy is more effective in reconciling differences in Congress than the sort of rude and aggressive behavior Mr. Broder seems to admire in McCain. Forget the jungle vocabulary; I’m voting for civility and Barack Obama.
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Pan Star City bypass
As I recall, the public hearing on the proposed Presque Isle Bypass, conducted by the state Department of Transportation on Aug. 14, 2006, at the Caribou Inn and Convention Center, was standing room only. Attendance was about 300.
The overwhelming sentiment in comments that evening was against building a bypass. The lone voice favoring a bypass was that of Sam Collins, representing Leaders Encouraging Aroostook Development, a Caribou-based nonprofit organization.
Jay Clement of the U.S Army Corps of Engineers did not attend and did not observe firsthand the concern about building a Presque Isle bypass.
Maine DOT has recently submitted a second-phase permit application to Clement to conduct dredging and filling in waters (including wetlands) in the Aroostook River watershed. The “Upgrade Route 1” and “No Build” options remain on the table. Studies have shown the price of a bypass in tax dollars is high and the economic benefit to Presque Isle’s downtown is negligible.
Before Oct. 23, drop a postcard to: Jay L. Clement, USACE, 675 Western Ave. No. 3, Manchester 04351. Or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your name and city. Request a public hearing in Presque Isle.
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Irish eyes not smiling
From the Oct. 6 issue of Time Magazine: John McCain observed, “Ireland now has an 11 percent business tax. The U.S. has a 35 percent business tax. Where are the businesses going to go?”
From the BDN, Sept. 27-28, “It’s official in Ireland: Economy in Recession,” and “economists say worse is still to come.”
Maybe not the best choice for companies right now, but now long ago, Ireland was being held up to the world as one of the best places to do business. At the time, that was true. How quickly things can change.
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A modest proposal
Everyone wants honesty and responsibility in our government officials. What I propose may be considered politically incorrect and the diversity crowd may panic.
Everyone who expects to vote should be required to register at their voting precinct with photo identification a minimum of 30 days before elections. This allows officials time to verify any questionable registrations. A simple test is required to determine if a person is capable of reading and writing their own name in English. How else would a person be able to cast a responsible vote?
Absentee voting allows only seven days before general elections with counting of those votes after general elections.
Voter fraud is an ever-present danger and the small inconveniences that may occur by my proposals are far outweighed by the honesty derived from it.
A better voting process would not be discriminatory to anyone because all would be treated equally. Honesty must be present at the polls and voting process to produce honest officials.
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Sen. Schneider ‘gets’ it
Over the past several years I have had the privilege of working with Sen. Elizabeth Schneider on several Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, or STEM, projects and initiatives. Sen. Schneider “gets” the long-term problems that are facing Maine’s and the nation’s economy. Many of these ultimately stem from a lack of investment into the STEM fields. She understands that it takes years and even decades to successfully produce the professionals of the next generation. And these professionals are the ones who start up and maintain our industries of tomorrow.
Many people in today’s society have a problem looking beyond this year or this election and so we are faced with an inability to see our long term needs. Sen. Schneider is not one of those people. The senator has repeatedly been able to see in the long term and focus on the roots that will result in a better tomorrow. This is a trait we should expect and demand of all our leaders.
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