A new day dawning
The Central America Free Trade Agreement is written by and for corporations. It has caused enormous suffering in Central America.
The essence of CAFTA is to give corporations free rein to destroy the environment (i.e. mining of minerals and forests), pay extremely low wages and demand long working hours in prison-like conditions, and steal resources.
The agreement has resulted in the outsourcing of hundreds of Maine jobs and has kept wages low here. It also has allowed the flooding of markets by American agribusiness, which has caused Central American and Mexican farmers to abandon their farms. Fair trade respects the environment, pays a living wage and stops the flooding of foreign markets with our heavily subsidized agriculture.
A new day is dawning. We will revitalize our local businesses. We will bring employment to the cities and small towns in work that brings needed goods and services to our neighbors, and expands our way of life spiritually and culturally without development, which continues to destroy our planet.
After our basic needs are met, it is about being more, not having more. It is about more community, more sharing, more art, music and theater. We must produce goods with local resources: earth, water, seeds, wool, timber and fish. We can reduce shipping by developing community self-reliance with local energy and food security, and more rail lines.
Sen. Damon, D-Trenton, proposes to call a homosexual relationship a “marriage.”
This is an affront to God’s teachings. In Genesis 19 of the Bible we read the story of Abraham’s nephew Lot. Lot invites strangers into his home instead of letting them spend the night in the street. The men of Sodom, “to the last man,” surround Lot’s home and demand Lot’s guests be brought out to them “that we may know them.” Lot replied, “I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly.” The mob attempts to push past Lot and enter his home, but the strangers rescue Lot and close the door. Lot and his family soon flee to Zoar.
The Lord decrees: “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave,” he rained fire and brimstone out of heaven, “and he overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground …”
In Leviticus 18 we read: “I am the Lord. You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.” God warns men who do such acts that they defile themselves and the land.
It’s not who you are but what you do, he judges as an abomination. It’s not a marriage. If you love God, obey his teachings. God loves the sinner, not the sin.
I hope that any mortgage bailout plan President Obama comes up with and Congress ultimately passes includes provisions to consider all assets of prospective beneficiaries. There are millions of responsible taxpayers who structured their financial priorities so that they would be able to meet all their obligations. For most of them, that meant doing without many of the finer things in life such as expensive jewelry, fine furnishings, multiple pricey vehicles, and toys such as pleasure boats, RVs and ATVs. I believe that all luxury assets should be liquidated before determining one’s need for benefits under the program.
I also hope the program is not just another handout. I believe benefits should be repayable. The Treasury Department should place liens on all the assets of beneficiaries just like the IRS does to employers and taxpayers who are irresponsible in meeting their tax obligations. Besides, the program will be designed to stimulate the economy and restore real estate values. So it is not unreasonable to believe that some years from now the property will be sold at a profit.
In order to protect the program from fraud, I believe all benefits awarded should be made public including the name and address of each beneficiary as well as the banks involved and the amounts of monies paid out and any financial concessions granted.
It’s difficult for me to accept being forced to help people I’m not sure deserve it. The thought of these people later reaping undeserved gains from my help really bothers me.
There is an old saying that says if we don’t learn the lessons of history, they will be repeated until we do. Franklin Roosevelt’s massive spending got us out of the first Great Depression. His spending bills were chastised by Republicans in a manner quite similar to the current condemnation of President Obama’s stimulus package. Roosevelt’s spending bills passed Congress without a single Republican vote, and the country grew back into prosperity.
This time around, three Republicans showed they learned from history and supported the spending bill we need to eventually bring us back to prosperity. Congratulations, Sens. Snowe, Collins and Specter. Your high school history teachers are proud of you.
Thinking outside the box is a term associated with progress, innovation and even brilliance. Mainers should be proud of Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe for showing the courage and responsibility to not only think outside the box, but to vote outside the box on the stimulus bill. To step across a line that had metamorphosed into an almost insurmountable wall was an act of political bravery. But that is what Mainers have come to expect from both Collins and Snowe.
Collins and Snowe have been thinking, responsible members of Congress who put the good of the people at the top of their agenda. If all politicians held themselves to these standards, Congress would be a different place.
Political parties are necessary evils, but if members of those parties cannot be independent thinkers who consider and weigh issues, then the governmental process we pride ourselves on is just an illusion. The party borders need to be elastic and fluid so ideas and actions can blend and merge and the best possible answers and actions can result. Bipartisanism, compromise and negotiate — Collins and Snowe understand these words.
Snowe contributed to the stimulus bill workings not only through her position on the Senate Finance Committee, but also by trading ideas with Vice President Biden. By stepping up to the plate — and into the Oval Office to negotiate — Collins had a major role in the stimulus compromise.
Negotiated bipartisan compromise: the way government should be!