Back financial reform
In the two years since the financial crisis began, millions of Americans have lost their jobs and homes, tens of millions have seen their life savings wiped out. We know the reason: The big banks on Wall Street were out of control. They were wheeling and dealing with other people’s money, conjuring up financial products no one understood or took personal responsibility for. The result was the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression.
We also know the solution: a return to the kind of sensible government oversight and regulation that served this country so well from the 1930s through the 1990s. But, amazingly, there are those in Congress who oppose reform for partisan reasons. How much bigger does the crisis have to be, how much clearer the solution, to overcome politics as usual?
Luckily, Maine has two moderate senators who can break the congressional logjam and put the United States back on the road to stable prosperity. We should all contact Sens. Collins and Snowe and urge them to support financial reform now.
As a casual outsider to the Coffee Pot “drama” in the Bangor Daily News, I think the whole thing seems bizarre. The typical rules of supply and demand got lost somewhere. When there is that much demand for your product, usually you raise the price, or you raise the volume.
The previous owner could have copyrighted or patented the process or the name to some basic degree, and franchised out, or at least expanded the main building, or opened a couple of more outlets in town. At the very least, he could have set up the former employees or family to keep producing the popular sandwich, and taken a handsome cut of the business. If he thinks quality and uniqueness would be lost, just look at any of the famous worldwide franchises started in America.
In any case, he could have a lot more money than now. This is not being greedy, this is providing a great product to the consumer that’s not made in Japan. He could have helped all kinds of charities in town that are struggling, and left a much better legacy than it appears.
Violent rhetoric online
I was online today and noticed that a fellow user on the site I was visiting had the screen-name “killObama.” You
could dismiss this deeply offensive name as the sentiment of a lone nut-job if it weren’t for the recent armed marches near Washington, the death threats directed at congressional leaders, and Sarah Palin’s rallying cry for her fans to “Reload!”
Some marchers said in interviews that, no, they really don’t mean to incite violence, and they laugh at those of us who take their words and signs at face value. But if they don’t mean them, why use them at all? Are they incapable of making good arguments and so devolve to grunting violent rhetoric?
On the contrary, research shows that this new far right is predominantly well-educated and wealthy. Being so smart, they already must know that Obama has repeatedly and publicly defended the individual carry interpretation of the Second Amendment and poses no threat to the powerful gun lobby. Being so well-off, they al-ready have substantial political clout and so have no good reason to brandish their guns to intimidate the rest of us.
If they continue to lose at the ballot box and in the courts of rational public debate, is it pitchforks and brown shirts from here on out? Or do they really intend to send us the message that they love their country so much that if they don’t get their way they may have to destroy it?
Say no to Blackwater
With the company Xe, aka, Blackwater, facing charges (BDN April 7, 17-18), more people should be taking a look at what I believe to be a strange development in state policy.
Blackwater-Xe is a for-profit private army of mercenaries. Whatever virtues were the focus of state policy before Blackwater’s entrance into the Mideast are now more complicated by the fact that Xe switched its own political, theological and corporate connections. An outstanding depiction of these facts can be found in “Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army,” by Jeremy Scahill, 2007.
When most of the fear of terror is over, as it will be, and our honor and military obligations are fulfilled, as they will be, what are organizations such as Xe, DynCorp, and others like them going to do in the USA? Downsize and convert to recreation management? I don’t think so.
Mercenaries, as typified by Eric Prince, founder of Blackwater, use people as resources, they act with autonomy previously unknown in society and they appear to have that capacity (or the provision to act on behalf of their well-paying clients) to do so anywhere, time or circumstances. The consequences of all this will be more apparent if Xe and its derivatives set up more shops closer to home. They already have done that. We need some people to say no to Xe, et al.
Uncle Sam’s Got You
College students and parents have one less worry, believing there is no draft. Students protesting the UM budget cuts helped me realize that there is a different kind of military draft going on, more powerful than the one that issued those dreaded cards. It enlists everyone, old, young, infirm and disinterested. It is the draft of the unaware, silent citizens. It drains our communities and destroys our financial security.
A high rate of education is the hallmark of a prosperous nation, yet one-third of every tax dollar goes to the military. Only 2 cents goes to education, and we see the result of this as our school programs are cut, libraries close, and infrastructure deteriorates. We are told to conserve, yet the Department of Defense maintains more than 700 bases all over the world and burns more refined petroleum than any country — more than 50 million gallons each month just in Iraq.
So far, Orono has paid $16 million for the current wars, Bangor $55 million, Maine’s 2nd Congressional District $1.2 billion, enough to pay for 127,792 university scholarships for one year or 221,645 Pell grants.
Do you think we have received value for dollars spent, or do you feel as if your country is slowly bleeding to death? To see what your town could have bought with those war dollars, go to www.nationalpriorities.org. Let’s Bring Our War $$ Home, and put them to constructive use. www.bringourwar$$home.org.