Respecting the Wabanaki people
I represent the Friends Committee on Maine Public Policy — Quakers throughout the state who advocate for social justice and for right relationships with our Wabanaki neighbors.
I was one of many at a recent Skowhegan School Board forum who were urging the board to discontinue their current “Indian” mascot. School board members serve as educators and role models in their community by virtue of their words and deeds. As parents and educators, what do we teach our young people, starting at home when they are toddlers, and then in preschool and kindergarten, about how to treat other people? Respect others; listen; ask permission; don’t take what doesn’t belong to you.
The Wabanaki are living, breathing, present-day people who are our neighbors. But a mascot is an abstraction, an oversimplified image. And when we make a mascot out of “Indians” we make it easy to relate to the real people as stereotypes. We give our children an inaccurate, outdated and damaging image. The Wabanaki are asking to be treated as we would treat any other person. Ignoring their request that they not be made into a mascot violates the rules we teach our own children.
Reid not right for DEP
I’m alarmed at Jerry Reid’s nomination to head the Department of Environmental Protection. Having sided with polluters in Penobscot Nation v. Mills, he doesn’t exemplify the qualities Maine needs in the person charged with protecting our water. Intentionally or not, he worked to advance the interests of polluting intervenors in that case, making for an unseemly appearance of conflict of interest.
Improving state-tribal relations is long overdue and in the best interest of all Maine people. As Penobscot Ambassador Maulian Dana said at Gov. Janet Mills’ inauguration, “The Wabanaki Nations of Maine, the Maliseet, Micmac, Passamaquoddy and Penobscot are not just the Indigenous people but the carriers of the truth of these lands and waters.”
Reid opposed the Penobscot Nation in court, misrepresenting their history and fishing practices. His assertion that Penobscot fishing was land-based rather than water-based would be laughable were it not so profoundly disrespectful and so alarmingly divorced from fact. His nomination is counterproductive to improving relations and to pursuing the very best environmental policies, which would be enhanced by better state-tribal collaboration.
Tell your state senator and the Environment and Natural Resources Committee Maine deserves a DEP head who hasn’t advocated for polluting interests and against the Penobscot Nation.
Northern Light staffing change alarming
BDN staffer Charles Eichacker’s Jan. 7 article on Northern Light Health Care’s planned hospital staff outsourcing is comprehensive, well researched and alarming. Soon, TeamHealth in Tennessee will employ the ER physicians and hospitalists in Blue Hill, Ellsworth, Pittsfield and Waterville. Northern Light told Eichacker that this would address staffing problems and help them “deliver stronger, more efficient hospital care,” according to the article. However, it appears that no one knows if TeamHealth will accept health insurance reimbursement rates that have been negotiated between Northern Light Health Care and the insurance companies. Eichacker points out that this could result in separate bills to patients from an “out-of-network” contractor.
As an Affordable Care Act navigator, I know how important it is for people to confirm that their doctors and hospitals are in network, since the cost of going out of that network can be ruining. I am distressed that people bought 2019 policies with the belief that they had in network coverage and may find the financial rug pulled out from under them if they have to go to the ER or hospital. I think that Northern Light needs to resolve this issue and provide answers to the communities it serves.
Trump fails Einstein’s moral test
Albert Einstein stated that “the most important human endeavor is striving for morality in our actions. Our inner balance and even our existence depend on it.” His words directly relate to President Donald Trump’s consistent behavior. After recently misleading our soldiers in Iraq about their pay increase, he has closed government agencies critical to homeland security and public safety. Considering his meeting alone last year in Helsinki with Vladimir Putin, our country’s adversary, the threat lies more in the White House that on our southern border.
What Commander-in-Chief, then a candidate, denigrates members of our military when captured? What leader mischaracterizes as ” bad hombres and terrorists” those who simply seek an asylum hearing? Partially shuts down the government, displaying no concern for unpaid workers? Heartlessly ignores the grief of Puerto Rican families by disputing the post-hurricane death count? Belittles Gold-Star parents for mildly criticizing him, mocks the handicapped and victims of violence, and sympathizes with white supremacists? And denies the reality of impending climate catastrophe?
Einstein would undoubtedly assert that relativity doesn’t apply to personal ethics, especially as practiced by a pathological liar and narcissist. All citizens should reject him and his GOP enablers in the 2020 election.
New year, same tax deadline
The phrase “Happy New Year,” signifies a new beginning for most. But for small businesses, the window of celebration is short with the lurking tax deadline not far away.
As both a CPA and a small business owner, I’ve seen it all. Disorganized books. No receipts or W9s. Major financial acquisitions or changes. Small business owners crash into these often-overwhelming realities in January. But it’s not too late to get organized for April.
Make your bookkeeper your best friend. Up to date bookkeeping provides a basis for the most accurate tax projection possible and helps avoid big surprises on April 15.
Review what you’ve already paid in estimated taxes. Confirm the estimated quarterly taxes you’ve paid for 2018 – and don’t forget to check January 2019 for payments credited to 2018.
Send (and request) all the 1099s and W-9s from outside contractors. If there are discrepancies, the IRS will find out. And while you’re at it; ask for proof of insurance and workers compensation forms. Having this information will protect you from workers comp claims.
Call your CPA first, not last. Did your business have any abnormal transactions in the past year? For example, real estate sold or a large change in income? What about a major lifestyle change? With this information, we can share the best advice on your tax implications in advance.
The Swanson Group LLC