Written by Don Ewing
Washington Democrats and Republicans just passed a budget that rewards the special interests at the expense of the American people. Senators Ayotte and Shaheen and Congresswoman Kuster voted for the special interests. Congresswoman Shea-Porter voted for the people over the special interests.
The budget was created by the political party establishments, including President Obama, Speaker Boehner, and Majority Leader Reid, and special interest groups. The 1600 plus page document is heavy with pork, favors for supporters, and support for wasteful, ineffective, and unpopular programs.
In an unbelievable act of betrayal of the American people, this budget puts taxpayers back on the hook for potentially trillions of dollars of losses incurred by the big banks. Congress repealed the Dodd-Frank provision that prevented banks from gambling with taxpayer insured money, a factor in the 2008 financial meltdown.
This budget deal denied the recently elected Senators and Congressmen the opportunity to start fixing the problems, created by current and previous Congresses, that the voters sent them to address.
Among other things the budget deal fully funds Obamacare (through September), funds President Obama's amnesty for illegal aliens (through February), increases the power of political parties over the people, over-rides Washington DC voters related to marijuana, bails-out Blue Cross Blue Shield, provides corporate welfare via OPIC, it freezes Vice-President Biden's salary, forces the Postal Service to deliver mail on Saturday, demands that nutrition assistance programs include white potatoes (everyone knows how essential they are!), it blocks a rule that truckers get more sleep before driving, blocks funding for sprucing up UN buildings (a token for the people), provides money for livestock killed by wolves, approves increased NSA spying on Americans, etc.
One would think that some of these things could have been handled normally by Congress rather than crammed into this last-minute bill in the middle of the night. One wonders how many more items, important or trivial, good or bad, were slipped into this bill that not a single Senator or Congressman read before voting?
About 40% of the Republicans (led by the TEA Party members, showing why they are attacked by the party establishments) and about 40% of the Democrats voted for the people, not the special interests.
BTW, the Washington Post says the politicians supporting this pro-special interest bill received, on average, twice the amount of donations from the finance/insurance/real estate industries as the politicians opposing it (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2014/12/12/democrats-who-voted-for-the-spending-bill-have-received-twice-as-much-money-from-the-finance-industry-as-the-no-voters/).
The passage of this budget deal is further proof that the majority of the Washington politicians of both political parties don't care what the people want or what's best for the vast majority of Americans if those things are contrary to special interests wants.
Last Updated on Monday, 15 December 2014 23:20
Written by Enos Namor
I noticed in the letters to the editor in Vol. 6, No. 108 that people are calling a disappointed columnist a "sore loser" for "hating LePage." I contend that these folks are sore winners.
It only took a day for them to brag that LePage got more votes than any other governor in Maine election history. I guess they neglected to mention that he also got more votes against him than any other governor in Maine election history.
The first two letter writers both called the columnist an "ass" (or an "a--") in the vulgar name-calling style of their man in the Blaine House. No need for that, buckaroos.
Maine will sure be sore for a lot of years because of the vicious spirit of their victory. The winners have pretty much vowed to get even with their enemy neighbors and scrape the state clean of all its liberal progress and of all the stuff they guess they're against.
The third sore-winner-letter-writer in your paper included a list of things we can now repeal to get our nation back to the glorious, holy, saved, shimmering and aww-shucks days of old.
(If letter writer No. 3 could only get them to repeal that pesky, ol' Emancipation Proclamation, he wouldn't have to hate Obama so much for his heathen healthcare and such; his real hate motives could come back to roost.)
Maine probably won't get to see its folks working together for a common benefit any time soon. The forces that manipulated our passions and intentions and expectations in that last election want their money back ... with interest ... and devotion, right away.
(Homeless in) Portland
Last Updated on Thursday, 04 December 2014 23:03
Written by Jay York
RE: "Councilors call for city to upgrade fire safety." Regardless of the cause of the fire at 20 Noyes Street those bearing a large part of the responsibility for the resulting six deaths are Portland's mayor and city councilors. The safety of this city's citizens should always be first and foremost in any decision made by our elected leaders. They failed to address a problem that they were clearly made aware of over a year ago by a report they commissioned.
Public Safety Solutions did a full study of the Portland Fire Department in January 2013 and submitted the finished report in March 2013. If the recommendations in that report concerning fire prevention programs had been implemented, the tragic loss of life caused by this fire most likely could have been prevented. Four of those recommendations were to hire two full-time Fire Prevention Bureau inspectors, assign Fire Prevention Code Plans reviewers to the Planning & Development's Inspection Division office, assess the current "Naviline" system as it relates to fire code inspection process and compatibility with Planning & Development's data base, and develop and implement a program for "in-service" fire companies to effectively and efficiently complete maintenance inspections of all Fire Prevention Code inspectable properties annually.
It's very sad that in the wake of six deaths the city now is creating a task force to review fire and code inspection policies instead of just taking the professional advice they got a year ago.
Last Updated on Thursday, 20 November 2014 23:49
Written by Duff Plunkett
A word in praise of the poetry community engendered by USM.
Last Friday, Jamaal May from Detroit read as the O'Brien scholar in the Glickman Library, a few floors up from the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance.
On Tuesday of this week, Richard Blanco read to hundreds of people.
USM deserves our support, if only for its promotion of poetry. But with so many French-speaking asylum seekers from Burundi, Congo and Rwanda now in Portland, and their children in the schools, why is now the time to eliminate USM's Bachelor of the Arts in French? Reinforcing it, reinstating it seems in order.
Last Updated on Thursday, 20 November 2014 23:50
Written by Michael Anthony
We need a tenants union in Portland, Maine. There are rumors of threats of city code enforcement cracking down on landlords in response to the tragic Noyes Street fire. This would result in who-know-how-many hundreds, if not thousands of evictions of low income, mostly subsidized(disabled, mentally ill, single mothers, elderly and those transitioning out of homelessness, etc.) renters.
If this is allowed to happen it will cause an explosion in the homeless population, at the beginning of winter, with an already overflowing shelter system, leaving hundreds out in the cold.
People die every year in Portland, Maine, camping outside during the winter. This is not a passive social issue that will always be there, and we cant do anything about it, its an active and ongoing violation of peoples rights, to safe, stable housing.
Here the housing access crisis, is being escalated by poor local policy, and landlord negligence. If this were done intentionally, it would be an act of war on the poor, assuming negligence, its an act of social and political incompetence on part of our city representative and staff, and property owners in the city.
Clearly we need our own voice, to advocate for ourselves, prevent unjust evictions, fight for rent controls, programs for residence to co-operativize neglected homes using sweat equity, and reign in the housing market a bit to slow down rampant gentrification.
The time is right, strategically, the political dialogue has been primed, people are pissed, for a lot of different reasons, and with winter coming, we don't have time to wait.
Organize your roommates, the floor of your building, the whole thing, other buildings owned by the same landlord, or on your block, with other organized tenants groups around the city, etc, and let's work together to grow, not just in numbers, but in solidarity as communities.
Last Updated on Thursday, 20 November 2014 23:54