Maine Writer

Its about people and issues I care about.

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Location: Topsham, MAINE, United States

My blogs are dedicated to the issues I care about. Thank you to all who take the time to read something I've written.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Arizona Bishop Olmsted - "First Do No Harm"

I'm a fan of reading The National Catholic Reporter.

This week's lead story is an objective report about how Germain Trisez, who teaches Christian ethics at Mount St. Mary College and Seminary in Emmetsburg, Maryland, is challenging the ethics of a horrible decision made by Arizona Bishop Thomas Olmsted to excommunicate Mercy Sister Margaret Mary McBride, because she supported a critical decision to allow an abortion for a woman whose life was in imminent peril from complications caused by an 11 week fetus. Trisez makes several points in the article to contradict Bishop Olmsted's ruling. Essentially, "intent" of the decision to permit the abortion is not thoroughly vetted in Bishop Olmsted's act.

Above is the link to the on-line National Catholic Reporter story.

Bishop Olmsted should pay attention to the words in the physicians Hippocratic Oath - "First Do No Harm". Bishop Olmsted's precipitous decision to excommunicate Sister McBride has caused harm to many living people.

Obviously, everyone who served on the hospital's ethics board and supported the life saving decision to abort the 11 week fetus has been harmed by the Bishop's precipitous decision. Ethics committee members must be just as responsible for saving the pregnant woman's life as is Sister McBride.

Nonetheless, if committee members were Roman Catholic, they were apparently spared the stigma of excommunication. Sister McBride is harmed because she supported saving the life of a 27 year old woman who is reported to be the mother of 4 other children. Of course, it goes without saying, the young mother was harmed because she quite likely feels a sense of shame for receiving an abortion which has now caused emotional pain on her family and brought harm to those who saved her life.

Bishop Olmsted is not God. Does he need to be reminded of this obvious fact?

Let's pray for Sister McBride. Moreover, let's support the revocation of Sister's unethical excommunication from the church. Sister McBride bravely participated in a life saving decision to protect four young children from growing up without a mother due to complications of an 11 week pregnancy. Bishop Olmsted, I am a Roman Catholic nurse who would have made the same decision as Sister McBride.

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Suffering and Leadership

President Barack Obama is caught in a leadership vice caused by the Deep Water Horizon disaster.

Polls released prior to his address to the nation from the Oval Office on Tuesday night show 52 percent of Americans are disappointed about how he is responding to the tragedies caused by unbridled oil spewing from the exploded Deep Water Horizon well owned by British Petroleum along with other companies.

As President, Obama is suffering our anxiety and pain while trying to "kick ass" where appropriate. Unfortunately, he is not moving our nation forward, even though the horrific mess he is faced with was caused by British Petroleum and Halliburton's incompetence.

President Obama is in a delicate position. He must protect us from moving backwards while trying to move us forward. For example, a national response to renewable energy consumption is critical right now, but we must also clean up the disaster of the here and now.

As President, he can't extend promises unless he can fulfill them, especially about compensation to the people in the Gulf. Likewise, he is strapped about pointing any more fingers to BP or Halliburton, or anybody else, even when blame is deserved. Unfulfilled promises or justifiable blame will only exacerbate an already incendiary situation, made all the worse by the egregious errors BP made leading up to and following Deep Water Horizon's catastrophic explosion.

What's interesting is how the President's adversaries in Louisiana seem to have all the answers to solve this crisis, so long as plenty of money is attached to their conceptual solutions. In my mind, unlimited money will not solve the underlying problem about how these oil wells are allowed to be licensed in the first place.

Truth be told, we cannot do everything that everyone is asking for to fix the fiasco caused by British Petroleum and its companion company Halliburton's greed run amok. These companies are responsible for financing the fix of this horrible mess.

Even local volunteer fire departments don't allow new construction in a municipality without knowing, before hand, how to rescue people in the case of a fire. Yet BP and Halliburton were allowed to license the Deep Water Horizon well without demonstrating adequate safety back up systems.

Therefore, the blame for this explosion and the resulting chaos is on BP, Halliburton and the regulators who allowed this oil well to be licensed (yes, reach back to the source, in the Bush II administration).

President Obama must communicate these facts to Americans while continuing to support those suffering and grieving for loss of their livelihood and culture. We instinctively know it may take generations for the Gulf region to return to normal, if ever. Let's acknowledge this fact.

President Obama's ambiguous leadership style, at this time, may be troubling to some. Nonetheless, I don't see anyone waiting in the wings to take the challenges he faces, other than those demanding more money to solve everybody's problems.

Louisiana's Governor Jindal carries on about lots of issues, but he has yet to provide evidence that he is not complicit in the licensing of the Deep Water Horizon well.

Can Governor Jindal raise his right hand before a US Congressional Committee and say he had nothing to do with allowing deep water oil drilling without adequate safety measures in place? How about the other Gulf Coast state governors? Let them take an oath to say they are innocent in the licensing of dangerous oil rigs. Good luck.

Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen is doing a terrific job keeping BP focused on the Gulf recovery efforts. Yet, even an Admiral's authority can be limited in an event of this magnitude. Truth be told, BP is out of compliance with everything imaginable. It's questionable if even a "kick ass" Admiral can raise the company's alert level any higher than it already is.

President Obama is not responsible for the Gulf disaster but he is responsible for the clean up. I suggest he move Vice-President Biden into the area - put a temporary executive residence in the Gulf Coast. Admiral Allen and Vice President Biden should hold daily briefings about what is being done to respond to this disaster.

Furthermore, British Petroleum and Halliburton executives need to pay for the suffering caused by this disaster, even if it means they go to prison.

President Obama must lead us toward recovery.

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Saturday, June 12, 2010

"Kick" as a Presidential Quote

Thanks for comments from Old Scold in Virginia and Mary Anne in Maryland:

So what. President Obama responded to TV interviewer Matt Louer with a "kick ass" statement regarding who should be held most accountable for the Deep Water Horizon oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

Pundits who criticize the President for his poor choice of words have not answered the question. Who do you fire and remove from power as a result of British Petroleum's (BP's) Deep Water Horizon fire, which is now saturating the Gulf of Mexico with seemingly unstoppable spewing oil?

Opponents of President Obama are desperately trying to pin him with the blame for this environmental fiasco. At least, critics say, his response should be more animated.

Okay. Just whose ass would administration opponents kick if they were in charge right now?

I submit, the blame seekers should be kicking their own asses if they belonged to the "drill baby drill" chorus, led by energy wonks who put profit before safety to find more oil faster.

Here's how I see it. President Obama should be crystal clear about the facts regarding how the Deep Water Horizon fire happened. He must tell Americans the truth. His administration should put extraordinary pressure on BP and on federal regulators to find out how much oil is polluting the Gulf. His administration officials must tell the world how this disaster will affect the oceans of the earth. Furthermore, President Obama should squeeze every dollar his administration can find out of available budgets and BP's cash coffers to pay legitimate claims resulting from this oil spill. Reasonable compensation should be made for the loss of the way of life in Louisiana - which may be gone for the foreseeable future.

Cleaning the Gulf of Mexico will take generations. A multi-generational population of caring, focused people will be needed to fix the Gulf. They cannot loose this moment due to frustration or lack of will to get the job done.

Outside of being accountable for finding dedicated people to help, providing facts and finding money - what else can be done?

What cannot be done includes:

1. President Obama cannot promise unlimited tax resources to fix the Gulf of Mexico.

2. No one can promise a return to normal to either the people or the wild life in the Gulf. In fact, they are all challenged to find a way to live in a "new normal" environment - whatever that entails.

3. President Obama cannot stop current oil drilling operations in the Gulf of Mexico because, to put it bluntly, this horse is out of the barn and running wild. To do so will jeopardize even more jobs, stressing the economy of the Gulf region.

4. Americans cannot push back on British Petroleum, when it was our own federal regulators who allowed Deep Water Horizon to be built in the first place.

Louisiana's Governor Jindal wants more oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico because, he says, the operations will just go somewhere else, like South Africa, for example. Well, of course, that's true, but dealing with the graft and corruption of doing business in a third world nation will eat up nearly as much profit as fixing the Gulf of Mexico.

Governor Jindal likes to make political statements without examining the impact of his rhetoric - oil companies don't like dealing with third world nations. Nonetheless, they'll probably do so if they have to, until profits run dry. I suspect BP and other companies would rather get credit for cleaning up the Gulf than work with some third world countries, my opinion.

Governor Jindal's misplaced anger with the White House should be directed within - like, where was he when Deep Water Horizon was licensed?

American people must take charge right now. We must stop political finger pointing. Let's get to the quick and kick ass with alternative energy sources like hydro power, wind, solar and geothermal energies.

Let's kick ass with our own living habits. Let's help to solve the energy access problem by efficiently using mass transit, automobiles, sewage recycling and electric appliances. Making energy sacrifices now may not make our lives easier but the alternative is to suffocate the earth with more environmental disasters. Our high standards of living cannot continue without consequences.

Finally, regardless of how tired pundits put him down, I suspect President Obama's "kick ass" quote will go down in history as one of his best lines.

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Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Maine Governor Elizabeth "Libby" Mitchell

Admirable congratulations are enthusiastically extended this morning to the winner of Maine's Democratic primary election for Governor 2010!

Maine's Senate President and former speaker of the legislature's House of Representatives, a career public servant with an extraordinary political resume, is as close to being the state's Governor elect as any candidate I can remember. Although Mitchell has a general election to face off this coming November, her candidacy will galvanize Maine's Democratic party to carry her to the Blaine House where the governor lives.

Let's get focused to comb the rafters and find every registered Democrat in Maine to support Mitchell this November. Likewise, we'll need a lot of independent voters, as well, to help seal the victory. Her victory will be much more than a political win. She must win to push back against right wing politics.

Senator Mitchell will run against a surprise Republican candidate who came out of political nowhere to win against formidable opponents who held extraordinary political resumes. LePage spent far less money than his closest rival, Les Otten, and won with a shoe string of an organization.

Mayor of Waterville and Marden's Department Store Executive, Paul LePage, defeated 6 other pedigree Republicans. Yikes!

Kudus to Mayor LePage, but no thanks as governor!

Maine's Grand Old Party is hanging low this morning. There are no post election press conferences to tout about the 38 percent decisive Republican victory.

LePage is a likable person, but philosophically, he's a creationist. Moreover, he carries a copy of the US Constitution in his shirt pocket like a prayer book - because he uses the document's words to fundamentally substitute for his intellect. Be wary of those who use the concrete intentionality of words to define their points of view.

LePage is a concrete thinker who will run Maine like it's a Marden's department store - a discount warehouse filled with merchandise people think they want to buy. Often, their Marden's purchases wind up sitting in the back of closets or cupboards. Why did 38 percent of the Republican primary vote to "buy" LePage and his message? Well, why do people shop at Marden's (discount) Department Stores? Because, they're looking for bargains.

I don't think LePage is a Marden's bargain. Rather, he's a pig in a poke. He's a tea party candidate cloaked with populist appeal.

Beating moderate and intellectual Republicans in the primary was a rout for LePage. He defeated Senator Peter Mills, a lawyer, a Maine State Senator, US Navy officer and Viet Nam War Veteran; he defeated Les Otten, a philanthropist, ski company mogul and former Boston Red Sox executive; he defeated Steve Abbott, who enjoyed the backing of the state's traditional party backers and he defeated Dr. Bill Beardsley, a man with two Ph.D degrees, one from Johns Hopkins University. Indeed, Republicans are stunned about this come from nowhere victory and anxious to figure out how LePage pulled off a 38 percent victory against such impressive opponents.

Maybe the large LePage family and the candidate's siblings beat the streets getting the unenrolled voters to register on his behalf. Frankly, the data is not yet ready to analyze because opponents are still licking their wounds. Of course, LePage says right wing extremists, like the Tea Party, helped to pull him out of the gate, when most pundits only expected him, on a chance, to show.

Nonetheless, the good news for Democrats is the Governor's office in November is ours to loose. Let's get behind Maine's Governor Elect Libby Mitchell and put her charisma, charm, intelligence, political skill, public policy expertise and dedication to work putting Maine back on track.

Let's sharply and decisively oppose dangerous right wing extremists who swept LePage to his polarizing defeat of Republican primary political insiders.

November's election will be THE one for Maine's Democrats to unite over. Let's get everyone to vote for Madam Senate President and gubernatorial candidate Elizabeth Mitchell on November 2nd!

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Friday, June 04, 2010

Clintontonian Age: Hilary Clinton - Madam Secretary Extraordinaire

Feedback on this blog was more about Isreal than Secretary Clinton. Thanks to all responses! Caroline from Virginia responded to the subject so I've attached her comments below this commentary. Reader responses about how Isreal is handling the Gaza blockade are attached. John and Kait have excellent comments.

While President Obama is figuratively immersed in the Louisiana oil spill tragedy, the rest of the world is literally fending off wars at historic hot spots.

Korea, Gaza, Israel and the Japanese anger about the US military base in Okinawa, are several serious global problem spots where the local people could care less about our US oil leak and British Petroleum's (BP) stock prices.

Rather, these countries are among a host of other unstable areas where conflagrations are taking up America's foreign policy energy, absorbing our international diplomacy efforts like giant sink holes. Our BP oil spill issues are tragically soaking the environment in the Gulf of Mexico while the rest of the world is permeated by conflicts.

Thankfully, the most timely and competent decision President Obama made when he was elected US President was to ask his political competitor to be the Secretary of State. In my opinion, Hilary Rodham Clinton has grown from First Lady of the Nation to Madam Secretary: First Lady to the World.

Secretary Clinton is a diplomatic God send to our nation. Her important role as US spokesperson to other nations is enhanced by her competent, and professional expertise and sensitive ability to understand diplomatic communications.

Americans are exceptionally fortunate to have her steering the nation's foreign policy, especially while President Obama is otherwise doused in dealing with domestic, economic and environmental problems caused by policies promulgated by the Bush administration.

Some examples where Secretary Clinton's expertise is vital:

1. North and South Korea share the world's most incendiary relationship. While I'm certainly no expert on foreign relations, when we visited Seoul and Pusan Korea in the 1970's, I saw a South Korea always on alert for war. I'm reasonably sure little about South Korea's preparedness has changed much since my husband and I visited. Politically, South Korea is a functioning democratic government, but the nation is still at war with the North. Obviously, North Korea's attack on a South Korean Navy ship recently was a startling reminder about how this war of the 1950s is still unresolved. It probably doesn't matter why the South Korean ship was maneuvering so close to North Korea. The attack was an act of war. Secretary Clinton is working the issue, which gives me confidence in South Korea's ability to practice restraint against the overt North Korean attack on their Navy, for the time being.

2. Japan is again voicing its pent up anger about the US base in Okinawa - they want it gone. This is probably not the time for the US to give up a military base so close to the Korean conflagration. Okinawa doesn't want the US in their island state, but I'm reasonably sure the economy of the region is heavily dependent on the base being there. It's a dicey diplomatic problem for Japanese and US international security. It's also another important reason for Secretary Clinton to be communicating with the Japanese at this time.

3. Israel - and all the issues about protecting the Israli nation and its people. "Oy vey!", is one expletive that comes to mind. Thankfully, Israel is a country where the US doesn't need to engage in nation building, because the Israeli men and women take military care of themselves. But, Moslem's and Palestinians seem intent on pulling Israel into one conflagration after another. Secretary Clinton is a calm voice for all the players in the Middle East. Let's pray for her success to maintain peaceful relations for Israel and its threatening neighbors.

Dozens of other world nations welcome Secretary Clinton. Nations like Russia, the Balkans, Asia, India, the nations of Africa and South America, seem to be on her 24/7 itinerary. Secretary Clinton is a welcomed ambassador in nations throughout our politically fragile world because she projects impeccable timing. Her nuanced tone will express frustration, when it's called for, but peace whenever possible.

Secretary Clinton might be an indispensable foreign diplomat. Although her motivations are noble, her political ambitions run deep and long - and hopefully, she will carry her enormous international appeal into another try for the White House.

In diplomatic years, Secretary Clinton is only middle age. Maybe her political old age will be enjoyed as Madam President.

In a tribute to both Mr. and Mrs. Clinton, regardless of where their personal futures might lead, historians might one day identify these days as the Clintontonian age.

Hi Julie,

I enjoyed reading your comments about Hillary Clinton. She is a diplomat like no other. One must think about her incredible talent which has grown over the years as she went from wife of a governor of Arkansas to Secretary of State. Few people are able to be accepted on the world stage as she has.

She has not only been accepted, but embraced, by people of the world wherever she has gone. She prepared herself so well, from her academic years to the present, to understand and accept divergent views. Women and men alike listen to what she has to say and share their nations' views even if they disagree. She has the charisma of a respected diplomat.

Hillary has proved herself through so many trials. It is obvious to me that if she wants to run the gamut of slurs and hatred again to vie for the Presidency, which would surely be mounted with a vengeance, she will need a strong Democratic Party.

An aside: let's hope that the pleasure commentators take in commenting continually on her hair and clothes will be tamed. I only see the incredible energy and fortitude she has to work so diligently for the American people.