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, January 28, 2012

Pay for Performance in the US Congress
On Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2012, President Obama said in his State of the Union address (SOTU):

"Last month, I went to Andrews Air Force Base and welcomed home some of our last troops to serve in Iraq. Together, we offered a final, proud salute to the colors under which more than a million of our fellow citizens fought -- and several thousand gave their lives."

When President Obama spoke before the nation and a joint committee of the Congress, he addressed a group of lawmakers who have total control over America's military budget.  Using his bully pulpit, President Obama used the speech as an opportunity to extol the value of the American military. 

American military personnel are comprised of a diverse group of well educated people who succeed because they study how to practice teamwork.  In fact, the American military deserves credit for making out nation safe from acts of foreign terrorism attacks.   US Navy Seals, of course, appropriately assassinated Osama Bin Laden, the perpetrator of the September 11 attacks on New York City.

But how do we value the military? They are paid far less than members of the US Congress, who oversee their compensation.

Of course, the point being, when it comes to what tax payers value in productivity, desirable outcomes and quality of services provided, the US Congress appears to be well paid to obstruct progress, while the American military is under-valued.  Check the two links above to see the differences in pay - US Congress averages about $174,000 salary per person without counting the perks and expenses related to maintaining federal and state constituent services.  American military pay is graded by ranks and rates, but even admirals and generals do not receive the average base pay of a US Congressman.

Americans are justifiably proud of our military.  Inversely, we are overwhelmingly disgusted with our US Congress for their inability to lead with statesmanship and leadership behaviors.  

I submit we pay our military and the Congress according to what each body is worth, in sort of a "pay for performance" model.  In other words, if a Congressman wants to earn a $174,000 annual salary, the outcomes of his or her performance in Washington DC must meet the criteria of working for outcomes consistent with the teamwork studied and practiced by the US military.  

More to the point,  for the hand full of Congress people who hold up legislation impeding economic incentives for Americans, just because they can, then we, as the ultimate payers of their salaries, should demand a refund of our money.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

GOP Primary - No "Dance With Who Brung You"

Although Governor Mitt Romney lined up his political dance card with all the right partners, his attempt to sway South Carolina voters stepped on too many conservative toes, as rival Speaker Newt Gingrich was the bell of last night's rightwing primary election ball.

In fact, South Carolina's rightwing coalition decided against voting for the candidate their own state governor Nikki Haley decided to dance with - as she supported second place Romney.

What's a rightwing Madame governor to do when her rightwing constituent voters move to the rightwing of her own political tune?

Maybe Governor Haley needs to change the band music she dances to - maybe President Obama can even teach her to sing melodious Al Green tunes.  In any case, Governor Haley needs another dance partner.

Speaker Gingrich's South Carolina primary win came with chilling rhetoric. Mr. Gingrich raised a response from rightwing voters to his racist and anti-Canadian rhetoric - stereotyping food stamp beneficiaries as free loaders and allying Canada's business deals with China as somehow, "Hello?" Americans would be justifiably upset if Canadians said we have no business dealing with China, but that's essentially what Gingrich said in the South Carolina primary winners speech. In raising the now popular Canada to Texas gas pipeline lyrics, Gingrich said Canada is antagonizing American business interests by doing business with China, instead of with us.  This is another example of rightwing hypocrisy as "business is business", once upon a time, was the basic tenet of Republican free enterprise doctrine.

So, South Carolina voters rudely decided not to dance with Romney, the one who came to their state claiming two GOP primary victories. Of course, Palmetto voters could claim to be the ones jilted when it turned out Romney only won one primary, because Senator Santorum really took the Iowa vote after all were counted.

Most upsetting about the new post South Carolina dance card of GOP presidential primary front runners is their gladiator style "gottcha" politics. They waste millions of dollars slamming each other in negative paid ads, just to win their political party's nomination. Their unending negative attacks against each other are literally filling the political dance hall with rancid noise. My ears are loosing any ability to sort out how the front runners will make a positive difference for our nation.

Nonetheless, Democrats better create a midnight ball soon, as dancing in the GOP political arena reaches a frenzy point. Unbridled rightwing political noise could well consume voters into the fire exploding from chilling and deafening hypocritical nonsense.

Of course, to win a national election, the GOP needs to decide, and soon, who their dance partner candidate will be for the duration of the presidential campaign.

In a last dance effort to win the White House, they could collapse from exhaustion prior to their really big 2012 party convention in Tampa FL.


Saturday, January 21, 2012

ANA files brief in support of individual mandate | National Nursing News

ANA files brief in support of individual mandate | National Nursing News

As a member of the American Nurses Association - Maine and chair of the legislative committee, I'm proud to be part of a professional association to support health care reform. Many people simply don't realize how all of us are paying real dollars to cover the cost of care for the uninsured. The individual mandate is similar to other "mandates", or requirements to purchase home owners insurance or automobile insurance, except, with health care coverage, the chances are good for most beneficiaries to use their benefit- and, to improve their health!

If the individual mandate in the new health care reform law is stuck down by the US Supreme Court, I submit the mandates for all other insurances are also at risk.

Let's hope legal briefs in support of the health care insurance coverage will prevail.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Romney Speaks French! Who Knew?

My North Carolinian friends, the Dubays, regularly communicate with a Canadian family, especially about American politics. Don Dubay is a retired US military officer.

Following is Don's response to the Canadian friend's query about recent European and French bashing going "viral", targeted toward GOP Presidential Contender Gov. Romney:

Don's tongue in cheek remark: "Ah, to the uninitiated, our Republicans are convinced that Europeans are akin to godless communists.  They (Europeans) actually have government run medical care, and even provide child care to unwed working mothers!  Why, it's rumored those latte sipping, white wine drinking socialists disapprove of everyone carrying guns.  Not only that, they have these high speed railways that go everywhere, encouraging people not to drive their gas guzzling cars, which is supposed to be a god given right - heck, these cheese eating limp wrist monkeys probably don't even own pickup trucks."

Don concludes with this perspective: "Welcome to our world where presidential primaries dominate the airwaves, morning, noon and night, for at least two years before the actual elections, and where the most inane utterings spill out of the mouths of seemingly sane people.  The Repubs are down to six of their original eight candidates, so far having gotten rid of Crazy Lady Bachman and Herman 'Pizza Man' Cain.  All but one of the remaining six want to invade Iran, bring Christian religion into public schools, do away with all environmental protections, drill for oil and mine minerals in our national parks, kick out Muslims, and do away with child labor laws.  The loner (Ron Paul) is the real crazy one, who wants to do away with all government and let every one fend for themselves, all in the name of "freedom."  And he's the guy who's presently in second place!  Help!!!"

My note:  One distinction between the "real GOP nominee", whoever "he" is, and President Obama may be that one speaks French and the other (meaning President Obama), does not!  Hypocritically, it's the conservative RWE-RWE's (rightwingextremists) who truly believe the French are all Socialists, but it's their own presumptive Romney candidate who is fluent in le francais!  

Some web pages run fact checking stories on all the candidates.  I submit another column needs to include a hypocrisy meter.

Oh my God (OMG), how much more ridicule can our country be subject to. In Catholic lexicon, it's called something like "self flagellation"!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

"Bou-oum!" E.M. Forester: A Gov. Romney Echo

Governor Romney seemed inappropriately gleeful as he surreptitiously told a Chamber of Commerce audience how he likes firing people, during a Nashua New Hampshire campaign talk.

It reminded me of the famous echo episode in E.M. Forster's classic "A Passage to India", written about England's colonial period known as "Raj" (1848-1947).

In Forester's story, the English characters Mrs. Moore and Adela Quested are excited about visiting India's famous Marabar Cave. A horrible encounter with a frightening echo within the cave turns an innocent sightseeing expedition into a tumultuous court trail.  Tragically, Adela's encounter with the echo explodes from an unfortunate incident into a controversial accusation of assault, fueled by class discrimination.

"Bou-oum!" is how Forester described the echo, in this passage: "The echo in Marabar....the same monotonous noise replies and quivers, up and down the walls until it is absorbed into the roof..."...

Romney's "I like to fire people" hits the roof in the daunting Republican debate about who is the most electable candidate to potentially defeat President Obama in November 2012.  His "firing people" statement was unrehearsed, for sure, but the echo of it raises the specter of class discrimination, in much the same way  Forester's "bou-oum!" eventually caused chaos among the established English Raj.

In other words, the same monotonous noise repeating his comment in the media, is causing Romney's Republican colleagues to squirm. They are completely unprepared to defend a capitalist concept at odds with the prevailing work ethic they mantra. "Get a job" is their response to all things tax supported. In GOP speak, if you work for the government:  "Get a real job" (Bou-oum!).  If a poor person needs Medicaid coverage: "Find a job to pay for health insurance, in spite of how expensive it is!" (Bou-oum!).  If your company looses money due to competition from cheap labor markets: "It's the capitalist way!" (Bou-oum!)
How do you turn an unprofitable company into one that generates profits? "You lay people off" - euphemism for "fire people".  (Bou-oum!)

In Forster's novel, the character Adela is put on the witness stand and questioned about the Marabar Cave incident. She is compelled to relive her encounter with the echo.  To the embarrassment of everyone, including her English colleagues, her mentor Mrs. Moore and the people of India, who collectively felt indicted by her accusation of assault, she cannot substantiate her accusation. But Adela knew she could not recall the emotional damage caused by her emotional accusation.

Likewise, Governor Romney cannot take back his terribly mistimed remark. It will resonate like the echo in the Marabar Cave. Like the Raj, his comment opened an economic schism, by creating an unpleasant environment, just as treacherous as walking the crevices of the Marabar Cave.

He raised the economic disparity issue, similar to the Raj, a period when native people in India felt marginalized by the colonial English.

Indeed, the entire Capitalist economic system, now on public trial, must defend how ordinary people are protected by our free market system, rather than becoming a by-product of profiteering.


Romney's comment about firing people is his Passage to India echo.  It may render him as not electable.

See the report of Governor Romney's comment:

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Friday, January 06, 2012

Grand Old Party Creates Balkanisation - Unfit to Govern?

It's not enough to hear about individual differences among Republicans vying for the office of President of the United States. Now the newscasts are loaded with regional slams as well.

"He's a Northeast Republican", is one slam, as though being from the US Northeast doesn't qualify one for being a "real" Republican, in favor of smaller government and lower taxes.

Do these regional labelists know where America originated, or not?  Apparently not.

Another label is "Massachusetts Moderate", a slam referring to Republican Governor Romney as the past governor of the state, where the real December 16, 1846, Tea Party occurred in Boston Harbor.

How are Americans supposed to stand and honor our beautiful red-white-and blue flag representing unity of 50 states when the candidates coveting the nation's leadership position misuse concepts to Balkanise, (separate into quarrelsome states) our country?

Republicans are so splintered that being from the Northeast taints one as not worthy of being a "true" member of the Grand Old Party - essential to our nation's democratic two party political system

By the way, one term Governor Mitt Romney was not re-elected by Massachusetts voters.  This is yet another reason why all voters must think again about Governor Romney's presumed "electability" to win against President Obama later this year.

Electability? Add up the questions: (1) Iowa voters were twice lukewarm about Romney as a Republican president in their state's caucuses, in spite of rigorous campaigning and ridiculous spending by the candidate's campaign and political action committee (PAC); and (2) Romney struggles to maintain a decisive lead in his home state of New Hampshire while the Manchester Union Leader newspaper endorsed rival Newt Gingrich; (3) The Boston Globe, a leading US newspaper located in the Massachusetts, the state where the candidate was once governor, endorsed the former Governor of Utah, John Huntsman! Add up the facts and they don't equal "electability" to me.

My conclusion is that Republicans are not fit to govern at this time. They are balkanised among themselves because they cannot agree on who is a "true", or "real" or "neo-conservative". To be other than one of the above creates the impression one is a moderate conservative.  Paleeeze! This micro-examination of the concept of "conservative" is splintering the candidate's credibility and creating unflattering neologisms reflecting their individual narcissist political purposes.

As it turns out, the incendiary issues are not about how "conservative" each of the candidates are at all. Rather, it seems their constituents are obsessed by their individual religious beliefs and opinions about irrelevant social issues like homosexuality, or, "What is a Christian, anyway?", birth control and/or their belief (or not) in Creationism.

GOP faithful:  Please explain to me and other mystified voters where the ideology of the current Republican line up of Presidential "wanna-bees" is indicative of at just one person who can unite and govern the 50 United States of America under the US Constitution that, by the way, was written in the Northeast.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Why is this happening? What can I do?

Why is this happening? What can I do?

My blog response to proposed cuts to MaineCare, a budget cutting policy that will shift health care costs to the private sector and public safety. The proposal will impact on 65,000 Maine people. If passed, the poor, frail, disabled and mentally ill will be without access to quality and affordable health care.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

2012: A Political Mayan Calandar Year

Is it possible the Mayans ended their compulsion with calendar making in the prophetic year 2012, because they foresaw the destructive forces of political gridlock?

Perhaps, what the Mayans really envisioned wasn't strong planetary alignments, as astronomy scientists believe; but, rather, they saw political polarization.

Were Mayans confused between political and astronomical alignments?

The analogy of a New Year's Day football game rises to the occasion as the US emerges out of a completely avoidable tax and gridlock polarization saga at the end of 2011. This year ending drama is now suspended in a temporary vacuum.  Nonetheless, both sides of the debate are in their respective political locker rooms.

Will the Republicans and Democrats come back to Washington DC after the Holiday truce, with the intention of working out a compatible budgetary game plan, for the betterment of the American People?

Or not?

I submit the Republicans, already entrenched in obstructionism, are intent on making sure no new ideas on the budget and tax reform gain any traction. In other words, "NNI = No New Ideas".  So, a Mayan Calendar symbol for the political prediction might look something like this:  GOP+2012=NNI. Any progressive ideas might help to re-elect President Barack Obama, the only game plan the negative GOP appears to care anything about. (And these GOP obstructionists take an oath to uphold the US Constitution!)

Democrats, on the other hand, are handing over Republican ideas for good job creation like a dealer at the poker game table.  Dealer turns a card, "federal money to fix crumbling bridges".  A GOP wager = "fold".  Dealer turns another card = "tax cuts" - to help middle class wage earners who (by the way) aren't receiving much in the way of inflation pay adjustments.  Another GOP wager on tax cuts = "fold".  Quickly, GOP officials disappear from the game table like a magnet has pulled them into limbo. Only the dealer remains, holding a deck of job making offers, none of which the GOP bidders want to claim as a winning hand.

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama is looking Presidential.

Yet, it won't be long into the 2012 New Year before the dueling political factions in Washington DC will taint President Obama with their Mayan negativity symbols. Indeed, Mayans were apparently good at creating monster masks.

My hope, prayer and fervent New Year's Resolution is simple.  Let's bust the Mayan Calendar political myths by rising above destructive and polarizing gridlock in Washington DC.

Republicans and Democrats must raise taxes on the wealthiest of Americans who earn more than $1 million a year. We absolutely must give a tax cut to middle class Americans who need some income relief to keep up with rising costs. Then, let's work together to support a jobs bill that will create better bridges, improve our nations roads and support a high speed rail system - like other civilized countries are already doing.

Prediction: When the Mayan Calendar ends at the winter solstice 2012, perhaps the date will mark the beginning of a new era of bipartisan cooperation and American nation building. (After all, my prediction has as much credibility as all the others floating around.)

Maybe, the calendar obsessed Mayans didn't really mean for their calendar to end at 2012, at all.

Rather, let's assume they intended for a new generation of human beings to focus our sights on improving the human condition.  Maybe, Mayans realized that 2012 was the year when political forces holding our nation in suspended gridlock, must end.

Let's begin a progressive 2012 calender, by giving the Mayans credit for handing over the time mantle to a society intent on getting things done.