Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Blood and Treasure: part II

In Part one of "Blood and Treasure" I found it necessary to address the need for government oversite in military operations, the need for the congress to listen to military command, and the general strategy of the Afghan theater. As some members of congress, including both Chellie Pingree and Mike Michaud of Maine, have voted to defund the troops as a cost saving measure, part two will deal with the actual cost of warfare, not just in monies, but in lives.

The removal of material resources to the military in a time of war most assuredly can and will save money. Warfare by its very nature is costly and no nation can take up arms and expect their treasuries not to become leaner. The vast and seemingly endless need for foodstuffs, fuel, ammunition, clothing, shelter, and transport are immense but necessary expenditures in any contest of arms, especially in modern times. One cannot deny that the cost to the American taxpayer for our current involvement in hostilities has been huge. And if we were to look at warfare from simply a dollars and cents point of view one could easily be persuaded to follow the call of those Representatives who wish for us to stop funding the operation.

However, the subject is more complex than a mere accounting tally sheet. Though money plays a very important role in the conduct of operations, it is NOT the only and most important factor.

For; ultimately warfare in all its forms and guises is about the use of force, which culminates in the letting of blood and also death. There are always casualties in war, both belligerent and civilian. This is an inevitable fact associated with the violent nature of the task. Therein lays the true cost of violence, the price we pay in blood and lives.

One cannot honestly calculate the cost of hostilities by focusing on just treasure or blood. Both factors must be assessed fully for they are intertwined and each has a definite bearing on the other. I believe that it is this most important of facts which has escaped our legislator’s attention as they call out to deny the troops the necessary equipment and means to do their job. This vote by Congress can only be viewed in two ways:

First it is Reckless, as it will endanger the lives of our soldiery thus increasing the cost in blood. Over the centuries governments have learned that it is in their best interest to supply the soldiery with the proper equipment and materials to achieve victory. This cost in monies oft times is offset by not paying in lives lost. A well equipped and fed soldier has a better chance of surviving than he in tatters with antiquated weaponry.

We can assume this recklessness is based in ignorance of this correlation.

Second it is Disingenuous, as many representatives are merely posturing to seek votes from the anti-war crowd and so propose to pay for those votes with the blood of our troops. Those representatives who are posturing thusly are not only very dangerous fellows in their own right, they are also foolish to the point of folly. As they vote to defund many think “it won’t pass but I will have made a statement as to the conduct of war.” Perhaps, yet what if so many of our officials took the same thought and acted upon it? This would cause the proposal to be passed inadvertently would it not? Thereby placing soldiers in an even more dangerous state than they are subject to now.

Pericles the Athenian once said “ And everyone supposeth that his own neglect of the common estate can do little hurt and that it will be the care of somebody else to look to that for his own good, not observing how by these thoughts of everyone, in several, the common business is jointly ruined.”

The danger inherent in the House members voting to defund as a protest of sorts, is summed up quite nicely by that ancient sage.

The Government and the Commander in Chief have ordered the military into battle. They have dictated that our sons and daughters will go to foreign shores and fight the enemies of this land to destroy and demoralize the foe in his home rather than in ours. Many of those brave troopers ordered such will die; many survivors will witness the horrors of the battlefield first hand and need to live with its terrible images for the rest of their lives. They will let their blood out upon the dusty ground, thousands of miles from home, in acts of selflessness that can only be described as heroic.

Why? Because they have been ordered to do so.

How then can the very same Government who put these men and women in harm’s way deny them the material support to fight effectively? What manner of a man would even conceive of such a plan which denies troops in combat, armor, medicine, and ammunition? Such a proposal is so morally bankrupt one must consider whether or not those who support it are mentally healthy.

Carl von Clausewitz wrote “war is but an extension of politics by other means”

This being true then Congress needs to decide if the conflict in Afghanistan is of political value to the nation and act accordingly. They must assess the cost in blood and treasure; they must look to the future and ask what the consequences of their actions will be both good and bad. If the Legislature concludes that the eastern theater is not of value to the United States then it is their duty to call for a cessation of hostilities.

Have they done this? No they have not! Instead they propose to simply stop funding the war. Though expedient this course of action is in no uncertain terms, nothing more than negligent homicide. This if I am not mistaken is a crime in most states, for good reason I might add. To play at politics with the lives of human beings is an act unworthy of any man or woman, but especially so for those who are supposed to be “the best and brightest” of our society.

Let me conclude with this: “in all the confusion of politics we must not allow ourselves to lose sight of one simple truth “That in war lives are at stake, and that it will be families home and abroad who will pay a greater price in blood than can ever be weighed out in treasure.”

Allen R Butler
Gray, Maine

Monday, July 19, 2010

Blood and Treasure: part I

I must begin this article by stating that no civilized man enjoys war, or killing.

No person in his or her right mind will advocate for the use of military force when other options are available to resolve issues between nations. For; there is no glory in the battle, no beauty or grace, but only fear, pain, loss and death. We do not want to place the lives of others in jeopardy anymore than we wish for ours to be. Yet, until such time as mankind can control his appetites and shy away from the violent instincts and passions that are the cause of war, we are left with a simple fact. Warfare, ugly and cruel, is part of the human experience. And so long as factions and nations persist in being belligerents, we as a people will always face the prospect of attack. So it is now the United States finds itself immersed in a long and bloody conflict. Not one of conquest or of desire, but rather one foisted upon us by a cunning and vicious enemy. We all wish that this was not the case and that the attempts to use diplomatic measures with these terrorists had succeeded. I don’t like war, but as we have been left no recourse and our foe has chosen to ignore reason and debate, and has taken the stance of aggressor, I see no other option but to fight.

The myriad of facts surrounding a topic such as “Military Operations” i.e. warfare, pile up quickly and can overshadow even the brightest or best of minds. Add to the overload of confusing information concerning troop deployments, logistics and timetables, the American politician’s penchant to argue and debate issues great and small, we quickly find ourselves mired in a morass of “Point vs. Counterpoint”. The minutiae’ of strategy, theory, and tactics, are drawn out, dissected, and fought over. More debate arises over the validity of contentions, both factual and fictional.

This of course is the American way of doing things and it is only natural that Military matters would be treated in the same fashion. For, if the Commander in Chief, and the Congress, had no control over our standing Armed Forces then I assure you we would not enjoy the freedoms and liberties we so often take for granted. History has shown time and time again that an autonomous Military establishment beholden to none but its own, leads not to the safety and security of the people, but to tyranny and dictatorships. I diminish not the valor, honor and genius of our military leaders by stating such, for they too understand the need for some oversight from the Legislature and Administration. Such cooperative management curbs the potential for abuses of power within the armed services as well as the government itself and protects the citizenry from that most fearful of political takeovers, the “military coup”.

However, though the necessity of cooperative management be evident, there is a point when the government must give the command of the conflict to the Generals and Admirals of the service. For it is ultimately with them that the experience and knowledge of armed struggle resides. One would not entrust a regiment of Marines to a lawyer or sailmaker anymore than one would have law practiced by the laborer and vice versa. The talents and abilities acquired through years of study and hands on experience of any job or skill is what gives the practitioner of the art his or her level of expertise. The talents and expertise for the profession of warfare most assuredly requires men and women of knowledge to execute the endeavor to effect. And though their peculiar talents and positions ultimately lead to the letting of blood, distasteful as such an act is, can in no way lessen the fact they are best equipped to handle the tasks assigned.

Establishing thus that those soldiers and sailors who hold rank and leadership within our armed services are professionals in their field we must conclude that their ideas, plans, assessments and views concerning warfare hold merit and value. This fact cannot be disputed, no matter how often certain persons try.

Yet, though this truth is evident, we are witness to, from the floor of the House and Senate, politicians braying loudly about the strategy of this nation’s current military operations. Some have gone so far as to say that there is no strategy at all as pertains to one area of Ops, that being Afghanistan.

This contention, on the part of some of our legislators is false, and quite frankly insulting to the soldiers and officers of the Military, for there is a strategy in place. One that is at the heart of the entire conflict, and if understood by those in congress who accuse the Generals of ineptitude I daresay, those same politicians would reward and applaud these brave men and women rather than defame them.

As has been pointed out time and time again the general strategy of the Afghan theater is to seek out and destroy the terrorist organizations and their financial supporters. In so doing we not only keep the enemy off balance by forcing him to react to our actions i.e. initiative, but we also undermine his ability to formulate and execute attacks on our civilian population. In this we have been rather successful for to date, the terrorists have been unable to effectively assault the American people. This I believe is due in great part to the military actions within the borders of Afghanistan.

One would think that such a simple strategy, well known and of common knowledge, would be available for our legislators to view and understand. Sadly this is not the case, and as the uninitiated and uninformed politicians scream about the cost in treasure for the operations in the east, they ignore the cost in blood and propose a vote to defund the entire theater.

It is here that rests the heart of the matter. (Continued in Part II)
Allen R. Butler

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Man Punched while calling 911 to report punch

Man Punched while calling 911 to report punch

Police in Iowa City said a man who called them to report that he'd been punched while on the Iowa City pedestrian mall, was punched again by a second person while he was on the phone with his 911 call.

Police said the man, whose name was not released, told 911 dispatchers early Tuesday morning that he had just been assaulted in the 100 block of East College St. and was following the person who did it. Police said that while he was speaking with officers, a friend of the original assailant punched the man and knocked him to the ground.

The victim was treated at University Hospitals for what are believed to be minor injuries to the head.

Portland Press Herald article

This headline is too amusing not to share. I am still chickling over it..


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wind Up!

This morning on the way to work I decided I should break from the compusory routine of tuning my radio to Talk/news radio. With the bright nature of this beautiful morn I simply wished to avoid becoming angry over the devilry that I was sure to be subjected to if any political news reached me.

Sometimes.... You just have to say no.

Instead I reached into my console and pulled out my old Aqualung CD by Jethro Tull. (yes I still have compact discs as well as an I-Pod) As the songs began to pound out of my poor speakers I noticed that the volume kept getting louder and louder. Unconciously I was reaching over and turning the knob with each new verse. By the time I reached the outskirts of my little town the pounding beats of Locomotive Breath and Aqualung were filling the air and ears of homeowners and pedestrians all along my route. I cant blame some of them for giving me, a middle aged man who should know better, dirty looks as I flew by them in the early summer morning creating all that noise.

Music is somewhat magical, for it has the power to dredge up memories, feelings, and thoughts forgotten long ago. So it was for me this morning.

This is my favorite song from the album, for it's rather heartfelt and straight forward lyrics. The presentation is not too shabby either!

Wind Up

When I was young, and they packed me off to school
And taught me how not to play the game,
I didn't mind, if they groomed me for success,
Or if they said that I was a fool.

So I left there in the morning,
With their god tucked underneath my arm --
Their half-assed smiles, and the book of rules.
So I asked this god a question
And by way of firm reply,
He said –“ I'm not the kind you have to wind up on Sundays.”
So to my old headmaster (and to anyone who cares):
Before I'm through I'd like to say my prayers –

I don't believe you:
You have the whole damn thing all wrong --
He's not the kind you have to wind up on Sundays.
Well you can excommunicate me, on my way to Sunday school
And have all the bishops harmonize these lines –

How do you dare tell me, that I'm my father's son
when that was just an accident of birth.
I'd rather look around me -- compose a better song
`cause that's the honest measure of my worth.
In your pomp and all your glory, you're a poorer man than me,
As you lick the boots of death born out of fear.

I don't believe you:
You had the whole damn thing all wrong --
He's not the kind you have to wind up on Sundays.

Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull)

Allen R Butler

*the Photo is of Ian Anderson in 2004

Friday, May 21, 2010

Yes on one blues.

I stole this from As Maine Goes. The play on Bob Dylan's Subterranean Homesick Blues video of the early sixties really made me laugh. I used to love that song, actually I still do.

Anyway this is a very creative and fun vid that gets part of the message across.


Thursday, May 20, 2010

LePage puts life's hard lessons to work

LePage puts life's hard lessons to work
The Republican mayor and Marden's manager wants to help Mainers help themselves.By Susan M. Cover
Staff Writer

WATERVILLE — Republican Mayor Paul LePage isn't afraid to go directly to voters if Waterville's Democratic-controlled City Council disagrees with him.He threatens to veto budgets and knows how to use the bully pulpit.

However, he also answers letters from elementary schoolchildren, and speaks quietly when recalling his own difficult childhood
. Full PPH article....

After reading the above article in the PPH I have to say I am somewhat surprised. The paper's usual bias was dulled and dampened considerably and they did a nice job of presenting this most exciting of candidates.

I have tried to point many people towards Mayor LePage's campaign this past year. He is a man after my own heart. He came up the hard way yet didn't let that stop him striving for success, he has done the right thing by the citizens of Waterville time and time again.

Through the implementation of efficiencies Mayor LePage managed to not only create a surplus of revenue but also lower taxes for the citizenry. All the while not cutting back on the most needed services of the community. No wonder he keeps getting re-elected. I'm all in on this candidate, and if you are still undecided take a look at his campaign website here : LePage 2010

Allen R Butler

This small endorsement is not paid for,I really like Paul LePage for our next Governor.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Yes on One

This gives a real great list of not only all the new taxes that we will be subject to if this law is put in place but also the deductions that we will lose as well.

I urge all of you to vote Yes on one!!!! this is not Tax reform but Tax Shifting.


Monday, May 17, 2010

The rest of the story?

U.S Rep. Chellie Pingree’s partner Donald Sussman……..

This very first line from an article in the Kennebec Journal last Friday 5/14/2009, which reported a $100,000 donation to the No Higher Taxes for Maine PAC by Mr. Sussman caught my attention. That opening statement, is quite telling indeed, Yet many people do not know much about Mr. Donald Sussman outside of his founding of Paloma Partners Management co. from Greenwich CT. So in the tradition of Paul Harvey I thought I would try to shed a little light “on the rest of the story”.

According to the article, Mr. Sussman has a “long love affair” with the state of Maine, and his altruism is a mere by product of these amorous feelings. I suppose, love is a many, splendid thing but I have to wonder how much this man really loves Maine over all.

One month before the citizens of Maine voted to reject a constitutional amendment to redefine the definition of marriage he contributed $250,000 to the supporters of Gay Marriage. Along with some other out of state investors (remember Sussman lives in Washington DC and CT) he created a campaign war chest of $2.7 million dollars to influence the Maine voter. All of that $2.7 Million came from cities like Boston and New York.

He gave money to keep the Dirigo Health plan, that financial sinkhole which Obama based his Health Care Reform on, alive and well. Regardless of the fact the program is one of the greatest wastes of Maine taxpayer dollars in the history of the state. A program, that not only cannot sustain itself but, which is unable to provide even the most basic of services with subsidies from the government.

Last but not least Donald Sussman and Paloma Partners contributed over $100,000 last year to his “Partner” Chellie Pingree’s campaign coffers to get her re-elected to the U.S. Congress.

Paloma Partner’s, are the very same hedge fund investors who were securities lending counterparties of AIG's. They lent securities to AIG, which it then in turn, lent out to others to be shorted. This business was famously catastrophic for AIG, causing monumental losses for the company. Not to worry though AIG was “too big to fail” so they received the much needed bailout monies from the federal government. As a bonus Paloma Partners received $200 million of those bailout funds for its stellar work in helping create one of the greatest economic crises since the great depression.

No wonder Sussman is willing to part with $50,000 for the Presidential inaugural ball here and $100,000 to help his “Partner” Chellie over there. With 200 Million taxpayer dollars to throw around such payouts/offs are but a pittance.

This love affair with Maine is rather difficult to sort out, but let’s try all the same.

First: If Donald Sussman really loved the people of Maine, why then would he invest so much time and money in the effort in changing its traditions by financing the redefinition of marriage? This seems strange to me, for if you love a place or a people in general then you have to understand and accept the culture and values of the people. If for some reason you cannot accept said culture then you most assuredly cannot respect or assimilate, nor can you profess a loyalty of some sort. How can one say I love Maine and in the next breath work hard to destroy its longest standing traditions? Is not love based on respect?

Second; Dirigo is a huge burden on the Maine taxpayer $5million a year and counting. How can Sussman honestly say that the “Tax and Shift” plan will “help build new economic opportunities so every family can thrive” when he also supports the existence of a program that does nothing but take money from those very families? Would not each and every citizen be better off if they did not have to pay for Dirigo? Could not the offset have a much more far reaching impact on the Maine economy as a whole in comparison to LD1495? This stance by Mr. Sussman is very contradictory and makes little to no sense at all.

Last: We cannot, and should not, ignore this philanthropic savior’s relationship with our Representative from the U.S. 1st District Congresswoman Chellie Pingree. The KJ made mention of them being “Partners” which should make one wonder what exactly that means. Are they business partners? If so what is the arrangement? What does a sitting Congresswoman from Maine bring to the table in such a partnership with a multimillion dollar hedge fund company from CT? It is evident that Miss Pingree gains some benefit from the partnership for as mentioned earlier considerable contributions have been made to her campaigns by Mr. Sussman and Paloma Partners. However, I am left wondering what Donald gets for all his support? A partnership implies a “give and take” relationship if someone is giving; someone is taking, as we are all aware no relationship can last if only one side gives and never receives.

Maybe, just maybe, there is more to the story than just how altruistic Donald Sussman is. Perhaps the praise laid before him and his “Partner” by the Kennebec Journal is a bit premature and his proclamations of love should be looked at a bit more closely. For it is quite clear any love he may feel for Maine’s people is not based on an idea of respect or equality, like between a husband and wife, but more as a father who feels he must guide his ignorant wayward children with his infinite and all knowing wisdom.

Thank you Donald, but I already have a father and I grew up long ago.

Good day
Allen R Butler

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Opinion: After the Nashville Flood, Where Is President Obama? - AOL News

Opinion: After the Nashville Flood, Where Is President Obama? - AOL News

The problem with the Nashville flood is that the people in Tennessee are not waiting around for the Federal government or the administration to save them. Instead, they are relying on themselves, working with their neighbors and families to lessen the pain of the tragedy. This spirit of self reliance, the spirit that made this Nation great, is not appreciated or even liked by the current administration.

Where is Obama?

He is in DC, where he will stay pandering to the dependant classes rewarding the indolent. He and his ilk have no patience for those Americans who embrace not their ideals of government dependence, thus I fear Nashville will see him not. Well maybe, if it was an opportunity to garner support for one of his schemes he might fly down for a visit. Perhaps if the citizens of Tennessee, mailed him letters telling him they need him to stump for Health care reform, that would get him on a plane.

Despicable does not even begin to describe the President on this issue.

Allen R Butler

Friday, April 23, 2010

'Do You See A Trend?'

'Do You See A Trend?'
First it was the "evil" insurance companies. Now it is "bankers." Do you see a trend?

I have spent the last week meeting with some in the financial community. They are quite concerned with the way my opponent and President Obama are depicting ALL in the financial community. More so, members of Congress rage against the finance community while not considering the fault of the Congress in the sub-prime mess. Specifically, they are silent on the government involvement in Freddie and Fannie. Fannie had $11 Billion in accounting errors. Fannie and Freddie received $238 billion in tax payer money. That is more than Citi, JP Morgan Chase and Bank of America combined! Yet my opponent is silent on Freddie and Fannie?

Dean Scontras.

The above article is worth the read and like so many of Dean's observations right on the mark.

Allen Butler

Friday, April 16, 2010

A line in the sand..

I cannot find a way to address the issue of domestic violence in soft or subtle terms. Perhaps, this is appropriate for the issue as it stands is not one of subtleties or nuances. There exists no delicacy in the act of a man beating his wife, or children. No grace or beauty in the aftermath, filled with tears, pain, and fear. Domestic violence is simply cruel, cowardly behavior, performed by persons of lesser intellect who seek power. Power over others, for they have none over themselves or their surroundings.

No, there is no nice way to write about it, but this should not make us shy away.

The recent charge of Murder placed against Patrick Dapolito in the death of his wife Kelly Winslow of Limington last month, really brought the issue to the fore again. After shooting his wife in the back of the head with a 9mm handgun, Mr. Dapolito then stuffed the victim in a freezer until such time as he was able to dispose of the body in western Maine.

If we as a society truly believe that Domestic violence in all its forms is unacceptable as evidenced by the myriad of articles and books written on the subject, then I ask why in God’s name do we still have families who are living in a state of fear, where life itself, can become the ultimate price paid?

The situation continues because we as a people may pay lip service to the notion of stopping violence in the home, but do little to translate the idea into a reality. Yes there are education programs and outreach facilities, there are social service organizations and law enforcement officers, but overall these programs and avenues, are mere stop gaps. They exist to help save people from suffering at the hands of a supposed love one. Noble yes, but they are not, by their very nature, able to change the general perception and social values of the citizenry which, I believe, is what really needs to happen.

That, my friends, is left to you and me.

If we really want to stop violence then we should make the idea of it so socially unacceptable, that once found out, an abuser cannot help but experience great shame and/or fear. To do this we have to make the abuser understand not why he/she was so abusive, but rather why we will not tolerate this behavior as a people. This is not hard to do, for those who lower themselves by attacking women and children are nothing more than cowards. Being such, they are deserving of none of our attentions, friendships, or business. In other words, we should ostracize them. This can be done without violating anyone’s civil liberties, for nowhere in the Constitution does it state that you must interact with those persons you find distasteful.

I personally have no room in my world for men who are tough with women and children. I have found that these types are generally of an unreliable and unstable personality and that they cannot be trusted. The very nature of their lives makes it so, for they must lie and deceive continually to cover up their crimes. They have no honor, no pride, no strength of character, and lacking such they deserve no respect, friendship or companionship from anyone least of all me. I draw a line in the sand on this issue, a very distinct line, and if friend, family member, or even associate, crosses it they quickly find themselves “Shut out” completely.

I associate not with cowards.

I believe if more people took such a stance, if perhaps the abuser’s friends looked past “What a nice guy he is except for that beating his wife to a bloody pulp every Friday night bit” then we just may find a decrease in the instances of domestic violence here in Maine. If we can all measure our relationships with perpetrators of domestic violence with a moral compass that rejects any and all excuses, that scorns those found guilty, then we can begin to remove this barbaric plague from our society as a whole.

It will be shame that brings such persons to their knees and to heel, not discussions about drug use or their childhood. It will be their neighbors and friends turning away in disgust at the cowardice of the act which will leave no doubt, domestic violence is no longer acceptable or wanted.

Draw your line in the sand!

Allen R Butler

*the photo is of the cowardly and weak Dapolito heading to court*

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Government Can

Oh yeah "mix it up with lies to make it all taste good" !!!


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Out of Touch.

While I become more and more angered each day with the news from Washington and Augusta I slowly realize that I am not in touch. For if I was, the surprise, the angst, and ire brought on by false promises and rhetoric would not be so strong. Amidst the din and clamor of all the voices screaming, I have for two years tried to raise mine above it all, ever hopeful that somehow a modicum of reason might find its way into the fray. To no avail, for as I said before, I am obviously out of touch with the political realities of this state and nation.

Allow me to elaborate a little.

Last week the Democrat leadership in Augusta proposed a “Jobs Bond” to the tune of ninety nine million dollars. I began to wonder, how this particularly large borrowing package was different from all the other “bonds” Mainers have been approving for the last decade. The truth is it differs not one bit; this proposal is the same damned, re named, bond we keep voting “yes” for every election. As a matter of fact, it is a cookie cutter version of the 71 million Transportation bond passed in November 2009. Oh they threw in the old argument for rail service to Lewiston, and stamped the package with a nice new title but in essence, it is the same old bag of debt.

Thankfully Governor Baldacci, that bastion of fiscal responsibility and foresight, came up with his own version of the proposal which will cost the taxpayers but a measly $79 million dollars. That comes to a $20 million dollar savings at the stroke of a pen!!!!

Let me take a poke at the idea too, how about I save the citizens of Maine for years to come another $79 million with my keyboard here, by proposing the “No Bond, Bond” package which includes an “Enough already” provision, as well as a “stop lying to us all” clause.

As I looked at this latest of schemes, I found myself more confused and angrier than ever over the whole idea, for within its entire makeup lays all the things I find most egregious about politics. Deception, lack of innovation and lastly an honest to goodness, lack of common sense.

If we already have bonds pending approval for the proposed projects, why then are our officials asking to borrow more? Especially in this time of economic ruin? Is not the 71 million bond money enough to cover the projects? If not then where did all the money go? I am inclined to believe that our leaders have become so accustomed to the Maine taxpayer approving each and every borrowing plan put on a ballot that they simply are not even going to try and come up with anything innovative to spur economic growth. You know like maybe tax incentives for business, or tax breaks for the individual. Something radical along those lines may be too forward thinking and have real consequences and results. So they “Stay the course” and borrow more money for the fancy of the day and when they get the monies be sure to make them available in the general fund. This way when the legislature cannot balance the budget or an unfunded liability (Dirigo) needs revenue it can be shifted easily.

I think my inability to comprehend the concept of spending oneself out of debt is the cause for my ire. As I see it, in my own simple world, if you already have too much debt to pay off reasonably with the resources at hand then to go borrow more is foolhardy at best. For at some point, the creditor will be calling, and the debt incurred will have to be paid back. You and I cannot go and tax somebody for more revenues or rely on “Creative accounting” to balance our family budgets, if we did, more than likely we would be spending time in a nice prison cell somewhere. Or at the very least become impoverished and homeless, this is how it works for us mere mortals in the rest of the world; I suppose the same facts and laws apply not to governments. Maybe this is why Washington leads the charge for borrowing and spending money that just simply does not exist. The reality is obviously quite different for the leaders, and the led, and I suppose I should try to understand their reality better.

Perhaps, if I go buy an old “Freedom Rock” album set and sit around listening to it, and do nothing for a few months I may come to a better understanding of how these people think.

So, I am “Out of touch”, completely bewildered, and I suppose it is time for me to go sit down and shut up for a change, which is what I’ve been told to do more than once.

Allen Butler

Friday, February 26, 2010

Vote Status Quo!

I believe I’m going to run for Governor here in the state of Maine. Thinking long and hard about the current condition of the state and our people, I think it would be in my best interest to at least give it a go. I mean what’s to lose? The job pays more than my current one; the benefits are simply awesome what with healthcare, lifetime pension, and my very own state trooper to drive me around wherever I want. Hell, I may even get a chance to travel to foreign lands on the taxpayer’s dime. I’d really be going to places like Greece and Spain to enjoy a bit of sun during the winter months, but I would say the purpose of the trip was for “economic development” whatever that term means.

It’s a win/ win situation as far as I’m concerned.

Now you are all probably asking yourselves “Why should I support someone who obviously has their own interests at heart and not those of the people?”

Well, simply put I agree. You as a voter should not cast your ballot for someone who doesn’t care about the people and future of Maine. However given the history of elections over the past forty years one can deduce that even though people should NOT vote for self interested individuals, they consistently do. Therefore there is hope for someone such as I.

What makes my candidacy stand out above all the others is honesty. Instead of manipulating everyone through the media by eliciting emotional responses based on some Harvard study of demographics, economics, and voter trends, I am cutting to the chase. You know right up front what you are getting when you vote for me.

The beauty of this campaign is in its platform, for the rather simple ideas I am about to put forth should set even the most irascible of politicos at ease.

Platform item 1. I AGREE! I promise to agree with all sides of an argument and to agree with each of them in turn. No one will ever feel that I am not on their side of an issue for I will make it the number one goal for myself, and every person in my administration, to be open minded to a fault.

2. Bi-Partisanship: All conflicts in the legislature current and future that cannot be resolved through bi-partisanship effort are to be handled through blue-ribbon panel commissions. These panels will weigh all sides of an issue, agreeing to agree, on all points and make a decision. If it takes fifty years to resolve the conflict the commission shall remain in place until the job is done. I feel this process is extremely helpful in moving Maine forward. Instead having to bear the responsibility of voting for a bill that could prove politically risky, our elected officials can now avoid it altogether, and shift any blame for negative outcomes to the commission. Another win/win all around.

3. Status Quo: The people of Maine, in their infinite wisdom have time and time again shown that they wish not for change in the legislature or in the economic make up of the state. I promise like so many of my predecessors in the Blaine House, to maintain a policy of Status Quo. We will work hard to hinder any and all possible economic advancement through odious and arbitrary regulations. To further the goal of absolute Status Quo I will form a crack team of middling performers who strive for nothing less than mediocrity. These appointees, who I deem sub czars, will form a virtual bureaucratic road block to any pesky business that dares to think this is where they want to set up shop. I swear by all that is holy we will succeed in helping the people of this great state stay right where they want to be. As a special “feel good” measure the sub czars shall all sing Kumbaya on the state house steps if they manage to crush a business hopeful by using environmental regulations.

To run a campaign such as this I am forced to prostitute any and all forms of integrity, values, and intellectual honesty. However for the greater good, and my own personal aggrandizement, I willingly make the sacrifice. Maine is too precious a state, to be put in the hands of other gubernatorial hopefuls who wish to deface her with their crazy ideas of prosperity.

Go with what you know, Status Quo!
Butler for Governor

Allen R Butler

* This article was printed in full in the Lakes Region Weekly Newspaper, Any and all endorsements,contributions or volunteers can contact me here at your pleasure.*

**The photo is of where I'll be living if elected to maintain the level of stagnation we all obviously desire. (It is the Blaine House for you who needed to be told)**

Friday, January 22, 2010

The New Religion.

As I look out upon the frozen tundra that once was my lawn, and prepare to shovel the yards and yards of snow from my drive, I cannot help but wonder, where is all the Global warming? According to the "green" folks the temperature has increased so dramatically that we as a species are in great peril of extinction. Al Gore, that magnificent prophet of the movement, even went so far as to boldly predict the destruction of the polar ice cap within five to seven years.

Contrary to the scientific evidence that proves the exact opposite, which is that the ice cap has grown in size.

To give the warming acolytes and their prophet some due, I have to note that once faced with incontrovertible evidence that the world is not warming, they took action to address it. Holding a summit in which all the best and brightest of the disciples attended they decided to rephrase their stance, so instead of fighting Global Warming they now rally behind the banner of Climate Change.

It seems that every action we as people perform in our daily lives has a negative impact upon the environment. Our cars emit pollutants, our warm homes use up fossil fuels, even our very bodies produce carbon dioxide every time we exhale. Cattle flatulence has been measured and determined to have weakened the ozone, (what a lousy job that must have been) the list goes on and on. No matter where one casts his or her eye, they cannot help but be assaulted by some form of heresy or another against the planet.

To have faith one must believe beyond the manifestations of physical evidence; to believe in a god one merely needs to accept his or her existence as truth. This often brings solace and understanding to the human experience which given the complexity of life and society is much needed. I have no problem with faith or religion as its benefits are great indeed, however, once the views of the faithful are imposed upon me through force or legislation I do get a bit defensive.

The religion of Climate Change has already crossed that line with me.

This past week one hundred of our State legislators signed a letter calling on Maine's U.S. senators to take action to promote clean energy jobs. The intent of the letter is twofold; first to show support for Senators Snowe and Collins, if they decide to vote in favor of a climate change bill, second, it gives the new found faith validity of sorts. The faithful didn’t bother to add Chellie Pingree or Mike Michaud as recipients, for those two are already amongst the converted.

Forgetting, or ignoring all that is right before them, our leaders are happily wasting time on writing missives to one another of faulty and frivolous substance. Of course the devoted authors of this letter were sure to peak the voters interest with the word "Jobs" thrown in for good measure. Somehow, dedication and confidence in something that cannot be proved will create sustainable employment for the people of Maine. This must be the "hope and change" I have heard so much about. If my unemployed neighbor just hopes and prays for a job it will come to pass with a little faith in Al Gore that is.

I see now that reason has left our leadership completely.

Any legislation that effects the lives and livelihoods of so many people must be based in more than faith. Truth and facts are the keys to logical, practical governance. Ignore these keys and the laws become but whims of fancy. As a consequence, the law itself suffers as it loses the respect of the citizens. The danger in this should be self evident even to the most doltish of our politicians.

Perhaps we would be better served if those we elected to office could take a moment to look out the window and see the snow piling up. A quick gander at a thermometer might not hurt either what with the record cold we have been having.

I realize that what I am writing and thinking brands me an ignorant heretic, and that those true believers in Climate Change will find great discomfort in my calling to task their faith. Blasphemy is always discomforting. However, before they flay me alive for sacrilege or draw and quarter me as a warning to others of like mind, I must go now and shovel the drive.

Allen Butler

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Taxation with Representation

In May 1764, Samuel Adams of Boston drafted the following:

"For if our Trade may be taxed why not our Lands? Why not the Produce of our Lands & every thing we possess or make use of? This we apprehend annihilates our Charter Right to govern & tax ourselves - It strikes our British Privileges, which as we have never forfeited them, we hold in common with our Fellow Subjects who are Natives of Britain: If Taxes are laid upon us in any shape without our having a legal Representation where they are laid, are we not reduced from the Character of free Subjects to the miserable State of tributary Slaves."

Sam Adams was writing of the proposed Stamp Tax that the British Parliament wanted to impose upon the colonies to help pay for the debt the government incurred during the seven years war. This act by the English government roused the ire of the colonists. Thus making the 1761 phrase of James Otis "Taxation without representation is Tyranny" a popular clarion call.

So here we are, two hundred and forty six years later, with our own sovereign government and nation. We have elected representatives and officials at the state and federal level who we afford the power to impose taxes and fees upon us. Yet I ask, is the Tyranny of taxation WITH representation any less baneful than that without? Are we really represented as a people when it comes to this most odious of government necessities?

As I look at the daunting task of Maine's Legislature and the remarkable shortfall in the budget I am left with little doubt as to what their solution will be. They will propose and impose new taxes upon the citizenry. Oh there will be a few cuts to overinflated budgets, but that; we will hear "will not be enough to make up the difference". For our own good, those who we elected shall, with much thought and deliberation, tax us all once again.

For thirty years we have seen naught but a "Tax and Spend" philosophy coming from the halls of Augusta. We have witnessed the systematic dismantling of our industries through over regulation, and thusly the destruction of our economy. The paper, dairy, and now fishing enterprises of this state have been under constant assault by the very same "Representatives" who we elect year after year. Is this really representation? To have a government elected by the people only to have the people's industry and business ruined by those in office?

I think not!

And if one is in doubt as to my assertion that representation here in Maine is but a farce, one need cast their mind no further back than last year. That was when the citizens banded together and rejected the Beer, Wine, and Soda tax through a Peoples Veto referendum. If the elected really cared about the impact of added fees and taxes upon the citizenry, would they have proposed such a nonsensical plan as this in the first place? Of course they wouldn't, but as you the voter entered into their thoughts only as a subject on whom they were to impose their will, they chose to suggest taxes that would further only their own agendas.

Yet, we as citizens, allow this nonsense to continue, it matters not from where you come, be it the northern reaches of Aroostook County or the southern flatlands of Cumberland County, we all have a hand in creating this mess. Through apathy, greed, malice and all the other dark aspects of man's nature we have transformed the face of this fair state forever.

To no good end I might add.

We the people, through our representatives, I use the term loosely, have come up with schemes to tax our trade, our lands, our produce and everything we make use of, just as Sam Adams feared. And though we have "Taxation with Representation", I believe fully that we are becoming but the tributary slaves of which he spoke.

Am I being fair, forthright, or simply radical? I know not myself. What I do know is that I am not alone in my understanding of the political situation and the budget. That for far too long have we as citizens allowed the intellectual elite to rule us with arrogance and indifference and it is our responsibility to change this pattern.

The only solution to the problem of our current situation, is to remove from office all those who have lost touch with the realities of everyday life here in Maine and the nation, then try to elect those persons of good character who, will foster a more business and tax friendly environment. We can no longer afford to allow ourselves to be led by the self seeking or self indulgent; our wallets are far too thin for that. Let's rid ourselves once and for all of the old familiar faces, old familiar phrases, and promote prosperity over bondage.

A slave, be he in chains of iron or of paper, is always but a slave.

Allen R Butler