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