Eden Hill Journal

Comments, dreams, stories, and rantings from a middle-aged native of Maine living on a shoestring and a prayer in the woods of Maine. My portion of the family farm is to be known as Eden Hill Farm just because I want to call it that and because that's the closest thing to the truth that I could come up with. If you enjoy what I write, email me or make a comment. If you enjoy Eden Hill, come visit.

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Location: Maine, United States

Friday, February 13, 2009

No Solution Solution

Like just about everybody these days with living brain cells, I have been trying to make sense of the financial situation we are facing now and to nobody's surprise, I think, it makes absolutely no sense to me at all. If I had to guess, and I've probably said this before, we are in the predicted outcome in Atlas Shrugged where the captains of industry and finance are on strike. They're the bosses, though, so they don't have to tell anyone that's what they're doing. But that's just my guess.
Unfortunately, nobody who appears in public on any of the media has any better answer than this.
For a very long time now Republicans have wanted to terminate social spending by government. Since they can't overcome the political power of the people here in America, they have chosen to spend us into a depression believing the solution will come when American voters finally realize that we cannot afford social spending.
That is delusional reasoning, but so what. Republicans are delusional.
It may be that this recession/depression we seem to be in is as temporary as was the spike last year in gasoline prices. It may be that in a few years everything will just simply be back on track and back to business as usual, Wall Street heading back up, home price speculation heading back up, consumer spending heading back up. But it also may be that we've reached the inevitable outcome of free trade and outsourcing, a tipping point that forces America's working class to join the third world labor market.
I'm not inclined yet to think that is the best solution to this problem, or even if indeed it is the best solution, that it is the one America will choose. And it is increasingly clear to me that bailing out the banks and Wall Street, bailing out the captains of industry and finance, isn't going to help us either. In fact I'm increasingly convinced that they are holding the economy ransom - either government hands over all future tax revenues to them or they will shut the economy down completely. They have the power to do this.
But suppose the government were to say, hey you private banks and industries, you go right ahead and run your business however you want. We are setting up a government bank to compete with you and we are going to set it up in such a way that we won't have to turn to you to get money. And don't bother coming to us for money. Our money is for loaning to individuals and industries that have the best interest of America in mind, not the interests of the wealthy few. Maybe even this - you captains of finance will not even be allowed to touch our currency. You have your own. Deal with it.
Do you suppose just the threat of that might be enough to shock the wealthy into reviving the economy on their own?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

None of Your Business

Maine's Bangor Daily News has featured a very strange story the past two days. It involves a man who was shot to death in Belfast, Maine last December 9th in his High Street home by his wife. Wednesday's above-the-fold headline was "Report: 'Dirty bomb' parts found." Today's headline featured in the same front page spot read, "Officials verify dirty bomb probe results." If that doesn't grab your attention, there's more.
It seems that the shooting victim, 29 year-old James Cummings, may have been a bit of an unsavory individual. A California transplant from Fort Bragg, it is reported that he was a Hitler fan and collector and neo-Nazi type who was deeply disturbed at the election of Barack Obama. He had been collecting in his home radioactive materials and explosives and had instructions on how to build a dirty bomb. It is reported that he was sexually and physically abusive of his wife Amber although some of his neighbors weren't aware of that.
The facts about the dirty bomb materials was not revealed to the public until it appeared online in a leaked document posted on WikiLeaks. Apparently the document, connected with the FBI and the Washington Regional Threat and Analysis Center, was intended to alert Washington officials concerned for inauguration security of the Maine find.
Oddly enough, the front page of today's News also had pictures of Belfast Police Chief Jeffery Trafton and Maine Public Safety Commissioner Ann Jordan, both of whom wanted to assure that there was never any hazard posed to the public. Now I'm in no position to explain what that means, but I would imagine if either of these authorities were to be pressed into explaining how that could possibly be the case, they would explain that they mean after the shooting, after police had secured the house. To say that a violent neo-Nazi in possession of radioactive materials and explosives with knowledge on how to build a bomb and motive for committing an act of terrorism or murder posed no risk to the community seems just a little bit far-fetched to me? Know what I'm saying?
Now we all know what really happened here, don't we? A man seething with racial hatred, a violent wife abuser, moved to Maine and set up residence on a side street in Belfast, a bustling tourist community on the coast. Somehow he managed to remain below the radar while he beat and abused his wife and collected radioactive materials, explosives, and bomb-making instructions. He was not considered dangerous by Maine and Belfast authorities until after his wife had shot him to death in their own home. Investigating this shooting, police discovered the bomb-making materials and along with state authorities and the FBI, removed the materials from the home. Some locals suspected something unusual was going on, but local and state authorities kept this incident secret, never announcing to the public what had been going on right under our noses. The secret came out online a month ago but it was never revealed to Mainers until yesterday's breaking story in the Bangor Daily News. Wishing to cover their tracks, both local and state officials assured the public yesterday after the story had broken that there was never any danger to the public.
Even more troubling than all this were some of the early comments published today from the News's online connection made by "greyhawk1" and "HarryofBangor." I won't contaminate my blog with their right-wing take on this, but to say the least, it is disturbing that people in Maine would not see the danger in what was taking place last year in this Belfast home, and that in the eyes of the authorities, this was none of our business anyway.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Sinking Feeling

Dear President Obama,
This morning for sure, although in general ever since you appointed Rahm Emanuel as your Chief of Staff, I have been having this sinking feeling about your promise to do business differently, presumably ethically, in Washington. Why this morning? Well first there was yesterday's fiasco with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, whom I might start calling Junior if he doesn't start showing some signs of manhood soon, whose reassurances concerning America's banking disaster sent Wall Street into decline. But this morning I read this at TPM Muckraker (read the comments to this post too) about Robert Wolf, a member of your prestigious Economic Recovery Advisory Board.
Barack, this isn't "hope" nor is it "change we can believe in." This is business as usual. This is Ken Lay advising Dick Cheney on America's energy policy, you know?
Get a clue before we lose our faith in you!
Bill

Monday, February 09, 2009

Infuriated

I am infuriated. Today's Bangor Daily News carried an op-ed written by Barack Obama titled "Partisanship must not impede stimulus." It appears on page A7 of the February 9, 2009 Bangor Daily News. Obama's op-ed is accompanied by an illustration drawn by Paul Tong.
The same editorial appears online at pressdemocrat.com but is accompanied by another Paul Tong illustration, this one being complimentary to the President.
The illustration chosen by the Bangor Daily News depicts a lanky black man dressed in a white shirt, cuffs rolled up, stooped over and awkwardly holding a long-handled shovel with which he is shoveling cash from a pile laying on the ground, some of it even under his left shoe. This black man, in every way appearing as a well-dressed slave in labor, is attempting to feed a shovel full of this cash to a scowling and distrustful bull. The expression on the black man's face, quite clearly Obama's face, is one of passivity, content, maybe even submission.
I showed the picture to my wife, pointing out to her that it was being used to illustrate Obama's own editorial. She also found it to be in very poor taste.
So I called the Bangor Daily News at (207) 990-8000 and was directed to Susan Young, the person responsible for the op-ed section. She confirmed that it was the Bangor Daily News which selected this particular Paul Tong illustration. Susan said it was the copy desk which made the selection. I asked her what her opinion of the illustration was. She said it was odd. I told her what I saw in it but she couldn't seem to share that perception. She suggested that the illustration perhaps didn't go along with the article since the illustration depicted the bank bailout money rather than the stimulus legislation, but argued that if the News has to look at everything that might imply some racial overtones, it'll be a long four years. I suggested that while that may be true, the paper should show some sensitivity towards anything that might depict slavery!