Politics & Other Mistakes: All the wrong words

7 mins read

You’re expecting an explanation.

You’re not going to get one.

The best way I can deal with this unfortunate situation is to shut up. In place of a detailed narrative concerning the recent unpleasantness involving myself and the Maine State Police tactical squad, the FBI, the CIA, several National Guard units and – for reasons even I don’t understand – a couple of dancers from the Platinum Plus strip club in Portland, I’ve decided, on the advice of my attorneys, to stand mute.

It’s not that I don’t want to explain about the automatic weapons, the grenades, the containers marked “Do Not Open: Radioactive Stuff Smuggled Out Of The Former Soviet Union,” the salmonella-laced broccoli and the collection of nude photos of Kinky Friedman. But my legal advisers have admonished me in the strongest possible terms to say nothing about how I’ve been plotting for months with several foreign governments and a group of York homeowners to overthrow the Maine Turnpike Authority and replace it with a dictatorship.

Not that you’d notice the difference.

I am, of course, innocent of these scurrilous allegations and expect my name to be cleared in due course, shortly after the wire transfer to the judge’s off-shore bank account clears.

In the meantime, I suppose the best thing to do is devote this space to comments from other people who should have zipped their lips, but chose to keep babbling.

Let’s start with Lois Bloomer. That’s a name that could have come from a Charles Dickens novel, but actually belongs to the chair of the Penobscot County Republican Committee, a group that’s apparently devoted to preserving the upper-class social views of Dickens’ era. In the July 1 Bangor Daily News, Bloomer is quoted as saying, “I don’t really believe that at this point people are having to choose between food and medicine and housing, and if they are it’s because they made poor choices with their mortgages … I don’t believe people are devastated … I don’t see what’s wrong with the unemployment rate. It’s not that bad. I think the unemployment rate is mostly for people who don’t want to [or can’t] work anyways.”

All this agitation, it’s caused by those women suffragettes.

Next up is Dan Gwadosky, the state lottery director. Gwadosky was adamant in an article published in the July 4 Portland Press Herald that Maine, unlike some states, does not engage in the despicable act of selling lottery scratch tickets after the grand prize has been claimed. “No, it’d be our policy to stop the game if the prize were already won,” he said. “To us, this is an integrity issue.” On July 19, the Lewiston Sun Journal did a survey of lottery agents in its area. “Are you kidding me?” said one agent. “We continue selling them because there are other prizes people can win.”

Gwadosky also said the state electronically notifies stores to halt sales immediately after someone wins the grand prize, but one of the largest sellers of lottery tickets in the state told the paper he’d never heard of such notifications.

The director, informed this gambling activity was going on, said he was shocked, shocked.

Maine Video Activists Network producer Craig Saddlemire got great footage of a signature collector working for the People’s Veto campaign to block new taxes on beer, wine, soda and insurance premiums. The unidentified guy was trying to convince voters to sign by telling them the tax applied to bottled water. It doesn’t. Saddlemire’s piece is wildly prejudiced in favor of keeping the new taxes to fund the Dirigo health insurance program (he admits he gets his own insurance through Dirigo), but that doesn’t alter the comment the petitioner, his face electronically blocked from view, made in an interview. He said some of his fellow paid-by-the-signature workers have claimed the levy covers milk. False, again. And one voter relates his encounter with a referendum advocate, who told him, “They’re gonna tax that coffee right outta your hand.”

Coffee is also exempt.

You can watch the video at roundpointmovies.org/roundpointmovies/MVAN.html Then, carefully check out the claims of both sides in this debate. Saddlemire, himself, is guilty of dubious statements, such as saying the tax will allow Dirigo to cover 40,000 new people. The program has never come close to meeting coverage projections and probably won’t under this funding scheme. He also says the tax doesn’t cover fruit juice. True, but it does hit juice drinks containing less than 10 percent real juice.

Don’t get squeezed.

Which is what I am, here in my secret bunker deep beneath the turnpike authority’s headquarters. I’m eavesdropping on pike executive director Paul Violette discussing his plan to shove a new $40-million toll plaza in York down the public’s throat. I don’t see what’s wrong with snooping. In a recent op-ed, Violette admitted, “The MTA is listening to the community.”

It’s only fair if the community listens back.

The phone’s probably tapped, so contact me by e-mailing aldiamon@herniahill.net

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