Entries Filed in 'Neil Rolde'
The US Capitol. Today the House is controlled by Republicans and the Senate has a majority of Democrats
For a while after the 2012 Presidential Election, there were stories in the newspapers that a movement had started in Texas to have the Lone Star State secede from the United States. More than 100,000 Texans had signed a petition to force the Federal Government to cut Texas loose. Texas, of course, for a brief time in the 19th century had been a Republic that had won its independence by breaking away from Mexico.
This latter day secession effort won headlines and had imitators in a number of existing States.
Today, we don’t hear anything more about it.
Another throwback to pre-Civil War conditions has Governors of certain States trying to nullify laws passed by the Federal Government and signed by the President. When Andrew Jackson became President, he put a quick stop to that unconstitutional nullification effort.
Again, we don’t see much discussion these days about a nullification revival. Indeed, in some instances in States with Republican Governors (among whom most of such chatter has been going on) these defiant chief executives have publicly supported an expansion of Medicaid due to the Federal money they will receive.
The structure of our Federal Government as conceived by our ‘founding fathers” still remains strong despite these secessionist/ nullificationist moves in the 21st century.
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Tags: History in Politics·Maine History
Distilling in Maine, the illegal way.
Governor Paul Le Page has stated that he wants to pay down the State’s debt to Maine hospitals by using the proceeds from liquor sales. The hospitals are owed $186 million.
Once again, the spotlight will be on the sales of alcoholic beverages down east and – to a lesser degree – what we’re doing to contain its harmful effects.
The Pine Tree State’s experiences with the “Demon Rum” goes back a long way. How many Mainers know that we were the first State in the Union to institute a prohibition law [done in 1856]? Neal Dow is a name most Maine people have forgotten, but this former Portland fire fighter, State Representative and Civil War general was the spark plug that ignited the State and eventually the entire nation and world to ban all alcohol consumption [including beer and wine]. The legislation Dow pushed was from then on, all over the country, was known as “the Maine Law.
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By Neil Rolde
Cartoon of Grover Norquist
To put together Grover Norquist, the Republican anti-tax champion, and the late Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind of the September 11, 2001, attack on the U.S., the truth lies in their common attitude toward the American federal government. Norquist famously said he wanted to shrink our Washington, DC-based national government to a size where he could “drown it in the bathtub.” Osama Bin Laden, who hated our American government with as much fervor as Grover Norquist, described his 9/11 attack as the “conquest of the U.S.A.” Both these men had the same goal: destroy America’s ability to govern itself.
Some people are asking if Norquist’s philosophy of starving the U.S. government is not an incitement to treason. Bin Laden paid with his life for his murder of more than 3,000 Americans. Norquist, with his anti-tax “pledge,” although diminished in support to an extent, is still maintaining his un-American wish to overthrow the U.S. Constitution.
The adoption of our Constitution is generally seen, for those who know American history, as the cement that has kept Americans together since we gained our freedom from Great Britain. It was not easily passed. There was significant opposition to having a strong government, and in ratification conventions, state by state, the measure often just squeaked by. Massachusetts was a case in point. The Constitution was adopted there by a plurality of only 19 votes.
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Neil Rolde, outside the Capitol in Augusta in 2011. Rolde’s been involved in state politics for over forty years, has written extensively about Maine, is a philanthropist, a Renaissance man, and a gentleman. photo by Ramona du Houx
“I always wanted to be a writer from the very start. When I was eight, I think, I said I wanted to go to Columbia Journalism School, and strangely enough I ended up there,” said Neil Rolde, who is a prize-winning historian, prolific Maine writer, philanthropist, community activist, Renaissance man, former Maine State Representative, political activist and theorist.
Most of Rolde’s 15 books involve the history of Maine — the state he loves deeply — and its people. With his wealth of historical knowledge about politics, the author recently has turned his skill and wit to highlighting political incidents that happen today in a historical context. The results are thought-provoking blog narratives that strike the cord of humanity in us all.
The last blog in his History in Today’s Politics series is entitled: “LePage’s Research and Development Bond Veto Says, ‘High Tech Industries Keep Out.’”
“History is an amazing thing and teaches us all something, if we give it time,” said Rolde. “What happens today has happened — in a different incarnation — in the past. Giving today’s events a historical context can allow us to understand them better.”
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An architects view of Bigelow laboratory in the future
In vetoing the $20 million bond issue for funds to carry on and attract high tech industries in Maine, Governor Le Page has said, in effect, that Maine should only look to the past, not to the future. It was no surprise the Republican-dominated Legislature upheld his veto. The sign at Kittery welcoming folks to Maine can now be changed to: “This is Maine. High tech industries keep out.”
This would be okay if the Governor had to beat back the hordes of job-providing businesses that he promised the voters in 2010. Maybe a trickle has come in but hardly enough to raise Maine out of the bottom of the national statistics on job growth. Maine is among the five States that have the worst records on job creation.
Furthermore, the Governor proudly announced he will hold back $40 million in bonds that the Legislature and people of Maine had already approved. This one step, alone, it is estimated, will throw 1,400 Mainers out of work. Writ of Mandamus, anyone, in which the law requires a public official to do his or her duty?
Now, for the history part. To an extent, it is a personal history, but it also portrays the amazing growth of a high tech industry in Maine, due in part to an infusion of State funds from a prior Research and Development bond issue. It is a cautionary tale of what we will miss here because of the Governor’s stubborn desire not to lift a finger to help high tech industries or convince them to locate in Maine.
I’m speaking of the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in East Boothbay.
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Tags: Jobs·Maine's quality of life
Sen. Carter Glass (D—Va.) and Rep. Henry B. Steagall (D—Ala.-3), the co-sponsors of the Glass–Steagall Act. public photo
Oops! After the Great Depression, American Capitalism entered a period of calm and even prolonged prosperity. But what also happened was that the underpinnings of the Reform Capitalism initiated by Franklin D. Roosevelt were slowly being undermined. The Glass-Steagall law that limited bankers’ risks was set aside. Forces were marshaled against the gains made by Unionized labor, a rising tide that had lifted all ships for working people, organized or not. The vast truly middle class of Americans enjoyed a standard of living that was the envy of the world.
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Tags: History in Politics
The last spike being driven into the Transcontinental Railroad in 1869
When we last left our hero, Capitalism, he was flexing his muscles, having laid a knockout blow on Mercantilism and turning his pugilistic attention to dominating the entire economy of the Western world and, before long, that of the rest of the planet as well. An offshoot of the power of the fast-growing nascent business class was its reach fully into the phenomenon soon to be called “Imperialism.” Undeveloped areas were conquered and their resources, on the cheap, absorbed into the Capitalist maw. “Taking up the white man’s burden” was the smarmy, advertised interpretation of this legalized thievery.
The U.S., because of its colonial past, was not originally in the same camp as Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, et. al. It took almost a full century before the U.S.A joined the rapacious pack, picking up a few stray dependencies like the Philippines, Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa and Puerto Rico, while keeping a wary eye and military invasion plans on most of Latin America.
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Tags: History·History in Politics
The 5th annual Maine Philanthropy Awards, to be presented at a dinner on Wednesday, April 11,2012 will honor Maine author and historian Neil Rolde at Colby College. Rolde has served his adopted state of Maine as an historian, philanthropist, and public servant, representing York County in the Maine House of Representatives for sixteen years after serving six years on Governor Ken Curtis’ staff. In addition to Rolde, who will be named the 2012 Maine Philanthropist of the Year, the program will recognize exceptional individuals from a Central Maine High School, Colby College, and Central Maine who have made an extraordinary contribution to the service of others. The awards serve as the celebratory conclusion to the Nonprofit Leadership Institute
Fernande Braudel public domain photo
The world-class French economic historian Fernande Braudel once posed an interesting question in one of his books. “Which country,” he asked, “just prior to the Industrial Revolution, would experts have predicted to be the first to become industrialized?” His answer was even more interesting. It was neither a place in Western Europe nor was it the United States. No, India then had the most advanced manufacturing system and seemed on a springboard to catapult into a full-fledged Capitalist society?
So why didn’t India fulfill this expectation?
Braudel’s reply was that India’s employers kept wages so low for its workers that there was no impetus to seek labor-saving machines and techniques to cut down costs. Thus in Western Europe and the U.S. where labor scarcity had led to higher wages, innovations appeared that helped to usher in the beginnings of Capitalism, as we know it.
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A protester of Occupy Wall Street. The movement is similar to the Bonus Army protests.
WordPress has reported to me a response to one of my earlier blogs, which was about the Bonus Army of 1932, a forerunner of the current Occupy Wall Street movement, and how on this occasion several thousand World War I veterans were dispersed from their tent city in Washington D.C. by orders to the U.S. Army from President Herbert Hoover.
The person who commented, citing this blog, was an Angelita Fisher and she appears to be connected with an Internet operation called INTEL HUB, which is heavy on support for Congressman Ron Paul and dedicated to opposing “globalism,” whatever that means.
The first part of her response, which is actually unconnected to my blog, seemed somewhat mystifying, asking me to “Examine U.S. military policy during the Cold War from 1946-1989” discussing “policy development, military strategy, nuclear weapons and targeting” and a host of other such esoteric subjects. Her final words, though, still unconnected, were more concrete and within my capability to respond. Ms. Fisher stated: “Despite fighting the Korean War to stalemate and suffering defeat in Vietnam, the U.S. emerged victorious in its four decade long conflict with the Soviet Union. Why?”
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