The Thomas Constitution, The Boiling Pot, and Freedom

 

 

It has been said that we can judge the character of an individual by how they handle adversity. Through times of confrontation and criticism, warranted or unwarranted, and whether they be truth or lies, our responses in the harsh and uncomfortable times reflect the core of who we are and what we believe. I was often taught, as a boy, that heat makes the pot boil and whatever is in the pot, good or bad, will bubble to the top.

 

A few weeks ago, while attending the Republican Convention in Bangor, I was waiting for my wife in the concession area just outside the auditorium hall. Suddenly someone grabbed me by the shoulder and whirled me around. I came face to face with a very red faced and angry Senator Doug Thomas. He shook his finger at me and said, “One of these days, I will have my turn” and then stormed off.

 

This wasn’t a total surprise. In my tenure as County Chairman for Piscataquis County, I have had to deal with many a tantrum from Senator Thomas. Politics is a high-pressure occupation and some handle it better than others.

 

The reason for the Senator’s anger with me, at this point, has to do with the columns I have written about him in The Maine Conservative Voice. He has accused me of using my Chairmanship in the Republican Party as a platform to advocate for Paul Davis. This is absolutely untrue.

 

Four years ago, when I was first elected to Chair the Piscataquis Republican Committee, I was already writing this column. I stated very clearly to the committee that I would not have TMCV muzzled. I promised the committee that I would not be controversial using the title of Chair of the committee, but that I would keep all of my activism and controversy to my column and not drag the committee into those issues. I have kept my word.

 

Senator Thomas has claimed that this agreement between the Piscataquis Committee and myself did not happen. There are three reasons why the good Senator is mistaken in his accusations. Here they are:

 

First, both of my elections were held at conventions and since Senator Thomas is not from Piscataquis but Somerset, he would not have caucused with our committee and therefore would not have been privy to any of those conversations. Second, the by-laws of the committee clearly states that county committee members are not to use the committee to advance their own agenda or activism, which I promised to do simply in keeping with the by-laws. Thirdly, there is a little thing called the First Amendment, which states that I can express my opinion free from the confines of any committee or any threats from pompous Senators.

 

So, we see that my arrangement with the Piscataquis Republican Party was simply a reiteration of rules already in place. It’s more than ironic that the Honorable Senator Thomas has no problem with Deb Plowman, Chair of Penobscot County, fundraising and supporting his campaign. This double standard seems to imply that he fears the impact of this column.

 

After the misdeeds of Senator Thomas began to pile up, I knew I could be silent no more. I could not speak as Chair, but I knew if I put the heat on him through The Maine Conservative Voice, his true nature would boil to the top. And now the tantrums, threats, and vindictive behavior have been exposed for all to see by the heat of confrontation.

 

I was told to be silent or there would be a price to pay. I have paid the price. Senator Thomas has succeeded in removing me from my Chairmanship. But I will not be silent. I will speak and write all the more.

 

Senator Thomas seems to think that Republicans should only speak what he sanctions and agrees with. Rumor has it that the County Chair for Somerset, Cynthia Izon, is next on his target list. Her crime? She was seen speaking with Paul Davis at a fundraiser. Call out the hounds.

 

Senator Thomas, I’m quite sure The Maine Republican Party does not share your affection for the monarchy, despotism and totalitarian rule. As for me and The Maine Conservative Voice, my response to the Thomas Constitution, your attempts to silence me and remove me from the Republican Party is this: Be careful what you wish for!

The Trashy Truth

 

 

One of the reasons I hold Paul Davis in such high regard is that he does not dive headlong into situations and issues without waiting to see how the facts will unfold. I have tried to emulate his patience as I have studied the East-West Highway issue. While there are certain edicts of conservatism that I cannot compromise, such as private landowner rights and the rights of the individual, the secrecy that has shrouded the highway has kept me suspicious at best.

 

It is no secret that Doug Thomas and I do not get along. I feel Senator Thomas is a dishonest man. He changes his positions on issues with the regularity of a chameleon. I have had first hand experience in seeing that the good Senator has all the listening skills of a bullhorn. He is one of those types of individuals that Ronald Reagan once said, “Listen with their mouth, not their ears.” I do not trust Doug Thomas.

 

So with this mistrust, I continued to quietly investigate the corridor issue. I recently attended a meeting in Alton, Maine. The meeting had been explained to me as a East-West Highway informational, but when I got there, I found it was about a different issue, but not entirely separate from the highway.

 

You see, Alton has a trash problem and it is a growing problem. Alton is the spot for the Juniper Ridge Land Fill. It sits along I-95. The problem with trash is that once you fill the land with it, you need more land. Juniper Ridge is expanding and there are other interests that want to create another landfill, for more trash.

 

Trash by the truckloads from out of State, coming up interstate to the landfill and, now we learn the corridor is going to cross I-95 right there in Alton. Coincidence? I think not.

 

How did the residents of Alton end up with this trashy problem? It’s the small town dilemma. Not enough votes, not enough voice and not enough clout. So the trash continues to spread up the corridor.

 

I live in Piscataquis County in the foothills of the 100-mile wilderness. We have heard the arguments for this large structure destroying the fabric of the Highlands that we love so much, but the struggles of our friends down in Alton exposed for me a whole new danger that I hadn’t heard before. The more we learn about the Corridor the more it smells, well, like trash.

 

Landfills eventually run out of land and they need more. Remember, they are shipping in trash from other States. As the appetite for more land grows, where do you think they will find it? Where can they find more little towns with a small voice, no votes and no clout? How about Atkinson, Ornville, Charleston, Garland and so many others along the shrouded route? We don’t know, nobody knows, but the trash keeps growing and demanding more land.

 

Have you ever driven through the New Jersey turnpike? God didn’t create those mountains, man created them. We live here in the Highlands for a reason. We love the wild beauty here.

 

The biggest question raised about the highway was how would it be paid for? Trash is a lucrative business. If the answer is to bring in mounds of trash from all over the United States to deposit in our beautiful backyards and contaminate our lakes and streams, then this answer stinks! If you are tired of the trashy truth of Thomas’s rotting lies that keep turning up the more we dig, then its time to clean out the garbage and vote Paul Davis in!

The “Truthiness” Bill

 

 

Once again the “Honorable” Senator Doug Thomas has produced a nearly unanimous by-partisanship in Augusta. A feat to be proud of; I’m not so sure. Senator Thomas is the sole sponsor of a bill so egregious that all the representatives in the House voted against it save one. Thomas’s one ally, Diane Russell, was a socialist Democrat from Portland.

 

LD 1834 would have given government bureaucracy the authority to determine for the people of Maine what is truth and what is a lie in a campaign. I guess Senator Thomas feels we are not capable of doing that for ourselves. His socialist friend agrees. In her speech to support the Thomas’s bill, she affectionately called it the “truthiness” bill. She was thrilled that she and “the good Senator …agree on something”. She admonished the legislature asking them, “Do you really want to leave it up to ‘The People’ to determine whether that’s true or false? She further extolled the “virtues” of the “truthiness” bill saying, “These are the important issues of our time and it is absolutely imperative that a government agency give us a hand-up on the truth.” Ah, a piece of legislation only a socialist could love.

 

We The People of Central Maine do not need government to “give us a hand-up” to understand truth. Is this really the way Senator Thomas feels about his constituents? Does he really believe we can’t think for ourselves? This is one more government intrusion we don’t need.

 

But this is not the first time the “good” Senator has forced Republicans and Democrats to join forces to stop him. Remember, he sponsored a bill to raise the fee on snow machine registration and impose a fine for late registrations. It was killed in committee by unanimous consent.

 

State registrations are a takings or a tax. So it is ironic that Mr. Thomas is attacking Paul Davis for not signing the tax pledge, while Doug Thomas signed the pledge and then proceeded to sponsor a bill to not only raise taxes on snow machines, but also fine those who registered late. So you make the comparison: One man prefers to let his record speak for itself and keep his pledge to the people by his actions, another, signs a pledge, then sponsors legislation to raise taxes all the while waving his signed tax pledge around like a get-outta-jail-free card. Where is the “truthiness” here?

 

His version of “truthiness” also has Paul Davis voting against the tax cuts. What Thomas fails to acknowledge is that Paul Davis voted against the budget because the Governor asked him to, along with a group of fellow conservatives in the legislature. The Democrats had watered down the Budget and the Governor vowed to veto it. He needed Conservatives to stand with him and Paul Davis did.

 

I wonder; Are all the other conservatives who stood with the Governor guilty of the same “crime” as Paul Davis? I’m sure they would like to know. Maine People Before Politics says that Paul Davis has a 100% rating of voting with the people. So, where is the “truthiness” here?

I think Mr. Thomas wants an exemption from his own bill. He is proud, though, of the glowing review he received from the Bangor Daily News. I recently heard former Senator Steve Hall state emphatically, “You can’t believe anything from the Bangor Daily News!” I couldn’t agree more!

Sponsoring Betrayal

 

 

Strange things, strange reports coming out of Augusta.  Yes, there are reports of unanimous bipartisan agreement on a bill; no, two bills in committee.  Democrats and Republicans alike found common ground to kill two bills in committee that would have increased the financial burden upon the people of Maine; more specifically, the hunters and sportsmen of Maine.

The first bill to discuss was LD 89.  This bill was put forth to establish a penalty for Mainers if they did not register their snow machines by a certain date.  The sole sponsor of the bill was Senator Doug Thomas.

If LD 89, An Act to Establish a Deadline for Snowmobile Registration, had been approved by the committee, it would have set a deadline for snow machine registration at December 31st and, if any Mainer had been so disobedient to mother government as to miss the set deadline, they would be punished with an additional $20 fine added to the registration fee.  This is just another blatant money grab by our government.  Thankfully, Paul Davis, the rest of the Republicans, and amazingly, all the Democrats on the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee voted in unison to kill the bill.  At least someone had the backs of rural Maine.

But there’s more.  Doug Thomas has co-sponsored a bill with Dennis Keschl , LD 153, that would create a comprehensive hunting and fishing license.  Sound’s like a great idea at first glance and some sportsmen’s’ blogs were in support, but, when one delves into the bones of the bill, the details reveal just another money grab.

Further, research shows that hunters will lose more than they will gain. First of all, studies show that over 70% of hunters, a strong majority, only hunt deer, so for a majority of hunters, this is a  $13 increase. Bow hunters would be excluded from further deer hunting if they harvested a deer during bow season.

The long lists of items that are excluded from the “comprehensive” license belie the title.  One thing is sure; deer hunters would be targeted for an increase.  They are getting the proverbial…antler.

Remember hunters; there was a comprehensive license at one time.  Government kept cutting specific hunts out of that license bringing us to this point today.  They would repeat that process again.  It’s always about getting more of your money.

Again, thankfully, the Republicans and Democrats voted with one voice, in the IF&W, to kill this bill.  It is amazing that a Senator who is supposed to represent the voters in the foothills of the 100 mile wilderness would sponsor bills that could penalize businesses so integral to the 2nd District: hunting and snow machining.  Senator Thomas can find some solace in the fact that he had a unifying influence in Augusta.  He sponsored and co-sponsored bills that were so egregious and punitive to the people of Maine that there was unanimous and bi-partisan consent to kill the bills in order to protect the people of Maine.