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August 10 Letters to the Editor

Boost Maine loggers

Eleven years ago, after their complaints about unfair foreign competition fell on deaf ears, Maine loggers were forced to blockade the Canadian border. Scores of Maine activists joined them in support at the border crossings.

Four months later, many of those loggers and activists met in Rockport to form an organization dedicated to fight against big business’s insatiable desire for cheap foreign labor. And thus we formed Mainers for Sensible Immigration Policy.

In the ensuing decade, MSIP has worked to educate elected officials, journalists and the public about the adverse effect which unlimited access to cheap foreign labor has upon American workers. We have lobbied Congress and written letters opposing so-called free trade agreements such as NAFTA and CAFTA, H1-B visa programs, which give away high paying high-tech jobs, and “comprehensive immigration reform” schemes to legalize illegal workers.

Big money wants cheap labor, and we’ve had to face down multiple bogus claims of racism and xenophobia. But 11 years ago, we felt that the welfare of hardworking Mainers was worth our undergoing some inconvenience, and we still do.

What happened to Maine loggers has happened in one industry after another all over this country, where native-born Americans and legal immigrants have been displaced by cheap foreign labor. And the media cower in silence along with politicians.

But the loggers are unique because they decided to fight for their jobs. We share their pessimism that politicians have any real commitment to protecting their jobs, even now. But we salute their defiance. God bless the loggers.

Julie Tosswill

Mainers for Sensible Immigration Policy



Hateful comments

I was disappointed to read Alan Henry’s hateful and inaccurate comments about President Obama and his current standing with the American people, “For charismatic Obama, trust factor diminishing” (BDN, Aug. 3).

Most egregious was referring to our first black president as “boy.” Mr. Henry says that “Hawaiian Boy” is meant as a compliment, the equivalent of referring to lawyers as “shysters” as a compliment. Calling a man “boy” has a very specific meaning for black men. It is a racial epithet and Mr. Henry should be aware of that. Comparisons to Hitler, Stalin and Mao aren’t compliments either, even if Mr. Henry says they are.

President Obama is far more trusted by the American people than any Republican in office today. Republicans lost the trust of the American people by destroying our reputation for moral leadership, invading a country on false pretenses, enriching the rich at the expense of the “bottom 95 percent” of us, weakening the protections guaranteed by our Constitution, and wrecking the greatest economy in the world.

Nobody trusts them anymore, except zealots such as the “birthers,” people paid to talk in talking points, and, yes, the racists who are thankfully passing into history.

If the Obama administration is a “Chicago cabal,” was the Bush administration an “oilman’s cabal”? Does Mr. Henry call any of the first 43 presidents of the United States a “boy”? And how about President Reagan’s charisma? Was he like Hitler, Stalin, Mao? I’m guessing not.

James Kocot



No conservation zone

No serious student of Maine or constitutional law would agree to a “conservation zone” to solve the so-called Matinicus lobster wars. The state is to blame for allowing those well-known conflicts to go unchallenged and unregulated for so many decades, giving islanders, law enforcement and some state officials excuses to consider plain vigilantism and private appropriation of public resources.

Indeed, the Matinicus case proves why our system is a system of laws and not men. Sadly, the parties in the case, especially the state, are not analyzing the Matinicus wars from this perspective. Not only should all crimes involved be thoroughly investigated and prosecuted, but a “final solution” should weigh the costs to all of Maine and U.S. citizens of privatizing limited natural resources for profit. What fishermen in the Matinicus and Monhegan cases want is no different than what Shell and Exxon want for oil.

I propose that if the Maine Legislature considers privatizing the lobster grounds, the Maine lobster industry should be taxed such that all Maine residents who cannot afford health care, rent, heating oil, food and other necessaries of life should benefit from this tax reflecting what Maine’s poor alone give up if their interest in fishing grounds is dedicated to but one small commercial interest of Maine’s residents.

I further propose that it will be a cold day in hell before fishermen or state politicians agree with me.

Harold Burbank



Same-sex marriage law

Regarding the same-sex marriage law, it’s interesting that the word hate is used so easily. It seems the word hate is used only by people who want the same-sex law to go into effect, while Christians and others simply try to explain why we do not believe it is morally correct.

We believe marriage is a sacrament, instituted by Jesus Christ between a man and a woman to bring children into this world. Marriage consists of two parts, the promise and the marriage (sexual) act that follows. The first cannot be complete without the other and I don’t see how that act can be performed by two people of the same sex in the way it was designed by God.

If two people of the same sex want a civil service to bind and commit them legally, let’s have a law written only for that. To call an act marriage just to make two people feel committed does not make it morally correct or true.

We have freedom of religion in this country and to preserve this right we have the obligation to fight against anything that we believe is morally wrong. We also have freedom of speech, which means we can disagree with a law that should not be passed without hating the people who have a different view.

They can go to the Maine Marriage Initiatives Web site for more information, We have a right to be protected from unwanted suits and harassment.

Constance Craven


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