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Feb. 1 Letters to the Editor

Health care choice

Conservatives are against the health care bill, because for the most part, it does not address health care. It is mostly 2,000 pages of mandates and government controls over our lives, combined with lots of pork added to bribe lawmakers into voting in favor of it.

There are 308,516,311 United States citizens; 46 million do not have health care insurance, so about 15 percent don’t have insurance. That’s small, but significant enough that we should do something.

Conservatives believe in the right to choose and not be mandated to do so. It is true that the World Health Organization rates us as 37th out of 190 or so countries, but consider who they are. The World Health Organization is an adjunct of the United Nations.

It is another mistruth that the European people are kind and agree to pay for their health care. They are forced to.

There are not thousands of Americans dying because they have no health insurance. In fact, I have never heard of one single person being denied health care in this country. If you want to work hard and become rich, it is no sin, and the government should keep its hands out of the till except to impose a fair tax on our earnings.

It was Democrats, liberals and progressives who got Social Security passed.

Sens. Snowe and Collins are well aware of what is in this bill. They are unfazed by the lies and misinformation presented to get it passed. They know the bill should be stopped in its tracks, and we should strive to redo it right.

Howard Cutler



Power of money

Several years ago, when Vermont was our home, an erudite, principled, thoughtful state senator named Herbert Ogden captured my admiration for his truly unique method of campaigning. While not an overly verbose man in social situations, he waxed eloquent in the state senate chamber, at town meetings and in his favorite medium, the letters-to-the editor columns of state papers.

When elections were imminent, Herb’s pen went into overdrive. He invited disputation of his view and engaged in many informative arguments in the paper with many worthy opponents; all to the delight and edification of the reading public.

Near the conclusion of one campaign — which he won handily — a critic challenged Herb’s lack of disclosure of his campaign financing. Sen. Ogden’s reply, paraphrased here, was a gem of brevity, economy and ethical outrage: “My entire campaign cost, funded by myself, for this election has been under $12 for stamps to send letters to the editors of our state papers. All donated contributions have been promptly returned to the donors with a note of gratitude but firm refusal, for I feel that I am sufficiently well paid by the state to represent the constituents of my district.”

Sen. Ogden, how we wish that all our senates were peopled with the likes of you and that our highest court was peopled with beings who comprehend the validity of the maxim: “Power (i.e., money) corrupts, and absolute power (i.e., unlimited money) corrupts absolutely.”

Rick Fayen



Cut defense spending

Barack Obama’s goal to cut spending to reduce the federal deficit is a good idea. But his proposal to freeze all discretionary spending except for defense and homeland security is backward. It’s the defense budget in particular that should be frozen and reduced instead, not the programs that people really need.

We need more jobs. Spending for education, health care, mass transit, energy efficiency and many other categories that would be frozen under the Obama proposal would produce many more jobs than if the extra money went to the Pentagon.

Just as important, our “defense” spending goes primarily for being a “world cop,” financing wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other places and keeping troops and weapons in more than 100 countries around the world. We start wars, overthrow presidents and prime ministers (sometimes dictators, sometimes not), and try by force to create a nation that will be friendly toward us.

No wonder so many people in other countries hate us and want to attack us. Much of the cause of “terrorism” against the U.S. is because we are world cops. If we cut our military back to real national defense only, we would have fewer national security problems to worry about.

Let’s tell the president and Congress that freezing and cutting spending on defense, rather than human needs programs, will get us out of our economic recession and increase national security at the same time.

Larry Dansinger



More downtown heroes

We applaud the recent series written by Emily Burnham focusing on the resurgence of downtown Bangor. The positive recent developments in our community are something in which we can share a deep pride. These efforts are to be highly commended.

Having settled in the Bangor area some 20 years ago, we think it is also worth recognizing other businesses and cultural venues that have committed to strengthening our downtown and making it the focus of our community. They deserve recognition for having provided the foundation work for the present renaissance which is the subject of Ms. Burnham’s article.

Bagel Central has served as a gathering place for well over a decade, revitalized a downtown building and provided a venue for artists’ work. The Penobscot Theatre Company, arguably one of the cultural jewels of this renaissance, acquired the Bangor Opera House in 1997, completed restoration of the facade and marquee this past year and has become a pivotal cultural anchor for downtown. Montes, Taste of India, EPI’s, BookMarc’s, The Briar Patch, Lippincott Books, Robinson Ballet, Thomas School of Dance, Northeast Reprographics and a host of many other businesses have been part of the first wave of the Bangor downtown renaissance.

These organizations are still thriving and playing an important role in downtown Bangor’s continued vitality.

Sandy Spiller and Norm Dinerman



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