May 18 Letters to the Editor

Posted May 17, 2010, at 5:20 p.m.

Hate groups defined

What do we call a group that spreads lies about a whole category of people in order to demean them and deprive them of equal rights? If they target people based on skin color, your paper calls them, quite correctly, a hate group. But if they target people based on sexual orientation, you have referred to them as the Christian Civic League or Stand for Marriage Maine.

Those groups claim that they don’t hate gay people but only hate their sexuality doesn’t fly. Considering that our sexuality is part of who we are, gay or straight, it’s like saying “we don’t hate those non-whites; we only hate their skin color.”

Many of us are looking forward to the day when in Maine the anti-gay hate groups will be just a shameful part of our history. The Ku Klux Klan, too, had wide support here not all that long ago.

Peter Rees

Trenton

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Bangor’s secret arena

On April 23, I e-mailed each of the Bangor city councilors about the proposed arena: “…why haven’t they put up a special section on Bangor’s website just for the arena project?” Here’s what happened:

Richard Stone: no response; e-mail address doesn’t work.

Patricia Blanchette: responded; she would bring it up to the council.

Richard Bronson: responded; should put it online if we go forward.

Geoffrey Gratwick: responded; he would bring it up to the council.

Susan Hawes: no response.

David Nealley: no response.

Gerry Palmer: no response.

Cary Weston: no response.

Hal Wheeler: no response.

As far as I can see, nothing has been made available. Is this arena a $50 million, $75 million or $100 million project? Shouldn’t a project of this scale and magnitude be front and center on the city’s website with all of the information made available to the taxpayers? Aren’t we entitled to know the status of the project or is this a secret?

Steven Sleeper

Bangor

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More speech

Regarding the article, “White supremacists recruit in Bucksport”: a justice of the Supreme Court said some years ago that “the remedy for bad speech is more speech!”

Assistant Attorney General Harnett is correct when he says that members of the self-described hate group in Bucksport are entitled to freedom of speech. But the hateful speech they are peddling in Maine should be drowned out by the speech of all other Mainers, rejecting the group’s message of hate and bigotry.

The Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine hopes that the people of Bucksport, and the people of any other community in which this group’s flier appears, will let it be known loudly and clearly that such speech, while legal, is not welcomed.

We must all remember the words of the 19th century English statesman Edmund Burke: “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing.” Good people should speak out now, and not wait for this group to recruit some of our young people to their despicable cause.

Rabbi Hillel Katzir

chairman, Advocacy Committee

Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine

Augusta

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Outstanding service

A big HOO-WAH to the soldiers of the Maine National Guard’s 1136th Transportation Company. We should all be grateful to them for their service to our country. But in addition, they have demonstrated their humanity by adopting a stray dog now named Honey while training at Fort Hood, Texas.

There’s only one word that can adequately describe the citizenship and the humanity demonstrated by Staff Sgt. Kevin Farquharson and his comrades: outstanding!

Michael Drake

Monson

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Desperate people

Many people are angry about illegal aliens. But harsh methods will not work on people who only left their homes out of desperation. Desperate people have little to lose but their lives, and they are showing us in their millions that they are willing to risk them, again and again to get to the U.S.

We can build a wall along the border with Mexico. But the Great Wall of China didn’t keep the Mongols out of China, and the U.S.-Mexican border wall won’t work either.

If we really want to stop illegal aliens, we need to jail the people who hire them. If the employer (including everyone in the chain of command to the CEO) of every illegal who is caught is sent to prison, mandatory, for three days, this would put a huge chilling effect on hiring illegal aliens. No excuses. If employers aren’t sure whether someone is illegal, they can go ask a government agent.

Second, we need to stop the subsidy of American corn by our taxpayers. Congress gives billions to rich farmers every year to grow corn. Then our subsidized cheap corn is shipped to Mexico, and puts the Mexican peasants who grow unsubsidized corn out of business. So, they leave their homes and come to the U.S.

We say we are a free market, capitalist society, but we aren’t, and the corn subsidy is an example of our unfree market. Let’s get rid of the corn subsidy and help keep Mexicans in their homeland.

Jane McCloskey

Deer Isle

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Austrian economics

Your May 13 editorial on the Maine Republican Party platform mischaracterizes “Austrian economics.” Austrian economics is not a “15th century school,” as you describe it.

It came to prominence in the late 19th and 20th centuries and its leading theorists include Nobel Prize-winning economist Friedrich Hayek, his teacher Ludwig von Mises and a number of modern economists working in their path.

Today, it is most prominently featured at the world-famous economics department at George Mason University just outside Washington, D.C. Austrian economics emphasize the complexity of the economy and the impossibility of socialism, or any other collectivist system, being able to usefully “guide” the economy. It also emphasizes how too-loose monetary policy causes “bubbles” and serious crises down the road a bit, for a recent example, see the ongoing “housing crisis.”

There has been no administration in history more in need of Austrian economic principles than the current Obama administration, which routinely violates virtually every fact about the economy derived by the Austrian School. A dose of Austrian free-market economics also could go a long way toward reinvigorating the Maine economy.

Kudos to the Maine Republican Party for bringing its ideas and principles into their forefront.

Michael Montgomery

Orono

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