LETTERS

Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2011: Fossil fuels, Krauthammer and bottled water

Posted Aug. 22, 2011, at 4:11 p.m.

Summer sacrifice

For 26 summers my family has camped on Lake Pemaquid in Damariscotta. The beauty of Maine and, now especially, the delightful flights of monarchs as they prepare for their long journey to Mexico inspire me to do whatever I can to counteract changes in climate that will destroy the natural world I love.

The Keystone XL pipeline project threatens to neutralize any efforts we can make to counter our devastating impact on climate. Proposed to stretch from the dirty tar sands of Alberta across middle America to refineries in Texas, this pipeline and the oil it will carry would result in a surge of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, possibly foul groundwater that supplies two million Americans and strip the northern forest, including prime habitat for millions of song birds.

President Obama, and he alone, has the authority to stop this pipeline project. He will soon decide on its fate. I’m foregoing idyllic Lake Pemaquid for steamy Washington in order to demonstrate against the building of the Keystone XL pipeline. I want to add my presence to thousands of others risking arrest in front of the White House from Aug. 20 to Sept. 3, to say: “Enough! We need to take a stand against fossil fuel now!”

Fran Ludwig

Damariscotta

Socialism’s dead end

Are we there yet? It is a good question to ask ourselves these days. Incidentally, does anyone know where “there” is? I know. And it is approaching faster than you think. We have “progressed” from a capitalist system to a pseudo-capitalistic and socialist state, piling up social programs for 100 years.

Our national debt is accelerating horizontally, in a vacuum, toward a solid wall. The national debt in 1981 was almost $1 trillion. It was not “there” yet! Today, it is $14.6 trillion and is accelerating every second to new highs.

A socialist state cannot last forever. It has an average life span of 50 years. The USSR managed to get there in 71 years. The Third Reich lasted only a measly 12 years and Europe is playing a game of, “Who wants to go first?”

Listening to the name-calling and finger-pointing on TV lately convinces me that a majority of the populace actually does not realize the consequences of socialism. I have also heard moans and groans when the word got out that cuts may occur across the board.

The big question is where to make the cut with as little harm as possible. However, there is one way to avoid the cuts: Let the “egg” hit the wall. That way, we wouldn’t have to worry about cuts because entitlements would literally cease to exist. We definitely do not want to go “there.”

Norman J. Labbe

Fort Kent

Please answer to the people

Charles Krauthammer, the columnist and conservative ideologue whose game is often convincing readers that black is white, says (BDN, Aug. 15) our political system is working fine. Perhaps he is unaware we have the worst recession in 80 years, millions of unemployed, two unwinnable wars and 95 percent of Americans experiencing a declining standard of living. Maybe he hasn’t read about it.

Over 30 years, conservatives (with the liberals’ help) have handed the reins of government to corporate interests and the voice of the average voter has been removed from the national discourse. Now we see the results. Kowtowing to power elites, Washington has become a cesspool of corruption: laws most don’t want, members of Congress in bed with big business and unqualified politicians running on preposterous platforms full of deceits and misrepresentations.

Half of American voters don’t even bother any more. This is a success though, in Krauthammer’s view.

Gallup polls said we wanted universal health care (69 percent), but no go. A majority want out of Iraq and Afghanistan, but again, too much money to be made keeping the show of force going. A majority agree the wealthy should pay more in taxes but forget it.

Washington no longer answers to the people. The system is not only broken, but probably beyond repair: an oligarchy masquerading as Democracy, and Mr.

Krauthammer is in full compliance.

Dennis Lopez

Rockport

Bottled water scam

Regarding the good stamp deposit scam reported in the BDN on Aug. 20: It is of course depressing, even disgusting, to witness the irresponsibility and, presumably, abysmally low self-esteem of the few SNAP recipients who deliberately waste public money to circumvent a system designed to help them.

There is a very simple fix for this problem: Just remove bottled water and similar products from the list of items eligible for subsidy under the SNAP program. Probably the biggest obstacle to implementing this solution would be the bottled water lobbyists and their friends in government.

Why indeed should bottled water have ever been included on the SNAP list, the aim of the program being “nutrition assistance”? Bottled water provides no nutrition.

The whole bottled water industry represents perhaps the most successful advertising scam since Carter’s Little Liver Pills. Numerous trials have demonstrated that users cannot detect the difference between bottled water and tap water; indeed, much bottled water is tap water. And yet people will pay more per ounce for bottled water than for gasoline. Looks like P.T. Barnum was right.

Even worse, drinkers of bottled water are missing the tooth-decay protection of the fluorine that is in most tap water. Add to that the enormous environmental pollution from the disposal of millions of plastic containers and bottled water looks more like a public nuisance than a product deserving governmental support.

Sam Garwood

Old Town

Hypocritical outrage

In his weekly radio address Aug. 20, Gov. LePage was outraged that the Obama administration proposes to cut funding for LIHEAP. Doesn’t he belong to the party that has been sounding the alarm about the deficit yet adamantly refusing to raise taxes on anyone, including the wealthy and big corporations (the “job creators”)?

What does that leave? Spending cuts — as long as it’s someone else’s spending, I guess.

I find the governor’s outrage political or perhaps hypocritical.

Christina Diebold

Bangor

Humane medicine needed

The heroic but undoubtedly unpleasant departure of Judy Kellogg Markowsky presents a sad irony: her father was a Bangor physician, highly respected by colleagues and loved by patients.

I look forward to the day when doctors offer those who are suffering from hopeless illness the same kind of peaceful exit currently provided by veterinarians. Then the medical profession will have become fully “humane.”

Gerald A. Metz, MD

Addison

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