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Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2011: The American Dream, clean elections and Bangor Municipal Golf Course

Lambs to slaughter

We Americans have lived the so-called American Dream of excess for all the years since the Great Depression, denying ourselves nothing and sitting like children in the lap not of luxury but of the wolf who will eventually swallow us up. We lambs have become so accustomed to free stuff we have forgotten the payment is our very own coat.

The American Dream has been sold to the American debt.

We as a nation have lived in luxury, every one of us, until we no longer know how to say no to ourselves. When I as a consumer spend too much and do not say no to myself, I face foreclosure, bankruptcy and homelessness.

Our nation has a debt I cannot imagine how we are going to pay. What happens when the creditors, whoever they may be, call in our debt? Will they foreclose on America? Will America go bankrupt? Will Americans be homeless? Where will we live if someone else owns America?

Americans must pay their way in order to keep America and Americans free. Unless we find a way to do so, one day there will be no America. She will be owned by others.

We are as blind sheep going mutely to slaughter. We do not recognize the wolf in whose lap we sit.

Dawn Coffin


Clean decision needed

With folks already starting to declare their candidacy for the 2012 state legislative races, it is very important that we have a strong Clean Elections system for them to use. Historically, more than 80 percent of Maine’s legislative candidates have used public financing.

It was great to see the Bangor Daily News on top of this issue (“Saving Maine’s Clean Elections protects independent thinking,” Oct. 28 editorial). However, I’m worried that state lawmakers won’t move fast enough to implement needed changes ahead of the 2012 election cycle.

Candidates need certainty in the law in order to run using our public financing system, which has allowed our legislature to truly be a “citizen legislature.” Waitresses, farmers, veterans and other real Maine people don’t need connections to wealthy individuals to run a campaign if they can use the Clean Elections system to run for office.

If we want to continue to have a legislature that is free from the influence of deep-pocket special interests, then lawmakers should work quickly to update our law. The best option developed by the ethics commission to replace the provision deemed unconstitutional by a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision would enable “clean” candidates to get extra public funding by collecting additional $5 checks from private donors. This would cost the state less money than other options and would continue the Clean Election Act’s ability to level the playing field.

Andrew A. Cadot

Roque Bluffs

Manufactured crisis

The U.S. Postal Service has been under attack for many years. Our own Sen. Collins took part in this attack when she authored a bill in 2006 that requires the USPS to “prefund” its retiree health benefit obligations for 75 years and to do so in only 10 years. This means the USPS must channel huge chunks of current operating cash into a fund for future payments.

Certainly the USPS should be able to pay it’s future retirement obligations, but why 75 years? No other group, public or private, does this.

The time frame that Sen. Collins and Congress mandated for doing this accounts for nearly all of the current “financial crisis” the USPS finds itself in. If this requirement were lifted, the operating deficit would be so small that no one would discuss it at all.

What we have is a manufactured crisis that can be solved easily and without significant disruption to the lives of people who depend on the always-reliable USPS. Sen. Collins should now help pull the USPS out of the hole she helped dig for it. Relax the rules on prefunding the retirement system. It’s a simple solution that will actually work.

Scott Cuddy


Snowe’s misplaced loyalty

I was disappointed by Olympia Snowe’s strained excuse for voting against jobs for Maine policemen, firemen and school teachers. She said it was because she wasn’t allowed to offer amendments, a technique Senate Republicans use to avoid voting on anything that promises to improve the national economy; then she complained about Democrats using parliamentary techniques all the while having participated in a record number of filibusters.

Most alarming is the fact that she never once mentioned the policemen, firemen and school teachers and the positive impact that they would have on communities all around the state. Apparently, the good they could do and the jobs that would be created aren’t as important as Sen. Snowe’s ability to offer amendments.

In the letter-writing campaign to support her vote, I have not yet read the word “policemen,” “firemen” or “school teacher,” either.

I was always proud of the independent voice of Sen. Snowe in the past, but she has become a rubber stamp for Mitch McConnell in his effort to bring down the president, the country be damned. If she had simply stated she was placing her loyalty to party above the interests of Maine people and towns, at least it would be believable. Kentucky already has two senators. I wish they’d return ours.

James Kocot


‘Spunky’ Pat is wrong

I like Pat Blanchette. She’s spunky, speaks her mind and works hard for the city. I do not, however, like her suggestion to start a study on privatizing Bangor Municipal Golf Course.

This action has a lot of us seasonal members depressed in the off season, worried about the future of Bangor Muni. The superb staff of Bangor Muni, Brian, Rob, Sherrill and Matt, has done a wonderful job during the four years I’ve been involved. The course maintenance crew, Russell, John, Leslie, Ron and others, has always done a tremendous job providing us with the best course in the state.

Please don’t change this wonderful asset for the people of Bangor and the culture that currently exists for a few city bucks, jeopardizing access and control for short-term profit.

John Hoyt


One percent solution

Although I was quite impressed with the Stephen and Tabitha King’s full-page ad on the virtues of free speech and the right to assembly, I’m quite certain the Founding Fathers did not mean that included the ability to camp out indefinitely on public lands which are supported by tax dollars.

Therefore, in the spirit of spreading the wealth from 1 percenters like the Kings, I suggest that all Bangor Occupiers go to the Kings’ mansion and make themselves at home on their front lawn.

Bill Hale


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