LETTERS

Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2011: Rev. Carlson, the US Postal Service and voter ID

Posted Nov. 21, 2011, at 1:12 p.m.

Not here to defend himself

I have never met the man, but there are so many around the state who knew the Rev. Robert Carlson well and loved him. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Elaine, and his family.

I am shocked and saddened to hear about the allegations against the reverend. I am also a Christian and as a Christian I believe that to betray the trust of an innocent child is horrible.

I also believe that to accuse him of such a disgusting crime when he is not here to defend himself is horrible.

I truly feel for all victims of child sex abuse. If this is true then I am sorry that I defended him, but after his tragic death, these accusations only hurt his family. People should remember all the good he has done over the years.

RIP, Rev. Bob.

John Wilson

Greenbush

Postal problems

My heart goes out to the residents of Kingman and other small towns in Maine threatened with the loss of their local post offices. Maine’s rural residents deserve the same level of service and respect as the residents of Bangor, New York City or Washington, D.C. In fact, it is some of those folks in Washington who are responsible for the proposed downgrading of service in Kingman and elsewhere.

The postal service’s current financial mess stems from a 2006 congressional mandate that it divert $5.5 billion away from customer service each year for the next 10 years. The diverted money would fund retiree health benefits — for 75 years into the future. No other government agency has to prefund so massively. Most private companies don’t do it at all.

When Congress passed the law, the economy was thriving and the post office was doing well. Now we’re in the worst recession in 80 years. The $21 billion that the postal service has already put into this fund accounts for 100 percent of its red ink. If not for the prefunding burden, the post office would have been profitable in each of the last five years.

Congress created this mess. Isn’t it time it fixed it, perhaps by suspending the prefunding mandate, with an annual review, until the economy returns to health? Meanwhile, I applaud the residents of Kingman for fighting the unjust and unnecessary closure of their post office.

Edward Luchetti

Orono

Numbers, please

Maine’s Republican leaders again will try to prevent an untold number of Maine residents from voting by proposing that only those with driver’s licenses will be allowed to vote. This undemocratic plan is part of the Republican Party’s national right wing agenda.

Tennessee is one of the states that recently enacted the photo ID law. The campaign there uncovered data which revealed 126,000 Tennessee seniors did not have photo IDs. I did not see the figures for the number of persons in other categories but the design is to greatly reduce the number of Democrat-leaning voters who favor national health insurance coverage, well-funded Medicaid programs, housing assistance and other programs that benefit the nonwealthy. The law offers a nonillegal way to “steal” elections.

Maine’s Secretary of State should be asked to provide statistical data showing the number of Maine residents in each category who do not have photo IDs. It is amazing to me that the Republican sponsor of the bill dares to claim that if enacted, the photo ID requirement will not cause people to lose their ability to vote. Presumably not even one of them.

Clyde MacDonald

Hampden

UN agenda on chemicals

I carefully read your editorial calling on Sens. Snowe and Collins to support the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011. Before imposing the green nanny state on the entire country, I hope they will press for an open discussion and clear understanding of two terms which were not surprisingly omitted from your editorial: “precautionary principle” and “Agenda 21.”

According to the United Nations Sustainable Development bureaucracy, Agenda 21 is a “comprehensive plan of action to be taken globally, nationally and locally by organizations of the United Nations System, governments, and major groups in every area in which human impacts on the environment.”

The UN’s 1992 Rio Declaration on the Environment contained the following version of the precautionary principle: “In order to protect the environment, the precautionary approach shall be widely applied by states according to their capabilities. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.”

More recent versions of the precautionary principle have called for requiring that products be proved safe before allowing them on the market and have advanced a very risk averse and technophobic agenda. It’s a prescription for sustainable poverty, not sustainable development.

Climate change and chemicals policy efforts are firmly grounded in Agenda 21 and various versions of the precautionary principle, despite the fact that environmental advocates have been generally unwilling to admit it.

Jon Reisman

Associate professor of economics and public policy

University of Maine at Machias

Real American heroes

As the war profiteers crank up the propaganda machine and salivate over the possibility of engaging Iran in a military conflict I suspect that the so-called left-wing loonies will be speaking out again against our ongoing crimes against humanity.

Once more they will try to raise public awareness regarding the cost of war in terms of treasure and suffering not to mention our image of morals and values around the world. Even if the Occupy Wall Street movement is crushed by a police state, these people will continue to show up every week holding their signs and singing their songs until we all understand what “war is not the answer” means.

They understand that we are all one. They are the enlightened ones among us and I hope that we start listening to them sooner rather than later.

I look forward to the day when everyone realizes that they were right all along and when we acknowledge this tiny group as the great American heroes that they are.

Gerald Eldridge

Franklin

Postal service fix

For months the U.S. Postal Service has been crying poverty and threatening to eliminate Saturday postal delivery. At the same time, the First Class mail rate has been going up.

Since I receive on average two unsolicited bulk mail catalogs every day as well as three unsolicited advertisements or offers, a slight increase, say a penny per piece, in bulk mail rates might easily resolve the postal service’s dilemma. That would add five cents per day to postal service income for my mailbox alone. As it is, the First Class mailer seems to be subsidizing the bulk mailer.

John F. Battick

Dover-Foxcroft

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