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Monday, July 9, 2012: Campaign money, Bring Jobs Home Act and religious freedom

Secret money

Thank you for your Editorial on secret money in candidate elections.
You’re right that the flood of secret money in American politics is bad for voters. But you missed an opportunity to support passage of the DISCLOSE Act of 2012.

Under current law, corporations, unions, lobbyists and special interests can now spend millions to get the elected officials they want into power, and right now, the law lets them do that in complete secrecy. The DISCLOSE Act requires donor disclosures and disclaimers.

Voters deserve and need to know the sources of funding for election advertising so they can make informed decisions. Secret campaign money has no place in America’s democracy simply because it undermines the role of the voter and corrupts the election process. Voters have a right to know — whether it is a corporation, union, trade association, or nonprofit advocacy group making unlimited campaign expenditures and influencing elections — so they can judge whether to believe the ads.

The DISCLOSE Act of 2012 is likely to come up for a vote in the Senate next week. I urge our own Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe to support this important legislation and help make things right. Americans deserve all the information they can get before they vote. Tell us where the money is coming from and let the voters decide.

Ann Luther


Maloney the best

Democrats will vote in July to nominate a candidate for the office of District Attorney. Maeghan Maloney is the best choice for this role.

In addition to her effective work in passing legislation to establish the Veterans’ Court, she has a strong history of leadership in the justice system. She headed the multimillion dollar forfeiture unit as Deputy District Attorney in Portland, Oregon, and served as Assistant Attorney General in Maine and edited an amicus brief for the U.S. Supreme Court.

Smart and dedicated, Maeghan works tirelessly on behalf of her constituents in Augusta, and will bring this same energy to making improvements to the District Attorney’s office for Somerset and Kennebec Counties. We are facing rising crime rates, overcrowded jails and reduced public funding. We need new solutions that will be effective in reducing crime and saving taxpayer dollars.

A fresh look at the way this office operates and the ability to implement policy changes that improve justice are needed. Maeghan Maloney is the right person to get this job done.

Carol Cupples

New Portland

Support jobs

The United Steelworkers have been supporting the Bring Jobs Home Act in the U.S. Congress. The bill would remove tax incentives to corporations that favor the exporting of jobs, and add tax incentives that favor bringing employment back to the U.S.

I support this bill. I resent having my tax dollars used to help U.S. companies move jobs offshore.

Some 15 or 20 volunteers, including students, union members and interested citizens gathered on July 2 to visit the offices of Sen. Collins and Rep. Michaud to ask them to support the bill.

I retired as an executive of a large industrial firm in Connecticut and recognize that a prosperous labor force here at home is necessary for the economic health of our country.

We were met at Sen. Collins’ office by two earnest but ill-informed young men who had no idea why we would want to see the Senator. I found the meeting to be an insult to us.

We were met at Rep. Michaud’s office by a well-informed aide who listened carefully to us, and gave us the feeling that the Congressman would take our position seriously.

I urge all citizens to ask our Senators and Representatives to support the Bring Jobs Home Act.

Daniel Harris


Tagline: Clarification of ‘Insatiable Greed’

I apologize to the editor and readers for not suggesting a tagline of “Insatiable Greed” at the head of my Letter to the Editor. Tagging it as “Political Greed” may underlie the misconception that I am attributing the disorder to all Republicans and no Democrats.

Conceptualizing insatiable greed as an illness, of course, suggests it is not limited to any sex, race or political party. I do assert however, that the current agenda of the current Republican Party is dominated by people of great wealth whose need to get more money can only be understood as “insatiable greed.”

Again, people raised without the benefit of adults teaching them we are part of something bigger than ourselves (something we must respect and honor) grow up feeling alone and alienated from life. That profound aloneness prevents feeling they ever have enough. Suffering terribly and suffering since childhood, they deserve compassion rather than anger or outrage. That said, working people should no longer need to bear the

burden of serving insatiable greed.

Readers wanting to better understand the science behind my assertions can visit my website, bornforjoy.com.

Sara Stalman, MD


Freedom of religion

The United Methodist Church has a long history of concern for social justice — opposing the slave trade, smuggling and cruel treatment of prisoners. Our denomination does not pursue monetary contributions to political referendums in support of, or against, our denominations’ position on those issues.

We cannot control what other churches do. We understand the separation of church and state. We choose not to jeopardize our nonprofit, tax-exempt status by coercing our membership to contribute to political issues.

Please do not lump all churches together when judging the actions of a few who abuse the privileges of churches in this democracy. No church would appreciate the government getting involved. Our prayer is that people study each political question in our local region, state and nation, discerning God’s will to the best of our ability.

Christianity has a variety of understandings as to how we are to live out our faith. Churches vary dramatically. Freedom of religion, as a First Amendment right, brings with it responsibility and limitations churches need to understand and work within if we are to maintain those freedoms.

In the U.S. the government cannot tell Christians, Jews, Muslims or any other persons of faith what to believe. Faith-based organizations can

lead their people in their faith teachings, and trust that they will work to apply their faith to their civic duties and responsibilities.

As we attempt to be faithful, may we be mindful and respectful of our privileged place in this nation while not taking advantage of that position.

Rev. Joan DeSanctis

Stillwater Federated and OTUMC

Old Town

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