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Monday, June 17, 2013: Invasion of privacy, 38% of voters

Immigration reform

The May 31 BDN post on Ethan Strimling and Phil Harriman’s Agree to Disagree blog about the immigration reform bill in the U.S. Senate is misleading and confusing.

The comment that the bill, S.744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, requires “security benchmarks to be met prior to beginning the provisional status program” overstates what is required before illegal aliens apply for “Registered Provisional Immigrant” status.

According to the bill, there are no “security benchmarks.” All that is required for illegal aliens to apply for RPI status is for the Department of Homeland Security to submit to Congress a “Notice of Commencement of Implementation of the Comprehensive Southern Border Security Strategy and the Southern Border Fencing Strategy,” the bill states. In other words, they just submit a plan, and then illegal aliens can start applying for RPI status.

Also, the claim that S.744 “makes mandatory the E-verify system” is misleading. The bill would replace the E-verify system with an “Employment Verification System.” What is questionable is that E-verify is being used very successfully on a voluntary basis by thousands of businesses nationwide, 464 of which are in Maine, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Department.

It would seem that E-verify could easily be mandated universally in six months to one year, but, for some unknown reason, the EVS system will not be implemented for two, three, four or five years, depending on the size and type of business.

The importance and impact of S.744 on our future requires more than uninformed boilerplate commentary.

Robert Casimiro, Mainers for Sustainable Immigration Policy


Freedom vs. security

The obsession with “homeland security,” which has gripped our leaders since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, has gone on long enough. We have lost our privacy to spies who have become a bigger threat to our people and our country than terrorists.

The Fourth Amendment states, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

I expect President Barack Obama and our senators and congresspeople to explain to us what they are going to do to stop this National Security Agency invasion of our privacy and violation of our constitutional rights.

For a start, they should repeal the so-called Patriot Act. Also, they should pass a resolution in praise of Edward Snowden for his courage and patriotism in bringing the secret NSA behavior to light and standing up for the Fourth Amendment and our Constitution.

Obama said that we must choose between freedom and security. It is past time to choose freedom. “Security” has become a threat.

Jane McCloskey

Deer Isle

Winslow speech

Attending Hermon High School’s graduation on Saturday, I noticed that the commencement speech was being given by retired Bangor Police Chief Don Winslow, and I have to admit I expected the kids, and the audience, would be listening to another lecture.

Instead, we were privileged to hear the honest, personal, touching story of a man who has never given up and who should truly be an inspiration to our children.

I would like to thank Winslow for his wise words and hope that he is invited to be the commencement speaker for future graduations.

Bob Lowe


Protecting Americans

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and others have said that Edward Snowden has committed treason. The Presidential Oath of Office calls upon the president to fulfill the duties of the office and to defend the Constitution. That is all.

There is no mention of protecting the American people. It cannot be treason to reveal that, through his minions, President Barack Obama is violating that oath. The whole point of the Fourth Amendment is that there be no exceptions.

Michael S. Moore


Dig for the facts

I read with great interest the June 11 BDN letter “Governor 38 percent.” The writer was lamenting independent Eliot Cutler’s gubernatorial election participation past and future. I wonder if the writer can remember when former Gov. John Baldacci was running for his second term. The statistics weren’t favorable.

The labor organizers and people masquerading as Democrats had a lady named Barbara Merrill run as an independent. Merrill’s husband was, or had been, the president of the Maine State Employees Association, Local 1989 of the Service Employees International Union. She ran her campaign with clean election funds which means the taxpayers of Maine paid for her campaign. Baldacci narrowly won over Republican Chandler Woodcock.

What percentage of voters did Baldacci receive? Thirty-eight percent.

David McIntosh


Simple solution

Katherine Evans makes good points in her letter regarding Heather Denkmire’s June 6 BDN OpEd, “Let us eat junk.” I would like to add one more “simple solution.” Find the time to cook good food for children. Use food stamps wisely, and arrange priorities to that end. Despite what we may hear from some complainers, good food is not expensive and not difficult to prepare.

Dennis Pinette


Legitimate roles of government

I’ve read with great interest about the Maine Legislature giving preliminary approval to LD 1286, banning the slaughter of horses or the transportation of horses across Maine to facilities outside the state where horses may be slaughtered for human consumption.

I consider myself a social liberal but feel that this legislation is overstepping the legitimate role of government. While I do not suggest that any person consume horse meat against their will or belief system, it is a fact that in many parts of the world horses are consumed as a source of protein. How is a horse different from a cow, sheep or pig?

Some individuals practice religions where pork may not be consumed. Should we legislate those among us who eat pork as part of our diet? Some individuals do not consume meat or fish. Should the Maine Legislature close meat, poultry or fish processing facilities? How is the public safety or health enhanced or protected by this legislation?

Does the Maine Legislature have the right to say to someone wanting to transport horses on Maine roads to a licensed slaughterhouse in Quebec that they are committing a crime? To our legislators, consider reversing your votes, and stick to legitimate roles of government.

Kenneth F. Beland


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