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Friday, Sept. 27, 2013: Budgets, Appleton home and lobster pain


How can we help?

We were an enthusiastic small crowd that greeted soon-to-be President Harry Truman that afternoon in Waterloo, Iowa. His speech was feisty as he later proved when he fired popular General Douglas MacArthur. President Dwight Eisenhower later took on the military industry. Both had courage and honesty.

Can you imagine how they would handle Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., or Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va.? These two prove everyday what petty men they are. These two gutless, greed merchants care nothing for those of us who cannot contribute millions to their next campaigns.

Of course that’s the Republican way. Increase your personal fortune no matter what it costs the working person. That’s the mantra for all of them. President Ronald Reagan started the downward slide, and President George Bush put it on steroids and added grand theft for good measure. Now these same folks want to make sure we give back our hard-won health care options.

“Don’t fund Obamacare,” they scream. Let insurance companies get back to stealing our money like they’re supposed to.

During all of this, we never hear of solutions from the esteemed Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine. Not to be bested, Gov. Paul LePage withholds health care and loves big tax breaks for big shots.

Maybe they could just get out of the way and say how can I help?

James I. Scroggy

Blue Hill

Tax and spend

Humorist P.J. O’Rourke correctly noted that giving politicians access to the public’s money is the same as giving the keys of the liquor store to the town drunk.

Senate President Justin Alfond, D-Portland, and House Speaker Mark Eves, D-North Berwick, mislead the public when they decry Gov. Paul LePage’s intention to not offer a supplemental budget in the second session. To hear them talk, one would think that only they have the wisdom to produce a balanced budget, as required by the state Constitution.

But “balance” can be achieved by reducing spending to levels met by existing revenues without tax increases or fiscal gimmicks, a concept that nauseates politicians who would rather pay off all of their special interest constituencies with raises and contracts, grow government and then simply penalize taxpayers to cover the costs of their expansionism and profligate spending.

This is a nonpartisan matter because there are Republicans who are as disgraceful as the Democrats when it comes to government expansionism, spending increases and subsequent higher taxes.

Victor Berardelli,

State Chair, Maine Republican Liberty Caucus


Aced it!

I’d like to comment on the Sept. 23 BDN article by Stephen Betts about a comprehensive report on a dispute over an Appleton property in Knox County that has been the subject, for more than five years, by neighboring landowners before the Appleton Board of Appeals and the Superior Court of Knox County. A ruling by that court in 2011 effectively ordered that a permit issued by the board be vacated and that the code officer rescind it.

The history of the case is complex and, as a former chair of a board of appeals, I have some notion of the problems involved. However, the purpose of this comment is not directly concerned with the facts of the case. I think BDN reporter Betts has expertly, concisely delivered the salient facts of this convoluted case, and I’d venture a personal conclusion that he’s aced it!

Robert C. Dick


Congressional inaction

On Sunday, President Barack Obama spoke of another gun tragedy in America. When will it stop? Not as long as semiautomatic assault rifles and large magazines are legal. The AR-15 is the weapon of choice of this nation’s mass murders. These weapons are not used to stop crimes. Handguns are. So why are they still legal to own, even though many Americans want them banned?

It’s simple. Our elected officials are elected by the people, but our elected officials, including Congress, are no longer working for or responsible to the people. They work for and are responsible to the powerful and rich special interest groups and lobbyists that fund their elections. That’s who they care about; that’s whose interests they cater to and pass laws for. Our democracy has been hijacked by these powerful forces.

The pendulum of time is swinging back to when the rich and powerful rule. No

longer do we care about shared social values of a rising, working and middle class supported by honest and strong unions, public education and low-cost higher education. Today, everyone is trying to make money off all our institutions and policies.

We have got used to ideology and politics dividing the American Congress to a virtual standoff of inaction. And no one really cares.

Steven Roth

Swans Island


It fascinates me when humans speak for other species. Most times it is specious, but sometimes it is “anthropocentric.” (We’re the best, so screw the rest.) The issue with how lobsters are killed in some facilities is more anthropocentric than specious.

First of all, humans have no right to claim what species can or cannot feel pain. Just because a species can’t tell us it is in pain doesn’t mean it isn’t in pain. Each species is unique to its own experiences and bodily functions. Even when we research whether or not a species can feel pain, we are injecting our anthropocentric attitude into the equation. That equation is toxic to uniqueness and knowing the truth (which is what science is supposed to be).

Humans don’t own pain; I believe all of Earth’s living things feel pain. If humans are using sadistic methods to kill other species, the practice must be stopped immediately. Bear baiting, leg-hold trapping and hounding come to mind, as does coyote extermination 24/7/365. The Humane Society of the United States merely cares that all Earth’s species are treated humanely.

A rule of thumb is to think of what we would feel if the killing method was done to us. To quote E.T., “Ouch.”

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals does not have extreme views. Caring that living things are treated “ethically” is not extreme.

I am in no way inferring that lobstermen/women are inhumane.

Jackie Freitas


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