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Monday, Nov. 18, 2013: Obamacare website, religious freedom, debt

Good shopper

I wish folks would stop complaining about the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, and saying that it can’t be any good because so few people have signed up for it so far. That argument is disingenuous. I happen to support the idea of Obamacare, and even I haven’t signed up for it yet. Why? Because I’m trying to be a good shopper, learn everything I can about what options I have, and take my time to make the best decision.

I’m nearly 60 years old, self-employed and have never had health insurance of any kind. If anyone thinks I’m just going to go online, call up a website and blithely sign my name to the first page that pops up, they’ve got another think coming. I am, after all, a Mainer.

Jean Vermette


Obama’s debt

It is great news that the government shutdown is over. President Barack Obama knowingly underestimated the cost of the health care plan.

He took $716 billion from Medicare.

He wants to cut essential services such as medical, hospitals and military power.

During his time in office, Obama has increased the national debt more than $5 trillion.

I am a registered independent voter who is very much against Obamacare and his tax-and-spend policies.

James W. Buchanan


Huge thanks

The Dedham-Lucerne, Holden, Eddington and Orrington fire departments did a fantastic job on the evening of Oct. 30 to contain a huge blaze at a cottage on Phillips Lake. The fire would have destroyed all the nearby cottages. The fire departments limited the damage as flames lit up the night sky for miles around.

The departments were so professional and proficient.

My neighborhood and our town owe them a huge thank you.

Ann Dyer


Church and state

LD 1428, An Act to Protect Religious Freedom, is a bill to be considered in the coming months that would allow individuals and organizations to sue the government if they believe their sincerely held religious beliefs have been infringed. In essence, the bill is a license for people to enjoy special privileges based upon their chosen religion: It would allow them to circumvent laws the rest us must obey. As Ali Vander Zanden of EqualityMaine said, “ It’s a harmful solution to a nonexistent problem.”

LD 1428 goes beyond the protections of the First Amendment. To put it into real terms, a Christian landlord could kick a tenant to the street simply for being gay. A Muslim business owner could refuse services to a customer for being Catholic. A Mormon city hall clerk adhering to original church doctrine could refuse to marry a mixed race couple.

Our great nation and our great state both embrace the principle of religious freedom. Neither set out to embrace special religious rights. LD 1428, sponsored by Sen. David Burns, R-Whiting, is not only an unnecessary bill, it’s a downright assault on the freedoms and liberties guaranteed to us by the U.S. Constitution and the Maine Constitution.

As a part of one of the least religious states in the union, Atheists of Maine stands firmly against any attempt to undermine the separation of church and state that is so essential to our great democracy.

Michael Hawkins


Jocelyn Harrington


Atheists of Maine

Benefit humanity

Following up on Beth Brogan’s Nov. 13 article about the tax controversy at Bath Iron Works, I have a couple of comments. First of all, instead of concentrating on building “destroyers,” of which the world has too many, why not build “creators,” ships that benefit humanity.

What would those be? For one, hospital ships that can be directed to locations of devastation, like the current catastrophe in the southern Philippines, staffed with personnel to provide immediate relief and supplies. Certainly there are sufficient disasters in the world to supply BIW with work into the foreseeable future. The question then arises, who will pay for them? Answer: Divert money from the military juggernaut to projects like these, and maintain the same or increased level of workforce. I am sure people working there would feel better about the work they do if it were for construction, rather than destruction.

Along the same lines, how about making wind turbines, modern train engines and railroad cars, perhaps to renovate the old narrow gauge railroad network Maine used to have? I would call such manufacturing “creators” instead of “destroyers.” All in favor say “Aye.”

Jon Olsen


No apology

In regards to John Hubbard’s complaint in his Nov. 13 letter to the editor that “if former President George W. Bush had apologized, it would have been a page 1 story.” Although an impetus for an apology wasn’t specified, the possibilities are numerous.

Imagine for a moment the consequence of a Bush apology for any of the following: three tax cuts primarily benefiting the very wealthy, lies about the reason for taking the nation to war in Iraq with the loss of 4,500 Americans, the U.S. dragged into a near depression (the effects of which are still with us), no-bid security contracts to Halliburton/Blackwater, ignoring established and accepted principles for the treatment of prisoners of war as set forth in the Geneva Conventions, failure to capture Osama bin Laden or secure Afghanistan, “No Child Left a Dime,” the poorest U.S. economic performance since Herbert Hoover, preference for “faith-based initiatives” at the expense of scientific advancement, woefully inadequate response to Hurricane Katrina, politicization of the Department of Justice, Securities and Exchange Commission policies allowing investment banks to go unregulated, relaxed and almost nonexistent enforcement of Food and Drug Administration, Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Environmental Protection Agency regulations, 45 million Americans without health insurance. The list goes on.

Looking for something more in line with President Barack Obama’s apology for a poor website start-up? How about the FBI computer upgrade initiated shortly after Sept. 11, 2001? Lockheed-Martin and other contractors were paid millions before the failed effort was taken over and completed by the Bureau in 2010 at a final cost of $451 million.

My point: “Dubya” actually has something of significance for which to apologize.

Rodney L. Hanscom


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