LETTERS

Friday, May 16, 2014: Benghazi, single-payer health care system, Halifax ferry

Posted May 15, 2014, at 1:14 p.m.
Last modified May 15, 2014, at 1:43 p.m.

Benghazigate

As I watch the Benghazi investigation unfold, I am struck by comparisons between it and the Watergate scandal some 40 years ago.

Both involved a botched event by administration underlings during a presidential election campaign, and in both cases, the administration made valiant efforts to cover up the facts in fear of how it might affect the election outcome. In both cases, the cover-up was successful, and the president was re-elected. That’s where the similarities end.

In the Watergate case, there was no real damage done, as the break-in was botched. In the case of Benghazi, four brave Americans died in the line of duty, and valuable intelligence information was confiscated by the enemy. In the Watergate case, several of those directly involved with the break-in and subsequent cover-up went to jail. In the Benghazi case, no one has been sent to jail or even prosecuted, and the killers are still on the loose.

We know what the final outcome was with Watergate. The president was forced to resign in disgrace, in large part because of the vigilance of the media, and a commitment on both sides of congress and all of America to uncover the facts.

What will happen with the Benghazi scandal is anybody’s guess. I’m not hopeful we will ever get to the bottom of it. The mainstream media doesn’t seem to have much desire to go after the evidence or even report on what has been learned so far. And unfortunately, a majority of the American people don’t seem to have the stomach to question the actions of this administration.

What a shame.

John Porter

Holden

Veto target

The BDN May 2 editorial, criticizing Gov. Paul LePage’s 182 vetoes was, for the most part, on target.

However, I must take issue with the description of a bill to study health care options in Maine as “transitioning Maine to an entirely government-run health care system.” This mischaracterization of the bill ( LD 1345) entirely over-simplifies the issues of concern and serves only to feed right-wing paranoia about socialized medicine.

And to suggest that LD 1345 was brought up as a ploy to elicit a veto from LePage is entirely misplaced. People have worked for years on this bill, and it has been brought before the Legislature several times in the past, before LePage’s term in office.

LD 1345 is a resolve that proposes to study the most affordable ways to provide basic and life-saving health care to all Maine people. It addresses the millions of dollars that Maine spends on “anything but health care” in our health care budget.

An internationally recognized economist, Dr. William Hsiao, offered testimony to the Legislature in 2010, in which he credibly estimated that Maine could save $1 billion in the first year if we converted to a single-payer health care system. For a fraction of the money, we just spent analyzing Medicaid expansion, Maine could hire Dr. Hsiao or a comparable expert to determine if and how we could save money and provide decent health care for everyone, save lives and improve Maine’s health outcomes.

Kevin Twine

Dr. Julie Pease

Brunswick

Auxiliary’s mission

Memorial Day is the day Americans set aside to honor those brave men and women who met tragic ends during times of war. We must use this day to honor their sacrifices, to pray for their families, and to bow our heads in recognition of their service. We must never forget.

You have seen their faces, heard their names, and maybe even heard their voices — those who gave the ultimate sacrifice during all wars. This Memorial Day, American Legion Auxiliary Unit members across the state of Maine would like to invite all community residents to join us in remembrance of our nation’s fallen heroes.

The American Legion Auxiliary is the world’s largest women’s patriotic service organization, with about 800,000 members and 9,000 units in communities across the nation. The auxiliary serves about 1 million veterans every year.

I invite you to pause today to remember those who have fought for our freedoms.

Members have dedicated themselves for about a century to meeting the needs of our nation’s veterans, military and their families both here and abroad. They volunteer millions of hours yearly, with a value of nearly $2 billion.

Auxiliary volunteers across the country also step up to honor veterans and military through annual scholarships and with ALA Girls State programs, teaching high school juniors to be leaders grounded in patriotism and Americanism.

Georgine Butman

American Legion Auxiliary Department President

Greenville

Enough free publicity

“We’re not a taxi; we’re a vacation” is the May 9 headline of the BDN’s enthusiastic coverage of the newly launched North Star daily ferry from Portland to Halifax — complete with casino, piano bar, and “scrubbed windows with views of Portland Harbor.” This event has generated so much excitement that Chellie Pingree has managed to get her staff a sneak-peek tour of the ferry in Portland.

I wish I could share in this festive mood, but I live on the coast east of Portland, where tourism is our economic life blood, and one thing is for sure, every dollar spent on the North Star and in Nova Scotia will not be spent in Maine. That view of Portland Harbor will be the last the vacationers will see of us.

The BDN once ran an article under the headline, “Tourism dollars are essential to state’s economy.” The conclusion: “The tourism industry forms one of the largest revenue generators ($15 billion) to the Maine economy. Thus, one could conclude there is perhaps no greater significant revenue and job creating opportunity for Maine than to prioritize growth in tourism as its number one objective.”

All this boosterism for the ferry is like a local chamber of commerce ordering up a parade because the interstate is about to bypass their town.

Paul H. Gray

Castine

 

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