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Monday, Aug. 4, 2014: Mountain rescues, Christian influence in government, VA funding

Intolerant opinions

The “tea party” people and conservative Christians I know are hard-working, law-abiding citizens who frequently volunteer services and donate to worthy causes, qualities you will find in members of the Democratic Party. The part I don’t understand is why the Democrats, who cloak themselves as being “liberal,” are so intolerant of others who don’t share their opinions. Isn’t that an oxymoron?

The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were both penned by Christians in a ratio far greater than you will find on the Supreme Court. The Declaration of Independence referenced “God” and recognized the “Creator,” while establishing the reason for breaking from England. The Constitution established the law for governance and does not mention God. The First Amendment notes the importance of religion and the separation of church and state, while guaranteeing the free exercise of religion. There would be no national or state church. You are prosecuted for a crime because you violated the law, not because you committed a sin.

Was Roe v. Wade necessary since 17 states permitted abortions at the time, and it was an issue left to the states? The founding fathers in passing the 10th Amendment: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.” Making it a federal issue and having people voting for a president based on whether the person is for or against abortion is absurd.

Ted Raia



Theme park

I am writing this in response to a recent article I read in the BDN where Baxter State Park and rangers were put down because they didn’t immediately go running up a mountain in the night when a man had not returned down the hill. It seemed as though the editor of the article was definitely taking the side of the hikers and making the park service sound like it didn’t care or did a very bad thing, when, in fact, the hikers acted irresponsibly and should hold themselves accountable for their own actions.

Just because you’re in a state park doesn’t mean that someone is going to hold your hand the whole time. When you’re in the woods, you’re in the woods, and not enough people respect that in our non-woods living society. Without placing blame on anybody, because I hate blaming people in any situation where I really have no idea the sequence of events, I would like to point out a few major errors in these folks’ judgement that only they, not the rangers, can be held responsible for:

— Everyone should have had a flashlight in their backpacks that worked; if not, they should have stayed together.

— They should have stayed together; its common courtesy to never leave anyone behind in the woods unless you are 100 percent confident in their safety.

— It’s important to plan your hikes so that you aren’t hiking out in the dark (unless you want to and are prepared for it with lights).

I just feel bad that the article reflected poorly on the park managers when so many people enter the Maine woods in these parts with the attitude that it is almost like a theme park. It’s not — it’s the woods — and anyone who enters needs to use good judgement, be prepared, be respectful and take responsibility for their own actions.

Dana Herrick



Voting Fulford

“Welfare fraud” is a political “hot button” issue. Yet there is agreement that systemic, expensive fraud concerns us all, and that we want public assistance funds to be properly used. The question is how best to do this.

Maine seems to be ignoring the experience of other states. Massachusetts and Missouri put photos on EBT cards hoping to create savings and to deter fraudulent use. It did not. Both states abandoned photos because the process cost money, while fraud continued. After thorough reviews, Tennessee and Rhode Island decided against adding photos. Now, Maine wants to put photos on EBT cards. Will that save money? The evidence from other states says no.

Meanwhile, nursing homes need help. Where is some of the money to help nursing homes coming from? From “Medicaid savings”? Well, not really. About $4 million is coming from recovering some of the Medicaid overpayments to service providers due to a “faulty billing system,” errors that should not have happened at all.

If we want to save big money for Maine taxpayers, stopping the one-third of 1 percent of unapproved uses of EBT cards won’t do it. Rectifying mismanagement, identifying and shutting down large-scale fraud is a better answer. But don’t phone the governor or his minority leader in the Senate, Mike Thibodeau, R-Winterport. They are not listening.

I’ll be voting for Jonathan Fulford for Maine Senate in Waldo County. Fulford, a Democrat from Monroe, supports creating effective fraud deterrents to save money for a system that helps those in real need.

Susan Hill



The rest of the story

The July 29 BDN printed a story on the VA funding bill with an accompanying photo of Mike Michaud — above the fold. Michaud, of course, is taking the obligatory bow for this piece of legislative work, vowing more to come. Nowhere in the story was it mentioned that this additional spending it not paid for. The cost is being passed on to our children and grandchildren.

I can’t help feeling it is very easy for us to be patriotic when all we have to do is wave a Chinese-made flag or put an “I support the troops” bumper sticker on our cars while passing all these costs to our grandchildren. There is no better example of Michaud’s lack of real leadership courage than this. He knows my 3-year-old granddaughter doesn’t vote.

Whether it is VA benefits, new ships for the Bath shipyard to build, or expanded medical care for all, it is immoral to not pay for these, poor economy or not.

Richard Ginn



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