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LETTERS

Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014: Nuclear weapons, Medicaid expansion, Eliot Cutler support

Posted Aug. 05, 2014, at 3:30 p.m.
Last modified Aug. 05, 2014, at 4:03 p.m.

Hiroshima anniversary

On Aug. 6, 1945, the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Three days later, a second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. Since then, nuclear weapons have posed a constant threat to the health and safety of the world.

More than 16,000 nuclear weapons still exist, many on active alert. While such weapons have not been used since 1945, miscalculation, technical failure and human error have nearly caused catastrophic accidents. These risks have been strongly amplified in recent months by escalating instability in the Middle East and Ukraine, including the missile attack on the Malaysian Airlines plane. What if the next incident involves nuclear weapons?

In a 2009 speech in Prague, President Barack Obama stated clearly and with conviction America’s commitment to seek a world without nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, the United States has not followed through on this commitment. It plans to spend $1 trillion over the next 30 years modernizing its nuclear arsenal. If Obama truly believes the words he spoke in Prague, then he must ensure the United States constructively participates in the upcoming Vienna conference in December seeking a ban on all nuclear weapons.

As we commemorate those who lost their lives in the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we must convince Obama to keep his promise and lead the world toward the security of a world free of nuclear weapons.

Andrew A. Cadot

Roque Bluffs

Climate action

At recent public hearings in Atlanta, Denver, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C., thousands of Americans have demanded action on climate change by limiting carbon pollution from power plants. The Environmental Protection Agency has heard from major corporations, small businesses, public health groups, scientists, lawmakers and communities across the country that know we cannot wait any longer to protect our children and future generations from the dangerous impacts of climate change.

Big polluters and their climate denying allies in Congress, who are desperate to protect their bottom lines over our health, also were out in full force, spreading misinformation. But it will be clear they are on the losing team. Polling consistently shows strong national support for the EPA’s safeguards. About 65 percent of Americans back them, according to the League of Conservation Voters; 70 percent, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll; and two-thirds of Americans support the Clean Power Plan, according to the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll.

Maine is already ahead of the game through participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which has enabled the Northeast to reduce carbon pollution from power plants by 40 percent since it was implemented. RGGI also simultaneously has produced more than $30 million for investments in energy efficiency in Maine alone while reducing electricity prices by 14 percent. We have a historic opportunity to turn climate threats into real economic opportunities for our country. Americans deserve action, and their voices will be heard.

Mike Curran

Portland

2014 leadership

My mind has been made up on who I will vote for to be governor of our state. While I find independent Eliot Cutler’s views on property tax reform and economic development quite compelling, my mind was made up for sure when I learned neither Democrat Mike Michaud nor Republican Gov. Paul LePage respect Maine voters enough to stand publicly and debate the issues. This is particularly appalling when neither has presented his views on either subject.

I understand the political strategy involved, but so what? Where’s the leadership? Where’s the courage of their convictions? And while we’re here, where are their convictions? Don’t either of them believe they are accountable to the public?

Where is the media backbone in this? Hold the debates with or without all the candidates. If they show up, fine. If they don’t, let the public observe their cowardice. Cutler is willing to debate Michaud or LePage or both of them, anytime, anywhere. He is showing me and the citizens of Maine he is willing to state his views and be accountable for them. He is the only one showing leadership.

Richard Howe

Stonington

Politicize the funds

The recent July 20 BDN article, “More money, less money: The effects of not expanding MaineCare,” rightly detailed the negative impact of the state’s decision to turn down federal Medicaid dollars for life-saving health care. It’s unfortunate Gov. Paul LePage and his allies in the state Legislature turned their backs on health care for 70,000 Maine people — and on a $1 million-per-day investment in our economy. Those dollars could have saved lives and created thousands of jobs.

As a family doctor and a member of the state’s budget-writing committee, I have seen firsthand how access to life-saving health care can change people’s lives while saving the state money. In fact, we know from the non-partisan national Kaiser Foundation the health care dollars would have saved our state more than $600 million over the next 10 years.

Instead LePage and Commissioner Mary Mayhew sought to politicize the funds and turn them down in a political effort to buck the Affordable Care Act. They even went as far as to spend $1 million on the Alexander Group consultant, whose faulty and plagiarized studies of the Medicaid system have made headlines across the state and nation. I was aghast to see Mayhew continue to cite statistics from the discredited Alexander Group study in the news story and even more surprised to see the newspaper fail to note where her numbers came from.

It’s bad enough the state turned down life-saving health care, but justifying the decision by citing the controversial and failed Alexander Group analysis is unbelievable. Likewise, the former Maine Hospital Association lobbyist, saying she is “perplexed” by the hospitals’ backing of MaineCare expansion, is dubious. She knows well the harm to our hospitals from the increased costs of charity care.

Rep. Linda Sanborn

D-Gorham

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