Russian hacking taints election
It’s useful, if not necessary, even in this season of tortuous partisanship, to look more objectively at the Russian government’s apparent interference in the presidential election. If disruption were the only objective, then unified anger would likely be the result. We’d be unified in our outrage and determined to respond sternly and directly.
We find ourselves, however, in another situation. This was not merely disruption for the sake of international embarrassment, a display of the Kremlin’s potential power, or even just to be a bully. It is apparent now that there was an orchestrated effort to manipulate the election with the intent to tip the scale in favor of Donald Trump.
While it is embarrassing for Trump to have to, at some point, admit that his election was won, in part, because of Russian involvement, we are the ones who should be most embarrassed, even outraged.
Not only did senior Russian officials orchestrate breaking into and revealing Democratic National Committee emails, but the Russians generated a swath of fake news and social media gibberish targeted against the Democratic nominee while praising Trump. To top it off, we have learned from intelligence intercepts that senior Russian officials celebrated on learning of Trump’s win.
How we move forward knowing what we know is hard to predict. The facts are the facts. The most cherished element of our American democracy has been tainted. We are facing a tenure of a president who does not possess broad national support. Will Trump be the Illegitimate president?
Col. Steve Ball
U.S. Army, retired
What happened to the mugwumps?
Back in 1884 the mugwumps turned against their Republican presidential candidate James Blaine of Maine because of the financial corruption associated with him. They were condemned as turncoats by fellow Republicans. They took a moral stand and stood by it.
Remember in 2016, all the Republican politicians and candidates who took moral stands against Donald Trump’s candidacy? The list is long. When Trump became their candidate, many continued to voice opposition with concerns for conflicts of interest, inexperience, contempt for women, and so on.
But these mugwumps have disappeared. Their clarion call from within and from without to stand for the higher values historically associated with mankind by rejecting a Trump candidacy vanished. Party unity prevailed. Trump was elected.
I’m guessing these mugwumps still are there, underneath it all, wondering when it will be safe to come out and publicly reaffirm what it means to be a Republican, in the historical sense, in the sense of Abraham Lincoln, Dwight Eisenhower, Margaret Chase Smith, Olympia Snowe and maybe Susan Collins.
Preserve senior living facility
I have been a volunteer at the Northern Bay Residential Living Center in Penobscot for the past year, and I am friends with the 33 residents who call it home. A court ruled last month that the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, which was named the receiver of the facility in 2008, can close the facility if no buyer for it is found.
The Castine Patriot has reported that there are unpaid taxes and the property requires maintenance, though the residential living space is wonderfully kept, clean and warm, and up to date. A few residents have been living there for more than 10 years. There are many connections to this area, and residents are members of local churches and keep up with any regional news.
The communities of Bucksport, Castine, Blue Hill, Orland, Penobscot and surrounding areas have a desperate need for a residential living facility that provides assisted care. Northern Bay is a part of the community, and it is an asset to the area.
Please help the residents and their families and write to Judge Michaela Murphy to let her know that the area needs an assisted living facility. We must act to continue to provide a home for those who need and want one here in our part of Maine. Send a letter to:
Judge Michaela Murphy c/o Danielle Young, Business and Consumer Court Clerk’s Office, 205 Newbury Street, Ground Floor, Portland, ME 04101.
Trump nominees’ ethics problems
Our senators should deny and postpone confirmation hearings for any of Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominees who has not submitted and completed their financial statements, ethics clearings or background checks. Rarely in the history of the government of the United States have there been as many proposed nominees who have as much potential for conflicts of interest. The American people have been denied a full accounting of the president-elect’s financial dealings. We must not allow this for the people working in his Cabinet.
Additionally, there should be great concern that Betsy DeVos and her family members have been major donors to senators who will be voting on her confirmation as education secretary. The Washington Post reports that DeVos and her family have donated more than $800,000 to Republican senators since 2013, including several who will vote on her confirmation. Call it pay to play or payola, but allowing these senators to vote is simply unethical, and they must recuse themselves.
The incoming administration’s desire to shortcut the process is understandable, but when unethical behavior is normalized, the notion that the ends justify the means will hold sway and corruption of governmental processes will soon follow.
Russian hacking exposes Clinton
So why is the hacking of Democratic organizations and the release of stolen emails such a big deal? Because Hillary Clinton lost the election.
The Democrats would have us believe that the reason Clinton lost was because of Russian hacking, which showed us how crooked she was. That being said, intelligent, well-read Americans voted against her.
Should we not be thanking the Russians for exposing at least some of Clinton’s skullduggery? Furthermore should we not be questioning the integrity of our so-called intelligence agencies?