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Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017: Forget draining the swamp, the corporate takeover of Washington, taxpayers pay for the simple life

Pull the plug on swamp draining

While our president-elect sets his Trump pump to “drain the swamp” in Washington, Republicans should know that swamp-draining was a failed Democrat strategy back in 2010. “The [Democratic Party] that pledged to ‘drain the swamp’ if given control of Congress finds itself sinking in the muck nine months from election day,” the Associated Press reported in March 2010.

The figure of speech they quote is a shortened version of a proverb particularly popular in the American south: “When you are up to your waist in alligators, it’s easy to forget that your initial objective was to drain the swamp.”

But what if the Democratic Party had proceeded successfully back then to drain the swamp on the floors of Congress? Would all have turned out better? Don’t bet on it.

Desiderius Erasmus, in his 1509 satire, “ The Praise of Folly,” cites an ancient swamp-draining by neighbors of the Sicilian Lake Camarina. Fed up with the lake’s mud and stench, they drained it. The result? The dry lake bed gave easy access to their enemies who were able to cross it on foot and horseback to sack the villages previously protected by the swamp.

The lesson to be learned from all of this fits nicely under The Law of Unintended Consequences. It also calls to mind the quasi-proverbial American expression, “Sometimes you’re darned if you do and darned if you don’t.” It might it be smarter for the GOP to pull the plug on the Trump pump?

Charles Packard


The corporate takeover of Washington

My concern is that instead of draining of the swamp, Donald Trump is attempting a corporate takeover of America, and only a few moderate Republicans such as Sen. Susan Collins stand in his way.

I am deeply troubled by Collins support of Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, who has been nominated as U.S. attorney general. His past opposition to bills prompting civil rights and women’s rights would make him a mockery of the position of attorney general.

I’ve not heard her position yet on Scott Pruitt, who has been nominated to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. But his hostility to the EPA, which he has sued as Oklahoma attorney general, and his close ties to the oil and gas industry would be a mockery as he is would be required to protect the environment.

And Rex Tillerson, the current CEO of Exxon Mobil, as U.S. secretary of state? This revolving door with industry moves America toward marrying business with government. I’d push the car before putting Exxon Mobil gasoline in it.

What has Ben Carson, who has been nominated for secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, done in his life to qualify him for this post?

The Senate should tell Trump no on his current slate of nominees and ask him to return with a slate of reasonable people with the heart and experience to do an honest and positive job for our country and the world.

James Merkel


Taxpayers pay for the simple life

Martha Higgins was very tactful in her Jan. 9 BDN letter to the editor about the Palumbo/Bravesnow family giving up their good-paying jobs to live the simple life, but to me it is not right when people who can work and earn enough to support their family simply choose not to so that they can enjoy a certain type of lifestyle. One wonders whose tax money is helping to pay for that lifestyle or what truly needy person is not getting a benefit.

If the Palumbo/Bravesnow family could live as they choose without public assistance it would be admirable. As it is, it is shameful. They may be doing a wonderful job of homeschooling their children, but they are teaching those children the wrong lesson about responsibility.

Sue Shaw


A vicious racial cycle

Four African-Americans in Chicago were charged with hate crime among other felonies for kidnapping and torturing a white mentally disabled man. They tortured him physically and verbally, calling out racial slurs against white people and making hateful comments about President-elect Donald Trump, while livestreaming it on Facebook. While hate speech is unethical, it isn’t illegal, but hate crime most certainly is illegal. To not only commit a hate crime, but display it live on social media for the world to see is loathsome.

It makes me question what their motive for doing this was? Could they be so upset about our country’s political standings that they deemed it fitting to kidnap a mentally disabled man because of the color of his skin? Are they trying to send a message and he was an unlucky victim?

Whatever their motive may have been it was certainly out of resentment toward white people.

Hatred of this kind is not born into people, it is raised into people. Growing up hearing racist remarks from parents and peers makes it seem normal and justifiable to children, and when they are grown and have children of their own, the vicious cycle continues.

Hopefully, with future generations growing up in the digital age, when they have the whole world at their fingertips, they will be able to form their own opinions and can escape their society’s racial attitudes.

Mallory Maxwell


Collins shocking support for Sessions

Sen. Susan Collins’ unabashed support for Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, who has been an opponent of civil rights legislation, to head the U.S. Justice Department is shocking. The media refers to Collins as a moderate, but there’s nothing moderate about endorsing Sessions as top cop in the Trump administration.

Sessions has called civil rights advocacy groups, including the National Council of Churches, “ un-American.” Worse, he apparently pressured a prosecutor to drop a case against two Ku Klux Klan members who randomly lynched a black man in 1981.

In 1820, Maine was admitted to the Union as a free state. Most Mainers have supported civil rights, equal rights and even-handed justice ever since. Remember the courage of Republican Sen. Margaret Chase Smith, who said that “I don’t want to see the Republican Party ride to political victory on the Four Horsemen of Calumny: Fear, Ignorance, Bigotry, and Smear.”

Collins should not put party above principle.

Steve Cartwright

Tenants Harbor


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