October 22, 2017
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Monday, April 3, 2017: Clean energy economy booming, Medicaid not just for the poor, reduce military spending

Medicaid not just for the poor

My parents were first generation Americans. The children of immigrants, they were really poor. My mother, one of nine children, had to quit high school and go to work. The girls did that so the five boys could graduate.

My father worked his way through college after seven years of bussing tables, tutoring math, and doing odd jobs, but he became a mechanical engineer.

They lived through the Great Depression and World War II, worked hard, and raised their family. My father built a successful business, created many jobs in his factory, and paid his taxes. They had good health insurance, and they were considered upper middle class.

My mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease when she was in her late 70s. She went into the hospital and from there to a nursing home. She lived there for seven years, until she died at age 87. My father went every single day to feed her lunch and dinner. He paid $70,000 a year for six years. That’s a total of $420,000 out of pocket.

At that point I went to the social services office in his town and asked if there was any help for him financially. He didn’t approve of asking the government for aid, but I could see he was going to run out of money. He had spent most of his reserves by then. He was 87 years old and wanted to stay in their home.

I don’t know what they would have done without Medicaid.

Susan Johnston

Cape Elizabeth

Climate change denial a travesty

I am deeply saddened and alarmed by President Donald Trump’s recent executive order to dismantle President Barack Obama’s program to fight climate change. Climate change is one of the most significant threats that challenge our earth today.

Even though there is overwhelming scientific proof that human use of oil and coal for energy is the main source of climate change leading to a rise in sea levels, droughts and more frequent violent storms, the Trump administration continues to doubt the research. Climate change is not a hoax, as this administration would like us to believe, and and discounting scientific research does not make it less real.

Besides affecting the wellbeing of our planet, there will be direct health implications as to clean air and water with the dismantling of the regulations. This administration’s chief motivator appears to be wealth, but all the money in the world will not create a new planet or restore health to its people.

What devastation are we leaving for future generations to deal with by not addressing this? Our time on earth is limited. Do we want to be remembered as wanton exploiters of our beautiful planet or conscientious stewards? We can not be complacent while this travesty occurs. Support groups that work for our environment and let your voices be heard in Washington.

Andrea Thurlow


Military can live with cuts

James Carafano’s March 29 BDN OpEd about former President Barack Obama leaving the U.S. military too weak misses its target badly.

First, why are other government agencies told to suck it up and accept their significant cuts, but defense is not? The Pentagon should live within its budget and shed unnecessary and unwanted weapons programs, such as the trillion dollar F-35 fighter boondoggle. When our defense spending exceeds that of the next seven largest militaries combined, and Carafano asserts we are “too weak,” we must be terribly inept at it.

Second, the costs of avoiding wars are less than the costs of preparing for and fighting them. Taking funds from the State Department is guaranteed to cost us more in the long run. Third, a major reason such a high percentage of units are not combat ready is because of the fatigue ensuing from our unnecessary, seemingly unending, elective war with Iraq that opened the Middle East to the turmoil it is experiencing. No Iraq war, no Islamic State.

The moral compass of Carafano’s Heritage Foundation is suspect regarding war. For example, it labeled as “just” the 2003 Iraq war, lauding how well American forces protected the oil producing infrastructure. The Lancet estimates more than 650,000 Iraqis died between 2003 and 2006. But we sure protected their oil production.

When will we ever learn. As Karl Jenkins expresses in his Mass for Peace, “Better is peace than always war.” Let us begin anew beating swords into plowshares.

Thomas White-Hassler


Trump wrong about clean energy

President Donald Trump and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt looked absolutely joyful this week as the president signed an executive order to destroy President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan, something that would have made more of an impact on reducing greenhouse gases than almost any other initiative.

Along with other executive orders, this president seems determined to ignore facts and exact revenge on the planet.

The coal industry has been declining for years, as natural gas production and automation have cost coal miners their jobs. Trump blames environmental regulations, but rejects the fact that solar energy jobs have grown 12 times more than jobs in the economy overall, and solar employs 77 percent more workers than coal mining. Likewise, wind energy jobs have increased 32 percent in 2016 alone.

Ironically, big polluter China now stands poised to replace the U.S. in its commitments to address climate change. Major developed nations that have signed onto the Paris climate agreement now condemn Trump’s actions, which they fear will reduce countries’ commitments to meet greenhouse gas reductions.

This president is dead wrong when he says jobs are at stake. While he eagerly pushes to destroy any policies that might safeguard our health and sustainability, we must pay attention and hold him accountable.

Beverly Roxby


Trump can’t run country like a business

Isn’t it just about time that someone with some real guts stepped forward and reminded President Donald Trump that trying to run this country like a family business simply will not work?

His family may have grown up surrounded by wealth, but I question whether that alone qualifies them to be in key positions to advise how this country should do business.

Further, where ethics are concerned, he stomps all over the Constitution and no one seems willing to step up and stop him.

Russ Irwin



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