Not common criminal
I was very pleased to read Sen. Susan Collins’ column in the Bangor Daily News earlier this month explaining why the Obama administration shouldn’t be treating the Christmas Day bomber as a common criminal. He is a foreign terrorist and should be treated as such and been interrogated thoroughly about possible future terrorist attacks.
Sen. Collins said he was questioned for less than one hour and then provided with a lawyer who told him to remain silent. At that point, we not longer were able to gain important information. I think this is a critical mistake, and I am glad that Sen. Collins is raising this point. I wish the administration had taken this more seriously from the very beginning.
Sales tax ups, downs
I believe we could give Maine taxpayers a break by reducing the sales tax to 4 percent for the months of November to May; and increase the sales tax to 7 percent for the months of May to November.
There are many advantages: The hardest times of year for Maine residents are the late fall and winter, higher energy cost, more clothing required, more food consumed, and higher unemployment.
The 7 percent through the tourist season should bring in more revenue. Many states have higher sales tax rates than Maine. The last I knew, some parts of New York state are at 8 percent.
A sales tax at 4 percent should improve car sales for dealers during those winter months.
Maine’s wind rush
The development of wind power in Maine is a little like the California gold rush of 1848, only instead of staking a claim to mine gold, wind developers are staking claim to Maine’s mountains and ridgetops.
These projects are being developed in a helter-skelter fashion across the state, many of which are far away from the needed infrastructure that is needed to get the energy into the grid. Miles of new roads and transmission lines are being built to provide this connection and to access the tops of mountains.
Wind development is encouraged by the Legislature and has an expedited permitting process that benefits the wind industry at the expense of the environment and the people who live near these developments. The rush to jump on the green train is putting the state in the position of having random wind development throughout Maine that will eventually leave the state with 300 miles of mountaintops of linear strip development.
Maine needs to develop unbiased criteria to determine what places in the state are priority areas for wind development. The criteria should include: favorable wind characteristics, proximity to roads and transmission lines, proximity to existing development, realistic distances from significant resources and people, noise and visual impact and other criteria.
The top priority area is where wind development should be directed and permitted.
Carrying Place Township
Senators are right
I applaud Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins for recognizing a bad plan for health care reform when they see it. I appreciate their stalwart refusal to let a health care bill pass that would hurt our state and national economies, harm Maine’s small businesses and spell trouble for Mainers and all Americans.
Smart health care reform must not include provisions that would cause a downturn in our nation’s economy or set back the small businesses that power it, such as mandating employers provide health insurance and penalizing small businesses that don’t provide government-approved health insurance.
Instead, smart health care reform must allow private insurers to compete across state lines, without mandates about what services must be covered. Furthermore, smart reforms must yield medical bills people can decipher so treatment costs are transparent and include tort reform to eliminate the costly practice of defensive medicine.
Sens. Snowe and Collins need to continue to fight for smart health care reform. The health of Maine’s small businesses depends on it.
On walking distance
As a Belfast resident, I am delighted to learn that a civic center is being contemplated to accommodate conferences, banquets and performances.
At my age I am not fond of traveling, although I do so every chance I get to take part in worthwhile events. If these events could be held in downtown Belfast within walking distance of my house, I say hallelujah.
Stop funding wars
There are many reasons to oppose the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, one of the most obvious being the diversion of resources from the needs that are so apparent here at home. But the most compelling argument may be that the wars, rather than being in the interest of national security, only put us at greater risk.
The Defense Science Board Task Force commissioned by Donald Rumsfeld in 2004, in reviewing the impact of our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan on terrorism and Islamic radicalism, concluded that the underlying sources of threats to America’s national security and what most exacerbates anti-American sentiment, and therefore the threat of terrorism is American intervention in the Muslim world, and “the American occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan.”
The House of Representatives has the authority to stop funding the wars. According to polls, it is a fact that the majority of the people oppose these wars. It also is a fact that nearly 5,000 of our troops have been killed and tens of thousands severely wounded. And it is a fact that hundreds of thousands of Afghan and Iraq civilians have been killed and wounded.
If we believe the wars are contrary to our national security, that many innocent lives are being sacrificed by these occupations, that our wounded soldiers should be healed and our active troops used more wisely, and that our tax dollars are needed at home, shouldn’t our elected representatives hear us?
Veterans for Peace