August 3 Letters to the Editor

Posted Aug. 02, 2010, at 5:33 p.m.

Headline black humor

The July 28 BDN had headlines that might in their stark contrast be mistaken for black humor.

First, the OpEd piece by Neel Kashkari, formerly an assistant treasury secretary during George W. Bush’s presidency, noted for turning a fiscal surplus into the largest deficit in U.S. history: “About entitlements, no more ‘me first.’”

The gist of Kashkari’s piece was if we don’t stop giving money away through entitlement programs (Social Security and Medicare), we might have to rescue “people” like Goldman Sachs and AIG with another trillion-dollar bailout, a bailout that provided workers at Goldman Sachs last year an average salary of $544,000.

This sort of bailout, Mr. Kashkari is afraid, might be necessary again if the government doesn’t stop those “me first” entitlement programs, that is Social Security and Medicare, paid for, incidentally, through payroll taxes levied mostly against people with small incomes. The average worker at Goldman Sachs will pay his entire tax by the first of March; the worker at average wage will pay this tax the entire year.

The contrasting headlines to Mr. Kashkari’s OpEd in today’s BDN: “US can’t find $8.7B in Iraqi funds” and “Congress OKs $33 billion for Afghanistan troop surge.” This last bill, incidentally, passed only after being stripped of provisions for aid to state governments, which explains these last two headlines: “US cities, coun-ties poised to cut nearly 500,000 jobs” and “State budget gap expected to exceed $1 billion.”

As F. Scott Fitzgerald pointed out: “The rich are different.”

Anne Parkman

Belfast

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Press 1 for French

This is concerning the immigration law article in the July 29 BDN. I am a Canadian who moved here with my parents in 1965. My parents had to go through all the legal channels to move here, and it took time and money. They had to learn the language because there was no “Press 1 for French.”

Why can’t the Mexican population do the same? I don’t see anything wrong with the law that Arizona is trying to pass. Put yourself in its shoes — they are losing their state. The USA is losing our country.

I am now an American citizen and have been for many years. It is killing me to see how well we take care of immigrants but can’t take care of our own people. So many don’t have health insurance (including my family), but if you are an illegal immigrant you get all that for nothing.

When will the people wake up and do something about this? We are becoming a minority. Our government is blind to all this and wants to protect the people’s rights. Well, come in legally and you will have those rights just as I do.

Nicole Dube

Jackman

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Problem, not victim

How could the BDN, with a straight face, possibly highlight the O’Sheas as the poster children of the hardship wrought by the St. George revaluation (“Assessment shock,” July 23)? They are not victims of the problem, they are the problem.

Let’s recap — they move from Colorado, plunk down a cool million for an oceanfront B&B, and complain about — what — a 1.06 percent annual tax bill hike on their “investment” (0.26 percent under the old assessment). Quite a good deal no matter how you slice it.

I am not downplaying the terrible effects that re-evaluations can have on communities — to people on fixed incomes, to fishermen with a dock, to long-term local residents. But let’s look at the real cause of this problem. It is people from away searching for “the way life should be,” with a pocket full of loot ransacked from the bubble economy, willing to pay whatever some real estate agent thinks isn’t too laughable, that is inflating prices into the stratosphere and hurting the rest of us.

It is the O’Sheas who have created a hardship for their neighbors, not the St. George assessor or Parker Appraisal.

Ron Hidu

Hampden

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Ground zero mosque

Opposition to the ground zero mosque is not opposition to Islam and Muslims. In fact, the site where the mosque would be built is now used as a prayer space by Muslims, members of Al-Farah mosque; no one is protesting that use, no one is denying them the freedom to exercise their religion. But the BDN’s July 26 editorial didn’t mention that fact.

The original name of the ground zero mosque and community-cultural center was Cordoba House. Cordoba was the capital of the Muslim caliphate in Spain, the only caliphate outside the Middle East, and a powerful symbol for Muslims.

Historically, Muslims built mosques over the holy places of conquered people — in Cordoba, Jerusalem and Constantinople, for a few examples. Ground zero is sacred ground for Americans; a mosque built near there, on the site where one plane’s landing-gear assembly fell, would be a symbol of Islamic victory.

As a former Muslim, Wafa Sultan, writes: “The building of a mosque especially at Ground Zero is viewed by Muslims as a decisive victory over the infidels in Islam’s march to establish its ultimate goal: the submission of all others to Islam and to Sharia Law.”

Another former Muslim and Hamas member, Mosab Hassan Yousef, states that this site was chosen for the mosque because “it will make a powerful political and religious statement.” An American Muslim, Zuhdi Jasser, writes, “Ground Zero is purely about being American. It can never be about being Muslim.”

Amen to that. Let the mosque be built elsewhere.

Sue Berryhill

Garland

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A modest proposal

I read today — and I read almost every day — about the illegal alien problem in the Southwest.

I am an old man, and so of course I am confused. As I understand the situation, illegal aliens come north in search of jobs. So, the question is, how to stop the flow north.

The solution this simple: eliminate the jobs. How to do that? Equally simple: Levy fines on companies of $1 million a day for every illegal alien on their payroll. Surely, companies would instantly stop hiring illegal aliens, the jobs would immediately disappear and illegal aliens would immediately stop coming north.

Why don’t we try that? Could it be that, despite all the whining, American companies actually like having the labor pool provided by illegal aliens, and our senators and representatives in Washington, who work for American companies, know that?

Francis Sinclaire

Bangor

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