Keep Trump, Russia in the news
President Donald Trump’s greatest achievement in the first 100 days of office is keeping his possible collusion with Russia out of the spotlight. Over a month ago, FBI Director James B. Comey told the House Intelligence Committee that the bureau was investigating possible cooperation between Trump’s team and Russia’s hacking. This is big news, but it has slipped away. The huge Michael Flynn story came and went, but hopefully is heating up again.
Trump has surrounded himself and filled his administration with people (including family) who have ties to and business dealings with Russia, and somehow this fact is not front and center every day.
Every day that Trump successfully hides his Russian connection and continues to blunder about making decisions that put us, our country, and our democracy in jeopardy, is a victorious day for him. I am asking the media to stay focused on this issue. Keep any investigative report about Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election and Trump’s involvement in Russia’s covert operation front page news. Don’t allow Trump’s attempts at distraction to work.
US and North Korea
Wayne LeVasseur, who wrote an April 27 letter suggesting that the US “walk away” from the Korean problem, is perhaps too young to remember the unprovoked US carpet bombing of North Korea when the United States dropped more bombs (635,000 tons) than in the entire Pacific during World War II, plus more than 30,000 tons of napalm.
I believe that the reason for North Korea’s massive arms build up now is so that the US will understand that any aggression on our part will be met with overwhelming force.
Volunteer effort on tipped wage
There are continuing claims that the grassroots effort by the Restaurant Workers of Maine to maintain the tip credit is being funded by outside.
The Restaurant Workers Of Maine are all volunteers. None of them get paid for their courageous effort. None are being pressured by an employer or political affiliates. Unlike the opposition, it is an amazing bipartisan effort by workers from both sides of the aisle. Actually some have no political affiliation. Some are independents.
On the other hand, the opposition are nonprofits and political interests. These organizations have paid employees and political clout, with private and corporate donations.
Time for single payer
I am in the coverage gap. I am one of the 70,000 Mainers who do not have health insurance because the state didn’t accept the federal funding to expand Medicaid.
If I lived in most other states in the country, I would have access to healthcare. Because Gov. Paul LePage and Senate President Mike Thibodeau refuse to accept federal healthcare funding to expand Medicaid, I have expensive medical debt, and I am always one accident away from bankruptcy.
I have chronic conditions, and I am likely to become disabled if I can’t start getting access to regular medical treatment. I don’t want to be disabled. I want to be healthy and in the workforce, but LePage is setting me up for failure.
And, President Donald Trump is doubling down on LePage’s policy by trying to block grant Medicaid and take healthcare away from the chronically ill, those struggling with addiction, and those who suffer sudden, unexpected health expenses.
It’s time for Maine and the United States to have a single-payer healthcare system, rather than taking us backward.
Mills doublespeak on EPA
Maine Attorney General Janet Mills’ recent announcement that Maine is joining several other states in suing the Environmental Protection Agency for failing to clamp down on Midwest coal plant emissions would be welcome news if her actions protected all Maine citizens. Mills has also sued the EPA for proposing water quality standards designed to protect members of the Penobscot Nation who would like to consume fish from Maine waters without negative health impacts.
So which way is it? Sorry, Mills can’t have it both ways.
As I drive home from work on I-95 each evening, I notice the plastic bags and bottles and other trash strewn alongside the freeway. Exiting the freeway and driving through town I notice more of the same.
We as Mainers are proud to say that we love our state and its beauty, but that’s not apparent. The natural wonders of this part of the world are such that our standards should be the highest of the high. After visits to other states though, I believe our littering habits are at the end of the pack.
This isn’t without consequence. Living in a landfill takes its toll on the human spirit, and it’s a turnoff to tourists (upon whom our economy relies) who arrive expecting something more.
Littering is one of the easier habits to break, and everybody wins.
Protect our air
Maine experienced two recent unhealthy air pollution days on April 10 and 11, days when children, older adults and people with heart or lung problems should not have been exercising outdoors. The two major air pollutants here in Maine are ozone and particulates.
When air-pollution days occur, all children, people 65 and older, and people with lung or heart problems should stay indoors. Any ozone or particulate reading of 50 ppm or greater is cause for concern.
Ozone pollution is created primarily by power plants and vehicle emissions and in Maine mostly comes from states west of us. The American Lung Association recognizes ozone as unhealthy to breathe at lower levels than previously thought. Strong evidence exists of the deadly impact of ozone in large studies conducted in cities across the US, in Europe and in Asia.
Researchers repeatedly found that the risk of premature death increased with higher levels of ozone. Studies show that inhaling ozone may affect the heart as well as the lungs. The Environmental Protection Agency says that ozone pollution causes respiratory harm, is likely to cause early death as well as heart attacks, strokes, and heart disease.
President Donald Trump’s undoing of the Clean Power Plan and other Obama-era environmental rules would allow polluting power plants slated for closing to stay in business. Write your US representative and senators asking them to protect our health by requiring closure of these outdated, unhealthy power plants.
Joan Seward Willey