Russia a threat to our democracy
It is quite a spectacle to have a former FBI director testify under oath that the president of the United States is a liar. But with Donald Trump in the White House, I find my tolerance meter beat down by the adolescent antics of the man and his cohort of apologists covering his every misstep.
The larger concern is the attack on the greatest democracy in the world by a shameless dictator.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has ruined the economy of his country, enriched himself and his inner circle, killed his opponents and critics at will and invaded a sovereign nation to annex territory. Russia has directed a campaign against the American electoral system, favoring one candidate while attempting to smear the other. It is clear America is under an attack that rivals any war we have fought. It is time to declare war on those who attack us. I’m not advocating a conventional war with Russia; I’m calling for Americans to unite as we have from the American Revolution through 9/11.
The overwhelming message that came through the Senate hearing last Thursday was the repeated warning from the former FBI director and more than one senator that America’s system of choosing its leaders is under an aggressive attack that will only increase in the future. I ask again, where is the outrage?
My final note is the somber inquiry to the current administration. Why have we heard no concern from Trump on this threat, yet have witnessed heightened favorable treatment and government access to Russian representatives?
The real health care debate
After listening to the recent debate about the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, and the Republican replacement, the American Health Care Act, one fact has become perfectly clear: House Speaker Paul Ryan and his supporters talk about access, but they mean if you have enough money you are free to buy all the insurance you want.
They talk about lowering premiums and increasing consumer choice, but that is code for allowing insurance companies to sell policies that don’t cover anything and our most vulnerable citizens are free to choose that option.
The real goal for Republicans is clear. They want to give another big tax break to the wealthiest. Ryan chooses to ignore that the law would leave 23 million people without health coverage, but he brags that the Congressional Budget Office projects the American Health Care Act will result in a $119 billion reduction in the deficit over 10 years. Ryan also fails to mention it will result in a $900 billion tax break for the rich over that same period.
We need to have an honest debate on the real issues. Do we oppose aiding those who need help on the grounds that it is something they don’t deserve? Do we feel the richest country on Earth can’t afford health coverage for all? Or do we favor health insurance and access to care for all, no matter their status or income, feeling the health and happiness of all citizens is a right?
Support solar growth
Despite the recent action of the president withdrawing from the Paris climate accord, cities and states across the country understand the need to continue reducing carbon emissions to protect our shared planet. One critical step toward this goal in Maine is passing effective solar energy policy during the current legislative session. Expanding the growth of solar power encourages job growth, energy independence, lower energy costs for everyone and reduced carbon emissions in our state.
Even though we have abundant sunshine, Maine has the lowest amount of solar installed and the fewest solar jobs in New England. That needs to change. Democratic Rep. Seth Berry of Bowdoinham and Republican Sen. Tom Saviello of Wilton have introduced legislation — LD 1444 and LD 1504 — that would create an estimated 750 or more good jobs for Maine and allow common-sense expansion of solar power in Maine.
Berry’s bill would protect net-metering so that the Maine Public Utilities Commission, whose members are appointed by Gov. Paul LePage, cannot dismantle it; re-establish the Solar Rebate Fund to make solar affordable to all; remove the size-limitation to community solar farms, making solar more affordable; and other critical issues to bring Maine in line with neighboring New England states.
The Knox County Democrats urge you to contact your legislators, Democrat or Republican, and ask them to support these solar friendly bills.
Sally A. Merchant
Nancy D. Davis
Knox County Democrats