Obamacare changed my life

I’ve lived in Maine for 35 years. I’m a former social worker. The Affordable Care Act changed my life and the lives of so many I know.

In 2013, because of prohibitive costs, I didn’t have health insurance. I suffered a sudden and unexplainable retina detachment. My prognosis was almost total vision loss in one eye. Earlier this year, I was still paying off debt incurred from the surgeries. This crippling debt necessitated that I leave my home and move in with family. I could no longer drive or be employed. I suffered terrible anxiety and depression.

When the Affordable Care Act became an option, I qualified. The subsidy made this access a reality. With the Affordable Care Act, I had corrective surgery in October 2016, and I experienced a miraculous and unexpected restoration of my vision.

I’ve returned to an independent lifestyle — I work and drive again. I continue to value serving other Mainers above all else. I am simply devastated by what presently appears to be the thoughtless way impending change in availability and delivery of health care may take place. Rep. Bruce Poliquin has voted to repeal the law twice in the past six month and has done nothing to prevent the GOP’s sabotage of the Affordable Care Act. I’m one constituent whose life was changed because of the Affordable Care Act.

Maine sent Poliquin to Washington to act in our best interests and protect our welfare. Instead, I see Poliquin choose tax cuts for the rich rather than providing health care for people like me.

Karen Waldman


Poliquin’s votes hurt struggling Mainers

Rep. Bruce Poliquin voted twice to repeal the Affordable Care Act. First, he voted for the American Health Care Act, a bill that would have thrown thousands Mainers off their health insurance. He voted again to repeal the Affordable Care Act when he voted yes on the House budget resolution.

In September, Poliquin said he was “pleased to be joining a bipartisan group in both the House and the Senate to … work toward solutions for those who are facing steeper costs for renting their homes.” Well, when Poliquin voted for the House budget resolution, he voted to cut $300 billion in low-income services. He voted for cuts in rental assistance. Poliquin, when it counts, won’t vote to actually help those struggling with rent, but he will vote to “raise awareness” on the problem.

Poliquin represents rural Maine. So many he “represents” rely on Medicaid and Medicare. They need rental assistance and need Pell grants to pay for college and build a future. His vote on the budget resolution was again a vote for the wealthy and for corporate tax cuts while laying the foundation for further cuts to Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security.

When he’s “representing” people like me, he raises awareness on the “struggles” we face, and when his vote can make a difference, he gives tax cuts to the 1 percent, tax breaks to corporations and cuts to the programs that help the people he was elected to represent.

Michael Arruda


Russian subversion

The United States continues to be duped by the Russians carrying on the practice of dezinformatsiya, the Russian version of “fake news.”

In the early days of the Bolsheviks, later the Soviets and now Russians, the communist regime created a department within the secret police and foreign intelligence organizations, namely the Cheka, later NKVD and now GRU, to subvert the enemy — us and the rest of the world — with disinformation.

Throughout the earlier years, it was often an unsophisticated joke to us Soviet watchers who would laugh at their often failed attempts at manipulating the news affecting foreign governments, though the reader can google lots of successful fake news operations by Soviet and Russian intelligence in more recent years.

Since Sputnik and the age of technology, Russian operatives have brought dezinformatsiya to a whole new level with the sophistication of social media troll farms and their cyber warfare center of professional hackers in St. Petersburg that reached the cyber mailboxes of hundreds of millions of Americans.

What is most troubling is that the Trump presidential campaign and now administration, knowingly and naively, allowed itself to be subverted by hostile foreign intelligence in violation of U.S. law and operational security and continues to be duped as they work to block the Justice Department and congressional investigations into Russian meddling.

In my view, this is the greatest Russian intelligence coup threatening our national security and democratic institutions since the Soviets managed to steal the atomic bomb secrets in the 1940s.

Peter Duston

U.S. Army Russian linguist, retired