Time for Congress to do its job on AUMF

As a Vietnam War veteran, I was deeply disappointed to see that both of Maine’s representatives and both of our senators voted in favor of the “must pass” defense authorization bill. Together, members of Congress continue to ignore their constitutional responsibility to authorize force and again failed to address the Authorization for Use of Military Force, the one passed back in 2001.

It is especially disappointing in light of the publication of the Afghanistan report detailing how ineffective the use of military force has been. But since Maine, like pretty much everywhere else, is a beneficiary of the biggest government welfare program in existence, the one that keeps hundreds of thousands of citizens employed building gear and supporting the military, it is to be expected — especially since such a small fraction of the U.S. population is put into harm’s way using that gear.

Members of Congress need to do their jobs.

Ben Fuller


Putting country over party

Sen. Margret Chase Smith’s response to McCarthyism: “The right thing is not always the popular and easy way. Standing up for what is right when it is unpopular is a true test of character.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s response to impeachment: He will work in “ total coordination” with the White House, and there’s “ no chance” President Donald Trump will be removed from office. I believe McConnell has already broken the Senate impeachment trial oath for “impartial justice” and should be recused.

Sen. Susan Collins in 2016: “The unpleasant reality that I have had to accept is that there will be no ‘new’ Donald Trump, just the same candidate who will slash and burn and trample anything and anyone he perceives as being in his way or an easy scapegoat.”

Many of us are asking Collins to demonstrate the same courage Smith did in 1950, and to stand up for a fair trial with new witnesses and documents that have been previously obstructed — including an exact transcript of the phone call, if it exists, between Trump and President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine.

There are people in Maine like me who are disgusted with the president’s incompetence, apparent corruption, false statements and vindictive attacks. We are asking Collins not to align herself with her party over country without looking deep into all the facts and her own principles. She should follow her conscience to a fair and just conclusion, whatever that may be.

Cheryl Clukey


What Trump Foundation failure says about the president

Amid many news stories in recent weeks including impeachment, one item received less attention than it should have: a report on the liquidation, under a court order, of the Trump Foundation. This episode should have loomed larger, as it exemplifies the corrupt character and behavior of the president.

The Trump Foundation was set up as a charitable, nonprofit organization to fund tax-exempt endeavors for the public good. Donald Trump put none of his own money into the foundation since 2008, but eagerly solicited contributions. Many donors no doubt assumed that such gifts would win Trump’s favor.

In the end, the Trump Foundation collapsed in scandal. Trump looted its funds as if it were a personal piggy bank. He spent other peoples’ dollars for campaign-related expenses, for business and legal costs, and for personal vanity indulgences such as autographed sports memorabilia and giant portraits of himself to display at his golf resorts. Trump was required to pay $2 million in restitution at the close of the foundation.

This sad and sordid episode is only one instance of Trump carrying out a major fraud. Trump University went down in disgrace with $25 million paid to settle pending lawsuits. During his real estate career, contractors and labor force say he shortchanged them on projects.

No town would hire such a man with a proven record of fraud to a position of responsibility, such as head of a school. Alas, he now exercises ultimate power as our president.

Jim Matlack