March 30, 2020
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Wednesday, February 19, 2020: A stronger bill to fight fraudulent material, reacting to the coronavirus, stop foreign influence in Maine ballot initiatives

A stronger bill to fight fraudulent material

We believe L.D. 1988, an “An Act To Prohibit the Distribution of Deceptive Images or Audio or Video Recordings with the Intent To Influence the Outcome of an Election,” is not sufficiently strict.

While websites must include a disclosure that the material is fraudulent, other forms of media do not. The following language would allow broadcasters to air fraudulent materials without liability — making them into the new Facebook: “A radio or television broadcasting station, including a cable or satellite television operator, programmer or producer, may broadcast materially deceptive audio or visual media if it is paid to do so.”

“Within 60 days of an election” needs to be stricken. Distributors would release at 61 days without liability. Distribution at any time should result in accountability.

And, yes, we agree with the Maine Heritage Policy Center, a carefully written law would produce lawsuits. Facebook, Google and Twitter, in addition to websites with malintent, should be held accountable for fraudulent materials.

People of this nation surrendered many rights with the ” Patriot Act.” While the precipitating attack was horrific, that loss of life needs to be compared with the threatened loss of election integrity and democracy. The Senate has effectively closed the FEC and refuses to take up H.R. 1. The president and the Supreme Court have invited manipulation of our elections at home and abroad. It is increasingly important that States step up.

Lea and John Eggebrecht

Bucksport

Hearing Christ’s teachings

I have been reading the Bangor Daily News for more than 16 years, but rarely have I found a piece as profoundly depressing as Mike Marshall’s OpEd on Christian support for Donald Trump.

I was recently reminded of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German theologian of Hitler’s time. His work, “The Cost of Discipleship,” sets a standard for those who call themselves “Christian.” Bonhoeffer’s opposition to Hitler ultimately cost him his life. Other Catholic and Protestant clergy stretched their faith to accommodate Hitler and to support his abhorrent anti-Semitism.

Marshall does likewise, extending his umbrella of Christianity to cover the actions of the president. This is a perversion of the faith. Donald Trump is an alleged serial adulterer. His documented falsehoods number in the tens of thousands. He has spoken personally about sexually abusing women. In his actions and in his book, “ The Art of the Deal,” he essentially extols the value of cheating and defrauding others for personal gain.

Trump’s immigration policy does not make our families safer. Studies show that immigrants are more law-abiding than native-born Americans. Trump wasted billions of dollars on an ineffective wall, and has forcibly separated children from their immigrant parents. Psychologists tell us that these separations can cause lasting (even permanent) damage to these children. Jesus would never support these actions.

I have followed Jesus all my life and lament that so many “Christians” have not heard his teachings. I pray for them.

Mike Lane

Rockland

Sen. Collins and the environment

I believe Sen. Susan Collins betrays our environment. The Ninth Circuit is the largest circuit court, covering nearly three-quarters of U.S. public lands, serving a crucial role in deciding some of our nation’s most important environmental protections.

When Susan Collins voted to confirm President Trump’s nomination of Ryan Nelson to be U.S. circuit court judge for the Ninth Circuit, she voted for someone who during his time in the Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division oversaw the legal defense of the Bush administration’s efforts to benefit polluters and r oll back critical environmental protections. This included helping the government argue against regulating carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in Massachusetts v. EPA.

Let’s end the era of the dinosaurs.

Susan Silverio

Lincolnville

Reacting to the coronavirus

China has been suffering through the new coronavirus, which is highly contagious and can cause death by pneumonia. By the end of Feb. 6, the number of people infected had climbed to 28,139, and the number of deaths had increased to 546. That number now exceeds the deaths caused by SARS in 2003 in China. The condition is still deteriorating with more infections each day.

The Chinese government has been dedicated to combating the outbreak. A hospital that can treat a thousand patients has been built within several days in Wuhan. The military has been deployed to confine movement out of Hubei province, and doctors all over China have poured into the disaster zone. Emergency supplies have also been sent with priority through the Chinese transportation system, supporting the infected cities.

The Chinese government is taking on its responsibility and carrying out actions with high efficiency. The excessive panic to the outbreak and hostility toward people of Chinese descent are not necessary. Discrimination and anger cannot solve the crisis, but only aggravate the situation. The Chinese have been fighting hard against the violent virus; as human beings, let’s support them instead of being indifferent.

Seventeen years ago, the Chinese fought SARS; today, they are fighting a similar virus. The Chinese will win this game, just as 17 years ago, they beat SARS.

Yixuan Xie

Bangor

Stop foreign influence in Maine ballot initiatives

In regard to the Jan. 29 article about Hydro-Quebec: The $35,000 fine that Hydro-Quebec paid for breaking campaign finance laws is a good example of why Mainers should be very wary about this foreign company’s involvement in the CMP corridor debate. It also raises serious questions about why foreign entities are not allowed to get involved in political campaigns for candidates but are allowed to do so for ballot initiatives.

Hydro-Quebec’s sole shareholder is the province of Quebec, and their creation of a PAC to try to convince Mainers to support the controversial CMP corridor project shouldn’t be allowed. I hope lawmakers will continue to scrutinize Hydro-Quebec’s involvement in the CMP corridor debate — and act quickly to close the loophole that allows foreign entities to get involved in ballot initiatives.

Foreign influence in our elections shouldn’t be tolerated at any level — whether it be for a candidate of any office or for a ballot initiative. Maine people can make choices on their own without influence from outside actors who don’t act in Maine’s best interests and are only trying to protect their profits.

Kimberly Lyman

Caratunk

 


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