A letter on April 9 by Mary-Jane Ferrier called attention to the tremendous cost of our military. Here is confirmation.

On Tax Day these startling statistics became available: 33 cents of every dollar of our 2009 federal income tax went to fund the Pentagon, while only 1 cent of every dollar went to diplomacy, development and international cooperation.

Only 2 cents of every dollar went to fund science and environmental programs that help address issues like global warming.

On the anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, it was disclosed the cost for seven years of that war was $3 trillion dollars. Remember that a trillion is a thousand times a billion.

Estimates of the costs to taxpayers of the health care bill for seven years are difficult to untangle, but none I could find were over $30 billion. That’s 1 percent of the cost of the Iraq war.

There is no need for us to have a budget for the military more than the total of the next four countries, including China and Russia. We should urge Congress, particularly our Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins who voted for every penny of the $3 trillion, to get our priorities straightened out.

Charles Brown
Bath

Where are the priests willing to defy bishop? 

In aMaine Voices column on Friday (“It’s logical — and correct — to assume that priests have feelings, too”), the Rev. Joseph McKenna, a retired Catholic priest, expressed his disapproval of anyone who paints a broad brush about any group; i.e., all Catholic priests, all Republicans, all Democrats. In particular, he objected to a recent letter to the editor that ended with: “Keep your children away from Catholic priests.”

What McKenna failed to mention is that there is not one Catholic priest in Maine who stands in solidarity with those who were abused. Instead, these priests hide behind their vows of obedience to the bishop.

There is not one Catholic priest in Maine who stands out as a shining beacon of hope, love and compassion for those who were abused. There are no strong voices among the Catholic clergy on behalf of the “voiceless” victims of child abuse.

When these priests do speak about the sex abuse “crisis,” they use words to minimize and deflect the crimes committed against children (“a few bad apples, it’s a societal problem”).

One would think that a priest’s ministry would have prepared him for this very moment in time. Yet, there is not one Catholic priest in Maine who has used his pulpit to seek justice for the abused by demanding that Bishop Malone stop using hardball legal tactics, release all files and documents, and tell the entire truth about what happened in the past.

The gospel is all upside down in the Catholic Church.

Paul Kendrick
Freeport

Newly renovated library can’t replace Riverton

I have been an owner-resident of a home in Riverton for the past 25 years.

According to the pictures of the new library in Monument Square, it is really quite a showpiece. I doubt very much if I will ever actually get a chance to go inside.

I have enjoyed visiting the branch library in the Riverton School. It really is a shame that it is being closed. This branch is a very large asset to the area.

Harold Blaisdell
Portland

A lot of good Maine jobs depend on foreign owners 

I’m writing to respond to an April 14 letter by Laurence Kelly, who thinks it would be good to see Nestle “booted out of Maine entirely.” Maybe Mr. Kelly doesn’t understand that if Nestle left Maine, about 800 Mainers who work for Poland Spring, including me, would be out of a job.

I am proud to work for Poland Spring. My job helps me put food on the table for my kids and a roof over our heads. I earn a good living and get full heath care, paid sick time, a 401k, and many other benefits.

The Hollis bottling plant where I work is clean and safe. We operate under strict regulations from the state and federal government to protect the environment.

Poland Spring is also a good corporate citizen. Ask any town official in our host towns to verify our efforts. We work hard to become an integral part of every community we operate in and we donate bottled water to fire departments and community events. We care about Maine. We live here, too.

What does Mr. Kelly have against large companies? Hannaford is owned by a Belgian company. TD Bank is owned by a Canadian company. CMP is owned by a Spanish company. Would he like to see all of them leave Maine, too? What would happen to the thousands of Maine people working at these companies?

Mr. Kelly should think about the hard-working people who work at the companies he wants to boot out of Maine before he makes those statements.

Annette Phillips
Alfred

SEC’s dirty little secret helps explain the crisis

It is not hard to understand what caused the crisis on Wall Street when you find out that the highest paid, most senior members of the Securities and Exchange Commission spent their time watching pornography on the taxpayer’s dime!

Warren Swartz
Sanford

Code’s demands on teens just may save some lives 

Michael Waxman’s arguments against the Yarmouth honor code are the most lubricous, fatuous utterances I have ever read.

The most preposterous: “the code demands that a child commit never to experiment with alcohol, drugs or tobacco, will never get to tease or play practical jokes, never do anything to embarrass anyone.”

I wonder how “embarrassed” parents are when they are informed their child and several other teenagers have wrapped their car around a tree and all have died in an alcohol related crash.

How “embarrassed” is a parent who must identify a child who has overdosed on drugs. How “embarrassed” must parents be to find their child hanging in a closet because she couldn’t stand the unrelenting bullying any more?

I hope he relished his five minutes in the spotlight.

Oh, by the way, do you and your clients have a signed contract?

Marlee Hill
Cape Elizabeth