I am a Democrat and a liberal who voted for Libby Mitchell in this year’s primary election. I was angered to read Richard Connor’s glib dismissal of me as wanting “someone who will fix their problems at all costs,” want their problems and those of their neighbors to go away, and wanting “government salve for their wounds.” (“As nation goes, so goes Maine,” Telegram, June 13).

I have never had any illusion that my problems are anything but my own and expect no one to solve them for me. My social circle is filled with people with similar political views; none of these individuals is sitting around waiting for government to solve his problems.

However, we also recognize that there are problems in American society that require government intervention. We’ve watched the mortgage crisis and the unregulated financial sector virtually destroy the American economy. We’re watching BP’s complete lack of preparedness or competence causing one of the worst ecological catastrophes of our lifetime.

After years of listening to conservative arguments against government regulation of business, we are watching the toll of stripping away of regulation. We see millions of victims of these companies having their lives destroyed.

Is Mr. Connor’s argument that the government has no role in correcting these atrocities? If the difference between Democrats and Republicans is recognizing the place for government to protect the individual from these corporations, I am proud to be a Democrat.

Mr. Connor’s regaling of Paul LePage’s values ignores such positions as his desire to have creationism taught in the schools. Apparently, while the government should stay out of economic life, it does have a role in promoting particular religious beliefs in the classroom.

At least Mr. Connor is giving us fair warning of the kind of coverage of the upcoming election we can expect.

Reid Scher

Let’s show greedy banks by using paper checks 

Want to get back at the banks for debit card usage fees? Send them a wake-up call? Simple.

Everyone just start ordering those “free” checks and start using them again. The cost of handling paper checks has got to be way over any electronic processing.

Then sit back and wait for the banks to cry “Uncle!”

Ray Ronan

Politicians get a lesson in history of taxation 

On Tuesday, June 8, Question 1 went down to a 61-39 percent defeat. Our legislators and governor should be asking themselves why.

The power to tax is the power to destroy, something I fear the people we sent to Augusta to represent us have forgotten. One of the great principles of Anglo-American constitutionalism is that “there be no taxation without adequate representation.”

In 1215, barons in England forced King John to sign the Magna Carta, bringing an end to arbitrary government. In 1776, American barons rebelled against the king’s attempt to collect money by signing the Declaration of Independence. In 2010 Maine citizens resisted long-established authority, insisting, like those loyal subjects before them, that as in any governmental process, the consent of the governed is vital to the extracting process.

We The People will have another chance to right the ship of state when we go to the polls in November.

John J. McGinnis

Advice, criticism, praise for members of Congress  

In a shocking display of politics first, science, health, and survival of our planet second, both of Maine’s U.S. senators voted with all other Republicans to overturn the EPA’s endangerment finding on carbon dioxide. Fortunately, the effort to overturn the finding failed (47 to 53).

Had the measure succeeded and passed the House without a veto, the EPA would have been left powerless to regulate carbon dioxide, and for all practical purposes, federal efforts to curb climate change would have been brought to a screeching halt.

Without the stick that the EPA’s regulation of carbon dioxide brings to the table, Congress would put all work on climate change on the “politically too difficult” shelf.

The endangerment finding that Snowe and Collins voted to overturn reads: “The Administrator finds that the current and projected concentrations of the six key well-mixed greenhouse gases — carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) — in the atmosphere threaten the public health and welfare of current and future generations.”

Do our senators really doubt the substance of this scientific finding? Unlikely.

Their public expressions of concern about climate change suggest that they agree with it. The problem is their political party. Over and over again, on tough votes where the Republican caucus wants a party line vote — health care, for example — our senators vote their party and not their consciences.

When is Maine going to wake up and replace these two with representatives who will vote as the majority of its citizens wish?

Roger Lee

I have to set the record straight.

Unlike a claim in a recent letter, Sen. Susan Collins is leading the debate over clean energy legislation. In fact, she is the only Republican senator to sponsor legislation that would reduce global warming pollution, spur job growth in clean energy technology and return money directly to consumers.

Her legislation is called the CLEAR Act and it would help reduce America’s dangerous dependence on foreign oil, promote alternative energy and energy conservation, and advance the goal of energy independence for our nation. Her legislation also helps protect consumers.

This is why the CEO of Clean Air-Cool Planet in Portsmouth, N.H., recently wrote in this newspaper that Sen. Collins “is showing strong leadership in the U.S. Senate. Leading by not following political lines, bucking the tide of special interests and doing what’s right for her constituents.”

Kevin Kelley
Staff, Sen. Susan Collins
Washington, D.C.

My surprise was considerable upon hearing Rep. Chellie Pingree taking credit for the $11.9 million earmark in a joint statement where she and Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, D-N.H., announced that they secured funding for the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard as part of the Defense Authorization Bill.

The Defense Authorization bill authorizes resources to our troops and our nation, boosting Maine’s economy by recognizing the valuable contributions made by our state to national security and defense, but it is not an assurance.

Regrettably, enthusiasm, however well-intentioned, does not produce funding. In reality, the 2011 authorizations bill (H.R. 5136) is anything but a firm guarantee; it merely signals the intention of the federal government to appropriate the money in question. Congress must pass an appropriations bill that will actually approve and allocate the funds.

Once Congress passes an appropriations bill with the $11.9 million provision, I eagerly anticipate an accurate update from Pingree reflecting the status of the funding.

Chris MacDonald

Television station needs more news, less weather 

My complaint against Maine TV station WGME has nothing to do with its current labor problems. It is with the very poor programming priorities on WGME’s nightly newscasts.

Primarily, I cannot understand the overkill with weather forecasts on the 5-6:30 p.m. newscast. On one recent evening, I counted nine times that a forecast was made. I realize that weather information is critical in Maine, especially in winter, but couldn’t some of the time devoted to these forecasts be used to report on other news in our state?

Joe Brown