Being an institutional energy broker, I know something about the way markets work. Consumers are being taken at the pump.

Being a motorist and daily commuter, I also know something about gasoline prices. This isn’t a new development – indeed, it happens all the time – but when I pay over $4 a gallon for premium at the pump, it not only hurts my wallet, it offends my senses.

That’s for the simple reason that I know for a fact that the commodity price of oil, along with other energy prices, has just experienced a precipitous drop. So why am I still paying $4 a gallon? Good question. Not a good answer. Oil dealers will say they are simply passing along to consumers the (previously) rising costs to purchase their gas, but I question whether they’re still selling their higher-priced gasoline.

I doubt it. Even if I give them the benefit of the doubt, there’s this: If the cash market rises precipitously, oil dealers will instantly raise their retail prices – even if they’ve purchased their product at a lower, and sometimes much lower, price – under the reprehensible practice, believing that consumers hear and read that gasoline prices may have risen sharply (on any given day, week, etc.). Why not pass that on to consumers immediately, even before the dealers have purchased that higher-priced gasoline?

No one thinks it’s wrong for a business to make money, least of all me. But this is clearly a case of taking advantage of the situation to overcharge consumers, who are being held hostage.

I once brought this issue up to the previous governor and met with deaf ears. Collusion is not an easy practice to prove, but consumers should know we’re all getting the short end of the stick (not that they don’t know that already).

Jay M. Levine

Enerjay, LLC, Portland

 

Gov. LePage, supporters taken to task over issues

 

I, like many, have been enjoying the ideologues’ views printed in your editorial page. Some of the letters and even some of the editorials and columns written by staff have a political slant that is disturbing at best.

Since the election of Gov. LePage, conservative supporters of his ideas are singing with the choir of Republican “trickle down” economics, while more liberal citizens believe that a social safety net is a proud part of Maine’s heritage.

Unfortunately, for pragmatic individuals like myself, the facts of what is occurring with our economy don’t seem to find their way within solutions from either of these political party platforms.

Look closely at what the American corporate structure has done to the country of its origin, and quickly one can sense the act of treason that has prevailed. Look closely at the ideology of “I’m right and your wrong” that our two-party system has worked by for decades, and the problem becomes evident.

I recently had an “on the air” conversation with Fox News-type conservatives who tout that the private sector can solve all problems great and small; for the great American superiority/exceptionalism mantra, fine. Yet when asked about what large, nationally important projects which they believe should, would or have happened in America, funded solely by corporate America, I was criticized for my big-government stances, but got no answer to my question.

However, these men are the political and historical experts in the media, which many of you listen to daily. And they are LePage supporters all the way.

Funny thing, the very same week, these wanna-be Americans started playing tapes of speeches from JFK and other Democratic presidents who pushed for progress. Well, where are the jobs, governor? China, you say? Sorry, I’m not relocating there, I heard it’s crowded.

Peter Hamilton

Gray

 

There’s that face again in the news – that symbol of all that’s backward in the state of Maine.

Gov. Paul LePage, looking ever more like a snarly bulldog, prances around his executive office with his redneck mind hanging out like a goiter.

His handling of Commissioner Norman Olsen’s resignation – or what appears to be his forced resignation – is an astounding example of his lack of finesse or political sophistication.

He shrugs those thick shoulders, shakes his jowly face at criticism, hiding behind the guise of a plainspeaking, people’s governor. He won by a minority, a minority of Mainers from the other side of the coin who fell for his message that is only lined with false hopes.

The swells of the middle- and upper-class camps knew better, those “brainy” types, as he might say, who tend to live in coastal communities from York to Hancock counties, flaunting their college degrees and white collars in his face.

And then he is quoted as saying he doesn’t like Portland. Of course, Because the city didn’t vote for him. So he turns his back on the economic engine of the state, on Maine’s largest, most economically prolific metropolis, in favor of creating jobs and lower taxes through the forest thickly. For whom, exactly?

For such a naturally beautiful state, it’s a crying shame that we have a bumpkin in the power box – and not just some ordinary nabob, but a vindictive political hack looking for opportunities for self-aggrandizement rather than constructive ways to lead a state that has so much potential.

John Golden

Portland

 

Suppose God took the time to listen to Gov. LePage’s prayers “for guidance.” Do you suppose the answers he got were “blessed are the rich, for they shall inherit everything.” Or “only the guilty should throw stones.”

Christ spoke for the underdog. “What you do to the least of my people you do unto me.” He preached forgiveness, not vengeance. He turned over the money-lenders’ tables and chased the bankers out of the temple. He cared for the sick, the elderly, the lame. What makes tea partiers think he would have been a tea partier?

If he lived today in Wisconsin, he would be one of those who are recalling from the state Legislature the enemies of the working class. And as for his like-minded friend Gov. Rick Perry in Texas and his prayer meeting, consider the following scripture: “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray in public places to be seen by others. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray.” (Matt. 6:5-6)

John Chandler

Thomaston

I wholeheartedly supported Gov. Paul LePage’s call for a day of prayer on Aug. 6.

My most fervent prayer on that day was for Gov. LePage to leave office as soon as possible and take the governor of Texas with him!

Doug Cullum

Cape Neddick