Gov. LePage’s weekly address of July 7 was disturbing on many levels, not the least of which is that it began with a statement that showed an utter deficit of knowledge of United States history.

He states, “For 236 years our constitution has tried to uphold our Founding Fathers’ intent — to protect Americans’ rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. But what our Founding Fathers, I’m sure, did not have in mind is for our rights to be stripped away by our federal government.”

A quick fact check confirms that 236 years ago was 1776, and that the document containing the phrase “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” was the Declaration of Independence.

The Constitution was adopted in 1787, ratified in 1789 and states: “The Congress shall have Power to lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence (note 1) and general Welfare of the United States …”

I don’t believe it is wise for the governor to say that he is “sure” of what the Founding Fathers did or did not have in mind. Gov. LePage’s repeated reckless, erroneous statements make him an embarrassment to our state.

It saddens me to see a man so lacking in leadership, credibility and inspirational skills in a position of authority that allows him to put forth his misinformed diatribes as fact.

Kathy Cabana

South Portland

I would like to remind Gov. Paul LePage that being “taxed” or “penalized” for something that an individual does not have or chooses not to have is neither new nor novel. For as long as I can remember, one basically pays a “tax” or a “penalty” on his/her income tax return if one does not have children and/or is not married.

Furthermore, Gov. LePage’s choice of analogy is more than insulting to those who may have suffered at the hands of the real Gestapo.

Gerald Berlin

Mount Desert 

Gov. LePage hit a new low in his offensive rhetoric when he compared the IRS to the Gestapo in his radio address this past Saturday.

Surely there must be some provision in Maine’s constitution that would allow us to remove him from office for ignorance and arrogance. And if there isn’t, now’s the time to draft one.

Jill Keefe

Peaks Island

Readers continue to debate Affordable Care Act ruling

Smart people do some of the dumbest things.

In Justice John Roberts’ ill-justified defense of the federal takeover of the American medical system, he defines the penalty for not buying health insurance as a tax; thus, it does not violate the U.S. Constitution.

In one respect, this was “legislating from the bench.” That portion of Congress passing the Affordable Care Act specified that it is a penalty, not a tax. Roberts effectively amended the act, substituting “tax” for “penalty.” So the law doesn’t mean what it says or intended anymore. Interesting.

Now, I agree the penalty is a tax in the sense that any involuntary payment to any level of government is a tax, regardless of what it’s called. Specified taxes include income, excise, Social Security and Medicare taxes; gasoline, airport, property and sales taxes; as well as “user fees,” municipal parking fees, entrance fees to public facilities, etc., etc., ad infinitum.

But what these have in common is that they are levied on tangible income, goods or services.

The dumb part of the Supreme Court decision is that this tax is levied against those who do nothing at all — in this case, those not buying health insurance.

So what’s next? You don’t drink or smoke? That adversely affects those businesses and reduces alcohol and tobacco tax receipts. Solution — tax abstainers for their inactivity.

You don’t fly? That reduces airport fees and tax receipts. Solution — tax those who don’t fly for their inactivity. You don’t like green beans? You adversely affect tax receipts from farmers. Solution — tax those not buying green beans. These examples sound silly, but you get the idea.

Now, Justice Roberts is no one’s idea of a fool. He must have known how dumb this decision is even while making it.

Paul S. Bachorik

Falmouth

I have what I think should be an easy question. Could one of the people complaining that Obamacare will “put the government between them and their doctor” explain to me how that is worse than having an insurance company between them and their doctor?

The insurance company employees making decisions on what services to approve have a profit incentive for denying services. I doubt a government employee will have the same incentive.

As someone who has had to buy expensive individual coverage for many years, I wish I had had Obamacare in the past and the chance it would have given me to get reasonable coverage at a reasonable price, rather than a minimal policy with a $15,000 deductible.

Wake up, Mainers, most of you are only one unfortunate life event from being in big trouble with the current health care system.

Bill Dunn

Yarmouth

On the front page of the June 29 edition, John Richardson, in an article about the response to the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act, quotes Gov. LePage: “This decision erodes the freedoms which made the United States the greatest country on Earth.” Is that patriotic? It sounds patriotic. Is it true? No.

Freedom is a relative value. I remember FDR’s four freedoms. They included “freedom from want” and “freedom from fear.”

A citizen is not free when he (or she) is burdened by fear over health. He is not free when his life may be in jeopardy because he can’t afford to pay for critical medical care.

He is not free when he can’t even buy insurance because of a pre-existing condition. He is not free when he has to watch a loved one’s health erode because he can’t afford the exorbitant cost of family health insurance.

The truth is that, as imperfect as it is, the Affordable Care Act creates freedom where it was previously denied. It is sad when those who are supposed to lead us are totally out of touch with what real freedom is all about.

Stan Cohen

Bridgton