Hang on to your seats, Mainers, and batten down the hatches! We are facing a Force-5 sludge storm, inflicted on us for the sole purpose of smearing Angus King, a Maine public servant whose qualities place him in a class with Bill Cohen, George Mitchell, Ed Muskie and Margaret Chase Smith.

This sludge storm of lies and distortions is brought to us courtesy of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, those Washington-based lobbyists and champions of the common folks – well, maybe not. But the Chamber is actually fronting for a cowardly clique of super-rich who will pay to generate all the garbage that their millions can buy, all without telling us who they are.

If these cowards were not afraid to disclose their names, then we could really figure out exactly what axes they have to grind, and why they fear Angus King to the point that they will pay huge sums to publicize their lies and distortions.

I, for one, will give zero credence to anonymous allegations. America has always been fair in requiring everyone to face his accusers. The cowardice of anonymity has no place in our political process.

Dan Harris

Brunswick

Mitt Romney, in an effort at appearing plausibly presidential, this summer took himself off to meet with several world leaders, including in Israel.

While there he had high praise for Israel’s robust economy, which he attributed to their “culture” as contrasted with the Palestinians’ culture.

National culture can be a difficult thing to define, but is generally manifest in the policy choices made for the country.

Israel has provided for the health care needs of its citizens with a mandate that all purchase health insurance in order for there to be universal access, spreading costs among the broadest possible risk pool.

As a consequence, they have a healthier (and thus more productive) populace. Most significantly they spend 8 percent of their national economy on health care, compared to 18 percent in the United States.

The only way we can emulate their results is with a universal-access, single-payer, not-for-profit system, i.e., Medicare for all.

Can we all imagine what our society would look like if all citizens had the opportunity to address their health care needs, businesses could get rid of their involvement, and we had an extra 10 percent of the economy to devote to education, infrastructure improvement and debt reduction?

Romney understood these issues during his term as governor of Massachusetts, but since then has been running away from his record, being willing to say and do anything to curry favor with the extreme radical conservative elements of the Republican Party. 

Ann Morrill 

South Portland

The rich pay enough in taxes at the present time. In fact, they pay approximately 70 percent of the personal tax receipts received by the federal government.

A year ago, after the debt ceiling debate, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid uttered the disdainful remark, “people who have those yachts.”

In 1991, the U.S. Senate passed the “luxury tax.” It was the brainchild of our own George Mitchell and Sen. Ted Kennedy.

The tax levied was 10 percent on boats costing more than $100,000, furs costing more $10,000, automobiles costing more than $30,000 and planes costing more than $250,000.

The rich changed their spending habits and refused to pay the tax.

All boatbuilders and their employees and the support businesses remember the results of this debacle. Yacht retailers from Maine to Florida saw their sales decline 77 percent the following year.

The industry laid off 25,000 employees and the tax collected was $97 million less than projected, but the economic loss and the damage inflicted in New England took years to repair.  

The tax was finally scrapped.

We are in this seemingly never-ending recession again, the president wants to raise taxes on the wealthy and he calls Mitt Romney’s plan to grow the economy “Romneyhood.”

While it is true that rich folks can pay President Obama’s tax, they will alter their spending habits.

Investment will suffer, and Subchapter S corporations taxed at individual rates will be slammed. Companies carrying accounts receivable and inventory will pay higher taxes on phantom earnings and new investment will suffer, but employees will suffer more.

This will be the outcome of taxing the rich, so I’m voting for “Romneyhood” – otherwise known as “free-market capitalism” – so we can prosper once again. All of us.

Dudley Gray

Oquossoc

I love the stock market. But not for my Social Security.

As his running mate, Romney has chosen Paul Ryan, a very bright, intelligent man who has long stated that he wants to privatize Social Security and invest it in stocks and bonds.

In fact, many of us screamed and yelled back in 2005 under Bush when he suggested privatization and happily, it didn’t go forward. If it had, statistics suggest our savings would have been seriously diminished. Now Ryan brings it back with more clout and more force.

I still say, no thanks, I want to keep the “security” piece of my Social Security.

John Forsyth

Topsham

As a long-standing Republican, I am voting for Angus King. He worked to do many great things for Maine, and I am sick and tired of the way Washington is run.

One of the very few politicians that I truly believe in is leaving, and her name is Olympia Snowe. She helped me when I needed it the most, after I became paralyzed due to a fall. Ms. Snowe took time to personally contact me, and I am forever grateful.

Above all, she reached across the aisle and worked with both parties. I know that Gov. King will do the same. It is time for both parties to stop this high school drama and start working together.

Please vote for Angus King in November. I believe that an independent can make a huge difference in the way the name-calling, mud-slinging vitriol of Washington can do.

To all who read this, it is time to stop voting for just an “R” or a “D” next to some person’s name. Get to know who they are instead of just following the party line. Thank you for your time.

Jeremy Miller

West Baldwin

After following the Republican National Convention, perusing the GOP platform and listening to their candidates, one must sadly, and frighteningly, come to the conclusion that these are the rules of their game:

Wealth is only for the rich.

Compassion is a weakness.

Charity begins – and ends – at home.

Wars are never fought by children of the upper class.

Medical care is reserved only for those rich enough to afford it.

Government’s major function is to bow to the needs of the privileged.

The poor are always to blame for their own poverty.

The rich always make it totally on their own.

The principal purpose of the middle class is to provide wealth to the rich.

Immigration by their forebears was good for America; today’s immigrants are a stain on the nation and must be turned away.

Voting must be made as difficult as possible, especially for the poor, the elderly and minorities.

The GOP’s tax policy advocates taking from the struggling middle class and giving more to the rich. Turning the Old and New Testaments on their heads, they advocate a new golden rule: “Those who have the gold, rule.”

Norman Abelson

Moody

Like many Maine voters, I watched the Republican and the Democratic conventions either live or recorded, as some of the speakers reminded me of how far past my bedtime it was.

In recent years, I’ve straddled the proverbial “aisle,” believing that good – and bad politicians populate both parties. These days I maintain – even cultivate – my political independence.

Why I like Angus King – personally, and politically. I would have loved to have worked on his campaign, but no matter. I believe he’ll win. And I predict he’ll serve Maine well in the U.S. Senate – effectively and graciously for many years to come. Angus has moxie.

Back to the convention comparisons. Except there were none.

First lady Michelle Obama’s speech was brilliant, stunning – flawless. Say what President Clinton’s detractors (inevitably) will – here’s a flawed guy who got up, came roaring back and delivers a killer speech.

He particularly noted “arithmetic” and that neither he – nor any of his predecessors – could have done any better cleaning up the damage Obama inherited. Clinton’s got moxie, too.

President Obama’s acceptance speech was highlighted, in my view, by his ability to admit to his shortcomings.

In spite of notable achievements with universal health care, the auto industry, tackling student loan sharking, the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” and the comfort we take in knowing that Osama bin Laden sleeps with the fishes, the president is secure enough to acknowledge his shortcomings.

To wit: “While I’m proud of what we’ve achieved together, I’m far more mindful of my own failings, knowing exactly what (President) Lincoln meant when he said, ‘I have been driven to my knees many times by the overwhelming conviction that I had no place else to go.’ “

Another flawed guy who’s got moxie. And certainly my vote.

Buddy Doyle

Gardiner

Angus King needs to be loved, and if the polls are to be believed, he appears to be loved by a majority of Maine people.

But as the song says, we may be “looking for love in all the wrong places.” For as Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey said in a recent speech, “See, I’m not looking to be loved. I get plenty of love at home – and when you’re looking of love in this job, that’s when deficits get run up.”

If Angus King needs love and adoration, he should get a dog. We need a senator from Maine to help undo what Barack Obama has done to us. We need a senator who’ll fight to restore the “American Dream” for our children and grandchildren.

We need a senator who’ll help create a GOP majority in the Senate so that Obamacare can be repealed. We need a senator who’ll do the right thing even if it means being “unloved.”

Charlie Summers is our only option, and maybe, America’s only option if one Senate vote makes the difference – and it probably will!

Porter D. Leighton

Falmouth