October 3, 2013

Letters to the editor: Online sellers caught between Amazon, state

Hundreds of small online entrepreneurs recently received a disturbing message from Amazon. In response to what the company calls “the unconstitutional Maine state tax collection legislation passed by the state legislature and signed by Governor LePage,” it is canceling all its advertising link contracts (“Amazon curtails program in Maine,” Sept. 28).

These contracts, known as the affiliate program, allows entrepreneurs to earn a small commission for sales made through links on their sites. This is a significant source of revenue for bloggers and online marketers.

Once again, we can thank our state government for making it more difficult for the small-time entrepreneur to do business. If itsr ntention was to collect more sales tax, it will soon find the results to be quite the opposite.

I blame Amazon as well. In making a political statement, it’s punishing the very people who support them the most.

While it is an aggravation, I will be taking down all my Amazon links. It seems that in other states where Amazon has canceled its affiliate program, many entrepreneurs are simply leaving their links intact. This means Amazon makes sales while paying no commissions.

Many of us have fought against this tax and other expanded sales tax measures in Maine for years. We have lost this battle, and it will not be reversed anytime soon.

Meanwhile, the small entrepreneur is caught between the state and a very large company – Amazon.

If Amazon is making a statement, so be it. It would have been a much more powerful statement to solicit the small entrepreneurs who promote Amazon links to rally against this legislation. The company would have found vocal, active support, and with Amazon as a partner, we could have made a difference.

Amazon made its decision, and the state did too. The entrepreneurs are left with the consequences.

Jim Bouchard


How we treat lobsters says a lot about us as humans

The reason many of us recoil at the sight of any living creature “twitching” when its legs are pulled off or its shell cracked open with a downward plunge on a metal spike has nothing to do with laws and regulations and everything to do with our moral environment (“Maine denies PETA claim of cruel lobster ‘kills,’ ” Sept. 18).

We (or most of us) don’t encourage our children to delight in pulling wings off a fly or the legs off a chameleon. Seeing an adult do it gives us instinctive pause.

Are flies sentient? Who knows? Who cares? What does sentience matter in the creatures for whom we have a moral stewardship that our society has acknowledged for generations?

What kind of society allows the prolonged physical destruction of any living creature? More important than what we do to the lobster, which is bad enough, is what treating any creature this way does to us.

Sylvia Kraemer


People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has lost touch with humanity. Where is its outrage for the poor and homeless all over the world who lack the basic needs of food, clothing, shelter and medicine?

Has PETA really turned its outrage to the “mistreatment” of lobsters? Can this be for real? The group’s priorities need to change and help those of us in real need.

Richard Davis


Pride keeping Democrats on board with Obamacare

There’s an old saying. The shorter version is “pride goeth before a fall.” This is what’s happening with the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

This is a law that was passed without much support overall. While well-intentioned, it is a mess.

The federal government has proven repeatedly that it cannot run anything efficiently. And this is a huge program.

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