May 24, 2013

Letters to the editor: Gov. LePage perceived truth about IRS

Less than one year age, Portland Press Herald nonpartisan journalists Steve Mistler and Bill Nemitz -- the latter a perennial nemesis of Gov. LePage -- excoriated the governor for the unpardonable sin of hyperbole: The governor compared the Internal Revenue Service to the Gestapo but later backed off, saying, "Maybe the IRS is not quite as bad, yet."

click image to enlarge

A reader wonders why journalists aren’t as angry about the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups as they were when Gov. LePage compared the IRS to the Gestapo.

2012 Kennebec Journal File Photo/Joe Phelan

And he added, "It was never my intent to insult or to be hurtful to anyone, but rather express what can happen to an overreaching government."

The outrage from Obama administration apologists and the liberal media -- they're the same -- was instant and furious. The Bangor Daily News lamented that the governor had "embarrassed Maine." Some critics said LePage was unfit for office.

It is now evident that in 2012 and earlier, the IRS was engaged in the illegal and unethical practice of targeting selected nonprofit advocacy groups for special scrutiny.

Which is worse: a politically insensitive remark by the governor that contained more that a grain of truth, or an "overreaching government" involved in criminal activity against its own citizens?

Where is the outrage?

But we can be confident that the Portland Press Herald will sort out all of this with its customary "objective and probing journalism," just as it has concerning the Benghazi fiasco.

Walter J. Eno

Scarborough

Show kindness to horses by opposing slaughter

At the end of the 19th century, Anna Sewell wrote "Black Beauty," not to entertain children but, in her words, "to induce kindness, sympathy, and an understanding treatment of horses," especially the horses pulling London taxicabs.

Unable to walk freely since the age of 14, Sewell was more aware than most people of how much humans depended on nonhuman animals to provide transportation, companionship and agricultural service. Partly because of her book, laws changed for horses and taxicab drivers alike.

Today is another watershed moment in equine-human relations. The Maine Legislature is considering L.D. 1286, a proposal to prevent the re-establishment of horse slaughter plants, which have been illegal since 2007, and to ban the transport through Maine of horses marked for slaughter.

Other papers have been printing compelling arguments why Mainers should support this bill, among them the fact that most U.S. horses sent to slaughterhouses are former racehorses pumped up with anti-anxiety and anti-inflammation medicine, toxic to humans.

Equally fundamental, perhaps, is the question of what kind of humans we want to be.

And here I defer to Sewell, whose simple philosophy altered the fate of humans and horses in ways that are still relevant for us.

"My doctrine is this," she wrote, "if we see cruelty or wrong that we have the power to stop, and we do nothing, we make ourselves sharers in the guilt."

Please -- let's not go backward. Write your local legislative representative, encouraging them to support L.D. 1286, "An Act to Protect Maine Communities by Prohibiting Horse Slaughter in Maine for Human Consumption and the Transport of Horses for Slaughter."

Lucinda Cole

Portland

Time to acknowledge chronic Lyme disease

May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month.

I was diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease several months ago after seven years of ongoing symptoms.

I was diagnosed as having "brain conversion disorder" in 2007. The ELISA test for Lyme disease was negative in 2006.

My symptoms include myoclonus (involuntary muscle twitches), joint pain, neck pain, facial tics and facial paralysis, difficulty with speech, light and noise sensitivity, electric shocks, blurry vision, weakness, fatigue, memory issues, non-epileptic seizures and flu-like symptoms. These symptoms have worsened over the past six months.

At the urging of others, I had a repeat Lyme test done (Western blot). By U.S. Centers for Disease Control standards, this test would be negative.

It should be noted that Lyme-literate physicians such as mine are fully aware of the CDC's guidelines, and the lab that does the testing (Igenex) does say that the physician cannot diagnose by the lab results alone. One has to look at the whole picture.

Oddly enough, I had the same test a couple of years ago, but by a different lab. The results were almost identical.

Now, the dilemma is that my Lyme is in the "chronic" phase. Insurance companies will not cover for chronic Lyme because the CDC does not recognize the disease as chronic.

Patients like myself, therefore, are forced to pay out of pocket for their medical treatments. Many go in debt. Many lose their jobs. Many die.

As for myself, I have not been able to work for several months due to my ongoing health issues. I have been able to work part time for a period of time, then relapses occur.

Due to our financial situation, I have written to Gov. LePage and Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King about this issue.

Lyme disease is chronic. The CDC needs to develop better testing standards. Insurance companies need to recognize this illness as chronic. We need to increase public awareness.

Maureen Foley-Bolling

South Portland

Plan to fix stone bridge deserves consideration

If you live in Saco, do you plan to vote June 11? One of the ballot issues is a bond to rehabilitate the Stackpole Creek Bridge on Simpson Road.

The bridge was built in 1848 and is the oldest stone bridge on a public road in Maine.

City engineers permanently closed the bridge May 6 until it is repaired. The proposed repairs would keep the historical bridge intact while upgrading it to carry two-lane traffic and 34 tons of weight.

Experts on dry stone construction say that these repairs should extend the bridge's life for many decades, even centuries. The bond would cost $6 per year for 30 years for every $100,000 of property value.

If you feel it is worthwhile to maintain the stone bridge to honor the historical legacy of our 19th-century community members, then vote "yes" for the Stackpole Creek Bridge bond June 11.

Tom Klak

Saco

 

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