What I take issue with regarding the Wall Street and tea party protests is that they don’t offer any specific actions short of speeches to stop the greed of corporations, including their current efforts to avoid taxes on money hidden in offshore banks.

As a start, I would urge everyone to call members of Congress to support the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act, designed to shut off most of the tax loopholes that encourage profit shifting overseas. If this is passed, our country would raise an estimated $100 billion a year.

According to the Institute for Policy Study, a coalition of large companies, called Working to Invest Now in America, is now lobbying for another “tax holiday.” They have spent more than $50 million to win this special tax break.

A similar tax holiday in 2004 enabled 843 companies to reduce their tax rate from 35 percent to just over 5 percent. These companies repatriated $312 billion in profits — and avoided $92 billion in federal taxes. What did we get in return? Not much.

A review of employment data filed with the Securities and Exchange Committee found that 13 firms profiled in this report cut their U.S. work forces by 60,701 jobs in the two years following the 2004 tax holiday (2004-2006). The companies are Yum Brands, General Electric, International Paper, Eastman Kodak, Kraft, Honeywell, Intel, Eli Lilly, Starwood Hotels, Praxair, Lexmark International, Hasbro and Boston Scientific.

Contacting Congress to support the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act is a specific action each of us can take to express our disgust with corportate greed. Let them not be bribed or duped into believing that Working to Invest Now in America is anything but another unpatriotic, greedy, corporate scheme.

Isn’t enough enough?

Patrick Eisenhart


Safety-conscious mother decries Volk’s stand on law

I am a mother of two and a constituent of state Rep. Amy Volk, R-Scarborough. As one of many people in our community who work hard to make sure our kids are protected from toxic chemicals in everyday products, I was disappointed to see Volk’s attack on the Kid-Safe Product Act and the Maine parents, physicians and businesses who supported it (Maine Voices, “Lawmakers did their best for families and businesses with chemical law,” Oct. 3).

The Kid-Safe Product Act takes a thoughtful approach to improving public health without hurting businesses. It does not, as her column claims, allow the DEP to ban chemicals. Instead, the Legislature has the final say on which chemicals can be phased-out, and only when there are safer alternatives available.

Last April, the Legislature almost unanimously approved the phase-out of the toxic chemical BPA — a vote which Rep. Volk missed — in a sign of strong bipartisan support for children’s health policies. In her column, Rep. Volk suggested that the Kid-Safe Product Act “potentially affected every single item manufactured in Maine that a child could conceivably ever come into contact with.”

This exaggeration of the law’s reach also misses the point about ensuring the health and safety of our kids. We need to protect children from dangerous chemicals, regardless of where the chemical comes from. Children can be exposed to dangerous chemicals from couches, carpets or shower curtains.

We shouldn’t pretend that just focusing on toys will protect our kids — that goes against scientific and medical evidence.

And at what age do we stop protecting our children, 3, 5 or 10? How many children handle computers or wear sneakers?

I hope that we see continued bipartisan efforts to reduce our children’s exposure to harmful chemicals.

Molly Chase


Maine’s justice system makes Italy’s look fair

In Italy, prosecutors, seemingly on leave from a comic opera, insisted that “she-devil” Amanda Knox was guilty of murder no matter what science and common sense indicated. It took four years for justice to prevail.

In Maine, supposedly a land of sober Yankee rectitude, Dennis Dechaine has been denied a retrial for more than 20 years, despite the fact that 100 percent of the scientific evidence supports his claim of innocence.

With the discovery that the damning testimony of two detectives contradicted their original notes, the state’s “mountain of evidence” is revealed to be a hollow shell. That a second jury, if allowed to hear all the evidence, would again find Dechaine guilty, is all but inconceivable.

That an innocent man may have been imprisoned until death for the unspeakable crime of a psychopath who, in effect, has enjoyed the protection of the state, should impel our attorney general to seek the truth, not to try to bury it.

Compared to Maine’s, the Italian system of justice appears to be a shining model of efficiency, transparency, and fairness. Who would have guessed!

William Bunting


Killing of U.S. citizen has dire implications

Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen and a radical Muslim cleric, was assassinated by the United States lrecently in Yemen. Outside a war zone, as al-Awlaki was, under U.S. law, lethal force can only be employed in the narrowest and most extraordinary circumstances: When there is a concrete, specific and imminent threat of an attack; and even then, deadly force must be a last resort.

His killing was based on the mere assertion that he is a dangerous member of a terrorist organization. He was killed without due process and without any effort to capture, arrest and try him. The U.S. government knew exactly where he was.

Is this the world we want: Where the president of the United States can place an American citizen, or anyone else for that matter, living outside a war zone on a targeted assassination list, and then have him murdered by a drone strike? Should any government be allowed to order people’s killing without due process?

This killing has dire implications for all of us. There appears to be no limit to the president’s power to kill anywhere in the world, even if it involves killing a citizen of our own country. Today, it’s in Yemen; tomorrow, it could be in the United States.

Natasha Mayers



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