Lane Filler of Newsday thinks that the pay and treatment of workers at Walmart is what they deserve (“Commentary: Walmart workers not underpaid just because they qualify for assistance,” Dec. 2). Such arrogance! Based on his skill theory, he is the real societal burden. What service has he performed for anyone?

He survives because someone at Newsday pays him far more than minimum wage. He is the same one who suggested people should have to be bonded before having children in order to prove they can pay for them. Can we make that be retroactive to his birth date?

The pickets at the Scarborough Walmart on Black Friday were there to plant new ideas in people’s minds, such as that no employer should be allowed the millions of dollars in corporate welfare that they receive in tax relief or to pay their workers so little that the workers qualify for public assistance.

Those pickets were trying to overcome the airwaves and media so full of hate and name-calling, and class-baiting and the pitting of one worker against another so expertly done by the Fillers.

Like Filler, and so many other on-air class baiters today, Mussolini was also a journalist and knew that he could convince workers in Italy that they were getting the best that could be had and that he could make them believe it and to vote against their own interests.

The next time you can’t overcome your urge to vote against or act against your own interest by shopping at Walmart, remember, Filler said that Walmart is not in business to further the idea that everyone has a right to food, clothing, shelter and health care. Not even their own employees?

I am proud of John Newton and the Southern Maine Labor Council for standing up for those so-called unskilled workers.

Robert L. Piccone


House GOP kept its word despite receiving bad press

A funny thing happened to House Republicans on their way to majority status in 2010. They kept their word! They achieved their electoral success largely because of the efforts of people not previously involved in the political process – most notably the tea party.

As candidates, they made the usual “good government” promises to cut spending, tame deficits, etc., which I took with a big dose of skepticism.

Upon arrival in D.C., they were given the usual “dose of reality.” They were told by leadership that if they valued re-election, good committee assignments, pork for their district and good media relations, they would need to “go along in order to get along.”

The mainstream media told them they had to reach across the aisle and compromise, which translates into allowing the Democrats to continue their crazed spending. The media described House Republicans as obstructionists. The Democrats demonstrated willingness to shut down the government and promised to blame the Republicans – and the media echoed the threat.

Finally, President Obama proposed the sequester, an “across-the-board” slash-and-burn type of budget cutting, thinking Republican House members would balk. But they called his bluff, basically saying, “If this is the only way we can get budget cuts, bring it on.”

The results of the sequester have been to reduce the deficit from approximately $1 trillion to $600 billion, a development for which President Obama tries to take credit.

In all of this, our Maine delegation has been of no help. Both members of the House from Maine have been rubber-stamp votes for President Obama’s ridiculous economic policies.

Much remains to be done, and Republican House members can’t do it alone. We need a Republican Senate and White House. Time is short – the stakes are high.

Porter D. Leighton


Train derailment highlights need for more seat belts

All I want for Christmas is seat belts, seat belts, seat belts. We have them in cars, trucks and airplanes. We need them in school buses, team buses and commercial buses. We need them in new models and current models (buses in use now).

Now we also need seat belts on commuter trains like Amtrak, as evidenced in the Dec. 1 morning crash (train derailment) in the Bronx.

Someone please tell us how to get seat belts accomplished for everyone’s safety.

Randi Graumann


DHHS move makes access to services more difficult

The unrelenting effort by Republicans across the country to marginalize poor people is something to behold.

Two years ago it was a phony campaign to stamp out “voter fraud,” which resulted in various forms of voter ID laws being passed in some states. It sounded reasonable enough on the surface until you considered how difficult it was for poor people, many who do not drive and therefore do not have driver’s licenses, to satisfy the law’s requirements.

Never mind that, try as they might, the Republicans could not uncover a scintilla of evidence that voter fraud even existed as a real problem.

Now here comes Paul LePage with his newly revealed plan to move Portland’s Department of Health and Human Services offices from their current location on Marginal Way to a site close to the jetport.

The DHHS spokesman blandly offers that the new site is on the bus route and that the site was picked after an objective survey of alternative sites in the city. The jetport site supposedly outscored the Lancaster Street site 18-5 in the “location” category, but, of course, no one could explain the criteria for this laughable result.

If you were opening a retail site to best serve Portland’s low-income community – say, a grocery store or a dollar store – would you put it out near the airport? Of course not. You’d put it as close to the population center as possible.

But this was not an objective choice. This was not even designed to save money, although that will no doubt be served up as its rationale.

No, in reality this is a thinly disguised effort to make it as difficult as possible for the disadvantaged in our city to access the many outreach services that the DHHS provides.

For shame, Gov. LePage, for shame.

Phil Coupe



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