Letters, Sept. 26
Special event street closings are worth the inconvenience
Your editorial suggesting that downtown Belfast events that take place on closed streets are just too unsettling and disruptive and they should all be moved off into parks gave me pause to recognize a simplistic small thought and if I may I’d like to stomp on it quite thoroughly. If your paper were The New York Times with offices just off of Times Square — Guess why it’s named that — do you think you’d editorialize that the annual New Year’s Eve celebration was clogging up a somewhat busier confluence of streets than our Main and High streets and that the whole shebang should be moved to Central Park? But it better not be on every weekend or holiday because they close the whole park for pedestrians and bikes only. Or sitting in the editorial suite would you think the wildly successful closing of Manhattan’s Park Avenue for three Saturdays each summer, 7 miles of it from Central Park to the Brooklyn Bridge, really is another opportunity for a thoughtful, informed editorial on how those bustling and crowded streets are actually a curse? Probably not. Google “street closings” in New York City and you’ll see that a place with a few more cars and traffic problems than Belfast, Maine, closes streets everywhere all the time as a great way to have a good time.
We all might ask ourselves, What are we doing when we close streets for parades, street parties, festivals, music, farmers markets, etc.? The streets do not just belong to the few editorial writers, office and shop dwellers who feel terribly aggrieved that they can’t park right in front of their own shop. The streets and the city belong to everyone. Certainly the downtown streets belong to the far flung residents and tax payers who pave, clean, police, protect, promote, light, plant and love their cities' downtowns whether in New York City or Belfast. There is a certain thrill to dancing where normally trucks dominate. The buildings and the lights take on a completely different tone and feel. The people who own those streets have clearly spoken and they like it. They like to come in from the Back Belmont Road, Poors Mill Road, Robbins Road and everywhere a few more minutes further out than than Church or Congress streets. The rebirth of main streets everywhere in the United States, including New York City and Belfast, is due to people who for too many years were second-class citizens taking back their streets from the all-mighty car and the darling self-important drivers who would drive through the Lincoln Memorial if they could. Closing streets occasionally is a small inconvenience when the effect is rebirth and civic ardor. Closed streets filled with activity and celebrations and people proud of their city are a sign of a healthy vibrant city. And from a city government perspective, I think we can handle the challenge. And chew gum too.
Belfast has never been so busy in decades and the newspaper’s reaction is to kvetch about the traffic. That’s it? That’s your entire “editorial” contribution? Times Square is named that because The New York Times petitioned to rename it when they built their home in what was then Longacre Square. The newspaper threw a huge public party, closing the streets to celebrate, and a tradition was born. Instead of carping about the consumers of your esteemed newspaper having a good time you could think about how you might contribute something other than a “bah humbug!”
Against gun control
In response to your editorials "Shame on U.S." and "How many tragedies does it take to change gun policies?" my question is "Why such opposition to gun control?"
I have asked many people, particularly veterans, and have received a consensus: it is because of the mistrust of Washington, D.C., and their military power. They are the largest "purveyors of violence" in the world.
The "War on Drugs" is a shining example, as 80 percent of the prison population is illegal drug activity related, the "new and improved" Jim Crow laws, no color discrimination.
Police operate "under the color of law" without regard for constitutional rights. People are afraid of Big Brother who is obviously a peeping Tom. As long as the government of United States dictates military rule of law, people will want guns. It's that simple. Violence begets violence.
On the American Legion's suspension of the Sons of the American Legion Squadron 43 charter
What the American Legion has forgotten and abused for years is that the membership has say in what goes on at a post and should be able to vote for themselves. It is not the E-board or a few members or officers who think they can do what they want whenever they want with our membership approval.
It is shameful what a select few of Legion members has done to the Sons of the American Legion Squadron 43 by pulling their charter. If it weren't for the SAL or Ladies Auxiliary, nothing would be done for veterans and their families. If the Legion wants to be in the bar business, go do it somewhere else. We will put or donations and community service up against yours at any time and let the members decide who really cares about veterans.
If the rumors are true and the SAL will be back in a week, shame on you again. Those officers were legally elected by the SAL membership in April. You can't wait till the elections in April and let their members decide who they would like to represent them. You pull their charter, take away all their privileges and expect them to be grateful because they can come into the clubhouse. If you say the SAL will be back, you must already have who you want to run it for you. So much for the voice of the membership who support the SAL by being a member and paying their dues each year.
My father was a member of this post and was a prisoner of war for 18 months in Germany. He and every other veteran and their families have made sacrifices to ensure our freedom and democracy. This is not democracy. It is a planned coup to get what you want and control of the SAL. My dad would be rolling over in his grave to see this happening and what it has done to his great-grandchildren who are members and one who was elected historian this year.
You can preach family all you want. Your actions speak for you. The only ones who have hurt this post that so many of us have tried so hard to support is a small click of bullies that has totally torn Post #43 to pieces and is now a disgrace to veterans past and present.
Veterans and your families, please be assured that most of us do not feel this way and are eternally grateful for your service and your sacrifices. We will find a way to continue to serve you and your families.
Unit 43 American Legion Auxiliary
US Courts failing to protect constitutional rights
The lament in The Republican Journal about intrusions upon the First Amendment and the press worldwide ("Journalism under fire," Aug. 22) covers old ground previously raised by readers on multiple dates, myself included. Unfortunately, it ignores the far more dangerous corruptions of American government, the courts in particular, which are behind the injuries that Edward Snowden has publicized. Had our courts properly protected our Constitutional rights, much of this would not have occurred, at least not in America.
And that is not to say it would not have also prevented similar attacks upon free speech and free press in other countries. After all, we do see an enviable standard for the world, which other countries at least pretend to follow in some manner. So when we trash the language of the Constitution for the purposes seen both before and after Sept. 11, 2001, should we be surprised when other countries do the same?
As I have often alluded to in my letters, Rehberg v. Paulk (132 S. Ct. 1497, U.S. Supreme Court, 2012) tells a long, sad tale about the evolution of dangerously pernicious immunities created to protect serious misconduct by government officials within our courts. Without the ability to file civil actions against such transgressions, police, prosecutors and judges are free to prevent any kind of prosecution against criminal acts by our government officials. It's “scratch my back and I'll scratch your back” day in and day out.
That occurs day in and day out in Maine as well. Many very innocent and many more seriously overcharged and over-sentenced prisoners live within Maine's jails and prisons, all being paid for by persons outside those facilities. But that is ignored by the news media as are even more important issues.
Modern journalism has lost both credibility and relevance. The Internet plus still evolving social media have exposed both failings. Propagation of information about every important current event has become almost instantaneous via emails plus cellphone texting and photo-imagery while social media will then hash out truth from untruth at least as well as The Washington Post's “WoodStein” team did with Watergate in the 1970s. All much faster and forthright thanks to modern technologies (as fragile and subject to obstruction as they may be).
Anyone who has been libeled in the news media understands just how dangerous newspapers and television have become to liberty and justice. Lies are almost immortal once widely publicized by those forums. Unfortunately, the courts then protect the offenders whenever government malfeasance is exposed. More of the Rehberg curse that is then aided, abetted and protected by the news media. Due process is dead, just as the British did to America before 1775.
Maine is a hotbed of such frauds. Ongoing cases from Cumberland, Kennebec, Penobscot, Waldo and other counties before the law court and the U.S. Supreme Court expose the massive corruptions justice by Maine government and news media.
Two major news media groups in Maine are deeply implicated in what judges, attorneys and law enforcement are determined to protect as well. The Republican Journal has known about this for years by remained silent because it, too, is caught up in the wrongs. The ongoing civil actions in Maine's courts, and eventually the U.S. Supreme Court, address this.
It is a shame when honest, hardworking journalists are attacked for doing good, honest work. Unfortunately, there are also many stupid, lazy and dishonest journalists spreading disinformation. We can also blame Iraq's Saddam Hussein plus those that then connived to convince the U.S. to invade Iraq for part of the pervasive public distrust of both government and the news media.
Saddam intentionally spread massive disinformation about nonexistent weapons of mass destruction thinking it would protect him even as it synergized Saddam's worst enemies out to destroy him. All something the news media continues to hide even as it blames the overzealous George W. Bush administration for recklessly misleading the world.
Stupid is as stupid does, and there is much blame to go around. But few have the courage to bear such burdens, much less than required to eviscerate the corruption. Something has to give, to break it all apart, and America is quite ripe.
Blame the government and the news media. Stupid is...
Maine State Prison