Err on responsible side

I am a little anxious about sending this letter as I let my TRJ subscription lapse for a while and I wondered whether Randall Poulton’s column (June 1 issue) might be tongue-in-cheek. But I guess I’ll go on the assumption that he is serious and respond in kind.

I do not pretend to be a climate scientist I’m very interested in my grandchildren’s future and so try to keep up as best I can. I do know that sea levels are measured by satellite. This from the University of Colorado: “Since 1993, measurements from the TOPEX and Jason series of satellite radar altimeters have allowed estimates of global mean sea level. These measurements are continuously monitored against a network of tide gauges. When seasonal variations are subtracted, they allow estimation of the global mean sea level rate.”

Now I cannot say with certainty that this method is more accurate than Charlie the bridge tender’s observations but I think I’ll go with it. There is also the not insignificant fact that sea levels do not rise the same amount everywhere. You can research this if you like. The sea is rising.

It is hard for me not to be sarcastic about the nuclear energy comments. Jane Fonda ended the nuclear energy era, not the meltdowns or the inability to find a safe way to dispose of waste?

Regarding pollution from the Midwest, perhaps Randall should take a look at the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and WIldlife website regarding the toxicity of Maine lakes and rivers. Here is the website for the “Fish Consumption Advisory”: maine.gov/ifw/fishing/laws/consumption_advisory.htm. I am not sure how he thinks this pollution happened or if he even believes in it but the MDIFW is pretty sure it’s true. Regarding Y2K I am wondering if Randall did any research whatsoever. It is a funny thing that one would scoff at an enormous industry effort to avoid disaster which worked, perhaps not in the way we thought exactly.The Y2K bug represented an unprecedented opportunity to modernize for the IT industry. It put fear in the minds of the CEOs and provided the opportunity for the IT industry to move from a “fix it when it breaks” to a more preventative culture. We are still benefiting from the work that was done then. We just have no idea.

I am sorry about your feelings regarding climate change. If there is only the slightest chance that I might save my grandchildren some pain, I plan to make an effort. I like to think about the seventh generation, like the natives always have. Besides, what will it cost me? Growing a garden? Increasing my home’s energy efficiency (read feeling cozier)? Driving a high mileage car (savings)? Shopping local (supporting neighbors)?

I love that Belfast is offsetting electrical use with solar. I have solar panels on my roof too. I won’t recoup the cost of this for another 10 years but anything to decrease my footprint is fine with me. We Americans consume at an unsustainable rate.

I plan to follow the climate science. Some cleaner air for me and my children, cleaner water, perhaps some less stormy weather and maybe someday being able to share my freshwater fish dinner with my grandchildren. We are incredibly privileged here in the USA. With this kind of privilege comes enormous responsibility. I would like to err on the responsible side.

Jeffrey Mabee

Belfast

Thank you, Herbig and Gillway

The Legislature is in high gear right now with hundreds of bills being voted on each week. A critical bill for the solar industry will be voted on this week. LD 1504, a bill which will reverse the draconian Public Utility Commission rules on solar, will reach the House and Senate and needs to be passed.

Passage of LD 1504 will protect ratepayers from millions of added, unnecessary costs and will secure hundreds of good-paying solar jobs. With this in mind, we want to thank Reps. Erin Herbig and James Gillway for their support of this year’s solar bill, LD 1504. Each representative has continually supported solar bills, jobs and energy independence year over year, and on behalf of the solar industry and Maine ratepayers, we thank them for their tireless efforts.

Chuck Piper

Searsport

Does it help?

Does the University of Maine’s Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Program help Maine?

Ask the hungry people who received over 250,000 pounds of food grown last year by Master Gardener Volunteers whose work growing fruits and vegetables supported food pantries across the state. Ask the 1,500 school children who learned about growing their own food. Ask the people who benefit from over 80 community gardens and 86 school gardens that teach where healthy food comes from and how to grow their own food.

In a world of shifting demands for food, changing environments and mounting pressures, the skills of citizens are being put to the test. In the Master Gardener Volunteer (MGV) program, participants explore methods for dealing with soil, composting challenges, pests and the countless and evolving varieties of vegetables and fruits that can be grown successfully in Maine. MG Volunteers also gain a greater understanding of integrated pest management, pesticide use, pruning, and characteristics of high-performing, productive gardens.

What do the MG Volunteers get out of volunteering? Well, there are lessons learned, laughter, and friendships made that make the time and effort worthwhile. The joy of sharing gardening ideas or building a twig trellis with new friends while outside is hard to match among life’s simple pleasures, along with helping our communities thrive.

A powerful lesson is how effective, engaging and exceptional the University of Maine’s Extension professors are; the reach and talent of our educators and groundbreaking researchers at the university level are something we should all be proud of. Notably, Drs. David Hanley and Mark Hutton are in demand for their expertise — around the world — in growing vegetables and small fruits. Dr. Renae Moran is renowned for her work with fruit trees. Prof. Mark Hutchinson, another notable agricultural industry expert, supervises the Knox/Lincoln/Waldo Counties MGV program. The ever-capable and indefatigable Elizabeth Stanley manages and organizes the logistics, and is the heart and soul of the Knox/Lincoln/Waldo program by making the volunteers feel welcome and supported.

The MGV program not only leverages the talent of our university professors, but also draws in the skills and knowledge of our government employees. Megan Patterson of the Board of Pesticides Control teams up with her colleagues at BPC to ensure the MG Volunteers fully understand the implications of using pesticides in our community garden projects and our homes, as well as explaining the laws surrounding applications of pesticides.

The world has no shortage of problems, and a handful of people can and does make our communities a little better. We hope that you will consider becoming a MG Volunteer or donate to this worthwhile program at https://extension.umaine.edu/gardening/master-gardeners/support/. To find out more about the program, visit the Maine Master Gardener Volunteers’ website at https://extension.umaine.edu/gardening/master-gardeners/.

With respect, deep appreciation and gratitude, the Knox/Lincoln/Waldo Counties MGV Class of 2016-17,

Claire Adams, Appleton; Bill Bausch, Damariscotta; Mary Davis, Belfast; Karen Federle, Lincolnville; Amy Fischer, Camden; Irene Gerny, Boothbay; Anne Goodale, Tenants Harbor; Jack Green, Union; Kent Harlow, Lincolnville; Karen Jordan, Spruce Head; Marianne McKinney, Belfast; Aimee Moffitt-Mercer, Monroe; Gail Presley, Rockland; Wendy Roberts, Cushing; Kim Sullivan, Newcastle-Damariscotta; Erika Taylor, Union; Christina Vincent, North Haven; Gabrielle Wicklow, Camden

In other news

Last week’s national headlines focused on James Comey’s appearance before Congress and Russian election tampering, while across the Atlantic, Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May made big headlines herself. She had called for a special election to prove voters still backed her plan to leave the European Union. She was re-elected, but her Conservative party lost and she’ll have to either form a coalition government or possibly even resign. Their election rules differ from ours, but the point is she chose to put the will of the people over her own quest for power. After the results, she said, “This country needs a period of stability so that we all as one country can go forward together.” It all sounds so civil, compared to us. Imagine President Trump putting country before himself.

Our president aspires to be omnipotent, and anyone who resists better get out of the way. He’s threatening the health care needed by 24 million people — almost twice the population of all the New England states combined. He condemns refugees fleeing unimaginable hardships in war-torn countries. He aims to rip apart a public education system created before our Constitution was even ratified, to serve all Americans, not just the wealthiest. He threatens our national parks with mining and drilling right up to their boundaries and to eliminate almost 30 national monuments, attacking a law enacted by Congress in 1872 to create “public parks or pleasuring ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people.” He wants to dismantle major laws that prevent polluters from poisoning our country (and the poorest in our country will pay that price first, along with our coastal inhabitants). And he berates 195 other countries that are working to combat a planetary threat that he calls a hoax.

The U.S. Constitution’s Preamble begins with the words “We the people, in order to form a more perfect union….” It was written to create a nation that would serve the needs of as many people as possible, and written to unite our country following our victory over Britain’s king. Theresa May’s win allows her to stay at 10 Downing St. — a modest row house in London that has housed prime ministers since before Churchill, while Mr. Trump escapes the White House mansion almost every week to stay in one of several of his palaces, some with gold gilded interiors.

In 1776 we launched a successful effort to separate ourselves from England’s powerful monarchy. As Britain demonstrates democracy at work, too many of us, especially in Congress, say that a monarchy in our country is just fine.

Beverly Roxby

Belfast

High crimes, treason

Growing talk about impeachment in Washington, but only fools could miss that dozens if not hundreds of Washington officials current and past could be prosecuted for "high crimes and treason."

That starts with former President Barack Obama and his White House staff that enabled the Islamic State terrorism plus aided and abetted Bashar al-Assad and Russia as they murdered many thousands across Syria plus directly caused the mass migration of many times that as refugees plus terrorists surged into Europe and beyond. The ever-growing pattern of terrorism across Europe can and should be blamed on the Obama administration. Cowardice in public office must have a just consequence.

No doubt Donald Trump's own staff and cronies — past and present — also need to be carefully analyzed for their conduct, and especially so as to any suspicious involvement with foreign actors. But don't ignore the leaky "deep state" apparatchiki which are potentially libeling the otherwise innocent officials and private persons with its leaks of confidential and even highly classified government records. This, too, is "high crimes and treason" often swept under the proverbial rug.

Unfortunately, government officials seldom get rigorously prosecuted much less go to prison, and if so, not for long. The same is true for well-heeled political donors that commit serious felonies. Again, often swept under the rug.

It is easy to show, and prove, that the American Bar Association, and also state bar associations, are rife with official corruption that targets poor and middle class Americans and protects the well-heeled and politically connected class. At the same time, the traditional news media — also well-heeled and connected — seldom puts any serious efforts into exposing that corruption, much less diligently ensuring complete due process in the prosecution and punishment of official corruption within America's courts and government offices.

"Fake news" is far more than overtly "false news;" it also includes incomplete, misleading, fraudulent or overtly hidden facts disseminated or concealed by news publications. The Anthony Sanborn Jr. case now before Maine Justice Joyce Wheeler is an example as evidence has now been exposed that news"; media organizations may have hidden damaging information about the original prosecutor of Sanborn's case. Even though Wheeler wants that material concealed from the public, much more may now be exposed since such crimes against criminal defendants run rampant throughout Maine's courts. Now the People know.

This same problem totally permeates the "news media" which routinely publishes incomplete, malicious and often libelous information about court cases, some perpetrated by "Big Brother" actors, then claims "First Amendment" privileges to avoid lawsuits. This misinformation and disinformation particularly targets criminal defendants, with those "fake news" stories seldom corrected before a lawsuit forces such. "Fair trials" and true justice are thus destroyed and our democracy further soiled.

Judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, bar associations and even jurors are all implicated in such crimes against criminal defendants as well as civil case litigants. The news media will not tell you "the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth," so there needs to be a harsh price for any libels that obstruct justice in America's courts.
"High crimes and treason…."

Meanwhile, President Trump has turned now former FBI Director James B. Comey Jr. into a superstar with grown cachet. Director Comey is no shyster lawyer, and was deeply offended by the systematic recklessness of Bill and Hillary Clinton, and so spoke out in 2016, just as he did when deputy U.S. attorney general when President George W. Bush's staff tried to violate federal law and the Constitution a dozen years ago. Comey's integrity stands tall and may yet become the darling of both Democrats and Republicans.

But it may be too late to save the world. Sloth, delay, and cowardice all have a price in geopolitics. Obama's Middle East debacles, and Russia's threats there and in Eastern Europe may well collapse NATO and democracies across the globe. Trump's "Big Brother" will be powerless to stop it all.

Stupid is as stupid does, with bad politics being "trumped" by the awful realities that misinformation and disinformation foments.

And so America gets what it deserves and a consequence.

Randall B. Hofland

Maine State Prison

Warren