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  • Published
    January 19, 2018

    Nicaragua Journal: Not a hole, never was

    MANAGUA, Nicaragua — Nicaragua has changed since I lived here for six months in 1988. It was an interesting time in Nicaragua. The U.S.-sponsored counter-revolutionary Contra war was winding down. The Contras were losing, despite considerable U.S. assistance. It’s hard to win a war with little popular support. But as the Contras faded away, there was a real fear here in Nicaragua that the U.S. might intervene …

  • Published
    January 11, 2018

    Suckers or incompetents?

    It’s been a busy time in Augusta. Politicians have been working overtime to thwart the will of Maine voters. Various ballot measures passed by Maine voters in 2016 have been stymied by the Legislature and or Gov. Paul LePage. Those measures include ranked-choice voting, which has run head-on into politicians’ keenest instinct: self-preservation. And then there are Medicaid expansion and a 3-percent surcharge on …

  • Published
    December 22, 2017

    The destruction of Yemen

    The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is systematically destroying the country and people of Yemen, an ancient civilization dating back 5,000 years. In its heyday, Yemen was a key crossroads of the Arabian peninsula, the Middle East and East Africa, and it was a welcoming, hospitable home to a wide variety of peoples, including Jews. But Yemen has fallen on hard times. It is now the Arab World’s poorest country, and it is …

  • Published
    December 8, 2017

    Collins' deceitful Tweets

    In the lead-up to her vote in favor of the tax bill, Susan Collins issued a series of tweets Dec. 1. The tweets seemed designed to soften up her constituency for her vote for a bill whose popularity a Quinnipiac poll pegs at 25 percent. Salon reported that the bill is the least popular bill in the last 30 years. Hence the need for softening up. Some highlights: Tweet 1: “The Senate tax bill will include my SALT …

  • Published
    November 24, 2017

    Poliquin sold you out — will Collins?

    It’s hard to overstate the importance of the tax bill. The federal government is 21 percent of the economy, and this bill fundamentally restructures that sizeable chunk of the economy. The financial fate of the poor and the middle class depends on how that portion of the economy is structured. The bill is being rammed through with essentially no input from the party that won the popular vote for president by 2.8 …

  • Published
    November 17, 2017

    Land of adventure

    It’s time for another break from the relentless barroom brawl of politics. Some places are just given to adventure. One is the Mediterranean island of Corsica, with its ancient pastel villages, pristine beaches, and mountains of unsurpassed beauty. In summer, extended families camp in coastal campgrounds in big tents and small pull-behind camper trailers after disembarking from big ferries that come from mainland …

  • Published
    October 27, 2017

    Collins, King, Pingree and Poliquin: Protecting criminals?

    I know what it’s like to lose a family member to opioids. My half-brother Scott died of a heroin overdose in Chiang Mai, Thailand, in 1984. He was a physician. He went to Johns Hopkins, one of the most prestigious medical schools in the country. And so I was appalled to read in a Washington Post/60 Minutes exposé that big pharmaceutical companies have for years been throwing rocket fuel on the nationwide opioid …

  • Published
    October 13, 2017

    Is President Trump suffering from dementia?

    Merriam Webster: Dementia: “a usually progressive condition (such as Alzheimer’s disease) marked by the development of multiple cognitive deficits (such as… the inability to plan and initiate complex behavior).” This is not about politics. I have in the past been very critical of candidate and President Trump’s politics and perhaps even his temperament and suitability for the office of president. But this …

  • Published
    September 29, 2017

    Zombiecare stalks the land

    Editor’s note: This Bricks and Mortars column was written prior to Sen. Susan Collins’ announcement she will not support the Graham-Cassidy health care bill. By the time you read this, Donald Trump and the Republican Party may have already passed a Senate bill throwing 32 million people off health insurance rolls, thus increasing the total number of uninsured to 60 million, almost a fifth of the population. Befor…

  • Published
    September 15, 2017

    Deport Sebastian Gorka

    It must be getting a little lonely in the White House for nativist Trump aide Stephen Miller. Nationalist Trump strategist Steve Bannon was fired Aug. 18, and a week later top Trump anti-terrorism aide and Hungarian Nazi Sebastian Gorka was sacked. All this came amid the intense and widespread backlash against President Trump’s ongoing and fervent defense of the Nazi, white supremacist and white nationalist …

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