Letters, July 6, 2017

Jul 06, 2017

WIC aid available

Women, Infants, and Children is a nonprofit supplemental food and nutrition program serving income-eligible families. WIC provides supplemental food packages, breast feeding support, free nutrition information, guidance, and referrals to other community programs to:

  • Women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, and up to six months post-partum.
  • Infants and children up to the age of 5, including foster children.
  • Fathers, who also may apply for their children.

WIC serves working and non-working families. If you and/or your child receives MaineCare, SNAP or TANF, you are considered income-eligible for WIC. Eligibility is based on the number of people living in the household, the groos household income level, as well as other nutritional criteria. Call us to check income guidelines.

WIC families now receive more variety and healthier choices than ever before. These include fresh, frozen and canned fruits and vegetables, milk and other dairy including yogurt and cheese (dairy substitutes are available), eggs, whole grain bread, whole wheat pasta, cereal, infant formula and baby food, plus more. During the summer months, farmers' market checks are also available.

The Belfast office serves the communities of Waldo County, with a main office in Belfast and clinics in Brooks, Unity and Frankfort. Our office hours are Monday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Tuesday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. We are closed on Friday. Applying is easy! Call us to see if you are eligible at 338-1267 or toll-free at 1-844-659-9749.

Sumer Higgins, CHES, CLC

Belfast WIC Office Supervisor

Proud

I was proud of my Waldo County legislators ‐‐ Senate President Thibodeau and Representative Kinney ‐‐ for voting as part of a super‐majority in favor of the bi‐partisan compromise reported out on LD1504, the “Solar Bill.”  The compromise is the result of hard work by engaged stakeholders with varying points of view; it is important to reward the hard work such groups put into finding agreements on challenging issues by moving them into law.

Among other features, the bill strikes a fair balance in having those with solar panels contribute to the costs of the distribution system while raising the arbitrary number of accounts that can jointly own systems from 10 to 100.  This will enable more community scale systems to be installed in the most economical places, capturing the natural energy of the sun to provide clean, resilient power for decades to come.  Just makes sense.

Unfortunately, Governor LePage has vetoed the bill.  He has a track record of making it very hard for renewable energy investors, from individuals to large corporations, to know what they can count on for state policy.  This drives business away while reducing our future energy security. I don’t get it. We appreciate the independence of our Republican legislators and urge them to stick to their supporting positions when the bill returns for its override vote next week.

Mary Ann Hayes

Thorndike


Stupid is, stupid did, stupid we do deserve

So much bad news already, but, lots, lots, lots more to come. The pain will be severe, blood will freely flow, and treasures all lost. Stupid is as stupid did, and so the stupid do deserve the brutal outcomes. Only the truly blind and ignorant will be blameless, especially given Sunday's (June 25) "60 Minutes" episode on CBS that focused upon "A.I."

Artificial Intelligence — "A.I." — and robots are rapidly expanding socioeconomic realities, not science fiction. As a consequence, malicious internet hackers could easily unleash the progenitor "genes" of a digital "Terminator" virus that might — someday — lead to human Armageddon. So could malicious — or just reckless — bio-engineering unleash a "Terminator" virus.

Total extirpation of humanity — or even all life on Earth — is an increasing possibility. There have been plenty of warnings, yet politicians with their puppeteers and sycophants are oblivious as ever. Modern realities — as popular science fiction has warned — are on our doorsteps and rooting through our lives and various infrastructures.

American's political engines are tuned for the old socio-economics that once made America the superpower it became in the 20th century. But the old social mores and old economic engines are broken, and the new ones increasingly self-destructive. A small percentage of humanity gets wealthier, while most become poorer as automation, robots and A.I. displace skilled human capital. That trend will only accelerate until economic, social and digital chaos collapses it all into dystopia. Or, a something exterminates us all.

Oddly enough, it may be skilled tradespeople, technicians and those not easily "automated" that survive the digital invasion that overthrows our current "geek" focused technologies. At least until utter chaos and dystopia envelopes them, whatever those nightmares may become. All too hard to forecast.

But without solid "consumerism," currently about 70 percent of the "economy," that "new" economy will collapse just like happened during the Great Depression, and recent Great Recession. Based on the commonly cited "Gross Domestic Product" (GDP) numbers, currently around $17 trillion, around $12 trillion is ordinary "consumerism" spending. Demolish consumers' incomes and it collapses.

But the GDP is a very small "value-added" piece of what I characterize as "Total Economic Flux" (TEF). For instance, in the New York City region alone, a billion shares or more of stocks trade daily on Wall Street exchanges, their gross value equal to many billions of dollars each day, while the fees for those trades are relatively small in comparison, little of it taxed. But, all of it, "economic flux," which adds up to many hundreds of trillions of dollars each year. Every year.

So is every penny of "economic" activity across America, very little of it well-documented, much less taxed under current tax practices. Most of that TEF is hidden away from the public, whether as nebulous stock options, or as charitable, political, and even criminal activities, or ordinary business activities, and especially the vast and secretive arrays of financial operations including such "derivatives" as those poisonous "collateralized debt obligations" (CDOs) and "credit default swaps" (CDSs) that caused the "Great Recession" circa 2008 onward.

In contrast, income taxes, payroll taxes, and a smattering of other taxes and levies are the financial bastions of Washington, D.C., bureaucrats. Yes, the "rich" and business entities pay a significant share of the federal budget, but the true breadth of their own TEF is largely untouched. And you gave them most of it.

That includes massive routine churning of stocks associated with flash and high-volume electronic stock trading designed to profit from even small price changes. Despite their outsized effect on Wall Street economics, there is little taxation of the TEF because of tightly focused tax legislation and policies that ignore much of the Wall Street business practices used to to manipulate tax prices and elevate profits from trading. So you pay even more, and get less, as the well-connected get richer and richer.

Americans deserve this. They have routinely ignored warnings about the dangers of legislation — and resulting laws — that trespass upon long cherished rights. They ignore clear evidence of corrupt courts, corrupt politicians, and themselves too cowardly to stand up as witnesses, as voters, and as jurors to stamp out such corruption. And the "news media" is of little use in exposing the whole truth.

And you, did you even look up and study the CTRA? Ever? Or read a serious "white paper" on microeconomics and macroeconomics? Any clues? Do you have have a clue about Keynesian, supply-side, and Reaganomics? Much less how those economic theories function? An why, for better and worse?

Now we all live, and die, by the real world consequences of Trumpisms.

Randall B. Hofland

Maine State Prison

Warren

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