Letters, Nov. 23, 2017

Nov 23, 2017

Threat even closer

I am very disturbed that Gary Guida and Kim Zaharis of Bella Books are being forced to vacate their store, and I share the concerns of those who have posted reactions on Waldo.VillageSoup.com. Belfast is exceptionally blessed to have three independent book stores, and each of them adds significantly to the charm and sense of community we enjoy here. The changing window displays in each are attractions in themselves, and in all three, customers enjoy a chance to chat and to share their interests with the owners and others.

If enough outside developers buy up buildings along Main, High and Church streets simply with the intention of cashing in on Belfast's increasing tourism, something very valuable will be lost. We rallied to keep out big box stores and protect the downtown. Now the threat is even closer. How can we protect Bella Books and all the other stores which support community and make Belfast a special place to live?

Joanne Boynton

Belfast

Time for an alternative

Once again, Rep. Bruce Poliquin has voted to benefit millionaires (including himself) at the expense of the rest of us.  If the recently passed House Tax Bill becomes law, you will have fewer deductions and will pay more taxes. If you are on Medicare or Medicaid, get ready for cuts in benefits. Bruce Poliquin represents those who donate lots of money to his re-election campaign. He’s not a fiscal conservative; he’s a rich guy turning this country into a wealthy aristocracy. If you always vote Republican, perhaps it’s time to look for an alternative to Bruce Poliquin.

Janet Redfield

Lincolnville

Thank you

Veterans Day can be a difficult time for many veterans of the armed services. The day is usually filled with mixed emotions during a time that is designated for honoring their service.

I am so very proud of our community for the recognition our American Legion Post 157 in Stockton Springs received. We were invited to a light breakfast Thursday, Nov. 9, before a presentation by the RSU 20 students and faculty. This has become an annual event and it was impressive.

Friday night, Nov. 10, was the free beef stew dinner put on for area veterans hosted by the First Congregational Church of Searsport. It was a great turnout and yummy food. Thanks to all who worked so hard to put it on.

Saturday was our traditional Veterans Day speech in the park in Stockton Springs, followed by an open house at our American Legion post. A big thank you for all who turned out in the freezing cold, both to our veterans and our community. The light luncheon we enjoyed at our post was very good and we had many grateful attendees.

Sunday was our invitation to the Hometown Heroes at the Stockton Springs Community Church, where we were honored as well as first responders. Rev. John Tabor and his congregation put on a moving service followed by a tasty luncheon.

Above all, I wish to thank my family, Norman Otis (husband), Tara, C.J., Maggie and Jon Harvey (my daughter and family), my church family (too many to list) and my work family (Central Registration at Waldo County General Hospital).

Judy Otis

Commander

American Legion Post 157

Avoiding nuclear war

I am very concerned that the actions of President Trump in regard to both North Korea and Iran are leading us into the unimaginable horrors of a nuclear war. There is no doubt that the dangers to the United States from both North Korea's and Iran's development of nuclear weapons are tremendously alarming. However, I believe that President Trump is making the situation far more dangerous by his reckless and threatening tweets regarding North Korea, and his declaration to pull the United States out of the Iran nuclear agreement.

At the Nov. 14 Senate Foreign Relations Committee meeting devoted to the topic of the first strike nuclear war issue, concerns were brought up by Sen. Chris Murphy that President Trump is too unstable and volatile, and quixotic in his decision-making to be trusted with the immensity of making a decision unilaterally about a first strike nuclear attack.

There have been a number of bills submitted to both the Senate and House of Representatives that would restrict any U.S. president from launching an initial nuclear strike without a declaration of war from Congress, as well as bills restricting the funding and authorization for any preemptive strike on North Korea without congressional approval. Given the current extremely dangerous situation of having a U.S. president who openly threatens nuclear war, I believe it is of the utmost urgency to stop our president from putting both the United States and the whole world in critical danger.

Furthermore, given the present set of circumstances, I am in agreement with the view expressed by Sen. Markey at the Nov. 14 Senate Foreign Relations Committee meeting, in which he countered that it cannot be expected that a high level military or administrative person in the nuclear launch chain of command would necessarily question the legality of and refuse to carry out a president's order to launch a nuclear attack.

However, all the military and government speakers at the two recent meetings of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee expressed serious concerns about changing the first strike legislation, which they see as a necessary deterrent for our country's self-defense, and apparently the majority of Congress is in agreement with these concerns.

I therefore think that the most effective course of action is to establish concrete formulations of what constitutes “imminent danger” to justify a first strike nuclear attack. This way, in addition to hopefully reducing the likelihood that a U.S. president would ever give an illegal first strike nuclear order, it would also increase the likelihood that a high-ranking military or government officer, in a position to do so, might disobey such an order if there was some kind of concrete legal formulation to conclude that there was “not” imminent danger for justification.

It is my hope that our Maine members of Congress may consider sponsoring this kind of work to establish concrete formulations of what constitutes imminent danger to justify a first strike nuclear attack.

Elliot Benjamin, Ph.D.

Belfast

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