Animals and money

Soon the Humane Society of the United States will initiate its anti-bear trapping, hounding and baiting signature gathering effort. If the organization is successful in gathering the nearly 60,000 signatures necessary to place the question on a referendum ballot, the debate will begin in earnest and at certain times will be very emotional on both sides.

Our organization will oppose their efforts.

It is extremely important sportsmen, women and the public do not confuse the actions of the U.S. humane society with our local animal shelters and the important work they and their volunteers do for our communities.

The Humane Society of the United States is a national animal rights group that specializes in animal rights litigation and using the referendum process to promote its agenda. It raised $130 million last year to promote that national agenda and gave just pennies back to actually support local animal shelters.

Their political tactics can be ruthless as our organization learned earlier in the year and outlined in a June 5 BDN OpEd.

The Humane Society of the United States uses its money for mostly political purposes. To the contrary, local animal shelters do the work of angels caring for abused and neglected animals. My wife volunteers at one of our local animal shelters, and we support them financially. It is very important that all of us continue to support our local animal shelters and do not confuse the two organizations.

It is likely that $5 million will be spent during the referendum campaign and most of that money by the Humane Society of the United States. If I had one wish during the campaign, it would be that the Humane Society of the United States would abandon its referendum efforts and donate the millions to local animal shelters.

The positive difference that money could have on the lives of thousands of animals and their caregivers is endless.

David Trahan, executive director, Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine


Business agenda

Gov. Paul LePage has done exactly nothing for the average Mainer. He stresses a “business

agenda,” cozy contracts with legislators or their friends, corporate tax breaks too complicated to decipher, slashing town help and education funds and seeing that insiders receive state bond windfalls for foolish projects like a dental school.

A clear picture of this vulgar man’s character came early. Marden’s is a good tell:

valueless goods sold to the poor, insisting they are “saving money;” Low wages and diminutive working conditions. The businessman places dollars above all else, especially his own. Morals, ethics, imagination, don’t hold a breath. LePage was recently rated the country’s second worst governor.

Want to solve the debt? Cut state benefits. Tax junk food. Legalize and tax marijuana. Stop giving away millions to the harness racing industry. When will we realize we’ll get nowhere allowing obtuse businessmen to lead?

Dennis Lopez


Health care sensibility

Quite obviously, the United States is the most powerful country in the history of the world, but even the most powerful are sometimes incapable, for various reasons, of acting in a sensible manner. The current state of affairs of the American health care system, if it can even be called that, is positive proof of the above statement.

If I could turn around Vermont Republican Sen. George Aiken’s suggestion many years ago, that the way to end the Vietnam war was to declare victory and go home, might I say that the best way to fix our health care mess would be to declare defeat and turn the job over to someone else?

Just across the border, the Canadians take good care of all their citizens’ medical needs for a reasonable amount of money. Let’s just hire them to do what greed and chicanery prevents us from doing. Their strength in this regard is called civility. Our great weakness is the opposite.

David Calder


Trade balance

As reported in the Bangor Daily News, the visit of United States Trade Representative Michael Froman underlines the importance of the role that New Balance plays in the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations. As another free trade agreement in the same failed model as North American Free Trade Agreement, this bad deal for workers is especially worrisome for the company since Vietnam is a partner to the agreement. That country’s insistence on the elimination of tariffs on shoes imported to the U.S. could lead to the closure of New Balance’s Maine manufacturing operations.

Even if someone isn’t one of the 900 or so workers employed by New Balance in Maine and doesn’t live in one of those nearby communities, he or she should be worried about the Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement.

Only five of the 29 draft chapters actually deal with traditional trade-related issues. Many of the chapters would take away our local control by setting rules on things that really have little to do with trade. Everything from the costs of pharmaceuticals to food safety regulations to financial regulations could be affected.

The laws of our communities, our state and our country would be compelled to comply with the agreement under the investor-state provisions should they pose a threat to the potential profits of multinational corporations.

In spite of the threat the agreement poses to all of us, negotiations are being conducted in near-total secrecy, and the Obama Administration is asking to reinstate fast-track trade promotion authority to help rush this deal through Congress with minimal debate.

With the potential consequences of the agreement being so dire for all working people, we need much greater transparency in the negotiating process before it’s too late. Any move to reinstate fast-track trade must be opposed by Maine’s congressional delegation, regardless of the guarantees the U.S. trade representative may provide to New Balance.

Emery Deabay


Governor Poof

This letter is in response to the July 31 article, “LePage lashes out at Alfond” about another misinformed and mean-spirited attack on a competent politician.

If U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, D-2nd District, and independent Eliot Cutler split the progressive vote next year, then the “horror show” of the LePage administration will go on and on.

Possibly, though, the fury and biliousness of our out-of-control governor will cause him to disappear in a “poof.”

Peg Cruikshank