Travel ban needed to prevent terror attacks
In case you had not noticed, Islamic terrorists attacks have recently increased in frequency. Western countries that are the subject of the attacks predictably respond the best they can. The response by the London police to last Saturday’s attack seemed especially good.
But the countries subject to the attacks do not take some of the most effective measures to prevent the attacks in the first place.
Only a small percentage of Muslims are actual terrorists. But a large percentage of Muslims, in some countries a majority, are supportive of the terrorists.
Most terrorists are known to the authorities. The terrorists often travel freely to terrorists countries to be trained to do their evil deeds.
What are most needed to prevent the terrorists attacks on innocent citizens are measures such as President Donald Trump’s travel ban on persons from six Muslim-majority countries.
You can almost hear the hysterical cries of “Islamophobe” while in the meantime nothing is done to prevent the attacks and the frequency and severity of the slaughter of innocents increases.
Implement ranked-choice voting
Ranked-choice voting seems to me and most of my fellow voters like a good solution to a problem that frustrates us in almost every election — split votes when we have more than one really good candidate that result in bad alternatives.
This year, more than ever, it has been made clear to me that our political parties are private entities that have too much control over our elections. They back whatever candidate they choose, and we have virtually no say in the matter.
Ranked-choice voting is a better idea. Instead of looking for ways to thwart the will of the voters, the Legislature should be finding ways to work with us. If we need an amendment to the Maine Constitution in order to implement ranked-choice voting, let’s put that on the table.
It’s time for single-payer health care
Something you don’t hear much about in the health care debate is the cost of the mental time and energy regular consumers have to spend on finding, choosing and monitoring their health insurance. I happen to believe the strongest argument for a simple, universal, single-payer health care system is basic morality and kindness, but setting that aside for a moment, what about the benefit of simplicity?
We hear conservatives in Congress going on about choice and freedom. Will someone please introduce me to the masochist who loves shopping for insurance? Who really relishes comparing deductibles, out-of-pocket maximums and co-pays? Ugh. That’s not freedom. That is the worst math homework in the world.
Then you finally decide on a plan, and when a bill comes you have to run it through the whole equation again just to make sure no mistake has been made on any of the many administrative levels the bill travels through just to land in your mailbox. And if a mistake has been made, good luck.
The Affordable Care Act has been wonderful in actually helping many of us have insurance in the first place, but also a nightmare of bureaucratic complication, on top of the already existing nightmare of bureaucratic profit-seeking complication that is the health insurance industry.
Politicians seem unable to muster up the bravery to do what needs to be done, so they just keep compromising and adding layer after layer of complication when the solution is simple: single-payer health care, please. I have better things to do than talk to insurance companies.
Calais hospital cutbacks concerning
The news about the closure of Calais Regional Hospital’s labor and delivery unit and OB-GYN offices is very concerning. I had my son there in 2016, and the care I received was exceptional. I could not be happier with my experience there. It was clear that everyone working there truly cared about our well-being.
We’ve already lost the intensive care unit, special care and pediatrics. If the OB closes, what will be next? The entire hospital? Making women travel for routine prenatal and postnatal care is dangerous and costly. Many women will be losing time at work to make it to their appointments, time that should be saved for maternity leave, which is already limited.
There is also the added expense of traveling to and from these appointments. More importantly, we all know how dangerous the roads can be during the winter. Should women be forced to travel an hour or more in dangerous conditions during labor? Closing the OB is putting the lives of families and babies at risk. Are we ready to live with the consequences if the worst should happen?
As a community, we need to take a stand and make it clear that women’s health is a necessity. Closing the OB-GYN program says otherwise.
LePage stretches truth on education surtax
At an April town hall in Fort Kent, Gov. Paul LePage adamantly stated that the passage of Question 2 meant anyone making over $200,000 would be taxed an additional 3 percent on their entire income. This is not true. Question two adds a 3 percent surtax to any income exceeding $200,000. A person making $201,000 per year will pay an additional $30 in their taxes. A person making $250,000 will pay an additional $1,500. Every penny of this additional revenue will be earmarked to fund public schools.
I also heard LePage claim that hundreds of Mainers sent him letters complaining about the recent passing of Question 2. LePage implied that high earners were so angry that they were threatening to leave the state. Thankfully, this information is publically available, so I submitted a Freedom of Information Act request for these letters. I was surprised to learn that LePage did not receive any actual letters regarding the issue as he said, but only emails and comments submitted through his website. Instead of hundreds of letters as he claimed, LePage received 62 emails related to frustrations about Question 2. Again, LePage was not being truthful.
I understand that Mainers are divided on many political issues, but the majority of Mainers voted to pass question two and fund our public schools. Our legislators should uphold the law and not go against the will of the voters. And our governor should stop stretching the truth.