Trump a narcissist

Our democracy is beset with a president who is not only a massive narcissist but also endowed with a royal-scale sense of entitlement. Donald Trump has repeatedly made such claims as “ I alone can fix it” and “ I am the only one that matters.”

As a result, he leaves key government positions vacant, ignores the advice of experts and cabinet members, and enters major meetings unprepared while assuming that he can succeed based on his “gut,” his untutored instincts and the latest conspiracy theory to come his way.

We should have seen this coming — and many did. Consider the notorious “Access Hollywood” recording from 2005. Everyone remembers Trump’s vivid assertion that he grabs women by their genitals. Many will also recall his rueful admission that his energetic campaign to seduce an attractive married woman to engage in adulterous sex failed.

By contrast, he described his usual approach to “beautiful [women] — I just start kissing them.” That confession is followed by a line even more important than the reference to genital grabbing: “when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything… .”

Becoming president surely magnified Trump’s already oversized sense of entitlement and impunity for all he does and says. Thus he has scant embarrassment at his relentless lying and self-enrichment in office, his nastiness and cruelty toward any who criticize him, and his utter defiance of the rule of law as he rides roughshod over the norms and values of traditional American democracy.

James Matlack


US subsidizes businesses, too

Jason Brochu’s opinion piece about how tariffs on imported lumber will offset the present advantage Canadian producers enjoy from Ottawa’s subsidies does not mention the fact that Maine taxpayers have subsidized many businesses here, including Brochu’s company, through tax incentive programs, such as the Pine Tree Development Zone and Employee Tax Increment Financing.

While not directly subsiding the product like the Canadians do, our state programs reward eligible businesses for expansion and job creation. Advantages of the Pine Tree Development Zone program can include up to 80 percent of the new employees’ state income taxes being returned to the employer, reduction of state corporate tax and exemption of sales tax on purchases related to the expansion project. This is all money that would otherwise go into Maine coffers.

While I do not question the hard work of these employees and value to the community, the fact remains that Maine taxpayers have subsidized some of these businesses. The state has not been able to determine the value of these programs by numerous legislative and oversight studies.

The new tariffs will make taxpayers pay again, through higher prices for everything they buy. Brochu did not include these facts in his analysis.

Judy Bielecki


A human crisis

Perhaps it is time to remove the bronze plaque at the Statue of Liberty.

The beautiful words of the author Emma Lazarus simply do not apply to what is going on in our nation.

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless tempest tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

This is not the first time these words have not applied. The United States turned away German Jews who later died in concentration camps. There have been numerous other times in our history when people who sought refuge were turned away.

People of Central American countries and predominantly Muslim countries are seeking a better, safer life. They are in horrible situations of violence and terrorism that we cannot imagine. This is not the time to separate families and turn people away. It is the time to embrace everyone and offer compassionate refuge to all.

This is a human crisis.

James Mroch

Salsbury Cove

Poliquin no ally for seniors

Recently, Rep. Poliquin sent out a letter hyping his Guardian of Seniors’ Rights award. Please consider that this award came from the 60 Plus Association. That organization is funded mostly by the billionaire Koch brothers.

The 60 Plus Association has, as one of its goals, the privatization of Social Security. Privatization of Social Security is a bad idea on many fronts. It would introduce the profit motive of the corporations that would be handling Social Security. The primary purpose of corporations is to maximize benefits for their shareholders, not Social Security recipients. Do we really want CEOs who are paid millions of dollars to administer this insurance program? That would be millions of dollars taken away from the Social Security payments.

Furthermore, privatization would allow all kinds of scam artists to climb out from under their rocks to prey on elderly people trying to get their Social Security from the corporations.

By his actions and by the pride he shows in this bogus award, Poliquin demonstrates that he is not a true protector of senior citizens.

Ken Horn


Digital news cost

Newspapers have recently adopted a subscription model for their online content. I understand the apparent need to fund what would otherwise be a “free” press. But I tend to resist accessing things that I used to get for free and now must pay to access. Let’s face it — if their technology systems were good, then it would be automatic to generate online content at little or no cost at all.

However, what is not apparent is just how many ways the online newspaper is making money off you. For the average article published by the newspaper, you will find behind the scenes as many as 500 “ cookies” tracking your every digital move. Those cookies feed information to data collection software that then tells XYZ Office Supply to put an ad on the page you are reading. Or maybe it’s ABC Trust Co.

You don’t get paid for that do you? The advertisers pay the newspaper. So just by reading the news, you are generating revenue for the newspaper.

So why do you need to pay for a subscription? I counted six large ads on one page alone. And then the cookies.

Seems like the cost of digital paper is much higher than physical print. If we pay, we shouldn’t have cookies tracking our activity.

Kenneth Capron