Forum, March 16: Wrong Man for the Job

Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Wrong Man for the Job

The Trump presidency is certainly turning out just about as badly as many of us predicted, and feared. Impulsive, reckless, angry, petulant, possibly delusional, heading toward dangerous. Donald Trump is not at the end of his first 100 days, which he is fond of referring to, and he has stirred up more disgrace and trouble than Paul Ryan can shake a stick at, if only he’d try. Hopefully sane, adult and responsible Republicans (there may be some) in Congress will stand with Democrats and try to protect us all from what has happened.

We find ourselves with a man in the office of president who should not be there. I’m sure there is a place for him somewhere. Manhattan and Las Vegas real estate and reality TV come to mind, but not the leader of the free world. Please.

Mary Anne Levin


Think of the Poor

President Donald Trump is for the wealthy, and the poor won’t be able to afford health insurance.

Leave Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid alone. The poor are earning their Social Security and they are still working. How would those in the GOP like to lose their benefits if they were poor and couldn’t afford insurance?

Representatives and senators should think about this. Call them and share your opinions.

Martha Silhanek


Health Insurance Overhead

The America’s Health Insurance Plan has just published an infographic describing how every dollar of insurance premiums is allocated to medical care and to insurance companies’ overhead. Overhead is17.8 cents of every dollar — and their profit is 2.7 cents of every dollar — totaling 20.5 cents of every premium dollar. (ahip.org/health-care-dollar/).

An article by the Huffington Post, in republishing AHIP’s infographic, notes that Medicare overhead costs are 6.4 cents of every dollar, and there’s no profit to factor into overhead for the government-run program.

So it costs more than three times as much for commercial insurance companies to operate as it does for Medicare. This information from the insurance industry itself makes the case for a single-payer, government-run health care system, don’t you think? 

Anne Peyton

South Strafford

Lessons from A Nuclear Accident

Seven years ago, a very severe accident happened in Japan, as a result of a devastating earthquake followed by a tsunami that killed many and destroyed much. Four of the six plants at one site suffered core meltdowns and radiation releases.  These have been the almost exclusive focus of media. Now we know no one was killed or even dangerously overexposed to radiation, and the major health effects are from stress. Seventy percent of the evacuated area is now open for returning. Decontamination of the remaining evacuated area continues.  Cleanup of the reactor site is proceeding and will take years. The reactors themselves will probably be safely entombed in place.

Media concentrated on the reactor accident more than on the those killed by the earthquake and tsunami. They were misled by the usual people who hype every nuclear event. They cry wolf for anything.  

Outsiders went to Japan to add to the crying. A local “expert” who went to Japan claimed that there was a chain reaction and radiation release from one of the used fuel pools. He was proven wrong a few years ago when all the fuel was safely removed from that pool.

Lessons learned from this terrible accident have been applied, just as they are for every train, plane, ship and car accident, and all others.

The decontamination experience at Fukushima will be valuable, but will not be needed at Vermont Yankee. There has been no accident and high-level contamination there, and there is plenty of experience with low-level decontamination available.

Howard Shaffer


Mistakes in the Middle East

As a retired State Department Foreign Service Officer who had tours of duty in two very different Arab Muslim countries, among other assignments, I would like to comment on our current relations with Afghanistan and Iraq.

After the 9/11 attacks in 2001, we put American troops into Afghanistan, despite the fact that many of the young Arab men who flew those plans actually came from Saudi Arabia. We have had our military in Afghanistan ever since, ostensibly on the grounds that the Afghan Taliban or al-Qaida would take over the country if we left.

We knew that Osama bin Laden had been in Afghanistan, and we had been hunting for him. Imagine our surprise when it turned out that he was living in a comfortable villa in a Pakistani army town. After killing him we are still in Afghanistan, as we fear the Taliban might seize power. Yet it is their country, not ours.

We attacked the Iraqi army when it invaded Kuwait, and promptly chased them out. Years later, President George W. Bush, abetted by Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld, invaded Iraq because Saddam Hussein had bad-mouthed Bush’s father.

We occupied Iraq and got rid of Saddam, but to replace him we sent in an American who knew nothing about Iraq, nothing about the Arab world and nothing about governing a divided, developing country. We dissolved the Iraqi army, the Iraqi government and civil service and then wondered why we were having such a hard time running the country.

One of the ensuing problems for us, unfortunately, was that in ousting the Sunni army officers corps, we ended up helping create ISIS. The senior leadership of this group is in large part made up of Sunni former Iraqi army officers. We are thus responsible, inadvertently, for the formation of ISIS. When do we get out and let the Iraqis run their own affairs? When do we stop our military attacks in Syria and Yemen? Perhaps the reason why we see some Arab Muslims as a threat is because we keep intervening in their countries.

Lambert Heyniger


America, Divided

This country of ours is fast becoming a divided nation. Republicans, Democrats and independents are divided, and have been so for a long time.

All I heard during the campaign season is that we need “change.” Nothing has changed in the Senate or Congress. Still the same old stuff.

A divided country is in danger of cyberattack or a military attack. China and Russia are licking their lips at how we are carrying on with one another. The government is not as concerned about uniting our country, rather how much animosity they can spread.

We the voters have been hoodwinked by those campaign slogans: Make America Great Again, Live the American Dream, etc.

Look around. The Jewish people are under attack again. (Have we forgotten tombstones tipped over, painted on, synagogues spray-painted with swastikas?) Don’t be afraid to speak up. Let government know how you feel.

I for one love my country, and do not like what I see, and until we the people speak our piece, there will be no peace. We believe in our parties, and that’s a freedom we cherish.

We need to get government back on track or the draft should be activated, and men trained for these near-future attacks on our soil.

Russia has the capability to strike. China can strike, and the rogue nations are all trying to create that capability.

United we stand. Divided we die. Let’s get busy to really make America what it once was again.

Gordon Clough


Thanks, Hartford Voters

I would like to express my thanks to the voters of Hartford for re-electing me to the three-year position on the School Board. While we differ on many issues, my opponent, Jeff Arnold, is a good and caring person and I am humbled by the fact that you have chosen me to fill the position. I will do my utmost to carry out the duties and responsibilities that you have entrusted me with.

Peter Merrill


Make Social Security More Secure

We are a group of concerned citizens from Cornish. We are writing our senators, urging them to lift the Social Security payroll cap so that millionaires and billionaires pay the same rate as the rest of us.

Currently, Social Security is funded through a practice that applies only to the first $127,000 of earned annual income. So while the majority of individuals pay on all their income, the super-wealthy do not.

We encourage all readers to contact their senators to “scrap the cap” on Social Security payroll contributions. Because when they do, we’ll be able to extend the lifespan of the Social Security Trust Fund and expand benefits for millions of Americans.

Ilsa Pinkson-Burke

Linda Hammond

Briane Pinkson


The Promised Jobs

On Meet the Press a short while ago, one of President Trump’s top brass was saying that the deportation of immigrants would free up jobs that will be offered to American citizens first.

Most of these jobs are minimum-wage jobs. To Trump and his billionaire team, these are high-paying jobs.

Just think — we will be offered these high-paying jobs like picking strawberries, fruit, lettuce, tomatoes. The bonus jobs will be cleaning rooms, toilets and urinals at the Trump Tower.

This so-called president is very, very unstable, along with his staff. Heaven help us — the politicians won’t.

Robert Pollard


Thumbs Up For Those Who Plow

I just want to give a huge thanks and way to go to all our state, town and local plow guys. You guys rock!

Jack Towne