Franklin Countys First News

Letter to the Editor: A lesson from history

What would you think of the leader of a nation who constantly preyed on people's fears, warning them repeatedly of evils in their midst that only he can control, he can prevent?

Who identified a religious minority as the enemy, suggesting they must be rigorously controlled and dealt with, by him, lest they bring disaster to the nation?

Who belittled the press and broadcast media, denigrating their skills and accuracy, accusing them of outright dishonesty and calling them untrustworthy, unfair and biased?

Who expressed his disapproval of judges and the courts when they interfered or disagreed with his goals, complaining of their unfairness, criticizing their competence and claiming they did not serve the best interests of the nation?

Who insisted, over and over, that he – and he alone – had a directive from the people to do whatever was necessary to protect their interests, their well being and their safety?

Bring anyone to mind?

Dick Matthews

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31 Responses »

  1. @Nerf: Kidding, right?

  2. DICK! You nailed it Precisely, the empty suit we had to bare for 8 years previously.

    Nuff Said...

  3. I agree with Nerf.... Trump will be a great President.. He has a lot of repairing to do after 8 years of Obama!!! Dick I would like to know whats wrong with making money , and putting people back to work ? Everybody cant get a free living.. Welfare is not a way of life

  4. Steven, I think there's nothing at all wrong with making money and creating more jobs and greater prosperity, and I wish Trump all the best in achieving those aims. But that's not what my letter is about. It's about some of the other things he's doing that I find so alarming. Marginalizing the press is a classic strategy of autocratic governments, as is playing on people's fears to justify a personal agenda. And putting down the courts? What's that but a sideways slap at this nation's separation of powers, a wisdom of governance firmly stated in our Constitution. If he'd abandon such dangerous, quasi-dictatorial behavior I'd be more inclined to "give him a chance."

  5. Dick, this is a well written statement, followed by, what I find, very disappointing, and sad responses showing clear . . . shall I say 'misunderstanding' of what is happening. The parallels in history are astounding, and astoundingly ignored.

  6. Obama comes to mind but he has gone away and we are safe again...

  7. Dick, name 3 things in 8 years that Obama did that helped the country. Trump has done more in 21 days that Obama did in 8 years....go Trump and don't stop!! I already feel positive thing like my 401 has increased nicely this month...

  8. Mr. Mathews, thank you for your remarks.
    Politicians usually try to frighten the citizens. That is how they get things done. Obama did it. Think of climate change.

    The Muslims are hardly a minority. There are more than a billion of them on earth. We do have something to fear from Muslim Terrorists. Think of the thousands who died at 911, and the other outrages committed by them here, in Europe and around the world.

    There is ample evidence of false news, careless reporting, and half-truthing in the main stream press. A lot of belittling of the press is well deserved.

    As for who belittles judges. They all do from time to time.

    As for denigrating judges, even supreme court judges, remember Obama at one of his state of the nation deliveries.

    Mr. Trump won the Presidency rather convincingly. His win was spawned by a reaction to eight years of the presidency of a glib, serially mendacious (you can keep your doctor….),often weird, feckless, incompetent, dithering, president who doesn’t really like America. Trump’s win was a natural reaction to the work of his predecessor. At least Trump seems to have common sense, so let’s see what he can do. Trump does have a “directive from the people to do whatever was necessary to protect their interests, their well being and their safety” He won the election
    I have read the Koran, two different translations. In it are the seeds of the present problem with Muslims. Not all of them would like to see a world caliphate where we would all be ruled by Sharia Law, it is true. But one can easily find in that text the impetus for what some of them would like to do to us. The justification for beheadings, stoning’s, mass killings of non-believers, Christians, Jews, Yazidis, Buddhists, Hindus,
    polytheists, and atheists can be found there. Common sense dictates we must be very careful and exercise caution.

    Dr. Bill Reid
    New Sharon

  9. For those living in an alternate universe: Obama’s Top 50 Accomplishments: Eliminated Osama bin Laden, Kicked Banks Out of Federal Student Loan Program, Expanded Pell Grant Spending,
    Passed Credit Card Reforms, Pushed Broadband Coverage, Expanded Health Coverage for Children, Expanded Stem Cell Research, etc., etc.

    "The Nation He Built
    A POLITICO review of Barack Obama’s domestic policy legacy—and the changes he made while nobody was paying attention.
    By MICHAEL GRUNWALD January/February 2016"

  10. Thank You, Bill Reid! I Agree.

  11. great letter dick! and , of course, hiltler!

  12. Have people forgotten the mess that Obama had to deal with after 8 years of George Bush? Have they forgotten the housing crisis, the wars (the lies of 'weapons of mass destruction') and the failing economy? Families lost their homes and young people lost their lives in needless wars. Obama wasn't perfect, but we now have a healthy economy, more jobs and low unemployment, plus healthcare for everyone. What has Trump given us? Chaos, chaos, and more chaos.

  13. Our President.

    I heard Micheal Moore (activist) say that Trump being elected is going to cause the biggest "F YOU" in history.... And it's going to be sooo much fun.
    We're seeing that being put into action now. I guess this is "fun" to them.

    But I have a question about this.


    I say it's their own fault for blindly backing a corrupt candidate that was dishonestly supported by a corrupt system (DNC).

    Their candidate shouted "WHEN THEY GO LOW,, WE GO HIGH!!

    OK...I'm still waiting to see that. From any part of them.

    Was it when they swindled Bernie Sanders out of any chance of gaining the nomination).
    (That used to be called a crime..swindling).

    Maybe it was when they accepted the debate questions ahead of time for a huge advantage?
    (That used to be called cheating).

    Or was it when Clinton referred to Americans as irredeemable deplorables.
    (Coming from the likes of her!!??......OK)

    On and on and on.....It went.
    And you guys were fine with this???

    Still waiting.

    THE WAY THEY ARE ACTING NOW... just leads me to believe their next "offering" will ONLY be a "better polished" wolf in sheep's clothing.
    More Trickery. More Dishonesty. More Childish Arrogance. More hysterical screaming.

    You would think the shock of losing to someone like Trump would cause some real change there..

    They're blaming everyone but themselves.
    Shouting everyone else down.
    Apparently they didn't learn a thing.
    Just look at them now.
    They are nothing but part of the problem.
    Looks Deplorable to me.


    Remember what Mr Moore said...
    Remember what your candidate said...
    "Right back atcha!"
    But to me..It's not fun. But I'm getting used to it now.
    I will gladly support a better candidate..
    But you guys have some big changes to make.
    Or Else.......... More of the same.

    Open your eyes.

  14. Dr. Bill,
    I have to challenge some. if not all of your statements.
    Climate change is real, I don't need the agreement of 98 % of climate scientists to know this I see it in when I go to ocean and see the erosion caused by rising sea levels and in the early frost free days in the spring and fall. The effects of climate change are creating major disruptions in local weather leading to political instability in many areas of the world. My source on this is a report by the US military.
    Muslims make up about 3 million of the 323 million Americans or about 1% which seems like a minority to me.
    The main stream press like all human institutions has it faults but when they make errors they print retractions. I am wondering what the basis is for your statement or is it just your opinion.
    Mr Obama did not attack the Judges on the Supreme court personally he criticized the Citizen's united decision .
    He lost the popular vote by 3 million and his margins in the states that gave him a victory in the electoral college were quite narrow.
    I congratulate you on reading two translations of the Koran. Much like the Bible, it contains many contradictory statements and can be interpreted in many different ways depending on the bias of the reader.
    I would agree that Muslims with extremest views pose a threat along with right and left wing extremists from this country. We need the cooperation of the Muslim community to prevent terrorist activity and demonizing them does not incline them to be helpful.

  15. Why do we want terrorists coming into our country? Why should we support refugees or foreign folks who never have paid one cent of tax.. they come into USA and we house and feed them and send them to school on our dime when our own American kids can't afford to go.. that's stupid and unethical if you ask me.. I believe that is what Trump is trying to stop and good for him!!!

  16. Obviously Dick Matthews is talking about Donald Trump. It is not very hard to figure that out. I think that Mr. Trump should have read the United States Constitution before he decided to run for President. The way he is jumping into things, I don't think that he has a clue of what is in the Constitution. I fear that we are in for a long four years. Hopefully in that time , if we are all still around, the voters will see the type of person that he is. I don't understand why people didn't see the type of person he was during the campaign. But we have to remember that he didn't win the popular vote even though he won't admit to it.

  17. "Who belittled the press and broadcast media, denigrating their skills and accuracy, accusing them of outright dishonesty and calling them untrustworthy, unfair and biased"

    I know right? How dare anyone question the performance of the press. Like when CNN gave Hillary the debate questions beforehand. They did that very skillfully and accurately. Or when Obama was videotaped last fall winking at illegal immigrants who thought they had a right to vote (they don't, Democrats, just in case you didn't know). Obama basically told them, go ahead and vote, you won't be caught. And guess who immediately defended him? CNN. That's right, CNN, the Clinton News Network, defended Obama's blatant and enthusiastic encouragement of massive voter fraud. And then when Trump brings up the POSSIBILITY that California and NY had voter fraud, CNN says how DARE you, Mr. Cheeto Hitler.

    But you're right Dick. The media are beyond reproach. Their skills and accuracy should be respected by all.

  18. It is extremely difficult to argue with those adherents to the religionof climate change because it is not based on science, but on emotion. Let us grant, FOR THE MOMENT that climate change is happening. So what? The climate is always changing. The climate on earth has, very likely, changed tens of thousands of times over many millions of years. What is the ideal temperature of the Earth? Who knows? Remember that back in the 1970’s scientists predicted an ICE AGE !!!!!

    The reason people get alarmed is that the claim is draped in vague emotional raiments. “Climate change will destroy the Earth” I have heard stated. What does that mean? Will there be an empty orbit between Venus and Mars? Remember that the earlier name for this faith was called “global warming,” a term that was abandoned a while back because there was no evidence of it and it had lost its political punch. The fallback is the vaguer term “climate change.”

    We are given another emotional claim. “The effects of climate change are creating major disruptions in local weather leading to political instability in many areas of the world.” This claim is a pretty good example of the Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc fallacy. Can’t these “major disruptions” just be the natural course of weather? And if so could these facts be the cause of “political instability?” Or perhaps it is merely a coincidence, just a coincidence, and the “political instability” is the result of another cause or causes we are unaware of. It could be that “political instability” is normal and it always goes on. We just don’t always notice it.

    The climate change, may be a good thing. Why not? There is a chance we might benefit in Maine if it changes the right way. Notice the adherents don’t say in what ways. Should optimists welcome climate change? Should pessimists fear climate change.

    We need a good dose of skepticism when we consider the notion of climate change.

  19. For all of you who have such strong opinions/feelings.....if you feel so strongly on issues why the glib pen names? Why not stand for what you believe and use your real given names? Just wondering, thanks.

  20. It matters not to me one bit whether some uses a " real " name or some pen name. The opinion is still just that, an opinion. Then again, that is only just my opinion and I respect your question Jeremy.

  21. Kudos to you bill reid!

  22. Dr. Reid,
    To the best of my knowledge there is no religion of climate change. You claim to have science on your side but you can cite no reputable scientific sources for your opinion. Climate change will not destroy the earth as it is very likely to exist for the next several billion years. It may, however, destroy human civilization which has developed in a period of relatively low variability
    It is true that climate change may bring local benefits but on the whole the effect is negative because we are adapted to current climate. Rapid climate change will stress current systems. Whether they can adjust remains to be seen but prudence would argue for a more effort to mitigate the causes and slow the process. I wonder why you are so opposed to accepting the notion of a climate that is changing as a result of human activity. As far as I know you don't work for an oil or coal company. We don't have any of these in Maine.
    In regards to climate exacerbating regional conflict I would refer you to an article in the NY Times about the origins of the war in Syria. Here is the link Climate change may not be the only cause but it can be a contributing factor..

  23. Climate change: absolutely real, no question, no doubt. Man's influence on the climate by way of fossil fuel consumption: no question, no doubt there is some influence. Big question: How much of the climate change we are seeing is due to man freeing up CO2 that has been locked up in coal, oil, and gas? Difficult to tell, can be calculated for the short term, and carefully measured on the long term.

    Estimates for 2013 for total metric tons of CO2 produced in the world, by using coal, petroleum and natural gas were: 33,003 MILLION Metric tons of CO2 put into the atmosphere.

    Thats a lot of zeroes: 33,003,000,000 metric tones of CO2 Is that enough to influence the climate? 33 billion tons of CO2 per year?

    How much CO2 are we liberating each year with our combustion of hydrocarbons Dr Reid? Where does it all go?

    Please see:
    before its removed by the current folks in DC

    What are the energy-related carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels for the United States and the world?

    Energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by type of fossil fuel in million metric tons and share of total in 2013:

    United States World
    Amount Share of total Amount Share of total
    Total from fossil fuels 5,402 33,003
    Coal 1,718 32% 14,230 43%
    Natural gas1 1,415 26% 6,941 21%
    Petroleum 2,269 42% 11,832 36%
    (PS Coal is the highest emitter of CO2 per energy unit produced)

    Learn more:
    International energy statistics

    Is the climate changing beneficial, or detrimental? Great question, one that may depend on your location, and whether or not you care at all for others. Maine will have a longer growing season, without a doubt. But as the climate continues to warm, you had better move away from the near coastal areas in many parts of the world, where millions of people live. How much Maine coastline will be lost with a three foot change in can levels as the glaciers , and polar ice caps melt?

    If you care at all about others, showing some concern for the millions of at risk people in this ever shrinking work of ours, may be a good thing. As the migrations may intensify, turmoil and high economic cost will likely follow.

    As this current administration plays their alternative facts game with smoke and mirrors, their current stance on climate change and the environment will certainly give them plenty of smoke!

  24. I've read these many comments and I think many of you are tortured. I believe much of this angst is caused by not understanding a lot. I don't mean to insult anyone.

    There is much I could say about carbon dioxide, inundation of the coasts, maltreatment of Polar bears, global warming, etc. but why would I bother to do that .

    To ease the angst of many of you I recommend you read quotations of the Stoic Epictetus and think about them to ease your concerns. For starters just go and read the quotes found at : I would recommend also reading the views of Pyrhho of Elis and passages from the Roman Philosopher Sextus Empiricus.

    Those who are tormented about "climate change" read them and, ,with luck, you will achieve some peace of mind.

    Dr. Bill Reid

  25. Since the title of this discussion is A lesson from history, let me remind everyone of some history that is usually conveniently forgotten. It is forgotten because the greatest PR triumph of the 20th century was to convince most people that 'Nazi' was shorthand for violent, right-wing extremist.

    But the word is sort of an abbreviation of the German words for National Socialist or National Socialism. As a political party and individually, they were violent and extreme.

    In summary: a Nazi really is a violent, left-wing extremist. Although today there are many similar people around, Trump isn't one of them. Throughout the campaign, after the election, and since the inauguration, the violence has all been coming from those opposing Trump. I doubt there is even one person who thinks Trump is a leftist. Extremist might be apt, because the word has come to mean anyone who does not agree with the Left's agenda.

    By extension: Hitler is more like Bernie Sanders with a funny mustache, a big dose of megalomania and a boatload of antisemitism.

    Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
    ~ George Santayana

  26. Well stated, Frostproof.

  27. Dear Frostproof and Dr. Reed,
    Your characterization of Nazism as left wing socialism is not in agreement with the majority of modern scholars who place it on the far right of the political spectrum. I refer you to the Wikipedia article. The socialism in the the title is hardly the socialism of Bernie Sanders.
    The number of violent incidents that can be considered hate crimes have dramatically increased with the Trump election. In the 2 weeks after the election some 700 incidents were recorded and of those 27 were directed at Trump supporters the rest at other minority groups.

    “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.”

    ― Daniel Patrick Moynihan

  28. Mr. Miller, your modern scholars are those, or their descendants, who scored that PR triumph I alluded to. Since they are the foxes guarding this historical henhouse, it is in their best interest to perpetuate the fiction.

    The Nazi party was a little to the right of the Communist party in the 1920s to early 1930s, hardly the far right. Their platforms differed in only one significant respect: the Nazis refused to bend knee to Moscow. Hence the national adjective.

    After the unmourned death of Nazism, the banner of violence and hatred was immediately picked up and waved ever since by Stalin, Mao, Castro, and a long list of lesser tinpot dictators on the far left. Today those modern scholars count as a violent incident when some cupcake student refuses to go to class because of election-induced stress.

    Our democracy is strong enough to withstand any enemy. What may be its undoing are all the new friends, acquired since election day, who seem hell-bent on ripping it apart in order to save it.