The rollout of the long-awaited Robert Mueller report has been another sad chapter of the Trump era.

The American people were treated to a misleading and embarrassing spin on the report by Attorney General William Barr, who decided to engage in self-serving boot-licking by parroting his master's phrase, "no collusion."

Once read by those with open eyes, however, the report detailed instance after instance of abuse of power and brazen corruption in our executive branch. It paints a portrait of a president so bad at his job, so dishonorable, that his salvation came only due to the fact that his staffers refused in some cases to carry out his orders. That in itself shows that the country is now being run to a large extent by officials we never elected, a breakdown in the system.

Now, with the investigation over and those staffers replaced, Trump will be able to do what he wants with fewer obstacles.

The report confirms that the big news stories on Trump over the past few years were not, in fact, fake news.

The report states as fact what we already knew, which is that Russia worked to manipulate our last presidential election in favor of Trump. One question is why Russian President Vladimir Putin favors Trump.

If Russia's goal was to divide Americans and diminish the image of our nation as a beacon of liberty and morality, it has succeeded beyond its wildest hopes.

The question could further be asked why conservatives find it acceptable that our president is the first choice of our adversaries on the world stage.

Lawmakers in Washington should take action based on this report. If nothing else, they could put forth legislation aimed at improving or restoring our system of checks and balances to ensure that our presidents are not above the law, as Barr seems to believe.

Somehow, we need to begin the work of restoring our government's integrity in the eyes of its citizens and the world.


Legislature honors Camden Herald for 150th anniversary

It was quite a thing to witness from the gallery of the State House Thursday, April 18, representatives from all over the state standing and applauding for the 150th anniversary of The Camden Herald.

Rep. Vicki Doudera, Democrat of Camden, backed by many other local legislators, presented a special sentiment to the House honoring the paper.

We recently celebrated the anniversary of The Camden Herald, which was first published Feb. 6, 1869, with a special feature article, which inspired Doudera to take this action. She was also kind enough to invite representatives from the newspaper to be her guests Thursday morning at the Legislature's session.

"I think all of us would agree that now more than ever, our hometown newspapers play a critical role," she said on the State House floor. "Warren Buffet invested more than $300 million in local newspapers a few years ago, and here’s what he said: 'If you want to know what’s going on in your town — whether the news is about the mayor or taxes or high school football — there is no substitute for a local newspaper. Wherever there is a pervasive sense of community, a paper that serves the special informational needs of that community will remain indispensable…'"

Obviously, since it honors us, we appreciate this gesture, but our goal in writing about it in this space is more than just self-serving.

It is quite a remarkable thing in this political climate to see an elected official honoring a newspaper and to see the state's House of Representatives applaud for it. This is a tone shift for Augusta, to be sure, a clear indication that the press is no longer seen as the enemy.

It was an act of leadership, in that it helped unite people, and that is refreshing in a time when our national leaders seek to lead by sowing division.

It would be easy to be cynical and dismiss this as a feel-good moment or an attempt to curry favor, but we believe there are many in our towns and among our lawmakers who still appreciate the work of local newspapers. They see their value in reflecting and maintaining that "pervasive sense of community."

So we appreciate the gesture and the hope that it represents.


We only get one environment

Monday was Earth Day 2019, and residents in the Midcoast have shown their interest in promoting a healthy environment with cleanup efforts and by voting in bans on single-use plastic bags in some of our local municipalities.

But of course much more needs to be done. The Maine Teen Advocacy Coalition will hold a climate march in downtown Camden, Saturday, April 27, at 10 a.m.

Young people from around the world and right here in the Midcoast have been organizing to raise awareness of the need to drastically reduce carbon emissions that are fueling climate change. Their voices matter, because they are the ones who will reap what their elders have sown through failed policies and delusional levels of denial.

To simply celebrate the environment once a year at this point would be like someone with serious illnesses congratulating themselves for participating in the Great American Smokeout one day a year. Every day needs to be Earth Day going forward.

You can act with your votes, supporting candidates and ballot items that are good for the environment. You can vote with your dollars, supporting businesses that operate in a sustainable way. You can help by raising your voice to promote truth over misinformation.

That said, we do believe that many in this community deserve credit for their efforts and the positive steps we have taken in recent years. Keep the faith.