I want to congratulate you on your editorial in the 6/1/06 issue. You are right on target. I have been telling our Democratic candidates that universal single-payer health insurance, alone, could clinch the vote for them.
However, your article has an error. In the last paragraph, you state "Medicare already covers the clients with the biggest health problems &endash;- seniors over 65. Medicaid already covers families below the poverty level as well as disabled people." If only that were so! Unfortunately, unless seniors can afford co-insurance, besides Medicare, they are just one major illness away from bankruptcy; and now that the Republicans have clamped down on the individual's use of bankruptcy (even though they haven't done a thing to clip the wings of by far the biggest abusers of the bankruptcy laws: the corporations) those seniors are apt to become destitute. And, since they also cut back on the money available for Medicaid (so that they could give tax cuts to the wealthiest, which includes our president and vice-president) the poor can no longer count on being cared for when they are ill or injured.
A single-payer system could save America $286 billions (yes, with a "B") per year on its health costs, if they had such a system, even including all those 46 million working poor [who are now uninsured], plus the 1.7 million veterans and their families (so much for "Support the Troops!") who are uninsured, according to joint research by Harvard Medical School and Public Citizen.
Of course, the big saving is that all doctors' and hospital bills go to just one bureaucracy in each state for processing, eliminating the profit-driven insurance-company middle-men. Another big saving is caused by the availability of PREVENTIVE care, which is much cheaper than caring for patients with advanced diseases, due to lack of preventive care. Canadians (who have single-payer insurance) get to choose their own doctors (which patients in our HMOs can't).
Canada's system was one of the best in the world, until our hospital administrators went up to raid their supply of doctors and nurses, promising them a $5,000 bonus, free shipment of household goods, free rent for the first year that they worked in the US, and higher wages. It takes a very altruistic person to refuse all that. As a result, Canada now has a dire shortage of doctors and nurses, causing even longer waits for medical services than we have to cope with here. With the most expensive medical system in the world, we rank 37th in quality of care, according to the World Health Organization. Even impoverished Cuba has a lower infant mortality rate than we! And both Canadians and British citizens live longer, and have less serious diseases than we. And, what should be the clincher, such a system would be business-friendly, for both big and small businesses.
Canadian health insurance companies tried to defeat a government-run system, but they have managed to survive by insuring the medical luxuries, such as private or semi-private hospital rooms, travel insurance and the more frivolous kinds of cosmetic surgery.
My thanks for your excellent newspaper. I am addicted to it!
St. Augustine, Fla.
Yesterday, in Washington, D.C., the home of our once greater nation, Congress blew hot air around the chambers to pass an amendment to declare in effect, "The war on terror is a worldwide effort that must continue indefinitely to assure the safety and wellbeing of the American people." Nothing could be further from the truth.
We have passed yet another emergency "supplemental" spending allocation of $94.5 billion to support the fundamentally immoral, unilateral, undeclared, unapproved invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan. The poor victims of Hurricane Katrina located in that part of this country George W. Bush once referred to as, "that part of the world" were allocated a sprinkling of funds to squelch any murmurings to mount a filibuster. What happened to the courage displayed by our founding fathers in the Constitution? President Bush has pulverized that great document.
We are not supporting the troops. We are sending them off to die in President Bush's illegal mission to establish a military presence in the second-richest oil country in the Middle East. Supporting President Bush's mission is annihilating our troops. The bait-and-switch tactic of associating support for the mission with support for the troops is as devious as the lying basis for the war itself. It is as insidious as fighting al Qaeda in Afghanistan by invading Iraq.
It is a sign of the decline in our cultural values that we are now consuming our children for oil. I predict -- in fact, I pray -- that we will "cut and run" from Iraq as we should, just as we fled Vietnam. The shame that we will rightfully and collectively feel will make Vietnam look like a victory. The victory in Vietnam is that we got out, just as we should get out of Iraq and get the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld triumvirate out of office before they rip the country apart. The American people are patriots. Our leaders are cannibals for Mammon.
Lt., USMC, retired (Barely!)
Ted Rall's column ("How Did You Vote on the War, Daddy?," 7/1/06 TPP) describes very well how Bush convinced 373 Congress members [296 in the House and 77 in the Senate] to support the war on Iraq. One more reason that Bush tried to justify his attack on Saddam was by claiming that Saddam supports the Palestinian bombers by giving cash rewards to the family of such bombers if they die in the process. Saddam may have given such cash awards but for Bush to frame it as the sole reason for such bombing shows how far he is from the realities of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. If it was for cash rewards then Bush should be asked to explain the reason why such unfortunate bombings still continue months after Saddam has been out of power. In a radio interview with Rush Limbaugh on Aug. 30, 2004, Bush again used the "Saddam's Reward" story to justify his war. Strangely enough on the very same morning there was a report of two suicide bombings in Israel but Bush was undeterred and stuck to his theory. Rush Limbaugh of course did not contradict him and tell him that "look, Mr. President, Saddam is out of circulation, who then rewards the suicide bombers?" We expected that from Limbaugh but where were the 373 Congress members on this?. Mr. Rall is right -- they should all hang down their heads in shame -- all accessories in the death of 2535 US soldiers.
Our government shouldn't squander trillions for the war in Iraq and some more trillions for permanent bases there (for what?! They want us out of their country!) -- but instead, it should use the money for solving the problems in our own country.
The influx of the Mexican immigrants has to be addressed not by putting military to the borders, but using resources and the money (foolishly spent for the Iraq war) to create plenty of possibilities and opportunities, thoughtfully organizing and planning to make these people a plus for our country.
We wouldn't have to worry that the immigrants are eating up our benefits. They are working for their living, and pretty hard, doing jobs many of our people don't want. And they are young. We are a nation with millions of seniors.
The requirements for an assimilation would include: first and foremost, to learn our language. And then to submit entirely to the rules, law and order of this country. Otherwise deportation.
But we can't "stay the course" in the Middle East. There is too much treasure and blood spent already. We just keep on losing. We have to concentrate on our problems right here at home and solve them.
Lisa K. Zencoe
Lake Worth, Fla.
I sponsored a Mexican immigrant in the successful 1986 amnesty. A benefit to America when the immigrant I sponsored filed his income taxes was that his employer had to turn in the taxes and Social Security withholding. The same benefit occurs when Mexicans are here at least five years because of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and are allowed to bring their families in for citizenship.
The root cause of undocumented immigration is the NAFTA repeal of Mexico's agricultural tariffs. The United States' federally subsidized corn and potatoes flooded Mexican markets, putting their farmers out of business. US manufacturing firms that went to Mexico have since gone to China. NAFTA and all free-trade agreements with nations that have no weapons of mass destruction include secret tribunals that fine those nations that pass environmental protection or safety laws that may reduce a private investor's profit. This is a violation of national sovereignty and self-determination and should be abolished.
With restored tariffs, Mexico and the other nations will have the means to fund their own governments. Their quality of life would rise, and the need to migrate to their provinces in the north will be reduced.
Joseph J. Kuciejczyk
St. Louis, Mo.
I wonder what it will take for some of our citizens to wake up to the damage being done to our democracy. It may be too late to gain back what we've lost, which is a terrifying thought indeed. It makes me wonder how money means so much to the media owners that they can't see what's happening. Is there no limit to this greed?
Overland Park, Kan.
As a substantial portion of the public wrings its hands over the perfidy caused by the Bush administration, one of our ongoing complaints is its failure to hold those leaders accountable for their wrongheaded decisions. It doesn't matter whether the fiasco is Katrina, the Iraq war, domestic spying, massive corruption for favorite corporations like Halliburton, or exposing CIA operatives, those responsible for these blunders, with the exception of "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job," are still on the job. And yet TPP commits that same blunder by printing Ralph Nader's blurb on the Dixie Chicks ["Gospel According to Dixie Chicks," 7/1/06 TPP]. Nader, more than anyone else in the country, including Karl Rove, is responsible for George Bush being our president. Nader's egoistic simile that Gore and Bush were like Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, drove a fallacious knife through the Left. His pig-headedness caused so much harm in the 2000 election that his previous fine works have been negated. No one has called Nader to task for his folly, including this periodical by publishing his writings.
Editor Replies: As we've said before, Nader was not responsible for Bush's election. Those who scapegoat Nader ignore that Al Gore carried Florida in 2000, as independent media studies showed. The Florida vote should have resulted in Gore's election, but the US Supreme Court stopped the state from verifying that fact. As for Nader's column, we think he offers trenchant analysis, but if his bipartisan criticism offends you, simply don't read it! It's on page 19 every issue. Just skip over his column. By the way, Nader contributes the very modest fee for his column to a non-profit organization, but if you want to make sure none of your subscription profits him even indirectly, you may deduct one nickel from your annual subscription fee. That will more than cover your share of his honorarium.
I was about to forward your website to recommend your particular slant on progressive politics to a friend when I noticed the quoting an article from DailyKos.com favorably comparing President Truman to our present presidential pretender. May I remind TPP that it was Truman that first established our present national security state, using atomic weapons as an extensions of diplomacy, scrapping the detente established at Yalta, instituting loyalty oaths and suppressing the American left and creating a siege mentality by waging war solely on presidential authority in the most suspicious of circumstances. We have not arrived at our present plight without having watched the process ripen over the last 60 years.
Editor's Note: The June 6 item at populist.com juxtaposed quotes from Bush and Truman as if they were in a debate. Harry got the better of George.
A slight correction in your 6/1/06 Dispatches. Yes, good ol' US Rep. Virgil Goode [who received $6,000 from a former executive of MZM Inc., the defense contractor which was at the center of the Duke Cunningham bribery scandal] was a Democrat for years, as was his daddy before him. But several years ago, Virgil decided to be an independent. Then, about six years ago, he switched to the GOP. You could think flip-flop. We Virginians call it easing into the boot.
Lucy Ann Price, PhD.
Now that the major political parties are agreed that we should leave Iraq and that only the date of that departure is in question, the time has come to find out how the Iraqi feel about the matter.
The UN has the machinery in place to supervise a vote of all adult Iraqi citizens currently living in that country. Let the vote be taken, and if the majority wants us to leave, that will settle the matter once and for all.
As President Bush has said, our mission was accomplished over three years ago, and we are there now only because the Iraqi people want us there.
If they tell us otherwise, then we'll leave. It's as simple as that.
John A. Broussard
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