Stop Health Insurance Scams

No one really gets it when it comes to "health insurance"! What everyone is paying for is exorbitantly inflated illness/crisis care, emergency accident care, questionable drugs and management/insurance administrative costs. It is all a scam. ...

Those opposed to "single payer" health insurance as "socialistic" ought to examine the entire concept of "insurance." Insurance in itself provides false security based on many paying premiums with the likelihood of a few needing to make claims. Thus, all paying into the fund insure that there is enough to pay for the few &emdash; isn't that socialism? This has backfired, partly, in that it tends to negate personal responsibility for one's own care &emdash; good examples are smoking, over-weight, and excessive drinking. Insurance has propped up the inflation of medical and drug costs. If there were no "customers" coming to a business because of excessive costs, that business would have to examine its operations and reduce costs. ...

Our health care system is broken. It will not be improved by propping it up with more and more complicated, multiple insurance-driven schemes. Health care is a personal financial responsibility enhanced by education. "Illness insurance" should be a comprehensive benefit available to all as needed based on the ability to pay for it.

Patsy Kelley
McCall, Idaho


Keep the Flame Alive

The passing of Molly Ivins may leave a hole on a page. But her spirit and what she stood for cannot be silenced. For she expanded the beliefs of many and sparked a fire in the hearts and minds of many people in the United States and elsewhere. Though we may not read her words again or see her face, the spirit and her ideas will go on generation after generation for the truth cannot be stopped and a fire cannot be put out in the heart or the mind.

Saul Einhorn
North Babylon, N.Y.


God Bless Molly

One of the reasons I have enjoyed TPP has been the columns of Molly Ivins. How shocking it was, therefore, to learn of her passing. She was full of wit, an astute observer of the scene for us "average" folks and she always knew exactly how to turn a phrase to get the most out of her words. How she shall be missed and how greatly we can ill afford to lose someone of her ability and stature. God bless you, Molly, and may your spirit stay alive in our hearts.

Rev. John C. Karrer
Sharonville, Ohio.


Lost a Friend

I have been trying to share with you my sorrow over the passing of Molly Ivins. I can't find the right words.

Her books, and her columns in TPP were very important to me and my growing up.

To all of you at The Progressive Populist:

Go easy on yourselves.

Slow down a little

Lighten up on your personal expectations.

Give your grief time to work.

We all have lost a friend.

Take care.

Ron Welsch
Menomonie, Wis.


Raise Hell with a Smile

Of all the obituaries I never wanted to read, Molly Ivins' led the list. She was a large part of the heart and soul of the progressive movement, and her acerbic wit will be sorely missed. As a tribute to her dedication to the heart and soul of America, let us be certain that we keep the Shrub's feet (and other selected portions of his anatomy) to the fire. From now on, let us vow to expose criminals in government no matter where they may hide, and as Molly would have it, "Raise Hell &emdash; but remember to do it with a smile." She will be sorely missed &emdash; who is there with the wit and wisdom to replace her? Somewhere, I hope, there is a rising journalistic star who has been inspired by Molly's spirit, and I hope to see her soon. May Molly's soul rest in peace &emdash; I can think of none that deserves it more.

Edward G. Robles
Franklin, N.C.


Gone Too Soon

I was deeply saddened by the passing of Molly Ivins, who only in your last issue had declared her dedication to writing a regular column addressing item by item where our leaders went wrong regarding the war in Iraq. Not content to dismiss the issue with with the thought that we should never have begun the war in the first place, she took on the challenge of looking the whole mess squarely on to promote understanding, a willingness on the part of the public not to be dragged into such disasters again, and hopefully to promote just solutions.

I first encountered Molly (and "Bubba") in The Nation over 20 years ago. I was immediately struck by the straightforward plain-speaking way she had of clarifying all the double-speak and power machinations of politicians and business interests, how she made me laugh, and how encouraged I felt to take action in any way I could to support such things as she stood for: truth, fairness, shared prosperity and peace. She somehow brought everything down to earth, made it less mysterious and overwhelming, and inspired with her strength and common sense. It was good just knowing she was out there, and I will miss her spirit terribly.

Thank you for carrying her columns and those of other hypocrisy-fighting straight-talking writers like her.

C.C. Halitsky
South Orange, N.J.


Fear Not

Arianna Huffington's "Fear-Mongering Hall of Shame" (10/15/06 TPP) will surely become a classic in fine editorial writing. If I were still teaching journalism, I would have had every student read and analyze it for its clarity and strength.

It is obvious that George Bush, from his very first day in the White House, set out to destroy everything and anything that Franklin Roosevelt had accomplished. It is reminiscent of the Egyptian Pharaohs who chiseled out hated predecessors' names from their obelisks and temples, to deny them any posthumous fame.

Bush's first goal was to eviscerate Social Security despite the fact that it had worked well for 70 years. And, as Ms. Huffington expresses it so well, he set out to sell his goals on a foundation of fear. Instead of Roosevelt's "we have nothing to fear but fear itself," he could have proclaimed in his first inaugural: "Fear is All; All is Fear, that's all you know on earth and all you need to know."

N.Z. Malachias
Pittsburgh, Pa.


Third-World Appalachia

Jim Hightower's column on strip mining in Appalachia [2/15/07 TPP] is a welcome and much needed SOS call   for a beautiful, irreplaceable country that is being needlessly ravaged. Erik Reece's 2006 book, Lost Mountain, outlines a cost-effective reforestation project that in three years reclaimed 1,500 acres in Kentucky alone. It could sustain locally-owned secondary industries, like furniture and cabinet making, if the visionary Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative takes hold &emdash; and if the hemorrhage of jobs to overseas operations can be stopped.

2006 may go down as the year that Appalachia officially entered third-world status, marked by the sale of a vacant furniture factory in Galax, Va., to owners in Spain. It is a gut-wrenching irony that our once-proud furniture industry was reduced to repairing and assembling cheap furniture from China, while thousands of jobs were lost to outsourcing. Now a firm in Spain is outsourcing 25 jobs to Galax, to dry locally grown lumber in kilns, grade and package it and ship it back to Spain. "They won't be manufacturing anything here," a local Realtor said. The London Economist (1/18 and 1/23/07} has twice used the town of Galax as an example of how some parts of the world are left behind in a global economy.

How did we ever get into this mess? How could our elected officials sell out their own people? As American voters demonstrated last November, we can stop electing these yoyos and get someone who won't play footsie with corrupt corporations.

Kyle Noble
Independence, Va.


Nader Not Green Enough

Ralph Nader's article("Greens Must Be Everywhere") in the 2/1/07 issue was emblematic of his overall relationship to the Green Party. Mr. Nader has long held many of the beliefs and championed many of the causes in which Greens believe. He helped bring it into the national spotlight through his presidential candidacy on the Green Party ticket in 1996 and 2000. He continues to support Green candidates.

At the same time, Mr. Nader appears embittered that he was not the Green Party's candidate in 2004 and had to run on other ballot lines. His back-handed compliment of Medea Benjamin's ability to be "here, there and everywhere" apparently blames her for leading a lot of other naive Greens away from him and Peter Camejo (who was his vice-presidential running mate).

The "safe-states" argument that Greens did not run vigorously in all states is highly overblown. The truth is the many Greens would not support Nader for the Green Party ticket because:

1. Mr. Nader is not registered as a Green and many Greens wanted one of their own to run.

2. Mr. Nader refused to campaign as a candidate. Instead he wanted the Green Party to endorse him (as it has done previously). But the party has grown and achieved ballot lines in a number of states. Some state Green parties would have lost those ballot lines without a nominated candidate.

It has taken the Green Party two years to begin to heal the rift caused by the split between the Naderite/all-out faction and the Cobb/so-called safe state's faction. Many Greens would be unappreciative of the kind of sour grapes venting Mr. Nader has done on the pages of The Progressive Populist.

David McCorquodale
Wilmington, Del.
(National delegate to the Green Party US)


Reality Intel

Ray McGovern and Patrick Lang's article (2/1/07 TPP) about the cooking of intelligence to support the reasons for going to war in Iraq reminds me of an article by British writer, Martin Amis in the Guardian, 3/4/03.

Amis claimed that the Bush administration would have had to have known that Saddam had no WMDs in order to invade. After all, if [Saddam] had them, he could have been expected to use them as he had in the past. That would have precluded the war on the cheap, casualty-wise, that George, like his father, needed to sustain his image.

Well, war on the cheap did not happen anyway, but my point is that there are two types of intelligence, one for public consumption and the other for reality. So maybe there is a whistleblower, a la Daniel Ellsberg, about to emerge from the woodwork with documentation proving that Bush and Cheney knew there were no WMDs. Wow, wouldn't that heat the cauldron for impeachment?

Bernie Feldman
Watsonville, Calif.


No Immunity

Even if Saddam and his army had surrendered unconditionally; even if soon thereafter the Iraqis had formed a unity government; even if oil production had been resumed and subsequently enhanced; even if there was reconstruction and a building "boom"; even if there was no insurgency and opposition; even if the new Iraq would have signed a peace agreement with Israel; even if Iraq agreed to settle war claims by Kuwait and Iran; even if the new Iraq could govern, sustain and defend herself, it still does not remove from Bush the charge of committing "a supreme international crime" as defined by the Nuremberg Court. (See article by Ray McGovern & Patrick Lang, 2/1/07 TPP.) Perversion of truth, whatever the end results, must be viewed as just that &emdash; a perversion. The players must be called to account &emdash; NO IMMUNITY!

G.M. Chandu
Flushing, N.Y.


Go Organic

Re: Margot Ford McMillen's "Clone Wars Continued" [2/1/07 TPP], yes, big business is in control to the detriment of the people not only here in the good old USA, but all over the world. Last year, a group of us were invited to see a film on this subject. One of the points made was the nutritional value of these cloned crops. These entrepreneurs found they had a large surplus and decided it could be beneficially used by the many starving people in Africa and shipped tons of the stuff to these nutritionless natives. They were very grateful for the handout. However, after several months, it was found that there was no improvement in their condition. They were still starving to death as there was no nutrition in these cloned food products. So when you eat your daily breakfast cereal, you are not really getting all the good things printed on your box of cereal. You can change to organics, but it must be at least 90% organic. Read the fine print when you buy organic labelled food.

Blanche Alpert
Sun City West, Ariz.


In "Netroots say 'Don't tread on me,'" in the 2/15/07 TPP, the article notes that the FCC in 2003 voted 3-2 along party lines for "Powell's rules" allowing more media consolidation. That refers to rules advanced by then-Chairman Michael Powell. We're sorry for the confusion.


From The Progressive Populist, March 1, 2007

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