Insurance Doesn't Work

Re: "Saving Private Insurance" [by Philip Mattera, 3/15/07 TPP]: Private Health Insurance ... if oxymoron were a board game, that phrase would certainly be a triple word score!

"Private"? Not hardly, not when the megacorporations that dominate the "Health Care Industry" (what are we -- widgets ... cogs?) are aggressively lobbying for the right to inspect the integrity of our DNA before they'll issue a policy! Is it just me, or does that not have a creepy kind of Master Race feel about it?

"Health"? Depends on whose health you're talking about, ours or the morbidly obese CEO "compensation packages"?

"Insurance"? What a scam! But don't take my word for it ... take the time (and a Xanax) to read any one of your policies (auto, health, home) and just count the number of times the phrase "excluding, but not limited to ..." appears. Then take another Xanax.

I have been totally without health care insurance for almost 13 years now, ever since my comfortable middle-class job was belt-tightened, consolidated, downsized, off-shored, outsourced, productivity-enhanced and/or streamlined (and, yeah, thanks a buttload, Bill) out of existence. During the two months of Cobra coverage (with my former employer's crappy HMO ... enough said) I paid through the nose for, I looked into so many private health plans that I started to dream in small print. The best of the lot was going to cost me $400 a month. Or $4,800 a year. Or $62,400 to date (without the inevitable rate hikes.) ...

By way of contrast, I have spent less than $6,000 out of my own pocket for all of my medical and dental needs in those 13 years. I've had the freedom to pick my own doctors (no small feat, either, convincing some of them that a lowly widget would indeed pay her bill ...), and to participate in decisions relating to my health.

Weird thing is, most of my doctors seem to enjoy this short-on-paperwork, long-on-care arrangement. With me, they get to be doctors, not glorified pill pushers. Minus that HMO, PPO and BS mandate to zip through consultations faster than a French Bullet train, they're able to spend a lot more time with me, discussing my health concerns.

Save Private Insurance? Why bother? It doesn't work.

J.L. Stone
Laceys Spring, Ala.


Gun Paranoia

This is in response the Pat Wray's column "What Every Presidential Candidate Should Know About Gun Owners" [4/1/07 TPP]. What I learn from his piece is that gun owners continue to be paranoid. The idea that we may need guns to fight against our own government is, of course, laughable, but it is the sort of scare tactic employed by the NRA.

The self-defense argument is another canard. One almost never reads or hears about a crime being prevented because the potential victim has a gun. We are much more likely to read about a 6-year-old shooting this 3-year-old brother because his gun-owning father left his loaded weapon in plain view.

Jean and Dick Doub
Wilmette, Ill.


Population Control

I don't fault Dave Zweifel at all for celebrating his fourth grandchild and the technology that made its conception possible ["Thank God for In-Vitro Babies," 04/01/07 TPP]. He simply is representative of a culture that has not yet comprehended the grave problems it faces, in this case, a human population that is currently unsustainable and is growing at an alarming rate.

Our culture is either oblivious to or in deep denial of the ways that adding almost eighty million persons to our planet each year exacerbates all the problems -- poverty, terrorism, environmental degradation, global warming, and more -- that progressive folks are working to overcome.

While the growth rate of the United States (only about half of which is due to immigration) is less than those of many other countries, the impact of our growth rate is significant since we use many more resources per capita than any other country.

We ignore and deny this problem at our peril. We should work for progressive populism, not progressive population!

Peace on Earth, Peace with Earth,

Kim Carlyle
Barnardsville, N.C.


Impeachment Timing

Sadly, I've come to realize that for impeachment to work, it would have to be either simultaneous or Bush first, followed quickly by Cheney. Unfortunately, with an imminent impeachment, there is no way to stop Cheney from resigning first, to be replaced by McCain or some other war mongering hawk, a la Nixon/Ford, defeating the whole purpose.

I expect Nancy Pelosi, remembering the lessons from Gerald Ford, realizes that a short term in the Oval Office might just be a career ender for her, explaining why she put impeachment on the table.

I appreciate Ralph Nader's take on Hillary Clinton, a person who leaves me underwhelmed whenever she speaks, but I wasn't quite sure why until I read Nader's piece. I am hoping for insightful pieces on all of the candidates, Republicans and Democrats, in the future.

Barbara J. Lee
Lees Summit, Mo.


Pesticides and Elderly

I recently researched housing for my parents, both 88 years old, and discovered pesticides are used inside apartment buildings. They spray the halls, and elsewhere, with pesticides! I know pesticides are used inside nursing homes, and other senior citizen facilities, which is why I am trying very hard to avoid my parents living in these types of places. I am aghast that these poisons are used around anyone, especially the elderly. 

Our family discovered the hard way that pesticides are poisonous to people -- we used them, and were poisoned by them. We then discovered being poisoned by pesticides made us sensitive or allergic to cleaning compounds, disinfectants, and other everyday products; the EPA classifies disinfectants and sanitizers as pesticides, which make them extra toxic to people.

Using these poisons around the elderly is a total travesty! The elderly need extra care, and exposing them to poisons is unconscionable. Pesticides hurt people, and they should absolutely not be allowed around our most vulnerable -- the elderly, children, and people with health problems. Actually, healthy people should not be exposed to them either. I was healthy once until we used pesticides.

Please, I pray you will understand, and take action in whatever way you can to stop this practice! Thank you so much!

Mary Anderson
St. Paul, Minn.


Why Cons Can't Govern

I agreed with all the points made by Robert Borosage "Why Conservatives Can't Govern" [4/15/07 TPP] but his discussion citing ideology as the reason fell short. The fundamental reason conservatives can't govern lies in their disdain (if not hatred) for government. This hatred resonates especially at programs striving for the public good (education, health care, conservation and the environment, fair labor standards, consumer protection, income security) operating at all levels -- federal, state and local. So their incompetence is no surprise given their contempt for public service and disrespect for all public institutions.

Bill Cooke
Frostburg, Md.


Why Not Impeachment?

It is time for all good citizens to put pressure on the Democratic leaders in Congress to reverse their stand on impeaching Bush and Cheney. According to the peace group "The World Can't Wait," these two men are guilty of war crimes, such as 1)ordering the use of white phosphorous and depleted uranium, 2)the targeting of the entire city of Fallujah when it was attacked in 2004, 3)the firing on marked ambulances and 4) the detaining and abusing of medical personnel. This, in addition to deliberately lying to Americans to obtain the power to start a war of aggression against Iraq, a clear violation of the UN Charter and US law. We shouldn't forget the illegal wiretapping of our citizens, and the torturing of the detainees held in numerous prisons all over the world. These certainly qualify as "high crimes and misdemeanors" as stipulated in the Constitution.

Even though it now appears that the Senate may not vote to uphold the impeachment charges, we must go ahead and force the House to consider and vote on these charges. Maybe some of the Republican Senators will come to their senses and vote in favor of impeachment. After all, quite a number of them will be running for reelection in 2008, and they may not want to vote against an issue that a majority of Americans support.

Impeachment proceedings started now might possibly forestall President Bush from ordering an invasion of Iran. Stories about Iran that the administration has recently put out, sound similar what we heard about the Gulf of Tonkin incident that got us into the Vietnam war. In hindsight, we now know that the story was untrue.

The most important reason to support impeachment against our current administration is to demonstrate that the Constitution must be followed. We simply cannot sit back and allow this president and vice-president to repeatedly violate the Constitution. What kind of message will this send to future presidents? And what will we say to our children and grandchildren when they ask what we did to stop this usurpation of power that is destroying our system of government?

Rudy Hazucha
Rockford, Ill.


Trickle Down

I have subscribed and read TPP for less than a year; I'm enchanted by it, by the truth it speaks to power ... and to the rest of us. l began, as usual, at the first page of the 4/15/07 issue to read every article. (I miss Molly.) On page 17, I was pleased -- but also very disappointed -- to read in Stan Cox's "Down-to-a-Trickle Economics" this paragraph:

"Trickle-down" economics never works as advertised. In India, it may mutate into "down-to-a-trickle" economics.

Disappointed because, I have for years, reminded people in every forum available to me, that there is NO SUCH THING AS TRICKLE DOWN ECONOMICS! Never has been, never will be ... no matter who says it: It is one of those Great Big Lies people tell ... and often believe, mostly, I think, in the hope that -- one of these days -- they, too, will be on the receiving end of enormous wealth. That is a whopper many believe -- or pretend to -- told by those who know few will ever -- certainly NOW -- have a shot at it. The price usually comes too dearly, in any case, as the newly fortunate tend to "buy into" the fiction/status quo. And stop thinking.

What we HAVE -- and have always had -- is a POURING UP of wealth created by the workers among us, of every station, in every job. How do I know this? It is obvious to those of us not programmed to believe the fabrications of pretty (or "ugly") fairy tales told to us claiming that the economy "trickles down." How can it? It does not originate at the top, but pours up from the people who make it. People who DO benefit most from that labor would be unable to create -- or use -- nearly enough to make it work, even for them, never mind everybody else. In the unlikely event they were capable (or numerous) enough even to do it, which is doubtful. The "numerous" part, alone, would not suit their thirst for power which, I rather think, matters as much, or more, than the wealth. ...

Ann Downs
Clayton, Del.


Put Your Own On the Line

This is a copy of the latest email I sent my senators and congressman, after hearing that Carl Levin (D-Mich.) was opposing setting a deadline for troop withdrawal. I quite like these people and think they mean well, but Congress is too remote from ordinary people's lives (you know: me, you, people with less than either of us, the people who are supposed to be represented in a representative government). If Congress is not going to start caring about other people's children, it needs to start putting its own in the same jeopardy.

• • •

I heard a news report this morning that Sen. Carl Levin was opposing setting time limits for troop withdrawal. If so, he had better start getting his young relatives to enlist.

That goes for anybody in Congress or the administration who is prolonging the mess in Iraq. Empty rhetoric about supporting the troops or wanting to bring them home is meaningless when no steps are taken to produce that result. There are troops on their fourth or fifth (sixth?) rotation, troops who have been sent to Iraq with grossly inadequate training, or in highly questionable physical or mental condition. And they are all Other Peoples' Children. Not yours, or your relatives, or your friends, but other peoples, ordinary peoples, poor peoples. This is unacceptable.

Either you must be a vocal, active supporter of a clear, and short, time line for withdrawal, or you must get some of your own kin to enlist. Otherwise you are going to be called a hypocrite, or worse. You probably don't think you are one, or mean to be one, but when there are clear moral choices involving other peoples lives you must be an outspoken and active proponent of the right thing or you betray yourself, your constituents, and the republic.

Katharine W. Rylaarsdam
Baltimore, Md.


Do the World a Favor

The Iraqis are holding a large rally in Najaf demanding the occupiers leave their country. A majority of Americans wants the US to leave Iraq. The Pope laments the continual slaughter in that country. Only George Bush keeps the war alive. Save thousands of lives; Impeach Bush.

Art Hambach
Aurora, Ill.

From The Progressive Populist, May 15, 2007

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