America Can Do Better

In America, the wealthiest democratic nation in the history of the World: nn1. Healthcare should be a right or entitlement. Why? Public/private healthcare policy directly or indirectly affects all 300+ million Americans.

2. Quality healthcare must be accessible and affordable for all Americans and their families, regardless their financial status. Why? We’re the greatest country.

3 These goals, going forward, can best be achieved by first improving and enhancing the existing Affordable Care Act (ACA) — not by repealing it. Why? Don’t reinvent the wheel — improve it.

4. ACA improvements only take us so far. Other intelligent enhancements must be made to CHIP, Medicare, Medicaid, community health centers, and all other health-related public/private components.

5. Cutting public funding for a whole range of health programs is bad. Why? Good and bad health affects everyone. Cutting public funding simply to reduce taxes for wealthy Americans — as Congressional Republicans aspire to — is mean-spirited, unconscionable, and un-American.

6. Over the past seven years Congressional Republicans have had the chance to improve healthcare, but opted instead to try to sabotage or repeal ACA over 60 times. Why? Who knows!

7. The president and Congressional Republicans, acting in a partisan manner to come up with anything quickly as an ACA replacement, have advocated a mish-mash of public/private healthcare proposals — similar to the piano recital of a disinterested seven-year old. Why? Who knows!

8. What is actually needed now is a competent, bipartisan public/private healthcare network all Americans can be proud of and feel a part of-similar to a musical symphony created and performed by a professional and dedicated group of composers and musicians. Why? We’re the greatest country.

Pat V Powers
Utopia, Texas

Tax Relief for the Rest of Us

Yes! What is needed now is tax reform — a tax on the wealth and property of the rich, privileged class of parasites. About 3% annually on the wealth and prosperity of the millionaires and about 5% annually on the wealth and property of the billionaires could just about do it.

Such a tax would not harm them significantly; more like a minor inconvenience, since it is a fact that their return on investment has been about 9% annually for the past 100 years.

Such a tax would restore the health of our economy, making possible the renewal and expansion of all of our badly needed and dilapidated, collapsing infrastructure, make possible higher education for all qualified young persons (not just the offspring of privileged class parasites), health care for everybody (not just the rich), and restoration of more equality of opportunity for our entire population (not just the 1%).

This is my expert professional opinion, drived from a lifetime of study of economics. Go ahead and ignore it, as usual, at your own risk. The alternative is depression, followed by nuclear war, followed by extermination by climate change, of 7 or 8 billion humans worldwide, including you, me and all the privileged class!

Harvey Stoneburner
Brooklyn, N.Y.

More Guns Than Sense

Despite the evidence that our nation has the most gun violence among developed countries, isn’t it perverse that legislators in many states continue to enact “right to carry” laws? [See “Guns and Politics Don’t Mix,” by Margot Ford McMillen, 4/15/17 TPP.]

It’s an irony that guns were far better controlled (i.e., restricted) during the years of the lawless Wild West, than they are today. Remember Wyatt Earp, the “law and order” hero who disarmed anyone who dared to defy Tombstone’s ordinance against carrying weapons?

It’s also noteworthy that during the first 100 years of its existence, the National Rifle Association never once touted the Second Amendment as its cause. It wasn’t until 1970 that owning a gun became an absolute right endowed by God and the Constitution.

Well, the reason of course is money. Lots of money! And the NRA’s pockets are lined with enough cash to buy legislators who will protect its fetishes of death.

If the nightmare of more gun-toting Toms, Dicks and Harrys continues, I’ll just stay home, become a recluse, and order takeout for supper. My only hope is that when the pizza deliveryman arrives, he’ll not be standing at my door with a gun hanging from each hip.

David Quintero
Monrovia, Calif.

Many Epochs in a Single Column

Garrison Keillor’s meandering harlequinade, “The Beauty of Adversity” (5/1/17 TPP), was an old-time essay-reader’s delight. It started with droll psedo-Chauncer Middle English, touched on Jeremy Bentham (“Democrats believe in the common good...”) and even flirted with Nietzcheague Paraphrase (Adversity makes us stronger”).

Ever since the heady days of the French Enlightenment, philosophical souls knew that a smile and wink could ease psychological anguish. And it may be that the touted Age of Reason will quite soon dawn in earnest.

We are still evolving into more humane and intelligent creatures. Let us anticipate another and finer Renaissance.

William Dauenhauer
Willowick, Ohio

We Are a Threat to Life

Americans need to both resign themselves and at the same time take sweeping collective action to counter Donald Trump’s anti-environmental agenda. It is a mistake of epic and incalculable proportions to minimize the environmental destruction planned and choreographed by the Trump administration.

This is not a “left” or “right” issue. This is not even a Republican-Democrat issue. This is an issue involving science and reason and reality that is countered by an entrenched corporate “Flat earth society” whose sole objective is maximizing short term profit regardless of the cost. And the costs are nightmarish. We are talking about an immediate and imminent threat to civilization. It is for these reasons that Americans need to make their voices heard and act collectively for the long term. We the people are the last hope for this planet. The answers lie in us and not with those who choose to live in denial while reaping the benefits of short term plunder.

Jim Sawyer
Edmonds, Wash.

Revolution Required

The rights fought for and won by our feisty suffragettes (1848) and all of the activists who sought justice in a multitude of feminist causes seeking fairness and equality is under threat more so today than at any other time in recent history by a segment of misogynistic, theocratic atots who rue their ability to dictate the many choices women now have in a more enlightened and modern world, absent our post patriarchal structure.

This concerted movement for women’s rights won and those yet attained must be more inclusive than all the previous movements due to the interconnectedness of the discriminatory practices perpetuated throughout centuries past predicated on the lies regarding “superiority” and the false distinctions regarding “the other”. These have been the tools/instruments that denigrate and malign individuals and whole groups in order to deny and defy out of sheer ignorance.

Nothing short of a revolution consisting of “shock and awe” dispelling and defying centuries of abuse and control over individual’s inalienable rights shall suffice in order to salvage “civilization” ltself.

Women have the “voice and votes” to now DEMAND gender parity (50% male 50% women) in the governance of our entire nation immediately so don’t hesitate to get involved to replicate the Era of Enlightenment contribution to science, logic, and reason to defy the corrupted powers that are ruinous to that Egalitarian Society promised, but yet achieved. Our feisty Suffragettes led the way, now let us complete the task and salvage our Democracy.

Frank C. Rohrig
Milford, Conn.

Marching for Informed Policymaking

I was at one of the hundreds of marches last weekend in which hundreds of thousands of scientists, researchers, and evidence nerds took the time and made the effort to express their support for the use of science in our society, and to express dismay at the anti-science policies being promoted by the president and Republicans in Congress. As one marcher’s sign succinctly announced, “You know the problem is dire when this many introverts come out to march.”

What problem? Trump’s budget proposes reducing funding for environmental protection, for health research, for global monitoring of our planet’s climate change. Trump’s executive orders prohibit Federal employees from even mentioning the words “global climate change.”  As if pretending it doesn’t exist will make it go away. 

“Science” is a method of observing phenomena and carefully testing opinions and assumptions about them, to know what is true and real.  Evidence is the best basis for making governmental policy, yet this Republican-controlled government doesn’t even want to collect evidence for informed policymaking. 

That is why so many science-minded introverts were in the streets last weekend.  The survival of a habitable Earth, as well as our country’s greatness, depend upon our politicians taking heed. 

Bruce Joffe
Piedmont, Calif. 

Send Disgraced Members of Congress to Gitmo

There may actually be a good reason for keeping Guantanamo open. It would be a fabulous isolated prison for the numerous crooked members of Congress and members of the Russian-White House oligarchy who should be incarcerated for treason and attempting to destroy our health care system, environment, and public educational system. If Guantanamo is not available, a refurbished Alcatraz might be a good substitute.

Edward L. Koven
Highland Park, Ill.

From The Progressive Populist, June 1, 2017


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