Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor for Aug. 4

Health care is a basic right

It is clear that our employee-based private health insurance system is a stinking, expensive mess.

In my opinion, the root cause of this mess is that private insurance companies are a reflection of America’s free market, unfettered capitalism. Unfettered capitalism has given us the excesses of corporate greed that we are currently suffering, but has not given us a decent health care system.

We desperately need a Medicare-like system for everyone. Every Democratic administration since FDR has tried to move in this direction, but all attempts at health care reform have failed (and may fail this time) because insurance lobbyists and free market conservatives yelled “Socialized medicine! Health care rationing! Can’t afford it!” And the biggest myth of all “Free marketplace competition can provide human services more efficiently than the government!” Good grief — what baloney! Medicare’s success discredits these myths.

Health care is a basic human right, a right independent of personal wealth or social worth. I’ve seen no evidence that free market for-profit insurance companies can meet universal human needs. Although radical health care reform is possible, there might not be the political will to do so. The strength of our democracy comes from the willingness of us to think and speak in our own voices and to be heard by Congress. Most Americans have said they want a universal single-payer system, but it seems to me that most conservatives in Congress are busy listening to the health insurance lobbyists who bought them years ago.



DNR has anti-shooting agenda

The anti-shooting article on July 21, 2009 is a total agenda driven farce. I was on the citizens use group for Capital Forest in 2001 as a shooting enthusiast. I found that DNR was actively pursuing an anti-shooting agenda despite claiming they wanted to “cooperate” with shooting groups. I still have the notes.

In fact, when the shooter made suggestions, each was undermined by the DNR. For example, we asked for two or three designated shooting areas away from trails and campsites, where the noise wouldn’t bother neighbors.

DNR said no because then they’d have to assume liability, so we pointed out that DNR was already designating places like motorcycle and horse crossings … where there have been actual fatalities, so why the double standard? DNR refused to answer.

Then wild stories of people being shot at came out. So we asked how many deaths due to shooting negligence had actually happened? The answer was none.

We then asked how many mountain bikers died due to negligence and it averaged two or three a year.

DNR is just trying to use shooters as boogeymen to exploit the opportunity of having a new director to push for their anti-shooting agenda. Instead of only hassling shooters, why doesn’t DNR try and bust the marijuana growers, meth labs, stolen car rings, or the extreme mountain bikers that do major amounts of damage by tearing up and littering paths that are for hikers only?



Apologists need a history lesson

I was more amused than shocked when I read the article about the people going to Japan to apologize. Having lived in Japan for seven years, I talked with several people who were young school children during World War II. They all recalled being trained to attack American invaders with bamboo spears and being told to fight to the death.

I’m sure the apologists are well-intentioned people, but they need to pick up a history book to learn that the atomic bomb saved between one million and two million American casualties and untold Japanese.

I hope these purveyors of American humility find time on the way home to visit Pearl Harbor.



Police don’t like to be questioned

Police officers are becoming more and more an unchecked cancer in this nation. The methods of their proclamation to “serve and protect” is worse than the disease. Since Sept. 11, 2001, I have come to age in a nation that does not question the police or hold them responsible for their actions.

Also, I have seen police across the nation develop a contempt and an arrogance toward anyone who seeks to question them.

It is time that our legislators and private citizens began to remind the police officers of the public servant aspect of their job. Mostly, I believe the current police force in many regards is incapable of reaching the balance of professionalism and education while earning the title of “Washington’s Finest.”

Over the last decade, the police force has been inundated by men and women who do not follow procedure and do not respect the complaints or safety of the citizens they are meant to serve.

To turn this tide, it is imperative that during our budget cuts we do not undermine a section of our public safety that is already having a hard time recruiting quality officers.

We must find the funds for better training and more competitive benefits for the men and women who want to protect their society, and not simply collect a paycheck.