Letters for March 24, 2005
Not all bad
Great piece from Jamie O’Neill in your March 10 issue [“When ‘Little Eichmanns’ Died in New York,” essay]. I am one of those SUV conservative Bush Republicans frequently pummeled in your pages, yet I read weekly, for you do give me points to ponder, which helps me form a well-balanced and sifted position.
I was glad and impressed that CN&R was unafraid to print a piece taking on this whack job Ward Churchill. Many publications (including conservative journals, I will admit) will not print what might offend the base readership. There is either disingenuous assent or cowardly silence when one of their own needs a good flogging.
Thanks, CN&R! I am a little more comfortable reading your liberal babble, realizing from this O’Neill piece that you aren’t a total waste of good air.
Lack of evidence
I was surprised to see Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly writing an essay under Jamie O’Neill’s byline. To be fair to readers and Prof. O’Reilly-O’Neill, it would be worthwhile for the CN&R to publish the results of the national survey of ethnic-studies programs he no doubt took much time and effort to do. I am sure he submitted it along with his essay and it can be easily found somewhere on your desk.
It would be nice to know that his accusations about ethnic-studies programs are based on solid evidence. As it is, we are left to assume his accusation that nutty, bullying, race–baiting, polemic and demagogic professors misrepresent, oversimplify and stereotype in their ethnic-studies courses around the nation, is his personal opinion and based on…well…what we don’t know…possibly an e-mail from my nutty, bullying, race–baiting, polemic and demagogic colleague who teaches English?
I wanted to write to thank Josh Indar so much for his stories about the wild horses and their potential slaughter [”Wild horses or free-range meat?” CN&R cover story, March 17]. Thank you for letting people know what is happening!
I am horrified by the recent opening of Cavel International’s horse slaughterhouse in Illinois. The biggest problem is that people simply do not know that this is happening, and if they do know there is no easy way to do something about it. I’ve written and called all of my representatives and senators many, many times—mainly getting the same standard form letter back from them. When is America going to wake up and protect our own interests? Big money and most politicians simply don’t represent what the majority of people want.
Slip sliding away
The matter of Terri Schiavo and the wrenching emotional issues at play should not divert our attention from the remarkable course of events that encroach on key constitutional principles. The conservative, religious-leaning-and-courting faction of Congress and President Bush, rushing back from his Texas ranch, stepped squarely on state sovereignty and jurisdiction, judicial process, and separation of powers when they stepped between Florida and the federal courts.
It is worth noting the Schiavo matter has been thoroughly heard in Florida’s courts for seven years and through 19 judges. The Supreme Court has refused to hear appeals of the rulings. That would be the U.S. Supreme Court, as in the highest judicial authority in the United States.
Through legislative action on Palm Sunday (talk about unusual) and Bush’s signature, a federal district court will now consider the Schiavo matter anew. Unlike federal court oversight of state courts in constitutional matters, this federal court has received a legislative and executive mandate to specifically consider the matter of Terry Shiavo.
Danger: Slippery slope ahead.
Fix this first
Open Letter to Rep. Wally Herger:
This letter seeks to give you essential information to impress upon President George Bush.
Workers under Social Security (SS)—every worker should be under SS—all pay 7.65 percent payroll (FICA) tax on earnings under $90,000, which employers match. Of that money, 1.47 percent (1.45 last year) goes to Medicare, an entitlement tacked onto SS by President Lyndon Johnson when he created the Medicare program. Another .9 percent goes for disability, another tack-on entitlement. That leaves 5.28 percent to pay benefits to 43 million seniors each month as the FICA tax money rolls in.
The point I want to impress upon you and in turn upon the president is that right now Medicare costs $300 billion a year, and the health care cost escalators are out of control. (Medicaid—MediCal in California—is not an entitlement. It is an ongoing expense paid for by a 50-50 split with each state.) Thus, neither President Bush nor Congress can meaningfully change Social Security without first “fixing” Medicare, a much more challenging task. To illustrate, my Social Security benefits increased 2.7 percent this Jan. 1, but higher Medicare expenses absorbed all of that increase, leaving me with no COLA for the first time. So, you see, our benefits have already been cut. Also, the IRS now taxes 85 percent of my benefits money, soon to be 100 percent, another benefits cut in disguise.
In 1965, California had a good county hospital system to provide hospital care to people, whether rich or poor. That was the year the federal government passed two new laws, Medicare for the elderly and Medicaid (in California we called it Medi-Cal) for the needy. The federal politicians said “they would provide care for all people in mainstream medicine.”
Soon thereafter the county hospitals began closing (more than half the counties closed their hospitals in California). They weren’t needed since everyone including the poor could now go to private doctors and hospitals, paid in large part by the federal government.
Now the current federal administration wants to cut Medicaid, giving the states more responsibility. But now we don’t have the county hospital system with its clinics to fall back on; only private doctors and hospitals.
By its actions the federal government destroyed the lower-cost but good system to care for the needy. Now the states are being told to take a greater responsibility to care for the needy.
It’s grossly unfair for President Bush to do this to our state.
Please object to your congressmen and women.
James P. Sweeney