Letters for September 20, 2012

Still need single-payer

Re “Call a doctor” by Rachel Leibrock (SN&R Editor’s Note, September 13):

This note was most salient for my place in time.

Former President Bill Clinton said at the Democratic National Convention, “We’re all in this together.” He is right: If any of us, as American citizens, are injured or ill, it affects our ability to pay taxes, so the federal government has a direct stake in our well-being.

But unlike all other developed countries in the world, the United States does not carry a comprehensive universal single-payer health-care system. We are taught at an early age that this society is fertile ground for entrepreneurs, but that is inherently false, for most any American must find a job that provides health care to be reasonably assured of their financial security for themselves and their young family.

The Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act provides some promise for the future, but last weekend, I hosted a health-care conference on the ACA, and the more I learned about it, the more questions I had—because a veritable army of health-insurance lobbyists contributed mightily to the final document. We must bring civilization to this country by implementing a comprehensive universal single-payer-health-care system independent of health-insurance-industry influence.

Don Knutson

There’s money in prosecuting crime

Re “Jim Crow 2012” by Jeff vonKaenel (SN&R Greenlight, September 13):

[President Dwight D.] Eisenhower warned Americans about the dangers of government getting too cozy with the military-industrial complex. No politician has had the guts to warn us about the government getting too cozy with the justice-industrial complex.

Criminal justice is big business, with powerful lawyers, lobbyists and unions pushing for more laws and harsher sentences. The only reason that hypercriminalizing everything—not only drugs—is under scrutiny today is that we are broke and judgment-slash-punishment is costly. It certainly isn’t because the justice industry isn’t lucrative. The people getting rich from criminalizing everything have a financial stake in long sentences and longer sentences.

Focusing on race may be appropriate, but it is one important but narrow lens in a wide-angle problem.

Ben Bannister

‘War’ is for profit

Re “Jim Crow 2012” by Jeff vonKaenel (SN&R Greenlight, September 13):

Connect the dots, and the picture lights up like a neon sign of greed and power. See it framed in living color and deathly black and white, nationally through our “war on drugs,” and internationally in the ever-escalating “war on terror.”

Kathleen McCoy

Shame is lame

Re “Numb is dumb” by Nick Miller (SN&R Editor’s Note, September 6):

Nick Miller is troubled by a “legion” of those “trying to convince me that there’s no difference between Obama and Romney” in a “dead heat” presidential race. “Their argument: The two big-party candidates rake in money from an identical corporate and 1-percenter base, so their respective policies are essentially two sides of the same coin.”

It’s not “numb” or “dumb” to acknowledge that parties and candidates are compromised by the rampant big-money influence on elections and revolving-door incest of lobbyists and policymakers. It’s possible to also recognize the remaining policy differences.

Miller points to the war on drugs, privatization of Social Security, “already lax Wall Street regulations,” students, green energy, minorities, seniors, the unemployed and the poor. (Somehow, he missed the war on women.)

Folks can fit all this in their heads and still vote—even when it doesn’t seem to matter. It always matters. Vote.

Marion Millin

We looked it up, too

Re “Democracy belabored” by Greg Lucas (SN&R Capitol Lowdown, September 6):

Good, thoughtful piece by Mr. Lucas, as usual. I do confess, however, I had to look up the word “Brobdingnagian.”

Tim Coyle

We should know what we eat

Re “Who’s who of Prop. 37” by Christine G.K. LaPado-Breglia (SN&R Green Days, September 6):

I thank SN&R for clarifying who supports Proposition 37 (requiring the labeling of genetically modified foods) and who doesn’t.

As the article points out, some companies are trying to have it both ways—marketing specialty products as “organic” and “natural,” then donating their profits from the sale of those same products to defeat a ballot initiative that would let all Californians make informed food choices.

Proposition 37 is the most necessary—and overdue—initiative on the ballot this November. It is supported by a truly grassroots people’s movement that generated almost a million signatures, largely gathered by volunteers, in just 10 weeks of signature gathering.

The opposition is composed of the largest pesticide and agricultural-chemical interests in the world, dedicated to saying and spending whatever it takes to hide the fact that some of our most important crops are being genetically engineered in a lab without our knowledge or consent. Worse, of the anti-Prop. 37 campaign’s top 20 contributors, not a single corporation is from California!

So when you go to the polls on November 6, ask yourself, “Do I have a right to know what I’m eating?” Then vote yes on Proposition 37.

Barbara Wallace