Medicare-for-all plan would unite U.S. workers
The goings on in Wisconsin should be of interest to all of us. The battle between the "public" worker versus the rest of us, those who work for a non-governmental entity, the huge majority of Americans, is now grabbing the headlines.
As I interpret the events, "the rest of us" are jealous of the more generous benefits the public sector may enjoy. And by benefits, I believe we are mainly talking about health insurance.
It seems to me the rest of us should demand and strive for the same benefits the public sector enjoys, not demand that government workers be dragged kicking and screaming down to our level.
Health insurance benefits could easily and affordably be provided by adopting a Medicare-for-all plan.
The enormous savings of a single-payer health insurance program would finance plans superior to what the public worker now enjoys without increasing the premiums for the non-governmental sector.
We can and should do it. The current health reform law will not.
Ewell G. Scott, M.D.
In his book, Sen. Rand Paul recommends that we read the blueprint for his political and moral creed, Ayn Rand's fairy tale Atlas Shrugged.
Excuse me, but we read it already, back in high school. Oh, how we loved the noble capitalists, brilliant "producers" oozing principles, and we booed government and its dependents — parasites all.
Our adolescent brains, soaked with narcissism and lust for independence, couldn't notice that Rand's characters were cartoon figures.
Then we grew up. We learned the world is not divided into simple versions of good ("producers') and bad ("users") as Paul and his free-market reactionary pals seem to believe.
There are few heroic capitalists around these days. Success in the marketplace, we learned as adults, comes as often from fraud, exploitation, dumb luck and powerful fathers as it does from talent and effort.
We learned that "free" markets get rigged by the powerful to serve their own interests. And we learned that to demonize those in need is to sacrifice both complexity and empathy.
Ayn Rand offers a cruel, dog-eat-dog philosophy hiding under the smokescreen of "freedom," a moral code more fit for raccoons than people. It is the darling of those with power and germinates best on Wall Street, in country clubs and among right-wing ideologues in bed with Big Business.
And it is the guiding ideology of our junior senator.
So, no, senator, we won't be reading Atlas Shrugged again. We put away childish things. Why haven't you?
The voters of Kentucky never cease to amaze me. Years ago, we elected statesmen like Republican John Sherman Cooper and Democrat Alben Barkley to Congress.
Today, we are represented by Sen. Mitch McConnell, who wants to do away with health care for Kentucky children, the poor and the middle-class taxpayers, but not the 1 percent of Americans who are the richest, don't pay taxes and are the people McConnell represents.
Then we elected Sen. Rand Paul, who wants to balance the budget by stopping aid to Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East.
Can you imagine what Harry Truman would say about that?
I'd like to suggest we stop paying health care for the members of Congress and let them buy their own like you and I do.
The fall of America
America is about to fall to a great threat: greed.
Our lawmakers are selling our country to the highest bidders. Lawmakers call themselves public servants, only to get rich by selling their power to take rights and money away from the poor and middle class, and then give to Big Business and the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans freedom from taxes and the power to enslave the middle class.
The wealthy want to get rid of regulations that protect the air and water and benefit the safety and health of workers, while they lounge in mansions far from the pollution and hazards they create.
Businesses are making trillions of dollars in profits and yet harp on how they need more tax breaks and fewer regulations.
The United States will be like Third World countries with the super rich in control of everything and all the rest of us at their mercy.
Talk to someone who worked in the coal mines before there were unions. The Republicans would love to have us all living in company-owned shacks and only getting scrip that we must spend at the company-owned store.
They have been digging away in state capitals and in Washington since the last election, and each day brings them closer to their goal.
Unless Americans wake up and take action like the people of Wisconsin are doing, it will be too late to take the country back: It will be gone. Right now it's going once, going twice ...
Deaths reflect on us
The Feb. 23 letter about government-sponsored animal extermination is both shocking and heartbreaking.
To quote author Harper Lee, "It's a sin to kill a mockingbird. Why? I reckon because mockingbirds don't do one thing but just sing their hearts out for us."
I notice mockingbirds weren't on the hit list, but is it any less a sin to kill 1,700 bobcats, 4,000 cardinals, 12,000 prairie dogs, etc.?
It's pretty clear we have dominion over all other living things, but also an awesome moral responsibility for "these the least of my brethren."
Why does "pro-life" only include humans?
Theodore Roosevelt said "being in touch with nature and honoring all humans and wild creatures would help develop high moral character."
Today's Republicans are uniformly anti-environment and therefore anti-life; they forget humans are just as much a part of the web of life as the plants and animals.
Albert Schweitzer may have said it best, "Until he extends his circle of compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace."
A 'dirty' habit
I just had to write about all the complaining about the right to smoke.
I work at a company where people smoke. We have containers in which they can put their cigarette butts and snuff.
About 75 percent of the people throw them on the concrete around the doors and also spit their snuff on the floor.
We have two employees cleaning and picking up their trash.
People write in and complain it is their right to smoke, and it probably is. I have not read and heard them say a word about them cleaning up after themselves and whether they pay their own medical bills, which run in the millions of dollars.
No company, hospital or any place of business should have to pay their people to clean up after them.