To The Daily Sun,
About 30 million, or 10 percent, of all Americans have no health insurance; or, to put it a different way, 90 percent of us are covered by private or public insurance. Therefore, it should not be surprising that so many people are dubious or outright against the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare. It's designed to help the 10 percent, those who can't get health insurance while providing subsidies for those who can't afford it. It's a laudable goal that all patriotic Americans should support. Unfortunately, the "What's in it for me?" crowd is always there to undermine social progress.
Consequently, the implementation of the Affordable Care Act has been planned along the lines of a political campaign. Concentrated demographic targets have been identified and are being contacted by on-the-ground organizations. Workers are concerned primarily only with those eligible for the program. The emphasis is on the states and urban areas with the highest percentage of citizens without health insurance.
Remarkably, it's the same strategy that had been used by the federal government to get people to sign up for Social Security insurance, during the Great Depression. Back then, just as today, many conservative states and governors tried their best to keep people from signing up for the program. In Georgia, in the 1930s, Governor Eugene Talmadge refused to help his people get Social Security. He was also against the implementation of the nation's first minimum wage law ($.25 an hour) that was signed by President Roosevelt. This came at the time when Georgia had become the poorest state, with a median yearly income of less than $500, or $250 a year, for black workers.
Federal counselors blanketed the state and provided information and applications for Georgia's elderly. It took a few years, but eventually all seniors (white and black) who were eligible for Social Security were able to sign up. It's amazing how today's conservative politicians are just as spiteful and heartless as those from the Depression in refusing to help people who need government assistance.
Los Angeles County is ground zero for the Obamacare campaign with more than 2.2 million uninsured U.S. citizens. This area alone is home to nearly 5 percent of the entire country's uninsured population. Covered California, the state's health insurance exchange, has 1,800 certified navigators who are authorized to help with enrollment. In addition, there are dedicated people, including SEIU union workers, to knock on doors, make phone calls, send mailings and set up health fairs and events to publicize enrollment.
The White House is also using its influence to generate media interest in areas that need the program the most. In recent weeks, top administration officials have visited Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Miami, Atlanta, Phoenix, northern New Jersey, Tampa, Orlando, Detroit and San Antonio to publicize the program, which includes Medicaid Expansion.
I believe that our Republican friends are finding that the disappointing introduction of the Obamacare website has made little difference. Nearly 3 million people who need the program have already signed up and another 4 million are expected by March. Nonetheless, it's amazing that we have elected politicians who refuse to help implement the program and benefit the very people they represent.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 31 December 2013 11:22
To The Daily Sun,
I read with interest the proposed bill and its intended objective. Representative Jane Cormier seems to be representing a pressure group instead of the towns she represents. A close examination of the intent of the bill reveals the intent of its proposer. It indulges in legislation by deletion. The reaction of the Office of Energy and Planning (OEP) was predictable. The Department of Environmental Services (DES) reported that it would negatively impact them in a number of areas. For those that did not read the article in Tuesday's Sun, the proposed bill would do away with the Regional Planning Commissions and transfer the responsibilities they have to the OEP.
Before I go further into this discussion, let me state that I served on the planning board of Northfield for several years. Therefore, I speak from years of experience of associating with the Lakes Region Planning Commission. Planning boards are citizen groups given the authority to examine and either approve or reject the proposals brought before them. While it is true that some of the material they have render judgment on is complicated, it is their responsibility to sift through the plans and reach a conclusion. To that end, when requested, the planning commission is available to advise, not dictate, what action should be taken. On questions of legality, the town attorney is available. Both those sources of advice charge a fee so the town uses them judiciously. Another function of the local planning boards is to create ordinances and make the town's master plan is up to date. The regional planning commission is a resource for the board in creating clear language for the ordinances. The emphasis, once again, is that they are a resource for the boards use as needed.
Many times the commissions try to bring communities together for a common goal. One example occurred during my tenure on the Northfield board. The towns of Northfield, Tilton and Belmont share under their land surface a large aquifer. The planning board secured funds from the State of NH-DES to do a study of that resource. The objectives of the committee of representatives, board members from each town, were to identify potential threats to the aquifer, map its extent, and create a best management practices booklet for use by the towns and the businesses residing therein. While there was usually a regional planner in attendance, the committee members conducted the meetings and approved the decisions reached.
Now, a few words about Smart Growth and local control of land use decisions. I submit that no one wants dumb growth. That is why towns have a master plan. If properly constructed, the master plan serves as a guide to land owners who want to subdivide their land for development. It serves notice to developers that the town wants them to follow the rules contained in the town's ordinances. Orderly processes require interested citizen boards, whether they are appointed or elected, to be "hands on" managers. During the so called building boom a few years ago, smart growth was a challenge. The Office of Energy and Planning chose to deal with the state and regional concerns and leave local responsibilities to the towns, with regional planners being available. The Department of Environmental Services, because of its permitting processes, works closely with towns and developers so that the environment is protected from improper activities such as filling wetlands development to close to streams and lakes. The subject of regional cooperation is a whole other discussion so I won't get into it in this letter.
In closing, I must say that I am not a "stalking horse" for those advocating regional planning nor am I a believer in "bloated bureaucracy." I am, however, committed to orderly planning that protects not just the land owners but all our citizens.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 31 December 2013 11:19
To The Daily Sun,
I have to voice my opposition to William McCoy's letter in the December 28 edition.
First, I am a veteran of over 24 years of active duty military service, and therefore consider myself a contributing American. Secondly, Where did Mr. McCoy obtain his information that 80 percent of Tilton's people are ashamed of James Veverka's writing? Did he conduct a scientific poll, or did he follow established political policy that statistics can be made up to suit the writer's position? While I don't agree with Mr. Veverka's position, I will defend his right to voice his opinion, however skewed, as much as I would John Demakowski's rants from the other extreme. The so-called "moral majority" is neither moral nor a majority, so who's to say who is right or wrong?
Mr. McCoy, just because you agree with Mr. Demakowski's religious diatribe, that doesn't necessarily make the opposition wrong. It's called freedom of speech, Mr. McCoy. What have you done to defend it?
Ron Godbout, CMSgt, USAF, Retired
Last Updated on Monday, 30 December 2013 10:51
To The Daily Sun,
I am amazed by the numbers of people who are apparently unaware of history where it comes to governments and power. An old saying by, I think Ben Franklin, is "that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely". It really doesn't matter if that power is in the hands of a king, dictator, tyrant, fascist, communist, Republican or Democrat. When to much power is centralized in the hands of one person or group of people, history has shown bad things happen to far more people than the few who benefit. Also good intentions play no part at all in the outcomes because corruption is an equal opportunity — well, opportunity. There are no paragons of virtue immune to the disease of power.
Progressives today are pushing for ever more centralized power for the federal government. Already the corrupting effects have been apparent in the scandals, lies, abuse of power and arrogance being displayed in Washington DC. Democrats who roundly criticized former Republican administrations for abuses seem willing to overlook the same and worse abuses being committed by the current Democratic administration, justifying their willful blindness behind the "good intentions" excuse and applying an "any means justifies the ends" philosophy to advance their agenda. This is a dangerous game they are playing because another old saying is, "what comes around goes around".
Our Founding Fathers wrote a Constitution that made perfect sense then and still does if we followed it. But powerful men and women tinkered with it and continue to tinker, abuse and disregard it, then claim it is outdated, does not reflect modern values and the advances in technology and what not. Really, is that a fault of the document or of those who seek evermore power and control over their fellow citizens?
Last Updated on Monday, 30 December 2013 10:48
To The Daily Sun,
It's ironic that Mr. Wiles can naively claim that racism is "no longer a problem", and just pretends it doesn't exist anymore, but he immediately takes up arms and wants to "bring it on" whenever he perceives reverse racism. He would have us believe that there is only one correct answer to discussing race. And that is: There is no racism in America anymore. Except reverse-racism against whites. To believe that reverse-racism is a bigger problem than racism — that's racist.
Racism remains a consistent if rarely acknowledged fact of modern American political life. Individuals on both the Left and the Right who deny racism may be deliberately lying, or they may have a distorted idea of what racism is, and what constitutes racist behavior and expression. They may, in fact, have no conscious hostility at all toward racial or ethnic minorities.
If Wiles needs proof of racism, he need only go to the reader's comments in articles on brietbart, World Nut Daily, Fox Nation, News Max, Patriot News, and other right-wing sites. In addition, there are better than 600 active hate groups (racist) in the United States. These groups are categorized as Ku Klux Klan, Neo-Nazi, Racist Skinhead, Christian Identity, Black Separatist, Neo-Confederate, etc.
While Wiles acknowledges there are right wing bloggers and radio hosts on the fringe of society with racist intent, I'd like to move in from the fringe and provide examples of conservative racism from within. Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorium told a group of supporters: "I don't make black people's lives better by giving them somebody else's money." Former Texas Congressman Ron Paul sent out a newsletter suggesting that 95 percent of the black males in the city (Washington) are semi-criminals or entirely criminals, and describing the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday as "Hate Whitey Day." Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich talked of eliminating child-labor laws so that school janitors could be replaced by poor kids, and regularly referred to Barack Obama as the "best food stamp president in American history". He also announced that: "I'm prepared if the NAACP invites me, I'll go to their convention and talk about why the African-American community should demand paychecks and not be satisfied with food stamps." It is my "misguided" belief that these statements are racist. Perhaps Wiles can explain the error of my reasoning.
Wiles would consider Mead's column superb, because Meade, like the other conservative writers he reads, tells him exactly what he wants to hear. Racism is based on an ideological belief that one race is somehow better than another race, and when you attribute the success of members of one race to that of another race, as Meade does, you are elevating that race while at the same time devaluing the contributions of others; this is considered racist. I wouldn't presume to label Meade a racist, but unfortunately, when he credits the success of Obama and Winfrey to white voters and white viewers, these comments are not being prejudice — they are racist. He further calls his column into question when he falsely accuses White House staffers of using "street talk" that played a significant role in "inciting rioters in the Middle East." My views only become "insanely twisted logic" because I'm attempting to point out racist attitudes.
I found it humorous, that in his criticism of my letter, Wiles felt the need to invoke a black man, Martin Luther King, as a means of trying to blunt the harsh reality of racism. He continues to demonstrate his lack of confidence and grasp of the meaning of racism by berating my opinions as being "juvenile amateur psychoanalysis." His attacks on me and others who may have opposing views are a deliberate effort on his part to discredit the views of every person who seems to fall into the category of liberal, progressive, etc. This form of argument — if it can be called that — leaves no room for genuine debate over ideas, so by definition, it is undemocratic. Not to mention just plain crass.
I know I'm not saying anything new or insightful here, but just as there's no way not to talk about race and racism, I wish there was some way to talk about it that didn't instantly estrange conservatives and liberals even further.
We have witnessed the playing of the "race card" by many in inappropriate and often unfair ways. I agree with contributors that racism is not cause or explanation of every social problem and that legitimate different points of view are not obvious signs of racism. But let's be honest. We all know that racism still exists in America today. There is a hard core of any racial group who will not accept those of any other racial group. So, while we should not call every disagreement an issue of racism, it is time to call out racism that indeed does still exist, wounds and scars us as a nation, and obstructs the promise of our great country.
L. J. Siden
Last Updated on Monday, 30 December 2013 10:44