To The Daily Sun,
I teach in a small private school in N.H. As I passed the door of a fellow teacher recently, I read a quote by Dietrich Bonhoeffer who suffered death at the hands of the Nazis: "Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act." Almost immediately the plight of American pastor Saeed Abedini came to mind.
Saeed Abedini is a naturalized American citizen who was detained and imprisoned by Iranian officials in the summer of 2012 after he traveled to Iran to visit family. While there he continued his efforts to build an orphanage. His chief crime apparently has resulted from his outspoken Christian testimony. A convert from Islam, Pastor Abedini was sentenced to eight years in prison, convicted by an Iranian court for undermining "the Iranian government by creating a network of Christian house churches and ... attempting to sway Iranian youth away from Islam" (Fox News, Jan. 13, 2013). He has now spent two Christmases in prison and currently his health is threatened as a result of beatings he has received while in prison. Apparently he needs surgery.
We are not talking about a man from another country. Saeed is an American citizen. His family is living in Boise, Idaho where his wife is from and where the Abedinis were living with their two children prior to his arrest in Iran.
We may not be able to do much, but we can do something. We can contact our elected officials and urge them to apply pressure to the Iranian government to release Pastor Saeed Abedini for humanitarian reasons. Nuclear talks with the Iranians are set to resume sometime this month. Now is the time for our elected officials to pressure the Iranian government to allow Pastor Abedini to return to his wife and children in the United States. But our representatives need to hear from their constituents that this is an important issue to them.
"Them" is "us." We need to call N.H. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (phone: 202-224-2841) and Kelly Ayotte (phone: 202-224-3324), Representative Carol Shea-Porter (phone: 202-225-5456), and President Barack Obama (White House phone number: 202-456-1111) or send them letters or e-mail (there are email forms on their official websites) and urge them to fight for the release of Pastor Saeed Abedini.
I just called; you can, too. Remember, if we do not act, we still act.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 February 2014 10:52
To The Daily Sun,
The working poor and middle class still cannot afford medical insurance under the Affordable Care Act. People that struggle every day to make ends meet now have to navigate a website or wait on the phone for more than hour, only find out they cannot afford the insurance. State Senator Andrew Hosmer and State Representative David Huot, have embraced this poorly-crafted big-government solution with 18 new taxes publicly. The Medicaid expansion allows the government to put a lien on your property naming Medicaid as the first beneficiary when you die. Both politicians advocate allowing the state to expand Medicaid to people with incomes up to 133 percent of the poverty level ($15,300 for a single person). A large majority of the poor work multiple jobs to make ends meet, earning more than $15,300 requires them to buy insurance in the exchange or face fines. Expanding Medicare allows able-body people who chose to work part-time to get free medical insurance while the rest of us pay fines or get saddled with overpriced policies for working full-time.
The State of New Hampshire spends 1.4 billion dollars, or 25 percent of the annual budget, helping the sick and poor with medical expenses. The federal government reimburses the state at 50 cents on the dollar. The federal government has offered to pay for expanding Medicaid but after three years the federal government will only fund 90 percent. All the federal funds for this program will be from freshly printed money or borrowed from China. After three years the State of New Hampshire will have to finance the gap through higher property taxes or cuts in other government services. Currently, New Hampshire has the highest business profits tax in the nation and the second highest rooms and meals tax in the country — tied with California. Raising these taxes will have a negative impact on New Hampshire's economy. There is a genuine concern that the federal government will not keep their promise with a growing 17 trillion dollar deficit and more than 90 trillion dollars in unfunded future liabilities. The question is not if the federal government will default, but when.
The working poor live hand to mouth every week and will be hit with a $695 fine in 2016 if they do not buy insurance they cannot afford. The lowest level insurance (bronze level) is more than three hundred dollars a month for a single person with high deductibles and co-pays they cannot afford. The working poor will have a choice to pay $3,600 a year for unusable insurance or pay a $695 fine. We now have the right to purchase insurance when we get sick because there are no preexisting condition exceptions. It makes financial sense to pay the fine if you are healthy. The working poor will have to make the decision what is more painful the fine or the cost of insurance. If they get sick they will buy the insurance and when they are better it will be dropped. Remember these people need every dollar. They worry about food, shelter, and transportation every week. A better use of public funds would to be support clinics that provide care to the working poor, circumventing insurance companies and hospitals with over paid CEOs. Unfortunately, the working poor will have another option if Medicaid is expanded. They can now choose to work part-time and get free medical, more food stamps, along with fuel and housing assistance. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office report says more than 2 million people will decide not to work, or will decide to work less, due to the Affordable Care Act. We have designed a system to reward less work and punish those that want to be productive and self- supporting.
Currently, New Hampshire has one medical insurance company approved by the state exchange. We are now paying the second highest premiums in the nation. Imagine if one oil company owned every gasoline station in the state. Who do you think would be the winner the consumer or the oil company? Competition always benefits the consumer. A better health care law would have allow New Hampshire residents or businesses to buy insurance across state lines like car insurance and tailor the plans to their needs and ability to pay. If this was the case more businesses would offer insurance and would be more affordable to all. Preexisting conditions need to be addressed. I believe people with uninsurable preexisting conditions should be allowed to join Medicare (not Medicaid) to ensure they get the care they need but only for their uninsurable condition. Currently, the government mandates it for some illnesses even if you have insurance. You are required to pay the quarterly Medicare premium plus your existing private medical insurance.
Unfortunately, big government, the insurance companies and hospitals are now business partners profiting at our expense. The government gets more tax receipts and control of your life with all your personal information. The insurance companies and hospitals walk away with more cash. Thanks to their new business partnership they can now maximize profits by using the federal government's hammer of taxation while promoting crony capitalism with more corporate welfare. Remember to thank your big government politicians in the 2014 elections for promoting and supporting these bad policies that make health care even more unaffordable for the working class. If you really want to promote prosperity for all Americans support candidates who believe in pro growth economic policies instead of the government managed status quo that keeps you poor and needy. The number one social program all politicians should be working on is JOBS! Big government politicians believe prosperity is a dirty word because if you're prosperous you would not vote for them.
Ask your state senator to take the pledge to not expand Medicaid in any form. Able bodied people that choose to work part time should not get free medical insurance while working people struggle to keep their heads above water.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 February 2014 11:14
To The Daily Sun,
I would like to thank the person who was honest enough to turn in my wallet at Walmart, Tilton on Sunday. Feb. 9. It is comforting to know that there are good decent people left in the world. Again, I thank you and if I knew who you were, I would thank you in person.
I am most grateful to you.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 February 2014 11:09
To The Daily Sun,
I rarely respond to letters in the paper. However, after E. Scott Cracraft's vicious attack on Colonel Joe Kenney, here is my response:
Please spell his name correctly, it is Kenney not Kenny.
You label Joe Kenney as an extremist with an anti-worker, anti-education and anti-woman agenda. You feel he is anti-worker because he voted to make New Hampshire a right-to-work state. What rights do the unions lose? Workers can still join the union if they want; it is called freedom to choose.
Once again, you feel he is anti-education because he has concerns about the teachers' union, like putting the teacher first and the students second.
Finally, you feel he is anti-woman because of Planned Parenthood. My wife and I are both pro-life, and neither of us are anti-woman. Planned Parenthood does many types of service for women's health. However, they did over 334,000 abortions in 2012.
As for expanding Medicaid under Obamacare — where the government promises to pay 100 percent the first year and 90 percent after the first year — I was promised free health care when I joined the Navy in the 1960s and guess what, they now have means testing and I do not have free health care. We were also promised we could keep our doctors, hospitals, etc. This was the lie of the year.
Vermont and New Hampshire have excellent gun laws. Perhaps you feel we need to ban guns. Illinois, New York and Connecticut are trying, but they still have a high rate of gun violence.
I am a veteran and I will be voting for Colonel Joe Kenney. He has an "A" rating with the NRA and he is a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan. Instead of viciously attacking a hero, you should be thanking him for more than 30 years of service. I salute you Colonel Kenney.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 February 2014 11:06
To The Daily Sun,
Wasn't that a lovey speech the president gave at the State Of the Union the other night. Problem is we have heard it all before, promise after promise, but he has made so many promises unkept in the past, how do people still buy into what he says instead of what he does? For five years now he said he was going to create jobs but those he has created have barely kept pace with the population growth and those hurting the most are the very folks he says he wants to help. All those social programs mean nothing without a road out of poverty and dependence on the government, unless dependence is the objective itself.
Republicans and Conservatives haven't a lot of room to puff themselves up and pat one another on the backs either, at least not the leaders who are failing to lead but are content to go along to get along. Not easy for me to say but that's the facts as I see them. I still fail to see anyone of them coming up with a complete plan to get the economy rolling and the poor off welfare and into jobs. Sure over-taxation and regulation could and should be rolled back but is that going to get families on welfare motivated to get a job? I doubt it because making that kind of change can be a huge risk for them. Look, as soon as they get a job all government help stops. No monthly check, no food stamps, health care goes, so why take that kind of risk, heck the whole family could be devastated.How long will a job last, what if for some reason the person fails in a new job for whatever reason? A bird in the hand being worth two in the bush is what happens here in my opinion. Republicans should put forth a plan that includes tax and regulation reform and a route out of poverty. I suggest passing a law that would allow long-term unemployed to get a job and taper off government support. We can and will argue about how long and how much support is enough but unless some kind of viable road map is designed we may as well stop complaining about entitlements and just pay up.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 February 2014 11:02