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Even without subsidies, Obamacare is saving us $6,000 per year

To The Daily Sun,

Your front-page headline on March 22 screamed, "Local Man Snared by Obamacare" and the first paragraph "dared anyone . . . to question how the act jeopardized his (Tom Garrity's) health and finances." But only readers who persevered to the last paragraph of the story on Page 9 learned that Mr. Garrity found a private policy with "costs comparable to his original policy."

Like Mr. Garrity, my wife and I were covered by a plan in the small group individual market. But, under the Affordable Care Act, we were eligible to sign up for a new Anthem policy which could save us $9,000 in annual premium and out-of-pocket costs (without any taxpayer subsidy). To keep my continuity of care at Massachusetts General Hospital, I stayed with my old policy, while my wife (whose doctors practice at Dartmouth-Hitchcock) purchased an Anthem policy on the Exchange. Our annual savings still total about $6,000.

The anti-Obamacare television ads being run by the Republican PACs are misleading, but no one expects them to be honest. But The Sun should hold itself to a higher standard. Coverage of important public issues should not be sensationalized.

Stanley Wallerstein


Last Updated on Monday, 24 March 2014 09:14

Hits: 216

MetroCast’s program lineup is 99% garbage and commercials

To The Daily Sun,

Thanks to Robert Richard for his rant on MetroCast in last Wednesday's Sun. I have tried repeatedly to ask MetroCast to include the World and Explore channels of PBS, or in addition or in the alternative, at least Channel 44 Boston.

It is extremely frustrating to see the promos for interesting PBS programs and be unable to access them. Now they have even taken away the Bloomberg channel (Charlie Rose's interviews were often fascinating). Except for occasionally interesting programs on C-Span (i.e. the recent series on First Ladies) we are left with 99 percent garbage/commercials. Even the History and Discovery channels are not available.

Internet access is good, but over $100 a month seems a lot to pay for that. MetroCast has a monopoly. Thus apparently they don't need to be responsive to their subscribers.

Carolyn Baldwin

Last Updated on Monday, 24 March 2014 09:10

Hits: 219

Bush’s desire to disarm Hussein was shared by many Democrats

To The Daily Sun,

In his Wednesday letter, Mr. Osmer asks me to look in my Constitution to see where President Bush 41 and President Bush 43, got their authority to invade another country without provocation. I will assume that Mr. Osmer does, in fact, want an answer and, to that end, I will provide him with the information he asked for.

As background, Article 1, Section 8, of the Constitution, among a host of other duties, gives the Congress the right . . . "To declare War, grant letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water."

The last Declaration of War by Congress was made against Hungary, Bulgaria, and Romania in June 1942, after the start of World War II. Since that time, the United States has been involved in a number of other armed conflicts, some of them authorized by a United Nations Resolution and funded by Congress, and a number Congress believed to be necessary and they funded them but did not make an official Declaration of War. Those "undeclared wars" took place under both Democrat and Republican presidents.

I would like to suggest that Mr. Osmer, who served his country faithfully during the Vietnam War and for about 30 years, read David Halberstam's excellent account of the Vietnam conflict, entitled "The Best and the Brightest." He might find the contrast between Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson to be quite enlightening.

To Mr. Osmer's comment about President Bush invading a sovereign nation without provocation, I will offer him this youtube video link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RhZ2ZvS2t_E

This link is only one of many that show prominent Democrats speaking forcefully about the need to disarm Saddam Hussein, and rid him of his weapons of mass destruction. Speakers include President and Senator Clinton, Clinton's Secretary of State, a number of Democrat senators who were in key positions at the time, and others. Not to be lost in the maze of speakers is the fact that the head of the CIA who was appointed by Clinton and retained in that position by President Bush, assured all who would listen that the WMD issue was a "Slam dunk!".

As to Mr. Osmer's inference which basically demeans veterans who have not been in a war zone, as a long-time veteran, he knows that military people rarely get to choose their assignment. They go where they're told, and they do what they're told. As to our services being staffed by all volunteers, I and countless others honor those who serve. I believe it was George Washington said something like, the willingness of future generations to serve in the military will be judged by how we treat our veterans. And, I don't know what the ratio is today, but years ago we were told it took something like 13 or 14 people behind the lines to support everyone on the front line.

Finally, Mr. Osmer cites Pat Buchanan. I think Buchanan is a fine writer and often brings solid research into his articles. However, over the years, two things have become evident. The first is that he really has isolationist leanings. Particularly in today's world, I don't think that's a good position as it becomes an all-or-nothing situation. We should be grown up enough to deal rationally and effectively with others. The second point is that over the years, Mr. Buchanan has often been critical of the Bush family men. I think that is partly because the Bush family is descended from a wealthy former governor and senator from Connecticut, and secondly, because Bush the elder was the opposite of an isolationist.

Bob Meade


Last Updated on Friday, 21 March 2014 07:48

Hits: 126

Rep. Worsman shows strength & compassion for those around her

To The Daily Sun,

Interesting wording L. Michael Hatch used when referring to Representative Worsman: "rules with an iron fist, and treats those that do not agree with her with little respect and allows them little input."

Wow! That's quite a statement from Mr. Hatch. I'm wondering if attends the same meetings as I do? I think Representative Worsman shows a great deal of strength and sincere compassion for those around her regardless of how she is treated in return. For example, when Rep. Worsman asks Commissioner Thomas how he is doing and he replies, "Go to hell," or when Rep. Fields goes on his rants (against the Chairperson Rep. Worsman and others that do not share his point of view) he shows little or no respect for the title of representative and is an embarrassment of our state. We the citizens should be demanding more from our elected officials.

Another example of utter disrespect and immaturity is Rep. Gulick. When she doesn't agree with an issue, a motion, etc. instead of responding appropriately as a representative and an adult, she replies similar to that of an entitled and disgruntled teenager with ohhhh, ughhh, etc.

So I ask Mr. Hatch, Why do you have contempt for Rep. Worsman? Is it because her views and ideologies differ from yours? Why don't you feel the need to demand a level of civility?

Over the past four years I've witnessed the commissioners being rude, arrogant, disruptive, and showing little, if any, respect for any representative of the County Convention who disagrees with the direction of their budget recommendations. It's important not to forget that we have a wonderful system in this country that calls for checks and balances to ensure We The People are represented. The commissioners present the budget; the delegation approves, disapproves, or revises the budget.

The first County Convention Budget hearings I attended began December 2010 and ended in March 2011. The commissioners were used to the Convention holding their hearings (30 minutes per department) and giving approval. But the County Convention had new people who took their position to represent the constituents whom elected them seriously. As they questioned the budget and dug into the numbers the commissioners took offense to it.

One of the first questions that was asked of the commissioners at the time was how they were going to spend the federal stimulus money (the free money that comes from federal taxes). The representatives were given a report outlining the maintenance needs at the jail and the county courthouse. The minority of the delegation (eight representatives) wanted to use the monies for the courthouse and the jail, but the commissioners wanted their separate offices, new chairs and tables for the County Convention. They also wanted a gym for the administrative staff of the county. The outcome, they now have spiffy new offices complete with pretty new furnishings.

Unfortunately, the jail is in worse shape. Why isn't the commissioners' budget in question? Where is the common sense? What is going through the minds of these people when repairs to our county's buildings are no longer the priority?

The 2012 budget approval/evaluation process runs December 2011 thru March 2012. The convention decided to cut a mere $200,000-plus (approximate). Although the commissioners told the convention at the time, they were required to report on each line item that would be affected by the cuts in order to properly  document the changes, once the budget was passed, Commissioner Philpot told the convention it really does not matter where you cut it from we will do what we want. Please feel free to watch the tapes if you don't believe what I'm saying.

During that time meetings were being held for the proposed $42 million prison. Ms. Shackett, who is an unelected person, was heard saying as we were leaving one of the meetings, "We will get the prison."

When did unelected officials start having authority? Ms. Shackett needs to put down her iron fist and remember she has no authority at these proceedings.

Again Mr. Hatch, where have you been? Where did you get your facts? Why the need to write a disparaging letter about Rep. Worsman? The facts speak for themselves —  so do the tapes. The commissioners try to rule with an iron fist along with the unelected Ms. Shackett.

Barbara Comtois


Last Updated on Friday, 21 March 2014 07:28

Hits: 394

Paul Ryan’s ancestors heard the same words he’s using today

To The Daily Sun,

Did you ever wonder what makes a person a liberal or a conservative? I have found that personal wealth and income are not the main factors in the difference. The poorest man in town can be a conservative, while a man with the wealth of Warren Buffet may be a liberal.

Professor Roderick Stackelberg, a retired history professor from Gonzaga University has written extensively about what it was like to live in Germany in the 1930s. In discussing the rise of ultra-right-wing parties in pre-war Germany, the professor writes, "The more a person deems absolute equality among all races of people to be a desirable condition, the further left he or she will be on the ideological spectrum. The more a person considers inequality to be unavoidable or even desirable the further to the right he or she will be."

This easy test of a person's politics, makes one stop and look at himself as well as those around him. This exercise made me realize just how far right or conservative some of our political leaders have become.

Congressman Paul Ryan in an effort to find favor with his Republican and Tea Party bases has continually brought up "the culture of dependency," that he claims "is a safety net that becomes a lazy-day hammock." Food stamps, unemployment insurance, Obamacare and raising the minimum wage just make people more lazy, according to the Congressman.

Using substitute racial code words, like "inner city" and "welfare," he claims "generations of men are not even working or learning the value of the culture of work." It does not take a liberal to assume, that the Congressman is talking about minorities who live in our cities, which he says, "are bred poor and lazy."

It's ironic that the congressman talked on St. Patrick's Day about his great-great grandfather coming to America to escape the potato famine. He does not mention the centuries of British rule that attempted to strip the Irish of their language, their religion and their land, producing a wretched peasant class.

Sir Charles Trevelyan, the English aristocrat who was in charge of relieving the famine is quoted as saying, "The hungry millions were a selfish, perverse and turbulent people. Giving the Irish charity would upset the free market and make people lazy." The prevailing view of 19th century England was that the Irish were poor because of a character defect that made them not want to work.

At least 1 million died in the famine — one in eight people. As men, women and children were dying, food produced by Irish hands on Irish lands was being shipped to England as if no emergency existed. Many with full stomachs believed the poor caused their own condition and deserved their fate.

It's shameful, that Congressman Ryan, who had ancestors who were objects of such prejudice and cruelty would clearly discriminate against people who are struggling in this country. It's a simple fact that when a fast-food job opens up in the inner city more than 60 people apply for that position.

Nick Vazzana

Last Updated on Friday, 21 March 2014 07:00

Hits: 105

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