Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
With all due respect, Mr. Huber, you missed the point of my letter entirely. I applaud you for taking a moment to voice your opinion, especially since you say you don’t write letters to the paper. Of course Abdulhakim Muhammad’s act of terrorism is deplorable and worthy of discussion. However, it had nothing to do with the overall point I was making, which is why it wasn’t included.
The far right-wing branch of the conservative perspective has all but perfected the art of politicizing terrorism. An abundance of examples can be easily located with a simple Google search. Earlier this year the Department of Homeland Security issued a report chronicling the rise in right-wing extremism. In part, they credited the election of the first African-American president as a catalyst for this dramatic increase. These people are not a melting pot of ethnicity. They are overwhelmingly white, and tend to practice an extreme form of Christianity. Minorities ascending to power is seen as a threat to them. Upon releasing the report, the loudest voices among the conservative movement failed to see the forest for the trees. In other words, they politicized it to the point where Janet Napolitano apologized, and actual threats were not taken seriously.
Somehow, I seriously doubt all Americans (as you put it) are offended by the simple fact that these right-wing extremists are almost exclusively white and mostly male. I also think it is intellectually dishonest to try and make a connection between the letter I wrote and the recent rise in violence. You can’t compare apples to oranges.
Let me finish by reminding you of how the neo-conservatives would deal with the problem. Under Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld, the writ of habeas corpus was suspended with designation of “enemy combatant.” In doing so, the Bush administration lowered itself (and America) to the level of those it sought to overthrow. Habeas corpus is the foundation upon which our judicial system was founded. We are a nation of laws, not men. When justice and intelligence are politicized, every American is at risk, which was the underlying point of my letter.
As I read my local newspaper here in Glenwood, I scan the pages in order to see at least a tiny tidbit or snippet of the other road bikers that call these mountain towns home. I couldn’t help but sigh in disappointment as I noticed that for the second day there wasn’t a glimmer of hope. There was not a word mentioned or even a picture included about the grand reopening of our valley’s only Harley-Davidson store. Although not trained (obviously apparent from this letter) or employed by our fine local people of print, I would like to take this opportunity to share some of my experiences from this past Saturday.
The words that come to my mind are art, entertainment, recreation and, of course, community. The sun was shining, the mood was festive, and the crowd was diverse and full of energy. There was plenty of food and drink along with the space needed to relax, enjoy the sunshine and exchange kind words with one another. Children, and big kids alike, lined up to have their faces, legs and arms airbrushed by local artists. Acrobats on spring-loaded stilts flipped continuously throughout the day alongside their counterparts the entertaining jugglers and dancers. Thanks to the local group “Already Gone,” an eclectic offering of classic rock, country and pop music, who kept people rocking for more than three hours as they shook what their mamas gave them. Oh yeah, let’s not forget the countless custom motorcycles, “hogs,” with the growl of their engines and the smoke from their rubber on the pavement (hah … that sweet smell!?). The bottom line is that the event was a success without incident. Its organizers were on point and professional, the people were happy, and on top of it all it was a self-contained event on private property. Furthermore, the event and its patrons financially supported the local charity CARE, Colorado Animal Rescue.
Matt “Salty Dog” Soltesz
The battle to improve American health care is on, and big pharmaceuticals and big health care insurers are rolling out their big guns. For whatever reason, we citizens are not being offered the single-most effective plan to help our nation: single payer.
Look at these statistics: 46 million Americans are currently without health insurance; 60 million Americans, both insured and uninsured, have inadequate access to primary care due to a shortage of physicians and other health service providers in their community; 116 million adults, nearly two-thirds of all nonseniors, struggled to pay medical bills, went without needed care because of cost, were uninsured for a time, or were underinsured in the last year.
As a nation we spend $2.3 trillion each year on health care, 16 percent of our GDP, which translates to $7,129 per person on health care, 50 percent more than other industrialized countries, including those with universal care. We’re not getting what we pay for: We rank among the lowest in the health outcome rankings of developed countries, and on several major indices rank below some third-world nations.
The number of health insurance industry “fat cats” has grown at 25 times the growth of physicians in the past 30 years. In 2006, the six largest insurance companies made $11 billion in profits even after paying for direct health care costs, administrative costs and marketing costs. The aforementioned fat cats are once again running their big budget scare tactic TV ads telling us that any public payer plan is “socialized medicine.” What they’re not telling us is that Medicare has administrative costs far lower than any private health insurance plan and the potential savings on health insurance paperwork (more than $350 billion per year) is enough to provide comprehensive coverage to every uninsured American.
Only a single-payer Medicare-for-all plan can realize these enormous savings and provide comprehensive and affordable health care to every citizen. Make your voices heard: Contact Congressman Salazar and let him know how you feel. (Thanks to Sen. Bernie Sanders for his help with this letter).
Please, please, please bring back Garfield. He was my favorite part of the paper.
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