Access to Health Care

To the Editor:
        The problem of health care in America is not one of quality but one of distribution and access.  Here one might wish some tech wizard or captain of industry would devote his energy and ingenuity, for the benefit of everyone, to solving this problem rather than utilizing the public pocketbook as an open ATM for personal and corporate enrichment.  This, of course, would be quickly condemned by Conservative talk radio as being “socialism”, but the real term is “democratic humanism”, a belief the Founding Fathers put forth in the Declaration on Independence and then fought for in the Revolution, an ideal too often ignored in today’s constant push for profit and wealth.  Quality health care is available, provided one is well-off (or a member of Congress), but expecting private,for-profit corporate institutions to be willing and capable of providing accessible, equitable health care is nothing more than magical thinking.

RP

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Christianity

To the Editor:
To be clear about the meaning of Christmas it is important first to remember that Jesus was neither Aryan nor Anglo-Saxon. and, more importantly, that his was a revolutionary voice against the sociopolitical and economic customs and morality of his time.  His vision of power was not one of subjugation, violence, exploitation, and wealth, but one of caring, forgiveness, and inclusion. This was a belief for the disadvantaged and oppressed.  It is the Christianity practiced by Martin Luther King and appears to be the message that Pope Francis is attempting to instill again within the Catholic Church.
Also significant is that the Sermon on the Mount was given on a hillside, in the open air, not from the pulpit of a magnificent temple, nor is it random circumstance that the birth of Jesus is celebrated at the winter solstice, long recognized in ancient “pagan” religious practice as a time of rebirth when sunlight hours stop shrinking and begin to lengthen again.  This places Christianity squarely as a religion not only of human kindness, but also as an observer and caretaker of the realities of our life here on Earth.  These are messages one hopes all people can take to heart.

           Robert Porath

Trickle Down

To the Editor:
Let’s call it Trickle Me Once, Trickle Me Twice.  The Trumpublican tax “reform” is a simple reaffirmation of Ronald Reagan’s supply-side, trickle down economic platform that has resulted in the wealth and income disparity we have today.  It is purely magical thinking to believe that the corporate world will share its tax windfall with the average working American whose own tax “relief”, unlike that for corporations, is set to expire.  Company bonuses are nice but, unlike pay raises, they are only temporary.  In other words, future deficits will fall squarely upon public rather than corporate income and Conservatives can amplify their disparagement of federal public well-being and safety net programs such as Medicare and Social Security.  The goal seems to be to continue the transformation of America into a Banana Republic ruled by a wealthy, oligarchical elite.  All “isms” have positive and negative aspects, but coupled with the deregulation of banking and the fossil fuel extraction industries, this is Capitalism at its worst.
Robert Porath

Survival of the Fittest

To the Editor:
Harassment and male aggression in the pursuit of sexual conquest, along with road rage, murder, warfare, and the authoritarian thirst for power, are apparently part and parcel of our human, mammalian DNA. To say this is not to condone or accept these behaviors, but to state the truth. They are not a sound basis on which to build a stable social order, and acquiescing to their influence has unravelled thousands of lives, not to mention whole societies and even empires. Our survival in the 21st Century will be dependent upon cooperation, community, and truthful communication, not on our base animal instincts.

Robert Porath

Climax Molybdenum

To the Editor:

The Climax Molybdenum Mine between Copper Mountain and Leadville in Colorado has over the years eaten away an entire mountainside along the Continental Divide and its milling operation filled a once-pristine mountain valley with lifeless, chemical-laden tailings.  Downstream is Dillon Reservoir, a major source of Denver and Front Range water.  The mine is now asking the EPA to allow the acceptable level of molybdenum in water be increased.  Scott Pruitt is rapidly transforming the Environmental Protection Agency into the Industrial Production and Profit Protection Agency, but increasing the allowable level of molybdenum in water by a factor of 236 times is surely a step too far.  Then again public safety is not the issue.

Robert Porath

North-South

To the Editor:
One wishes Gen. Kelly had elaborated the compromise he thought possible to prevent the Civil War.  The  economy of the South, its “way of life”, was dependent on slave labor (and White Supremacy) while, in the North, the abolitionist movement was gaining religious and humanitarian impetus.  Compromise on either side was impossible on the issue.  When the South opted to secede, Lincoln acted initially to preserve the Union, with abolition coming only later during the war.  During Reconstruction, Democrats gained the edge in the South, Republicans in the North.  When Lyndon Johnson pushed the Civil Rights Act through Congress, the two parties switched regions, but the North-South divide continues to this day.  The unfortunate aspect of Kelly’s remark is its Trumpian nod to Richard Nixon’s Southern Strategy.
Robert Porath

The Politics of Race

To the Editor:
It is becoming clear that Donald Trump and the Republican Party are continuing to count on the White backlash to the Obama years to ensure their political majority in 2018 and 2020, that and gerrymandering and voter suppression   Mike Pence’s media stunt of abruptly leaving the Indianapolis Colts game could have not been more blatant to that end, and the NFL  seems now so afraid of losing its fan base that it has joined in on the platform.  One has to wonder how Black athletes feel about being thrown under the bus and how might they react.  Steve Bannon may no longer have a position in the White House, but he is still dominating both the political narrative and the Republican agenda.

Robert Porath