Letters to the Editor, Oct. 25, 2017

The Bully in the Pulpit

To President Theodore Roosevelt, the term “bully” was an adjective meaning something was wonderful.

As such, he coined the phrase “bully pulpit” to mean the country listens to the president when he speaks policy.

Unfortunately, President Trump has some difficulty with this.

First, he often changes his message from day to day which leaves his real meaning unclear.

This can be seen in his inconsistent views on the health insurance efforts, his multiple comments on the Charlottesville riot, and his on-again off-again threats to North Korea.

At other times, his message is clear but the message itself is just bullying. He has attacked a number of cabinet members and elected Republicans when he thought they were acting ineffectively or did not support his programs well enough.

And similarly he has made threats to Democrats for their lack of support overall. His most current threat is in retaliation to Sen. John McCain for a speech he gave recently.

Without naming Trump directly, McCain made reference to a country with “half-baked, spurious nationalism” and added that the USA “will not thrive in a world where our leadership and ideals are absent.”

Trump‘s comment to this was a warning to McCain; you have to be careful because “at some point I will fight back and it won’t be pretty.”

Because of Trump’s meandering advocacy and threats, I conclude there is little “bully pulpit” right now but rather more “bully in the pulpit.”

What is truly ironic in all this is that first lady Melania Trump herself is a strong advocate opposing bullying. She even gave a speech at the UN last month saying how important it is to teach world youth that bullying is unacceptable.

Unfortunately, it appears her advocacy hasn’t rubbed off on her spouse.

Sherman Schapiro
Blue Lake

Wood and single-payer health

Assemblyperson Jim Wood has repeatedly said that he is in favor of health care for all but he has not said that he is in favor of the single payer health care system for California. We have all heard a lot of rhetoric coming from politicians that insist that they are in favor of affordable health care for all, but the fact of the matter is that health care costs have risen by 12.5 percent per year over the last 15 years and costs and deductibles have risen to levels that are unsustainable causing the health care system to break for Californians.

The truth is clear.

Wood is Chair of the Health Committee in the State Assembly and supported Speaker Anthony Rendon to sideline the bill in the Rules Committee. He recently stated, “I will do my best to identify those solutions that are comprehensive and sustainable, and that will ultimately provide affordable health care for all Californians. I think we need to put everything on the table.”

What is everything and where is his clear support for single payer health care? The State of California concluded in 2013 that “anything but a nonprofit, single payer system would only perpetuate the abuses and inequities of the past.”

Wood said “This committee is charged with identifying a pathway that we can propose to the full legislature.” The truth is that SB 562, The Healthy California Act, has already been proposed to the legislature and he is partly responsible for its delay even though the Democratic Party Platform supports it.

Wood is one of many politicians who has taken money from the special interest insurance groups that do not want the legislation to pass the legislature because it is profitable for these private insurance companies and drug manufacturers. Health care has been studied time and again and it is clear knowledge that every western industrialized nation that provides single payer health care does it at half the cost of the United States. Of course, the insurance companies do not want a single payer health care system because it eliminates the profit and greed that comes with the insurance companies providing the middle man in the health care system.

Wood has great health insurance provided by the state government. When asked specifically about his health insurance policy and the total cost, his cost to the policy, deductibles, copayments, and other pertinent information, the Rules Committee and Wood refused to release the information. It is harder to move with urgency when your own health care insurance is great. Tell this to the family that is struggling right now with these high costs and high deductibles that can drive them to destruction and possible death.

Yet Wood still wants to hold hearings with a Select Committee on Health Care Delivery Systems. It is time to act when the solution has been studied time and again. “Shit or get off the pot.” The time is now!

Winchell Dillenbeck


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