Letters to the Editor, February 10, 2021

The real, unreal ‘Antifa’

In the 27 January paper, there was a letter titled “Antifa, meet insurrectionist.” 

As someone who lives in Portland and has been involved with the protests, I need to correct what was said there.

Firstly, “antifa” is not an organization, nor is it a political movement. It is short for anti-fascist, and anti-fascists I have met run the gamut from traditionally conservative and religious people to those on the far left. I would hope that any decent person would be anti-fascist.

Secondly, the glass breaking and vandalism that took place on election day (and the day after) appears to have been done by an Anarchist group who put antifa and BLM “logos” on their banners but who were not acting in conjunction with either. (In fact, people from those groups left before the march, because they didn’t agree with what the anarchists planned.)

Thirdly, whatever one’s take on the appropriateness/usefulness of “busting stuff up” as a form of protest (not generally in favor of it, myself), property damage really is not commensurate with a violent attempted coup.

I have been on the streets when the Proud Boys and their buddies have tried to terrorize the city – something that has happened many times in the past 5 years. I have been at protests where the anarchists have come and done property damage. Please believe me when I say they are NOT “two peas in a pod”.

Bel-Ami Margoles
Portland, Ore.

Christians gone awry

Jan Phelps’ letter regarding religious hypocrisy was very well done, thoughtful, measured, calm. She has experienced many religious viewpoints in her life. I, too, have been watching Christianity crumble, especially in the most recent past.

My parents were Christian Scientists, I grew up attending Sunday school, where we learned about the beatitudes, 10 commandments, parables, and other biblical stories, and that God is Life, Love, Truth, Spirit. A loving and kind God. My mother was big on the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. While I believe in the values taught to me growing up, I am not a believer in God as an adult.

Modern “Christians” seem to have the Spanish Inquisition as their guide and goal, namely to destroy any person or institution that does not espouse their agenda. To me, that is every bit as hateful and backward as Muslin Sharia law. Whatever happened to multiculturalism, melting pot America? Live and let live. Impossible under current right wing attitudes.

My current view of the God fearing (why do you fear your God?) right wing “Christians” are as hypocritical, hateful, vengeful, exclusionary, unforgiving, intolerant, and violent. Just like Muslim terrorists.

Old friends joined the Mormon cult several decades ago and they have changed. My favorite conspiracy theory of theirs was that Obama, personally, was going to come and take their guns. Huh? The President of the United States? And they could not see how ridiculous this idea was. 

They were nice people, and yet, I quit Facebook due to their hateful, nasty, name calling, denigrating and derogatory political posts. I am political center and these posts felt personal. They scream about their freedoms being lost and yet they forget that they have responsibilities to their fellow citizens.

My husband has a Catholic cousin who prays to Trump!?

People can believe in a god or not, that is their business, but I have no use for hypocritical god cults who want to meddle in my life. Thanks to Jan, I know there are others who see the chasm between the behavior and rhetoric being espoused by the right wing and their supposed “Christian” identity.

Decent, kind, inclusive, forgiving, loving Christians seems to have gone silent or disappeared. How sad.

Gail Ledbetter

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Can we afford Single-Payer?

Health care today is expensive. Can we provide it to every resident? Who will pay? We have only to look at the rest of the industrialized democracies of the world to see the answer. In other countries, people pay with their taxes, which in turn gives them equitable access to the care they need, that everyone needs at one time or another over a lifetime. In other countries, there are no middlemen making a profit by simply paying (or trying not to pay) the bills.

More taxes? Also worrisome. But how many are aware that what we pay now into federal and state programs for healthcare would provide the vast majority of what would be needed to supply universal health care under a public, single-payer plan. A small, progressive tax would pay the rest. How small? A Senate bill in the house (S. 1129) proposes a family of four with an income of $60K would pay about $5K. That same family now pays upwards of $20K in premiums, co-pays, deductibles – the out-of-pocket bills that insurance won’t cover. That’s a 75 percent savings. 

Scores of economic studies on single payer have been analyzed through universities, think tanks and medical institutes. The unanimous result is that a single-payer system, one that allows other countries to spend half of what the U.S. spends on health care, would save some $650 billion per year in the U.S., according to the Congressional Budget Office. Even the most conservative (Koch Brothers’ Mercatus Institute) finds a $2 trillion savings over 10 years. It is important to ask what our costs would be without converting to a single-payer system — estimates confirm that it would be in the billions of dollars annually above what a universal, publicly paid system would cost.

Our current healthcare non-system is fragmented, inequitable, inefficient and dangerously expensive. Somewhere between a quarter and a third of our population have no access to medical care, being uninsured, underinsured or having lost insurance due to COVID-19 job losses. A cancer diagnosis can mean bankruptcy and homelessness. The attendant anxiety and stress over illness and medical bills contributes to further health declines. A society so crippled by such a loss of sufficient medical care cannot be productive or sound. 

We must shore up the failing state of healthcare delivery in this nation, this nation with some of the very best medical knowledge and practices in the world, making it available to everyone. The pandemic has shown how a virus knows no political, social or ethnic boundaries. When one of us is vulnerable, everyone is. The question is not, can we afford to do this but rather, how can we afford not to?

Canada has a Medicare system that covers all residents from birth to death. It started in one province and spread by acclamation to the rest who could readily see the benefits. Canadians love their Medicare — just as we love ours, here, even in its pressing need for improvement. Canadians see our situation as unacceptable, where for-profit entities impose narrow networks, require pre-authorizations and deny care for pre-existing conditions and treatments that bureaucrats may decide are not covered.

In California we are uniquely situated to create a Medicare for All system because of our robust economy, the fifth largest in the world. But we must have the federal funds Californians now pay into healthcare programs like Medicare and Medicaid granted back to us. There is precedent and provisions in the ACA and Social Security for such waivers to be granted.

How can we promote such a move by our state? The many grass-roots organizations favoring a single-payer healthcare system in California are asking Governor Newsom to remember his campaign promise when he said, “There is no need to wait for universal health care and single payer in California.” We are inviting the public to sign a request to Governor Newsom to apply to the Biden Administration for the necessary federal waivers so that we can get started fixing health care in California. Please go to petition.healthcare to sign on to this request and be sure to watch the video that says it all. It is up to us to direct our legislators to act on our behalf — democracy is not something we have, but something we do. Let’s do it; let’s make California a bellwether to the nation.

For more information about single-payer health care, visit healthcareforall.org or PNHP.org. [email protected]

Patty Harvey
Willow Creek

Along party lines

I was recently contemplating the nature of obstruction in Congress when the circus came back to town (in Washington, D.C.). I have watched, with growing disgust, the Republican Party do what the Republican Party has done for the past 50 years. 

If the Republican Party wants to survive, they really have to take a step back, back into history, and change the way they do things. They have to start taking responsibility for their actions, removing the crazies from their caucus and stop voting along party lines instead of doing what is right.

For those of you who were not here, or did not pay attention at the time, in 1971 a sitting Republican President authorized an illegal act to guarantee his re-election and to retain all the power of the office (the most influential and powerful in the world, then and now). 

The ploy worked. Except it didn’t. All of the participants were caught and all but one was punished. Richard Nixon was on the verge of being impeached and removed from office when Republican Senators went to the White House and explained that if he continued his fate was sealed. 

They had a much better idea. Resign from office, elevate your Vice President and accept a presidential pardon. The deal was done, the country was saved. Except it wasn’t. The Congress in 1974 should have proceeded with the impeachment. It would have saved us the horror of watching the attempted insurrection and coup. It would have saved the Republican Party. 

I find it ever so amusing to see some of the participants in Watergate, now as talking heads on all the major news stations, scolding and condemning the acts of Donald Trump. Irony abounds especially with those who are irony impaired.

So now we have another Republican President who committed illegal and immoral acts while trying to guarantee his re-election and retain the power of his office. Fortunately, for the country and the over 80 million people who voted against him, the American Body Politic managed to remove him from office. Now, he must be impeached.

The House of Representatives has passed and sent to the Senate the articles of impeachment. Trump has already been impeached, for a second time, by the People’s House of Representatives. It is now up to the Senate to do the same and save the Republican Party.

But what are they doing now? They are voting along party lines. The held multiple meetings in the past few days to try and figure out what to do with a couple members of the Republican Caucus. Liz Cheney, an honorable person of conscience, voted to impeach Trump. 

Rep. Greene of Georgia, a person of questionable mental stability, has been spewing lies about 911 and school shootings, advocating the assassination of members of congress and former President Obama, harassing a survivor of a school shooting and continuing to insist the Trump won the election and yet she managed to get committee assignments to Budget and Education & Labor.

The meeting of the caucus voted, by secret ballot 145-61, to NOT remove Liz Cheney from her leadership role. Good for them as they are going to need her. Then this caucus, some of whom gave Greene a standing ovation, decided not to punish the nut-bag. Instead, they forced the House of Representatives to do their dirty work, thereby setting up yet another instance where they can blame the Democrats. It seems they can only vote their consciences if it is a secret ballot.

Unfortunately, it is a case of too little too late. The Republicans had a chance to stand up and bring some integrity back into their party, and they failed. They have lost and their party will now be splintered into at least two parts. 

The new party is to be called the MAGA Party. It will consist of people who have no idea how governing works; it will be full of Marjorie Taylor Greene and her ilk. I find that this punishment more than fits the crimes. 

Have fun in the next couple of weeks watching the death throes of the once-Grand Old Party.

Thank you for listening,

Jan Phelps


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