Letters to the Editor


Sept. 11 has a different meaning for Chileans
       I personally feel that someone...from the government and/or the press, has a responsibility (in the interest of homeland security) to make mention to the public that this September 11th is the "thirty year anniversary" of attack upon the Presidential Palace in Santiago, Chile by Augusto Pinochet and his compatriots.Compatriots which included the United States Central Intelligence Agency, et al. It was a coup that ended the life of the democratically elected President Salvadore Allende and simultaneously initiated the infamous and brutal rule of Augusto Pinochet.

Daniel P. Quinn
Saint Petersburg, Fl.

11th Commandment: Keep Church and State Separate
       The recent events in Alabama concerning the location of the Ten Commandments in a state judicial building once again stirs the debate about the separation of church and state. The First Amendment of the Constitution states:
       "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
       The government of the United States is prohibited from recognizing any particular religion as the official religion of the country. This extends to any land or property owned by the government. Examples range from city hall to the White House, the vast wilderness to public parks, and pre-schools to universities. Therefore, if anyone wanted to erect a symbol of their particular religion on public land or property, provisions would have to be made to accommodate all the other religions as well. Consequently, in respecting the fact that all religions are equally affected by this prohibition, no one religion is recognized with favoritism nor is any religion restricted in its practice. We simply agree as United States citizens that in order for our religious differences to be accommodated, there must be some form of neutrality when it comes to public land and property.
       The government is also prohibited from restricting the exercise of an individual's or group's religion. This too extends to any land or property owned by private individuals and groups. Examples include churches, synagogues, and mosques and any schools that are privately owned as well. So too, if anyone wanted to erect a symbol on private property, they would have to seek permission from the owners.
       The separation of church and state was established by the founding fathers to prevent any one religion from influencing the state against other religions. It was a compromise of facilitation, not a compromise of principle. So too, we must always guard against those who try to influence public morality with their own private beliefs.
       The problem with society today is that there is no respect for public ethics and morals. The main objective of capitalism has been corrupted into an ethos of materialism. The resulting hedonistic philosophy of "I, my and me" is what is ruining this country, not the restriction of religion in public places. We need to bring back the study of philosophy in our schools and begin a new nurturing of spirituality in our religions. Otherwise the seeds of destruction for our social experiment will have finally come to fruition.

Joe Bialek
Cleveland, Ohio

Young Seniors’ Desperate Health Insurance Plight
       Why is there not something out there for people who are between 62 and 65 who have no health insurance and cannot afford any because the premiums are so high and the deductibles are outrageous? Even the high premiums can't be afforded and the deductibles are even worse. Most insurance companies want you to have a deductible of $5,000 or $10,000, so if we have to go in the hospital for test and the hospital bill is $5,000 to $10,000 then we have to pay the entire bill plus the high premiums each month—and get no benefit from our insurance That is the very reason I, a 63-year-old woman, have no health insurance now....I had to cancel my insurance, for it was not benefiting me.... Now I can't get any insurance because of my age and my health problems.
       This situation should be fixed, for the seniors live on one-half as much as working people yet have to pay out more for medicines, doctors, insurance premiums, deductibles, and hospital bills.
       Please do everything you can to get this set in the right perspective, as most people don't live long after becoming a senior, so the insurance companies would not be out much on most seniors.

Rosie Barnes

Too Much Like Mars
       I guess everyone's heard that Mars came closest to Earth in perhaps 60,000 years on 8/27?
       Mars, of course, is the mythical and astrological God of War. Imagine: possibly all of humanity's thousands of years of development has taken place under the thrall of an ever-nearing Mars—no wonder Man has been so warlike.
       Nothing else has scarred Man's collective soul as profoundly as war, especially today, and it's clearly all coming to some sort of crescendo as we speak. But there is a new age coming; Mars will be ever-receding, and hopefully, with it, man's addiction to war!
       Now if only we can go with THAT flow, admit our mistakes, and begin to dismantle and dis-invest our hugely evolved war-machine.
       This will be hard, since everything has been set up that way for so long, and our present leaders are Ego-ridden warmongers. But the Cosmos, and therefore the Natural Order of the World, will favor those who are willing and courageous enough to move in this new direction toward PEACE. (Maybe, as in the Greek epic, the Lysystrata, the WOMEN will have to do it!)
       Let us all pull together to win this monumental tug against war. If we don’t, we’ll see the almost certain annihilation of our own precious life-giving planet!

Bia Winter
Maine

Prescription Drug Coverage Bill Be the First Thing to Go
       All reference to Medicare drug coverage pertains to people who have no coverage and can't afford high prescription costs....Never have I seen any reference to retired people who, as a part of their retirement plan, have drug coverage through their company.
       I worked for a company for 20 years and had a nice retirement package--not a lot of money but a number of good perks. I still get the pension and have prescription coverage, but most of the other perks have been discontinued. Now, if the Federal Gov't says it will take care of ALL old people, I'm sure the most valuable perk (prescription coverage) will be dropped by my company and I will pay much more for my drugs if the Feds. take care of me.
       Companies have an obligation to maintain these plans for former employees. Let's see that addressed!

Ruth James
Atlanta, Ga.

Dem Favors Recall of Ca. Gov.
       I am a Democrat who favors the recall to remove Governor Davis [of California] for the following reasons:
  1. Davis spent $10 million of his campaign money to skew the Republican primary towards the weaker candidate, thus forfeiting his claim that the last election for governor was "fair."
          
  2. After a series of years in which the Republican minority in the State Legislature has blocked all deficit-reducing budgets, Davis still has not shown the leadership to campaign for reducing the necessary approval majority from 67% to 55%.
          
  3. Following the energy crisis, Attorney General Bill Lockyear fought FERC and the big energy companies for restitution while Davis kept silent, unwilling to take the political risk.
          
  4. Cruz Bustamante has the experience and the program to lead California effectively out of this $38 Billion mess.
Bruce Joffe
Piedmont, Ca.

Tests for Bush
       Do you still think that George Bush has America's interest at heart? Here are three simple tests for you:
       Test No. 1: This test is designed to see if Our George has been taking care of business in the three years since his brother elected him. Has he been keeping our nation's infrastructure in good repair? Or have the neo-cons just been pocketing the bucks?
       Here's the deal: On September 19, 2003, let's all turn ON everything electric we can think of: Our air conditioners, photocopiers, appliances, table saws, whatever -- and keep them on all day long (well maybe not the table saws). Then, at exactly 6 pm PDT, let's all make toast, vacuum, do the wash and blow-dry our hair. If the grid holds, we'll know that Bush has been keeping it maintained and repaired and hasn't sold America out to Enron, First Energy, etc.
       Test No. 2: Take your holiday vacation in Columbia, Iraq, Israel/Palestine, the Philippines, Nigeria or Afghanistan this year. If nobody shoots at you, calls you an "Ugly American," throws rocks at you or holds out their dead babies for your inspection, then you'll know that Bush's foreign policy might be on the right track. P.S.: Don't take a camera. The thugs we pay to kill people in these places may think you are a reporter and fire their made-in-America rocket launchers at you. And, if you select Iraq as your travel destination, be sure to bring extra food and water to share with our under-supplied troops (And while you're there, ask Bechtel and Halliburton where the money for our GIs' ration supplies went off to).
       Test No. 3: No longer have a paycheck? No longer have a job? And is your child's school floundering on a sea of debt? Is your state about to go bankrupt? If you criticized your government, might you land in jail? Are the gasoline prices at the local pump skyrocketing? Is the national debt up in the stratosphere? Are you worried that your vote is not being counted? Is your son or daughter in danger of "waking up dead" in Iraq due to neo-con ineptitude? Are you upset that Halliburton's Swiss bank account only contains 12 billion dollars? If you can give a negative answer to all of the above, then George Bush is still your man.
       If, after taking these three simple tests, you begin to suspect that Our George is not passing Go but is still collecting YOUR $200, then click on and sign the petition.

Jane Stillwater
Berkeley, CA



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This story was published on September 16, 2003.