In the July 5 Region section, Romana Kerr of Upper St. Clair states that national health care is communism because it will control every aspect of your life and that the president's plans for health care frighten her and they summon bad memories of her native Czech Republic, which was a communist country ("A Show of Independence").
The statement that universal health care is communism is indeed false and a scare tactic put out by the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries and many doctors. (Romana Kerr, incidentally, is a dentist.)
Let me ask you, Dr. Kerr, are you aware that numerous nations such as Canada, Australia, Israel, England, Italy, France, Spain, Greece, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Germany and others many years ago adopted universal health care and not a single one of them has or had communist governments?
Be aware, Dr. Kerr, that we as a nation are ranked 37th in health care, according to the World Health Organization. Be aware that 18,000 Americans die every single year because they lack health-care insurance (according to the Institute of Medicine).
Be aware that we as a nation have greater infant mortality and less longevity than many European nations. Such being the reality, I exhort you, Dr. Kerr, to denounce scare tactics and to consider that the urgency of now demands a comprehensive national health-care system. The present system is in a crisis.
BRUNO DEL SIGNORE
After reading July 5 that an important clerical group in Iran declared the recent presidential election there illegitimate ("Former Iran PM Remains Unbowed"), I was heartened to think that democracy might actually prevail there -- that the thousands of people who passionately protested the result may have their day.
This country that George W. Bush wanted to attack is exhibiting a spirit that shames America. The spirit of independence lives in Iran unlike here, where we were humiliated and embarrassed to the world after two stolen presidential elections. And we are now dealing with their aftermath.
After the Democratic National Committee's backroom antics in May 2008 that assured Barack Obama's nomination, he is becoming, as I feared all along, Bush's third term. He just can't get it right -- from his failure to call for an investigation of Bush's and Cheney's crimes, for not taking a stand against and repealing "Don't Ask Don't Tell," for continuing indefinite detention of prisoners at Guantanamo, for failing to emphatically support and demand a public option for health-care reform. And the icing on the cake: bailing out the banks that are now raising fees and interest rates on the people who are footing the bill.
What has happened to "hope and change?" Or was it all just "smoke and mirrors?"
Bad things happen when the election process is tampered with. Perhaps we can import several hundred thousand Iranians to protest and teach us the spirit of democracy.
Not too long ago there was a so-called public outcry and certainly a media outcry about the Bush administration's or the government's general intrusion into our lives. Where is that outcry now?
The Obama administration's intrusions into our life are unprecedented! Not only has it dived into the private sector, but it has all but taken over the public sector as well. The so-called bailouts of the banking, insurance and auto industries are proof of that. The government mandates associated with these bailouts are by definition socialism.
The falsehood of man-made global warming is another government excuse to levy large taxes on the public and private sectors, in order to switch capital from one part of the population to the other -- again socialism. Even at the state level, our doom-and-gloom governor uses scare tactics to push for huge tax increases, saying government programs will suffer if he does not get them. Government programs again -- socialism!
Then there is government-run health care. Let's not even get into what a mess that would be.
Give us names
In Paul Krugman's column on climate-change deniers ("Betraying the Planet," July 4), he writes that researchers at MIT are predicting global temperatures will rise higher than previously predicted, but he doesn't name any of these researchers. He also doesn't mention the field of these researchers. Could it be that this research is being done by computers? If so, it's not surprising that Mr. Krugman didn't mention it, because computer models on weather have proved to be wrong so often.
Richard Lindzen is a professor of meteorology in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and he denies man is causing global warming.
I'll put Lindzen's expertise up against any scientist Krugman can name if he'll name any.
Jack Kelly's "Green Nonsense" column (July 5) references the Competitive Enterprise Institute, an anti-global-warming propaganda organization that receives 16 percent of its funding from ExxonMobil as part of a campaign to cast doubt on the scientific facts of global warming. ExxonMobil still funds this agenda even though in March the federal Environmental Protection Agency finally declared that the scientific evidence does in fact document global warming from fossil fuel consumption.
The Union of Concerned Scientists has documented ExxonMobil's propaganda, internal memos and financial contributions in its report, "Smoke, Mirrors and Hot Air." Mr. Kelly argues that since some Americans "don't see [global warming] as a serious problem" we should do nothing. This is nonsense, as is his ridiculous claim that we will in some way pay $100 to $3,900 per family (that's a big range -- and for what?) if we don't keep our heads in the sand.
But the fact is that stopping global climate change is important to our economy right now. Pennsylvania has experienced a documented increase in storms with extreme precipitation and expensive flooding every year for several years now. Industries such as trout fishing and maple syrup production require cool temperatures and clean air, and, yes, they are having problems already.
Ski resorts have closed due to the shorter snow seasons. Pennsylvania's dairy farmers are seriously researching expensive interventions such as air conditioning cattle barns to prevent loss of cattle from heat stress. Black cherry lumber stock, the concord grape industry and apple production are all cold weather dependent and will suffer if warming trends are not stopped.
SARAH E. FLANDERS
We need to get out of Afghanistan
I was struck by a sense of sadness while reading the article "Afghan Strategy Needs Big Boost, General Says" (July 11) on the war in Afghanistan. I enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1966 for three years and volunteered to serve in the Republic of South Vietnam (February 1967 to March 1968) for a 13-month tour. I bought what our president was selling, "the red menace, those commies were coming," and I had to keep Squirrel Hill safe from dominos (that's esoteric speak for the Domino Theory, not the pizza).
Now we are 40 years later, and nothing has changed; our military, at the behest of our presidents have invaded new countries (Iraq and Afghanistan), for new reasons: imaginary weapons of mass distraction (oops, I mean destruction) in Iraq, and in Afghanistan we have our choice: the Taliban, al-Qaida or Osama bin Laden.
The July 11 article goes on to say that the new top U.S. commander in Afghanistan believes that for us to "win the war" our country has to deploy thousands of more troops to serve as advisers and trainers of the Afghan security forces. To me, this sounds just like Vietnam: We have to "win the war" no matter what the costs were, or now are. I find it ironic that the only people who find it easy to send our soldiers to possibly die, get wounded or traumatized, are those who never served in combat; such as our prior and current presidents.
I know our soldiers want to be there, and I respect them for that, but I do not believe they need to be. We do not need another 50,000 dead soldiers, or hundreds of thousands wounded, as in Vietnam. But by the time our military is done in both countries, it could happen.
We need to bring them home. We need to take care of the United States, its elderly, its poor and its children. Surely the past eight years in the Mideast have shown us a situation that is untenable. To win, even if possible, is too costly for those paying the price: the soldiers and innocent civilians.