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Forget Hollywood

It is amazing how short the memories of leftists are. Richard Babcock ("Rush to judgment," Letters, Aug. 20) complains that we are "hearing entertainers who have a vested interest in pandering to the extreme." Hollywood's elitists have been pandering to the extreme left for decades. When stars like Martin Sheen, Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon of Tinseltown bloviate on behalf of their favorite socialists, are people supposed to pay attention?

Frankly, all entertainers should stick to their schtick. A far greater danger to this country are the people who brand any and all criticism of this president as racist. During the presidential campaign we were asked to elect someone who could "transcend the race issue" — but everyone can hear those race cards being slapped onto the table on a near-daily basis.

— Steve Clarke

Colorado Springs

Not so funny

Usually, Rich Tosches makes me laugh. I didn't find anything funny about "Losing to the system" (Ranger Rich, Sept. 3), though, except for that bit about the Renaissance Festival. As someone who has dealt with Colorado's fantastic unemployment system, on and off, for 10 years, I find the real humor in the fact that people haven't been screaming about the system for years.

The scenario Rich described isn't a recent phenomenon. Getting through on the phone has always been next to impossible. The agency's being so understaffed and overworked goes beyond irony, especially since the "monkeys" don't make very much. In theory, online filing for benefits should solve a lot of problems but, as Merl Wallace's example demonstrates, when a problem occurs (even if it's on their end) you are just shit out of luck.

You must talk to someone, who may or may not understand you, or the problem cannot be fixed.

I have found it truly amazing that sending a handwritten or typed letter is just about the most efficient form of communication. The response time is very reasonable and can lead to developing a personal contact.

Colorado needs to find a way to get benefits flowing more easily and quickly. The built-in waiting week is also ridiculous, especially considering how much time can elapse before a claim can be filed and get rolling here.

On a higher level, I have dealt with some truly efficient and helpful people. Still, I hate to see low-level, poorly paid employees take the heat for a system they work in but did not create.

The whole system's a joke, but those at its mercy are not laughing.

— Joe Collins

Colorado Springs

Bad choice

I see the new Metro transit station is on hold for lack of money. Thank heaven! The location they were looking at is absolutely horrible. Down in the dirty railroad tracks, close to homeless and bridges.

Where the station is now, you can walk around the corner to restaurants, banks and other businesses. At the proposed site, you would have to walk about 4 to 6 blocks to such places.

Sure, if, when or why they build a new station, they can find a better location. Personally, I think where it is now is a damn good spot. And it should be mandatory for every City Council member to ride the bus at last once a week.

— B.D. Bryan

Colorado Springs

 

Dissecting the GOP

One only has to take a good look at the GOP here in El Paso County to see why the party is sinking fast, has lost the last two national elections, and is in danger of being only a national party in several regions with minimal population.

Republicans have too many members like Rep. Doug Lamborn. So sure that his seat is safe, he refuses to discuss key issues with the people he has the duty to serve. He is only interested in Republicans, as clearly illustrated in his refusal to fairly debate Democrat Hal Bidlack in the last election and his recent alleged "town hall" here, when space was made for less than 175 faithful Republicans. For a city of this size, Lamborn should have scheduled several meetings in venues that could seat hundreds. On issues like the stimulus package, environment and even Cash for Clunkers, his votes were not in the best interest of those he serves.

Republicans follow men like Lamborn who refuse to compromise, leading the party into its downward spiral. Many blame the recent losses on the party not being conservative enough, when in fact, the losses are clearly because the party has drifted too far to the right for most Americans.

The moderate Sen. John McCain in 2000 could have easily won in 2008 if he had stayed moderate instead of caving in to the far right. Ronald Reagan would be ashamed of what has happened to his party. The Gipper knew how to work with others, compromise when necessary and always put America first. Republicans used to stand up for America and Americans; now they only want to tear down those rights and freedoms.

If the party continues nationally like in El Paso County, the GOP is doomed.

— Patrick M. Faley

Colorado Springs

Our 'socialized' society

Strangely, one overriding fact about the existing status of American health care never gets mentioned in the raging debate over reform: 60 percent of Americans are already on some form of "socialized" health care! (Even stranger, Republican lawmakers absolutely love it for themselves! If they really wanted to expose its evil for all to see, they would reject their own government-subsidized health insurance and buy private coverage!)

So we are in fact debating how to cover only 40 percent of Americans with health insurance that bypasses the current profit-driven system that has killed or bankrupted thousands.

Republicans continually point out that Medicare's rising costs are proof that universal health insurance for all wouldn't work. They fail to add it was their own disastrous, budget-busting Medicare drug bill of 2003 that pushed costs through the roof! This corporate-written bill actually prohibited drug-price controls, such as the VA uses to great advantage, adding greatly to the deficit the Republicans rail against with such unabated passion, unless such bills help to fill their own campaign coffers.

Once again, a similar bill is making its way through Congress, this time pushed by Democrats, filled with the same corporate giveaways and, once again, leaving the average citizen holding the bag. Instead of pushing HR 676, one system for all, they opted for a reform that pleases no one. It's time to budget out the cost of this bill and have an honest debate!

For those who think a nameless, faceless bureaucrat could deny them care: All the lies we hear about other countries' systems are meaningless, because we would write our own bill, and no bureaucrat will have that power! All those horrible things you fear are what we have now.

— Jerry Newsom

Colorado Springs

Read and learn

I keep wondering about all the people and ideologues who keep trying to make a point of Obama's "socialist" agenda. Do any of these people really have a sound grasp on what socialism is? Have they read socialist theory?

Please pick up a book, read about the history of socialist theory, and understand its recent origins from the 19th century. Proceed to study the immense changes in theory that occurred in the 20th century. You'll understand that the application and misapplication of socialism are much more complex than imagined.

The more you know about socialism, the less you'll know and will no longer use it to describe the agenda of any politician. The same can be said of those who wish to condemn politicians by calling them "fascist."

— Alex Echevarria

Colorado Springs

Paid to protest?

I've read the Independent often since relocating several years ago. I love Denver, but I don't love what I'm seeing in media coverage about health care reform. It's one thing to cover angry mobs at town halls. Some people are genuinely afraid "big government" will take away their benefits and turn the U.S. into a Stalinesque dictatorship. That same "big government" also gives them Medicare, runs the VA, Postal Service, public schools and public libraries, and created the interstate highway system.

I'd like to see one reporter ask how many of these angry people are paid Republican Party operatives, trying to stop reform, even if they have to carry guns to intimidate, and become violent? Where are minority voices? Why do we not see, hear and read the perspectives of the laid-off, uninsured, working poor, or those insured but with lousy plans that fleece them?

Every day 100 people in Colorado lose their coverage. Reform with a real public option is key to expanding coverage. The time is now to stop quivering in our shoes and wetting our pants over the protestations of well-paid Republican operatives and scared, rich retirees with great health coverage already.

— David Somerfleck

Denver

Who's in charge?

My health care decisions are made by a Connecticut resident who works in a New York skyscraper and owns three multimillion-dollar homes, supported by his $90 million annual salary. He delegates the job of communicating his decisions regarding my care to a clerk with a high school diploma.

My parents participate in a socialized program: Medicare. Their decisions are made by their local primary care physician and specialists to whom he refers them. My own health has not been threatened by the New Yorker, but a close friend was not so fortunate.

Last year, this friend, whose story I verified and whose medical decisions are also dictated by the executive in New York, took his doctor's prescription to his pharmacist. The pharmacist was told by the insurance company's clerk with the diploma to use a generic substitute. "If that doesn't work, then we'll let him have the more expensive medication," she said.

My friend immediately spent 10 days in the hospital, on the edge of death after taking one tablet. The generic included ibuprofen; the brand name did not.

Familiar with my friend's extreme allergy, the physician had purposely specified the brand name. Upon instructions from 2,000 miles away, the clerk overrode a doctor's specific order. After recovering, my friend questioned his pharmacist, who showed him a large stack of prescriptions converted by the same process. "It happens every day," he said.

Our illustrious county commissioners declared their unanimous support of the system that allows the rich executive and his clerk to make my decisions instead of my personal physician ("Your leaders, hard at work," Ranger Rich, Aug. 20). Either the commissioners are uninformed about the dangers or they somehow benefit. Their recent statement, which has nothing to do with county government, arose either out of ignorance or greed. County residents have a right to know which it was.

— Tim Rowan

Colorado Springs

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