I can't decide which is the bigger threat: the influence of money and powerful interest groups to buy favor with our legislators to favor the special interests, or the lack of critical thinking on the part of the voting public to see this corrupting influence stealing their future.
The corrupting influence of money in making decisions and framing legislation to protect and enable the powerful must be stopped. The net result of this practice is a struggling middle class, an increasing gap between rich and poor and the loss of democracy. We have legislators who use their position to their per$onal advantage while working hard to reduce or eliminate opportunities for the disadvantaged and laid off workers. The old adage of work hard and succeed is becoming more of a clich than a reality. But unless the voting public recognizes and becomes enraged by this practice while continuing to mindlessly vote without critical thought, then our freedoms will continue to be usurped.
Any thoughts on how we the people can accomplish this? Term limits come to mind.
-- JOSEPH CAGGIANO, Richland
Obamacare is scary
This is a tough call; after all, you have massive deficits that we are leaving to our grandkids, a sputtering economy with historically high unemployment rates, and a runaway entitlement culture. But my choice is Obamacare.
The full consequences of this monstrosity are just now becoming known. Millions of Americans will lose the health care they are now getting because employers will find it cheaper to eliminate insurance coverage and pay the fine than to pay for the increasingly more expensive health insurance. And it is not because they are cheapskates: they simply can't afford the Obamacare-mandated insurance cost.
This is not hypothetical -- I am, personally, in a decision-making capacity of an organization faced with this exact dilemma. Those that can keep their insurance will see their premiums increase by 30 percent on average, many by much more, despite Obama's claim that Obamacare will cut health care costs.
Nancy Pelosi famously said that, "We will have to pass this bill to see what is in it," but this is only partly true. Bureaucrats led by Kathleen Sebelius, director of Health and Human Services, are writing the tens of thousands of pages of Obamacare regulations that actually implement the law. For example, just because a company provides health insurance that does not mean it complies with government requirements. The law did not spell out what those are, but left it to Sebelius and her minions to determine.
Bear in mind, these are faceless bureaucrats who are operating without Congressional oversight, by and large. Already this has resulted in major public uproars, such as mandated birth control.
And the worst is still yet to come. We will see hospitals go bankrupt because of the steep cuts to Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements; hospitals that serve a disproportionally large proportion of low-income patients. Doctors are leaving the medical practice because of Obamacare. Having insurance doesn't guarantee you access to health care!
So, are we better or worse off with Obamacare? That's pretty obvious.
-- TOM SEIM, Richland
... a little bit of pixie dust
My politically incorrect concern about the present and future is that we, as a nation, are lazily adopting a Peter Pan lifestyle in lieu of reality -- using our imagination to replace objectivity with subjectivity. We view ourselves as proudly autonomous individuals, wiser than the ignorant herd, unconnected from others, allowing us to be personally indifferent to real situations. Every single one of us, 300 million or so, is well above average. We will never grow old, and are joyously following our leader who throws pixie dust to make us happy by concealing and banishing reality.
We all know that our connectedness with others is fading, as the acids of multi-culturism are dissolving American culture. But that is not the worst attack on unity. Sophists, experts in the art of twisting words, succulently present something bad as something good, and something white as black, are the dominant minority, single-mindedly focused on pursuit of power. They tell us how wonderful we are if we unreservedly do what they want, but how unimaginably evil we are if we prefer reality.
Deception is the language spoken universally, in all languages and dialects. Real communication is becoming nearly impossible, since truth focuses on reality, and lies only present imaginary elements of an imaginary universe.
-- CHUCK FOLEY, Richland
Divided we fall
Some of the most powerful military strategies include "inciting rebellion, division, infighting, or sowing discord" among the enemy. A member of the "greatest generation" (my father) once told me that he misses hearing phrases like "in this together," "common," "united," or "we, the people." My top concern for our country right now is that we (the 99 percent) are divided. That we view each other as the problem (i.e., the right thinks the left is the problem, and vice versa) instead of big government and big money which is a problem because greed now "overshadows" ethics.
In an "eclipse," both objects are seen (i.e., the moon, and sun). But, through the "phases" of the moon, only the shadow of the Earth is seen on the moon. Earth is both the source of the shadow we see, and foundation on which we stand. Similarly, greed (or as the Bible says, "the love of money") is our unseen foundation, while ethics continues to wane in it's shadow.
This ethical "phasing" by greed is: Why we (America) accepts "Money laundering (by terrorists, drug cartels, criminals, etc.) by large Intl. banks." Why communities justify "their" federal subsidies, but condemn others. (Sound familiar?) Why we tear down Hanford buildings, but save their meters and displays for "historical" reasons (TCH 3/24 p.A1). How will we display these items, build new buildings? Ironically, the very next day (TCH 3/25 p.A3) an article discussed existing neglect to 700 "historic" buildings, numerous "Heritage centers, and Interpretive sites," and 117 parks in Washington, and the expected consequences of further budget cuts, just now beginning.
How utterly ridiculous, and embarrassing!
-- D. L. (ANDY) ANDERSON, Richland
Mind control by screen
In the 1950s and 60s progressive thinkers were concerned about government intrusion into the lives of individuals for other than altruistic purposes. George Orwell's novel 1984 (1949) and Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 (1953) each contain elements of this concern. In the latter, the 'parlor' in a residence consists of walls of television-like screens. The parlor is where some individuals became completely mesmerized by programming intended to entertain and manipulate.
In current U.S. culture, screens and video displays have become ubiquitous. Homes contain multiple TV sets and computers, as well as multiple mobile devices. It is rare to enter a commercial facility without encountering screens, e.g., bank counters, waiting rooms, service desks, etc. Programming on these screens is still intended to manipulate thinking and actions, but for a far more fundamental purpose than government intrusion into the life of an individual: Selling the viewer something has now become paramount. And doing so can now transcend our safety, such as getting through the busy intersection of Columbia Center Boulevard and Clearwater under the glaring, flashing distraction of the 'flash cube' building sign.
One area of research that has gained little public transparency is whether a connection exists between screen transmissions and the brain. Are we more likely to succumb to a marketer's pitch via a 50-inch flat screen than we are to a printed brochure? Why are eyes seemingly addictively drawn to the computer screen of a co-worker when we enter their workspace? Why are infants pacified by screen presentations? Why are drivers drawn to screens in their vehicles, even while moving through heavy traffic? And most significantly, is there a cause-and-effect relationship between the hyper-stimulation from video and sound in a computer game that could lead to aberrant behavior in susceptible minds? Recent horrendous shooting rampages suggest there is a connection, and this should be of great concern to us all. Mind control is very much alive and well!
-- ROBERT PETERSON, Richland