LETTERS for October 20 issue
Seniors, it’s time to sign up for Medicare
Today, 10,000 Americans turned 65, thus becoming eligible for Medicare. Starting Oct. 15, these seniors – along with disabled Americans – can participate in Medicare’s open enrollment period, during which they can select the Medicare plan that best fits their unique needs.
During open enrollment, seniors shop around the Medicare marketplace, comparing the features of different plans and deciding whether to switch policies. Seniors also can decide to buy a prescription drug plan through Medicare Part D. These plans provide seniors with affordable access to prescription drugs, keeping them and their wallets healthy.
Beneficiaries enrolled in Part D are consistently happy with their coverage. In fact, nearly nine in ten beneficiaries reported satisfaction in a recent survey.
It’s no wonder; Part D provides seemingly limitless options, so everyone can find a plan that best fits his or her financial and medical needs. In 2016, seniors could choose from 886 prescription drug plans nationwide. These plans cover medicines that seniors need, from cholesterol medications to antidepressants and cancer treatments.
The coverage is surprisingly affordable. Monthly premiums for Part D have been stable for years – around $34. That’s about half of the $60 originally forecasted. The Congressional Budget Office recently reported that Part D as a whole cost 45 percent less than the initial projections for 2004-13. Such savings are a result of Part D’s reliance on competition. The need to attract seniors forces plan providers to cover lots of medicines and keep premiums reasonable.
Part D is about choice and access to important drugs. So, let’s keep having millions of seniors sign up for quality, affordable drug coverage this fall with the confidence that the Part D program they are so strongly supportive of will continue onward.
ROBERT BLANCATO, National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services Programs
Lessons found in scripture
“‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the LORD God, ‘who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.’ ” (Revelation)
God did these things:
Pharaoh released his enormous slave workforce “because of My mighty hand!” (Exodus)
“Cyrus, whose right hand I [took] hold of,” allowed captives to return to their land with financial aid. (Isaiah)
Jesus suffered political, social and religious injustice. The result of His crucifixion offers eternal life.
In 1948, Israel was restored as a nation after centuries of exile.
Restoring the Hawaiian Nation seems easy to do in comparison. Trust in the same God who conquered death and set the captives free.
“Nation within a nation” is captivity. Utilize Biblical precepts for redemption and restoration.
GOVERNMENT – Hawaii’s “leaders will be from among them and their governor…” (Jeremiah 30:21) appointed with Biblical qualifications. The influence of the United States or restoration of the monarchy establishes potential for oppressive governing.
LAND – Urban-designated homes and businesses along with public-use properties are unaffected. Fair resolutions/compensation is implemented for agricultural/rural-designated land. (Leviticus 25:8-34)
CITIZENSHIP – “The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself.” (Leviticus)
“‘You [Hawaiians] are to distribute this land among yourselves… and the aliens who have settled among you and who have children. You are to consider them as native-born…’ declares the Sovereign LORD.” (Ezekiel 47:21-23)
UNITED STATES – “Righteousness exalts a nation.” (Proverbs)
Do what’s right! FREE HAWAII!
Restoration is a little thing in the hands of the Almighty God.
MICHELE LINCOLN, Lahaina
Why the U.S. is a corporation
All corporations have to file articles of incorporation in order to incorporate. In the articles is the executive summary.
The United States of America’s Constitution is the Articles of Incorporation of that company. The preamble is the executive summary.
If you read the preamble, it states who made the U.S. a corporation. It reads: “We the people of the United States…”
So, the people of the United States, which was really a bunch of states united in their effort, made a company called the United States of America. Those people who made that company were sovereign, free men and women who operated in common law. We still have the choice to be them.
When the USA corporation was formed with those articles of incorporation, it started making employees. They called those employees “citizens.”
Then the corporation started making corporate rules called statutes. They opened up a court system where they fine their CITIZENS based on their STATUTES. That system is called Magistrate Court.
Never refer to yourself as a citizen. The people operate in common law Superior Court that requires a jury of your peers, which must be comprised of the people.
Where is that wasteful government spending?
In early September 2016, Donald Trump announced his plan for a vast expansion of the U.S. military, including 90,000 new soldiers for the Army, nearly 75 new ships for the Navy, and dozens of new fighter aircraft for the Air Force. Although the cost of this increase would be substantial – about $90 billion per year – it would be covered, the GOP presidential candidate said, by cutting wasteful government spending.
But where, exactly, is the waste? In fiscal year 2015, the federal government engaged in $1.1 trillion of discretionary spending, but relatively small amounts went for things like education (6 percent), veterans’ benefits (6 percent), energy and the environment (4 percent) and transportation (2 percent). The biggest item, by far, in the U.S. budget was military spending: roughly $600 billion (54 percent). If military spending were increased to $690 billion and other areas were cut to fund this increase, the military would receive roughly 63 percent of the U.S. government’s discretionary spending.
Well, you might say, maybe it’s worth it. After all, the armed forces defend the United States from enemy attack. But, in fact, the U.S. government already has far more powerful military forces than any other country. China, the world’s #2 military power, spends only about a third of what the United States does on the military. Russia spends about a ninth. There are, of course, occasional terrorist attacks within American borders. But the vast and expensive U.S. military machine – in the form of missiles, fighter planes, battleships and bombers – is simply not effective against this kind of danger.
Furthermore, the U.S. Department of Defense certainly leads the way in wasteful behavior. As William Hartung, the director of the Arms and Security Project of the Center for International Policy, points out, “the military waste machine is running full speed ahead.” There are the helicopter gears worth $500 each purchased by the Army at $8,000 each, the $2.7 billion spent “on an air surveillance balloon that doesn’t work,” and “the accumulation of billions of dollars’ worth of weapons components that will never be used.” Private companies like Halliburton profited handsomely from Pentagon contracts for their projects in Afghanistan, such as “a multimillion-dollar ‘highway to nowhere,’ ” a $43 million gas station in nowhere, a $25 million ‘state-of-the-art’ headquarters for the U.S. military in Helmand Province… that no one ever used, and the payment of actual salaries to countless thousands of no ones aptly labeled ‘ghost soldiers.’ “Last year, Pro Publica created an interactive graphic revealing $17 billion in wasteful U.S. spending uncovered by the U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction.
Not surprisingly, as Hartung reports, the Pentagon functions without an auditing system. A quarter-century ago, Congress mandated that the Pentagon audit itself; it has never managed to do so. Thus, the Defense Department doesn’t know how much equipment it has purchased, how much it has been overcharged, or how many contractors it employs. The Project on Government Oversight maintains that the Pentagon has spent about $6 billion thus far on “fixing” its audit problem. But it has done so, Hartung notes, “with no solution in sight.”
U.S. wars, of course, are particularly expensive, as they require the deployment of large military forces and hardware to far-flung places, chew up very costly military equipment, and necessitate veterans’ benefits for the survivors. Taking these and other factors into account, a recent study at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs put the cost to U.S. taxpayers of the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan at nearly $5 trillion thus far. According to the report’s author, Neta Crawford, this figure is “so large as to be almost incomprehensible.”
Even without war, another military expense is likely to create a U.S. budgetary crisis over the course of the next 30 years: $1 trillion for the rebuilding of the U.S. nuclear weapons complex, plus the construction of new nuclear missiles, nuclear submarines, and nuclear-armed aircraft. Aside from the vast cost, an obvious problem with this expenditure is that these weapons will either never be used or, if they are used, will destroy the world.
DR. LAWRENCE WITTNER, PeaceVoice