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LETTERS for August 3 issue

By Staff | Aug 3, 2017

Medicaid cuts will hurt rural seniors and communities

Tucked within the text of both the House and Senate’s bills to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act is language that seeks to fundamentally change the Medicaid program. While the enactment of this legislation is unknown, the principle remains, and rural seniors would be hurt.

For rural states and regions that already encounter the health care challenges of an older, poorer and less healthy population, Medicaid allows access to care to remain for even those who are not enrolled under the entitlement.

In our nation’s rural areas, 15 percent of residents over the age of 65 are on Medicaid. Yet, 36 percent of total Medicaid expenditures pay for costs accrued by Medicare beneficiaries over the age of 65. Of this Medicaid spending for seniors, a significant portion covers long-term care costs – three in five nursing home residents.

Remove Medicaid from the payer source for rural seniors, and entire communities are left to suffer. Nursing homes not only provide care to seniors but are major employers in rural communities. Without Medicaid reimbursements to cover the costs of care, closures and accompanying job losses would become yet another casualty of Medicaid cuts.

While the reliance upon Medicaid reimbursements to keep the doors of nursing homes open is not ideal, it is a reality for rural communities.

Before Congress makes sweeping changes to Medicaid, senators and representatives need to step back and acknowledge the broader costs that will be paid just outside of the city limits.

JORDAN RASMUSSEN, Center for Rural Affairs


Where is my (OUR) money going?

From what I am reading and what I am understanding, and what I have read in the newspaper and seen on TV, we took in around $300 million (county) and $1 billion (state) in the first quarter of the year.

Last week, they said our vehicle weight tax will be raised for the next three years. So, for me, now it is $185, and it will be raised $36 next year (2018) to $221. AND they want to raise our gas tax by 10 cents per gallon.

I believe it used to be called the Hawaii Highway Tax. Now it all goes into what they call some kind of Hawaii General Fund tax?

I would hate to be the people who live and work (hotels), and the service providers on the West Side.

It has been said the legislature has 35 House seats (six for Maui) and 17 senators – only three for Maui, Molokai and Lanai?

I think outer island people are not getting our fair share. What do you think? Say something!



Shut down all porn websites

All governments should close all the porn websites from servers/clouds/ satellites.

It increases the rate of crime in the world. It promotes HIV/AIDS in the world. It also promotes dangerous diseases.

It’s developing unethical things in the world. It develop wrong attitudes. It promotes divorce. Because of it, the divorce percentage is increasing.

It is dangerous for everyone – children and adults.

Due to these sites, we are destroying true love and promoting physical love. Is it possible to accept peace from our society?

As we all know, due to vast communications networks in this world, websites are easily available in any corner of the world. So, do we want to promote this virus to the whole world?

Are we not aware for our next generation?



Veterans call on U.S. to sign nuclear ban treaty

On July 7, 2017, the United Nations (UN), in a historic decision, approved a legally binding instrument to ban nuclear weapons: the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Months of negotiations involving over 130 countries began in March of this year, culminating in a final draft endorsed by 122 countries. The treaty marks a significant milestone to help free the world of nuclear weapons.

The treaty emphasizes “the catastrophic humanitarian consequences that would result from any use of nuclear weapons.” It forbids participating states “to develop, test, produce, manufacture, otherwise acquire, possess or stockpile nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.” Additionally, it explains that the complete elimination of nuclear weapons from international arsenals “remains the only way to guarantee that nuclear weapons are never used again under any circumstances.”

In keeping with a history of being unwilling to relinquish its massive nuclear arsenal, the U.S refused to enter treaty negotiations and used its status as the sole remaining international superpower to organize a boycott that influenced approximately 40 countries.

U.S. ambassador to the UN Nikki R. Haley defended the absence of the U.S. from the negotiations, stating, “There is nothing I want more for my family than a world with no nuclear weapons, but we have to be realistic. Is there anyone who thinks that North Korea would ban nuclear weapons?”

Veterans For Peace (VFP), a nonprofit working since 1985 to abolish war and nurture peace, and the only veterans non-governmental organization (NGO) represented at the UN, released a statement in response, strongly criticizing the U.S.’s refusal to participate, noting that the discussions were a “series of missed opportunities by the United States to use its position as the world’s undisputed military power to change the course of history and end the danger and peril that nuclear weapons pose to the world.”

Certainly, the possibility of nuclear war was heightened with the unpredictable brinksmanship of President Donald Trump, who, in reference to nuclear weapons, once asked, “If we have them, why can’t we use them?”

The world now has the first-ever treaty to ban all nuclear weapons, and the U.S. remains steadfast in its contempt of the possibility of peace. In a statement released by the U.S., UK and France, the three nations asserted that they “do not intend to sign, ratify or ever become party to it,” alleging that “this initiative clearly disregards the realities of the international security environment.”

Veterans For Peace remains committed to transforming U.S. nuclear, military and foreign policy from global dominance to global cooperation. This work includes convincing the U.S. to recommit itself to the UN Charter, which forbids military intervention and requires respect for the sovereignty of all nations.

The next hurdle is getting all remaining nations to sign and ratify the treaty. The treaty will be open for signature to all states on Sept. 20, 2017 at the UN General Assembly. It will go into effect within 90 days of ratification by 50 countries.

These are dangerous times indeed, but such dangers can focus the collective mind and create new possibilities for real change, if activists and organizers are prepared to seize the moment.

Let this be the generation that will finally ban nuclear weapons. It’s not just about peace and justice; it’s about the survival of all life on Earth.