Addressing important issues

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The VA Medical Centers have been maligned for their inefficiency and delays. We have dumped hundreds of thousands of new veteran/patients and their dependents on the system at one time, in addition to older veterans needing more care as they age.

The American Prospect magazine reported that care at the VA is better than private hospitals. Their recordkeeping is exceptional and will be the model as our medical records become digitalized. By carrying a VA card, any VA hospital in the country can view your records instantly in an emergency. The doctors and nurses are recruited from top-notch colleges and hospitals. The Republicans recently criticized the bonuses these professionals receive for the excellent care they give our veterans.

Strange how they never complained when the bailed out banks used a portion of that money on executive bonuses called “golden parachutes.”

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The day after Veterans’ Day, the Republican-controlled Congress refused to pass the VA budget which would have provided money to expand VA facilities, provide long-overdue increases in VA benefits and long-deserved pay raises to active duty military personnel. If the legislation had increased the “defense fund,” which pays the defense contractors, they would have agreed. Their loyalty is misguided. The Republicans want to privatize the VA and its hospitals. Under their plan, private management companies would decide between care of the veterans and profit for its executives’ packages and shareholders.

Infrastructure is another issue that must be addressed soon. The percentage of highways and bridges in danger of collapse is staggering. The administration has proposed a system similar to the Works Progress Administration (WPA) after WWII utilizing our veterans and chronically unemployed citizens. As usual, the plan on the other side is no plan at all and therefore no vote. The electrical grid is aging to the extent that a failure in Ohio causes a blackout in New York City.

Our dependence on fossil fuel continues despite glaring evidence of its affect on the planet. Katrina, Rita, Ivan and Sandy have been enormous storms in excess of 400 miles across, but with an intensity of wind and storm surge unprecedented in history. Ocean levels are rising such that tiny island-nations have had to evacuate their homes as the ocean devours their land.

The terms immigration and refugees have stirred fear in many people, which fuels ignorance and produces hate. We have many undocumented immigrants that are “illegal” through no fault of their own. They were brought here as children by parents seeking a better life. The immigrants work jobs that no one else will take like picking crops in the blazing heat or processing chickens where a rain slicker and boots are needed to prevent being covered in blood. The Republicans say we must round them up and send them back, but leave their children (dreamers) here. First, the cost of rounding them up, housing them to determine their country of origin and transporting them back is truly a budget-buster. What do we do with the children? Dump them on Child Services, which is already overloaded with our own failing families.

To keep them out, we build a wall. Remember the fence? It’s complete but has many gaps leaving open passageways. The Texas Republicans can tell you about the fence and how impossible it is to finish. They discovered it would divide land, owned by their wealthy cattlemen donors for generations, that lies in both Texas and Mexico. The border question is becoming moot because recent statistics show migration back to Mexico in recent months exceeds those coming from Mexico to the U.S.

As always, we encourage everyone to go to our website or Facebook pages to keep up with our issues.

By Agnes Dalton.