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Immigration and the US

We are locked into a dead-end debate about immigration where two alternatives are proposed, neither of which is viable: Open borders versus closed borders, (the wall). This debate could go on forever. Maybe some people like it that way. I submit that there is an unrecognized root cause: the United States of America.

From the United Fruit Historical Society, we learn that in 1906, a man named Samuel (Sam the banana man) Zemurray took a boatload of thugs with rifles and a machine gun to Honduras to accomplish a coup, not approved by the US State Department, it was claimed. Thus the term, "banana republic."

In 1954, Zemurray played an important role in the overthrow of the Guatemalan government, which had taken a populist turn with Jacobo Arbenz as president. Arbenz had begun to expropriate the company's plantations for his agrarian reform project. Zemurray led a campaign in the American media that portrayed Arbenz as a dangerous Communist. Working together with an advertising company ( Edward Bernays) Zemurray distributed alarmist propaganda to the press and Congressmen to show Guatemala as a foothold of the Soviet Union in the Western Hemisphere. Actually, later, Cuba, 1961.

If we want to solve the problem at its source, we must reapply the concept of money fines and incarceration for executives and boards of directors of companies that inflict privation and murder upon vulnerable populations. The present-day monetary penalties levied upon corporations are but a small tax for hugely profitable crimes committed by actual people who can be named. But then our splendid lifestyle will be diminished.

Fair trade? Will we volunteer to pay more for those T-shirts with imprinted slogans? Will we shun the low-price coffee, chocolate, and bananas? We are having it both ways by staging protests before a Congress that knows that we are not really serious. Better to harass the annual meetings, naming names.

Let me refer to the mural by Diego Rivera, "Glorious Victory." It is a splendid study on the web, showing the perpetrators of the Guatemalan coup, but not Sam the banana man. The mural, painted on cloth, is stored in Moscow in the Pushkin collection. A wag has suggested that it be displayed permanently in the entrance at Dulles Airport.


Demand universal coverage

A 20-year-old woman moved to Wayne County for a summer internship before her senior year in college. Unfortunately, her broken elbow was misdiagnosed near her home in Colorado and continued to cause severe pain and swelling. Because she has Colorado Medicaid she was not covered for medical care while here.

An 18-year-old student's dreams of going to a prestigious university in Washington, DC, with a full scholarship were seemingly dashed when she found out she needed to buy health insurance with $1800 she did not have. The private health coverage she has had since childhood, through her father's employer, would not cover her out of the area. It has been reported that the CEO of this non-profit is paid $2 million a year.

The new conglomerate of CVS/Aetna, one of the largest health insurers in the country, just announced a $19.8 billion quarterly profit while paying its CEO an 8-figure income.

We all must recognize that the present fight over how real health care is delivered is really about the invisible third party in the exam room between you and your medical provider. The discussion about "health care" is about how your medical care is paid for, not about how you will receive the best medical advice and treatment. That is totally ignored, as no one in politics is talking about the quality of your care.

Private health care does not meet the demands or the needs of the population. It instead limits the care you may need and has invented the artificial barrier of "out of plan" services, all to support its CEOs and shareholders. How could it protect your needs when, for example, Kaiser Permanente, another of the largest health care insurance carriers, just paid its CEO $20 million? He refused to sign onto a plan – supported by 160 of the largest corporations in America – that would change the company's capitalistic approach, having it consider socially conscious goals of improved benefits for employees and their communities.

Nonprofit regional plans, such as Excellus and MVP, restrict care to geographical areas and limit services to support unreported profits, as the 18-year-old student just learned.

State health plans under various forms of Medicaid restrict care just like other sources of insurance. But they go a step further by underpaying for medical care, effectively producing a third-class patient by limiting the medical providers available.

Medicare, on the other hand, covers you wherever you travel in this country, restricts almost no services, does not limit the medical providers available to you, is cost effective, and cannot be cancelled.

We must demand that the ghost in our doctor's offices be removed. Our government was created to protect "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." Without providing full health care that protects our inalienable rights at an affordable cost, our politicians – both Republican and Democrat – are neglecting their duties.

Private and "non-profit" insurance companies, now requesting up to a 15 percent increase in premiums in this region, are robbing us. We must demand universal coverage, supported by our government, for our medical needs.


Looking for the news

I was excited to read that David Andreatta will be taking over as editor of City Newspaper. I have always enjoyed reading his columns in the D&C; they were often a highlight of the paper.

I am of the age that still prefers to read on-paper rather than online. But, I stopped buying the D&C earlier this year because of the decline of real local news. I may now have to finally subscribe to City.


Editor's note: Or, since we're free, you can pick us up at one of our 600 distribution sites.