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Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

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Sickness Unto Death Part VI: Free Market Health Care that Isn't Free ~ By John MacWillie, Ph.D.

Posted by: thepinetree on 06/18/2017 04:19 PM
Murphys, CA...If you draw a graph of the American health care system, it looks like a home-stitched quilt made by someone that cannot see. Nothing fits together -- not the colors, the design, or the function. There are a lot of reasons for this picture, but how we fund health care is the single biggest problem.

Read More | 13 Comments

Sickness Unto Death Part V: Why Rural America is So Sick ~ By John MacWillie, Ph.D.

Posted by: thepinetree on 06/10/2017 10:01 AM
Murphys, CA...The health of rural Americans is worse than those who live in cities, in part because rural health care systems are collapsing. This is a problem that has been long in the making. America shifted from a predominantly rural population to one that was more urban in 1920. This pattern continues today. In 1990, 25% of Americans still lived in rural counties. Today that proportion is closer to 17%. A more important characteristic is the difference between urban and rural areas in terms of income, poverty rates, and unemployment. According to research from the US Department of Agriculture, urban residents make nearly 30% more per year than do rural residents and the difference between these regions is growing. (USDA 2015). The rate of urban employment is 112% above what it was in 2000, while rural employment is at 97%. (USDA 2017). Consequently young people in rural areas are migrating to cities for employment and other opportunities, leaving the social fabric of rural areas older, fragmented, and less resilient. At the same time, the proportion of rural residents that are older or are veterans has substantially increased -- populations that need more not less health care.

Read More | 22 Comments

Sickness Unto Death Part IV: Dollars and Sense - In Sickness and Health ~ By John MacWillie, Ph.D.

Posted by: thepinetree on 06/03/2017 11:50 PM
Murphys, CA...We pay more for our health care -- in some cases, twice as much as countries like France. Is it worth it? There can be no argument, however you want to analyze health care delivery and the value of outcomes, the American health care system is significantly more expensive than any other comparable system in the world. The US spends $9451 per person on health care. That is 121% more than citizens of Japan spend on health care. (OECD 2015). The next nearest country to the United States, in terms of health care spending, is Norway which spends $6567 per capita. In other words, the U.S. spends far, far more than other nations -- and on a few very important measures is performing nowhere as well.

Read More | 9 Comments

Sickness Unto Death Part III: Why Katsu is Healthier Than Carl? ~ By John MacWillie, Ph.D.

Posted by: thepinetree on 05/27/2017 02:10 PM
Murphys, CA...Americans like to think of themselves as the wealthiest, healthiest, and luckiest country in the world. I won't debate the first and last points here, but, the United States is decidedly not the healthiest. How do we know that?

Read More | 15 Comments

Sickness Unto Death Part II: Who Knew It Could Be So Complicated? ~ By John MacWillie, Ph.D.

Posted by: thepinetree on 05/18/2017 12:55 PM
Murphys, CA...Ever been to a hospital? Apparently, not President Trump. How else to explain his apology for not initially getting a "repeal and replace" bill through Congress, by incredulously asking of healthcare, "who knew it was so complicated?"


This is a series of eight articles on a single theme to be released once a week.  Copyright license granted under  
Read More | 7 Comments

Sickness Unto Death: An American Dilemma. Part One ~ By John MacWillie, Ph.D.

Posted by: thepinetree on 05/10/2017 12:41 PM
Murphys, CA...Introduction: The United States is alone among industrialized nations in using wealth as a gatekeeper for access to health care. The wealthier you are, the more and better health care you get. The national debate that is now taking place focuses on whether every individual, irrespective of their income, should have access to great health care.


This is a series of eight articles on a single theme to be released once a week.  Copyright license granted under  
Read More | 34 Comments

Week Five Op-Ed By Former Calaveras County Supervisor Tom Tryon On The "War On Drugs"

Posted by: thepinetree on 04/10/2017 06:34 PM
Angels Camp, CA...Open letter to Assemblyman Norman Waters in the summer of 1985: I read your recent letter concerning the Tri County Narcotics Task Force with great interest. While you correctly point out the economic and human costs associated with drug abuse and that the problem of drug abuse is increasing, you fail to conclude that our current government policies of longstanding have failed. Your suggested response of greater coercion and intimidation within the policing power of the state will as surely fail as the policing power has failed to date to control drug abuse.

Read More | 24 Comments

Week Four Op-Ed By Former Calaveras County Supervisor Tom Tryon On The "War On Drugs"

Posted by: thepinetree on 03/28/2017 11:08 AM
Angels Camp, CA...Letter written to the Editor in the summer of 1985: I would like to comment on President Bush’s latest proposals for escalating the so called “War on Drugs”. One must assume this effort has been very successful to justify such an escalation! As noted in earlier articles, the effort is not a war on drugs, but, rather a war on people; a war of foreign intervention; and a war attacking the fundamental principles of liberty as embodied in the Bill of Rights. War is the lifeblood of the state. War provides for the expansion and concentration of power in a central authority, and a corresponding diminution of the individual’s power or sovereignty over his own being. The war spirit identifies dissent with treason, the pursuit of private happiness with slackerism and sabotage, and on the other side, obedience with discipline, and conformity with patriotism. Thus war removes from the individual any moral ground as well as any lawful ground on which he might resist the execution of the official plan. President Bush’s war is the more repugnant since it targets the very rights that our government was initiated to protect.

Read More | 21 Comments

Week Three Op-Ed By Former Calaveras County Supervisor Tom Tryon On The "War On Drugs"

Posted by: thepinetree on 03/21/2017 09:07 AM
Angels Camp, CA....Letter written by Tom Tryon to Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association: I am in receipt of your letter and wish to give you my response for not providing further support for your Legislative agenda. First, let me state I am unabashedly a Libertarian. I strongly believe in economic liberty, civil liberty and a small, constrained government. I am not only an adamant supporter of the Second Amendment guarantees but of the entire Bill of Rights. Therein lies my concern. I have the distinct impression that the N.R.A. not only does not cherish the Second Amendment guarantees but also does not hold sacred the fundamental principles of liberty. The Second Amendment is only worth defending in its capacity as one of the principal foundation blocks of liberty; and as the Second Amendment represents the inalienable right of the citizenry to self defense. The N.R.A. seems more intent on furthering the Republican agenda of National Fascism than in defending the Bill of Rights, including the Second Amendment. I refer in general to the drug phobia as preached by the leadership and specifically to the article by Harlon Carter of September 1989. We are in critical need of the Second Amendment to prevent Harlon Carter’s vision from becoming a reality. The leadership must certainly consist of brain dead Republicans if that leadership is unable to make the positive association between the “War on Drugs”, increases in violent crime and increases in the demands for gun control.

Read More | 56 Comments

What's in the future for Calaveras? ~ Letter To Editor By Mark Clark

Posted by: thepinetree on 03/14/2017 08:56 AM
Mountain Ranch, CA... Here we go again. A new election with commercial cultivation is once again on the table. The growers are going to keep on with their argument that they are all about their community and that they are doing mankind a service by providing the miracle drug, marijuana. Their sacrifice is going to provide millions to the county and we will all live in a Garden of Eden.

Read More | 132 Comments
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