Letters to the Editor

Short-sighted ‘security’

When I received my 2017 Physicians Healthcare Directory in the mail, it gave me pause, given the administration’s insistence on banning immigrants (and their families) from primarily Muslim countries.

According to StatNews, part of the Boston Globe organization, a temporary immigration ban could undermine American health care nationwide, which relies heavily on foreign-born labor from many countries, some on the banned list. Over 27 percent of physicians practicing in the U.S. were born in another country.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimated the need for 7,550 primary care physicians to make up health professional shortage areas, and goes on to say that MDs who obtain a temporary J-1 visa under the Conrad 30 program go on to serve in these areas for over five years. The reason for the shortage is primarily because American-educated MDs typically study for higher paying specialties, creating a shortage in isolated rural clinics and smaller hospitals. These MDs from foreign countries serve underserved areas and Critical Access Hospitals (fewer than 15 beds), and are more likely to adopt generalist fields.

A StatNews review also found that U.S. employers try to bring more than 15,000 occupational and physical therapists, dentists, pharmacists and other health care professionals to America on H-1B visas, also to fill shortages nationwide.

One other thing I believe our officials in Washington failed to consider is that many of these MDs, some in residency here in the U.S. for many years now, have families

here and in their home countries, and this immigrant ban creates much anxiety with regard to any travel.

The next time you visit your local hospital or clinic, take a look at the names of some of the resident MDs and consider the implications. This ban affects all of us.

Michael Wade, Ellerslie

Toxic time bomb

Even before the news broke of the groundwater being polluted from coal-ash toxins in Wayne County, this community and others across Georgia have been forced into a modern-day David and Goliath struggle.

Small communities and those with limited budgets are up against huge corporation such as Republic Services, the second-largest waste- management company in the nation. At stake are concerns such as who should be able to control what goes on in Georgia. How much risk is involved in moving and storing toxic coal ash across the lands and rivers in our state? What could be done if coal-ash toxins pollute our drinking water, our rivers and our coast? How do you contain a toxic material forever?

Reason says that most counties in Georgia are not equipped to handle the potential disaster that looms when millions of tons of a toxic material are placed in thin plastic liners and placed in our communities for the duration of the planet.

Bills in the Georgia House and Senate will help protect our citizens, but legislators need to hear from their constituents. Even those who do not live in the vicinity of landfills taking in coal ash (now), will be affected when these liners eventually fail and release toxins into our environment.

Huge utility companies have made huge profits by burning coal and creating coal ash. Don’t let them transfer this huge liability to county taxpayers.

Call, email or write your senators and representatives today to support SB165 and HBs 387 and 388.

Derby Waters, Screven, Ga.

The Big Con

The One Percent now has its choke hold on America. Wall Street crashed Main Street in 2008 as 35 percent of the middle class fell below the poverty line. They lost their jobs, homes and savings as $17 trillion was redistributed to the top. Twenty-four million are still unemployed or underemployed.

I wondered how Americans could again chant “Deregulation!” and “Cut Taxes!” as our financial watchdogs Dodd-Frank and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) are being dismantled and detoothed. I then read Jane Mayer’s “Dark Money” and it all made sense. The entrenched “network” of 1-percenter think tanks, political action committees, revisionist history writers, propaganda networks and publications, and front groups purporting to represent public opinion are cloaked in a mantle of “philanthropy” just as the Industrial Corporate Greed Complex is cloaked in a mantle of “Smaller Limited Government”.

“Smaller limited government” is code for “Government for the 1%”. Ultimately, it means: no Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, or public healthcare; no EPA protective regulation (preventing mercury poisoning or toxic fracking waste water) of our drinking water, our breathable air or our climate; no animal extinction protections; no public parks, post offices or libraries; no public education for families who can’t afford to pay for private schools, and no teaching standards; no financial regulation of Wall Street protecting IRAs, teacher, veteran, firefighter, police, government and corporate pensions; no ethics or oversight departments; no CFPB policing and punishing Wells Fargo and others when they set up fake accounts charged to customers or sell and distribute toxic mortgages that crash the economy.

“Smaller limited government,” AKA oligarchy, autocracy, kleptocracy, libertarianism, dictatorship, etc., means to the victor goes the spoils and the rest can just mop up. Be careful what you wish for!

Gay Hopper, Eufaula