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The NRA in national politics; Gunter Grass and Israel vs. Iran; shopping for health insurance

Letters to the editor

April 17, 2012
  • A worker hangs National Rifle Assn. banners outside America's Center in preparation for the groups 141st annual meeting, which opened April 13.
A worker hangs National Rifle Assn. banners outside America's Center… (Huy Mach / McClatchy-Tribune )

The off-target NRA

Re "NRA is restless despite clout," April 13

Why is the National Rifle Assn. afraid of President Obama? The gun-rights group can't name one time when Obama has said a word about gun control after any of the massacres that have taken place since he's been in office. He hasn't said a word about it even after the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

The NRA is about stoking fear and looking for an enemy. I wish Obama and the Democrats would say more about gun control, but they remain silent. The most Democrats said in recent years was after the Gabrielle Giffords shooting.

The NRA can't exist if it doesn't keep people scared of their own shadows.

Les Hartzman

Los Angeles

Re "Romney courts the NRA," April 14

I found reading about Mitt Romney doing the obligatory kowtowing to the NRA demoralizing.

In the same paper there were stories of the USC shooting deaths, the five Tulsa shootings, the shooting death of a New Hampshire police chief while serving a warrant and the shooting deaths of a locksmith and deputy sheriff conducting an eviction.

When will we learn?

Carl Beckman

Villa Park

No comparison

Re "Compare Israel to Iran?," Postscript, April 14

The answer to the question is simple: No. It is outrageous to compare Israel — a country reborn on the ashes of the Holocaust with the laudable intention of returning Jews to their ancient homeland, where they could live free from pogroms and genocide — to Iran, a country that has consistently threatened to wipe the "Zionist cancer" from the Earth.

For decades Iran has sponsored terror attacks that killed Jewish civilians. Should Israel not feel threatened by this country having nuclear weapons?

The irony of a German claiming that Israel is the real threat to the world should not be lost on anyone. It is appalling that Israel's right to exist in peace and security — the elusive goal it has sought since its inception — is still being questioned by those Europeans and others who helped make the question necessary in the first place.

Sara Miller

Queens, N.Y.

Healthcare isn't like buying a car

Re "Patients find medical price tags a tangle," April 15

Healthcare does not have the key attribute to make it shoppable. The complexity of the information makes it nearly impossible to shop, and the consequence of making the wrong decision can be fatal.

I recently shopped for an insurance plan. How do you compare plans that are completely different, with varying premiums, deductibles, co-pays and covered services? It's nearly impossible. So I chose the plan with the lowest premium and a large provider pool.

After completing an extensive health application and undergoing a grueling 45-minute conversation with a "nurse," I was told I was approved for a plan — with a much higher premium. My comparison shopping was for naught.

What happens when you comparison shop for a routine surgery and during the procedure, your case is no longer routine? Should doctors wake you to see if you're willing to pay?

The whole market-based discussion of healthcare is ridiculous.

Eileen Savage

Pacific Palisades

That hospital costs are inconsistent and maddeningly confusing will come as no surprise to those of us who pay for our own health insurance. It goes hand in hand with the constant struggle to find and keep affordable coverage and then to get insurers to pay for the treatments and drugs we need.

The only people who think that the U.S. has the greatest healthcare system in the world are those who receive insurance for free or at very low cost from their employers, failing to realize that it could be taken away from them at a moment's notice.

Bruce R. Feldman

Santa Monica

Nuclear views

Re "Risk, fear and nuclear power," Opinion, April 13

David Ropeik discredits concerned citizens by implying that their emotions about nuclear power make them unfit to make decisions. He makes no mention of the continuing disaster at Fukushima, the recent problems at San Onofre or of the fact that California's two nuclear reactors are subject to possible earthquakes and tsunamis.

Many of the residents of Japan are likely experiencing strong emotions now; according to Ropeik's logic, these emotions make their views on nuclear power suspect.

If the nuclear reactors at San Onofre melt down, I suppose Ropeik, sitting in his Harvard office, will keep his cool.

Bill Hunker

Aliso Viejo

Class warfare? That's rich

Re "War of words," Opinion, April 13

In questioning the existence of class warfare, Michael Kinsley actually confirms it.

He writes that "30% is a perfectly reasonable tax rate on incomes over a million." Reasonable to whom? He then writes that high wage earners are "just lucky."

Excuse me? What about the role of hard work in becoming successful? Discipline? The courage needed to carry on in the face of initial failure? These have nothing to do with luck.

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