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Greatest nation?

I saw Michael Moore's film "Where to Invade Next," and the message in this film could not be more clear in this presidential campaign year. Repeatedly saying or hearing that the United States is the greatest country on Earth negates the need for any improvements and kills aspiration for anything different than what we have now.

Yet, as the film points out, the United States lags far behind in so many areas. Education in America is failing. Health care, despite some gains, is still neither cost-effective or available to all. For those with jobs, the struggle for decent work-life balance still results in hard choices that leave families and individuals out in the cold. No country with homeless encampments under bridges should claim the title of "greatest country on Earth."

Michael Moore took a chisel and hammer to the Berlin Wall in 1989, a wall he believed would never come down. But, as Moore suggests, things can change by the will of the people. So, when Hillary Clinton emphatically that states single-payer universal health care will never happen in America, we do not have to believe her. Clinton is simply protecting insurance companies.

Countries around the world that have better health care systems, better education, and better working conditions had to fight for all those things. Americans, by comparison, seem to have been beaten into submission by politicians and the corporations that pull their strings. We have given up hoping for anything better than we have now.

America is good, but there is room for so much improvement. We cannot let Republicans drag us back in time or Hillary Clinton hold us down. Only the presidential campaigns of the Green Party's Jill Stein and Bernie Sanders dare to address these shortcomings with bold ideas that could put the United States on par with the best of the rest of the world.


Scandal state

Regarding Urban Journal's "Yet Another Scandal": It is truly time to change our state's constitution in regard to government workers and their pensions. When justice authorities determine that a crime may have been committed against the state that warrants an arrest, I believe that the accused's pension benefits should be immediately frozen until a verdict is established.

If an appeal is made challenging the guilty verdict, the case should remain open and the pension remain frozen until a final judgment is determined. If the judgment remains guilty, the pension should be permanently retracted, possibly to be redistributed into the pool of honest, law-abiding state workers.

Individuals who work for local and state governments need to be reminded that they are public servants with a serious responsibility to the taxpayers of this state. We cannot allow them to victimize our citizens and still walk away from their crime with a retirement intact.