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Plutocratic Party controls our nation

Rod Watson urges us to give up smoking, drinking and lovin' up the current political atmosphere. I'd add another, just as important -- stop buying!

We snicker when Robert Mugabe or Hosni Mubarak wins an "election" with 95 percent of the vote. Are we that different? Every candidate for political office in the United States, Republican or Democrat, right down to the county level and including judges, is vetted, financed and owned by the 1 percent. Your candidates will be either members or stooges of the Plutocratic Party, the only real party in the United States.

Politicians are amiable types and not so actively evil as to personally torture your child, but if your child is suffering from a disease caused by the local polluter, your politician will be remarkably indifferent to that misery if you can't make a huge campaign contribution as large as the corporations.

On our election nights, we've elected a Republican or a Democrat, either way a wholly owned subsidiary of the 1 percent and the Plutocratic Party will have, again, garnered 95 percent of the votes. Yet lots of us buy into the idea that the United States is a real "representative democracy." Snicker. Snicker.

Brian F. Wood

Buffalo

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Changes to Mass are a breath of fresh air

There have been a number of letters in The News, both pro and con, that were prompted by the Rev. Paul Seil's My View column of Dec. 11. After reading the responses, it seems to me that there must be a lot of confused laity and priests in the parishes of the Buffalo Diocese. This leads me to believe that they weren't properly informed about the various corrections of the Mass prayers.

I find them a refreshing change, like a breath of fresh air. Since Seil has opened up a can of worms, I think it is time the diocese would issue a complete and official clarification on why the changes were necessary. I would like to add that in closing, I was one of many thousands of Catholics who were shocked when we lost the traditional Latin Mass in 1970. For 40 years, we were told that the "old Mass" had been abrogated only to find out from Pope Benedict XVI that it never was. I believe that quite a few of the Catholic laity and their priests don't understand the purpose of attending Mass.

Albert Huntz

Tonawanda

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Univera dumps mess into customers' laps

This letter is in response to a recent article regarding computer problems with Univera Healthcare's high-deductible health plans. Univera Regional President Arthur Wingerter should be called on the carpet for trying to mislead readers by saying that problems were found and promptly fixed. This has not been the case, as some members have been having problems with bills going back as far as early 2011, and some members are still receiving bills that are not correct.

Statements by representatives of Univera and Excellus BlueCross Blue-Shield trying to trivialize the problems are an insult to the customers affected, no matter how few they claim there are. These customers, including myself, have gotten little or no satisfaction when trying to go through the customer service department at Univera, whether by phone or face-to-face meetings, to resolve problems with claims. We have been the ones who have to contact the billing offices of our doctors to inform them that the bills we receive are not correct, and that until they are, they won't be paid. I get the dunning letters regarding my bills, not Univera. What recourse do we have? My credit rating, not Univera's, will be damaged because of this.

One of my medical providers told my wife that Univera hasn't paid a claim to it in more than five months. Whose credit risks being damaged? I'll bet it won't be Univera's. It will be those customers who have the messed-up accounts. Univera executives and their minions should be held accountable by the New York State Department of Financial Services for all of the anguish they have put their affected customers through, financial or mental. Shame on Univera for dumping this mess in the laps of its unfortunate subscribers.

Clay Varga

Lancaster

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Why are Republicans renouncing science?

Why is every Republican presidential candidate opposed to the concepts of earth warming and air pollution? Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum called any change "junk science." Even Mitt Romney, Jon Huntsman and Newt Gingrich have flip-flopped on these issues to please Republicans and the tea party.

Following is a partial list of English-speaking scientific organizations that are warning of the effects of warming and pollution: American Chemical Society, American Geophysical Union, American Institute of Physics, American Meteorological Society, American Coral Reef Society, Australian Bureau of Meteorological and Oceanographic Society, Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Society, Environmental Protection Agency, International Union of Geodesy and Geographics, and Royal Meteorological Society (United Kingdom). There are many more throughout the world.

Is it possible the candidates and the Republican Party have renounced science for ulterior motives?

Harold Meyers

East Amherst

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Nation's tax laws are grossly unfair

An example of gross unfairness: A nurse earns $40,000 net per year. A CEO gets $8 million net, 200 times as much. The CEO is not 200 times better educated or smarter. He hasn't worked for his employer that many more years, or that many more hours per week, or that much harder or faster. The nurse has life-or-death responsibilities. He doesn't. In this case, a ratio of 20-to-1 could perhaps be justified.

America was a better place several decades ago, when the CEO would have been in the 91 percent tax bracket. It was designed to stymie this sort of outrageous theft of money that should have been distributed to his company shareholders or his employees or customers via lower prices. Our government used his tax money for the common good.

There is class warfare going on in America. It's being conducted by people like that CEO, with the lower 95 percent as victims of their unbridled greed. They get their way by bribing Republican congressional stooges with huge campaign contribution totals and having Grover Norquist to enforce his traitorous pledge demanding no tax increases on obscenely rich people.

The fix is to re-elect the president and give him a House with 300 Democrats, plus a Senate with 70. The dumbest thing we can do is keep the in power Republicans who caused the current economic mess to begin with.

Charles W. Lewis

Buffalo