Week of August 20 – August 27, 2004

SMUGGLING HOPE

Good article. I am retired and on a fixed income. Several years ago, my MD started me on medications for several problems. I just couldn’t afford to pay for the cost of these meds at the local pharmacy. I did my homework and started to get them from Canada at 1/2 of the cost. Now I even have free shipping for life because I paid a one time fee of $15. USD.

At one point I was told by the Canadian pharmacy that they were no longer able to supply me with ZOCOR because Merck stopped their supply due to USA exports. However, the Canadian company had a supplier in New Zealand which sold it under the name of LIPEX. On the LIPEX box is printed: “Marketed in New Zealand by: MERCK SHARP & DOHME (New Zealand) Limited Auckland.” The medication arrived from New Zealand in three days and there was no charge for S/H.

The name of the company I deal with is CANADA PHARMACY. This is an excellent supplier of my medications. I never even considered that my transactions were illegal. The only thing that should be considered illegal is how the pharmaceutical industry conducts their business! The product is made in Ireland (and other places) and shipped to the USA anyhow.

The issue of drug cost vs. the FDA, Congress, Administration, Phar, Phar Lobby, AARP (weak), Medicare will not be resolved or be regulated by “fair practice” in my lifetime. The income from ZOCOR is 4b. USD, LIPITOR is 6b. USD. So, it’s the money and politicians just love $$$$$ and perks. Let us not forget the “kickbacks” that are given to the local MDs.

That’s all folks.

George Halbig

Ellenville, NY

I am a volunteer at an Arizona senior center that provides transportation to Mexican pharmacies. Many have fears that they will be treated as criminals by their country for just trying to follow their Doctors orders and take the drugs prescribed for them. For many it is a matter of choosing to become a criminal or suffering and a possible early death.

According to the CIA World Book Americans life expectancy is not even in the top 40 countries. I guess not every one can make it to Mexico.

Dean Edwardsen

Bullhead City, Arizona

SUBJECT TO DEBATE

If we could influence the people who “stage” (appropriate word!) the “debates” as glorified press conferences, we should demand a true debate, where the candidates question each other, then have time for rebuttals. True moderators would only make sure candidates observe time constraints, not set the terms of the debate.

Unfortunately, the corporate powers which run both parties and most of our “republic” (“reprivate”?) will never allow such a true debate.

Progressives’ only hope is for Bush to embarrass himself enough so “swing” voters and/or undecideds realize how incompetent and irresponsible and, therefore, dangerous, he really is. His supporters will never see his flaws, and Kerry’s supporters already know Bush is a disaster.

Ed Ciaccio

Douglaston, NY

REGIME CHANGE ROCK

Steve Earle is a man of conviction, and he acts on that conviction. I know this fact first-hand. In 1998 I was a student at Carson-Newman College in Tennessee, and one morning some of us at the college traveled to Knoxville to meet up with other folks so to spread awareness about the death penalty (the group was anti-capital punishment, as I am).

One of the few people with the group stood out. He was scruffy looking. He was tall. He had a determined look on his face that was somehow both calm and intense. His name was Steve Earle. “Are you the Steve Earle?” I asked. He said, ‘If you mean the musician, yes.”

I didn’t know what else to say. I told him I loved his music right before we all left the meeting place to go do our activist work.

To this day I’ve not forgot the lesson I learned then. No matter how famous you are, don’t lose touch with your roots, and don’t become to big for your convictions. We’re all citizens in this big country who must be participants at the grassroot level, no matter how “big” we are.

Thank you for your article (“Regime Change Rock”) on Steve Earle.

He is a true American patriot.

Jason Combs

Claremont, California

Corn has done a thorough job of capturing the mercurial, opinionated Steve Earle at his frenetic, creative best.

I’ve had the pleasure of hearing the Texan play live several times in and around Austin and he never fails to provide full entertainment value, punctuated with incendiary political invective.

What amazes me the most is that Earle hasn’t caught more flak from the right-wing nutballs on the airways who love to skewer artists, actors and the like who “dare” speak out against the U.S. foreign policy, King George the II and controversial issues. I hope he keeps speaking out and writing songs that mean something.

And, should W. and his fellow thugs in the Administration get another four years, I would be the first to concur with the title of the new album because a revolution is what will be demanded.

Thanks for listening.

Rob McCorkle

Lockhart, Texas