Letters to the Editor, March 17

Mar. 16, 2014 @ 04:26 PM

Rein in the spies

What a great cartoon today (March 14), on the Opinion page! 

Not to confuse the issue, I've been delighted and encouraged by Sen. Diane Feinstein’s forthright challenge to the CIA's spying on the work of the Senate Intelligence Committee and interfering with the committee's much-needed report on the Bush torture program.  One of the major goals of NC Stop Torture Now (www.ncstoptorturenow.org) has been to see this essential report released to the public.  As Feinstein says, the only way to ensure such human rights abuses are never perpetrated by the United States again is to understand fully what was done in our name. 

Still, the cartoon makes a great point on NSA spying, and on government spying in general.  Our government doesn't respect the privacy of ordinary people, nor our right to publicly disagree with its official policies.  Our Constitution guarantees the right to dissent, and to assemble in peaceable protest,  yet those who do are frequently spied upon, infiltrated, harassed, even arrested and prosecuted, solely for expressing their beliefs. 

Worst have been the cases of entrapment and lengthy sentences inflicted on certain young Muslim men since 9/11.  Our society has forgotten the words of Benjamin Franklin:  “They who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

Joan F. Walsh

Durham

Free market free-for-all

A  patient is taken to emergency and a coma induced to reduce pressure on the brain as a result of a crushed skull sustained in an auto accident. What family member is going to be able to retain composure to  negotiate a better price while stressed in trying to save a loved one under  these circumstances?

The problem in using this approach to reduce healthcare costs is that while one might have the presence of mind to negotiate the best possible price for medical procedures  planned in advance, the burden of all the lost profits hospitals would claim they suffer (via the simplistic approach of negotiating for a better price) will be shifted to the emergency patient in the coma.
But take heart. Evidenced by the fact NCBlueCross once more flaunts  record profits (more than 6 NCBCBS executives each taking home over $1 million last year), neither political party, Democrat nor Republican, state or national, has the integrity, character or will to implement healthcare reform without upsetting the free market free-for-all. Instead of single-payer, both parties cower and cater to players like BlueCross, who purportedly claim that whatever new profit they earn is used to engineer new health policies to once more feed their own addiction.
The Herald Sun's Bob Ashley once said, in regards to a different market, "this is a market place problem that the market cannot correct."
The same applies to healthcare, with both Democrats and Republicans allowing BlueCross to arrogantly play both ends against the middle.
John Rhodes
Efland