As I read James E. Lukaszewski’s May 31 article “A tally of Snowden’s treachery,” I was struck by what was missing. Yes, Edward Snowden has caused damage, the extent of which we won’t know possibly for years. But, the likes of Snowden will continue until we have systems in place that in fact protect the “whistleblower.”
In case after case, over the last 50 years, the whistleblower has become a pariah within the organization he or she is trying to benefit. In most cases, becoming a whistleblower means constant character assassination, along with the loss of one’s career.
Lukaszewski is a crisis consultant. The crisis that needs to be dealt with is the systematic destruction of anyone who does in fact come forward in an attempt to point to areas where the system needs to be changed. Until that happens, the Edward Snowdens will be a way of life, or worse yet, no one will come forward to call for change where change is in the best interest of this country.
Dennis Walker, Rosemount
• • •
It’s hard enough for two people to keep anything secret, let alone over three-quarters of a million workers with top-secret clearances working in both the government and private intelligence agencies. One thing I’ll say about the article: In this country, luckily for Lukaszewski and Snowden, we’re still able to express our opinions. My point is, secrecy is not always a good thing as the writer suggests.
Richard Segers, Savage
There’s a business opportunity in this
While the Republican Party would appear to be winding down its five-year protest against the Affordable Care Act, it starts anew today with its mission to destroy any efforts to limit carbon accumulation in the atmosphere (“Obama to slash carbon pollution,” June 2). Both of these are examples of government overreach, party members would say. Ironically, the intrusive ACA has been one of the best drivers of new business we have had in the past 25 years. All over the country, companies are sprouting up to reduce medical cost, improve access and encourage people to engage in their own care.
Similarly, a requirement that will speed (not cause) the demise of coal power plants will encourage lower pollution and carbon alternatives. The next decade will make it increasingly clear that limiting our impact on the atmosphere is common sense. States like West Virginia and Wyoming should become factories for solar and renewable energy. Nothing will reduce resistance to carbon reductions like new jobs to replace old ones.
Michael Emerson, Eden Prairie
VA HEALTH CARE
In these studies, better results than Medicare
The May 31 editorial asks: “Should the VA remain a separate system or should it morph into a system like Medicare, which … relies on private-sector providers and hospitals?” While any administrative falsification of the numbers is clearly outrageous, we should all know that the care provided by the dedicated clinical employees of the VA is very good, as demonstrated by published scientific data. One study compared risk-adjusted mortality rates in 584,294 Medicare Advantage Program patients with 420,514 VA patients over four years. These rates were significantly lower for VA patients (Selim AJ et al. Med Care, 2006). Another study reported that VA patients with colon or non-small cell lung cancer had higher survival rates than fee-for-service Medicare patients (Landrum MB et al. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 2012). These and other papers show that for optimal care, Medicare should rather “morph” into the VA.
Edward K. Weir, Wayzata
SAFETY OF WOMEN
Raise children so that they ‘get’ vulnerability
Regarding the enlightening article “As a woman, fear is part of my reality” (June 2), I would venture a guess that fear is a part of life for many people who are vulnerable. Whether it is a child in a dysfunctional home, an elderly man or woman being taken advantage of, a bullied student in high school, a physically or mentally challenged person or someone who is experiencing discrimination, fear is omnipresent. The statement in the article “We should not be teaching girls how not to be a victim; we should be raising boys who respect women” is perspicacious, but let’s go further. We should raise children to respect everyone, including those who appear more vulnerable than us.
Sharon E. Carlson, Andover
• • •
Would you go on a camping trip in an area infested with bears and not consider it your responsibility to take measures to protect yourself from bear attacks? Would you go to a foreign country and wander off the beaten path, proclaiming that it is not your responsibility to protect yourself from kidnapping? In terms of rape and sexual assault, it is clear that the blame lies with the person carrying out the assault. However, it is statistically shown that women who engage in heavy drinking are more likely to be sexually assaulted. This does not mean that these women are at fault, it just demonstrates that taking precautions can decrease the chances of an assault occurring. Women have every right to drink, travel alone, and travel without pepper spray or rape whistles. However, they should be warned that doing these things may increase their risks. I do agree that men should be raised to respect women. Unfortunately, human nature will prevent the eradication of evils by way of education; other precautions should be taken.
Erik Ubel, St. Paul
Simulation credits smack of profit motive
Rasmussen College has taken higher education to an all-time low with its intent to give college credit for playing video games (“A game attempt to cut college costs,” May 30). Making the notion even more preposterous is the contention that higher learning can occur absent a qualified instructor.
Rather than lend credence to the concept by engaging in a debate about it, the real focus should be on the underlying motivation for this move. Rasmussen is a for-profit entity. As such, it will put profit in front of all other considerations, including students’ best interests.
These tactics always hit the most vulnerable students the hardest. That, however, is of little consequence when all you’re after are students’ state and federal financial aid dollars. On second thought, this move is more insidious and sad than preposterous.
Kevin Lindstrom, Brooklyn Park
The writer is president of Minnesota State College Faculty.