Letters to the editor: Aug. 22, 2018


Beto O’Rourke is right that health care is a moral issue, but the issue remains complex, because people operate within differing moral frameworks.

Many Texans believe they deserve to keep what they earn, and shouldn’t be forced to subsidize health care for others. Though this moral principle has its merits, it ignores the fact that many uninsured Texans are very hardworking, with financial challenges outside their control.

As a psychologist, I often encounter such individuals. Consider, for example, the 18-year-old boy with recently deceased parents, who works long hours in a restaurant to support himself. Does he deserve health care less than a college freshman who remains on his parents’ insurance?

This inequity is founded upon a simplistic morality of merit — one that ignores context and overemphasizes abuses of the system, thereby failing our most vulnerable. I support O’Rourke for Senate, because he won’t let such individuals slip through the cracks.

MANDY BLOTT, AUSTIN

Why are people who leave their jobs with the federal government for whatever reason allowed to keep their security clearance?

When you leave the military, or even the private commercial world, you forfeit your right to be able to continue to look at classified or proprietary information. Many of these high-ranking government individuals take new jobs as lobbyists and advisers for companies and other governments, where having access to secret material would be a major benefit — and might even be the reason why they got the new job.

I see no reason why people like National Security Advisor Susan Rice, ex-CIA head John Brennan and ex-FBI head James Comey have a right to maintain this privilege. If a situation arises where the government again needs their employment, they can reapply for a clearance. Letting them keep it is an exposure to leaks, blackmail espionage and other abuses.

ROBERT CZEPIEL, AUSTIN

Former intelligence officials say it’s their right to express national security views without fearing punishment. I agree. But how does not having a security clearance stifle expressing opinions based on their experiences?

Security clearances are issued on a need-to-know basis. Former officials do not have the right nor need to know such as William McRaven. Clearances should be pulled when leaving federal service, as was my top-secret clearance when I retired.

Former officials speaking from nongovernment positions based on access to classified information should be prosecuted for violating security regulations.

Finally, security clearances must be updated periodically. Many officials who allege stifling left government service long enough ago that their clearances are void. If not, how and why were they updated?

HARLAN HIVELY, AUSTIN

Re: Aug. 16 commentary, “Journalists are watchdog neighbors, not enemy of the people,” and Aug. 19 letter to the editor, “Rather quote proves ‘fake news’ point.

In an Aug. 16 editorial on Donald Trump’s fake news mania and dogged resolve to cast journalists as the enemy of the people, the Statesman quoted the words of CBS newsman Dan Rather.

An Aug. 19 letter writer pens this response: “Great move using Rather, who was fired for broadcasting fake news about President Bush. Can the media get any more absurd?”

What’s absurd is the heights to which the letter writer brings the fine arts of cherry-picking and overblowing. The George W. Bush/National Guard report was one story in an otherwise distinguished reporting career.

Was Dan Rather perfect? Nope. Nobody is. He accepted the veracity of the documents cited in his televised report at the time. He was not even close to being guilty of disseminating “fake news.” What was he guilty of? Making a mistake.

DAVID BUTLER, AUSTIN

As an independent citizen of our great country, I believe that the vote for Supreme Court candidate Brett Kavanaugh should be delayed until the American people have had the chance to vote in November.

My friends and family alike believe that the benefit of waiting until after the 2018 midterm elections will assure us that candidate Kavanaugh’s appointment has not been unfairly railroaded through before the American people have had the chance to weigh in.

The same Republicans who had unfairly refused to even consider former President Obama’s recommendation for Supreme Court justice, Merrick Garland, already pushed through Justice Neil Gorsuch.

Let’s not allow that to happen once again.

LINDA SAPER, AUSTIN

Donald J. Trump is certainly unlike any president we have ever had. And I doubt if anyone has ever thought of comparing him to JFK. One similarity, to neither man’s credit, is that they were both womanizers.

One glaring difference, however, can be found in five words from Kennedy’s inaugural address: “Civility is not a sign of weakness.” Where, you may ask, might you find proof of Trump’s incivility? How about any one of Trump’s thousands of tweets?

CARL LLOYD, SAN ANTONIO



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