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Capitalism rewards the valuable?

To the editor:

In your Friday editorial, “Barack Obama in his own words,” you wrote: “The capitalist system … rewards only those who can provide the public with a product or service they’re willing to voluntarily pay for, faster or cheaper or better than anyone else … (and) reliably indicates … which job is more valuable to society by the mechanism of the salary each job commands.”

Hmmm. So Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Jenna Jameson, Bill Maher, Adam “Pacman” Jones and Snoop Dog are more valuable to society than the president of the United States, our military, the Supreme Court justices, religious leaders, educators, construction workers, doctors, lawyers, chemists, physicists, garbage men, Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, and so on? After all, by your rules of capitalism, they all are paid more money by the selection of the people through their wallets.

And let us not forget the Colombian and Mexican drug lords who are getting wealthy through the choices of United States citizens. Or our legal drug lords, who happily sell cigarettes, questionable pharmaceuticals and alcohol. Or the porn suppliers.

Yeah, capitalism really works well at sorting out the important things in life.

Joseph Hammond


Faulty intelligence

To the editor:

Last week, I heard a radio personality discussing D-Day and the bravery of the U.S. Army Rangers who assaulted the German artillery emplacement on a promontory named Pointe du Hoc. This position overlooked the Normandy invasion beaches and their sea approaches. It was believed by Allied intelligence that there were six 155mm guns in concrete emplacements on the promontory.

The guns would have caused havoc for the troops landing on Omaha and Utah beaches. Aerial and sea bombardment had been ineffective, so the 2nd Ranger Battalion was given the task of scaling the cliffs of Pointe du Hoc and destroying the guns. The Rangers suffered heavy casualties climbing the cliffs, and once on top, they found that the guns were not there. They had been moved several days earlier. The intelligence as to the location of the guns was wrong.

I do not believe I have ever read any criticism of the Allied planners, Gen. Dwight Eisenhower or President Franklin Roosevelt about this intelligence failure.

I think about this in the context of what has happened in Iraq over the past several years.

Haven’t we become an awfully fickle nation led by politicians whose only loyalty is to re-election and the perpetuation of their self-interest?

David R. Durling


Russian roulette

To the editor:

Apparently, the admonition to “first, do no harm” was lost on the doctors and staff of the endoscopy clinics that used and then re-used vials and syringes multiple times on multiple patients.

The doctors who ordered these unsafe and unsanitary practices and the staff that looked the other way are guilty of robbing patients of their well-being and peace of mind as surely as if they held a gun to their heads and robbed them of their money.

These doctors have embarrassed their fellow physicians and made a mockery of the oath they swore to uphold, for they have done an enormous and irreversible amount of harm to all those who came to them for help.

They’ve undermined the medical professionals in Las Vegas who were attempting to build public confidence in their ability to treat patients competently, thereby putting an end to the idea that Las Vegans had to leave the state in order to find good, quality health care.

They’ve given us many good reasons to worry and wonder about whether our own physicians, their staffs and laboratory technicians might be doing something we’re not now aware of that some day might prove to be hazardous to our health.

If one wanted to rationalize, forgive or excuse the inexcusable, one could make a case, albeit a weak one, for the staff. They may have gone along to get along out of fear of losing their jobs and not being able to support their families.

But the doctors had no such motivation or excuse for their abhorrent behavior. They did it out of 100 percent pure, unadulterated greed. Their expensive cars and million-dollar homes apparently weren’t enough. And if getting more required cutting corners and risking lives, then so be it.

The legal and medical communities must send a strong, clear message to all health providers that playing Russian roulette with the lives of their patients will not be tolerated.

Joyce Segal


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