No bail out

To the editor:

The ten states with the highest debt are: California, D; New York, D; Massachusetts, D; New Jersey, D; Illinois, D; Texas, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, D; Ohio, Michigan, D.

Of course, the granddaddy of them all is California with a state debt of $53 billion. It’s also important to know that California has a trillion dollar unfunded pension liability.

New York is close behind with a $38,000,000 debt. Is anybody surprised to learn that 8 of the 10 highest debt states is and has been run by Democrats for many years? Taxes in those states are forcing thousands to leave for lower or no tax states.

That will make it even more difficult to address their debt. Politicians for decades have been using promises of enhanced pensions and benefits to “buy” votes.

Democrats seem to forget that Obama doubled the nation’s debt with a string of boondoggles like Solendra, cash for clunkers, cash for appliances, free “Obama phones.” The list goes on and on.

Not to mention all those thousands of “shovel ready” projects. I guess China didn’t have enough shovels to sell us to get those projects moving.

You don’t have to have a George Lucas-type imagination to see the train wreck coming when states like California and all the rest of the states heavily in debt and future liabilities realize they have few choices to deal with their situations when the bills come due.

All options will cause severe negative reactions of the people involved.

#1 They could default on the state debt and pension obligations.

#2 They could file bankruptcy (basically same as above)

#3 They could reduce pensions and benefits radically.

#4 They could raise taxes enough to sustain their debt, driving more people to leave their states, thus reducing revenue.

#5 And one that nobody would be in favor of. Asking the federal government (you and me) to bail them out.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want a single cent of my tax money to be used to bail out a state because they showed no fiscal restraint.

Bruce Gardner


Let’s aim for civility

To the editor:

I share concerns voiced by a recent letter writer about the manner in which some contributors in the “Opinion” section give voice to their views.

Name-calling and not-so-subtle personal attacks serve no purpose other than to inflame individuals and perhaps satisfy some deep seated personal issue.

Many of the recent attacks are directed towards Mr. David Crane. Anyone who knows him and takes the time to honestly and objectively investigate the subjects he comments on would at least discover, that whether one agrees with him or not, he speaks from experience and genuine concern for our country.

Whatever our political leaning, we should show respect for our fellow citizens’ right to expression. Personal attacks are unfortunate, and frankly, they are reflect the sad state of our political health.

Discussing the issues would be a productive use of time. One should not be so cavalier with the freedom that some have fought and died for.

Ron Morrow

Lake Junaluska

Anti-vaccination message is irresponsible

To the editor:

I was flabbergasted this morning when I read the letter from published in “Your Views.” The writer uses utterly misleading statistics about vaccination.

She argues two main points: 1. that flu vaccine lacks efficacy; and 2. that flu vaccines cause serious injuries/deaths, such as Guillain-Barré syndrome, risk of autism, and increased risk of miscarriage. She falsely claims that the CDC research publishes support for these ideas.

Remember, one study does not a conclusion make; the point of science is that results must be repeatable. While one study that was published in Vaccine did have some confusing results, the CDC, which compiles hundreds of studies on this subject, makes it clear that pregnant women should indeed be vaccinated and that there is not an increased risk of miscarriage

Furthermore, links between autism and vaccines (whether given to pregnant women or to children) have been researched again and again and then roundly dismissed so many times as to now be a cliché.

As far as Guillain-Barré: yes, a tiny proportion of people who are vaccinated can develop Guillain-Barré. You know what is statistically more likely to give you Guillain-Barré syndrome? The flu. And do you know what can actually make it more likely you will harm your fetus or miscarry? The flu.

I could go on — but why? It would be like taking up space proving that the Earth is round and revolves around the sun. Surprising results in one study do not nullify decades of evidence proving that vaccination — for influenza, measles, and other diseases — has been the single most efficacious medical advancement in human history.

I am stunned that The Mountaineer would give any space at all, much less a lengthy column, to the dangerous claim that people should be suspicious of vaccines. Doing so is misleading and irresponsible.

A dangerous B-strain influenza is killing people this year—often younger people who might not typically be so compromised by this virus. Wash your hands, take elderberry syrup (yes—even the NIH says it has antiviral properties), and stay home if sick.

Please, do the research and get the vaccine. Be very careful of spurious claims made by people who do not seem versed in the scientific method. . . even when they appear in print in The Mountaineer. The letter-writer is acting based on scant, cherry-picked evidence rather than the very full body of thorough and acclaimed research on this topic.

Leila Wheless


(Editor’s note: This letter was published in the same issue as one written by the Haywood County public health director. The Mountaineer doesn’t censor letters, but instead offers a balanced reflection of views within our community.)

Patients unnecessarily exposed for surgery

To the editor:

Sadly, many people are completely unaware that their bodies are unnecessarily exposed in numerous surgeries.

Medical professionals often make surgery outcomes and results the patient’s focus. (ex: all of the cancer was removed). Rarely discussed is the actual procedure including modesty, patients’ private parts exposed for prepping/positioning and during surgeries, and intimate procedures such as pelvic exams (common for gynecological surgeries).

With proper communication and education patients can have maximum modesty for most procedures.

At many hospitals, patient gowns are routinely removed or pulled up as soon that patient enters the operating room. If a patient is not wearing surgery shorts and/or underwear the genitals will be likely exposed for surgeries such as knee replacement surgery.

If a female patient does not have some type of bra or chest covering, her breasts could be unnecessarily exposed as well. One Illinois orthopedic surgeon invented a special ‘Modesty Bra’ ( for female shoulder surgery patients after he received concerns from his female employee who felt uncomfortable letting him operate on her shoulder with her breasts exposed.

Across the United States and for umpteen years, hospitals’ and surgery centers’ routine policies require patients remove underwear for all surgeries. This ritual was first introduced when nylon underwear could potentially cause static electricity but, was seemingly without clear medical indication.

Fortunately, as of 2020, some hospitals have changed their policies and now allow surgery patients to wear 100 percent cotton underwear or disposable underwear that do not contain metals.

Check out some arguments medical professionals may use about why you cannot wear underwear and how to respond at

This ridiculous policy should be abandoned at every hospital because it violates the patient’s dignity and serves no medical purpose for most surgeries.

There are certain procedures where regular underwear cannot be worn, but there are some special garments that can be used instead. Examples include:

1.) During a colonoscopy or rectal surgery specially designed shorts can be worn exposing only part of the buttocks. A patient could also wear boxer shorts backwards. Also, a male patient could wear a jock strap to secure his male organs.

2.) Patients who undergo hip surgery, cardiac catheterizations in the groin, cardiac bypass surgery, and other surgeries that require access to the groin can use the Covr Medical ( garments which cover the genitals but allow access to hip and groin invented by an orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Bruce Levy, who performs hip surgeries at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

I had the privilege of meeting Dr. Levy and his wife when I went to Minnesota in June 2019. Dr. Levy is a caring doctor who understands the importance of patient modesty. He had grown weary of seeing hip surgery patients being exposed. This inspired him to invent dignity garments.

Another concern is patients who have requested a same gender team for certain intimate procedures often have their requests ignored once they are under anesthesia. For example, one lady who chose a female gynecologist from an all-female practice in Utah to do her hysterectomy was horrified to learn there were male nurses and a male anesthesiologist present against her wishes.

To learn more about how you can have maximum modesty for surgeries and what steps you have to take to ensure a same gender team for certain surgeries, check out the article, Surgery and Your Modesty at and the video, Surgery and Your Modesty at

Misty Roberts is the president of Medical Patient Modesty, a non-profit organization that works to educate patients and their families about how to have maximum modesty for procedures and how to stand up for their rights requesting a same-gender medical team for intimate procedures. She lives in Waynesville.

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