Opinion: Mailbag: Dead reporters, darling dictators, labor longeurs, and more


This article was originally on a blog post platform and may be missing photos, graphics or links. See About archive blog posts.

You, the FLP, continue to shower us with white-hot reactions to our Opinion Dailies:

Michael McGough’s ‘Unions labeled’ draws a flinty rejoinder from a man of the cloth in Chatsworth, CA:


Sir: Michael McGough writes in ‘Unions Labeled’ that the Employee Free Choice Act would ’. . . give unions an unfair--one might even say un-American--advantage.’ Implicit in this statement is that unions and employers are on a level playing field. The number of union-affiliated employed workers has fallen from one-third in 1945 to 14 percent in 1998. Although there are many suggestions for the decline, employer anti-union tactics--often illegal--have included: firing union activists, captive indoctrination of workers, showing anti-union videos, intimidating supervisor one-on-one meetings with workers, bribing of workers, open or veiled threats to close the business or facility, and actively supporting anti-union committees of workers. These tactics typically are designed, promoted, and managed by a growth-industry of high-powered anti-union consultants. The facts are well-documented: the playing field is not level, and organized employer opposition to unions is the principal explanation for the decline in union membership. Much of this is true because of the incredible weakness of U.S. labor law and NLRB practices. Given this scenario, it’s hardly unfair--or un-American!--to allow unions an advantage that would barely begin to level the playing field. Rabbi Moshe ben Asher

Jon Healey’s ‘Sirius, XM and American values’ brings in some sound advice from a Phoenix, AZ student:

As a Sirius user... I block any bad content. I just wish also that they get a dedicated fm channel. Even NPR overpowers them. Regular radio needs only one FM station just one not 2.

A reader in Afghanistan gives Sonni Efron a browbeating for ‘Dead reporters and the information gap'...

This article is a sad statement on the perverse and tortured logic that guides the thinking of the press. All deaths caused by terrorists are lamentable. The cost to society in the lost potential of those lives is incalculable. However, to pretend that the information gap is caused by the deaths of reporters is simply journalistic narcissism in its most dangerous and deceptive form. The true cause of the information gap in the United States and throughout the world is not the deaths of reporters on the front line in war zones. The information gap is caused by the death of integrity in the reporters and editors in the news rooms thousands of miles behind the front the lines. It is the fallacious concept that the newspeople have the ability and the duty to shape the news that is responsible for the information gap. The article refers to reporters asking impertinent questions of those in power as if this is an everyday occurrence. The problem is that the media only questions those in power who disagree with their predetermined story line. The public needs and deserves a media that will step back and report the story without the bias and backhanded remarks of the enlightened journalists. War is tragic and its toll in lost lives and suffering is enormous. The only thing worse than having to fight a war against terrorists and fascists, be they Islamic, Nazi or any others, is to lose that war because the media undermined the Nation’s will to win through its biased, one sided portrayal of the issues. That is the only thing that can truly render the sacrifice and suffering of all the victims of this war meaningless. Patrick D. ClonanPolice Advisor, Herat, Afghanistan

...while a reader in our nation’s capital sees ominous similarities between being killed in Iraq and paid by Rupert Murdoch:

There are many disturbing points made in this article. All made me cringe for the horror of possibilities. As I read this I also thought of Rupert Murdoch’s probable takeover of Dow Jones. The imminent launch of Fox News Channel?! Where can you find the highly-regarded news sources (of the near-future)? We seem to be racing toward a global society where pertinent, objective, reliable information will be available to fewer and fewer people—if it can be found (and recognized). Is there anyplace left where the determination or the essential aspect is ruled by something other than the ability of the highest bidder? DJH in Washington D.C.

Finally, the eternal revolutionaries come out to denounce my own ‘Semper Fidel.’ Larry Maxcy provides some biting wit:

Hi, You have to admit that Fidel and Hugo have quite a bit in common. The United States has failed on multiple occasions to kill them. I imagine this promotes a certain camaraderie. All best, Larry Maxcy

From Belize, bestselling author Cervantes sets quill to paper:

Dear Mr. Tim Cavanaugh, I believe that the system that has not worked is the system that shamelessly left many poor and black people in New Orleans homeless and left to die like animals after hurricane Katrina. Fidel’s system has succeeded in giving every citizen of Cuba dignity and a decent life as human beings for almost 50 years consistently. Of course, Fidel’s system is very unlike the American capitalist system in which only a tiny portion of the population enjoy and control the greater mass of the wealth of a nation. Katrina exposed the American system for what it is in its raw form. And we, the whole world, saw it disappointedly and dejectedly. People like Chavez, Morales and Correa are rightfully looking to Fidel for guidance because the his system puts the welfare of the society first, over the welfare of just one or a few privileged individuals. The American system is based on money and the accumulation of wealth regardless of who is stepped on or at whose expense, as long as the victim is not an American. America follows the doctrine of arrogance through power and right through might. It is there for everyone to see. Fortunately, the people in Latin America have realized that while they were being blinded by the glitters of the promised wealth through the capitalist system, they were being robbed of their nation’s wealth and intelligence by the empire and its local collaborators. Please realize that when you speak of Hugo Chavez, you are speaking of man that is democratically supported by the popular will of 2/3 of Venezuela’s population and a man that as fairly won about 8 elections and referendums in 8 years, so unlike George Bush and Felipe Calderon, who both had to cook and concoct many questionable deeds to beat Al Gore and Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, respectively. Definitely, you, nor anyone high up in Washington, cannot deny the fact that those same leftists, that you criticize for investing the nation’s wealth back into the development of its citizens, have the overwhelming support of the people of their nations. After all, is this not true democracy? The only thing wrong with these true democracies is that the fair and open democratic process did not deliver the preferred outcomes and results that the empire so much desired. The people are speaking. You must listen to us. Any other way is definitely anti-democratic. Sincerely, Ramon CervantesBelize

And from the great white north, Heather manages to bring the subject around to why Canadians are better than Americans:

I was in Cuba three times in the past year Tim. How many times have you been there? I cycled from Santiago to Havana, three quarters of the island. How much of Cuba have you really seen up close, Tim? How many real, everyday Cubans have you been able to speak with at length? Get their heartfelt views, etc. That sort of thing. You didn’t mean Canada in your reference to the ‘Cream of the Global Left’, did you? After all, we have stayed friends and invested in that brave little country these past 50 years or so.’ Google ‘ Ian Delaney’s recent comments about how much more money Sherritt International is going to invest there in the near future. Course he isn’t allowed in the United States due to the Helms Burton Law. He says it hasn’t produced a dent in his lifestyle. Some of us non-americans just have this chip on our shoulder about other nations trying to tell us who we can associate or do business with. Go figure. Want to know what is always surprising to most of your ‘socialist neighbours’ up here in Canada? ( Yikes! We even have universal health care here, just like the Castro Regime!) It’s when you watch some television show and they are interviewing americans, and the interview subject says something like ‘ I just don’t know why the world is so angry at the United States...why bad things like 911 happened. We americans are good people...’, etc., etc. No one wishes bad things to happen. But anwser me this: We in other countries just wonder why the average american, with a reasonable level of intelligence does not see what the rest of the world sees: that your government is run by big business and lobby groups like those folks down in Miami Dade who sponsor terrorism themselves. You can make all the jokes about Fidel you want. He will pass on one day. When he does the world will show their respect at his funeral. No one from the US government had better dare show theirs. HeatherCanada

That’s it for this installment. Keep those cards and letters coming!