LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Mega-Mergers Limit Speech
I was pleased to see my old friend Peter Franck (April issue) making the
linkage between mega mergers in the mass media and the need for alternative
The situation has got even worse, in another field of media, since that
issue: Random House, one of the biggest publishing conglomerates in the
U.S., was bought out by an even bigger one, Bertelsmann A.G. of Germany.
According to a Newsday story printed in our local daily, the merger
"will create the world's largest English-language book publisher."
"It will combine the worldwide operatians of Random House and its well-known
sister companies, including Alfred A. Knopf and Crown Publishers, with Bertelsmann's
Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group," Newsday re-ported.
Savor the irony: The world's largest publisher of English-language books
The CEO in-waiting of the new empire promised Newsday that each division
will have editorial autonomy. Anybody want to bet against this mega-merger's
influence on the bottom line? Book publishing, which once was an industry
for people who were readers, and made a decent living at it, is now an industry
for people who merely want to make piles of money. The result, inevitably,
will be more lowest-common-denominator sleaze -- just as with conglomerate
radio -- and less real reading matter available, except from small presses
and independent bookstores.
Deadwood OR 97430
Social Security Scam
The potentially simple solution to the problems of Social Security can be
seen on the front page of the AARP Bulletin for March. Pictured are
two of the hundreds of thousands of Americans who do not pay their full
share of Social Security taxes. These two pay no Social Security taxes on
half of their salaries. (Bill Gates pays on only a tiny fraction of his.)
The average American, in lower tax brackets, pays the larger percentage
of his income. Let's level the paying field. That's all that is needed to
assure Social Security's solvency for the entire 21st century.
The article accompanying these photos speaks irresponsibly, erroneously
of "insolvency in 2029." Talk like this of a crisis when baby
boomers retire is a smokescreen to hide the real agenda -- which is to destroy
Social Security and to use the Social Security (FICA) taxes you and I have
paid -- (in my case, those I've paid for my employees as well) -- to pay
a commission to "brokers" to gamble with the Social Security Trust
The Bulletin concludes with photos and statements by a Senator and
an "economist" and the AARP's NLC -- all advocating this, the
greatest scam of the 20th century. The Trust Fund belongs to all Americans,
not to a few self-appointed wizards to play with.
WALTER E. DOERFLER JR.
P.O. Box 1658
Coos Bay, OR 97420
Remember Ron Carey
Teamsters president Ron Carey was banned from a rerun after a relatively
clean, government overseen election. (Politicians held to the same standards
would all be in court.) That's probably the last the public has heard of
Mr. Carey, but he has never yet experienced due process.
Granted, reformers originally welcomed the government with open arms to
the Teamsters, but now the government, not the mob, is standing in the way
of reform. Washington, aligns with business, and militant labor is not profit
maximizing. It's okay to strike as long as you don't win.
Mr. Carey was the first Teamster president ever elected by the rank and
file, and his work in the first term catered to the common workers, not
the union boss, not the company boss, and not for personal gain. It's sickening
and disheartening that the government can take away my right to vote for
the candidate I choose without having proven him guilty of something. I've
been voting for the lesser evil all my life, and his was one election I
Socialist Action, a periodical from San Francisco, has printed Mr.
Carey's appeal. The government's case against him is weak and based primarily
on the word of a felon plea bargaining for leniency. Washington Post
reporter Frank Swoboda commented on last month's (IRB) Independent Review
Board action. "Lawyers following the case have noted the 'Alice in
Wonderland' quality of the hearings, but they don't want to talk about it
on the record for fear of retribution. Some privately likened the board
to a kangaroo court. Some lawyers say the proceedings before the board operate
under rules of law alien to American jurisprudence. Individuals charged
by the board are seldom confronted by their accusers. Instead, the board
relies on statements and affdavits from the FBI to make its charges. And
under board rules, 'reliable hearsay' is admissible as evidence."
This unreported news story could rally working folks together in public
outcry, but the media and union activists are ignoring it and moving on.
"Presumed" guilt is not the American way. Politicians are presenting
bills that would further cripple unions. Workers, including reporters, need
the conviction that the government and many campaign-financing corporations
are gunning for unions just when we need them most. Business outspent labor
17 to 1 in the last election cycle, yet politicians are trying to restrict
union campaign donations. Beware government intervention in your union and
workplace affairs, eventually they'll take away what few rights you have.
But what do I know? I load trucks at UPS part time. Not all union jobs are
worker friendly. We desperately needed a friend at the top. I trust the
guy still, and though reform may continue, they'll have taken some of the
heart out of it. After a victory on the picket line, I assumed things would
get better for us. But now Ron Carey is being railroaded by the U.S. government
and no one takes notice.
Might be time for some good old fashioned investigative reporting about
something that matters. Walk away from Lewinsky trivia. It's time for the
media to start reporting on the stories that matter to the majority of Americans
who are out there working their butts off and being dissed by corporations,
media, politicians and now the judicial system. It's a travesty that most
of the papers are owned by giant corporations. This is still a democracy,
Teamsters Local 597
6 Park Street
Underhill, VT 05489
No Honor for Reagan
I have recently heard news that Congress is intending to name the D.C. airport
after Ronald Reagan. I was so outraged to hear this that I wrote my first
letter to a congressman. I think that this man will eventually go down in
history as our worst president. Despite his glorification by the media,
his stupid and superficial personality could not be completely hidden. I
think that he was the closest to an idiot in an elected official that the
U.S. has ever seen. The damage that he did to unions and working people
in the U.S. was only exceeded by the harm that his murderous foreign policy
inflicted on Central America and Grenada. I think enough dishonor has been
inflicted by naming the FBI building after our late unlamented Heinrich
Himmler. It is disgraceful that anyone would be insane enough to think of
memorializing the Reagan name to posterity.
JAMES F. SCULLY
248 E 2nd St
Mount Carmel, PA 17851-1523
Arrogance of 'Clean Elections'
Please stop pushing Clean Elections style as a Campaign Finance Reform worthy
of populist support. Have you actually read the TWENTY EIGHT pages of bad
law that C.E. has vomited up? If this "reform" were to be enacted,
the only effect that it would have would be to set real CFR back.
Touted as THE way to provide public campaign funds, the C.E. plan would
dribble away the public's money to many fringe candidates and leave the
privately financed candidates with grossly underfunded opposition.
The arrogance of these "reformers" is disgusting. Their plan is
design to replace Government by the Rich with Government by self appointed
It will fail.
TOM STRONG (aka tolemy)
P.S. Hurray for the People, and screw the Rentier Class!
Editor's Note: A Rentier, according to Webster, is "a
person who receives a fixed income (as from land or stocks).
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