Arresting the Pope; More on SEIU’s Future; Newt Gingrich …

by on April 16, 2010

To the Editor:

Tommi is exactly correct. The moral turpitude of the Pope and the whole top leadership of the Catholic Church cannot be denied. It all reinforces something I learned long ago, and that is that the Catholic Church particularly is not at all about morality. It is about obedience.

Uniformity of thought builds cohesion. Cohesion builds power. If readers in the S.F. Bay Area are as outraged as I am about this, they can join me in a protest against the Pope — calling for his resignation, at least — at St. Matthews Catholic Church in San Mateo, 9th and El Camino Real, this Sunday morning, April 18th, at 9:15 to 10:45 AM. Signs will be available.

Donald Havis
San Mateo, CA

To the Editor:

The departure of Andy Stern from SEIU brings new hope in the American Labor Movement. For the last six years, Mr. Stern destroys the image of the “Purple Machine” that brought many immigrant workers and people of color into the union house during President John Sweeney’s term. Andy’s legacy is not to be mentioned in our labor history. The challenge before the SEIU members is to select a new leader who will respect the principles of member’s rights and union democracy.

Andres Bonifacio
San Francisco

To the Editor:

After SEIU’s loss in the “small” 3500 Kaiser worker elections in Southern California, there’s a good chance that the union will lose the “800 lb. gorilla” of elections in May of Kaiser Northern California with its 45,000 members — one half of the UHW-SEIU membership. (Rumor has it that SEIU’s own internals point to a likely loss.)

Stern was hoping that the lawsuit would cut down NUHW so that either (1) it would be a campaign item in the election, and/or (2) the NUHW would be so hurt against the ropes that it would have a difficult time representing Kaiser workers and would also have a hard time against further SEIU lobs. Apparently, neither item will be the case. Stern does not want to have NUHW rise and take away his union’s influence on his watch which would possibly stain his legacy.

I don’t think this is the last we have heard from Andy Stern. He leaves SEIU adrift and mired in problems germinated during his leadership, but not much turf was lost on his watch. Do not be surprised to see him in the political arena in the not too distant future. I hope the Obama Administration has its eyes open.

Neal Hemel
San Jose, CA

To the Editor:

Why anyone listens to Newt Gingrich is a question I have asked and answered just as you have. Who cares? is my answer. But I have also quit watching the Sunday morning talkers, with their blathering heads as well. Since not only Newtie is seemingly always on, or his deputy LizCheney is.

Neither of which floats boats in my honest opinion. But I am amazed at how easily those two, the ever-evil DaddyCheney are allowed / invited into CBS, ABC, NBC studios for a morning of loudly talking through every one else’s comments, if they are on the opposite side. George Will seems to be the only one who they show any type of respect for, but then only if he glares at them as they blather through a comment of his.

Bob Rohden

To the Editor:

I am no fan of Newt Gingrich, but you ask the wrong questions, thus have a “hard time believing his sudden re-emergence is an accident.”

It’s anything but. Aside from Mitt Romney, Gingrich is one of the few voicing the big corporate, conservative (non-evangelical) party establishment, especially as the John McCain or Lindsay Graham types stumble from influence. Though offensive to the left, Gingrich does command a national legislative track record, when the GOP at least passed bad legislation, not just said No.

I think you ignore completely the most intriguing issue: what does it say about the media that rightwing, gasbag has-beens have no trouble getting air time? Whether or not “anyone” (whoever that is) “should care” is hardly the question: the media obviously thinks opinionated loudmouths, like Sarah Palin, are newsworthy, thus revealing more about TV producers than loser ideologues. It is not news to find the scoop-hungry, sensation-hunting media putting on a guy who’s good for gotcha quotations. The issue at hand is the media mindset you don’t address, not Gingrich the gasbag.

Further, not having widespread popularity has nothing to do with air-time. Neither Palin nor Mike Huckabee are widely popular or highly respected; ditto Mitch McConnell or John Boehner. You minimize the false opposition the media uses to attract eye-balls: if the president gets all that airtime, then the opposition must get something comparable, matching the false logic because one politician makes a position, that means the strident opposite is just as legitimate and deserving of attention.

Finally, it’s misleading to claim Gingrich closed down the government simply “out of spite,” as he had almost all his party behind him. Unstable or not, Gingrich tried to make political, fiscal and ideological points both about Clinton and the Democratic reign. Just because much of what Gingrich has done and said is wrongheaded doesn’t mean there’s no tactical calculation behind his actions.

He is running for president not only out of ego but because there are precious few Republicans with any standing who have national resumes, presuming to be knowledgeable about domestic and foreign affairs. Plus, he has obvious fat cat backers who want his establishment party viewpoint given credence next to Fox TV or Palin’s or other fringe idiocy.

Like TV producers, rightwing billionaires with huge paper assets are not “anyone.” Enough cash makes you “someone,” especially if you get someone like Gingrich to spout off on your behalf.

Robert Becker
Mendocino CA

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