If they don’t vote, what does it really matter?

To the editor:

In response to your April 15 In Depth piece on the union membership surge in Nevada:

One thing the story did not address are the consequences for both political parties and for union agendas in Carson City and Washington.

While the rising membership numbers for each local may be very impressive, one of the patterns in recent years is that union members in Nevada are not voting in numbers as large as in other states. Participation appears to be actually declining in Nevada. Few unions in Nevada are tracking their membership’s participation at the polls and none is publicly sharing the percentage of their members who are actually casting votes here.

One of the reasons is that many of these new union members are nationals of other nations and unable to legally cast votes in the United States. The impressive surge in membership is appearing more and more to be a political paper tiger, rather than a force to be reckoned with.

So as impressive as these efforts may be, the major component that helps keep all unions in business and their issues on the front burner — registered voting members — is languishing in Nevada because we have one of the highest percentages of foreign national workers under union contracts in America.

That’s great for the workers in the short term, and a boon for management. But if union members cannot or will not vote, their power is substantially diluted because there is nothing any elected official fears more than an actual voter.

If your members don’t or can’t vote, they aren’t going to be heard. And all the large demonstrations and rallies in the world don’t turn actual voters out at the polls or move politicians to act on their concerns.

We will be unable to overturn "right-to-work" laws, "at-will" laws or grant our teachers the right to strike if we are diluting the political muscle at the voting booth.

With thousands of new hotel rooms coming online soon — and a sharply rising rate of foreign nationals in teaching, nursing and service industries — we could be looking at a majority of Nevada union membership in the coming years who have no voice at all because they are not U.S. citizens and cannot vote.

If U.S. citizens aren’t attracted to these positions, that indicates they are not seeing a value in the rates of pay or benefits in these contracts, and that appears to benefit management more than the workers.

That should concern everyone with an interest in the well-being of working families in Nevada.

Michael Zahara





Photo op

To the editor:

In regard to the Review-Journal’s April 17 front page:

The photo that was published showing the victim of the deadly shooting on campus at Virginia Tech should not have been put in the paper. The manner in which the victim is being removed is a disgrace. Victims are placed on stretchers, whether injured or dead. This victim’s family must be appalled at seeing this photo.

Further, the officers carrying the body will be appalled when they see their own photos. I can’t tell if they are Virginia Tech security or members of the local police force. They must not participate in their physical conditioning exercise program.

Don Brennan



PR war

To the editor:

In response to the April 13 commentary by Elan Journo, "What a real war would look like":

Thank you so much for having the courage to publish Mr. Journo’s essay. Mr. Journo had the courage to write what many of my retired military friends have been saying for a number of years. In my opinion, the so-called "Global War on Terror" could be won in three days.

On day one, we turn Tehran into a glass factory, a la Hiroshima, and on day two we do the same to Damascus. On day three the United States would negotiate the unconditional surrender of the "Islamic totalitarian fascists."

Unfortunately, thanks to modern technology and political correctness, we no longer have the stomach or spine to do whatever it takes to win a war. That is why I won’t allow my children to serve in the military. After 22 years on active duty, I saw first-hand how political correctness kept our brave men and women from achieving victory in this new era of warfare via public relations.

I once got into a debate with one of my college professors, who stated all wars in the future will be fought in the public relations arena. I hate to admit he was right. I never envisioned the jihadist zealots would be better at using the global media to spread their vile hatred for Western civilization, including democracy, while we fail so miserably at spreading the message of peace and prosperity.

Perhaps it’s our immoral lifestyles that leave us without a moral high ground in just such a contest.

The more I watch the news and read the newspaper, the more I’m convinced many of our political leaders and members of the media are suffering from a form of Stockholm syndrome.

They actually appear sympathetic to those wanting to kill us.

M. Eugene Ward



Original thought

To the editor:

Your Wednesday article on the unsupported termination of U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden by the Bush administration through the politicized office of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales absolutely thrilled me.

It stated that Sen. John Ensign, who had nominated Mr. Bogden and has been critical of his dismissal, said through a spokesman that the investigation so far confirms that Mr. Bogden "was let go for the wrong reasons."

If this is true, it means that Sen. Ensign has had an original thought. That prospect has left me profoundly optimistic and hopeful for our Republican senator and — as an extension — the great state of Nevada.




Investment plan

To the editor:

The calls for the Nevada Public Employees Retirement System to remove any money invested in companies that have ties to Sudan are a perfect example of why the government should not be allowed to directly invest taxpayer money in the stock market. No matter how noble the cause is, or may seem to be, the government should not be using its power to influence or force individual companies to change economic polices that are not in violation of the law.

The retirement system is going to be in bad shape in a few years. If there are companies that are making good returns, then the state should be investing in them. They shouldn’t be investing in less-profitable businesses because it might feel like the right thing to do.

What’s next, no investing in the tobacco industry, or in companies that aren’t "green" enough, fast-food businesses that aren’t providing healthy food?

There will always be somebody who is outraged about something, and that might be justified. However; the government shouldn’t be making investment decisions on that basis. If a company truly shouldn’t be doing business in a certain manner or with a particular country, then make it illegal for all companies. Don’t let some bureaucrat decide which companies are morally acceptable.



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