Right-wingers' war on labor

Propaganda works, especially decades of anti-labor propaganda from the overtly right-wing media and from stealth right-wing media.

The result's a bizarre form of class envy. The audience for right-wing media has been taught to resent unionized workers, who usually have good wages, good working conditions and good benefits.

The right-wing media keep asking, "Why should those lazy union members get high wages, good working conditions and good benefits when you don't?" It never frames, "Why don't you have the high wages, good working conditions and good benefits union members enjoy? Your parents and grandparents did."

The right-wingers have reverted to Victorian attitudes about poverty, namely, if you punish people enough, they'll stop being poor. They grumble when poor people have cell phones, TVs, even refrigerators. They claim food stamps and Section 8 housing make it "too easy" to be poor.

I'm old enough to remember the War on Poverty. Contrary to right-wing mythology, it actually reduced poverty as long as it was fully in effect. In those days, we thought it shameful that Americans lived in slums or in rural shacks. Now, the conventional wisdom is that the poor deserve to be poor.

Dan Buckles

Concord

Doubts 'assault' on voting rights

This is regarding Kylan Patterson's Aug. 29 letter, "GOP's awful assault on voting rights."

The letter's fourth paragraph is very disturbing: "Students at historically black colleges and universities with progressive backgrounds are finding their votes challenged and new barriers instituted to make voting more difficult." The paragraph insinuates systematic, specific targeting.

If this were true, most Americans would be not only offended but undoubtedly outraged. However, I'm wondering whether Patterson is presenting facts or simply passing on hearsay.

It's easy to toss grenades in the form of sensational accusations. Perhaps actual evidence will arise of such heinous restrictions on the rights of American citizens.

I, for one, am doubtful.

Bill Fraser

Lafayette

The duck is a dumpable offense

My new hero is Michael K. Vaughan of Richmond, for his letter, "Mallard Fillmore is a racist duck," which was spot on!

The Times can do better in choosing what's funny. Surely, the duck would be found at a tea party gathering where Mitt Romney explains what's funny.

The obviously racist strip, that makes awful characterizations of President Obama, should be relegated to the Deep South, where the good ol' boys hate everything progressive -- not in a Bay Area newspaper.

And I agree with Vaughan, the duck comic strip is not saved by putting it under Doonesbury. The duck is a dumpable offense.

Eleanor Newman

Concord

Businesses must take precautions

While traveling in European downtown areas, I've noticed most businesses have metal security doors that roll down to cover the shop windows and entrance doors when the businesses are not open. The doors are either solid panels, like a garage door, or strong mesh gates.

European cities are not inherently more dangerous, but individual shop owners do take additional precautions to protect their property when the shops are closed.

Adopting the same type of measures in the United States, where unruly crowds are known to gather, would certainly reduce the broken windows the business owners must now replace. No doubt it could also help reduce burglaries and smash-and-grab thefts.

Cynthia Hegedus

Albany

'Hometown Hero' has been just that

Kudos for the Hometown Hero feature. I particularly enjoyed the profile of the Rev. Michael Yoshii.

I came to know Rev. Yoshii several years ago when my son played basketball on a Buena Vista United Methodist Church-affiliated team. During various community events and tournaments, Rev. Yoshii would attend and was always approachable.

It was clear from my conversations with him that this was a man of the cloth far different from those I remember from my childhood. I was immediately impressed by his commitment to social justice and activism as part and parcel of his spirituality.

Such a message resonated with me as an adult, after a long history of practicing my faith in a Christian community that I considered to be hypocritical, judgmental and self-righteous.

Those very conversations with Rev. Yoshii directly led to my re-examining my beliefs about organized religion and reconsidering the potential role spirituality can play in one's life. I have since found a spiritual home and a welcoming community in a local parish thanks to Rev. Yoshii.

The numerous efforts he has undertaken around the world to help others speak volumes of this man's character. With his acts of caring, hope, love and faith, Rev. Yoshii is truly a Hometown Hero.

Christopher Beach

Alameda