Tag Archives: The Findlay Courier

How does Rep. Jim Jordan sleep at night?

Posted on by

An article written by Findlay Courier reporter Joy Brown about Rep Jim Jordan’s (R-Urbana) concern about the economy and jobs during the current health care reform debate is typical of the out of touch Republican party. Not only does it show Jordan’s misplaced priorites but the article also lacked any balance to the untrue GOP talking points included.

During a conference call, Jordan, R-Urbana, said legislators are too fixated on “a government takeover of health care when the focus should be on growing the economy and creating jobs.

“I think the one thing that’s hurting our ability to come out of this recession is that business owners are very nervous about what may be coming next in Washington,” said Jordan. Potential legislation could “make it tougher, more costly to do business. So instead of bringing back (laid off) workers, they’re holding off with that. That’s what’s contributing to the lack of growth that we would like to see in this economy,” he said.

Also on Thursday, representatives were debating a provision in the revised bill to restrict federal funding to pay for abortions.

“Of great concern to me is the idea of federal dollars being used to take the life of unborn children,” said Jordan.

Jordan says focus should be on economy

As one commenter on the newspaper website said

Republicans should be as concerned for the living as they are for the unborn.

I was disappointed that this article lacked any comments or information about the actual reform bill before congress now instead of the usual Republican talking points. Where was the balance?

It just amazes me that in the 21st century someone like Mr. Jordan would politicize health care and show a lack of respect for basic human dignity. I don’t seem to recall a concern for the budget or taxes when spending obscene sums on the military or bailing out the banks who made bad decisions.

How a member of Congress would say there is going to be “government run” health care when that isn’t even true and even if true we already have some programs like Medicare and Veterans health care that are, so any additional programs would NOT be a totally foreign concept. Nothing in the current plan says people have to give up their private insurance.

Why is it that we seem to be the ONLY country which hasn’t solved this issue? Why is it that with a private “for profit” system that spends the most per person and costs the most per person we don’t have the top health care system – we rank 37th – lower than Costa Rica. When will people be outraged because approximately 40,000 people die each year because they either don’t have insurance or can’t afford medical care to begin with.

Health care is one of THE biggest expenses for businesses today and true reform as noted in the current reform package is a long time in coming and will lead to those businesses finally seeing a lowering of their health care expenses for the first time ever. That would lead to more opportunities to grow their businesses which could in fact lead to more jobs.

Doing nothing to reform the health care system is a ticking time bomb that WILL be worse than a terrorist attack.

Unions and free choice

Posted on by

A current issue being debated in Congress is about the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) which would allow workers who want to form a union to decide if they want a secret ballot election or to accept union representation just based on a majority of signatures gathered. The debate has brought out the usual arguments both for and against unions and in some cases the people against EFCA simply mislead in their arguments. One such anti EFCA effort was expressed on the editorial pages of my boyhood hometown newspaper The Findlay Courier. It made me write a letter to the editor.

The editorial starts out:

An election would happen only if union organizers submitted cards from fewer than 50 percent of company workers. But unions know they lose most elections under such circumstances. Several have stated that their policy now is to seek an election only when 65-75 percent of workers have signed a card.

Un-free choice

Yes, Unions do lose elections even after getting more than 50% of cards signed. Why would that be? I mean if the person signed a card and then voted against a union in an election, what would make them change their mind?

Too many people have been brainwashed by the focus on mobbed up unions back in the day like the Teamsters even though the mob was driven out because of the work of FBI investigations and resulting prosecutions.

Yes, Unions are only as good as its leadership and like all organizations it can be stuffed with people on power trips but a majority of Unions do work for the members and do what they are intended to do – protect the worker from arbitrary actions of an employer.

From my experience the reason most people vote against a Union is after heavy intimidation by management. How would you feel if your boss told you that if a Union was voted in, that you would lose your job. People barely existing from paycheck to paycheck end up backing down because of fear.

As I said in my letter, my mom tried to unionize a place she worked at for several years. As much as her coworkers complained about unfair wages and dangerous working conditions – when elections came up they were too scared to risk their jobs for a Union. It happened time and time again. Her coworkers would complain, a Union would come in gathering signatures, the company would get nasty, the workers would back down. It was a vicious cycle.

The truth is you can lose your job whether you have a Union or not. Most employers include a clause in employment applications that you can lose your job for any reason. It’s called “at-will” employment for a reason. The company could decide one day “Tom we need to let you go. Sorry…” and that would be it. There is no law requiring them to have a reason. As long as they weren’t stupid enough to make it look like they were doing it for racial, gender, or age reasons they can do it and there is no recourse for you at all.

A Union helps in getting a contract with an employer for certain wage and working conditions – it can’t prevent an employer from closing down or laying off people. At least with a Union if a job loss happens, the contract has provisions to help ease the damage. Also Union contracts allow for a certain progressive discipline and grievance procedures that a non-union shop doesn’t have to have. The Union’s job is to enforce the contract.

Union contracts are a compromise between the workers and management. While the company agrees to certain work rules, the Union allows the company to decide who to hire – for example. One place I worked at used temporary employees during peak business periods. The Union contract allowed this but also had a clause that if the workers worked more than certain number of total hours they had be made permanent. Also this contract wouldn’t let a worker officially join the Union unless they had been there at least 2 years. A Union contract, for most unionized places, is unique to that business.

Another misleading argument from the editorial:

Most significantly, it would almost certainly result in job losses. How far can employers be pushed, especially in the current economy, before they fall, or give up, or move to Mexico or China? There are companies that, if “card check” passes, will simply shut down any of their facilities that unionize this way.

Just as Unions fight and get pay raises and other expanded benefits during the good times, they have also given back some benefits in order to save the employer. Rarely has a Union refused to renegotiate a contract if the contract might lead to a business closing. The UAW just gave back a lot during the current economic melt down effecting the auto makers. The Union representing Cooper Tire workers in Findlay gave back some previous gains so the company would keep the Findlay plant open.

What most people seem to forget is that Unions are always asked first to give back even while management doesn’t give up anything in return. Again no matter the Union status, companies have closed or moved production out of the country.

Unions are there to protect workers and they would be insane if they didn’t make an effort to help a struggling company where possible. Again management isn’t a victim. They have to agree to all contracts or there is a strike so when they agree to the expanded contracts during the good times they are a willing party. They can always walk away.

A Courier reader commented about my letter and expressed another false argument about Unions. They wondered why they are forced to join a Union and complained their freedom not be in one is being taken away when a Union comes in.

There are 22 states that are Right-to-work states where you can’t be forced to join a Union or pay dues but are still covered any Union contract.

I agree you should have the freedom to join or not, the Union should also have the option not cover you under the contract. Since federal law prohibits a Union from doing that then Right-to-work laws are unfair. Is it really ok to get the benefit of a contract without paying for it through joining the Union or paying dues?

Here is the full text of my March 18th letter to the editor as published:

Employers harass pro-union workers

The March 12 Courier editorial, “Un-free choice,” about the Employee Free Choice Act currently being considered in Congress, was misleading.

Currently, if employees wish to form a union they have to gain signatures of at least 50 percent of their workmates and then have a secret ballot election a month or so later. In that time between the collecting of the cards and the election, management hires a consulting firm to help them scare employees into voting against a union, harassing the organizers, and looking the other way when there are illegal activities to keep a union out.

Letters to employee homes, postings on bulletin boards, and face-to-face meetings are used to threaten anyone who votes for a union. Employees are told the place will be shut down or layoffs may happen. They are told that union organizers are crooks who will steal their union dues and don’t work for the employees, etc. Organizers at work are constantly watched, and any infraction, real or made up, is documented and used to fire them or to get them to quit.

If you don’t think that happens, then you don’t have farther to look then the efforts to unionize Consolidated Biscuit in McComb. My mother tried at least three times to unionize the place in the late 1980s before she was fired. Her case went through the NLRB process for a couple of years, and like all legal cases the company wore her out and she dropped the case so she could collect her pension.

EFCA would allow the workers a choice to avoid an election so it would lessen the thuggery management is allowed to do now. I support each side being given the chance to convince workers of their position, but the current laws and rules favor management and allow them to lie and intimidate without fear of punishment. EFCA would include stronger penalties for such actions.

Forcing arbitration would lessen another stalling tactic management uses to keep out a union by not bargaining in good faith, just to drag out negotiations as long as possible.

Having or not having a union doesn’t prevent a business from moving jobs or closing plants. Just ask Cooper Tire.

Douglas Berger

The “Republican” Courier rides again

Posted on by

I‘ve said it before. I don’t normally read or consider Editorials published in newspapers because it is the view point of the non-working members of the paper and is usually expresses the view point of the owner or publisher of the paper. They are free to express a point of view of an issue or an election but sometimes they write some howlers not grounded in reality. The October 9th endorsement of John McCain for President is the Findlay Courier’s howler of the moment.

It starts out well enough:

We endorse John McCain for President of the United States.By the issues, here’s why:

Elect McCain

Then it is downhill from there.

First there is this

Energy: Like many Americans, McCain has undergone a complete change of heart regarding offshore drilling, as evidenced by the choice of running mate. Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is strongly in favor of developing and using our domestic resources.

Oil companies hold about 5,500 offshore leases that are not being used. Oil refineries are already operating at maximum capacity in the United States, and no new refineries have been opened since 1976. And any effect on supply or price wouldn’t be felt for at least 10 years it takes to bring that oil to the market, if at all.

Then there is this:

Health care: McCain’s plan is one of his strongest policy proposals. He wants to replace the current tax deduction on employer-provided health insurance with a tax credit of $2,500 per person (or $5,000 per family). This would go to everyone, whether or not their employers offer health insurance, so more people could buy private insurance.

McCain’s health insurance plan will tax your health care benefits for the first time ever and pass those so-called credits to insurance providers. Some plan. He also wants to encourage people to purchase health insurance across state lines – like people do with fireworks, cigarettes, and liquor – and turn it into a “free market” like he did Wall Street and we know how that turned out. He also plans on cutting Medicaid to pay for his plan.

Then there is this:

Courts: McCain has promised to name “strict constructionists” to the Supreme Court, or in other words, justices who would strictly interpret the law as written and intended. That’s as it should be.

So I wonder if that also means the Courier supports a return to slavery and treating women as the property of their husbands?

From the beginning, McCain seemed to comprehend far better than the Bush administration that Iraq was a huge project. He knew more troops were needed, and called for such long before the “surge” was implemented.

McCain’s military background is perhaps the greatest asset he brings to the presidency. He understands the principles on which this nation was founded and he’s utterly committed to America. He has a realistic view of nations like Russia and Iran, but also would use caution before pushing us into another war; he knows first-hand what wars do to our military. He has shown courage and fortitude, and would continue to do so as president.

Really? As for McCain being better than the current occupant of the White House about Iraq, both were left in the dust because Obama was correct about everything on Iraq and Afghanistan and the war started before January of 2007. Obama is so right on this issue that not only does the Bush administration admit it but so does senior commanders in area. McCain – and the Courier – seem to be the only one to think McCain is right.

Then toward the end of the editorial was the ultimate howler:

It’s worth pointing out that McCain lacks the negative baggage his opponent carries: the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, William Ayers, ACORN, etc.

How about McCain’s involvement with the Council for World Freedom that was involved with the Iran-Contra deal (which included selling weapons to Iran) and Latin American death squads during his time on their board and how could the Courier ignore the Keating 5. How about his association with the anti-Catholic and antisemitic Pastor John Hagee? Then there is Sarah Palin’s association with the anti-American Alaska Independence Party. If associations matter then they missed the forest for the trees.

This is what happens when talking points are used to “support” an endorsement.

As a side note, back when I was a lad, The Courier was known as “The Republican Courier”. It had the name for decades and was a left over from the days when Findlay had newspapers that were strictly aligned with political parties of the day.

I think it was in the early 80’s, the owners of The Courier decided to drop “Republican” from its name because they were concerned people would be suspect of their journalistic objectivity. The actual news they print has always been, for the most point, objective, but it is clear, with this endorsement, that the owners are still shilling for the GOP.

Courier editorial is wrong about Fairness Doctrine

Posted on by

Friday night I was surfing the web and I checked out the site of WFIN 1330 AM located in my hometown of Findlay. I was checking out any new news since The Courier had published that day.

Along the right side of the screen was a large graphic with a link to a Courier editorial about “Talk Radio”.

Of course I clicked it.

I normally ignore Courier editorials because it is simply the paper’s view of some issue and I usually don’t care what their view is. This time I was compelled to respond. The editorial, published on 6/29, started:

For years it’s been driving the political left crazy that talk radio is dominated almost completely by conservatives.Now, with the 2008 election cycle already under way, Congressional Democrats are doing some talking of their own. Armed with a report released June 20 by the Center for American Progress (CAP), a liberal think tank run by former Clinton chief of staff John Podesta, they want to bring back the Fairness Doctrine.

Talk Radio

This the 2nd Courier editorial where the use of certain buzz words concerned me. Mainly because The Courier has never tried to echo the Talk Radio shows its parent Findlay Publishing broadcasts on stations like WFIN.

It then continues:

Liberals have been trying for years to break into the talk show market, but most of their attempts have failed while conservative shows continue to thrive. Now, thanks to the CAP report, we know the reason: “Our conclusion is that the gap between conservative and progressive talk radio is the result of multiple structural problems in the U.S. regulatory system …” It then lists the requirements of the Fairness Doctrine.

In other words, the free market has nothing to do with it. The problem is that the government no longer forces radio stations to give equal time to “progressive” views.

The CAP report referred to in the editorial doesn’t support the use of the Fairness Doctrine and the report also offers evidence that an argument from “the free market” is also suspect.

The CAP report is quite clear why there is a lack of Progressive voices on Talk Radio:

Our view is that the imbalance in talk radio programming today is the result of multiple structural problems in the U.S.
regulatory system, particularly the complete breakdown of the public trustee concept of broadcast regulation resulting
from pro-forma licensing policies, longer license terms (to eight years from three years previously), the elimination of clear public interest requirements such as local public affairs programming, and the relaxation of ownership rules, including the requirement of local participation in management.

The Structural Imbalance of Political Talk Radio June 22, 2007 Center for American Progress

The report makes the point that the Fairness Doctrine still is on the books at the FCC, it is just not enforced and that by itself, is not an effective means of restoring balance on the public airwaves.

Simply reinstating the Fairness Doctrine will do little to address the gap between conservative and progressive talk unless the underlying elements of the public trustee doctrine are enforced, in particular, the requirements of local accountability and the reasonable airing of important matters. The key principle here is not shutting down one perspective or another—it is making sure that communities are informed about a range of local and national public affairs.

And as to the argument about letting the free market decide, CAP offers a couple of examples that put the lie to that view:

More importantly, even in markets where progressive talk is considered a success by the industry standards of ratings and revenue, licensees will often broadcast conservative talk on three or four stations compared to one station for progressive talk. For example, in Portland, OR, where progressive talk on KPOJ AM 620 competes effectively with conservative talk on KEX AM 1190, station owners also broadcast conservative talk on KXL AM 750 and KPAM AM 860. Although there is a clear demand and proven success of progressive talk in this market, station owners still elect to stack the airwaves with one-sided broadcasting… In Ohio, for example, there are 10 radio markets. In eight of those markets, there is not a single hour of progressive talk. In the two markets that do broadcast a total of six hours of progressive talk (Al Sharpton on two urban talk stations), those hours compete against 52 hours of conservative talk. Clear Channel Communications, the ownership group that has committed the largest number of stations to the progressive format, recently canceled the only three progressive talk stations in the state of Ohio.

When 91 percent of the talk radio programming broadcast each weekday is solely conservative—despite a diversity of opinions among radio audiences and the proven success of progressive shows—the market solution has clearly failed to meet audience demand. Even greater deregulation and consolidation of radio station ownership is therefore not likely to meet audience desires or serve the public interest in any meaningful way.

The point was proven in one of the markets that had a progressive radio station. Here in Columbus, Clear Channel changed a station from Air America to all conservative. The company claimed ratings made them change, however the first ratings book after the change showed the station dead last out of 27 stations measured.

The main point in the CAP report and why I support a return to the enforcement of the Fairness Doctrine is to return to the public trustee concept of broadcast regulation. There needs to be a renewal of the idea that the air waves these stations use are “owned” by the people and so they need to serve the local interest and they need to offer all sides to a debate.

The trademark of our democracy is that we believe government should protect the minority from the whims of the majority and again since the frequencies a radio station uses is owned by the public (ie. the government) then it ought to reflect that idea. For a vibrant democracy to flourish there needs to be a collection of views available.

For every Rush Limbaugh a station broadcasts, there should be a show hosted by a local person allowing for local responses (like a call in line) and if that isn’t available then the station should offer a host like Randi Rhodes or both.

This post hasn’t really concerned itself with content too much. I do believe that all points of view should be available – even if I don’t like some of them but the truth needs to be told.

I highly doubt a majority of the public likes what passes for Talk Radio today. Most people listen like how most people slow down to view a traffic accident.

Talk Radio isn’t journalism. It’s just one long editorial and in a majority of cases rebuttals are not even considered and if they are the person presenting the “other side” is either a watered down version of it or they are simply shouted down. The so-called host can say whatever they want, no matter how wrong in fact they are, and no matter who they insult or hurt.

It just happens that most conservative hosts, including the Top 5, do this on a daily basis. It can be entertaining in a sick sort of way but it contributes nothing to democracy or to the public fabric.