In unity there is strength.

I’m a member of the American Federation of Government Employees and I’m mad as hell about Bush’s attempt to bust our union. The President of our union said it plain and simple! “… what does President Bush really mean by “flexibility?” It looks as if he wants the secretary of homeland security to have absolute power to decide all personnel matters on the basis of political patronage, not merit. Flexibility means nothing less than gutting the civil service merit system and busting employee unions.”

We’ve come too far to give up our right to have collective protection from arbitrary actions by management. So I appeal to all you union brothers and sisters to call your congressional representatives and let them know we can make our country safer and stronger by keeping it union! Maybe some of the readers of your paper who aren’t in unions may get confused … but all you have to do is work at McDonalds one day and you’ll get why we need to have more than minimum wage and definitely need dignity and respect.

A readerWashington DC

Campaign finance reform

We have the finest government money can buy.

But we do not have to let it be sold.

Corporations can’t vote and should have no right to make campaign contributions, or bribe our elected officials, or write laws or design government programs or hound and lobby our officials.

The drug companies employ six lobbyists’ for every U.S. Senator. Their job is to influence your elected officials. How can we expect decent government? How can you vote fairly on a bill affecting Company A when Company A was your biggest campaign contributor? It’s a clear conflict of interest. We’d better get our government back while we still can. I/we can!

Al EngelOklahoma City OK

GOP used fraud in Mich. primaries

Nine Michigan state senate seats came under attack in a bizarre attempt to confuse the electorate into voting for phony Democratic senatorial candidates, hand picked by some state Republican congressmen. After several weeks of denying their involvement in the scheme, Michigan Senator Ken Sikkema admitted it was the work of “overzealous staffers,”when some of the local media exposed the plot.

Nine state senate seats in democratic leaning districts would have been effected had the scheme not been exposed. The Republican endeavor depicted a disregard for the electoral process and a disrespect for the voting public. If the story had not been exposed by the Muskegon Chronicle and a couple other local newspapers the fraudulent endeavor probably would have been carried out.

The bogus candidates were placed in the Muskegon, Kalamazoo, Bay City, Saginaw, Grand Blanc, Jackson, Midland, Port Huron, and Trenton areas, all Democratic strongholds.

One of the primary reasons for the undoing of the Republican plan was the recruiting of eighteen year old Eric Visser who was asked by Republican operatives to run. He agreed to it until he discovered that they had written him in as a Democratic candidate. Also there was an age minimum of twenty-one years to run for the senate. These mistakes contributed to the desire by the media to take a closer look, ultimately revealing what many here see as a case of serious electoral fraud and betrayal of the public trust by Republicans and Michigan’s Governer John Engler (R). Secretary of State Candice Miller planned no investigation, no prosecution, just silence.

Brian McafeeMuskegon MI

Can’t hide in Hollywood

You have to laugh your butt off to think that a right-wing Senator can just go straight to network TV without a stutter step. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.) is joining the cast of “Law and Order” and I thought they couldn’t get any more reality TV on TV. Now every week we can watch him violate civil liberties and push a right-wing agenda. Thank God for “West Wing” where every so often you can get some relief.

Jessie PollenGreen Hill Beach RI