Letters 10-24-2016

It’s Obama’s 1984 Several editions ago I concluded a short letter to the editor with an ominous rhetorical flourish: “Welcome to George Orwell’s 1984 and the grand opening of the Federal Department of Truth!” At the time I am sure most of the readers laughed off my comments as right-wing hyperbole. Shame on you for doubting me...

Gun Bans Don’t Work It is said that mass violence only happens in the USA. A lone gunman in a rubber boat, drifted ashore at a popular resort in Tunisia and randomly shot and killed 38 mostly British and Irish tourists. Tunisian gun laws, which are among the most restrictive in the world, didn’t stop this mass slaughter. And in January 2015, two armed men killed 11 and wounded 11 others in an attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. French gun laws didn’t stop these assassins...

Scripps’ Good Deed No good deed shall go unpunished! When Dan Scripps was the 101st District State Representative, he introduced legislation to prevent corporations from contaminating (e.g. fracking) or depleting (e.g. Nestle) Michigan’s water table for corporate profit. There are no property lines in the water table, and many of us depend on private wells for abundant, safe, clean water. In the subsequent election, Dan’s opponents ran a negative campaign almost solely on the misrepresentation that Dan’s good deed was a government takeover of your private water well...

Political Definitions As the time to vote draws near it’s a good time to check into what you stand for. According to Dictionary.com the meanings for liberal and conservative are as follows:

Liberal: Favorable to progress or reform as in political or religious affairs.

Conservative: Disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditions and limit change...

Voting Takes A Month? Hurricane Matthew hit the Florida coast Oct. 6, over three weeks before Election Day. Bob Ross (Oct. 17th issue) posits that perhaps evacuation orders from Governor Scott may have had political motivations to diminish turnout and seems to praise Hillary Clinton’s call for Gov. Scott to extend Florida’s voter registration deadline due to evacuations...

Clinton Foundation Facts Does the Clinton Foundation really spend a mere 10 percent (per Mike Pence) or 20 percent (per Reince Priebus) of its money on charity? Not true. Charity Watch gives it an A rating (the same as it gives the NRA Foundation) and says it spends 88 percent on charitable causes, and 12 percent on overhead. Here is the source of the misunderstanding: The Foundation does give only a small percentage of its money to charitable organizations, but it spends far more money directly running a number of programs...

America Needs Change Trump supports our constitution, will appoint judges that will keep our freedoms safe. He supports the partial-birth ban; Hillary voted against it. Regardless of how you feel about Trump, critical issues are at stake. Trump will increase national security, monitor refugee admissions, endorse our vital military forces while fighting ISIS. Vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence will be an intelligent asset for the country. Hillary wants open borders, increased government regulation, and more demilitarization at a time when we need strong military defenses...

My Process For No I will be voting “no” on Prop 3 because I am supportive of the process that is in place to review and approve developments. I was on the Traverse City Planning Commission in the 1990s and gained an appreciation for all of the work that goes into a review. The staff reviews the project and makes a recommendation. The developer then makes a presentation, and fellow commissioners and the public can ask questions and make comments. By the end of the process, I knew how to vote for a project, up or down. This process then repeats itself at the City Commission...

Regarding Your Postcard If you received a “Vote No” postcard from StandUp TC, don’t believe their lies. Prop 3 is not illegal. It won’t cost city taxpayers thousands of dollars in legal bills or special elections. Prop 3 is about protecting our downtown -- not Munson, NMC or the Commons -- from a future of ugly skyscrapers that will diminish the very character of our downtown...

Vote Yes It has been suggested that a recall or re-election of current city staff and Traverse City Commission would work better than Prop 3. I disagree. A recall campaign is the most divisive, costly type of election possible. Prop 3, when passed, will allow all city residents an opportunity to vote on any proposed development over 60 feet tall at no cost to the taxpayer...

Yes Vote Explained A “yes” vote on Prop 3 will give Traverse City the right to vote on developments over 60 feet high. It doesn’t require votes on every future building, as incorrectly stated by a previous letter writer. If referendums are held during general elections, taxpayers pay nothing...

Beware Trump When the country you love have have served for 33 years is threatened, you have an obligation and a duty to speak out. Now is the time for all Americans to speak out against a possible Donald Trump presidency. During the past year Trump has been exposed as a pathological liar, a demagogue and a person who is totally unfit to assume the presidency of our already great country...

Picture Worth 1,000 Words Nobody disagrees with the need for affordable housing or that a certain level of density is dollar smart for TC. The issue is the proposed solution. If you haven’t already seen the architect’s rendition for the site, please Google “Pine Street Development Traverse City”...

Living Wage, Not Tall Buildings Our community deserves better than the StandUp TC “vote no” arguments. They are not truthful. Their yard signs say: “More Housing. Less Red Tape. Vote like you want your kids to live here.” The truth: More housing, but for whom? At what price..

Home · Articles · News · Letters · Letters 6/20/22
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Letters 6/20/22

- June 20th, 2011
My husband and I taught and traveled in Europe for eight years. A
Hungarian professor once told us that his countrymen willingly tax
themselves for “cradle to grave” education and health care. And teachers
are highly valued throughout Europe.
Campaigning Michigan politicians espouse the importance of quality
education, then are quick to criticize educators and even quicker to cut
funds. The “demonizing” of teachers has been spread by a right wing agenda
supported by the Mackinaw Center, the Republican Tea Party faction, and
the American Legislative Council throughout the state and nation.
This attack might be why some students even of elementary age show little
respect for their teachers and misbehave in class. How can increasing
class size help teachers handle the problems that arrive on their
doorstep? How much is society to blame?
Yes, ineffective teachers exist, but ineffective individuals are in every
walk of life. How have public schools suddenly become so “terrible”?
Misuse of test scores? Lack of parental support? Societal problems?
Charter schools? Proposal A? Michigan’s fine public schools consistently
had attracted families to locate here. The quality of education hasn’t
changed in most areas. Perception has. Stop the attacks!

Donna Dodd • TC

Oil shortage deception
We do not have an oil shortage nor does trouble in the Middle East have
much of a bearing on supply and demand. From a consumption standpoint, a
little over 10% comes from the Persian Gulf to us. Most of the 40% of our
imported oil comes from places around the globe where politics and strife
have little bearing.
Further, remember it is the benefit to the importer that is what cements
the contract. Those countries who export oil want to export it regardless
of what political issues are at hand. We are paying up to $4.25 a gallon
for gas because:
1) We are significantly short of oil refineries; there have only been
several new refineries built in the U.S. since 1976.
2) Oil is traded regularly on the commodities exchanges; you know, where
investors buy low and sell high. It is very simple to see why the price
of crude oil from which gas is made is going up; check the market price of
crude. And that folks has absolutely nothing to do with supply and demand.
3) Gasoline, diesel fuel and heating oil is as critical a public utility
as any. We long ago made public utilities insure supply and at an
affordable price.
Republicans refer to insuring our oil supply in the dramatic terms of
nationalizing the oil industry, as if it is a communistic concept. It is
not; it is providing one of the most important commodities to our
livelihood and well being. Oil is the sole reason we have gone to wars,
lost American lives and crumbled our economy for years now. It is the
“national interest” being defended.
It is not in our national interest that we put our military in harm’s way
so Exxon and Shell continue to have profits greater than even the largest
corporation‘s gross sales. It is perhaps the greatest fleecing of America
that has ever taken place. And the consumer is being duped by Big Oil’s

David Lerch • Charlevoix

Learn from others
Are we “too big” to learn from others?
We can bring about fundamental change in our health care system by
borrowing ideas from foreign models. Unfortunately, many Americans
intensely dislike the idea that we may learn useful policy ideas from
other countries, particularly in medicine. The biggest objection is that
foreign health care is socialized medicine.
The contention is that the United States, with its commitment to free
markets and low taxes, could never rely on big-government socialism the
way other countries do. Americans have learned in school that the private
sector can handle things better and more efficiently than government ever
could. In U.S. policy debates, the term “socialized medicine” has been a
powerful weapon. This phase has prevented universal access to health care
for six decades.
There are two basic flaws in this argument.
Most national health care systems are not “socialized.” Many foreign
countries provide universal health care of high quality (no waiting lines)
at reasonable cost using private doctors, private hospitals, and private
insurance plans. Some countries offering universal coverage have a smaller
government role than the U.S. does.
Americans switch to government-run Medicare when they turn 65; yet in
Germany and Switzerland, seniors stick with their private insurers no
matter how old they are.
“Socialized medicine” may be a scary term, but in practice, Americans
rather like government-run medicine. The U.S. Department of Veterans
Affairs is one of the world’s purest models of socialized medicine at
work. In the Medicare system, covering 44 million elderly or disabled
Americans, the federal government makes the rules and pays the bills. And
yet both of these “socialized” health care systems are enormously popular
with the people who use them and consistently rate high in surveys of
patient satisfaction.

Ronald Marshall • Petoskey

Trail mix-up
While I really appreciate the Northern Express, the Random Thoughts
article (“Northern Michigan’s Top Adventures”) contained an error that I
just had to write.
The trail mentioned as the Manistee River Trail is actually a section of
the North Country Trail. The Manistee River Trail is a trail downriver
from Hodenpyl Dam that along with another section of the North Country
Trail (that runs parallel on the other side of the Manistee) creates a
nice loop of roughly 20 miles.

Stephen Hammontree • via email

From ‘The Fox News Fear Factory” by Tim Dickinson in the June issue of
Rolling Stone:

“Producer Roger Ailes knows exactly who is watching Fox News each day, and
he is adept at playing to their darkest fears in the age of Obama. The
network’s viewers are old, with a median age of 65; Ads cater to the
immobile, the infirm and the incontinent, with appeals to join
class-action hip-replacement lawsuits, spots for products like Colon Flow
and testimonials for the services of Liberator Medical (“Liberator gave me
back the freedom I haven’t had since I started using cathetors.”) The
audience is almost exclusively white -- only 1.38% of viewers are
“...The result of (Fox News’) concerted campaign of disinformation is a
viewership that knows almost nothing about what’s going on in the world.
According to recent polls, Fox News viewers are the most misinformed of
all news consumers. They are 12 percentage points more likely to believe
the stimulus package caused job losses, 17 points more likely to believe
Muslims want to establish Shariah law in America, 30 points more likely to
say that scientists dispute global warming, and 31 points more likely to
doubt President Obama’s citizenship. In fact, a study by the University
of Maryland reveals ignorance of Fox viewers actually increases the longer
they watch the network. That’s because Ailes isn’t interested in
providing people with information, or even a balanced range of

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