Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

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Bringing Democratic Elections to the U.S.

George Foster - October 28th, 2004
I can’t take any more. Enough.
When this grueling, interminable presidential campaign ends next week, I will be down on my knees expressing gratitude that the long slog is over. Regardless of the winner.
As a cable-news junky, I can no longer bring myself to watch the insulting hyperbole that the political hacks would mislead us into believing true. Bush supporters would have you think Kerry is a traitor who shot himself in Vietnam in order to earn medals. Kerry backers want you to look at Bush as a butcher, worse than Hitler.
Then it occurred to me... wait a minute. All Americans are not inundated with the idiotic presidential campaigns to the extent we are in this state. Michigan is considered one of about ten political “swing states.” As a swing state, Republicans and Democrats are each capable of receiving the most presidential votes in Michigan and thus is a major campaign target. Though I live in a swing state, I don’t feel like dancing because George W. Bush and John Kerry are in our faces constantly - lying, threatening and bullying us to vote for them.
To add insult to injury, about half of American votes will not count in our ridiculous Electoral College voting system. As always, the 2004 presidential election process will give the entire bloc of each state’s votes to only one candidate. In the 2000 election, Bush received almost as many votes as Gore in Michigan, yet
Bush received zero elec-toral votes (Gore got them all). In that same election, Gore received only 527 less votes at the polls than Bush in Florida, yet Gore received no electoral votes for his efforts. Does that seem like democracy in action to you?
Despite the unfairness of the system, it is nonsense to conclude that Bush is an illegitimate president because he didn’t have as many popular votes as Al Gore in 2000. All aspiring candidates, if they have more than a pea brain, work the system that is currently in place - winning the most electoral votes. Three other past presidential candidates failed to win the popular vote, yet ended up in the White House. In fact, if I had to pick the results of the 2004 election today (ten days prior), I believe Bush will win the popular vote and Kerry the electoral. Let’s not even talk about the possible political fallout, though, if I am correct.
Regardless of who wins this year, we need to use a simple, nationwide popular vote as the measure for winning U.S. presidential elections in the future. Awarding all votes for each state to the winner of the respective state makes no sense. We are supposed to be voting for the President of the United States, not the president of Michigan, Iowa, or Missouri. That is what governors are for. Winning the most votes nationwide, regardless of state, is fairer and closer to the heart of what any true democracy deserves.
Almost a year ago, the powerful Iraqi Ayatollah al-Sistani demanded that Iraqis be allowed to elect their officials by popular vote. The U.S. government had been pushing for indirect elections in Iraq via a caucus-style not unlike the U.S. electoral process. After Sistani’s demand, President Bush backed down and Iraqis have been promised democratic elections by popular vote, beginning in January 2005. Is it too much for Americans to ask for an election process, equally democratic as the Iraqi model?
A little publicized initiative in Colorado may be the answer. Voters in that state will decide on November 2 if their electoral votes will be split based on the popular vote, not winner-takes-all for the Electoral College. The beauty of the Colorado plan is that the endless process for approving a Constitutional amendment on elections would be bypassed if each state adopted a similar measure.
Michigan should join Colorado and every other state to end our voting system that effectively disenfranchises millions of voters. A fringe benefit for me is that each state would then become a swing state and some of the attack ads would be diverted back to Texas and Massachusetts where they were launched.

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