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 · Random Thoughts · The Great Leveling
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The Great Leveling

Robert Downes - January 29th, 2004

They’re saying prayers in the churches of Greenville, Michigan these days for the 2,781 employees who will lose their jobs when Electrolux Home Products closes its refrigerator plant there in November, 2005.
The prayers are for the soul of Greenville itself, because it‘s anyone‘s guess as to how this small town 35 miles north of Grand Rapids will survive without its largest employer.
Maybe they should say prayers for all of America, because as Greenville goes, so goes the nation.
Shades of H. Ross Perot and the giant sucking sound as our country is vacuumed of its manufacturing jobs. Shouldn‘t job loss be the top issue in the presidential election? Ideas on universal health care, prescription drug benefits, education and such are dandy, but if jobs keep disappearing, we‘ll have trouble here keeping social services on par with India.
In Greenville, the Electrolux company says it can save $81 million per year by moving its operations to Mexico. The company claims it can‘t compete against other manufacturers which have moved operations to countries where low wages and a lack of unions prevail.
Greenville‘s story offers a primer on the hazards of wishful thinking about the jam America is in, from the union hall to the governor‘s office:
Although union employees at Electrolux offered to take pay cuts, it was too little, too late. Although the town offered 20 years of no property taxes along with free land for a new plant and a new parking lot built at local expense, the deal wasn‘t good enough. Although the State of Michigan kicked in $8.7 million for infrastructure improvements and job training programs over the past 12 years, the total package wasn‘t enough to deter Electrolux from heading south of the border.
And no wonder, because according to sources such as the C.I.A.‘s World Fact Book, the per capita income of Mexico is $5,319 per year, compared to $34,858 in the United States.
How do you compete in a world where only money talks?
In India, the average person makes less than $2 per day -- maybe $500 per year. A worker in Russia may make less than $4 per day, with per capita income of $1,745 per year. As noted on “60 Minutes,“ English-speaking college grads in India are lining up for phone consultant jobs at $3,000-$5,000 per year, troubleshooting for U.S. companies that no longer wish to pay for the health benefits and fair wages of our fellow citizens.
All Americans have ever asked for is a level playing field -- unfortunately we‘re getting one on par with the poorest countries of the world.

Wedding bells are ringing

H.L. Mencken once said that a puritan is a person who lies awake nights worrying that someone, somewhere might be enjoying themselves.
That sort of thinking has to be behind the Bush administration‘s idea of spending $1.5 billion to promote the institution of marriage. Apparently, there are millions of conservatives lying awake nights worrying that some gay persons might be getting registered at Marshall Fields for tableware and towels; so we‘re going to pony up $1,500,000,000 for a public relations blitz to support marriage of the regular sort.
Better yet, we‘ll spend millions trying to encourage poor people to get married. That will help the poor learn the painful lesson of how expensive a divorce can be when their bad choice of a government-approved spouse follows its natural course.
Bravo! Here is money wisely and well-spent. People could be encouraged by the government to marry over and over again (as long as they‘re not gay, of course) under the rationale that if a little is good, then pour on the gravy. How about a marriage bounty of $50 for every time you get hitched? Think of the benefit to the wedding industry as the Britney Spears‘ of the world line up to tie the knot whenever the whim strikes.
We could also bring back biblical ideas about marriage under the Bush plan to keep his constituency happy. Trading a camel, for instance, would provide you with two wives and a fine dowry -- throw in a goat and you’d get a slave girl to boot -- just like in the Holy Land in the days of yore.
What‘s needed is a celebrity to head this initiative up, like Arnold Schwarzenegger with the President‘s Council on Fitness. How about actor Billy Bob Thornton as Minister of Marriage? He‘s been to the altar five times, most recently with Angelina Jolie -- he knows a lot about getting hitched and would set a good example for the young. Or, perhaps Elizabeth Taylor, who has seven notches in her garter belt.
It could get people excited about the institution of marriage again, even if -- as Mae West once said -- they’re not ready for an institution.
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