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 · Other Opinions · CAFTA means more bad news...
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CAFTA means more bad news for Michigan

Sylvia Inwood - September 15th, 2005
Michigan has suffered worse from NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) than any other state. That treaty for “free trade” of the multinational corporations cost Michigan over 118,000 jobs since 1993.
Our net loss of 63,000 jobs is 1.44% of the state’s total employment at the end of last year -- almost double the national average. Hard times for small farmers and small businesses throughout Michigan can be traced back to NAFTA.
And as if NAFTA wasn’t bad enough, now we’re going to hafta suffer through CAFTA, too -- the Central American Free Trade Agreement.
Technically, it’s now “DR-CAFTA,” with the Dominican Republic tacked onto the Central American Free Trade Agreement. But, according to the World Bank, that still leaves our new trading partners with a total GDP last year of only $84 billion -- about the economic size of Tampa and its suburbs. Not a lot of disposable income there for people to buy U.S.-made goods... and not a lot of support among the people of the Dominican Republic or Central America.
But the “DR” does serve a purpose -- as a reminder that both Democrats and Republicans are to blame for this fiasco. Along with their senior partners . . . Corporate America.

More Republicans than Democrats voted for CAFTA, in the Senate June 30 and in the House July 27 -- and 28. The House vote took place over two days because Republican leaders had to hold the “15-minute roll-call vote” open for over an hour, cheating as well as bribing and threatening their way to a 217-215 victory at 12:03 a.m.
If you wonder what evidence there is that pork and pressure entered into the vote, consider that the National Journal Congress Daily surveyed House members on CAFTA for its July 26 issue -- and reported a 50-vote margin against the treaty.
Bush, Cheney, Rove, and the whole team were up on Capitol Hill twisting arms “into one thousand pieces,” as one yes-voting GOP congressman from Arizona put it. Still, at the end of the allotted 15 minutes, the vote count was 180 to 175 against CAFTA, so the Republican leadership kept the vote -- and the bullying tactics -- going.
After about 30 minutes, the vote count seemed to stall at 214 yes and 211 no... with eight Republicans who had committed to oppose CAFTA -- most of them from textile states -- yet to vote. They jockeyed for position for half an hour more, over who would be allowed to vote against the bill and save face back home. One of them now claims his “no” vote was mis-recorded as “not voting.” The other “NV” was cast by a Virginia Congresswoman whose spokesman said she “would have voted against CAFTA but was on her way to her district to attend a Boy Scout Jamboree event.” The event was canceled because of bad weather.

But, even with all that, CAFTA would have been defeated if one more US Representative had voted “no” instead of “yes.” And 15 House Democrats, several of them in safe seats, voted yes.
So did six members of Michigan’s Congressional delegation. Vernon Ehlers of the 3rd District, was “officially” undecided when -- at his annual town hall meeting in April -- he told farmers who knew better that NAFTA had been good for Michigan and that trade agreements like NAFTA create jobs, not lose them. When a Michigan Farmers Union representative told Ehlers NAFTA has done nothing for Michigan, Ehlers ignored the applauding audience and dismissed the statement, saying that some of CAFTA’s best friends were farmers... and really only the sugar-beet farmers opposed it.
2nd District Representative Peter Hoekstra belonged to a clique of bread-now-or-bombs-later congressmembers who invoked the War on Terror and the red menace of an alternative trade vision from Castro’s Cuba and the latest leftist bugaboo, Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. Dan Burton of Indiana even raised the spectre of Che Guevara -- literally, since Guevara was assassinated by the CIA decades ago.
Joe Schwarz echoed Hoekstra’s “national security” rhetoric and Ehlers’ economic misinformation -- despite a poll in his 7th District’s largest city, Battle Creek, showing 85% opposition to CAFTA.

Hoekstra, Ehlers, and Schwarz were joined in the pro-CAFTA camp by 4th District Representative Dave Camp -- after enough protections for sugar producers were thrown in to sweeten the deal -- as well as Fred Upton of the 6th District, and Joe Knollenberg of the 9th District.
The Green Party of Michigan has long opposed NAFTA, the World Trade Organization, and the whole alphabet soup of efforts to “create new rights for investors, global rights which will override local democracy, community economics, and human rights,” as GPMI’s platform puts it.
Republicans and Democrats compete over which can best advance ‘globalization’ of corporate power; Greens wish to reverse it. We are against corporate control of government and subordination of constitutional self-government to international trade bodies, and for limitations on corporate power.
If you support fair trade that benefits people, not corporations, vote yes for the Green Party.

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