Letters

Letters 04-25-2016

Taking Our Trees Seconds ago this pine tree was alive. Well, Mr. Cook — our County Road Commission head —and Peninsula Township government … by not weighing in (I guess it’s not your problem or responsibility to communicate with residents), you allowed the County Road Commission to bulldoze down huge swaths of lakeside trees in order to increase the bike lane. This can’t be happening. I have no clue why they would cut trees down that help block snow from creating drifts on Peninsula Drive and help keep the beach area intact. Plus, they are not increasing the width of the road when they repave. I just don’t get it. This is amateur hour at county and township government...

Government Service Unrewarded I served the federal government for XX years with the [agency], [doing XX]. I also worked in the private sector, [doing XX]. When I retired, I was surprised to learn my Social Security benefit would be $XXX less per month than my colleagues and neighbors who had never worked for the federal government. This is all because of the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) under the Social Security law...

Which Greased Palm Now that “Chicago values” have utterly corrupted the executive and judicial branches of our federal government, this November We the Plebeians shall either vote to right the governing integrity of the United States constitution’s twin pillars of limited government and separation of powers or turn and step collectively onto the blood soaked road to serfdom...

The Political Mess And Challenge As citizens we are faced with a real challenge. The media and the political candidates have taken over a year to attack those whom they are opposing. The unfavorable ratings of those who may be nominated are above 50 percent. That should be no surprise, considering the length of time given to bloodying one another with opinions that have little relationship to truth. The polling companies, which confess they are not reliable, make everything a game of winning...

CORRECTIONS In last week’s issue we had photos with the incorrect stories on page five. The dance photo should have accompanied the story about grants to nonprofits. The image of Crooked Tree Arts Center Petoskey should have accompanied the story about the ArtPrize exhibit at CTAC.

We also reported the incorrect day for the Bayshore Marathon in Traverse City. The correct date is Sat., May 28.

We apologize for these errors.

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.

WHO VOTED
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.

HARD-HIT FARMERS
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.

SWEET DEAL
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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